If you’ve followed the Left Behind series, you are probably aware of the rapture. If you don’t believe in the rapture, this post may not be for you. Whether God spins us up into the air, teleports us into His presence or sends a ship to get us, one way or the other, He’s coming back for His people. And this is what I mean by “rapture”, though specifically it means the “taking up”.
Many people subscribe to a pre-tribulation rapture view. That is, they believe the entire 7 year period is the wrath of God, and since we are not subject to the wrath of God, then we will be raptured prior to this time.
There is a growing group of people who subscribe to post-tribulation rapture theory. And this can get sticky. As I too subscribe to this theory, except I don’t. What do I mean?
Well, if by post-tribulation, you also equate the tribulation period to the entire 7 year period and all of this as God’s wrath, then I don’t subscribe to this view.
One of the reasons why I think many will continually be dancing between these two theories (pre & post) is because neither view is completely correct. It is true we believers are not subject to the wrath of God (1 Thessalonian 5:9), and it is also true that we must endure tribulation (John 16:33, Revelation 7:14).
So the big question is, what is the tribulation we will endure? I believe the tribulation we will endure is persecution. We will be persecuted for our faith by the beast and anti-Christ system. I believe we will be here during the time of the anti-Christ and we will have to stand firm in our faith for Christ.
I believe that after this, in Revelation 6, the wrath of God will come and we believers will be taken or raptured out, and then God’s judgement will come on the unbelievers.
Why do I believe this? Because I believe the pattern of scripture shows this. I also believe Jesus made it clear that this is the order.
In the account of Noah, we know that he and his family lived in wicked times. Believers in wicked times are often persecuted, if not physically, their righteous soul will be vexed by the evil. We know this with Lot. (2 Peter 2:7-8). Then God told Noah what He was going to do, and before the wrath or judgement of God came upon the unbelievers, Noah and his family was “raptured” by way of the ship.
But “Noah wasn’t taken out of the rain, he was protected through it…” might state those who subscribe to post-tribulation view… Even though he wasn’t physically taken out of the way, he was not by any means harmed. If we look at Lot, they were physically taken out of the way of destruction. So physical location is not the main idea, being protected by God is.
When did Jesus tell us the order of the rapture?
Well, I believe He told us in Matthew 24:37-39.
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
We know how it was in the days of Noah.
Wickedness/Persecution of saints –>God’s warning of judgement
–>Protection of His people / rapture –> wrath of God on unbelievers.
Plain reading of Scriptures clearly points to this order, without having to force an understanding of either pre-trib or post-trib rapture views.
The bottom line is, we believers are not subject to the wrath of God, but we will endure tribulation/persecution. So the problem is not that it is hard to figure out the general timeline. The problem is man’s interpretation of particular scriptures, like:
Revelation 3:10: This is not speaking of the wrath of God. This is talking about temptation, God tempts no one, therefore this is not of God. This is the same as the Our Father prayer. “Keep us from temptation…”
There are common falsehoods associated with pre-tribulation rapture view, like:
1. Jesus can rapture us at any moment. This is false, there are precursors to the rapture. Please see Matthew 24:29, 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
2. God’s wrath is the entire 7 year period. No, His wrath starts at Revelation 6:17. Prior to that is the Great Tribulation.
3. The rapture is silent. No, shouts aren’t silent. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
4. The rapture and Christ’s return are separate events. No, Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 clearly referring to same event. Why? The last trumpet. How many last trumpets can there be?
For post-tribulation rapture view:
1. God’s wrath is the entire 7 year period. No, His wrath starts at Revelation 6:17. Prior to that is the Great Tribulation.
2. Noah and the Israelites in Egypt were not physically taken out of harms ways, they were protected through it. So therefore we will be here for all of it. Yes, they weren’t taken away physically from it, but physical location is not the main idea here as Lot was physically taken out of destruction. Protection is the main idea. We are not subject to the wrath of God. As Noah and Israelites were unharmed by God’s judgement, this showed how we are not subject to His wrath.
Additionally, lots of people like to scapegoat this conversation and rebuke those who engage in because the Bible says no one knows the day or the hour of His return (Matthew 24:36). True, we don’t know the day or the hour, but we do have evidence of the general timeline.
Once we settle what the timeline of the tribulation, that is, what is of the anti-Christ system, and what comes directly from the judgement of God, we see that neither pre-trib or post-trib rapture views hold up. Only a post-trib/pre-wrath rapture view fits well with all Scripture. So it’s post persecution of saints, then rapture of saints, then God’s wrath on unbelievers. That’s it, that’s the timeline. It is all verifiable by Scripture, no conflicts, or at least, I haven’t come across any like the other views.
While I do believe there’s enough in Scripture to get the general timeline of the rapture, this is not a heaven or hell issue. So let’s not get caught up in endless genealogies. My only warning would be to pre-tribbers who may not be preparing themselves for persecution but awaiting their “pre-trib rapture”.
Thanks for reading! I tried to keep this short. Be blessed in Jesus’ name.
This link illustrates beautifully the pre-wrath rapture timeline for those interested. I have not gone through all their material, but it is rather detailed again for those looking for further answers. Best to invite Holy Spirit to just teach us plainly though. https://prewrathrapture.com/prewrath-timeline/