I have heard many people say it doesn’t matter whether the Lord returns before or after the tribulation. It is true that our belief in the timing is not necessarily a salvation issue, but these people clearly do not see the danger involved. Now, if a pretribulation rapture was biblically correct, the only things we’d need to worry about is believing in God, loving God, and keeping His commandments. Many churches and evangelist are teaching this pretrib doctrine that Christians will basically get a free pass out before the tribulation. They are not focusing on repentance and they are not helping their congregation become spiritually strong enough to deal with end time circumstances. As far as they are taught, they don’t need to know any of that. They put it aside like it will never happen. They never give it another thought. They don’t even teach the signs to watch for because they believe Jesus will return without warning. Why would Jesus have put so much effort into teaching His disciples if it weren’t important?
I will not blame only the teachers for this lack of wisdom. We are suppose to study God’s word on our own. Double check everything we are taught by reading and studying the Bible ourselves. Ask God to help you understand and see the truth. This is where a lot of us go wrong. We learn from family, friends, or our church and we take their word for it. They must know, right? Family and friends go to church. Pastors, etc. go to school to learn the Bible. But are they always right? No, they are not. Teaching someone is like a domino effect. If someone is taught something and they truly believe it, they pass it on. Satan knows this and uses it against us to lead us away from truth. It is up to us to gain a personal relationship with God. Personal is not congregational. Studying the Bible only on Sundays, Saturdays, or Wednesdays is not going to get us where we need to be with God. We are to constantly study to keep ourselves spiritually strong. Study to ward off any misleadings by false prophets. Study to recognize the signs we are to watch for so we won’t be in the dark and that day come as a thief. Study and gain the wisdom needed to get us through perilous times. Study and develop that one on one relationship with our creator. He is truly amazing. And, He loves us so much. I have found more people would rather carry on a conversation with the family pet than to have a conversation with God. I don’t mean talk to Him only in prayer. I mean actually sit and talk to Him. Sure He knows what’s going on but He wants to hear it from you. He wants you to acknowledge His presence every day.
What does all that have to do with the timing of the rapture? A lot. I need to express how people are putting their true faith into their church and not actually God. The Bible speaks of a falling away and people being turned unto fables. Listening to their teachers instead of God. Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? Beware you are not one of these poeple. If you are, the day of the Lord will come upon you like a thief in the night. You will not recoginze the signs and you will fall victim.
If you are expecting a rapture before the antichrist, what happens if you’re wrong? How will you recognize him if you’re not raptured? Will you recognize the “mark of the beast”? Will you fall prey to him and tell yourself he’s not the antichrist since you’re still on earth? Will you take the “mark of the beast” for fear of survival? If you do recognize him, will you fear you have been left behind and lose your faith in God? Will you believe he is the one true God come to earth to begin his reign and follow him? If your faith and patience in God is not strong enough because you believe He’ll whisk you away beforehand, and then you find yourself suddenly in the midst of the end, how will you survive?