A “Pretribulationist” is one that believes Jesus will return for His Church before the great tribulation falls upon the earth as prophesied in Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation. This view has been made popular by the “Left Behind” series of novels by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins. The removal of the Church from the earth as a prelude to the “Day of the Lord” is often referred to as the Rapture. The removal of all believers in the present age before the coming of God’s judgment is often supported by 1 Thessalonians 5:17. It says, “But you (plural – believers) are not appointed to incur God’s wrath (Judgment), but to be saved through Jesus Christ.” For all believers in today’s economy, the judgment of God for sin has been placed on His Son Jesus Christ. Paul encourages us to realize and appreciate the truth that “Jesus paid it all” (As we often sing on Sunday!)

After the rapture there will be a time of God’s judgment that will fall upon the earth in various ways. This is often referred to as the “Great Tribulation.” The question today asks if anyone during this period, after the church is gone, will turn to faith and be saved. Most commentators turn to Revelation 6:9-11 to support their belief that the answer is “yes.” The opening of the fifth seal records what John saw, “…under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.” The focus seems to shift from the events on earth to a group of martyrs in heaven. They are there because they were brutally martyred for their “testimony.” We can assume they are not the martyrs of the Church age because the Church has been “raptured.” Therefore, Ryrie observes, “They must be those who were saved after the Rapture.” These believers were then martyred for their faith during the great Tribulation. Wiersbe agrees with Ryrie’s position. He sees the Holy Spirit as the restraining force against evil in today’s world as He (the Spirit) works in and through the Church. But at the Rapture, the Church will be removed and evil will have an easier road. Yet, He clearly says, “Of course, the Spirit will still work on earth, since people will believe and be saved after the rapture.”

But for us who believe now there will be no such trials and tribulations. Thus, as Paul, quoting from the Book of Isaiah, exhorts those in Corinth to preach the Gospel message to everyone because now is “the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now is the time to come to faith in Jesus Christ. And now is the time to share the Gospel!

“… Wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10