IS THE RAPTURE BEFORE THE TRIBULATION?
"If I go away, and prepare a place for you, I will come again."
"this same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go up into heaven.'
There is a difference between the rapture of the church and the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The second coming of Jesus is when He comes visibly to the earth and His feet touch the Mt. of Olives. He will remain for 1000 years and rule and reign with us. (Acts 1:11, Matt. 24:20, Zech. 14:4) The rapture occurs seven years earlier, before the tribulation. The rapture is the summons of the church to go to heaven. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
PROOFS THE RAPTURE IS BEFORE THE TRIBULATION
1. No mention of the church is made in connection with the tribulation. Only Israel and nations are mentioned.
2. The promise to the church at Philadelphia (which represents the revived church of the last days) states:
"I will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth." Rev.3:10
3. The tribulation is a time of God's wrath on an apostate church, a backslidden Israel, and an ungodly world. Believers are "not appointed unto wrath." (I Thess. 5:9)
4. We are to be "delivered from the wrath to come." (I Thess.1:10)
5.Types in the Bible
Enoch--raptured before the flood
Lot and his family--delivered before the judgment on Sodom
6. In Revelation 4:1, the "Come up hither." represents the rapture. Following that - the church is seen in heaven with crowns on their heads--which Paul said would be received on the day of the rapture. Following the rapture day scene of Rev. 4 & 5, the tribulation starts in chapter 6.
7.Greek words used to describe the rapture:
harpadzo =caught away by force out of harm's way
ekphugein = to escape clean away from a person or condition
apolutrosis = to take unto oneself a valued object that was paid for in full earlier
optomai = appear