The Pre-Wrath Rapture – Is there any validity to this concept?

by Dr. David R. Reagan, The Lamb & Lion Ministies

Lamplighter Magazine

Let’s begin with some definitions and clarifications. The term, Rapture, refers to the idea that a day will come when Jesus will appear in the heavens, at which time the dead in Christ will be resurrected to meet Him in the air and to receive their glorified bodies. Living believers will be taken up also and will be translated en route from mortal to immortal. Both the resurrected believers and the living ones will then return to Heaven with Jesus. This event is viewed by most as being separate and apart from the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth to reign for a thousand years.

The word, Rapture, does not appear in English language Bibles, but it can be found in the Latin Vulgate translation of Jerome, which served as the basic Bible of the Western world for over 1200 years, from 400AD to 1611 when the King James Version was published. The word appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In English versions it is expressed as “caught up.” The concept of the Rapture can be found in many other places in the New Testament — for example, in John 14:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

One other thing that needs to be made clear about the Rapture is that it is a promise to the Bride of Christ, which is the Church. It will not include Old Testament Saints. They will be resurrected at the time of the Lord’s Second Coming, at the end of the Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2). The Tribulation Martyrs — those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior during the Tribulation and who are killed for their faith — will also be resurrected at the time of the Second Coming.

The Question of Timing

Among those who believe in a Rapture of the Church, there is disagreement as to the timing of the event. Until recent years, there were three concepts of the Rapture’s timing:
1) The Pre-Trib View — This is the idea that the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation begins.

2) The Mid-Trib View — This viewpoint places the Rapture in the middle of the Tribulation.
3) The Post-Trib View — According to this view, the Rapture and the Second Coming are all one event that takes place at the end of the Tribulation.

The “Pre-Wrath” View

In 1990 Marvin Rosenthal presented a fourth viewpoint in his book, The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church. Rosenthal was not the originator of this new viewpoint. Rather, he was the one who popularized it with his book.

The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church

The person who conceived the “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture was a man named Robert Van Kampen (1938-1999). Van Kampen became one of America’s richest men through his involvement in investment banking. During his lifetime he accumulated one of the largest private collections of rare and antique Bibles in North America.

In the 1970’s Van Kampen began developing the “Pre-Wrath” concept of the timing of the Rapture. Once he had completed his work on the concept, he started trying to find a well known person in the field of Bible prophecy to endorse his new view. That person finally turned out to be Marvin Rosenthal, who at the time was serving as the director of a very influential ministry called Friends of Israel. Rosenthal tried to convince the board of the ministry to abandon its commitment to the Pre-Trib view and accept the new viewpoint. They refused, and Rosenthal was forced to depart. He went to Florida where he built the Holy Land Experience — a Christian theme park which has since been taken over by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Today, Rosenthal serves as the director of Zion’s Hope, a ministry located in Winter Garden, Florida.

Rosenthal’s book was financed by Van Kampen’s fortune, and he mailed out thousands of copies to pastors all over America. Later, Van Kampen wrote his own books about the “Pre-Wrath” view, the most important being The Sign (1992).

The Meaning of the “Pre-Wrath” View

The “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture argues that the first three-fourths of the Tribulation is the wrath of Man and the wrath of Satan, and not the wrath of God. Therefore, the proponents of this view argue that the Church will suffer through the first three-quarters of the Tribulation since the Church is promised protection only from the wrath of God.

Those who espouse this viewpoint of the Rapture’s timing believe that the Seal Judgments are the wrath of Man and Satan and that they continue throughout the first half of the Tribulation and into the second half, right up to the three-quarters point, or shortly thereafter. They place the Trumpet Judgments in the last quarter of the Tribulation and the Bowl Judgments in the first 30 days following the end of Daniel’s 70th Week of Years.

The Pre-Wrath Rapture

Objections to the Viewpoint

I have a number of objections to this concept of the Rapture’s timing.

1) The Name — I object to the name given the viewpoint by its proponents. The name is both confusing and vague. It is confusing because both the Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib views are “Pre- Wrath.” The Pre-Trib view argues that the entire 7 years of the Tribulation (Daniel’s 70th Week of Years) constitutes a pouring out of the wrath of God. The Mid-Trib view takes the position that only the second half of the Tribulation is the period of God’s wrath. So, Rosenthal’s name for his viewpoint does not distinguish it from the Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib views. All three are prewrath views.

