Question: In 1 Thessalonians:5:1-2, after describing the rapture (4:13-17) Paul refers to this event as the "day of the Lord." Acts:2:20-21, 2 Thessalonians:2:1-3 and 2 Peter:3:10 also show that the rapture and the day of the Lord are the same event. Matthew:24:15 and 2 Thessalonians:2:1-3 appear to indicate that believers will still be here at the mid-point of the trib when Antichrist is revealed. Lastly, Matthew:24:29 and Acts:2:20-21 talk about the sun, moon, and stars at the time of the day of the Lord, and Revelation:6:12-13 uses the same language to describe the opening of the sixth seal. Then in Revelation:7:9 immediately following the opening of the sixth seal it makes reference to a great multitude in Heaven that no one could count. This leads me to believe that the rapture (day of the Lord) takes place after the abomination and at the opening of the sixth seal. Am I wrong?
Response: I don't find your conclusions in the verses you cite. First of all, an event (the Rapture) is not a day (the day of the Lord). The Rapture, coming when not expected (Mt 24:44; Mk 13:32-37; Lk 12:40) and "as a thief" (Rv 3:3, 16:15), marks the beginning of the day of the Lord, which also comes "as a thief in the night" (1 Thes:5:2). But the Rapture doesn't occur simultaneously with the destruction of the old universe and creation of the new, which also happens in "the day of the Lord" (2 Pt 3:10). Far too much occurs during that day (the Rapture, millennial reign, destruction of old and creation of new universe, etc.) for it to be a 24-hour period.
Acts:2:20,21 refers to a particular "great and notable" part of the "day of the Lord...," before which, not during which, "the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon into blood" (2:20). A "falling away [apostasy]" must precede the day of the Lord (2 Thes:2:1-3); and 2 Peter:3:10 states that the old universe will be destroyed during the day of the Lord. None of these verses indicates that the Rapture and day of the Lord "are the same event."
Matthew:24:15-22 does not refer to Christians but to Jews, specifically those "which be in Judea" (Mt 24:16). Second Thessalonians 2:3 refers to the falling away that comes first [i.e., before the Antichrist is revealed in the day of the Lord]. This verse makes it clear that the falling away comes before the day of the Lord, and the revealing of the Antichrist in that day. The Rapture must occur, removing the church, and only "then shall that Wicked [i.e., Antichrist] be revealed...whose coming is after the working of Satan..." (2 Thes:2:8,9). The next few verses refer to those who will be deceived by Antichrist "because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion...that they all might be damned..." (2:10-12). There is no hint that true Christians are even on earth. They all have been taken in the Rapture and Paul is referring to a world of unbelievers who have been left behind.
Matthew:24:29 (vv. 27-31) refers not to the Rapture when believers are caught up to meet Christ in the air, but to the Second Coming when His feet touch the Mount of Olives and angels gather back to Jerusalem from all over the world "his elect" [i.e., the 1/3 of the Jews who have survived the great tribulation and are left alive when Christ returns to take the throne of His father David-Ezk 39:28 and Zec:13:9]. This occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation and has nothing to do with the Rapture. By the way, when His feet touch the Mount of Olives, Christ brings "all the saints" (Zec:14:5) from heaven with Him-so the Rapture must have already occurred to take them up there. Of course this must be the case, because the Judgment Seat of Christ must have occurred in order for the bride to be "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white" to dress her for the wedding in heaven" (Rv 19:7,8). Only after these two events in heaven can the Second Coming take place (19:11-21).
Revelation:7:9 refers to the same group we saw under the altar at 6:9-11. They have not been Raptured to heaven but are the souls of those martyred under Antichrist asking when they will be avenged. They are told that will not occur until the other martyrs have been killed. Then they will be resurrected together at the Second Coming (6:11; 20:4,5).