Proofs for pretribulation Rapture theology
By Don Koenig
Does the Bible teach that the Church will be supernaturally removed (Rapture)? Will the Church escape the tribulation? Is the Rapture pretribulation, pre-wrath, or post tribulation?
The best way to find out the truth is to correctly interpret God's word. In some cases this is easier said than done. Finding and correlating deep truths in some scriptures can be like mining for gold. It is hard work but it sure is worthwhile when you sift out a few nuggets. I expect God wanted it that way so that some things would be hidden from the adversary. The parables are prime examples of how Jesus gave truth to the children of the promise but the sons of darkness could not understand what He was talking about. Some of God's truths take scholarship and enlightenment by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes there may be more than one level of truth in a passage with insights that are revealed in time by the Holy Spirit as He deems appropriate. This is apparently the case with the truth about the rapture of the faithful Church.
Some teachers are blind about the Rapture and Bible prophecy.
There are many theologians in some of the denominations who do not see that we are in the prophetic years because they allegorize or spiritualize all scripture dealing with the end times and the restoration of Israel. Unless there is clear indication for allegory, even common sense dictates that scripture writings should be taken in a literal sense. By allegorizing prophetic scripture these theologians can make it say just about anything they want. By applying the promises of God for Israel to the Church, they can do away with any literal fulfillment on earth. Scholars such as these really need to review why it is that they use human rationalization to distort the plain teaching of God's word.
I believe they do this either in ignorance due to their seminary training or because they do not wish to believe what God said about a literal earthly fulfillment that includes a final world-wide judgment and thousand-year reign of Christ on earth from Jerusalem. They do not understand that the body of Jesus rose very early on the third day and that the body of Christ (the Church) will also rise very early on her third day - a day with the Lord is as a thousand years (2 Pe 3:8).
Liberty taking with the literal interpretation of prophetic scriptures in the past was not as critical a problem to the Church as it is today. In the past the Church in general had less knowledge of the scriptures and the Church was not near the prophetic years. Today, there is widespread access of scripture in the Church, so we do not have that excuse. In addition, there is more danger in applying scriptures that were meant for Israel to the Church. The theology that the Jews killed Christ and that God has cursed the descendants of Israel and given her promises to the Christian Church in recent times opened the door for the Jewish holocaust under Hitler. Those in Replacement Theology today may be opening a new door for the predicted worldwide holocaust against the Jews under the Beast Antichrist.
The Church are members in the Body of Christ and is the firstborn into the promise of a New Covenant. The Gentiles were grafted into that promise and that covenant because most of Israel rejected their Messiah and the natural branches were broken off so that wild branches could be grafted in (Gentiles). However, that promise and covenant were actually given to the house of Jacob and Judah without any preconditions (Jer 31:31). When the nation of Israel acknowledges its offense, all in Israel who call on the name of the Lord will be grafted back in and receive this new covenant promise.
When the Father determines that the time has come, He will remove the faithful Church to heaven where she will become one with His Son. The earth at that time will be cleansed of evil doers prior to the return of Jesus in glory with His Bride. At that time, He will set up the promised thousand-year reign on earth ruled from Jerusalem. When this occurs the promise of a new covenant to Israel will be fulfilled as the prophet Joel foretold.
Joe: 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
Is pretribulation Rapture theology a new Church doctrine?
Some say there is no rapture of the Church prior to the tribulation and point out that it was not even taught to the Church until the 1800's.
In Grant Jeffrey's book "Triumphant Return", he writes that about 373 AD Ephraem taught in a sermon that there was a pre-tribulation rapture. This writing can be found in Ephraem's sermon "On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World.", Ephraem said in this sermon, "For the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins".
Ephraem also taught in this same sermon that the war of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39 would precede the tribulation and he taught the imminent return of Jesus.
There were other early church writings that indicate that they believed that Jesus would be returning for HIS Church prior to the end time judgments on earth. Many scriptures indicate likewise.
Is the pretribulation Rapture secret?
The Rapture will not be secret. In fact the world has been informed that it will happen through many popular writings like the "Left Behind" series. The Rapture event itself will be known to all who will witness the missing people. The "New Age" pagans have even pre-prepared explanations for the Rapture in some of their writings.
Is there a pretribulation Rapture?