The “Pre-Wrath” name is also vague because it does not give a clue as to when the Rapture occurs in relation to the Tribulation. The name of the Pre-Trib view signifies a belief that the Rapture will occur before (pre) the Tribulation begins. The name of the Mid-Trib view clearly indicates a belief that the Rapture will occur in the middle of the Tribulation. The name of the Post-Trib view puts the Rapture after (post) the Tribulation. But the name, “Pre-Wrath” gives no indication of when the Rapture will occur with relation to the Tribulation.

For that reason, I have decided to call the “Pre-Wrath” view the Three-Quarters Tribulation Rapture viewpoint. And I will be abbreviating it throughout the rest of this article as the “3/4 Trib Rapture.” I have given it that name because its proponents believe the Rapture will occur about three-quarters of the way through the Tribulation, or shortly thereafter.

2) The Chronology — I object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture because it violates the chronology of the book of Revelation. The sequence of events that is pictured in the book of Revelation clearly places both the Seal Judgments and the Trumpet Judgments in the first half of the 70th Week of Daniel. And the Bowl Judgments are clearly contained within Daniel’s 70th Week, near its end. The 3/4 Trib view scrambles all this. As you can see in the diagram above, the Seal Judgments are continued over into the second half of the 7 year period, the Trumpet Judgments are moved from the first half to the end of the second half, and the Bowl Judgments are appended to a 30 day period after the close of Daniel’s 70th Week!

3) Imminence — One of my strongest objections to the 3/4 Trib view is its destruction of the imminence of the Lord’s return. The Bible emphasizes that the Lord could return at any moment and that we should live looking for His return (Matthew 24:44, 1 Corinthians 1:7, Philippians 3:20, Philippians 4:5, Colossians 3: 4, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Titus 2:13, and Revelation 16:15). The 3/4 Trib view says the Lord cannot return until after the Antichrist appears, the Jewish Temple has been rebuilt and the world has suffered through about 5 years of the wrath of Man and Satan. Thus, according to the 3/4 Trib view, we should be living looking for the Antichrist and not Jesus Christ.

Rosenthal asserts that the Bible never says that any prophesied end time events could not occur before the Rapture. He is correct. The re-establishment of Israel is an example. The war of Gog & Magog could prove to be another example. Imminency does not preclude the fulfillment of some end time prophecies before the Rapture. Rather, it asserts that none have to happen before the Rapture can occur.

4) The Wrath of God — Another strong objection I have to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view is its mistaken concept of the sovereignty of God. The view attempts to distinguish the wrath of Man and Satan from the wrath of God. Both Man and Satan operate under the sovereignty of God. That’s why Psalm 2 pictures God sitting in Heaven laughing at the evil plots of the world’s political leaders. His laughing is not motivated by a lack of concern. He laughs because He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Man and Satan to the triumph of His Son.

Zeller Quote

Further, the Bible portrays God pouring out His wrath both directly (Sodom and Gomorrah) and indirectly (the destruction of both Israel and Judah). God poured out His wrath upon the rebellious northern nation of Israel by allowing the Assyrians to conquer it. He even referred to the Assyrians as “the rod of My anger” (Isaiah 10:5) and “My war-club” (Jeremiah 51:20).

When the prophet Habakkuk complained about God doing nothing about the evil of the southern nation of Judah, the Lord revealed that He was going to pour out His wrath on that nation through Babylon (Habakkuk 1:6). And when the Lord was finished with Babylon, He raised up the Medes and Persians to conquer the Babylonian Empire, referring to the conquering army as “My consecrated ones” (Isaiah 13:3).

During Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years, much of the wrath of God will be executed through the Antichrist, but it is still the wrath of God.

5) The Tribulation — I object to the way in which the 3/4 Trib Rapture view denies that the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week is part of the Tribulation. The fact of the matter is that both halves of Daniel’s 70th Week are referred to in the Scriptures as a time of tribulation.
Matthew 24:9 refers to the first half as “tribulation,” and Matthew 24:21 classifies the second half as “great tribulation.” Incidentally, Jesus’ reference to the second half as the “great tribulation” does not mean it will be worse than the first half. Rather, Jesus called it that because He was speaking to a Jewish audience, and the second half of the Tribulation will be when the Antichrist will try to annihilate the Jews.

