While teaching the class on Revelation in Russia, I shared with the two groups that there are four basic positions on the timing of the rapture.
- Pretribulation rapture – The church is removed from the earth before the Tribulation begins.
- Partial rapture – Only spiritual Christians are removed before the Tribulation. Carnal Christians go through the first half of the Tribulation.
- Mid-trib, or Pre-Wrath Rapture – The church goes through the first half of the Tribulation and is removed just before the judgments begin.
- Posttribulation rapture – The church goes through the Tribulation and is removed just prior to Christ’s return, making a quick U-turn to return with him.
I explained that I hold to the Pretribulation Rapture for the following reasons. They build upon one another and the strongest one is the last one.
- The church is mentioned in Revelation 1-3, and 19-22. It is not mentioned in 6-18 when God judges the world.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:10 – Believers are exempt from God’s coming wrath, the time known as the Great Tribulation.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:9 – Paul excludes believers from the Day of the Lord and the outpouring of God’s wrath.
- Revelation 3:10 – In the letter to the church in Philadelphia, God says that they will be kept from the hour of trial.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:18 – The doctrine of the pretribulation rapture should be a comfort and encouragement to believers.
- The doctrine of imminency –1 Thessalonians 1:10 supports the imminent return of Christ, that he could return at any moment.