I am often baffled that there are some believers who will place pretribulationism on the level of certainty with, for example, the deity of Christ, or the virgin birth. I find it alarming, actually. Such an imbalance of biblical evidence reveals a Tradition at work.
Pretribulationism asserts that the secret rapture will take place before the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation. And yet, when we examine all three major biblical passages on the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation, they have to assume that the rapture has occurred before it. What do I mean by this?
First, take the Olivet Discourse. They will insist that the rapture occurs in Matthew 24 sometime before verse 8. When asked to point us to the rapture, they will admit there is no reference to the rapture; instead, we have to take their word for it.
Second, take Paul’s teaching in 2 Thessalonians 2. They will insist that the rapture occurs before verse 3. We ask, where does Paul say that the rapture occurs before Antichrist? We have to take their word for it, again.
Third, take the book of Revelation. We are told to assume that all those references throughout the book about “saints” and “those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus” are not part of the Church. They tell us that these individuals are “tribulation saints.” So where is the rapture in Revelation, we ask them. How did you guess? “Just trust us, the Church is raptured sometime between chapter three and the opening of chapter 4.”
One begins to get the feeling that the pretribulational secret rapture is so secret that it cannot even be found in the Bible.