There’s much disagreement over the timing of the rapture of the church. There are even many who do not believe in a rapture. The Bible clearly teaches two distinct movements of people in the end times. (Matt 24:36-43; Luke 17:34-37 & 1 Thess 4:15-18; John 14:1-3)
Unlike the Second Coming, at the rapture, the righteous will be removed from the earth to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thess 4:17) The unbelieving will be left on the earth and will live into the seven years of tribulation.
We have discussed in the past that the Bible indicates that this is an imminent event. In other words, it can happen at any time. By placing it sometime during the tribulation, the concept of immanency is removed. It can’t happen today. It will only happen at some set time in the future according to that particular view. Such is contrary to what the Bible teaches. (Phil 3:20, 4:5; Titus 2:13; James 5:7-9; Rev 3:11)
Another factor in determining the timing of the rapture is the truth that Jesus has delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess 1:10) According to this verse, the Thessalonians were awaiting Jesus who would deliver them from a specific wrath. The word, deliver, has the idea ‘to rescue from’. And in the same epistle Paul wrote, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (5:9)
The people experiencing the tribulation period recognize what is happening. They realize that it is wrath from God for they say, “…hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:16, 17) If we have not been appointed to wrath and have been delivered from the wrath to come, then how can the true believer be present during this period of time?