Here are two more reasons for a pre-Tribulation rapture—points 15 through 16.
15. The day of the Lord will not overtake the church (1Thess. 5:3-5). I am not sure what the “day of the Lord” is referring to here. It is either the entire 7-year period of Tribulation, the last 3 ½ years of great Tribulation, or the very last day (or few days) when the Lord actually comes in judgment. We know that all of the Tribulation is a time of judgment; and that the last 3 ½ years is a greater judgment; and the last few days is the greatest time of judgment. But whatever the “day of the Lord” means here, we can be certain that the church will not go through it, because they are all believers, or sons of the light and sons of the day (v. 5). Thus, being His sons who have been delivered out of the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of light (Col. 1:13), we now have no part in that evil realm. Likewise, we will have no part in the day of the Lord; for the day of the Lord is a judgment only on the unbelievers.
The statement that the day of the Lord should not “overtake you like a thief,” is obviously an understatement, because the church won’t even be there. That is the entire point; it will not overtake them because they won’t be there! The unbelievers who are in the realm of darkness will be overtaken, but not the church.
Now, if it is the case that the “day of the Lord is the last half of the Tribulation or even the last day of the Tribulation, there may be a case that the rapture is mid-Tribulation or pre-wrath—if this was the only reference we use. However, I am not basing my case on only this passage. We must take all passages together before we decide.
Also, just because we are saying here that the church will miss the day of the Lord (if it is does not include the entire 7-year Tribulation), it does not mean that the church will not also miss all of the Tribulation. In fact, I believe that the rapture will occur even before the Tribulation starts. But that is another topic.
16. The announcement of peace and safely (1 Thess. 5:3). The announcement of peace and safety will no doubt be followed by a consensus that there will, in fact, be peace and safety. This will probably be due, first of all, to the rapture of the church; for indeed, they will agree that since the believers are gone, they will no longer stir up divisive messages, causing trouble.
This feeling of peace I think will also be due to the 7-year peace treaty made with Israel (Dan. 9:27). But of course it will be a false peace proclaimed by false prophets. In fact, not too long after this peace treaty is signed, while everyone is saying “peace and safety,” the Tribulation will begin as the seven seals are opened and war breaks out all over the earth—world war III! Then, in just 3 ½ years the antichrist will break the peace treaty and this is when things start to get really bad.
But the point we are making here is that this declaration of peace—a false peace—will not transpire until the rapture occurs. And since immediately after they say “peace and safety,” the destruction of the Tribulation begins, this means that the rapture must occur before the Tribulation.