In the Rapture, the true Church of God is removed so they will not go through the trial that will come upon all the earth to try men's souls (they have no need to). Christ does not come back to take possession of the earth at that time. The Rapture is just another phase of the first Resurrection that began with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the body of Christ and the true Church is also the body of Christ called the Bride (the two shall become one flesh). The total membership making up the body of Christ must arise like Jesus to unite with Jesus. We must go before the Bema seat judgment to be given the crowns that will allow us to rule and reign with Jesus when we return. If the Rapture and second coming were at the same time you would have to make this judgment and the giving of the crowns an instantaneous event in the clouds at the second coming of Jesus.
In the Jewish harvest, you have the first fruits, the general harvest and the gleaning. The harvest is not one event and neither is the resurrection of the saints. Revelation makes it clear that the 144,000 Israelites who have a ministry in the tribulation are still first-fruits, so this would indicate that those in the true Church before the tribulation are also first-fruits of this harvest.
There are well over a score of biblical passages that indicate that the return of Jesus for the Church is imminent. An imminent return is quite impossible if the tribulation has to happen first. Why would Jesus direct his people to be always ready and watching for His coming if they were meant to go through the tribulation and thus would be aware of His coming as much as seven years before He actually came?
After the letters to the seven churches of Revelation and what is seen in heaven, the focus of the book of Revelation on earth is on the Israelites again and not the Church. We see the Jews fleeing into the wilderness, the rebuilt temple, the two prophets, the 144,000 Jewish witnesses, and all nations coming to fight against Israel.
The rapture of the faithful in contrast to the Revelation of Jesus at His coming
Christ comes for His own 1Th 4:13-18 --------------------Christ returns with His own Rev 19:14
Believers taken to Father's House Joh 14:3 ----------------Believers come with Jesus to Earth Mat 24:30
He is seen only by believers 1Co 15:52 --------------------Every eye will see Him Mat 24:30
Earth not judged -----------------------------------------------Earth judged Rev 20:4-5
A Mystery - 1 Co 15:51 --------------------------------------Foretold in OT Zech 12:10
Christians taken first 1Th 4:13-18 3 Mat 13:28-30 -------Wicked are taken first Mat 25:1-13; Rev 3:8-10; Rev 4:1,
He comes to present the Church to Himself 2 Co 11:2 ---He comes with His Church for judgment and to set up his Kingdom Rev 19:6-9, Zec 14:3-4; Jud 1:14-15; Rev 19:11-21
Casts Satan out of heaven to earth Rev 12 ------------------Binds Satan for a thousand years Rev 20
Occurs in the twinkling of an eye 1Co 15:52---------------Comes to earth to do battle at specific locations Isa 63:1-3, Rev 16:16, Zec 12:9-10
Jesus descends with a shout. 1Th 4:16 8 --------------------No shout mentioned Rev 19:11-21
Sixteen scriptural proofs that the rapture is pre-tribulation *
Proof #1: Revelation 19:11-21 doesn't mention a resurrection.
The rapture is a resurrection of those "in Christ" (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Isn't it a little bit odd that in Rev. 19:11-21, which is the clearest picture of the second coming of Christ, there is no mention of a resurrection? The rapture will be the biggest event since the resurrection of Jesus where hundreds of millions of Christians will be resurrected and translated, yet there isn't any mention here. Don't you think it deserves at least one verse? The rapture isn't mentioned because it doesn't happen at the second coming.
Proof #2: Zechariah 14:1-15 doesn't mention a resurrection.
This is an Old Testament picture of Jesus returning to earth at the second coming. Again, no mention of a resurrection.
Proof #3: Two different pictures are painted.
In the Old Testament, there were two different pictures painted of the Messiah—one suffering (Isa. 53:2-10, Ps. 22:6-8, 11-18) and one reigning as King (Ps. 2:6-12, Zech. 14:9,16). As we look back on these scriptures, we see they predicted two separate comings of the Messiah—the 1st coming as a suffering Messiah and the 2nd coming (still future) as a reigning King.
In the New Testament, we have another picture added. Again, we have two pictures painted which don’t look the same. These two different descriptions of Jesus’ coming point to two separate events we call "the rapture" and "the second coming."
Proof #4: The Known Day and the Unknown Day.
Concerning the return of Jesus, the Bible presents a day we can't know and a day we can know. Matthew 25:13 says Jesus will return at an unknown time, while Revelation 12:6 says the Jews will have to wait 1,260 days for the Lord to return. The 1,260 days begins when the Antichrist stands in the Temple and declares himself to be God (Matt. 24:15-21, 2 Thess. 2:4) This event will take place at the mid-point of the seven year Tribulation (Dan 9:27). The Antichrist has authority to rule for 42 months, which is 1,260 days (Rev. 13:4) and will be destroyed by Jesus at His second coming (Rev. 19:20, 2 Thess. 2:8). The known and unknown days must happen at different times, meaning they are two separate events.
