Overview of Revelation: What is the Rapture and What Does that Have to do with the Tribulation?

The rapture is the belief that either before or after Christ returns the Christians still alive on earth will be transformed, receive their resurrected bodies, and be taken in the clouds with Jesus.  This is based entirely on Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

Again, there is debate amongst eschatologists about the timing of the rapture.  They are divided into three camps:  Pretribulation, Midtribulation, and Posttribulation.

Pretribulationists believe the rapture will occur at the beginning of the 7 year tribulation period.  This means no believers will experience any tribulation period.  This belief holds all believers on earth will be members of the restored Jewish nation.

Midtribulationists believe the rapture will occur at the halfway point, 3 1/2 years before the return of Christ at the very beginning of the Great Tribulation period.

Posttribulationists believe the rapture will happen when Christ returns at the very end of the Great Tribulation or 7 year time frame before Christ returns.  The church will continue throughout the tribulation.

Paul also discusses the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 51-52.

Some scholars even profess a partial rapture where only the pious Christians will be taken with Christ while the rest must suffer first and then be taken.

The rapture and Christ’s Second Coming are different events although both involve the End Times. The rapture is where Christ gathers the believers in clouds.  The Second Coming is where Christ returns to earth to establish his kingdom, defeat the AntiChrist, and judge non-believers and end the tribulation.

Keep in mind all of these are theories.  We know the rapture will occur.  We don’t know when.  God does not tell us.  We know Christ will return.  God does not tell us when.  Furthermore, Scripture doesn’t expressly teach one view over the other.  Thus, what we have is man trying to determine God’s ways given what little we are told in the Word.  There is nothing wrong with this; in fact it is our job as Christians to try to divine what God is telling us.

We just have to remember our knowledge is limited and in the end only one thing matters:  we will be with God.  In the meantime, we live like He tells us to live.  God will take care of the rest.

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8 thoughts on “Overview of Revelation: What is the Rapture and What Does that Have to do with the Tribulation?

  1. Thank you so much for beginning the study this summer. A sneak preview if you will. I’m grateful for all you bring forth from His Word to teach and guide us. God bless you.
    I’d like to thank all the prayer partners for praying for my family and me over the past year as well. My husband got a good job after months of prayer and hope. He starts next week. Please pray God gives him discernment and opens the way in his new work place, to show Jesus Christ to others.

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  2. The book of Revelations has always been a mystery.. I’m just looking forward to studying what the word says. My goal in life is to live according to God’s will so that I may see Him. Thanks for your ministry in sharing the studies with all of us.

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  3. Thank you for all of your work and helping contribute to our study of God’s Word. You are always such an inspiration to me. God is good – ALL THE TIME!

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