Paul's Purpose In Writing The Thessalonian Letters
1. Paul never made the statement that the rapture will occur before the Tribulation. He never even implied that this was true or real or possible. Such a thing is NOT expressed in his letters.
2. Paul was writing to correct wrong conceptions about the gathering of believers to the Lord, whether they were dead or alive.
3. His corrections DID NOT include any indication of a separation between the rapture and the Day of the Lord.
4. Paul's only concern with timing was to place the Day of the Lord, which includes the rapture, after the Tribulation.
5. Paul dealt with the problem as it really was: Had the Day of the Lord arrived? If not, the rapture could be not be imminent.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:1; 1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-17
Paul said there will be a rapture and described it. He NEVER said it will be before the Tribulation.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:2
The Tribulation will end with the beginning of the Day of the Lord with Jesus' return.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-2
The Day of the Lord had not come.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:4-6
The Christian is to be awake and ready for the Day of the Lord.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:2-3
Certain things must happen before "the day" comes. The Tribulation events (the apostasy and the antichrist) will be signals that the Day of the Lord is near.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-12
The Day of the Lord (the time of the rapture) will happen after the Tribulation; the Church will see the antichrist "slain" by the appearing of the Lord.
2 THESSALONIANS 1:7-10; 2 THESSALONIANS 2; 1 THESSALONIANS 4:14-17
In the Day of the Lord we will be raptured (completed salvation), we will see God's vengeance on those who rejected His Son, and be reunited with those who died before His coming.