Post Tribulation Rapture Belief

   The Rapture of the Church is the time when the Church will be lifted off the earth to "meet the Lord in the air" (I Thess. 4:17).
    There are four basic beliefs about when the Rapture will happen.  They all relate to the "Tribulation" of the end times, which, according to most believers, is thought to last for seven years.  During the tribulation time, the Antichrist - also called "the man of sin" - will be revealed; and the Mark of the Beast will be established.  Also, during the Tribulation - or at least, during part of it - God will pour out his wrath on the earth.
  
   Those four beliefs are:
      The Pre-tribulation belief which holds that the Rapture will take place before the tribulation, that the Church will be with the Lord for seven years, and will return with him when the tribulation is over.
     The Mid-tribulation belief which holds that the Rapture will take place in the middle of the seven years of tribulation, that the Church will be with the Lord for 3 1/2 years, and will then return with him.
The Pre-wrath belief which sees the Rapture and the return of the Lord as one event sometime in the second half of the tribulation immediately followed by a "shortened" time of Great Tribulation.
      The Post-tribulation belief which is that the Rapture will take place at the end of the tribulation, that the Church will be lifted to the Lord and return with him.  They believe the Rapture and the Return of the Lord are one event: that the Church will be caught up to meet the Lord as he descends from heaven.  They believe there is only one coming of the Lord - at the end of the tribulation.

   Some preachers and professing Christians say it's not all that important when the Rapture happens.  They say that our faith in Christ will see us through.  However, it is important that we know the truth of what the Bible teaches; and it is also important that we don't put our faith in a Pre-trib or Mid-trib Rapture to save us - rather than putting our faith in Christ who will truly see us through it all.
    The reason we must understand that the Church will be on earth through the tribulation is so we can prepare for that time.  Paul the apostle spoke of a "falling away" that will happen - and connects it with the "man of sin" - the Antichrist -  being revealed (II Thess. 2:3). 
   Those professing Christians who believe they will be Raptured off the earth before, or in the middle of the tribulation, will not be ready - spiritually or emotionally - to cope with those perilous times; and because they will not be prepared, they will be in extreme danger of falling away from their faith in God just as the apostle Paul foretold.

Historical Evidence of a Post-Tribulation Rapture
   
   The early church believed in a Post-tribulation Rapture - and held that belief for a little over 1800 years. 
  For example, early church teachers by the names of Ireneaus (130-202AD) and Hippolytus (birthdate unknown-235AD), second and third generation disciples of John the Revelator, wrote of the rise of the Antichrist and of the coming of the Lord from a Post-tribulation point-of-view. 
   They both taught that the Antichrist will reign on earth and persecute the Church right up to the return of the Lord in all his power and glory.
  In his book, "Against Heresies," Irenaeus, writing about the Antichrist, said, "His tyranny shall last three years and six months, during which the saints shall be put to flight" (Ch. xxv.4).  Later, in the same book, he said, "The resurrection of the just takes place after the coming of Antichrist" (Ch. xxxv.1).
   Hippolytus wrote a number of books; and in one called a "Commentary on the Book of Daniel," speaking of the Antichrist, he said, "When he has conquered all, he will prove himself a terrible and savage tyrant; and will cause tribulation and persecution to the saints, exalting himself against them" (Ch. 7).  In the same book, referring to the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11, he said, "The two witnesses, then, shall preach three years and a half; and Antichrist shall make war upon the saints during (that time) and desolate the world" (Ch. 11).

Origin of the Pre-tribulation Rapture Belief

   There is no mention of a Pre-tribulation - or a Mid-tribulation - Rapture in any Church teaching, writing or commentary until the early 1800s when the Pre-tribulation Rapture belief began.
  In 1812, a Jesuit priest from Chile, South America named Manuel de Lacunza, writing under the pen-name of Rabbi J.J. Ben-Ezra, wrote a book called "The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty." 
   In his book, he set forth the idea that the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus will be separated by a period of time.  And, he claimed that all of the other Church teachers and leaders up to 1812 had been wrong in teaching a Post-tribulation Rapture.  He basically said that he was right; and they had all been "convicted of error" in their teaching.
  Edward Irving,, a Scottish preacher, translated de Lacunza's book from Spanish into English and had it published in London in 1827.  Around that time, Irving began to preach that there would be a Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church.
  Somewhere in the 1820s or 1830s, John Darby, an English preacher connected with a religious movement called The Plymouth Brethren also began to preach and teach a two-stage coming of the Lord: first a Rapture of the Church, followed later by the Lord's return.
  But, the icing on the cake came when, in April of 1831, a 15 year-old Scottish girl named Margaret MacDonald claimed to have received a "new revelation" from several hours of prophecy and vision: a revelation of a split-coming of the Lord - a Pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church.
   Both Edward Irving and John Darby visited with Miss MacDonald in those days; and it's impossible to think they were not mutually influenced in some way about the timing of the Rapture.
  A Pre-tribulation Rapture - the hope of an escape from Tribulation - became popular throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland; and spread to the United States as well.
  In about 200 years or less - from 1812 until now - most professing Christians and Christian Churches have accepted the "new revelation" of Miss MacDonald, and the teaching of Irving and Darby as the truth.
   They have wrongly placed their hope in the Rapture of the Church to save them; and have turned away from some 1800 years of knowledge as if it was in error.

