Will the rapture come before the anti-Christ?

A:

The Rapture and Tribulation are theological concepts devised by John Nelson Darby, a British evangelical preacher and founder of the Plymouth Brethren, in 1830. He said that believers would be "raptured" up into heaven and that this event would then be followed by a period of Tribulation of non-believers. He did not really mention any anti-Christ in his scheme, but recent proponents of his theology see a place for the anti-Christ, , a concept that has popped up in different contexts over the centuries and is always bound to arouse interest, after the Rapture.

One proponent is Tim LaHaye who wrote a number of books placed in the non-fiction category, as well as writing a best-selling fiction series with Jerry B. Jenkins. In the first of this series, 'Left Behind', we see the anti-Christ seeking to block Christ's plans after the rapture has taken place.

Answer:

Premillenialists see a tribulation period immediately before the second coming of Christ. Pretribulationalist see the rapture (from the Latin word rapio-meaning caught up; see 1 Thess. 4:17) occurring prior to the tribulation with the church in heaven during the tribulation on earth. Midtribulationists place the rapture at the midpoint of a seven year tribulation period, the church on earth for only the first half of the tribulation. The views see the second coming of Christ in two phases: a secret coming in clouds to rapture the church and His return with the church to reign on earth. Postribulationists hold the church will remain on the earth during the tribulation period. The church will be protected from divine wrath although experiencing tribulation. In any event the antichrist reigns during the tribulation period.