Q. Thanks once again for all the work you do with this website. I have (yet another) rapture question for you.
Someone has told me that the pre-trib rapture can be disproved with 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Specifically the idea that those who are alive at the time of the Lord’s return will not precede those “who have fallen asleep in Jesus”. The reasoning goes, that if someone dies during the Tribulation having believed in Jesus, and we have already been gathered up in the rapture, doesn’t that mean that we would have preceded someone who has “fallen asleep in Jesus” and therefore negated that scripture?
I would very much appreciate your thoughts on this!
A. If the only believers in Jesus were members of the Church you’d have a point. Paul was addressing the Church in his letter to the Thessalonians. People had asked him what would happen to their loved ones who were dying. Would they miss out on the promises to the Church? (1 Thes. 4:13) He said that church age believers who die before the rapture will be resurrected at the Rapture and receive their part in the Church’s blessings.
Believers who die during the Great Tribulation are not members of the Church, because they won’t become believers until after the Church is raptured. They’re called Tribulation believers and they have a different destiny than the Church. The ones who are martyred will be servants to the Lord in His Temple (Rev. 7:15 )and those who survive will re-populate Earth during the Millennium (Matt. 25:34). The Church will dwell in the New Jerusalem as the Bride of Christ.