The rapture is before the tribulation because nothing in this dispensation of the mystery is prophesied.
show us that: To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the dispensation of the mystery, which has been hidden from ages in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.
That is what I call the nature of the mystery.
After the rapture, the tribulation will come next.
Israel was identified as the people of the tribulation by Daniel. Dan 9:24
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.
Our Lord Jesus Christ mentioned Daniel’s abomination of desolation (Dan 9:27; 11:31) in the future tribulation’s setting (Mat 24:15-21).
One purpose of the tribulation will be to purify Israel for her kingdom reign (Dan 9:24; Zec 13:9).
That’s why Jeremiah 30:7 says the tribulation is precisely called a time of tribulation for Jacob.
Since the mystery, The Body of Christ, has nothing to do with Israel, the tribulation, which is specifically designated for Israel, is irrelevant to the church which is His body.
The nature of the mystery shows us that the body of Christ is never referred to in prophecy prior to Paul’s conversion. Therefore, here are the conclusions I will attempt to prove about the events that occur and their relation to the tribulation and the millennium. They are:
- Prophecy about the people in the tribulation could not refer to the body of Christ.
- Prophecy about the day of the Lord could not apply to the body of Christ.
- Prophecy about the people under the wrath of God could not apply to the body of Christ.
Therefore, the rapture, since it only applies to the body of Christ, must take place prior to the time of Jacob’s trouble, the tribulation, which follows the rapture for the next seven years.
The great and awesome day of the Lord will follow the tribulation.
This is what is normally called the second coming. I will quote two passages to show this.
“The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.”
That was not part of the Mystery that was later given to Paul.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Again, that was not part of the Mystery that was later given to Paul.
Next, the judgment of the nations takes place:
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
The millennial reign of Christ begins after that judgment:
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.
Then Satan is loosed after the thousand year reign of Christ.
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
Then the great white throne judgment takes place.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Then the new heavens and earth are established. And they reign forever.
Rev 21:1,3,27; 22:5
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. . . . 3 Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. . . . 27 only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. 22:5 And they shall reign forever and ever