“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, 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. 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” (Matt. 24:29-31).
The images of this section of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse would have been familiar to the Jews of His day, as they are images right from Isaiah and Joel that speak of God’s final judgment at the end of the world, what is often referred to as “the day of the Lord,” when the sun and moon will be darkened (see Is. 13:10-11; Joel 2:31). Then all the world’s inhabitants will see Jesus return in the sky in His glory, and they will mourn. Then Jesus’ angels will “gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other,” indicating that believers will actually be caught up and gathered to meet Jesus in the air, and it will all happen at the sound of “a great trumpet.”
Again, had you asked Peter, James or John at this point in the Olivet Discourse if Jesus would return for them before or after the time of the antichrist and the great tribulation, they would have certainly replied, “After.”