Six reasons for a pre-trib rapture

There are four main views about when the rapture of the church will occur in relation to the seven-year tribulation. Most Christians believe it will occur before the tribulation begins. This is also my view because I take the scriptures about the rapture literally. The belief that the rapture of the church occurs before the seven-year tribulation is referred to as a pre-tribulation, or pre-trib rapture.

Others believe it will occur in the middle of the tribulation, around the time that the Antichrist is revealed. Still, others believe it will happen towards the tail end of the tribulation before God pours out  His most intense wrath upon the earth during the bowl judgments of Revelation chapter sixteen. Some Christians believe the rapture will happen during the second coming of Jesus. They actually believe Christ will snatch us up to meet Him in the clouds and then we’ll make a U-turn and descend right back to earth with Him. Sadly, many people who identify themselves as Christians don’t even know what the rapture of the church is. Even worse, many people who self-identify as Christians don’t believe in the rapture at all. In my mind, rejecting the fact that the Bible teaches that there will be a rapture is rejecting the very Word of God.

If you’re among those who don’t know what the rapture is or believe it’s part of the second coming of Christ, please see my earlier message The rapture and the second coming.

Here are six reasons I believe the bible supports a pre-tribulation rapture.

1. Scripture about the tribulation focuses on Israel and unbelieving nations

Revelation chapters 4 through 22 describe the tribulation in great detail and the focus is on Israel and the unbelieving nations. The ninth chapter of Daniel describes the seventy-weeks prophecy, which is important for our understanding of the end times because it’s focus is Israel and the unbelieving nations. The church age exists in the gap that spans between the 69th week (week of years) and the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy. The church is not mentioned in the 70th week of Daniel which is also known as the seven-year tribulation.

2. The church is noticeably absent from all tribulation passages

The church is mentioned 19 times in the first 3 chapters of Revelation. These first three chapters are primarily about Jesus communicating His commendations and rebukes to the seven churches of that time. It’s interesting and also sad that the things Jesus had against those seven churches are the same things we’re seeing in the modern-day church today.

What’s also noteworthy is that the church isn’t mentioned again after chapter 3. The last 19 chapters of Revelation don’t mention the church one single time. Certainly, there will be believers of Jesus Christ during the tribulation, but they’ll be saved after the rapture. Don’t worry, God has arranged for the greatest evangelism movement the world will ever see and it will take place during the tribulation.

3. The church is promised deliverance from the coming wrath

Several passages of scripture say that genuine believers will be removed before the tribulation begins.

Romans 5:9 NKJV says “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him”. If you’re justified by the blood of Jesus, then Jesus will save you from the wrath that is to come upon the whole world.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 (ESV) says Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come. The Greek word for “delivers” means to “snatch out to oneself”. It doesn’t mean to be kept safe in the midst of Gods wrath or to be saved through the tribulation. It means we’re taken up to be with Jesus in heaven before the tribulation begins.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

I love 1st Thessalonians 5:9-10, which says “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him”. The original Greek language in which the New Testament was written makes it clear that this wrath refers to the outpouring of God’s wrath during the tribulation.

4. God’s consistent pattern is to rescue His people before judgment falls

God has established a consistent pattern throughout scripture, both the old testament and the new, that shows He protects His people before judgment falls. Here are some examples:

  • Enoch was transferred to heaven before the flood (see Genesis chapter 5 and Hebrews 11:5).
  • Noah and his family were in the ark before the flood (see Genesis chapter 7).
  • Lot was taken out of Sodom before God’s judgment was poured out on Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis chapter 19).
  • The firstborn of the Hebrews were protected by the blood of the Passover lamb before judgment fell upon the Egyptians (see Exodus chapter 12).
  • Rahab was safely removed from the city before judgment fell on Jericho (see Joshua chapter 2).
  • Daniel was saved from Nebuchadnezzar’s seven-times hotter furnace because he had been promoted to a high position (and was probably out of town doing the king’s business) prior to the incident that caused his friends to be cast into the furnace (See Daniel chapter 3).

