Different Views of the Rapture—Post-Tribulation

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Updated Aug 05, 2022
Different Views of the Rapture—Post-Tribulation

The post-tribulation Rapture theory teaches that at the time of Jesus' Second Coming, the end of the tribulation will be the time that all believers will be resurrected.

The post-tribulation rapture theory is the theory that the Rapture of the church happens at the end of the seven-year tribulation. This is radically different from the other major positions. Those who hold to the pre-tribulation Rapture believe that the Rapture happens before the seven-year tribulation. In contrast, the amillennial position of the Rapture mainly teaches that there is no Rapture (though some amillennialists do believe in the Rapture but debate when it occurs). Nonetheless, those who hold to the post-tribulation Rapture believe the Rapture occurs at the end of the seven-year tribulation.

Post-Tribulation Rapture 

Post-tribulation Rapture adherents often view the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ as the same event. Though this is not true for all post-tribulation adherents, most blend the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. The post-tribulation view of the Rapture teaches that believers are not divinely taken up before the seven-year tribulation. Rather than the church being divinely taken up prior to the tribulation, post-tribulation Rapture theorists believe God leaves believers to undergo the tribulation. However, they also believe He will divinely protect them through the plagues, pain, and wrath to come. (It is worth mentioning here that the tribulation is not man's wrath, nor is it Satan's wrath.) 

Rather, the tribulation is the wrath of God. Everything that occurs during the tribulation is by God's own hand. The tribulation is God's final effort to cause the lost to come to know Him. The post-tribulation Rapture theory believes that God leaves His children to stay on earth during the tribulation to be a light for Him in the dark days. They also believe God keeps believers here for them to grow and continue to endure for His Name. While this is a noble belief, the Bible never tells us that believers will have to undergo the tribulation.

Nevertheless, post-tribulation Rapture adherents believe Christ followers will undergo the Rapture and also be divinely protected by God through the course of the plagues, bowl judgments, and the darkness that will spread into the hearts of mankind. Those who hold to the post-tribulation Rapture theory view that when Jesus returns at the time of the Battle of Armageddon, He will then take believers to Heaven. Therefore, as previously mentioned, the Rapture and the Second Coming have blended together as one single event.

The post-tribulation Rapture theory teaches that at the time of Jesus' Second Coming, the end of the tribulation will be the time that all believers will be resurrected. Adherents to this position believe it is a great honor to be martyred for their faith in Christ. While it is an honor to be martyred for the cause of Jesus, nowhere are we told in the Bible that God wants us to seek out martyrdom. From the viewpoint of post-tribulation Rapture adherents, many, if not all, believers would be martyred during the tribulation. The tribulation will be a very dark time, physically and spiritually. It is without a doubt that the antichrist, the false prophet, and the beast will cause chaos and havoc, not to mention God’s wrath being poured out in the breaking of the seals, the trumpet judgments, and the bowl judgments.

A common Bible verse post-tribulationists use to support their view is 2 Thessalonians 2. In the passage of 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul discusses the antichrist and the Day of the Lord. In this passage of Scripture, the Thessalonians thought they were presently undergoing the Day of the Lord, which is another title for the tribulation. Many post-tribulation Rapture adherents argue for the point that if the Thessalonians had believed in a pre-tribulation Rapture, they wouldn’t have thought they were presently going through the Day of the Lord, thus confirming their view that the Rapture comes at the end of the seven-year tribulation.

Post-tribulationists also argue from this passage of 2 Thessalonians 2 that Paul only informs them that they are not presently going through the Day of the Lord, but he does not tell them that they will be spared from the great and terrible Day of the Lord. Additional passages that post-tribulationists use to support their view consist of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Revelation 6-18. For the former, post-tribulationists argue that Paul only refers to believers meeting the Lord in the air, but Paul says nothing about the Lord taking the believers out of the tribulation for the seven-year period.

For the latter, post-tribulationists argue that Revelation 6-18 includes the church within the people mentioned in this passage. In other words, pre-tribulationists use the majority of the Book of Revelation to argue that the church is present throughout the tribulation. The post-tribulation Rapture theory only argues that the church will be protected by God through the tribulation, but that the church will not be spared from this dark time. Thus, from the position of a post-tribulationist, the church won't be raptured from the earth prior to the tribulation, but rather after the seven years. 

Overall, most post-tribulationists believe the church has replaced Israel, which would affect why they view the church as having to go through the seven-year tribulation. The seven-year tribulation is mainly focused on bringing back Israel to God, though Gentiles will be saved too. However, God’s main focus is to bring His chosen nation of Israel back to Him. Since most post-tribulationists view the church as replacing Israel as God’s chosen people, it explains why they view that the church has to endure this dark period of eschatology. 

Post-tribulationists are different from pre-tribulationists mainly because the former views the Rapture as happening after the tribulation, whereas the latter views the Rapture as occurring before the seven-year tribulation. Another major difference is the fact that post-tribulationists interpret the church as having replaced Israel. At the same time, pre-tribulationists hold the view that the church has not replaced God's original Israel. These are hallmark differences between these two interpretations of Scripture, which impact their view, not only of the Rapture, but also of other aspects of eschatology. 

Differing Views

Whether you hold to the post-tribulation Rapture theory or another view, make sure you strive for peace with fellow believers. Rather than trying to say who is “wrong” or “right,” take the incentive to be respectful of one another's opinions. In my own experience in university and grad school, eschatology was the field of theology that caused the most friction between believers. As Christians, we do not need to let our different views of eschatology separate us as the body of Christ. A person's position on any eschatological matter does not affect their salvation. Rather, only placing faith in Jesus determines whether or not a person is saved (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

In your own study of eschatology, read the Bible, study the Bible, and consult multiple biblical sources and authors to view their unique positions concerning the Rapture of the church, as well as other concepts covered within the field of eschatology. It is very interesting to read other Christian's views and perspectives on eschatological matters because they can help you form your own opinion too. 

Above all else, remember to treat others kindly and not to look down on others because they hold a different view on the Rapture than you. At the end of the day, we are all believers in Jesus. We should not be at odds with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Discover more on the pre-tribulation and amillennial perspectives. 

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Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.