The Bible indicates that having proper doctrine is extremely important. It also shows that false doctrine can destroy and eat away at the body of Christ.
And their teaching [will devour; it] will eat its way like cancer or spread like gangrene. So it is with Hymenaeus and Philetus, Who have missed the mark and swerved from the truth by arguing that the resurrection has already taken place. They are undermining the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:17-18 AMP)
Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching false doctrine in regards to the resurrection of the dead (which happens at the same time as the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Paul states that false doctrine like this has a gangrene effect on the body of Christ. Gangrene is defined as: "localized death and decomposition of body tissue, resulted from either obstructed circulation or bacterial infection."
The point of his writing is to review what the scripture says in regards the the catching away (rapture). There is much confusion in the church on when the rapture will occur. This is a strategy by the enemy to keep Christians spiritually, mentally, and physically unprepared for the end times. The Jewish people misinterpreted the scripture regarding Jesus' first coming, and many paid a severe price. Those who misinterpret the timing of His second coming may pay a great price as well.
I want to note that I was not taught the view point that I have in the church. I had no indoctrination of any viewpoint before I read the scriptures. This understanding came through the Holy Spirit revealing the scriptures to me.
There has been a large debate in the church between whether the rapture will happen before the tribulation (pre-trib) or whether the rapture will happen after the tribulation (post-trib). This writing will contain a lot of scriptures in order to lay a proper foundation of when the rapture will occur.
The Last Day of the Age
And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40 NKJV)
In this passage Jesus is referring to the resurrection of the dead, which as stated above; happens at the same time as the catching away (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Jesus also states that this event will happen on "the last day." Jesus is referring to the last day of the age. Then the new age will begin and Jesus will rule and reign on the earth for one thousand years.
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:23-24 NKJV)
Martha was well aware of Jesus' teaching, and that the resurrection and catching away would happen on the last day. Martha did not say it would happen seven years from the last day. She did not say it would happen three and a half years from the last day. She stated it would happen on the last day.
As in the Days of Noah
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.” And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” (Luke 17:26-30, 34-37 NKJV)
The key to understanding this scripture is the question that is asked in verse 37. Where Lord? Or where are the people being taken? Jesus' response is key. Where the body is, the eagles or vultures will be gathered together. What do Eagles and vultures do? They gather around a corpse and eat its flesh. Job 39:27-30 makes it clear that eagles feed off of the slain. Jesus is speaking about the wicked that will be taken away; not caught up or raptured. The word used in this passage is not the word for being raptured. The word used is Paralambano, which simply means to take or taken. The word used for rapture is harpazo, and it means to catch away or to catch up. The people taken in Luke 17 are not being raptured. They are being taken to the place of the dead where eagles will eat their flesh. Just as it was in the days of Noah and the days of Lot. The wicked were taken away and destroyed. The righteous were kept safe by the hand of God protecting them on the earth. The Lord kept Noah and Lot from the hour of trial that had come upon the earth (Revelation 3:10). They were counted worry to escape and flee the things that were coming to pass (Luke 21:36).
Jude 14-15 is a direct quote from the Book of Enoch (chapter 1 verse 9). Because Jude quotes from Enoch chapter 1, we will take a look at another verse from Enoch chapter 1. Enoch 1:1-2 states, "The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed." The historical book of Enoch that Jude quoted from, makes it clear that the righteous will be living in the time of tribulation. It does not state that the righteous will be removed from the tribulation.
The Antichrist and the Great Tribulation
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:15, 21 NKJV)
The beginning of the great tribulation (or the final three and a half years of the age) is marked by the event called the abomination of desolation. Many believe that Paul is referring to this event when he describes the antichrist: "who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (II Thessalonians 2:4 NKJV).
