In the Christian community there are different theories on when the Lord will return. And it so often has to do with at what point of the Tribulation will Jesus come for His own? Here are some of the more popular theories:
PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE: The Rapture happens just before the seven-year Tribulation, so that believers will not have to experience the wrath of God being poured out on the ungodly.
MID-TRIBULATION RAPTURE: The Rapture happens half-way through the Tribulation. Up to that time, the Antichrist brings peace to the world. At the midpoint events take a sudden turn for the worse.
POST-TRIBULATION RAPTURE: The faithful experience the full spectrum of the entire Tribulation judgments and are taken up only at the end of the seven years.
PRE-WRATH RAPTURE: This is a newer theory, promoted by Marvin Rosenthal. Pre-wrath Tribulationists believe the Rapture will occur during the Tribulation, halfway through or after, but certainly before the seven bowls of the wrath of God.
PARTIAL RAPTURE: This theory teaches that only those who are faithful in their relationship with Christ will be raptured. The rest will have to prove their faith during the Tribulation.
Wow, so which one should you believe? I believe the weight of the evidence is for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Here’s some things to consider: Jesus will come in the sky for His own (1 Thes 4:16-17) and then the Tribulation will follow (2 Thes 2:1-12). The Church is not mentioned during the Tribulation (Rev 6-18). The Bible declares that the Church will not suffer God’s wrath (Rom 5:9; 1 Thes 5:9). Jesus’ coming is imminent and unpredictable (1 Thes 5:2).
But you know, I’d like to put out another supporting reason for the Rapture. I believe it fits the grace of God. By this I mean we believe we are saved by grace (Eph 2:8-9). We also believe we continue by grace (Acts 13:43). So why not believe that we will be taken up by grace? It just fits that the Lord will rescue His Bride. He loves her. He gave His life for her. He provides for her and nurtures her (Eph 5:25-27). It just doesn’t reason that He would let her go through the Tribulation and not rescue His damsel in distress.
Some Christians make the Christian life so hard. They know they are saved by grace, but they are trying so hard to please God by the law (Gal 3:1-14). I believe that these also feel they have to suffer to prove their worthiness during the end times. But God’s amazing grace says: “'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.”