Revelation1:9~~I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Here John declares that he is our brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. He also tells us why he was in the isle called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 13:21~~Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
(in reference to he that receives the seed into stony places)
John 16:33~~These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
**Tribulation~~(According to "The Student Bible Dictionary" written by:Karen Dockrey, Johnnie & Phyllis Godwin, published by Holman Bible Publishers)~~1. Troubles caused by an outside source (Acts 14:22; 1 Thess 3:4; Rev. 2:10) Oppression. Can be physical, mental, or spiritual. Tribulation cannot separate Christians from God or destroy them( Romans 8:35; John 16:33). God will comfort Christians through tribulation and deliver them from it(2 Cor. 1:3-4; Deut. 4:30-31; 1 Sam. 26:24).
2.The eventual result for persons who do evil (Romans 2: 9).
3. A period of excessive troubles near the end of the world or before the Lord's return (Mark 13:24; Dan. 12:1; Rev. 7:14)
Matthew 24:3~~And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
The first question they asked him was, when shall these things be? Referring to Matthew 24: 2~~And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
So, they wanted to know when this was going to happen. We know from history that in 70 AD. that Jerusalem was attacked and this was done during that time, regarding this one point. But notice, they asked yet another question,
"What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
Matthew 24:7-8~~For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Matthew 24:13~~But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Matthew 24:15~~When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Matthew 24:21-22~~For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
Matthew 24:29-31~~Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Matthew 24: 42-44~~Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 24:45-51~~Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of , And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:1-12~~The 5 wise and the 5 foolish virgins. The 5 wise were prepared to meet the Bridegroom, but the 5 foolish virgins were not prepared to meet him. While they went to buy their oil for their lamps, the bridegroom came and only those 5 wise were prepared to meet him and went in with him.
Matthew 25: 13~~Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4~~Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. ( This would be the Antichrist)
I have never read about a "rapture", but I have read about a "gathering together unto him", but as you can see, that gathering together unto him does not take place until after the antirchrist has set himself up as though, he, himself, is God. It is at that point, that he is brought down and shown he is but a man and the devil who gives him his great seat of authority and power, is then chained and sealed up into the bottomless pit until the thousand years with Christ is fulfilled. During that thousand year period, Christ will be ruling and reigning in his own kingdom, and we who have our faith in him and were gathered unto him will be ruling and reigning with him as Kings and Priests. For Christ will be returning with the armies of Heaven(those who have already gone on to be with the Lord through death) and we, which are alive and remain shall be changed in a moment and a twinkling of an eye.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18~~But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11~~But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another even as also ye do.
No one likes tribulation, but Christ said be of good cheer for he has overcome the world and in him there is peace.
Hebrews 12:1-3~~Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
I believe by all these scriptures, there is a very great chance that the church will still be here throughout the tribulation period and Faith in Christ will be tried to great extremes during that time, those who remain true to God and endure the tribulation, at the end of that tribulation period, Christ will return with his army from heaven and his angels will gather his elect unto him, that is those who are alive and remain at the end of that tribulation period who did not worship the beast or his image and who did not take his mark in their hands or foreheads. Those who remained faithful to Christ looking for his return will be gathered unto him at that point. This is also the time that the anitichrist, the beast, the false prophet will be shown that they are but men, not God. The Devil who gave the beast his seat and authority of power, will be chained and sealed up in the bottomless pit til the thousand years have expired. During that thousand year period, Christ will be ruling and reigning in his own kingdom here on earth with us who have been gathered unto him and those who returned with him ruling and reigning as Kings and Priests with Christ. After that thousand year period has expired, Satan will be loosed and he will go out into the four corners of the earth to Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle:
Revelations20:9-10~~And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
After this is the Great white throne Judgement of God, where all the dead, small and great stand before God and the books are opened and another book, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Again, that's my understanding of what I have read in the Bible, but I will not pretend that I'm an expert on this but I started this thread asking what if it is how it all goes down? Would our faith in Christ become shaken if we discovered the church was indeed going to have to go through the tribulation period? Would we think the rapture had taken place and we, ourselves, somehow had been left behind? Would these thoughts somehow persuade us to turn from following Christ to following the antichrist?
For, friends, regardless of when the Lord returns, we know he is returning, but will he find us following him faithfully? Will he find us enduring whatever tribulation we are faced with? or will he find us falling away from him?