6) The Purpose of Daniel’s 70th Week — I object to the way in which the 3/4 Trib Rapture view distorts the purpose of Daniel’s 70th Week. Daniel 9:24-27 makes it clear that the purpose of Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years is to accomplish six things among the Jewish people:

To finish transgression
To make an end of sin
To make atonement for iniquity
To bring in everlasting righteousness
To seal up vision and prophecy
To anoint the most Holy Place

Just as the first 69 weeks of years (483 years) of the prophecy had nothing to do with the Church, neither does the final week of years. The last seven year period of Daniel’s prophecy is about the accomplishment of the purposes listed above among the Jewish people. Accordingly, the entire period of Daniel’s 70th Week is referred to in Jeremiah 30:7 as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” There is no purpose for the Church during Daniel’s 70th Week.

7) The Church — I object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view of why the Church must be present during the Tribulation. Incredibly, the argument has been proclaimed that the Church must suffer “for purging and purifying.”1 The Bible says that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us of all sin (1 John 1:7). The idea that the Church needs to be purified creates a Christian Purgatory, which is a blasphemy of the blood of Jesus. Furthermore, why is it that only the end time Church deserves this fate?

8) The Seal Judgments — I strongly object to the 3/4 Trib Rapture view that the Seal Judgments do not constitute any portion of the wrath of God. The judgments originate at the throne of God when Jesus begins to open each seal (Revelation 6:1). Further, they are referred to as “the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16-17).

9) The Length of Daniel’s 70th Week of Years — I object to the fact that the 3/4 Trib Rapture view extends Daniel’s 70th Week by 30 days beyond the 7 years or 2,520 days it is supposed to run (Revelation 11:3 and 12:6). There is just no scriptural basis for this extension.
10) The Day of the Lord — I object to the 3/4 Trib view of the Day of the Lord. Rosenthal contends that it begins with the opening of the 7th Seal, and he therefore argues that the wrath of God does not begin until this point.

The problem here is that the Day of the Lord is a term that is used in many different ways in the Bible, and it must always be interpreted in context. There are places when it refers to specific national judgments from God, as when Israel was destroyed by Assyria (Amos 5:18-20) and when Judah was destroyed by Babylon (Lamentations 2:21-22 and Ezekiel 13:5). In like manner the fall of Babylon is called the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 13:6-13).

But there are also times when the term refers to end time events. In this regard, it sometimes refers to the return of Jesus at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week (Isaiah 2:10-22, Joel 3:9-17 and Zechariah 14:1-9). In other end time contexts, the term is used in a broader sense. For example, in Zephaniah 1:14-18 it is used to refer to the entire period of the Tribulation when “all the earth will be devoured in the fire of His jealousy…” In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 it says the Day of the Lord will come at a time when people are feeling safe and secure — which would be at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week, after the Antichrist negotiates a treaty that guarantees peace for Israel. But the prophet Isaiah repeatedly uses a shorthand version of the term — “in that day” — to refer to the Millennium (Isaiah 4:2-6).

I therefore think that in reference to the end times, the broad use of the term refers to the period of time from the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week to the end of the Millennium.
Another problem with Rosenthal’s concept of the Day of the Lord is that he has it beginning at the point where the Seal Judgments are followed immediately by the Trumpet Judgments. How could that be? The Bible says the Day of the Lord will begin with people celebrating peace and safety (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). What feeling of peace and safety will exist when the world is experiencing the Trumpet Judgments? This must be a reference to the treaty of peace the Antichrist will negotiate at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week and which will mark the beginning of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27).

We are currently in the Day of the Spirit (Acts 2:17 and 2 Corinthians 3:8). Daniel’s 70th Week plus the Millennium constitutes the Day of the Lord. The Eternal State will be the Day of God (2 Peter 3:12).

Other Problems

One of the strangest parts of Rosenthal’s book is chapter 16 (pages 215-230). In this chapter he attacks the Pre-Trib Rapture view as espousing two separate comings of the Lord. He then proclaims: “There is not even a hint — anywhere — of two separate comings” (page 222).

