There are some very good “arguments” concerning both points of view. Will the “catching up” of the saints occur before God pours out His wrath on the earth, and the antichrist rules, or will it happen at the end, or even in the middle?
I personally think it will happen BEFORE the tribulation. Here is my main reason: born-again believers are the church, the church is described as the bride of Christ throughout the New Testament (Revelation 19, Matthew 25, Ephesians 5). Since Jesus is the bridegroom and His church the bride, why would He “beat up” His bride before bringing her to Himself?
10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness Romans 1
9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 5
The wrath of God that is to plague the world during the tribulation is described in Revelation as “the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth”. It is God’s final attempt to get mankind’s attention, if you will. It is NOT a time for the purification or testing of the body of Christ. It is not a time of preparation before meeting the Lord. If it were, then why did Jesus have to die? We are made righteous through His blood, and all who abide in Him are made pure through Him, not through persecution and suffering.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
To the church in Philadelphia, Jesus promised
10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3
This promise extends to all born-again believers. What does it mean to persevere? To abide in Him; to walk by the Spirit, not the flesh, to keep His Word and not deny His name, holding fast to Him.
I cannot see the Just, Righteous God subjecting His purchased (by Jesus’ blood) children to the trials of the great tribulation.
Could I be wrong. Sure. Could it be we are not raptured pre-trib and have some kind of Divine protection from the various plagues, such as the locusts and boils? I suppose so. We know that the antichrist will put to death those who do not worship him or take his mark. I see this referring to those who are commonly referred to as the tribulation saints-those people who accept the Truth during the tribulation.
Regardless, the important question remains: Are you Ready for whatever the future holds, both on earth and in eternity?