The term the rapture
The term the rapture that some use creates confusion because of that it can separate the resurrection from the catching up, also it is not in the bible.
Some use the term the catching up before Jacobs trouble. This is wrong. It is true that they are caught up and the dead in Christ rise first. But the corresponding term for caught up in the chapter summery is the resurrection and it seems to happen approximately at the same time as Jesus second coming.
The catching up and rise first (1 Thess 4:16-17) corresponds to the Resurrection. So then we have sorted out when the Resurrection is really.
The term rapture should not be used because it is misguiding people. A better term is the resurrection. Because that is what it is talking about.
When is the resurrection?
CHAP. IV. Hee exhorteth them to goe on forward in all manner of godlinesse, 6 to liue holily and iustly, 9 to loue one another, 11 and quietly to followe their owne businesse: 13 and last of all to sorrow moderately for the dead. 17 And vnto this last exhortation is annexed a briefe description of the resurrection, and second comming of Christ to iudgement.
We see in the chapter summary that the resurrection is before or at the second comming of Christ. Probably in Revelation 19.
(1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 [KJV])  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Those that are alive at that point are caught up together with the dead in Christ to meet the Lord in the air.
(Revelation of John 19:11 [KJV]) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Revelation 19:11 might be for example when this resurrection occurs.
The dead in Christ resurrected
(1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 [KJV])  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
The dead go to heaven when they die
One way to understand 1Thess4:16 is that the dead go to heaven when they die.
So this Lord descending from heaven with a shout happens individually at the point of death to those who die before Jesus second coming and those that remain at Jesus second coming will be caught up in the air simultaneously.
So basically this is also why we see people in heaven already in revelation 4. Because dead people have individually been caught up at their point of death.
So basically how are we not to prevent (go before) them which die in Christ. Well by the fact that they are individually getting the shout from Jesus at their point of death.
The dead sleep until the resurrection
The other way to understand 1Thess4:16 is that the dead in Christ sleep or don't experience anything, neither space nor time, until its time for them to be caught up to heaven in the resurrection.
So from their personal experience perspective they go to heaven when they die. But from a historic time perspective they are caught up to heaven just before those that are alive (1 Thess 4:16-17).
“And you, in putting them [departed souls] in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection . . . And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good [a] case as the angels be? And then what cause [or reason] is there of the resurrection?” - William Tyndale 1530.
The people in heaven in Revelation 4 etc could then be explained as old testament saints.
The resurrection in other places in the bible
(John 10:3 [KJV]) To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
I think this is also talked about in John 10:3. He calleth his own sheep by name. So when you die in Christ, Jesus shouts from the sky and you are caught up in the air to heaven.
We also see it in Mark 13.
32 The houre whereof, beeing knowen to none, euery man is to watch and pray, that we be not found vnprouided, when he commeth to each one particularly by death.  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
You dont know when you are going to die and its then that you will be resurrected as a believer in Christ. Notice also that it is clearly stated in the chapter summary of Mark 13 that he cometh to each one particularly by death.
Who is taken out first?
(Matthew 24:31 [KJV]) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
(Matthew 24:40-41 [KJV])  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
I think we can conclude from the olivet discourse Matthew 24 that the believers will be taken out before the wicked in the resurrection.
The Parable of the wheat and the tares and the resurrection
Some would say that this does not fit with Jesus Parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13.
(Matthew 13:30 [KJV]) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Well if the tares are gathered first then the resurrection has to be after the tares are gathered some would say. But I think that this parable by Jesus Christ could be talking about something else then the end times. It could be talking about how the wicked are taken away often and the righteous remain. The wicked die before their time and all kinds of evil happen to them because they are snared by their own actions. While the righteous are somehow saved out of trouble. So this could be talking about the life of the individuals and how the believers are saved from trouble while the unbelievers walk into traps and are taken out by authority and their lifetime is shortened.
It could be like what happens in the evil day to the wicked that has built his house on the sand. So the wicked are destroyed first and the believers remain.
But their are exceptions to this idea also, the idea that the wicked die first.
(Ecclesiastes 7:15 [KJV]) All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
(2 Timothy 3:12 [KJV]) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
keep thee from the hour
Some people use John 3:10 claiming that this verse proves the pretrib rapture.
(Revelation of John 3:10 [KJV]) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
But there are other ways that this verse can be explained. For example by a second exodus that is going to lead the true saints into greater Israel where they will not be subject to the mark of the beast system.
(Ezekiel 20:33-38 [KJV])  As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:  And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.  And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.  Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.  And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:  And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
As you can see in the old testament prophet Ezekiel, a second exodus is in the scripture and I believe this is how the saints are meant to be saved from Gods wrath during the end times. I explain that further here.
Some people use "which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" in Rev 3:10 to try to prove that Israel cannot be a safe place during the tribulation because it says that the hour of temptation will come upon all the world and all that dwell upon the earth. Isn't greater Israel on the earth and part of the world? Yes it is so then how can there be any other explanation of Rev 3:10 than a pre-tribulation rapture, because then these people will have left the earth.
Basically this is the answer. The beast system will rule over all nations but not over Israel. But there will still be tribulation over Israel. That is why it says tribulation will be over all the world.
(Zechariah 13:8-9 [KJV])  And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.  And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
We see here in Zech 13:8-9 that there is going to come tribulation on Israel as well because 2 thirds of Israel will die. So tribulation is definitely coming on Israel as well. So anyone that claims that the verse Rev 3:10 proves that this end times that I am presenting is not scriptural is wrong.
There is a different tribulation on Israel than on the rest of the world. We see more tribulation on Israel in Zech 14:2.
(Zechariah 14:2 [KJV]) For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
- An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue, Book 4, chap. 4, https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-magazine/luther-and-tyndale-on-death-the-dead-know-nothing