In response to this attack, I would like to point out that the Pre-Trib view does not present two comings of the Lord. Instead, it advocates an appearing of the Lord (the Rapture) followed at least 7 years later by the coming of the Lord (the Second Coming). Jesus does not return to the earth at the Rapture. He appears in the heavens for His Church, receives them, and then returns to Heaven with them.

But what is so weird about Rosenthal’s attack is that his end time viewpoint presents multiple comings of the Lord — so many, in fact, that it is hard to chart them. Take a look at the chart again. The first “coming” of the Lord I have shown is the Rapture. But Rosenthal has several other “comings.”

At the end of Daniel’s 70th Week, Jesus returns to earth to save Israel from annihilation, after which He returns to Heaven. Then, at the end of the “30 days of Reclamation” Jesus returns again to defeat Satan at the Battle of Armageddon. Following the “45 days of Restoration,” Jesus returns to Heaven, gathers His Church, and returns to begin His thousand year reign. So, Rosenthal has a total of four “comings” of Jesus, yet he has the audacity to assert there is only one “coming” of the Lord and he condemns the Pre-Trib view for having two!

This amounts to mass confusion. Rosenthal recognizes the problem and tries to cover it by stating that Jesus has a “continuing presence” on the earth after the Rapture, and thus His four comings are really only parts of the one Second Coming. This is all nothing but semantic smoke. In the Pre-Trib view the Rapture is also followed by a “continuing presence” of Jesus on earth as He launches the wrath of God with the Seal Judgments and oversees the continuing implementation of God’s wrath with the Trumpet and Bowl Judgments, after which He returns to earth to reign.

A Cornerstone Verse?

A friend of mine, Michael Pfeil, recently published a book in which he defends the 3/4 Trib Rapture viewpoint.2 He argues that the cornerstone verses for the view are Revelation 6:9-10, which read as follows:

9) When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;

10) and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Pfeil’s argument is that these are martyrs killed for their faith during the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week. He then says that if they are victims of God’s wrath, then they are calling out for vengeance against God! He argues, instead, that they are victims of the Antichrist and are crying out for vengeance against him — and this, in turn proves that the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week constitutes the wrath of Man and Satan, and not the wrath of God.

The problem with this argument is that when the wrath of God is poured out, it falls on the just and the unjust unless God specifically promises protection to believers. He has promised the Church such protection (1 Thessalonians 1:10). He has also promised that He will protect the 144,000 Jews who are sealed by His Spirit at the beginning of the Tribulation (Revelation 7:1- 8 and 14:1-5).

But He has made no such promise of protection for those who receive Jesus during the Tribulation. They will suffer just as Daniel and his cohorts suffered when Judah fell to the Babylonians. The rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), and the just who suffer martyrdom during the Tribulation will cry out for vengeance against their executioners.

Conclusion

The 3/4 Trib Rapture concept does not pass the test of the Scriptures. Even worse, as Jack Van Impe has put it, the concept is “the Christians’ ultimate nightmare” rather than their “blessed hope”3 (Titus 2:11-13).

Notes

1) Alan Kurschner, “Prewrath — What Is It?” http://www.AlanKurschner.com.wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Prewrath.pdf, page 1. See also: Cooper Abrams, “Fatal Flaws in the Modern Pre-Wrath Rapture Position,” http://bible-truth.org/Pre-Wrath.html, page 12.

2) Michael E. Pfeil, Rapture of the Church: Bound for Heaven, BUT…” (Bloomington, IN: Westbow Press, 2013).

3) Jack Van Impe, “What validity, if any, should be given to the Prewrath Rapture theory?” http://www.jvim.com/newsletter/pastissues/ 2012/20120723.html, page 1.

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5 thoughts on “The Pre-Wrath Rapture – Is there any validity to this concept?

