Different Views of the Rapture—Pre-Tribulation

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Published: Aug 01, 2022
Different Views of the Rapture—Pre-Tribulation

No one should dismiss any of the views as being “unbiblical” or “heresy.” Sadly, many believers allow different topics, especially eschatology, to dilute and distort their first priority of loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:37-40).

There are different views of the Rapture within eschatological circles. The different views of the Rapture consist of the pre-tribulation Rapture, post-tribulation Rapture, and amillennial Rapture. Theologians take different views on eschatology; however, I believe in a pre-tribulation Rapture from what I studied in seminary and my personal Bible knowledge and research. I will detail each view of the Rapture throughout a few articles, beginning with pre-tribulation. 

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

The pre-tribulation Rapture view is most commonly held by dispensationalists, although covenant theologians can also hold to this view. The pre-tribulation Rapture is also known as the “pre-wrath” Rapture. The pre-tribulation view believes the Rapture happens before the beginning of the seven-year tribulation. Before one can understand the pre-tribulation Rapture or any view of the Rapture, they must first know what the Rapture is and what it means. 

The Rapture of the church is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. In these passages of Scripture, we are told that the Rapture is a divine event that occurs by God’s command and that believers are taken up to be with the Lord in the air. We are also told that the Rapture happens quicker than a twinkling of the eye (1 Corinthians 15:52). Many individuals are doubtful of this event because it is supernatural. Yet, it is a real event recorded in the Bible that will physically take place in the future.

The pre-tribulation view holds to the theory that God divinely takes the church to be with Him before the start of the seven-year tribulation. A common passage of Scripture used to support this argument is 1 Thessalonians 5:9, which says, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Those who hold to the pre-tribulation Rapture position believe 1 Thessalonians 5:9 is proof that God will divinely take His people to heaven before the genesis of the tribulation to spare them from His wrath that will be poured out onto the earth.

During the church's Rapture, Jesus will not physically step foot on earth. It is not until Jesus’ Second Coming that He physically touches down on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). Many individuals mix the Rapture with the Second Coming, but these are two distinct events. The Rapture of the church occurs before the seven-year tribulation, and the Second Coming of Christ comes at the end of the tribulation during the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-20). These two events should not be mixed because they can distort one’s eschatological timeline of events. 

Furthermore, the pre-tribulation Rapture holds to the position that only unbelievers will undergo the tribulation because all believers will have been taken up to be with the Lord at the time of the Rapture. In other words, God has not destined His children to undergo the pain and agony of the tribulation. This is a radically different view than other positions on the Rapture because those who hold to the post-tribulation believe the church is not raptured until the end of the seven-year tribulation. The amillennialism position on the Rapture view is more tricky than the others because some amillennialists do not have a straightforward answer to their position on the Rapture.

Some amillennialists see the Rapture as the same event as the Second Coming of Christ; however, some amillennialists do not believe there will be a Rapture. As one can see, there are many different views surrounding the Rapture of the church. The pre-tribulation view of the Rapture was popular in days past, but with changing times, not many hold to the pre-tribulation Rapture any longer. I still adhere to the pre-tribulation Rapture because it is what I believe to be true based on my schooling and my own personal Bible study. 

It is important to remember that just because we have different views of the Rapture, we shouldn't spark friction between believers. Rather than having friction, we need to accept one another and be knowledgeable about each of the different views surrounding the Rapture. Each position of the Rapture has been gathered based on biblical research and study. No one should dismiss any of the views as being “unbiblical” or “heresy.” Sadly, many believers allow different topics, especially eschatology, to dilute and distort their first priority of loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:37-40).

No matter which view you choose to adhere to, make sure you don’t look down on others for their own personal position on the Rapture. Just as you wouldn’t want someone to judge you for your position, neither should you judge someone else. For my personal view of the Rapture, I have endured much ridicule from other classmates and peers. Even though I never looked down on someone else for their view, it seems the pre-tribulation position on the Rapture is the most looked down on within the field of eschatology. 

What Happens After the Rapture?

According to the pre-tribulation view of the Rapture, believers are taken up in the Rapture while the rest of the world is left to undergo the seven-year tribulation. Since believers are taken up into the Rapture, one can wonder what happens to believers after the Rapture if we are not staying to undergo the tribulation. What happens to believers after they are taken up to be with Christ is undergoing the Bema seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). During the Bema seat of Christ, each believer will receive their rewards. Rewards will also be taken away depending on how one served Christ during their earthly life.

It is important to note that at the Bema seat of Christ, a believer’s salvation is never up for question as salvation can never be taken away. We did nothing to earn salvation, and we can’t do anything to lose our salvation. If a person has placed faith in Jesus by believing that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, then you are eternally saved forevermore (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The Bema seat of Christ is not a test of salvation but rather a test of what an individual did for Christ.

According to the pre-tribulation view of the Rapture, the Rapture is the genesis of the impending events of eschatology. From a pre-tribulation Rapture eschatological timeline, first comes the Rapture, then believers undergo the Bema seat of Christ while unbelievers undergo the seven-year tribulation. Afterward, the thousand-year reign of Christ is ushered in after the Battle of Armageddon. After the thousand-year reign of Christ, God has the Great White Throne Judgment, in which unbelievers are judged and thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10-14). Lastly, after the Great White Throne Judgment, God creates the New Heaven and New Earth where there is no more crying, pain, or death (Revelation 21). 

The timeline of eschatology is long, yet in the end, we will dwell in the presence of God forever. There will only be happiness, joy, and peace. From a pre-tribulation Rapture position of the Bible, this is what the Rapture entails and what happens throughout the future events of eschatology. The Rapture and other events of eschatology can be frightening to many individuals, but one doesn’t need to be scared because God is in control. The tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon, the Great White Throne Judgment, and everything else recorded within the study of eschatology is ultimately up to God, and He will protect us and keep us safe. 

Discover more on the post-tribulation and amillennial perspectives.

Photo Credit: GettyImages/Boonyachoat

Vivian 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.