Q&A on the rapture, end times, and tribulation timelines

The end times contain a timeline.

I know that many people in the church are divided over whether there will be a pre-tribulation rapture or a post-tribulation rapture. Certain churchgoers don’t even believe that there will be a rapture.

However, a step by step explanation of the end times events based on the Scripture can assist in understanding the direction in which we are heading.

This post is not meant to scare anyone. This post is designed to better prepare the church.

Is there such a thing as the Rapture?

Certain people believe that the rapture is a concept that is misused or imagined. The rapture refers to the Biblical belief stating that ‘one day, we (the Church of Christ) will be taken up in the air to be with the Lord. The event is mentioned in Matthew 24:29-31 where Jesus said:

Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not give its light;

the stars will fall from the sky,

and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

You have to believe the Scripture, not your own knowledge nor the hearsay of unbelievers. Since Jesus clearly said that He will come back and gather His elect, we have clear knowledge that the Church will be raptured.
Please go and read Matthew 24 for yourself in order to ensure your belief in what Jesus said.

Will the rapture occur before or after the tribulation ?

Now, this is a question that has created serious chaotic debates among scholars and many other Christians.

Before I respond to the question, let me say this: “simply because someone believes in the 'pre-trib' or a 'post-trib' or 'mid-trib' rapture, it does not mean that they are not Christians. The timing of the rapture may cause doctrinal differences but it does not equate to being evil. Therefore, whenever we find ourselves in such debates, I implore that we approach the issue with love and understanding.

In response to the question, I based my view on what the Scripture says and not on what a past famous author may have said. When approaching such a question, I strongly advise that you solely base your view on the Scripture, otherwise you will be confused.

In Matthew 29:1-28, Jesus clearly makes reference to a series of trials and crises that will affect the world. And then in Matthew 24:29, He said: “Immediately after the distress of those days…

In other words, Jesus clearly said that “after the distress of those days, He will come and take His church.

This leads to conclude that the Church will be on Earth during the tribulations.

Will the church see the Antichrist rise?

The response to that question is “Yes”. Here are the reasons supporting the answer:

Jesus mentions the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15 as a reference to the Antichrist. In the timeline of chapter 24, the Church is not yet raptured by the time of the Antichrist. Since the Antichrist is mentioned before verse 29, we can conclude that the Antichrist will rise before the rapture.

Paul mentions in 2 Thessalonians 2: 1- 4 the following:

“ Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”

Not one Apostle has contradicted the end times timeline provided by Jesus in Matthew 24. Paul is very clear in the above passage by saying that the rapture day will not come until the rebellion occurs and until the rise of the Antichrist (the man of lawlessness).

The danger of a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine

A pre-tribulation rapture doctrine implies that the Church will not be present during tribulations and that the Church will not witness the rise of the Antichrist. Though such doctrine is a very likable outcome, it presents two large dangers:

The first danger consists in the creation of a future deep disappointment among many Christians who believe in the pre-tribulation doctrine. When the end times trials will rage at climax levels, many ‘pre-tribulation’ believers will be disappointed and they will think that God is a liar. As a result, many of them will depart from the faith.

In Matthew 24:10, Jesus predicted that many believers will depart from the faith as a result of the trials occurring on the Earth. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul mentions that the ‘great rebellion’ will occur before the rise of the Antichrist. The ‘great rebellion’ is a reference to an apostasy or a ‘great falling away’ that will occur in the Church. In other words, many Christians will renounce the faith in the midst of trials that will occur on this earth.

The second danger consists in the fact that a person ,who is strongly anchored within the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine, will not be prepared mentally, physically and materially for the end times trial. Thus, an unprepared believer is most likely going to fall away when the great events of trial will arrive.

So what should we do?

Many people make the mistake of opting to do nothing when considering that the Lord is coming soon. Simply because the Lord is coming soon, it does not mean that we have to stop our lives.

In the parables of the Minas (Luke 19:11-13), Jesus expected His servants to do business till He came back. In other words, we should remain busy in our God-given life calling until He comes back.

Unlike the lazy servant from the parables of the talents (ref. Matthew 25:14-30), we should be busy in our God given calling even on the day in which Jesus returns.