I Thessalonians 4:
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Both amillinalists and pre-millinialists agree that I Thessalonians 4: 13-18 is in the Bible and is a part of Holy Canon.
Both agree there will be a "coming of the Lord".
Both agree that at the time of the coming of the Lord, there will be beleivers alive upon the earth.
Both agree that those living believers that are upon the earth when the Lord comes will not experience death. That's the whole point of the above passage of Scripture.
In historical theology, the experience of those living believers in being "caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air," has been designated as the rapture, and "rapture" is a very appropriate term to describe that event.
There is nothing in the context of this passage that clearly indicates or demands that this rapture will be pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, post-tribulation, pre-millennial, or post-millennial. Assertions from all views as to the timing are based on presuppositions brought to the passage, not from the passage itself.
The eschatological debates between the different viewpoints do not have anything to do with the fact of the rapture, but they have everything to do with the timing of that rapture.
My Dispensational Pre-millennial friends need to recognize and acknowledge that a pre-tribulation timing of the rapture is not a sine qua non of the Biblical doctrine of the rapture. It is not at all fair or true that a person does not believe in the rapture because they do not hold to a pre-tribulation timing of the rapture.
My Reformed A-millennial friends need to stop dissing the rapture concept just because of the extremes of the Hal Lindseys and Tim LaHays within the Dispensational pre-millennial school. What they need to do is affirm and acknowledge the Biblical concept and challenge our Dispensational friends when they make a pre-tribulation timing of the rapture a sin qua non of the Biblical doctrine.
Eschatological views need to be held with some what of a loose hand. One point of eschatology that I am firmly convinced of is that when all is said and done, though we will find we got some things right, none of us will have it all and totally right.
~ The Billy Goat ~