5 Reasons to Believe in a

 Pre–Tribulation Gathering




To understand  why a pre-tribulation rapture is held by many christians. Intended as a discussion guide.


Reference Materials:


The End Times by Herman Hoyt; (Pre_Trib)

Dispensational  by Charles Ryrie




The Pre-Tribulation rapture is a belief held by a number of evangelical christians. Its basis has always been a hot topic of debate even among theologians. This article reveals the scriptures and basis for the pre-trib argument.  There are 5 classes of arguments which are;


  1. Textual Arguments
  2. Historic Arguments
  3. Harmonic Arguments
  4. Prophetic Arguments
  5. Character of Christ Argument



Textual Argument:


Compare 1Thess 5:9 & 1:10 to I Thess 2:16 and II Thess 1:6-7. Look carefully at the word wrath and its usage. If the word “wrath” is meant the same way by author in all these passages then there is an expectation of protection for the ‘saints’ yet for the Jews the signs of the time contain expectations of wrath. Here Jews would refer to the corporate nation of Israel in unbelief and saints refer to believers which can be jews or gentiles.



Historic Argument:


The Thessolonians clearly believed in the pre-trib gathering  so much they thought they missed it when they came under persecution and received a false letter. This false letter was the occasion for Paul writing II Thess 2 where they are told to return to what they are taught  meaning the 1 Thess message.  


Also there are a number of other historic examples of God protecting groups of people prior to general judgement. A few are listed below.




Harmonic Argument:

Lots of passages tell New Testament Christians to await “good things” therefore the  Pre-Trib gathering harmonizes with these promises

  • Titus 2:13 .. we await the blessed hope
  • Phil 3:20 … we await our citizenship in heaven
  • Heb 9:28 … we await our salvation
  • 1 Thess 4:13-17 .. we await the resurrection and the gathering of living Christians (ie. meet Christ in the air)
  • John 14:1-4 .. we await our new home and the presence of Christ
  • 1 Cor 15:52… we await the transformation of our bodies



Prophetic Argument:


Revelation  has no mention of the church on earth but only saints that “come out of the tribulation”. Revelation 19:1, 7-8 specifically describes the church (the bride of Christ) being united with Christ in heaven and then returning with him when he comes to judge.



Character of Christ Argument :



Rev 5&6 shows us who delivers the tribulatiuon judgements to earth .. It is none other than our savior Jesus who according to John 5:25 has been entrusted with all Judgment.  So what judgment do you expect ? The new testament message is clear, believers are judged for their works for reward or loss of reward but all judgement relating to sin and punishment is atoned for by Christs death.



 Key Distinction Question  - Covenant vs. Dispensational Theology:


So if there are so many reasons to believe in a pre-trib gathering why is there such an agrument among theologians? Well there is a large amount of scripture (any many books) that detail many elements of the tribulation that warn people to prepare to go though it.  Given this why have I not discuss these here. Well the key to this is found in understanding of  the two schools of thought that exist relative to prohetic intepreation. They are the Covenant school and the Dispensational school:





Covenant Theology states :


All promises to the Jews are “passed on” to the Church since Israel rejected Christ. Therefore the Church is “spiritual” Israel. Therefore all prophetic scripture writing to Israel is applied to the Church. If this is true then all will go through the great tribulation because Israel clearly goes through the Great Tribulation and the warning scriptures about the tribulation are valid for the church today.



Dispensational Theology states:


The Church is a co-heir in Christ being grafted into God’s kingdom when Israel rejected Christ however, Israel and the church remain independent corporate entity’s with respect to prophecy and Gods redemptive plan. God has yet to complete the final restoration of Israel as a nation promised in the prophetic books so prophetic writing must be understood contextually and allocated to Israel seperatley passge by passge. Since then a distinction is maintained between the church saints and Israel it is unlikely that believers will go through the great tribulation. Hence the warning pasages are interesting but not applicable to the church.





If the dispensational view of prophetic intepreation is valid, then there is far more evidence for a pre-trib gathering in scripture. If the covenant view is valid then there is more evidence in scripture for a post or mid trib gathering. Personally I am dispensational in my views and hold to literal models of biblical interpreation rather than spiritualizing models for many more reasons than the pre-trib argument. The way you interpret scripture is basic to how truth is extracted from the Bible. The spritual vs literal interpretation debate is as old as the early church and  rooted in the key difference between the first two schools of theology hence we still find debate.


Backup Detail:



Alexandrian school..  attempted to explain the Bible as collection of allegorys (ie.scripture is a collection of stories that make a point with often hidden ‘spiritual’ meanings that must be discovered)


Led by Clement of Alexandria, Panatanenus, and Origen



Antiochene school .. held to literal interpretation of scripture (ie scritpure is historical narrative about real historical events that make a point that is stated and illustrated)


Led by Dorotheus, Lucian, Diodorus, Theodore of Mopsuetia, & John Chrysostom