Discourse 61 - Is the Great Tribulation identical with the Day of the Lord and the Wrath of God?




Is the Day of the Lord the Great Tribulation? / Lecture Jürgen Haizmann 00, 2003

The signs of the Great Tribulation.

The signs of the Day of the Lord.

The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Is the Day of the Lord the Great Tribulation? / Lecture Jn 00 2003*))

In its expectation of the Last Days, the congregation - as far as its future is concerned -is not awaiting the end of the world. Nor the millennial kingdom, either - rather, the congregation awaits the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who will gather it to himself in heaven. (...) He (Daniel) only knows that in terms of the prophecy one week of seven years is still to come. This is the Day of the Lord, this is the Great Tribulation. We are told quite precisely how long this time will be, this Great Tribulation in Daniel, the seventieth week of seven years. Then the Kingdom of God will begin. Daniel saw all this. (...) They know, however - the Thessalonians, that is, in the time that has since elapsed, by contrast with the disciples (Jn 14) - that the Rapture is to take place before the Day of the Lord. The Rapture is here set in relation to the Day of the Lord, which will come like a thief in the night. (...) In this entire period, starting from the Great Tribulation up to the Millennium, God will judge peoples and individuals in person. (...) This day, when the congregation is caught up in the Rapture, is the day on which the Great Tribulation starts. (...) The congregation will not be involved in the Great Tribulation, it will be caught up in the Rapture before the Great Tribulation. (...) Before the Great Tribulation, because the Day of the Lord begins, after all, at the moment when the Antichrist concludes a firm covenant.

*) This extract has been taken from the recording of a lecture by Jürgen Haizmann, Munich, on the subject of “The Rapture”.



The first statement made in the passage quoted above - namely, that the congregation of the Last Days does not await either the end of the world or the Millennial Kingdom - is one that we can endorse completely. In the second part, now, the author indicates that the congregation awaits the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. That, of course, is also correct. The further explanations given in this lecture, however, make it clear that the doctrine presented here involves the Rapture’s taking place before the Great Tribulation. This view is the consequence of the author’s identifying the Great Tribulation with the Day of the Lord. From this point of view, the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord constitute one and the same event in the Last Days. To examine the correctness of this interpretation, let us take a look at all the scriptural passages that have something to say about the Great Tribulation / Affliction / Distress (all these being merely alternative synonyms for the same Greek word).

A time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.

Dan 12,1 "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 12,2 "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Dan 12, 1- 2;


In Mt 24,21 the Lord refers to this same Great Tribulation, “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now”:

A great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

Mt 24,21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 24,22 "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Mt 24,21-22


The signs of the Great Tribulation.

So we can see in this passage (Mt 24,21) a clear parallelism with Dan 12,1-2. In both texts, both in the Old and in the New Testament, this Great Tribulation is described as a time of affliction such as there has never been since the beginning of the world. In order now to determine the differences from the passages that refer to the Day of the Lord - differences which we will analyze below - let us consider the context of the present passage (Mt 24), and see if we can pick out the essential features of this event.

What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?

Mt 24,3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" Mt 24, 3; Mt 24, 3;


This, then, is the start of the Lord’s discourse on the Last Days. The disciples ask him about the signs of his coming.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

Mt 24,6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 25,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 24,8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Mt 24, 6- 8; (Lk 21,10-11; Mk 13, 8;)


Here we have an important sign of the Great Tribulation: wars, famines and earthquakes. But the Lord then says that this is only the beginning of birth pangs - that is, the start of the Tribulation.

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you.

Mt 24,9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 24,10 "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 24,11 "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 24,12 "Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 24,13 "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. Mt 24, 9-13;


In the above passage (Mt 24,9-13), the Lord points to the essential features of this Great Tribulation:

-  the increase of lawlessness - that is, the abolition of the rule of law,

-  Christians will be hated in all the countries of the earth - as the Jews were hated under the Third Reich - and

-  the worldwide ostracism, persecution and killing of Christians.


(See also Chapter 03: “The Great Tribulation.”)

The signs of the Day of the Lord.

Let us now look at those Old and New Testament passages that speak of the Day of the Lord - which our author takes to be identical with the Great Tribulation.

The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the day of the LORD comes.

