This post will pick up where we left of last post.
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. ~Matthew 24:9-14 (ESV)
Christians will be present on the earth during the tribulation. The prophecies of the Bible give no assurance that believers will be raptured from the earth before the tribulation. In fact, tribulation specifically refers to period of intense persecution. In addition, the Bible does not state or imply that the Christians present during the tribulation are being punished by God for not believing in Jesus in time for the rapture.
Tribulation is occurring today (albeit not the Great Tribulation, which Jesus is referring to here). Christians have always been violently persecuted, and even now a Christian is martyred about every three minutes. Christians are the most persecuted group in history.
The Great Tribulation has not occurred yet. During the Great Tribulation all nations will hate Christians, and since we have not arrived at a time when all nations hate Christianity Jesus will not return just yet.
During the Great Tribulation there will be a great falling away. There have been periods of apostasy before, but this falling away will be greater than anything that has happened before. Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. There have been false prophets before, but once again, the intensity of false prophecy will be greater than anything that has happened before. The lawlessness of the Great Tribulation will cause the love of the masses to grow cold. There have been periods of anarchy in history, and hateful periods that lack love. Even so, this time will be more chaotic and hateful than anything that has happened before. Hatred will be so strong that all nations will hate Christians and Christianity.
The Christians will not be secretly whisked away before the tribulation, they will still be on the earth, and they will be hated by all nations.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
What would Christians have to endure if they were raptured before the tribulation?
The most likely interpretation of this passage is not that Christians will be secretly raptured before the tribulation. The most likely interpretation is that Christians will remain on the earth for the entire tribulation, to the end, and that they will proclaim the gospel to all the nations that hate them.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
If the Bible clearly states that the one who endures to the end will be saved and that the end will not come until this gospel of the kingdom [is] proclaimed throughout the word as a testimony to all nations, where did we ever get the idea that Christians would be raptured before the tribulation?
Matthew 24 is a compelling passage which clearly shows that the rapture will not occur until after the tribulation. There is even more compelling evidence for a post-tribulation rapture than I have already written of, but that is for another post.