That is an excellent question! First of all, let’s prove that the Rapture does indeed happen “before the Tribulation.” I have been asked countless times to show one verse that proves this and I always turn the inquirer to Revelation 3:10 which says, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will KEEP YOU FROM THE HOUR OF TRIAL WHICH SHALL COME UPON THE WHOLE WORLD, to test those who dwell upon the earth” (NKJV). The Lord Jesus is speaking to THE CHURCH and assuring them that they will be “kept FROM the very hour of tribulation” that will test the whole world. The “hour of trial” is the TRIBULATION PERIOD of seven years that is described in great detail in Revelation chapters 6-18 and in order to keep the church FROM that time of tribulation they must be TAKEN AWAY before it begins. I believe the Apostle John’s translation to heaven in 4:1 illustrates the church’s translation to heaven. That verse says, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” In the rest of chapter 4 and all of chapter 5 John saw people worshipping the Lord (as Creator and Redeemer) and I believe the church is included in the “twenty-four elders” that are seen worshipping the Lord. The church is not seen or mentioned in chapters 6-18, which is another proof that they are no longer on earth during the Tribulation Period.

Now let’s read Revelation 20:4-5 from the New American Standard Bible: “Then I saw thrones, and THEY SAT ON THEM, and judgment was given to THEM. And I saw the souls of THOSE WHO HAD BEEN BEHEADED because of their testimony to Jesus and because of the word of God, and THOSE WHO HAD NOT WORSHIPED THE BEAST OR HIS IMAGE, and had not received the mark of their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.”

In this passage, which takes place AFTER the Tribulation Period ends, John saw THREE GROUPS OF BELIEVERS who will reign with Christ for a thousand years. He saw 1) the church saints and Old Testament believers sitting on thrones; 2) saints who had been martyred during the first half of the Tribulation Period for their faithful testimony (see Revelation 6:9); and 3) those who were martyred during the second half of the Tribulation for not worshiping the beast or taking his mark (see Revelation 6:10-11 and 13:1-7, 15). All of these saints are said to be part of “the first resurrection,” even though some were resurrected BEFORE the Tribulation began and the Tribulation martyrs experience their resurrection AFTER the Tribulation. The problem is easily solved when we realize that the FIRST RESURRECTION is speaking of “all who are raised to life with Christ” as opposed to those “who are raised to eternal judgment” 1,000 years later. In other words, there are TWO RESURRECTIONS! The “first resurrection” includes all believers in Christ even though they are raised at different times. The “second resurrection” includes all unbelievers and their resurrection will occur at the very end of time, as we see in Revelation 20:11-12, 15: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence the earth and heaven fled away…And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne….And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” The Lord Jesus spoke of these two resurrections in John 5:28-29, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did good deeds to a RESURRECTION OF LIFE, those who committed the evil deeds to a RESURRECTION OF JUDGMENT.” In Revelation we learn that those two resurrections are at least 1,000 years apart.  (441.1)  (DO)