Joel 2,31 "The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 2,32 "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls. Joel 2,31-32;


In this passage (Joel 2,31-32) we are told of the Day of the Lord. It will be a great and terrible day. Immediately before it, the sun is to be turned into darkness and the moon into blood. The passage given below (Amos 5,18-20) also speaks of the Day of the Lord, and likewise describes it as “darkness and not light”.


The day of the LORD will be darkness instead of light, even gloom with no brightness in it.

Amos 5,18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light; 5,19 As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him. 5,20 Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it. Amos 5,18-20;


After what the Lord has told us in the passage quoted earlier (Mt 24,21-28), we now have in the passage that follows it, quoted below, an indication of the end of the Great Tribulation and the start of a new event. As in the passage from Amos, here too the Lord gives us an indication that there will be a great darkness, in which the sun will be darkened and the moon will lose its light.

The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Mt 24,29;


(See also Chapter 04: “The Great Darkness.”)

But at the same time Mt 24,29 gives us an express indication that this event will take place “immediately after the tribulation” - from which we may infer that at this point the Great Tribulation has already come to an end. We can thus recognize two quite specific indications of the Day of the Lord:

1. Immediately after the end of the Tribulation and before the coming of the Day of the Lord, the great darkness sets in: the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky.

2. These are the events that usher in the Day of the Lord. Only now does the Day of the Lord begin - the day which is also the Day of the Wrath of God.

Although this is already a sufficient demonstration that the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord cannot possibly be identical, seeing that the one follows on the other in temporal sequence and the two events are actually separated by the great darkness (first the Tribulation, then the darkening of the heavenly bodies, and then the Day of the Lord), we will analyze here a few more scriptural passages with a view to identifying further signs of the Day of the Lord, and thus further distinguishing features that set it off from the Great Tribulation.

The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord shall come.

Apg 2,19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. 2,20 The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the LORD shall come. 2,21 And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Acts 2,19-21;


For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty.

Isa 2,10 Enter the rock and hide in the dust From the terror of the LORD and from the splendor of His majesty. 2,11 The proud look of man will be abased And the loftiness of man will be humbled, And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
2,12 For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning Against everyone who is proud and lofty And against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased. 2,13 And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up, Against all the oaks of Bashan, 2,14 Against all the lofty mountains, Against all the hills that are lifted up, 2,15 Against every high tower, Against every fortified wall, 2,16 Against all the ships of Tarshish And against all the beautiful craft. 2,17 The pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, 2,18 But the idols will completely vanish. 2,19 Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the LORD And the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. Isa 2,10-19;


In this passage from Isaiah (Isa 2,10-19) we can make out further specific features of the Day of the Lord:

-  The proud look of man will be abased and the loftiness of man will be humbled (Isa 2,11)

-  For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty and against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up, against all the oaks of Bashan (Isa 2,12-13)

-  Against all the lofty mountains, against all the hills that are lifted up, against every high tower, against every fortified wall (Isa 2,14-15)

-  Against all the ships of Tarshish and against all the beautiful craft. The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased (Isa 2,16-17)


So everything that is “lofty” will be brought low. Whether it is a question of natural features (trees, mountains and hills), the work of human hands (walls and towers) or proud and lofty individuals (the pride of man) - all will be brought low by God. All mountains and hills will be reduced to a level plain, all the lofty trees will be felled and all lofty, powerful, rich and famous people will be humbled. Only the Lord will be uplifted on this day.

-  Men will go into caves of the rocks and into holes of the ground before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth tremble. (Isa 2,19)


By contrast with the Great Tribulation, where we find people persecuting and killing one another (the Christians being the victims) and where the earth is afflicted with humanly caused environmental catastrophes and wars between nations, the Day of the Lord is God’s visitation on ungodly humanity.

The day of the LORD - the day of the wrath of God.

Zeph 1,14 Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. 1,15 A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness, 1,16 A day of trumpet and battle cry Against the fortified cities And the high corner towers. 1,17 I will bring distress on men So that they will walk like the blind, Because they have sinned against the LORD; And their blood will be poured out like dust And their flesh like dung.1,18 Neither their silver nor their gold Will be able to deliver them On the day of the LORD’S wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He will make a complete end, Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth. Zeph 1,14-18;


Here, in Zeph 1,15, the Day of the Lord is also described as “a day of darkness and gloom”, just as in the passages quoted earlier. But we are further told, in verse 1,18, that this is also the day of the Lord’s wrath. And this day of wrath meets us again in the New Testament, in Revelation:

The great day of the wrath of God and the Lamb.