Proof #5: A door open in heaven (Revelation 4:1).
The door in heaven is opened to let John into heaven. We believe John's call into heaven is prophetic of the Church being caught up at the rapture (see proof #6). In Revelation 19:11, heaven is opened again, this time to let the armies which are already in heaven out. This is the Church, which has been raptured at a previous time, following Jesus out of heaven at the second coming.
Proof #6: "Come up here." (Revelation 4:1).
A voice called for the apostle John to "Come up here," and immediately he was in heaven. This could be a prophetic reference to the rapture of the Church. The words "Come up here" are spoken to the two witnesses who are killed in the middle of the Tribulation, who are resurrected and ascend into heaven (Rev. 11:12). Therefore, the phrase "Come up here" could mean the Church is raptured in Rev. 4:1. The word "Church" is mentioned 22 times in Rev. 1-3, but is not mentioned again until Rev. 22:17.
**Proof #7: The 24 elders have their crowns.
After John is called up into heaven, he sees the 24 elders with their crowns (Rev. 4:4-10). We know that Christians will receive their rewards (crowns) at the rapture (2 Tim. 4:8, 1 Pet. 5:4). We will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:14). The elders couldn't receive their crowns unless the resurrection (rapture) has taken place.
Proof #8 Holy ones are already with Jesus in heaven (Zech. 14:5, Rev. 19:14).
The armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, follow Jesus out of heaven at His second coming (Rev. 19:14, Zech. 14:5, Col. 3:4). These are not angels because Rev. 19:8 tells us the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. In order to come out of heaven we first have to go in, indicating a previous rapture.
Proof #9: Kept from the hour of testing (Rev. 3:10).
Revelation 3:10 says we will be kept out of the hour of testing which will come upon the whole earth (the Tribulation). Some have wrongly believed "keep" means to keep through, or protect through the Tribulation. Suppose you approach a high voltage area with a sign that says, "Keep Out." Does that mean you can enter and be protected? No, it means you are forbidden from entering the area. But this verse also says He will keep us from the hour of testing. It is not just the testing, but the time period. If a student is excused from a test, he still may have to sit in the class while others take the test. But if he is excused from the hour of testing, he can go home. The Church will be called home before the hour of testing.
Proof #10: Angels don't resurrect people when they gather them for judgment.
When the angels are sent forth to gather the elect at the second coming (Matt. 24:29-31), some have wrongly interpreted this as the rapture. There is one huge problem with this interpretation. If we are resurrected at this time, why would we need angels to gather us? In the resurrection, we will be like the angels (Matt. 22:30), able to travel in the air at will. Obviously, these people who are gathered are not resurrected, therefore it can't be the rapture. No one would claim the wicked are raptured at this time, yet Matthew 13:39-41, 49 says the angels will not only gather the elect, but also the wicked. This gathering is not a resurrection.
Proof #11: Both wicked and righteous both can't be taken first.
First Thessalonians 4:13-17 says the righteous are taken and the wicked are left behind. Matthew 13:30, 49 says the wicked are taken first and righteous are left behind. This points to two separate events, the rapture and the second coming.
Proof #12: Jesus returns from the wedding.
When Jesus returns to earth at the second coming, He will return from a wedding (Luke 12:36). At the rapture, Jesus is married to His bride, the Church. After the wedding, He will return to earth.
Proof #13: Jesus will receive us to Himself, not us to receive Him (John 14:2-3).
Jesus said He would prepare a place for the Church in heaven, then He would come again to receive us to Himself. Why would Jesus prepare a place for us in heaven and then not take us there? At the rapture, He will come to receive us to Himself, "that where I am (heaven), there you may be also." If the rapture occurred at the same time as the second coming, we would go up to the clouds and then immediately come back to earth. That would contradict John 14:2-3.
Proof #14: The one who restrains is taken out of the way.
In 2 Thess. 2:6-7, Paul says "the one who restrains will be taken out of the way" before the Antichrist can be revealed. We believe this refers to the rapture because the Church is clearly the biggest obstacle to the Antichrist becoming a world ruler.
Proof #15: The separation of the sheep and goats (Matt. 25:31-46).
