WHEN the rapture takes place is foundational to every view. Sure each view has their reasons WHY they believe what they believe, but the WHEN is what defines the view. WHEN is foundational to the WHY. We can discuss WHY we believe the Earth is round or flat, but that is entirely man’s reasoning. However WHEN is a fact and the scripture gives us the WHEN. Consider and pay close attention to what the pretrib view does with this fact.
Jesus tells us exactly WHEN, “immediately after the tribulation… He will gather His elect” Matt 24:29-31, and, “I come as a thief in the night”. The order of events that Jesus lays out does not conflict with the rest of the Word and gives a post-trib view. We need to look to Jesus. This is common when the concept of tribulation is brought up around pretribbers, “We are not to be looking for tribulation, but for Jesus.” Yes, this is true, but the usage is a cop-out. What Jesus Himself actually says concerning ‘end times’, the pretrib view must declare, “It is not given for the Gentiles, just Jews.” So if you actually believe that (what man says concerning Jesus teaching about end-times) then what you have left is Paul’s writing to go by to define the WHEN.
So the pretrib view turns you attention on Paul rather than Jesus and gives us two of his writings concerning when, 1 Cor. 15:51,52 and 1 Thess. 4:17-5:2. Both of which give us WHEN the rapture will happen. 1 Cor. tells us ‘at the last trumpet’, but man (pretrib view) tells us “its not really the last trumpet”, or “there are many last trumpets.” This is meant to keep us off the obvious road map of the trumpets in Revelation. Then we are given 1 Thess. and it tells us WHEN, “as a thief in the night”. There again man (pretribbers) manipulate this to say the “thief” reference applies to the rapture here, but the second coming in other places (2pet3:10, Rev. 3:3, Rev. 16:15). At this point they separate the “thief in the night” event into two events, and conjure up a totally different timing of the rapture, and say its not where Jesus put it, it’s where we (man) put it. They have absolutely no scripture to back their claim of WHEN. Sure, they have reasons WHY, but the WHEN is totally manipulated into something contrary to what Jesus taught.
I would be amiss to not address the WHEN that this view attempts to apply here. In 1 Cor. 15: 51, we are told, “I tell you a mystery…”. At this point the view gives the WHEN a timing of “mystery”, and capitalizes on the fact that no one knows the day or the hour. Thus creating a total conjecture of the concept of WHEN. Now that they established their mystery of WHEN, the can insert THEIR timing. This timing, of course, is a pre-tribulation rapture, seven years prior to when Jesus declares He will come as a “thief” (Rev. 16:15). They declare that “our pretrib view is the only view that has imminence”, the element of surprise, because no one knows the day or the hour. However in doing so they attempt to make a liar out of Jesus who declares His imminence when He says, “I come as a thief” 2 Pet.3:10, Rev. 16:15 As the pretrib doctrine knows, there can only be one element of surprise in His coming. With the pretrib rapture conjured up 7 yrs prior to the second coming, Jesus can no longer come as declared, “as a thief”, but His exact timing is declared 7 yrs later according to their view. Thus making His timing (of the second coming) known and the element of surprise destroyed.
You can believe the timing of WHEN according to how Jesus lays it out, …
the timing of WHEN according to how man presented it by doctorates of theology.
Your choice. Look unto Jesus, “be careful that no man deceive you!”