"Pre-trib" for short. The doctrine that "the Rapture" - that is, the physical ascension of all Christians into the air during the End Times (itself a doctrine derived from a literal reading of several different passages in the Bible, most particularly 1 Thessalonians 4:17) - will occur before the foretold seven-year tribulation and not after. Adherents argue that the Bible points toward a Rapture that is not preceded by any recognizable signs, but which could happen at any time; whereas the Second Coming of Christ is described as the culmination of a certain specific chain of events. Therefore, they say, the sudden and unexpected Rapture must come before those recognizable events that would clearly reveal the imminence of the Second Coming.

While this may seem like a mind-bogglingly insignificant point to outsiders, it is actually the subject of tremendous debate among fundamentalists and evangelicals. The real issues beneath the surface are, as always, how the Bible should be read and what the essential nature of God is. See post-tribulation rapture.

Ironically, advocates of a pre-tribulation rapture also argued that it discouraged people from looking for evidence that the end times were approaching. Since the Rapture will be the first event of the end times, Christians can be sure that the events they're seeing are not predicted in Biblical prophecy. Of course it hasn't worked out that way, and "pre-trib" believers have found plenty of ways to make "predictions" about the present times.

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