Biblical Evidence of a Post-Tribulation Rapture

  The apostle Paul wrote about the Rapture in two places in scripture: I Thessalonians 4:16-17 where he described the event; and I Corinthians 15:51-54 where he told us when it happens.
  In I Thessalonians, he said, (1) "the Lord himself shall descend fromheaven with a shout," (2) "with the voice of the archangel," and (3) "with the trump of God."  Then, the Rapture of the Church will take place.
   In I Corinthians, he said that "the trump of God" that accompanies the Rapture will take place at the sound of the "last trump."  He said it will be the last trumpet sound to be made.  Obviously, that is at the end!
   Jesus spoke of the "end of the world" and the "signs of his coming" in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.  If you read through any one - or all - of those three chapters in the Bible, looking for the things that accompany the Rapture: a shout of the Lord, the voice of the archangel, or a trumpet sound, you won't find anything like the Rapture until you come to the end: until immediately after the Tribulation.
   In Matthew 24:29-31, Jesus said, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days... the Son of man... shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet... and gather together his elect."  This is the Rapture!  This is the sound of the Last Trump - "immediately after the tribulation."
   In Mark 13:24-27, the wording is slightly different, but the meaning in exactly the same.  And Luke chose not to speak of the Rapture at all in his Gospel.
  In the Gospel of John, referring to the Rapture of the Church as "the resurrection," or a "raising up" of his people, Jesus told us three times that it would be at the "last day."  
   He said, "This is my father's will... that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again at the last day" (Jn. 6:39).  In the very next verse, he repears his statement that he "will raise him up at the last day" (Jn. 6:40).  And, as if we still didn't get his meaning, he says it one more time: "No man can come to me except the Father... draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (Jn. 6:44).

    One of the best evidences that the Church will be on earth through the Tribulation is that the Bible clearly states that - just as Irenaeus and Hippolytus taught - the Antichrist will persecute the Church after he comes to power.  Since that's true, it makes sense that the Church has to be on earth for him to persecute.
    In the New Testament, the word "saints" is used over fifty (50) times; and in every instance, the word refers to the Church: the followers of Jesus Christ.
    In the Old Testament, in his prophecy of the end times, the prophet Daniel made it clear that the Antichrist will persecute those same people: the Church on earth.  Speaking symbolically of the Antichrist as a "horn:" a person of power, he said, "The same horn made war with the saints" (Dan. 7:21).  Later in the same chapter, he said the Antichrist "shall wear out the saints of the most High" (Dan. 7:25).
    The Book of Revelation in the New Testament confirms and verifies the words of Daniel.  In the chapter that describes the Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast, speaking of the Antichrist, the Revelation says, "It was given to him (the Antichrist) to make war with the saints" (Rev. 13:7).
   
     Some preachers and Bible teachers say that the Church will not go through the Tribulation because - according to I Thessalonians 5:9 - the Church is "not appointed" to God's wrath that will be poured out on the earth during part - or all - of the Tribulation.  In that passage, Paul said, "God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." 
     However, the truth is that Paul is not talking about the Rapture of the Church or about the Tribulation in this passage.  He is simply stating the Gospel message; that we are not subject to God's punishment if we are saved by our Lord Jesus Christ.
    The Church will not be subject to - or appointed to - the wrath of God that will come on the earth during the Tribulation.  God will protect - and provide for - his children on earth through that time just as he protected and provided for the Children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
    In the second half of Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation when the "woman" comes to represent the New Covenant faithful few, the Overcomers, the church on earth we are told twice that God will care for her and for "the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:17).  In the Revelation, we're told that "the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God" (Rev. 12:6).  And, "To the woman were given two wings of an eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place" (Rev. 12:14).

[For more information on the Rapture of the Church, the Tribulation, and God's protection and provision for the Church in the End Time, we recommend the book "The Time of The End" by James C. Taylor offered for sale through this website.]
   
   {For more information on The Woman of Revelation 12, click on the following:
The Overcomers.}