The Rapture of the Church: Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, Post-Tribulation? Will we ever come to agreement? will we ever be of one mind? on the issue. The subject is made more complicated as it concerns the status of our salvation: is it secure, can we lose it? If the Rapture is not pre-Tribulation than Christians saved now by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ can lose their salvation, if only by taking the mark.
If the Rapture is pre-trib then we can still argue that it is once saved always saved. If we are saved, secured, sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption, it is once saved always saved and the Rapture of the Church takes place before the Tribulation. For a more detailed study on this issue see the studies, "Methodology of Salvation and Dispensational Salvation."
I am most assuredly in the pre-trib camp, there is no doubt that we are saved, secured, sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption.
An examination of 1 & 2 Thessalonians will shed light upon this question. Reading 1 Thessalonians we see that the subject is trusting in Christ and waiting for him to come.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
It is also about the gentle ministering in the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 8So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
Further, it admonishes the saints to walk worthy of our calling to serve God.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
Then it speaks of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers that were given to the Chruch to edify it.
Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
This is all a description of our current historical position, the Church age, or times of the Gentiles. It ends in chapter four with the Lord calling out his Church, the rapture.
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
In chapter five we are told the day of the Lord will come suddenly and unexpectedly to the world, but we are not to worry God "hath not appointed us unto wrath."
1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Thessalonians leaves us not appointed to wrath but appointed to salvation. Then in 2 Thessalonians, we are now in the time of the second coming of the Lord to the earth and his judgments thereupon.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
Here we see that 2 Thessalonians is dealing with those that rejected Christ. In chapter we are told that that day, the one he just spoke about, day of judgment upon the earth, will not come until the man of sin is revealed.
2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
The man of sin is revealed when he sits in the temple proclaiming himself to be God during the Tribulation.
1 & 2 Thessalonians gives us a logical timeline of events: the Church age, the rapture, the day of the Lord, his return to the earth.
We also have the little considered similitude in John 7:10 where the Lord first goes into Jerusalem in secret before revealing himself.
John 7:10 KJV But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
Take note also that the Jews sought him between his secret entrance and his revealing himself. The Jews will seek the Lord during the Tribulation between the secret rapture and his openly coming. More specifically, between the man of sin sitting in the temple and Christ return.
Hosea 12:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
That is the correct order and interpretation I believe the Scriptures teach.