If the rapture occurred at the second coming, why would the sheep and the goats need to be separated immediately after the second coming? A rapture at the second coming would have already separated the sheep and the goats. With a Pre-Tribulation rapture, the people saved after the rapture will need to be separated after the second coming.
Proof #16: Who will populate the Millennium?
If the rapture occurs at the second coming and the wicked are cast into hell at that time, who will be left to populate the millennium? Only people in their natural (non-resurrected) bodies will be able to have children (Matt. 22:30). With a Pre-Tribulation rapture, the people saved after the rapture who are alive at the second coming will populate the earth during the Millennium
*16 proofs are from Cornerstone Church garden city Kansas website **(I do not think proof 7 is valid since I do not believe the 24 elders are the Church)
There are seven supernatural translation events in God's plan:
(God does many things in sevens - the number of completion.)
The seven supernatural translation events:
- The translation of Enoch before the flood
- The taking of Elijah in a whirlwind in the early times of Israel
- The resurrection and ascension of Jesus
- The Rapture of the true Church
- The resurrection and ascension of the two witnesses
- The resurrection of the saints at the end of the great tribulation
- The final resurrection and judgment after the thousand year reign
The letters to the seven churches are prophetic about the Church ages
Some insight can be found by close examination of what God has to say to the seven churches in the book of Revelation:
Those that wish to allegorize this book should read my article on Amillennialism and my Revelation Commentary
The Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John is the unveiling of Jesus until He turns over the kingdom to the Father. These are the things that must shortly come to pass. In a nutshell, the book of Revelation is the story of Jesus interacting with His people through time.
Some highlights of the book of Revelation are:
- The story of the risen Savior.
- The letters to the seven churches and the prophecy of the seven Church ages on earth
- The tribulation period and God dealing with Israel again after the Church age is complete.
- The second coming of Jesus.
- The thousand year reign of Jesus on earth.
- The final rebellion led by Satan.
- The great white throne judgment.
- Jesus turns over the kingdom to the Father after all enemies are defeated.
- A new heaven and earth in a perfect new creation.
The seven Church ages
The messages to the seven churches were to seven actual historic churches that existed in John's time. They were not the most prominent churches but they were picked because God has a message to give to all the believers who will ever live during the Church age. We see here in these letters that He is working with His Church until the end of the Church age. The entire Church age is from the time of the giving of the promise of a new Covenant at Pentecost until she unites with Jesus in heaven.
There are seven periods within this age. The first three periods in Revelation have been fulfilled historically. We know this because each of the first three were replaced by a successor and there is no mention of the Lord's coming in the first three.
Ephesus - the Apostolic Church - until the death of John 32 - 100 AD
Smyrna - The martyred Church - until Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire - 100 - 312 AD.
Pergamum - - The Church that joined the state - until the Papacy - 312 - 600 AD (approx.)
The messages to all seven churches are still valid to all who live on the earth today but only the last four letters deal with the historic assemblies that are still dwelling on earth until Jesus returns for them.
To avoid confusion, it is essential to understand that the letter was addressed to seven assemblies in existence at the time of John. Not all people in any of the original assemblies were truly Christian. The message content from Jesus to the seven churches should makes this clear as does the New Testament epistles to the churches. If there is a prophetic application with the Church through time as I believe, it also is critical to understand that the message from Jesus to the last four assemblies is to true believers and traditional cultural Christians alike. Just like their were believing descendants of Israel and unbelieving descendants of Israel. The letters in Revelation to the Churches are to all who identify with these Christian assemblies and not just to the true believers within them.
The last four remaining churches on earth:
Thyatira is the Roman Catholic Church and the eastern Orthodox Churches. At the end, this assembly will be tried by death. The passage seems to imply that most in this assembly are cast into great tribulation and that the descendants of this Church are killed in the tribulation. This Church has good works but most were in adultery with mystery Babylon.
Sardis is the Churches of the reformation that have become spiritually dead. They are the liberal and ritualistic churches that have no good works. This includes many mainline Protestant denomination churches in the world today, and certainly includes most of the state churches of Europe. God says they will not know the time of his coming and that they will not be ready when He comes. They will go through great tribulation.
Philadelphia, like Enoch, was pleasing to God. This assembly has an open door (world evangelism) that no one can shut (not even Satan). She has some power (God's Spirit), she kept the word (the Bible) and does not deny the name of Jesus. This Church also kept the word of His patience (Jesus coming for the Church) and because of this, she like Enoch, will be removed from the earth before the judgment on earth (great tribulation). The Church of Philadelphia is many of those in the Evangelical and Pentecostal assemblies.