  1. Around the beginning of this post, you wrote: “Both the resurrected believers and the living ones will then return to Heaven with Jesus. This [rapture] is viewed by most as being separate and apart from the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth to reign for a thousand years”
    I have heard that some see the events–the rapture and second coming–as separate, but I am not sure how prevalent that way of thinking is or why it would matter very much.
    That the resurrected believers (in the first resurrection–Revelation 20:4-6) are said to reign with him for a thousand years, it does not follow that they would be hanging out in heaven for any considerable length of time before the Millennial reign.
    Still, I don’t see why it matters to the degree that we get the Pre-Trib, the Mid-Trib, the Post-Trib, and the 3/4 Trib, and so on, and so on…Not that a discussion is a bad idea, but doesn’t it seem to you like all of the diverse viewpoints and the tone that believers take with each other can get out of control? I don’t know about you, but sometimes, especially on the subject of the last-days, I feel like a nowhere man telling all his nowhere plans to nobody.
    I am terribly discouraged by all of it. I guess I can try to see the positive, in the sense that people are watching and waiting, hopefully for something good.

    • Hi, thank you for taking the time to write to me, I hope I can adequetely address some of your questions.

      You said: Around the beginning of this post, you wrote: “Both the resurrected believers and the living ones will then return to Heaven with Jesus. This [rapture] is viewed by most as being separate and apart from the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth to reign for a thousand years”

      I have heard that some see the events–the rapture and second coming–as separate, but I am not sure how prevalent that way of thinking is or why it would matter very much.

      Bornagainbeliever: It matters because the true Church of born again believers [the Bride of Christ] is removed from the earth prior to the 70th week of Daniel, when God pours out His wrath and 21 judgment on the unbelieving world. God reserves His wrath for His enemies not the Bride of Christ. During this seven year period of time God turns His attention back to National Israel. He uses the judgment of this time of Tribulation to purify them by fire. He opens their spiritual eyes which have been judicially blinded from His Scriptural and Spiritual truth [Acts 28:25-28] in preparation for them to accept their Promised Messiah when He returns. During the same time His Church/The Bride of Christ, is in heaven undergoing the “Judgment Seat of Christ” where our works are tried by fire for heavenly rewards, and also the Marriage of the Lamb, preparing the Church to rule and reign with Jesus when we return with Him at His Second coming.

      You said: That the resurrected believers (in the first resurrection–Revelation 20:4-6) are said to reign with him for a thousand years, it does not follow that they would be hanging out in heaven for any considerable length of time before the Millennial reign.

      Bornagainbeliever: There are several resurrections that take place, but only one rapture. The OT saints were resurrected when Jesus was resurrected from Abraham’s Bosom and they returned to heaven with Him. (Matt 27:52) The dead in Christ [the Church] will be resurrected and the living believers raptured prior to the seven year Tribulation.

      Rev 20:4 is speaking about the dead believers who were saved during the tribulation and died for that faith. They will be resurrected when Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation and live and reign with Christ for 1000 years.

      Rev 20:5 “But the REST of the dead [speaking of unbelievers] live not until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

      Rev 20:5 is speaking of all the unbelievers throughout history whose souls are in Hell. Their bodies are still in the grave until after the 1000 year reign of Christ when they will be bodily resurrected for the first time and their bodies rejoined with their souls to stand before Jesus at the White Throne Judgment when they are cast into the lake of fire which is the second death meaning the second death to their physical body, but their souls will on live for eternity. (Rev 20:11-15)

      Verses 4 and verse 5 are speaking about two different groups of people. Verse 5 is speaking about the first resurrection of the dead unbelievers not believers. It will be their first time in the history of the world that unbeliever’s bodies will be resurrected from the grave.

      Rev 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
      Verses 4 and 6 are speaking of the believers verse 5 is speaking of unbelievers.

      There is a resurrection of life for believers and a separate first and only resurrection of damnation for unbelievers. Believers are resurrected 1000 years or more years before unbelievers. Verse 6 is speaking of those who were resurrected in verse 4, who were unsaved when they entered the Tribulation and found Christ and died for their faith. They are who will reign as priests of God and be with Him for 1000 years.

      You said: Still, I don’t see why it matters to the degree that we get the Pre-Trib, the Mid-Trib, the Post-Trib, and the 3/4 Trib, and so on, and so on…Not that a discussion is a bad idea, but doesn’t it seem to you like all of the diverse viewpoints and the tone that believers take with each other can get out of control? I don’t know about you, but sometimes, especially on the subject of the last-days, I feel like a nowhere man telling all his nowhere plans to nobody.

