Q. Why would God allow His church to endure His wrath when His word says otherwise?
A. God will not allow His church to endure His wrath. The Bible is very clear about that. However, the Bible does not tell us that the tribulation is the wrath of God. Revelation 12:12 shows us that the tribulation is the wrath of Satan. This will be the time of Satan’s final attempt to corrupt humanity and Satan will do this through the Antichrist. Revelation 13:2 and Revelation 13:4 show us that the dragon gave him, the beast, his power. Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2 reveal to us that the dragon is Satan. So Satan will pour out his wrath through the Antichrist. This is why we find the Antichrist warring against the saints in Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:7. We as Christians have always faced Satan’s wrath. The story of Job is a great example of this. In Job 1 we find that God actually brings up Job to Satan and then allows Satan to persecute Job. We find in the end of the story that because Job endured he was blessed far greater than he was in the beginning. This should give us faith to hold on to Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Q. The “elect” in Matthew 24:29-31 is referring to the Jews not the church. So obviously the church was already raptured, right?
A. Throughout the Bible God used the word “elect” for different people. Elect is used in reference to a single man, and it is also used in regard to Israel in the Old Testament. In the New Testament it is used in regard to two women, angels, and the church. The Roman church and the Colossian church were referred to as the elect. The word “elect” is also the same as “chosen” in the New Testament and multiple references are made concerning the church being the chosen. So to say that the elect only refers to Israel would overlook scriptures that clearly refer to the church as the elect as well.
Also we know that those who are in the rapture are saved. We know that salvation comes through Jesus Christ. Majority of the Jews deny that Jesus was the Messiah and for those who accept Jesus and obey the gospel they would then become part of the body of Christ, the church. We learn in Zechariah that Israel is saved after the Lord returns. So the elect that is gathered in Matthew 24 are not the physical people of God, the Jews, but rather the body of Christ, the church.
Q. Matthew 24:31 shows that the angels are gathering the elect together from heaven so isn’t this proof that we are already in heaven at the second coming?
A. When Matthew 24 says the angels gather together the elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other, it is not saying that the elect are in heaven. They are gathering the elect from the north, south, east, and west. They are gathering them from all over the sky. The term heaven is actually used in reference to the sky more than the spiritual dwelling place. Remember what happens at the second coming though. People all over the world both dead and alive will rise from the earth and the angels are gathering them together to Jesus Christ who will be in one place. Many have believed that the rapture is an instantaneous translation from here to God but 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 clearly shows us that the change is what is instant. We will instantly become immortal but we do not rise in the blink of an eye. We will ascend like Jesus did and if you look in Acts 1 you will find that the disciples literally watched Jesus ascend. So the passage is definitely not saying that we are already in heaven. If you would like a better clarification just look at Mark 13:24-27. In verse 27 we find that the angels gather them from the four winds and that they gather them from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Q. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 teaches that the church or the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way before the Antichrist is revealed. How can you still believe in post tribulation rapture?
A. The “he” in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is not referring to the church because Revelation 13:7 specifically shows the Antichrist warring against the saints. Saints are definitely a part of the church. Also in the first four verses of 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul taught that the second coming and the rapture could not happen until there was a falling away first and the man of sin was revealed. The “he” in verse seven also cannot be the Holy Spirit. Daniel 11 shows the people who know there God during the tribulation will be strong and do exploits. Revelation 11 also shows the two witnesses ministering during that time. The power that these people will use will inevitably be the same power that the church uses today which comes from the Holy Ghost.
To understand who the “he” is you have to understand verse 6. It plainly tells us that the factor holding the Antichrist back is time. This makes perfect sense because of the prophecy of Daniel 9:27. We learn here that in the middle of the final 7 years the abomination of desolation will take place. This is when the Antichrist reveals himself, so God has foretold the specific timing of revealing of the Antichrist. God’s word is forever settle so there is no way that the Antichrist can be revealed at any other time. So God’s timing is the factor. So the “he” in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is referring to God or his timing. Many jump to the conclusion that the phrase “taken out of the way” refers to being completely removed from the scene. However if I am blocking traffic with a cone in the middle of the road, I can move that cone to the side of the road and traffic would begin to flow yet the cone would still be on the road. So God has determined the time that the Antichrist will be revealed and until that time is met the Antichrist cannot be revealed.