Rev 6,16 and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 6,17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" Rev 6,16-17;

Seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.

Rev 15,1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished. Rev 15, 1;

Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God.

Rev 15,6 and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. 15,7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. Rev 15, 6- 7;


(See also Chapter 05: “The Day of the Lord.”)

The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.

When we examine in more detail these parallel passages from the Old Testament and the New Testament that relate to the Day of the Lord = the Day of the Wrath of God, we come to realize that there is a further parallelism, one that stands out clearly, between Mt 24 on the one hand and Rev 6 and 7 on the other. If we go back up from the passage on the Day of the Wrath of God quoted above (Rev 6,16-17) to see what precedes it, the same great darkness meets us.

The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood.

Rev 6,12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 6,13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. Rev 6,12-13;


Just as we are told in Mt 24,29:

-  But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky.

so here too, in Rev 6,12-13:

-  I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth.


It is a particularly conspicuous feature that in both passages - by contrast with the Old Testament passages - the “falling of the stars” is referred to. These are the only passages in the whole of Scripture that contain an event of this nature, so the thought immediately suggests itself that we may have to do here with separate prophecies of the same event.

(See also Table 14: “The Revelation - classified by events.”)

So if there is a parallelism between Mt 24 and Rev 6, we should be able to go back up from the great darkness as it appears in the passage just quoted (Rev 6,12), and in accordance with the sequence of events as they appear in Mt 24, now in reverse order (Day of the Lord - great darkness - Great Tribulation) we would expect to hit upon the Great Tribulation in the Revelation account as well.

And in fact we do find in Rev 7,14 a statement with a backward reference - an indication, that is, of an event which at this point in time already lies in the past (before Rev 6.12, that is).

These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.

Rev 7,9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 7,10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." 7,11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 7,,12 saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."

7,13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 7,14 I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 7,15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 7,16 "They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 7,17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." Rev 7, 9-17;


It is the “great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” that stands in heaven before the throne. And as the elder then explains to John, these are the ones who come “out of the great tribulation”. Here it should be noted that the expressions in

-  Mt 24,21: “For then there will be a great tribulation” and in

-  Rev 7,14: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation”

are absolutely identical in the original Greek.

(See also Discourse 05: “The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.”)

But this parallelism between Mt 24 and Rev 6-7 goes considerably further than this - namely, when we follow the sequence of events in reverse order, from the Day of the Lord by way of the great darkness to the Great Tribulation. The great darkness, which is also, specifically, described in Mt 24,29, does however also include an event which - for want of the present analysis, and in the absence of the sharp distinction we have been making between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord - is frequently placed at a different point in the sequence of events of the Last Days: I mean the Second Coming of the Lord, and the Rapture of the faithful.

They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24.30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29-31;


The Rapture, then is an event that comes after the Great Tribulation, at the time of the great darkness, and before the Day of the Lord = the Day of the Wrath of God. And here we also realize very clearly why so many attempts are made by the pretribulationists, on the basis of various scriptural passages such as the one quoted below (1The 5,1-9), to shift the Rapture to a time before the Great Tribulation.

The day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.

1The 5,1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 5,2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 5,3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 5,4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5,5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 5,6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 5,7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 5,8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 5,9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1The 5, 1- 9;


This statement of Paul’s is of course perfectly correct. The congregation of the Last Days is not destined for wrath; nor will it experience this Day of Wrath, the Day of the Lord. This is because it will have been caught up by the Lord in the Rapture before the Day of the Wrath of God - at the start of this event, in the great darkness. Admittedly, we are told by Mt 24,29 that this great darkness comes before the Day of the Lord, but after the Great Tribulation.