5. The church is promised to be kept from the tribulation

Jesus promised the church of Philadelphia that He would keep them from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world.

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
Revelation 3:10

The phrase “keep you from” literally means “to keep you out of”. It doesn’t mean to keep you safe in the midst of or safe through the tribulation. It means Jesus promises the church that they’ll be taken out of the way, or snatched up so that they will not suffer the tribulation to come.

Because the tribulation is going to affect the entire world, it means there won’t be anywhere on earth that’s safe from God’s wrath. This is why we can be sure that Jesus will snatch us up to meet Him in the clouds and take us to His Father’s house in heaven so that we’ll be safe when God pours out His wrath on the whole earth.

6. The Holy Spirit will be removed

The Apostle Paul taught “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7 NKJV). The Restrainer is the Holy Spirit. The removal of the Holy Spirit from the earth necessitates the removal of the church because the Holy Spirit dwells in every genuine believer.

This message is adapted in part from the YouTube video 6 Primary Reasons Supporting The Pre-Tribulation Rapture by Dr. Ron Rhodes.

Related messages

The Rapture and the Second Coming

Where did all the Christians go?

Final 7 years: How we can know when the tribulation has begun

God’s evangelism plan for the tribulation

I first professed my belief in Jesus as the Son of God and accepted Him as my Savior more than 40 years ago. Since that day, I’ve never doubted that Jesus is who He claims to be. However, that belief didn’t keep me from living my life on my own terms for several years, which resulted in repeating the same sins over and over. In 2013, I became determined to make Jesus the Lord of my life. It was then that the Holy Spirit gave me an insatiable appetite for God’s word. As I turned more and more of my life over to Jesus and cooperated with the Holy Spirit, He has helped me break free of the sins that once enslaved me. Since then, I’ve been strongly compelled to share God’s word and to warn others that we need to get ready because Jesus is coming soon.

  1. On the subject of a pre-trib rapture, Luke 21:36 states:
    “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to ESCAPE ALL THAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

    Also, in Rev 3:2-3, when Jesus was speaking to the church of Sardis, he said:
    “Wake up and strengthen what remains, which was about to die; for I have found your deeds incomplete in the sight of My God. Remember, then, what you have received and heard. Keep it and repent. IF YOU DO NOT WAKE UP, I WILL COME LIKE A THIEF, AND YOU WILL NOT KNOW THE HOUR WHEN I WILL COME UPON YOU.

    What the above verses tell me that it MAY BE POSSIBLE that not all Christians will be raptured at the coming of Jesus for His Bride, only those who are watching and praying to be counted worthy, and those that are awake so that His coming will not be like a thief. I am NOT saying that they are not children of God the Father, just that they may not be a part of the Bride and Wife of Jesus Christ. I am NOT dogmatic about this, just a possibility.

    That’s why I keep praying daily that our Heavenly Father will make sure that all His children will realize that the event called the rapture is a real and event, and not an allegory, or symbolism, or an ethereal event, and that He will make us ready physically, mentally, and spiritually for that day when Jesus comes for His Bride, and be found expecting His return at any moment, loving, and yearning for His coming for His Bride so that we will all receive the crown of righteousness for living His return.

    • Thanks for your comments, Ron. I believe that all true Christians will go in the rapture of the church. I also believe that there will be a lot of people who are left behind that thought they were saved but were not. Hopefully, those people will be saved during the tribulation, but I don’t envy anyone who has too go through that time of wrath being poured upon the Earth. The Apostle Paul said “test yourselves to see if you’re in the faith”. Here are 13 biblically-based ways to do just that.

  2. Hello Daniel, I just found this website yesterday. I love reading all your articles and what you have to say 🙂 Thanks for doing all this and even sharing your own stories, and may God bless you and your family 🙂

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