Q. Those who believe in a Pre-Wrath rapture say that the writers of the New Testament, especially Peter, Paul & John didn’t expect Jesus to come at any time. They say that according to Matthew 24:1-32 the temple had to be destroyed first. Also the Lord told Paul to go many places and the Lord couldn’t have come before Paul went to those places. Paul also said that the time of his departure was at hand, meaning he knew the Lord wouldn’t come back at just any time (2 Tim. 4:6). How do you answer them?
A. Whether the Lord’s disciples believed the rapture was immanent or not is irrelevant. We know that the doctrine of the rapture wasn’t introduced on Earth until Paul first spoke of it in his letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians, which he wrote over 20 years after the cross, and he’s really the only one who spoke of it at all. But twice in 1 Thes. 4:15-17 Paul did say, “we who are still alive and are left ” in reference to the rapture, indicating he might have though it possible that the rapture could occur in his lifetime. Be that as it may, the fact that the other writers didn’t preach an “any time” rapture is neither a case against a pre-trib rapture nor a case for a pre-wrath rapture.
Technically the fact that the temple had to be destroyed first is an indication that the 2nd coming could not have happened right away. It has nothing to do with the rapture, which I don’t believe the disciples who were questioning Jesus knew anything about at the time.