"Pre-trib" for short. The doctrine
that "the Rapture
" - that is, the physical ascension
of all Christian
s 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
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.