Q. I came to know the Lord in the 1970s and at that time we were taught that the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation were virtually synonymous. Now all the teaching postulates a gap between the Rapture and Tribulation and this troubles me greatly as to what exactly this time period would be called in the nomenclature of dispensations and what would happen to believers in that time period who get saved after the Rapture but before the start of the 70th week. Are they part of the church or of Israel? Or is there something new?
A. The idea of a gap between the rapture and Daniel’s 70th Week is simply an opinion because there’s no Scripture to either confirm or refute it. No one knows exactly when either one will take place, and their only connection is that the rapture must precede the beginning of the 70th Week. It’s one of those topics the Bible doesn’t address.
The seven Dispensations are simply a way of differentiating between periods of Bible history. It’s not necessary for any one of them to follow directly on the heels of its predecessor. While the rapture of the Church will bring the Age of Grace to an end, the remaining 7 years of the Law do not necessarily have to resume the next day.
Everyone who gets saved after the rapture and survives the end times judgments, whether there’s a gap or not, will either belong to Israel or the Gentile nations, depending on their ethnic heritage. If they don’t survive they will be tribulation martyrs. In either case they won’t be part of the Church, whose membership will close at the moment of the rapture.