When will the “Rapture” Occur?

There are four basic beliefs about when the Rapture will happen. They all relate to the “Tribulation” of the end times, which, according to most believers, is thought to last for seven years. During the tribulation time, the Antichrist – also called “the man of sin” – will be revealed; and the Mark of the Beast will be established. Also, during the Tribulation – or at least, during part of it – God will pour out his wrath on the earth. Those four beliefs are:

  • The Pre-Tribulation belief which holds that the Rapture will take place before the tribulation, that the Church will be with the Lord for seven years, and will return with him when the tribulation is over.


  • The Mid-Tribulation belief which holds that the Rapture will take place in the middle of the seven years of tribulation, that the Church will be with the Lord for 3 1/2 years, and will then return with him.


  • The Post-Tribulation belief which is that the Rapture will take place at the end of the tribulation, that the Church will be lifted to the Lord and return with him. They believe the Rapture and the Return of the Lord are one event: that the Church will be caught up to meet the Lord as he descends from heaven. They believe there is only one coming of the Lord – at the end of the tribulation.
Some preachers and professing Christians say it’s not all that important when the Rapture happens. They say that our faith in Christ will see us through. However, it is important that we know the truth of what the Bible teaches; and it is also important that we don’t put our faith in a Pre-trib or Mid-trib Rapture to save us – rather than putting our faith in Christ who will truly see us through it all.
The reason we must understand that the Church will be on earth through the tribulation is so we can prepare for that time. Paul the apostle spoke of a “falling away” that will happen – and connects it with the “man of sin” – the Antichrist – being revealed (2The 2:3).
Those professing Christians who believe they will be Raptured off the earth before, or in the middle of the tribulation, will not be ready – spiritually or emotionally – to cope with those perilous times; and because they will not be prepared, they will be in extreme danger of falling away from their faith in God just as the apostle Paul foretold.

 Post-Tribulation Rapture text
  • The apostle Paul wrote about the Rapture in two places in scripture: 1The 4:16-17 where he described the event; and 1Cor 15:51-54 where he told us when it happens.
  • In 1The, he said, (1) “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,” (2) “with the voice of the archangel,” and (3) “with the trump of God.” Then, the Rapture of the Church will take place.
  • In 1Cor, he said that “the trump of God” that accompanies the Rapture will take place at the sound of the “last trump.” He said it will be the last trumpet sound to be made. Obviously, that is at the end!
  • Jesus spoke of the “end of the world” and the “signs of his coming” in Mat 24, Mar 13, and Luk 21. If you read through any one – or all – of those three chapters in the Bible, looking for the things that accompany the Rapture: a shout of the Lord, the voice of the archangel, or a trumpet sound, you won’t find anything like the Rapture until you come to the end: until immediately after the Tribulation.
  • In Mat 24:29-31, Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days… the Son of man… shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet… and gather together his elect.” This is the Rapture! This is the sound of the Last Trump – “immediately after the tribulation.”
  • In Mar 13:24-27, the wording is slightly different, but the meaning in exactly the same. And Luke chose not to speak of the Rapture at all in his Gospel.  In the Gospel of John, referring to the Rapture of the Church as “the resurrection,” or a “raising up” of his people, Jesus told us three times that it would be at the “last day.”
  • He said, “This is my father’s will… that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again at the last day” (Joh 6:39). In the very next verse, he repears his statement that he “will raise him up at the last day” (Joh 6:40). And, as if we still didn’t get his meaning, he says it one more time: “No man can come to me except the Father… draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (Joh 6:44).
  • One of the best evidences that the Church will be on earth through the Tribulation is that the Bible clearly states that – just as Irenaeus and Hippolytus taught – the Antichrist will persecute the Church after he comes to power. Since that’s true, it makes sense that the Church has to be on earth for him to persecute.
  • In the New Testament, the word “saints” is used over fifty (50) times; and in every instance, the word refers to the Church: the followers of Jesus Christ.  In the Old Testament, in his prophecy of the end times, the prophet Daniel made it clear that the Antichrist will persecute those same people: the Church on earth. Speaking symbolically of the Antichrist as a “horn:” a person of power, he said, “The same horn made war with the saints” (Dan 7:21). Later in the same chapter, he said the Antichrist “shall wear out the saints of the most High” (Dan 7:25).
  • The Book of Revelation in the New Testament confirms and verifies the words of Daniel. In the chapter that describes the Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast, speaking of the Antichrist, the Revelation says, “It was given to him (the Antichrist) to make war with the saints” (Rev 13:7).
  • Some preachers and Bible teachers say that the Church will not go through the Tribulation because – according to 1The 5:9 – the Church is “not appointed” to God’s wrath that will be poured out on the earth during part – or all – of the Tribulation. In that passage, Paul said, “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • However, the truth is that Paul is not talking about the Rapture of the Church or about the Tribulation in this passage. He is simply stating the Gospel message; that we are not subject to God’s punishment if we are saved by our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The Church will not be subject to – or appointed to – the wrath of God that will come on the earth during the Tribulation. God will protect – and provide for – his children on earth through that time just as he protected and provided for the Children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
  • In the second half of Chapter 12 of the Book of Rev when the “woman” comes to represent the New Covenant faithful few, the Overcomers, the church on earth we are told twice that God will care for her and for “the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 12:17). In the Revelation, we’re told that “the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God” (Rev 12:6). And, “To the woman were given two wings of an eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place” (Rev 12:14).