      Bornagainbeliever: When the rapture and the tribulation happens has absolutely nothing to do with salvation so from that aspect it is nothing that should cause a rift between believers. The Book of Revelation tells us that we will be blessed for studying prophecy. The Scriptures tell us that although we cannot know the day or the hour we can know the season of Christ’s return by understanding what is happening in the world around us in conjunction with Bible prophecy. For one reason, we know the urgency there is in sharing the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with those who are lost, because time for humanity as we know it is rapidly running out. It is our job as born again believers to share with others how to escape God’s promised and coming wrath and judgment on this unbelieving world through faith in Jesus and Him Crucified.

      You said: I am terribly discouraged by all of it. I guess I can try to see the positive, in the sense that people are watching and waiting, hopefully for something good.

      Bornagainbeliever: If you are a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you should be encouraged not discouraged. Jesus is coming soon for His Church of born again believers. Even though it may not seem like it, God is in complete control of what is occurring in the world. He is allowing what is happening to bring this world full circle and His plan for humanity to fruition. There is no prophecy that must be fulfilled prior to the Rapture of the Church. It could happen at any moment. Once the Church is gone, the Holy Spirit will be removed in His capacity of the Restrainer of Evil and literally all hell will break loose on this earth for seven years. This time is often referred to as the Tribulation. The anti-Christ and the False Prophet, will rise to power and it will be the worst time for the inhabitance of the earth in the history of the earth. At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will return He will cast the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire, He will judge the nations of the earth on how they treated Israel and He will set up His earthly Kingdom for 1000 years. Those who survive the Tribulation and Jesus’ judgment will live in His kingdom and repopulate the earth. Israel will receive her full inheritance that God promised the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The OT resurrected Saints will rule over Israel with King David on the Throne. I believe the Church will rule over the Gentile nations and Jesus will be the King of kings and the Lord of lords ruling over the world.

      Prophecy is a vast subject I hope the short synopsis I gave you will help you understand a little more. Jesus is coming soon our redemption draws near for born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, so keep looking up. Blessings!

      • Thank you for taking your valuable time to explain some of your beliefs on this subject.
        While you covered quite a few points that I have questions about, I guess if it is okay with you that we discuss this further, that I would want some clarification or references from the following sentence in your reply:
        “It matters because the true Church of born again believers [the Bride of Christ] is removed from the earth prior to the 70th week of Daniel, when God pours out His wrath and 21 judgment on the unbelieving world”

        I understand the 70th week of Daniel. I understand the Bride of Christ being the Church. I guess what I do not understand is the Church being “removed” prior to the 70th week, or that the 70th week is a time of wrath and judgment…
        I understand the seven plagues occurring in the great tribulation, but I don’t see why those would take seven years to unfold, and I wonder if it might not be possible for the seven years to be real peace in the world’s eyes, not the “false peace” I have heard some preachers call it. Seven years of real peace could be followed by a short period of great tribulation when the plagues unfold, typically targeting the unfaithful more than the faithful.
        And if it is not asking too much, perhaps I could get a little clarification where you say all prophecies are fulfilled that the Church could be raptured at any moment. I used to listen to that idea, and it kind of made me mental, thinking I could any moment enter paradise while those I care for are ‘left behind’ to deal with chaos. I realize a lot who believe as you do use this to compel them to evangelize, which is a noble cause, but I have no gift of evangelism whatsoever…I mean I have a hard time being heard trying to order a milkshake and fries at Burger King.
        Needless to say, the idea that Jesus could come back any moment, it troubled my mind to a considerable degree. When it did lead me to try to witness to others, I felt it backfired terribly, like the ‘workers of iniquity, who preached in his name’ but He knew them not.
        I realize that when you separate the rapture from the second coming, you do not have difficulty with 2 Thess. 2:2, but for those like myself who do not grasp the separation between the events, then the idea of being taken away–at the rapture at his second coming, which is one event to my way of thinking–the idea that this day could be at hand leads one to be “shaken in mind” and “troubled.” Then from verses following, Paul foretells a great falling away (from religious persecution most likely) and that a man would be revealed who will set himself in the temple claiming to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4), before we would see that Day of the Lord.
        I understand you define the Day of the Lord as something more akin to judgment day than a day of rapture, but what if the Day of the Lord has a much broader scope than we typically attribute to it?
        What if it incorporates a day of resurrection and rapture for great tribulation martyrs and believers, as well as a day of wrath against people who take the mark of the Beast; in addition, a day of glory, such glory as 1,000 years with the Lord (e.g. the Millennial reign), wherein peace on earth and goodwill towards men is more real than we have ever known; and then at last a literal last day (i.e. the end of time as we know it, the resurrection of the just and the unjust–Judgment day)?