And just as Paul writes to the Thessalonians, in the passage quoted above, that “the Day of the Lord will come like a thief (…)so then let us not sleep” the Lord Jesus likewise confirms, in Revelation, that this day will come like a thief. The remark “Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked” gives us another indication that we are here concerned with the Rapture - occurring after the Great Tribulation at the beginning of the Day of the Lord, together with the great darkness and the Lord’s coming.

Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked.

Rev 16,15 "Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame." Rev 16,15;


Mr Haizmann remarks, in referring to this event:

““Paul explicitly states in this connection (1The 5,1-9) that this day will not come upon the congregation, because they belong to a different temporal epoch. Although the time of the Rapture itself is not known, the Day of the Lord will not surprise them with the ruin that is wrought by a thief in the night. This is because they belong to another day - not to the dark, gloomy day but to the bright day. And because the Rapture is first to occur, they will be saved from the Day of the Lord, seeing that the Rapture - as it emerges from the context here - will be the trigger of the Day of the Lord.”


And here we can only express our unreserved agreement. That is just how it is. All this, however, takes place after the Great Tribulation and not before.


Conclusion

As our analysis of the scriptural passages cited proves, the Great Tribulation is on no account to be identified with the Day of the Lord. Far from it - these are actually two independent events, separated moreover by the intervening event of the great darkness, together with the Coming of the Lord and the Rapture.

The sequence of events of the Last Days is thus as follows:

-  Great Tribulation - persecution and killing of Christians, worldwide environmental catastrophes and wars (Dan 12,1; Mt 24,3-28; Rev 7,9-17)

-  Great darkness - with the Coming of the Lord and the Rapture of the faithful (Joel 3,4; Amos 5,20; Zeph 1,15; Mt 24,29-31; Acts 2,19; 1Cor 15,50-53; 1The 4,15-17; Rev 6,12-13)

-  Day of the Lord = Day of the Wrath of God - God’s judgment on the ungodly, everything that is lofty will be brought low (Joel 3,4-5; Amos 5,18-20, Isa 2,10-19; Zeph 1,14-18).


Exactly the same sequence is to be found in chapters 6 and 7 of Revelation - a point that indubitably lends support to the present interpretation.

And when the author of the lecture quoted at the beginning of this Discourse finally observes

“This is why Christians do not have to be afraid of the events of the Day of the Lord (unfortunately, he means here the Great Tribulation!! - ed.) because they are not destined to this”,

the true danger of confusing these two events becomes very plain. This approach lulls our Christian brothers and sisters into a false sense of security, leading them to expect the Coming of the Lord before the Great Tribulation. They are not told that first the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation must come, together with persecution, apostasy and lawlessness, by all of which the congregation of the Last Days will also - and in a very special sense - be affected.

Paul warns us too that the start of the Day of the Lord (darkening of the heavenly bodies) and so the Coming of the Lord Jesus and our gathering together to him (Rapture) will not come unless the apostasy comes first (with the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation).

The Lord and our gathering together to Him will not come unless the Antichrist comes first.

2The 2,1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2,2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 2,4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2,5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 2,6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2,8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2,9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 2,10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2,11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 2,12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2The 2, 1-12;


In these statements made by Paul we have a unique proof of the true sequence of events relating to the rapture.

After having made it clear in 2The 2,1 that he is speaking here of the day of

the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him”,

- that is to say, of the Rapture, as he had already described it in his first Epistle to the Thessalonians (1The 4,15-17) - and then reinforcing the point he is making in 2The 2,3:

“that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed”,

in the following verse (2The 2,4) Paul now identifies this “man of lawlessness” as the Antichrist, as he is similarly presented in Rev 13,6 and 13,15:

who opposes and exalts himself against all called God or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

And then, in 2The 2,8, Paul makes a statement which sums up in a single sentence all those scriptural passages which have served to demonstrate the argument of this Discourse, and which actually renders baseless any theory of the Rapture’s taking place before the appearance of the Antichrist, or before the Great Tribulation.

“And then the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall annul by the appearing of his coming.”

So if the Rapture (gathering together) takes place at the Coming of the Lord, and the Lord on his coming is to annihilate the Antichrist (the lawless one), it necessarily follows from this that the Antichrist, and so also the Great Tribulation, must have been realities at an earlier stage - before the Rapture.

And this means that

the Rapture takes place after the dominion of Antichrist, and so also after the Great Tribulation.