The Modern Pre-Tribulation View

The person who crystallized the modern Pre-Trib viewpoint was a man named John Darby (1800-1882). Darby was born in London and was trained in the law. He practiced law for only one year before he was overcome by a deep spiritual struggle that finally led to a decision to enter the ministry. He became an Anglican priest but quickly became disillusioned when the church decreed that all converts would have to swear allegiance to the King of England. Darby considered this to be a compromise with the lordship of Christ.

Darby decided to leave the Anglican Church. In the years following, he and other dissenters from the established state church inaugurated a movement that came to be known as the Plymouth Brethren.

In 1826 Darby broke one of his legs, and during the long convalescence that followed, he engaged in an intensive study of the Scriptures that convinced him of the clear distinction between the Church and Israel. He also became convicted of the imminent return of Jesus. Thus, by 1827 he had developed the fundamental principles that would come to characterize a new theological system that would be called Dispensationalism.

After John Darby refined the concept, it spread rapidly throughout Europe and America. The viewpoint has always been blessed by gifted communicators. In 1878 the very first best-selling prophecy book incorporated the idea. It was Jesus is Coming by William E. Blackstone (1841-1935). In 1909 the very first study Bible ever published — The Scofield Study Bible — developed the scriptural arguments for the viewpoint in detail. Then came the amazing charts and diagrams of Clarence Larkin (1850-1924) in his book Dispensational Truth.

Historical Evidence of a Post-Tribulation Rapture

The early church believed in a Post-tribulation Rapture – and held that belief for a little over 1800 years.

For example, early church teachers by the names of Ireneaus (130-202AD) and Hippolytus (birthdate unknown-235AD), second and third generation disciples of John the Revelator, wrote of the rise of the Antichrist and of the coming of the Lord from a Post-tribulation point-of-view.

They both taught that the Antichrist will reign on earth and persecute the Church right up to the return of the Lord in all his power and glory.

In his book, “Against Heresies,” Irenaeus, writing about the Antichrist, said, “His tyranny shall last three years and six months, during which the saints shall be put to flight” (Ch. xxv.4). Later, in the same book, he said, “The resurrection of the just takes place after the coming of Antichrist” (Ch. xxxv.1).

Hippolytus wrote a number of books; and in one called a “Commentary on the Book of Daniel,” speaking of the Antichrist, he said, “When he has conquered all, he will prove himself a terrible and savage tyrant; and will cause tribulation and persecution to the saints, exalting himself against them” (Ch. 7). In the same book, referring to the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11, he said, “The two witnesses, then, shall preach three years and a half; and Antichrist shall make war upon the saints during (that time) and desolate the world” (Ch. 11).