        • You said: Thank you for taking your valuable time to explain some of your beliefs on this subject. While you covered quite a few points that I have questions about, I guess if it is okay with you that we discuss this further, that I would want some clarification or references from the following sentence in your reply:

          “It matters because the true Church of born again believers [the Bride of Christ] is removed from the earth prior to the 70th week of Daniel, when God pours out His wrath and 21 judgment on the unbelieving world”

          I understand the 70th week of Daniel. I understand the Bride of Christ being the Church. I guess what I do not understand is the Church being “removed” prior to the 70th week, or that the 70th week is a time of wrath and judgment…

          Bornagainbeliever: You are very welcome! The Church Age is in the “dispensation of Grace,” we are saved by God’s Grace through our faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross. We are saved by what we believe not what we do. Good works result from our salvation and indwelling Holy Spirit they are not a condition of salvation. The dispensation of Grace is unique to the Church and the New Covenant. It was initiated by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Under the New covenant when we are born again, the Holy Spirit of God indwells us and “seals us” guaranteeing our eternal inheritance through the righteousness of Christ. We can never lose our salvation even if we backslide from time to time because we are sealed with God’s Spirit.

          “In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purposed possession, unto the praise of His glory.” [Eph 1:13-14 AKJB]

          Prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus, Israel was under the dispensation of the Law. OT saints were deemed to be righteous by God because they believed and obeyed God. They believed in the promise of the Messiah and obey the Jewish Religious Ceremonial Law. But unlike the Church their salvation was not guaranteed by the sealing of the Holy Spirit. In that day the Holy Spirit would “come upon” specific people that God chose to do specific works for Him such as Moses, His Prophets and Kings God put on the throne but when their job for God was complete He left, they were not sealed until the day of redemption as the Church is. Under the Law people had to maintain their own salvation through remaining faithful and obedient to God until death to be considered righteous by God and saved. If they backslid into sin and died in that condition they were not saved.

          The reason the Church is removed prior to the 70th week of Daniel also referred to as “The Tribulation” for two reasons. First it has nothing to do with the Church, it is God pouring His wrath and judgment out on the “unbelieving world,” and it is also when God turns His attention back to national Israel removes their spiritual blindness and prepares them to accept the return of their Promised Messiah Whom they rejected at His first Advent. Being the “70th week of Daniel”, just like the prior 69 weeks it will be back under the Mosaic Law and the righteous will have to maintain their own salvation by being faithful to God obeying the Mosaic Law and believing in the promise of their Messiah, unto death or the return of Christ whichever occurs first.

          “The dispensation of Grace didn’t replace the dispensation of Law, but only interrupted it seven years short of its intended duration. That seven years must be fulfilled and that’s why a temple will be built, and animal sacrifice will be resumed during Daniel’s 70th Week. In Old Testament times there was only one way to salvation and that was through the Old Covenant. The same will be true during the last 7 years. Grace and the Law are incompatible. If the Church was not first removed then some believers would be required to give evidence of their faith by keeping the Mosaic Law while others who are born again and indwelled with God’s Spirit would not. The Law and Grace are theologically incompatible. This explains why the Church has to be gone before the last 7 years can begin.

          Proof that during Daniel’s 70th Week keeping the Law will be required as evidence of faith comes from Rev. 14:12. When the people on Earth are warned that taking the Mark of the Beast will result in eternal damnation, John wrote, “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.”

          You said: I understand the seven plagues occurring in the great tribulation, but I don’t see why those would take seven years to unfold, and I wonder if it might not be possible for the seven years to be real peace in the world’s eyes, not the “false peace” I have heard some preachers call it. Seven years of real peace could be followed by a short period of great tribulation when the plagues unfold, typically targeting the unfaithful more than the faithful.

