Today I received a question in the mail. The question was one that I have been ask many times... "When will the rapture take place, pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, or mid-tribulation?" This is a very good question, but sadly, does not have an "absolute" answer.
If you are not familiar with the terms used in this question, let me try to explain them simply and quickly. The "rapture" is the coming event when all those who are born again Christians will be "caught up" to be with the Lord in the air,
( 1Th_4:17 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 ).
The Tribulation is the period in time talked about in Revelation, where there will be many terrible things that take place,
( Deu_4:30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice ).
Pre-trib, mid-trib, and post-trib all refer to the time which tribulation takes place...either before the seven year tribulation period takes place (pre-trib), somewhere in the middle of the trtibulation (mid-trib), or at the end of the tribulation period (post-trib). Where a person stands on this issue has, in the past, been directly in relation to what denomination they were part of. However, in recent times, it seems that it really all depends upon the person.
In all honestly, there are Biblical Scriptures that support both pre-tribulation rapture, and mid-tribulation rapture, but really not much to support the post-tribulation belief. Personally, I could argue both of these stances from Scripture, and be convincing either way. However, I tend to lean towards a Mid-Tribulation rapture. One of the main reasons for this is that God tells us we will go through tribulation (Act 14:22), but that He will save us "from" His wrath to come (1 Thess 1:10). He does not say He will save us "through" His wrath, but "from" it. This is important because the whole last seven years is called a time of "tribulation", but it is the last half that it is called "the wrath of God" (Rev 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?)
There are several other reasons I lean towards the Mid-Tribulation belief, but others could argue Pre-Tribulation point by point. The truth is, God did not make this a very clear doctrine in Scripture. It's almost like God is trying to tell us, "my children, it is going to happen, but you are not to know when". In fact, Jesus, while in the flesh, said that He didn't even know when it was going to happen, (Matthew 24:36). The Biblical emphasis is not "when" it is going to happen but that it "is" going to appen.
In the end, what I would like to leave you regarding this question is not an absolute knowledge of "when" the Rapture will take place, but an understanding that the important part is that you are "ready" for when it does happen. There is going to be a time when God comes back and calls us up to be with Him forever. This event is called the "rapture". We do not know when it will take place but we do know it will happen. The key is to be ready. Place your trust in God's salvation through Jesus Christ and commit your heart to Him. If you would like more information about Salvation, please email me.
May God bless you