Purpose of this Session
There are a number of views in the post-tribulation camp. Some post-tribulationalists see the church in tribulation since its beginnings and do not view the tribulation period as futuristic. They consider the symbolic pictures of Revelation and Daniel to be allegorical, and liken the period since Christ until now to a tribulation which will be cut short by Christ’s soon coming.
The most prevalent view today among those who consider the rapture to come after the tribulation is that the tribulation period is a seven year period yet in the future, and that although the Church will experience this time of tribulation, it will be sheltered by God's protection before the second coming. George Ladd in his book "The Blessed Hope" and Robert Gundry in his book "The Church and The Tribulation" both teach that the church will experience the tribulation period, which will conclude with the rapture of the church. We will be taken up into the air and changed in an instant and then immediately descend to the earth with Christ.
Now is the time to “watch and pray” as Jesus admonished in Matthew 24:42 and 25:13, that our hearts might be prepared for that day when it comes.
Ken Birks in his consideration of the timing of this event investigates the time of an event that the Scriptures refer to as the last trumpet. Although precise timings are impossible to state without question, he points out that the primary Thessalonian scriptures (1 Thess 4:15-17) referring to the rapture speak of Christ descending with the trumpet of God, and that the dead in Christ will rise first at this time. The living believers will not precede those who are already dead in Christ but follow them.
Elsewhere, in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, again referring to the rapture and the dead in Christ being raised, the timing is specified as “at the last trumpet”. The “last trumpet” is referred to again in Revelation 10:7 which states that in the days of the sounding of this seventh or last trumpet, the mystery of God will be finished which He declared to His servants the prophets.
In Revelation 11:15-19 the sounding of this trumpet is referred to again saying that during the days of its sounding Christ shall take His throne, the nations will experience the wrath and judgement of God, reward will be given to the saints, and that the temple of God will be opened.
Although problems of timing and clarity still remain, it is clear that all of these events do not occur prior to the tribulation period beginning, suggesting that the timing of the dead being raised and the rapture taking place must be during or at the end of the period referred to as the tribulation.