Post-Tribulation Rapture Believers from History

  • Barnabas (40-100)
  • Clement of Rome (40-100)
  • Hermas (40-140)
  • Polycarp (70-167)
  • Justin Martyr (100-168)
  • Melito (100-170) Irenaeus (140-202)
  • Tertullian (160-220)
  • Hippolytus (160-240)
  • Cyprian (200-258)
  • Victorinus of Poetovia (240-303)
  • Lactantius (240-330)
  • Athanasius (293-373)
  • Ephraim the Syrian (306-373)
  • Pseudo-Ephraem (4th Century?)
  • Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386)
  • Jerome 340-420)
  • Chrysostom (345-407)
  • Augustine (354-430)
  • Venerable Bede (673-735)
  • Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
  • Roger Bacon (1214-1274)
  • John Wycliffe (1320-1384)
  • Martin Luther (1483-1546)
  • William Tyndale (1492-1536)
  • Menno Simons (1496-1561) J
  • ohn Calvin (1509-1564)
  • John Knox (1515-1572)
  • John Fox (1516-1587)
  • Roger Williams (1603-1683)
  • John Bunyan (1628-1688)
  • Daniel Whitby (1638-1726)
  • Increase Mather (1639-1723)
  • Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
  • Cotton Mather (1663-1728)
  • Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
  • John Wesley (1703-1791)
  • George Whitefield (1714-1770)
  • David Brainerd (1718-1747)
  • Morgan Edwards (1722-1795)
  • John Newton (1725-1807)
  • Adam Clarke (1762-1832)
  • Charles G. Finney (1792-1875)
  • Charles Hodge (1797-1878)
  • Albert Barnes (1798-1870)
  • George Mueller (1805-1898)
  • Benjamin W. Newton (1805-1898)
  • R.C. Trench (1807-1886)
  • Carl F. Keil (1807-1888)
  • Henry Alford (1810-1871)
  • John Lillie (1812-1867)
  • F.L. Godet (1812-1900)
  • Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1842)
  • S.P. Tregelles (1813-1875)
  • Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890)
  • C.J. Ellicott (1819-1905)
  • Nathaniel West (1826-1906)
  • Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910)
  • J.H. Thayer (1828-1901)
  • Adolph Saphir (1831-1891)
  • M.R. Vincent (1834-1922)
  • William J. Erdman (1834-1923)
  • H. Grattan Guinness (1835-1910)
  • H.B. Swete (1835-1917)
  • William G. Moorehead (1836-1914)
  • A.H. Strong (1836-1921)
  • Theodor Zahn (1838-1936)
  • I.T. Beckwith (1843-1936)
  • Robert Cameron (1845-1922)
  • B.B. Warfield (1851-1921)
  • David Baron (1855-1926)
  • Philip Mauro (1859-1952)
  • A.T. Robertson (1863-1934)
  • R.C.H. Lenski (1864-1936)
  • William E. Biederwolf (1867-1939)
  • Alexander Reese (1881-1969)
  • Norman S. MacPherson (1899-1980)

[This list was compiled by Dave MacPherson, author of “The Incredible Cover-up,” “The Rapture Plot” and others.]

Other Post-Trib Believers

  • Jay Adams Randy
  • Alcorn Richard Ames
  • Roy W. Anderberg
  • Matthew Arnold
  • J. Sidlow Baxter
  • Allistair Begg
  • Corrie ten Boom
  • F.F. Bruce
  • B.H. Carroll
  • Jonas Clark
  • William Cowper
  • John Gill
  • Robert Gundry
  • Hank Hanegraaf
  • William Hendriksen
  • Carl F.H.
  • Henry Matthew
  • Henry Herschell
  • Hobbs Adoniram
  • Judson Arthur
  • J. Katterjohn
  • D. James Kennedy
  • George Eldon Ladd
  • Hugh Latimer
  • C.S. Lewis
  • J.B. Lightfoot
  • Harold Lindsell
  • C.S. Lovett
  • Walter Martin
  • Jack McAlister
  • James (Jim) McKeever
  • Albert Mohler
  • John Warwick Montgomery
  • Doug Moo
  • Dale Moody
  • Russell Moore
  • G. Campbell Morgan
  • H.C.G. Moule
  • Andrew Murray
  • Watchman Nee
  • Sir Isaac Newton
  • Harold J. Ockenga
  • J. Edwin Orr
  • Ian Paisley
  • Wilfred Pink
  • John Piper
  • Bernard Ramm
  • Paul Rees
  • Marv Rosenthal
  • Oswald J. Smith
  • R.C. Sproul
  • Charles Spurgeon
  • John R.W. Stott
  • Merrell Tenny
  • B.B. Warfield
  • Isaac Watts C
  • harles Wesley
  • William Wilberforce
  • Andrew Wommack
  • Ulrich Zwingli


Reference: [This list was compiled by Jim Sayles of Cedar Park, Texas]



2 Replies to “When will the “Rapture” Occur?”

    1. He took them both away before he destroyed – Sodom and the earth with he flood.
      With the great tribulation he is not destroying the earth, after He comes for His Bride, after the tribulation, He takes them away, and creates a new earth and heaven.
      Same as when He poured His wrath out on Egypt with the ten plagues, He did not first take out His people, Israel, they were in Egypt when the 10 plagues were poured out, only afterwards were they taken out.
      They were protected during that tribulation as what the true children of God will be protected during the great tribulation.

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