As I've looked at both sides of the issue of a pre-trib/post- trib rapture I have come to some conclusions based on what I see in the Word of God that have led me to believe that we will see a pretribulation rapture of the Church. What stands out first and foremost is the difference between two "days" in the Bible. There is an absolutely known day, the day of the second coming of Jesus. Revelation 12:6 indicates that the Jews will have to wait on the Lord 1,260 days, starting when the Antichrist stands in the Temple of God and declares himself to be God (2 Thes 2:4). This event will take place at the mid-point of the seven-year tribulation (Dan 9:27). This is an absolutely known day right? If we know when Jesus is coming back for his "second coming" then what is this "unknown day and hour" the Lord talks about in Matthew 25:13 and Luke 21:34 where He says:
13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
"34"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."
If the Lord has shown us clearly how to calculate to the day when He's coming back in Rev 12:6, then what is this "other day" that the Lord tells us to watch for and be ready for because it's coming unexpectedly? In my mind it's clear that this "unexpected day" is the day of the pretribulation rapture of the Church. With the evidence in the bible for two explicitly different days, I still cannot understand how people can lump them both together.
Some people call the pretrib rapture a "secret" rapture. The only "secret" about this rapture is that the timing of it is so secret that not even the angels or the Son of God knows the timing of it, only the Father knows the day (Matt 24:36). As for the event itself there will be nothing "secret" about it, millions of people disappearing off the face of the earth without explanation (apart from the Bible) will be the most dramatic thing this world has seen.
Additional clues to the timing of it come from Matt24:36
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
It says that the timing will be like the days of Noah in the respect that up until the day Noah entered the ark, life was taking place on the earth in a "business as usual" manner. The Word says:
Matt24:38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark
What this says to me is that life was carrying on as it always had, business as usual up until the day that Noah entered the ark. And what was the ark that Noah entered? Was'nt it a place of safety that the Lord brought Noah into in order to escape the judgement decreed for the rest of the World? In stark contrast to the business as usual snapshot we have of the world right before the pretrib rapture, the time of the tribulation (especially the last 3.5 years) will be anything but business as usual. It will be a time of suffering, chaos and turmoil unlike anything the World has ever seen. If the rapture was post trib, would the Lord talk about this day of the rapture in terms like this: Matt24:38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, or, would He use the more graphic details that are more indicitive of the tribulation to describe to us what the days would be like leading up to the rapture?
On all accounts it appears that in the days leading up to this "unknown" day and hour, things on this earth are going on as they always have, in a business as usual manner....not as they will be during the tribulation.
Another post tribulation position seems to be that they insist on suffering through the tribulation and advocates of a pretribulation rapture cannot hope to "escape" the horrors of the tribulation. I think a position like this does not defy the pretrib advocates as much as it does the Lord himself. Luke 21:34 tells us to "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man." The Lord clearly tells us to make every effort to ESCAPE all that is about to happen. In Rev 3:10 it also tells us
10Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
In my eyes it does'nt get any clearer than this: There is an hour of trial that we are going to be "kept from" that is going to test those who live on the earth.
If the Lord tells us to pray that we may be able to escape all that is about to happen on this earth (referring to the terrible things that will happen in the days of the tribulation) and that we will be kept from these things, does'nt this mean we are out of here before the tribulation takes place? There's much more to be said on this topic but I'm typed out for now, Cheers all~brother Dave