This writing is to examine the main viewpoints on when the Rapture occurs with regard to the time of the final seven years of human history, before Jesus Christ returns in the Second Coming. These final seven years are technically the 70th Week of the Seventy Weeks prophecy in Daniel chapter 9, also known as The Tribulation or the “time of Jacob’s trouble.”
A quick understanding of what follows is that we will be using the logic of cause-and-effect, which is how our entire universe operates. For example, when we see “this” cause, then we also will see “that” effect. This cause-and-effect also works to help determine when the Rapture occurs in relation to the time of the Tribulation. There are four main viewpoints:
1) Pre-Trib (the Rapture happens before the Tribulation)
2) Mid-Trib (the Rapture happens at the middle of the Tribulation)
3) Pre-Wrath (the Rapture happens after the middle but before the end)
4) Post-Trib (the Rapture happens at the end of the Tribulation)
The time of the happening of the Rapture in relation to the seven years has limited possibilities. It either happens BEFORE, DURING, or AFTER. There are, after all, only so many choices, and the above four are the main ones.
Applying cause-and-effect to these four viewpoints will determine which viewpoint is correct, and which others are not. By the logic of cause-and-effect, if a certain Rapture viewpoint were true, then it would cause an effect which we would see. If that Rapture viewpoint – as a “cause” – SHOULD produce a certain “effect,” but doesn’t, then it shows the Rapture viewpoint in question never happened, and therefore is incorrect and is disproved. Put another way, if a given Rapture viewpoint were true, then we expect to see certain results from it having happened. If we don’t see those results, then it shows that the particular Rapture viewpoint is wrong because it didn’t happen.
The Post-Trib Rapture is easily disproved by cause-and-effect.
When the Rapture occurs, it is not merely Christ snatching His believers off the Earth. It is also the time of the resurrection for His believers. We know from the most famous Rapture passage that first the dead in Christ are raised (i.e. those in the graves), and then Christ seizes with irresistible force all those believers who are yet still alive.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
In a parallel passage, the Apostle Paul denotes an important clue as to how many of those believers in the grave would be raised:
“Behold, I shew you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
Q: How many of the dead in Christ are raised?
A: All (“we shall all be changed”)
Q: When does this resurrection happen?
A: Up in the sky before Jesus touches down on the Earth (“in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air”)
Now, let us move on to the moments happening AFTER Jesus has come down from the sky and has touched down on Earth. According to the Post-Trib view, by this point in time, the Rapture will have already happened while Jesus was in the sky (“in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air”) BEFORE He landed on Earth on the Mount of Olives, specifically:
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:4a).
The idea that the Post-Trib Rapture happens at the Second Coming (Revelation 19:11-21) is shattered by a verse that follows His return to Earth.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Rev 20:4).
This verse is talking about people who had been killed during the Tribulation, “which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands.”
These same people are raised from the dead AFTER Jesus has already come down from the sky and touched down on the Mount of Olives.
Why is this a problem for the Post-Trib view? Here is the cause-and-effect. Because if the Rapture had happened Post-Trib, while Jesus was in the sky, and all His believers met Him in the clouds in the air, then there can be NO believers still in the ground to be raised AFTER Jesus has already returned. The Rapture would not have left ANY Tribulation believers still in the ground. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”
Yet the Scripture tells us very plainly and clearly that there ARE Tribulation believers in the ground who are then raised from the dead; and so this proves that the Post-Trib Rapture DID NOT HAPPEN. In other words, a Post-Trib Rapture would have caused the effect of all dead Tribulation saints being raised from the dead, leaving none in the ground. Since we DO see them in the ground (i.e. dead, being raised to life), then the Post-Trib Rapture DID NOT HAPPEN.
The Post-Trib Rapture is therefore disproved.
The Pre-Wrath Rapture is also disproved for pretty much the same reason. Pre-Wrath proponents say that once the Rapture happens (somewhere after the midpoint but before the end of the Tribulation’s seven years), no one gets saved, and it is all wrath poured out at that point.
The same problem occurs for the Pre-Wrath Rapture as for the Post-Trib. If the Rapture happens Pre-Wrath, and by their own teaching no one gets saved after the Pre-Wrath Rapture, then there can be NO BODIES OF TRIBULATION BELIEVERS in the ground to be raised at Rev. 20:4.
Since there ARE Tribulation believer bodies in the grave to be raised AFTER Jesus returns and has touched down on the Mount of Olives already, the presence of Trib believer bodies in their graves (which then get raised) proves the Pre-Wrath Rapture DID NOT HAPPEN either.
The Pre-Wrath Rapture is also disproved.
The Mid-Trib Rapture is also disproved by cause-and-effect. In Bible prophecy, we know that the Antichrist commits the horrendous AOD (Abomination of Desolation) in the exact middle of the seven years.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Dan. 9:27).
He demands that all worship him as God.
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4).
“And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Rev 13:4).
If anyone does not worship him, with the assistance of his partner in evil, the False Prophet, the Antichrist gets a murder spree going to kill anyone who will not bow the knee to him.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Rev.13:15).
This killing spree, which lasts 1260 days, starts with the AOD, and the Devil is behind it. He starts by attacking those of Israel who have believed in Jesus as Messiah, and then goes after Gentiles who have also believed in Jesus.
“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days…And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 12:6;17).
The Old Testament also refers to the Devil making war on people at that time:
“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (Dan 7:21).
Now, all of this is to make very clear the following points:
At the middle of the seven years (which is where Mid-Trib Rapture proponents say the Rapture occurs), there will be:
1) The AOD
2) The Antichrist immediately making war on those who do not worship him for 1260 days (the last half of the 7 years)
Now, when the Rapture occurs, the dead in Christ are raised from their graves, and then immediately all
living believers are seized by Christ to be caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
Here is what disproves the Mid-Trib Rapture. If the Rapture occurs at the Mid-Point of the Tribulation, all believers, living and dead, are taken literally off the face of planet Earth. Against whom, then, does the Antichrist make war when there are literally no believers left anywhere on Earth for him to pursue, persecute and kill?
The fact that the Scriptures plainly, clearly, and repeatedly tell us that there are believers on Earth against whom the Antichrist makes war, proves the Rapture did NOT happen Mid-Trib! It could NOT happen and still leave believers on Earth for the AC to murder and kill.
Conclusion: The Mid-Trib Rapture is incorrect, and is thoroughly disproved.
Now, from a Pre-Trib Rapture viewpoint, we have seen why the other Rapture views are wrong. If any of those views were correct, the effects they would have caused would be obvious. The fact that Scripture demonstrates that those effects did NOT happen, shows none of those Rapture views are correct.
As stated earlier, there are only so many choices, BEFORE, DURING and AFTER. Two of the Rapture
viewpoints fall under DURING, and another under AFTER. They have each been disproved by cause-and-effect. The only possible choice remaining is BEFORE the 70th Week (aka the Tribulation). Each of the effects that disprove the other views actually support the Pre-Trib view.
With a Pre-Trib Rapture taking all believers physically off the planet BEFORE the seven years, many of those “left behind” come to saving faith after the Rapture. It is these believers against whom Satan and the Antichrist wage war and kill in their murder spree following the AOD. It is these believers whose bodies are in the grave at the Second Coming, and who are subsequently raised from the dead at Rev. 20:4.
The Pre-Trib Rapture harmonizes with the Scriptures, and is the correct Rapture view.