We will look at the partial rapture theory, the mid-Tribulation rapture theory, the pre-wrath rapture theory, and the post-Tribulation rapture theory.
Previously, in my blog studies I have shown why the rapture must come before the Tribulation; hence the title, pre-Tribulation rapture. But our study would not be complete if we did not also look at these other views to see if there is any truth to them.
But before we proceed, I want to remind you that all of these theories of the rapture fall under what is called the pre-millennial school of thought, which teaches that the rapture, the 7-year Tribulation, and the second coming of Christ all come before the millennium.
I would say that the pre-millennialists generally agree that there will be a literal 7-year Tribulation that comes before a literal 1000 year reign of Christ; however, there is disagreement on the rapture. The partial rapture people raise the issue of the subjects of the rapture, and the pre-Tribbers, the mid-Tribbers, the pre-wrath people, and the post-Tribbers raise the issue of the time of the rapture. One thing is common, however, with pre-millennialists (as far as I know) is that they are literalists. They all believe in a literal rapture, a literal Tribulation, and a literal millennium.
But with other schools of thought this is not the case. Besides the pre-millennial school there is the spiritual school, the post-millennial school, and the a-millennial school. These theological schools sprung up sometime after 200 A.D. by allegorical teachers who no longer trusted in the literal method of study. I will just briefly comment on each of these schools.
The spiritual view teaches that there is no literal second coming and no literal millennium. They see the second coming as being fulfilled mainly through personal conversion, and His kingdom is only spiritual and in every believer. I am not sure what they would say about the rapture, but I’m sure they do not believe in a literal rapture. Many of them would probably see it as when Christ comes into the heart at conversion.
The post-millennialist view the millennium as occurring during the church age, in which the entire world will be Christianized before Christ returns. Then when He returns He will usher in eternity. Obviously, Christ is not bodily present during the millennium, and I think that most believe that there is no rapture—that the verses we would apply to the rapture, they would regard as the second coming.
A-millennialists believe that the kingdom of God is presently being fulfilled by the church in every believer, and then when He comes the eternal state will begin. Again just as the post-millennialist believe, there is no literal rapture; what we call rapture they would regard as the second coming.
As far as the Tribulation, I don’t think there is any certain teaching on it. Some would take the Pretorist view that it has already occurred (during the time of Nero). Others would probably say that we are going through it now. Since these views are allegorical and not literal, they pretty much can make the Scriptures mean anything they want—anything they think God is saying to them.
So in the next few blog posts we will look at these other four rapture theories—all of which, as we said, are part of the pre-millennial school. The first theory we will look at is the partial rapture theory.