Reason Four for a Pre-Tribulational Rapture
If the Rapture does not come before the Tribulation, then we will indeed suffer the wrath of God. But again, as we have already seen in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, God has not appointed us to wrath. You might question, “How do you know we will suffer the wrath of God? Maybe believers will be protected from His wrath.” But the Scripture clearly tells us that there will only be 144,000 people who will be protected during that time. Look at Revelation 9:3–4:
Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
If you go back to Revelation chapter 7, it tells us who were sealed: 144,000 of the children of Israel, 12,000 from each tribe. Those will be the only people during the Tribulation Period who will not be afflicted by the wrath of God. They will be supernaturally protected. A way to get out of the problem for those who still disagree with the pre-tribulational position is to say, “The 144,000 does not actually refer to Israel.” But that is denying the plain sense of the text. The text clearly says that there are 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. There is not a single place in Scripture where the term “the children of Israel” is not literally the children of Israel: the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If that is not the case here, it would be an exception to the entire rule of Scripture.
The Rapture Is Prior To the Tribulation
It is clear that if we do go through the Tribulation, we will suffer the wrath of God because only the 144,000 Jewish believers will not suffer the wrath of God. Therefore, again, I conclude that the Rapture must be prior to the Tribulation because “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).