Three views about when the removal of believers takes place are held by most Christians throughout the world. Those who think we are taken at the beginning of the great tribulation are pre-tribulationists. Those who think the snatching away takes place in the middle of the great tribulation are the mid-trib folks. Finally there are the post tribulationists, which is self explanatory.
Anyone holding one of the three views mentioned has an ample supply of proof texts to support their views. Very few proof texts are available for the post tribulation theory and it is barely supportable. Most people are on the side of the pre-tribulation rapture; unfortunately it is often for the wrong reasons. Many people view a pre-tribulation rapture as an enormous escape hatch. When the going gets rough the pretribulationists just get going, or just get gone. The fact that their views may be correct doesn’t diminish the fact that it is the view most likely to leave the believer unprepared.
It is human nature to take the path of least resistance but it is high folly to think it will be available right at the point when things start really getting rough. The bottom line for the unprepared is that they can only hope their views are right. But hope is a long way from preparedness.
Many Christians have failed to do the math, not to mention engaging good sense. It is easy to see why this could happen considering that no one really wants to see their world torn up from the roots, and in the vast sticky quagmire of apocalyptic interpretations and speculations it is easy to get confused. As a result they have not noticed that one of the simplest ways to know when the rapture will take place is clearly provided in scripture. It is not so much when, but it is the latest point at which it could happen, and also a promise that it can’t happen before a specific event.
The prophet Daniel spoke of it hundreds of years before Christ. Jesus reiterated it with a few more details. Finally the book of Revelation shows it as a pivotal event in the judgment to come. Simply put the event is the abomination of desolation. When ye therefore shall see the abomination desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand.) Mt 24:15 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. Daniel 11:31 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall he a thousand two hundred amid ninety days. Daniel 12:11
The time is halfway through the last seven years in which the antichrist rules the world. The result is the pouring out of the wrath of God. Rev 16:2. Without getting bogged down in eschatological theory, semantic word games or other second coming hype here is the picture in all of its blaring simplicity. Since the wrath of God is not poured out until the antichrist does the abomination of desolation that means this is the last point we could possibly be on the earth according to the promise of I Thessalonians 1:10. Because this is true, that puts the mid-tribulationists at the top of the list of those who are most likely to have it right. This kind of interpretation comes under the heading of… if the scripture makes plain sense, seek no other sense.
I always appendage my teaching on the rapture with this equally important fact, the rapture could come at any time God chooses to make it happen. All theology is subject to the ultimate sovereignty of God. The pre-tribulation theory is the most petted, preferred and defended for a reason. The reason is that believers fail to differentiate between who and what is causing the tribulation in those last days. The antichrist makes trouble for the believer, and then God makes trouble for the antichrist. We are promised that God will not pour his wrath out on his own but we are never promised that we can escape the troubles incurred at the onset of the rule of the antichrist. Rather, we are told to resist his rule which of itself implies trouble Mk 8:35.
In a country where we are waiting for more of Gods unbridled blessings it is hard to teach believers that they may not only have to give something up to fight evil, but ultimately that something, may be their lives, literally. If your rapture theology includes the possibility that you may have to give up your life, you may he happy to find out that even if you held the wrong view you couldn’t possibly lose anything. More importantly if you are not wrong at the very least you will be prepared.
Being ready is part of Gods plan for us when it has to do with his return. In fact it is a command and an expectation that our Savior has clearly made known to all of us. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Mt 24:44