When the antichrist or beast is revealed, he will be given global authority for the final three and a half years of the age (42 months). His authority will be crushed by Christ's second coming at the end of the age (Revelation 19:19-21 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:5-8 NKJV)
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:21-22 NKJV)
As we see in this scripture, the elect of God will be living in the days of the great tribulation. It does not matter to the elect in Heaven if the days are shortened for they are in the glory of God in Heaven. It does however matter greatly to the elect on the earth that the days are shortened. The word "elect" in the Greek means favorite, chosen, and elect. Now let us define who the elect are:
where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; (Colossians 3:11-12 NKJV)
This scripture is very clear that the elect of God are those who have Christ in them. It doesn't matter if one if Jew or Greek, but only if one has Christ. Believers are the elect.
So the great tribulation begins in Matthew 24:21. We will now look at the end of the tribulation:
"But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31 NASB)
This is one of the clearest scriptures on when the rapture will take place. Immediately after the tribulation. Not before the tribulation begins. Not three and a half years before the tribulation ends. Immediately after. The angels will gather God's elect (believers) from the four winds (all over the earth), who are in the sky. The elect are in the sky because they have been "caught up" or raptured.
Paul makes it clear that the saints will meet the Lord in the air at the time of the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Job also indicates that the resurrection from the dead will not happen until the heavens are no more. Matthew 24 clearly shows that the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky after the tribulation. This is the time that the heavens are no more.
So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep. “Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. (Job 14:12-14 NKJV)
Paul also mentions the same "change" the Job does. Again this "change" occurs when the heavens are no more, after the tribulation.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51-52 NKJV)
The Day of the Lord
We shall now exam what happens on "The Day of the Lord" according to the scripture: Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. (Isaiah 13:9-10 NKJV)
According to this scripture in Isaiah, the day of the Lord entails the stars not giving their light, the sun being darkened, and the moon not shinning. This fits the exact description of Matthew 24:29. So the scripture makes it clear that the Day of the Lord occurs after the tribulation.
Now we will examine 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 and 5:1-2. We will look at this scripture without a chapter break so we can capture the flow of what the Holy Spirit is saying through Paul: For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
This scripture must be read in context to get the full understanding of what Paul is saying. The catching up and the resurrection from the dead happen on the day of the Lord. Paul actually calls this event the day of the Lord. The sun is darkened, the moon does not give its light, and the stars fall from the heavens; also on the day of the Lord (according to the scriptures above). Jesus and Paul say that the elect/saints will be in the sky/air on the day of the Lord. And as Matthew 24:29 states, this occurs after the tribulation.
Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
This parable gives us another great insight on the timing of the rapture: Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ” (Matthew 13:24-30 NKJV)
Jesus said that the tares (wicked sinners) could not be plucked up because it would uproot the wheat (righteous believers). The reverse is also true. If you pluck up (rapture) the wheat, then it would uproot the tares. Jesus then goes on to tell us when the uprooting of both the wheat and the tares will be: Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. (Matthew 13:36-40 NKJV)
Jesus said that the tares and wheat must grow together until the time of the harvest. Then He goes on to say that "the harvest is the end of the age." Jesus doesn't say the harvest is seven years from the end of the age. Jesus doesn't say the harvest is three and a half years from the end of the age. The harvest is the end of the age. The wheat is gathered into the barn (rapture and resurrection), and the tares are burned with fire (hades) on the last day of the age at Christ's return.
There are a number of scriptures in the book of Revelation that prove Christians are on the earth during the tribulation. I will only list a few.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9, 13-14 NKJV)
These scriptures indicate that Christians from all over the world will go through and come out of the great tribulation.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:4-5 NKJV)
Again, this scripture clearly indicates that Christians will be martyred during the tribulation. The antichrist or beast is given global authority for three and a half years. This is what is referred to as the great tribulation. The final three and half years of this age in which the antichrist is permitted to overcome the saints (Revelation 13:7 and Daniel 7:25). Please note that the mark of the beast is only in place for the final three and a half years when the antichrist has control. This scripture shows that Christians will be on the earth during the time of the mark of the beast.
Ultimately it does not matter what I think will happen in regards to the rapture of the church. What matters is what the scriptures actually say. The scriptures listed in this writing should lead the reader to the truth. Study and search the scriptures to see if these things are so.