Laodicea is the wealthy postmodern Protestant churches of today that are self-centered country clubs. It could also be those that "say" they are rich in spirit but are full of dead works. She is spit out of Jesus' mouth and becomes identified with the Harlot of Revelation. She is rich in material goods but she is poor spiritually. God is outside looking in (no indwelling spirit). This assembly will be chastened in the tribulation but those individuals that seek Jesus will find Him. This group probably includes most "positive thinking" and "Word of Faith" churches. It certainly includes some "seeker friendly" churches that have watered down Christian doctrine and worship to make it appealing to the world. It would also include the emerging and emergent church movement that redefines essentials truths of Christianity. It may also include some charismatics who think they are rich spiritually but have really gone off into new age theologies and doctrine of demons. It could even possibly include some cults that are in great heresy but who do not deny that Jesus is Lord.
Many will be saved in the tribulation
The scripture says all who endure to the end will be saved (all who hold on to the testimony of Jesus during the tribulation).
That word "all" should nullify any doctrine that says there will be no second chance of salvation for those who heard the gospel but were not part of the spiritual body of Christ before the rapture or tribulation. The passage clearly excludes no one and we see that true repentance leads to salvation throughout scripture.
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death.
There is still time for the blind to see:
Those that allegorize and spiritualize scripture that should be taken literally sometimes do not believe in the infallibility of scripture either. They need to look at the foundations of their faith.
Some in the Church lack diligence and scholarship and only believe what they were taught in liberal seminaries. These need to study to show themselves approved.
Some hold a warped view in ignorance, such as Christians who think the Church replaced Israel or that think we are living in the kingdom now. These members are blinded by darkness and need to be enlightened by the word and the Spirit.
Those open to demonic deception in Thyatira need to look to the word of God and follow Jesus instead of following traditions of men and pagan mysticism.
Those that are sleeping in Sardis need to WAKE UP or they will be left behind.
Those that are deceived by materialism and doctrines of demons like those in Laodicea need to find true spiritual riches from God.
Those in all the assemblies who think we cannot know the general time of His coming need to remember that Jesus admonished the Pharisees for not knowing the time of his first appearing and that Paul told the Church that we are not in darkness that this day would come upon us as a thief.
More insights on the rapture of the Church:
Those who are born of the Spirit and who are ready, will go in the pretribulation rapture and escape the time of the tribulation. People who identify themselves as Christians by tradition and culture but who do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit will go through the great trial on earth. Going through the tribulation will cost most of those who continue to identify with Jesus after the Rapture their lives. It will be a trial by fire; those who overcome by losing their life for His namesake will be saved. Those cowards that seek to save their lives by denying Jesus will lose their souls.
Some say the partial rapture of those who claim they are Christian is equal to a Protestant purgatory. However, what if the real fires of purgatory (if you wish to call it that) is the awareness of the departed believers that their lives were displeasing to Christ? Thus, they now wait in anguish under the altar for the future judgment seat of Christ to take place. This judgment is not about salvation; it is about the public giving or taking away of positions of authority based on faithful or unfaithful service.
All prior believers have tasted death of the flesh. Will Jesus actually deliver those who are living in spiritual adultery and who are faithless from physical death? Enoch, as our example, was taken and did not taste death because he pleased God, but without faith it is impossible to please God. Jesus tells us to remember Lot's wife. Lot's wife looked back to Sodom. Israel also looked back to Egypt after God delivered them out of Egypt. Those who did so were not spared, so why should the Gentiles be spared who are displeasing to God? Those in the Church that look back and get entangled in the world will not be watching and waiting for His return and they also will not be delivered in the rapture of the faithful that are identified as Philadelphia.
The real question might be, are carnal Christians even part of the Church? A strong case can be made that those who say they are Christian but have no works are not part of His Spirit indwelt body at all. Those who are born of the Spirit and are pleasing God by real faith with evidence of works of the Spirit will certainly be among those taken in the rapture.
How can a Church that is kept out of the trial go through the trial?
If the Philadelphia Church is kept from the hour (time) of the tribulation then how can she possibly go through part or all of it? She is also given crowns. The crowns are given at the judgment seat of Christ in heaven after the rapture but before the second coming.
