What does the Bible say?
When will the church be called up to heaven,
before, during or after tribulation?
The Apostle Paul tells us in I Cor. 15:22-23, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order (or rank).” According to the book of Revelation, there are three distinct ranks of believers in the Church, which will be translated and resurrected at different times.
The first rank overcomers are promised in chapter 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” They are seen arriving first in heaven and present in the throne room, viewing Christ taking His throne (the elders and the living creatures, redeemed out of every kindred, tongue and people and nation). Their promised reward is also the greatest (chapters 4-5). They are kept out, taken up before tribulation judgment.
The second group are seen in heaven in Rev. 7:9. They “came out of great tribulation” V. 14. They are a great multitude which no man could number of all nations, kindreds, and people and tongues. They have no crowns nor seated on thrones like the first group. They have tasted of the judgment of the world because they judged not themselves by the Word of God (I Cor. 11:31-32). But God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes V. 17.
The third rank is seen in Rev. 7:4-8 being sealed while on the earth. They are the 144,000, a special group all of Israel (12,000 from each tribe). They are seen in heaven in chapter 14:1-5. They sing a new song before the throne, and before the first rank overcomers V. 3.
All the church will be in heaven before the revelation of the Antichrist on earth and the terrible days of Jacob’s trouble (the last 3 1/2 years of tribulation). Which will be cut short by God or no flesh would be saved – Mt. 24:22.
E. J. Davis