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Will there be a pre-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture?

Will there be a pre-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture?

Before we answer this question, we need to define the term “rapture.” It simply means “to be carried away with force or power.” Even though this term is not found in the Bible, it is clear that God’s people will be “caught up” and taken to heaven. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17.) The question is, When will this take place?

Some believe this rapture of the saints takes place before a time of tribulation (pre-tribulation) and some people believe it takes place after (post-tribulation). Some also label it as a seven-year tribulation, though nowhere does the Bible speak of a time of tribulation lasting seven years. The best question to ask is, What does the Bible teach about the tribulation?

Several Bible passages reveal that most often, God watches over His people through tribulation. Jesus said, “You will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Mark 13:13). Daniel indicated that God’s people are on the earth during the tribulation at the end of time. He wrote: “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Daniel 12:1). Michael standing up indicates that the decisions related to judgment have been made and what remains is to carry out verdicts.

Revelation 15 and 16 outline the seven last plagues, forming the great time of trouble in the last days. These plagues harken back to the plagues that fell on Egypt when the Israelites were slaves. God’s judgments are compared with the events of the Exodus. It was a great time of trouble for all.

Were God’s children in Egypt when the plagues fell? Yes! And the Lord protected them through this tribulation. David wrote, “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble” (Psalm 37:39).

Another great time of trouble happened during the days of the antediluvians. Was Noah on the earth when the flood came? Yes! God saved Noah and his family through the flood. He did not snatch them out of the world but protected them when the waters came.

There are many stories showing that God saved His people through times of trouble. The Lord saved Daniel through the lion’s den. God didn’t prevent Daniel from going into the den but sent angels to protect him inside it. He also saved Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego through the fiery furnace when they refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. God didn’t prevent these faithful followers from being thrown into the furnace, but the Lord was actually in the flames with these young men protecting them.

Paul warned believers, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). It is in tribulation that the church shines the brightest. Describing His second coming, Jesus told a parable about ten virgins that ends with these words: “At midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ ” (Matthew 25:6, emphasis supplied). It is not during the daytime or even at dusk that Jesus will come, but at earth’s darkest hour.

Will there be a pre-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture? Scripture clearly teaches a post-tribulation rapture. The time of tribulation will take place just before the second coming of Christ.

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