I am often baffled that there are believers who 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 already occurred before the mention of Antichrist. 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. But when they are asked to point us to the rapture before verse 8, they will admit there is no reference to the rapture, but 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. When asked where does Paul say that the rapture occurs before Antichrist, we are told to take their word for it, again.
Third, take the book of Revelation. We are suppose 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 we ask them, where is the rapture in Revelation? We are told, “Just trust us, the church is raptured somewhere between chapters 3 and 4.”
One begins to get the feeling that the pretribulational secret rapture is so secret that it cannot even be found in the Bible!