Enoch - the 6th from Adam - walked with God for 300 years, was taken, and did not see death. Could this be a picture of the sixth church being raptured after a similar period of evangelism? Enoch knew when the judgment would come. He named his son Methuselah. The meaning of the name Methuselah is "when he is dead it will come". The year Methuselah died is also the year of the great flood. When the Church is taken out the judgment will shortly follow.
The ancient Jewish marriage ceremony proclaims a pretribulation rapture picture.
- The groom goes to the bride's house and is betrothed to the bride (the faithful on the earth)
- He pays the purchase price (his blood)
- He returns to his father to prepare a place for the bride ("I go to prepare a place for you")
- Later the groom comes for the bride (rapture)
- He takes her to his father's house and gives her gifts where she is adorned and prepared for the wedding (judgment seat of Christ where crowns are awarded)
- The wedding then takes place before the father and the witnesses (in the father's house)
- The groom appears with his bride (second coming in glory with his saints)
- Then the wedding feast takes place (on earth with invited guests of the bride and groom)
The Song of Solomon 2:08-14 could have a picture of the rapture.
Sol 2:10 and 14 - He tells his beloved to arise and come away (rapture)
11 - in late spring (Resurrection Day, Ascension Day or Pentecost?)
12 - rain is over and past (In Israel this is the month of May (Ascension Day or Pentecost?)
13 - the figs are ripening (Israel is God's fig tree - it is time for Israel to become fruitful)
14 - She is hid in the cleft of the rock (hid in Christ - Jesus is the rock)
15 - Take the foxes that do damage to the vines (time to deal with evil people)
16 - My beloved is mine, and I am his (marriage of the Church to Christ)
Jesus said it would be like in the time of Noah and Lot.
- Fire destroyed Sodom the day Lot was led out by angels
- The flood came after Noah entered the ark
- God's wrath for the world in the future will come after the believers are removed.
There are also other picture stories worth finding in scripture that proclaim a removal of God's people before the judgment.
Is the rapture of the Church in scripture?
I believe 2Th 2:3 is talking about the departure of the Church in the Rapture and not about a departure from Christianity. This explanation best fits the context and what Paul taught they in his prior teaching.
2Th 2:1-12 Now we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him; to the end that ye be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by epistle as from us, as that the day of the Lord is just at hand; let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know that which restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming; even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
I explain this scripture in a separate article named. Teachings of Paul indicate pretrib rapture.
There are many hints in scripture about God hiding his people during a time of judgment on the earth. Since it is clear that this has not happened yet, it is a future event:
Isa 26:20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
Psa 27:5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion: In the covert of his tabernacle will he hide me: He will lift me up upon a rock.
Psa 50:5 Gather my saints together unto me, Those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
Psa 58:9 Before your pots can feel the thorns, He will take them away with a whirlwind, the green and the burning alike.
Joe 2:16 gather the people, sanctify the assembly, assemble the old men, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts; let the bridegroom go forth from his chamber, and the bride out of their closet.
Zep 2:3 Seek ye Jehovah, all ye meek of the earth, that have kept his ordinances; seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah's anger.
Joh 11:25,26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me though he die, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. (Here Jesus in part is talking about the believers who are translated at his coming.)
Joh 14:1,2 Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
1 Co 15:51,55 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?
1 Th 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead. Even Jesus. Who delivereth us from the wrath to come.
1 Th 4:14-18 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Th 5:1-6 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that aught be written unto you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night when they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child: and they shall in no wise escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief: for ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night: and they that are drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, since we are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God appointed us not into wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as also ye do.
Tit 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Heb 11:5-6 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God translated him for he hath had witness borne to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing unto God and without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him; for they that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.
1 Joh 2:28 and now my little children, abide in him; that, if he shall be manifested, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Note... Matthew chapters 24 and 25, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapters 17 and 21 also deal with the end times. They also are the most used references for those who believe the Church will go through the tribulation but in these scriptures what we really see is Israel going through the tribulation and the gathering of tribulation saints to Israel.
For more information on this see my article on distinctions between the rapture, the gathering and the second coming
Rapture myths, by Dr. Thomas Ice (Have you been told that the Rapture is not found in the Bible or that we teach a secret Rapture?)
The second Coming---in two part harmony, by Jack Kinsella (One of the best articles I have read that puts the Rapture and Second coming to earth in proper perspective.)
For more information about the pre-tribulation rapture that answers all the critics of the pre-tribulation rapture check the many topics on this site.