Do the Scriptures teach a pre-tribulation or a post-tribulation rapture?

About the end of time, Christ said, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me” (Matthew 24:9). But He added “but the one who stands firm to the END will be saved“ (v. 13 emphasis added). The Bible tells us that there’s going to be a time of great tribulation “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:21, 22).

There are many examples in the Bible pointing that the believers do actually go through tribulations:

Did the Lord save Noah from the flood or through the flood?

Did God save the children of Israel from the Egyptian plagues or were they in the world during the plagues?

Did the Lord save Joseph from his trials or did He deliver him through his trials?

Were Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego saved from the furnace or through it?

Was Daniel saved from the lion’s den, or through it?

In all these times, God delivered His children through the tribulation.

Also, the prophet Daniel predicted that before the end there will be a great tribulation “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book”  (Daniel 12:1).

And John in the book of Revelation describes the 144,000 as “they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).

Revelation 18: 4 says, “‘I heard another voice from Heaven saying, ‘Come out of her….’  God is speaking to His people saying come out of Babylon my people, ‘lest you share in her sins and receive of her plagues, for her sins have reached to Heaven.’ ” The seven last plagues that fall in chapters 15 and 16 are falling on Babylon and her daughters. If God’s people are in Babylon, they will be destroyed by the plagues.  So, God commands them to come out of Babylon to be saved, but it should be noted that they’re still in the world.

Revelation 13 tells us that the beast will, “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15).  At this time, the great tribulation will begin and the seven last plagues will start to fall on the world.

But the Lord will deliver His saints, the same way He delivered Israel in the Old Testament while they were in Egypt. It was at the end of the plagues that God’s people went out of Egypt (Exodus ch. 7-12) and it will be at the end of the plagues in Revelation that Jesus will come again to take His children home (Revelation 16).

The Psalmist makes it clear that although the saints will be in the midst of the world during the plagues, they will remain untouched. “No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling” (Psalm 91:10). They need not be afraid for “There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:8). And Jesus promised, “… in the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The great pioneer theologians like Surgeon, Wesley, Whitfield, and Luther all taught post-tribulation rapture. The idea of a pre-tribulation rapture is a new doctrine, though comforting but is not Bible based.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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