One of the biggest pushes in the Independent Baptist movement has been to get rid of the Pre-Trib Rapture. Men like Kent Hovind and Steven L. Anderson make mincemeat of the idea that the Church avoids the Tribulation. They are successful because most Independent Baptist pastors and teachers put all the verses in the Bible on the Rapture and say that there is only one. Again, they are not “rightly dividing.” This allows Hovind and Anderson to correct their errors and put the church through the Tribulation. All this because the average Independent Baptist will not allow that there may be two Raptures, one before the Tribulation and another after the Tribulation.
First, let me say this: the church does not go through the Tribulation. This is the time of Jacob’s sorrows and what remains of Daniel’s 70th Week. According to the Scriptures, the church has nothing to do with those times. These times are for Israel. Therefore, the church must be removed prior to the start of those times. Beyond that, we have the testimony of the Pauline Epistles that the church will be removed from the time when God puts his wrath on the world right before the second coming of Jesus Christ. As God says, he has not appointed us to wrath. The Tribulation is called wrath throughout the book of Revelation. That time is a time for the nation connected to Jacob and Daniel, NOT Christians. Since the average Independent Baptist fails to make the distinction, they fall into the trap of the Post-Trib Rapture theorists and force themselves to put the church into the Tribulation.
One commonly repeated error, that affects most Independent Baptists, is to say that the Pre-Trib Rapture is a signless event. I am not saying that I know the day that the Rapture will happen. I do not. But I am saying that things will start to happen before the Rapture and they MUST happen before there can be a Rapture. Many will take the verse that says, “no man knoweth the day or the hour” and take that to mean that you CANNOT know when the Rapture will happen. The only problem is that the verse does not say that. “Knoweth” is a present tense verb. The point that Christ is making is that, at the time he is talking, no one knows. Will you not admit that, right now, Christ knows when the Rapture will happen? If he does, then the verse was only talking about at that time right then. Obviously, someone CAN know. Then we must go to other verses that show that some events must happen before the Rapture. First, let me say that God works off of a 7,000 year calendar. There are 4,000 years before Christ and there are 1,000 years after the 2nd coming. There are only 2,000 years left. That is the length of time between the 1st and 2nd coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Questions remain. Does this start at his birthday or his crucifixion? Does it end at the Pre-Trib or the Post-Trib Rapture? These are not clear, but they most likely can be found out. Enoch knew he would be Raptured, and so did Elijah. This seems to be the Biblical pattern (Amos 3:7). We see that the 2,000 years must occur before the Rapture. Also, 2 Thess 2:3 shows that 2 incidents must occur before the “day of Christ” The “day of Christ” is a reference to the Rapture and also to the Judgment Seat of Christ. Before this “day” can occur, “there (must) come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” First, apostasy must come. It has come. The next requirement is that the man of sin be revealed. This is the Antichrist, he has not been revealed. It will happen before the Rapture. But we are still talking about the Pre-Trib Rapture. All this happens before the “Time of Jacob’s Sorrows.” There is a second “revealing” in 2 Thess 2 and the second revealing is to the Jews and they will realize that their “Savior” is actually the Devil incarnate and will run to the wilderness. The first “revealing” is to the church. The type is how John knew who would betray Christ in John 13. Later the other disciples found out. All this evidence goes to show that the Pre-Trib Rapture of the church is not a signless event. It seems from the Scriptures that God will tell the church the timing of the Rapture beforehand.
There are some verses in Matthew 24 that CANNOT be put on the Pre-Trib Rapture. They must be put at the end of the Tribulation or else the church does go through the Tribulation. Verse 13 is a verse that does not fit the church-age doctrine of eternal security. Therefore, it must go in the Tribulation. In verse 14, there is a different gospel than the “Gospel of the grace of God.” Verse 15 has a rebuilt Temple. Verse 16 addresses those that be in Judea. If this was “Christians,” then the number would be very small and the main issue would be: why address only Christians in Judea and not the others? Would they not be affected by the Antichrist? Verse 20 deals with the Sabbath. That has nothing to do with the church (Col 2:16). Why bring that up if this is about Christians? Verse 27 deals with the 2nd coming and not the Rapture. Why did Christ skip the Rapture? Obviously, he did not. This evidence should suffice. There is another Rapture at the end of the Tribulation.