          Bornagainbeliever: There are actually 21 judgments that occur during the 7 year time of Tribulation, 7 seal judgments, 7 bowl judgments and 7 vial judgments. The war of Psalms 83/Isaiah 17 in which Damascus is destroyed may take place at the beginning of the tribulation or just before it begins. I believe this will initiate the 7 year peace treaty that will actually end after 3.5 years. The War of Ezekiel 38-39 also referred to as the Battle of Gog and Magog will take place in my opinion at the end of the first 3.5. The timing of these wars are just speculation we have no way of actually knowing for sure the order of these wars yet, but from comparing current events to these prophecies it looks like it might be lining us this way. We do know that these wars will take place during that time. Then the final Battle of Armageddon will take place toward the end of the 7 years, Jesus actually returns to put an end to Armageddon or it would destroy all of earth’s inhabitance.

          The one world government will be established and at the end of the first 3.5 year period the Antichrist will come in the power of Satan and demand to be worshiped in the newly built Temple as God. The final war Battle of Armageddon will take place at the end of the seven years at the end of which Christ returns to save the surviving remnant of the Jewish people. The second half of the tribulation is called the Great Tribulation, and it will be the worst because not only is God pouring His wrath upon the inhabitance of the earth, Satan also pours his wrath on earths inhabitance after He is cast out of heaven complete during a war with God’s angels. During this 7 year period over 2/3 of the earth’s inhabitance will be destroyed between the wars and God’s judgments. None of it has occurred in the past it is all future. The seven years are one week in prophetic time, called the 70th week of Daniel and not broken up as far as time goes; they are only divided in intensity of God’s wrath and judgment.

          The Seal Judgments:

          The first seal – The white horse of peace- The rider of the white horse is the antichrist, who brings forth a false peace for a short time. (Rev 6:2)

          The second seal – The red horse is war. (Rev 6:4) When the red horse rides wars, crime and lawlessness will pervade the earth unlike anything the world has ever experienced. The restraining influence of Christians in the world will have been removed by the rapture, and chaos and anarchy will result.

          The third seal – The black horse is global famine. (Rev 6:5) During this period God sends two witness to earth; most probably Enoch and Elijah; (Rev 11:3-6) they will make known throughout the world that these plagues are being sent by God from heaven. Specifically they will proclaim a global drought during the three and a half years of their witness, and this will quickly lead to worldwide food shortage, more severe than any other famine since the world began.

          The fourth seal – The green or pale horse is death. (Rev 6:8) The Lord Jesus Christ has the keys to Death and Hades according to His declaration in Rev 1:18. It is unmistakable that this fourth horseman, like the first three, is unleashed by Him to judge the earth. Persons who surrender to the killing sword of the second horseman and the starvation brought by the third will be engulfed by Death, and Hades will swallow up their souls. There will be many other causes of “death” during that time. One fourth of the earth’s inhabitants will perish in the first year or two of the seven year Tribulation period.

          The fifth seal – is the death of new believers who have decided to follow Jesus.

          The Sixth seal is when God begins pouring out His supernatural judgments on the world.

          The Seventh Seal – This judgment is comprised of all of the seven trumpet judgments. They begin with “noises, thunderings, lightenings and an earthquake.” [Rev 8:5]

          The Trumpet Judgments [Rev 8:6-9:21; 11:15-19] consist of:

          First Trumpet – Hail and fire mingled with blood – 1/3 of the earth’s forest and grass will be left scorched and barren and will cause even more famine.
          Second Trumpet – a meteorite or an asteroid will hit the ocean and 1/3 of the ocean will turn to blood and 1/3 of the sea creatures will die and 1/3 of all ships will be destroyed.

          Third Trumpet – A falling star that burns up in the atmosphere sending burning poisonous gasses onto the earth poisoning the rivers, springs and wells of the earth.

          Fourth Trumpet – 1/3 of the sun, moon and stars were darkened

          Fifth Trumpet – Demonic spirits will be loosed from Hell, on the earth for five months to torment humanity. They will resemble locust but have tails like scorpions that will sting people. The bible says “that men shall seek death and shall not find it and shall desire to die and death shall flee from them.” Rev 9:6

          Sixth Trumpet – Four demonic angels who are currently bound in the great Euphrates will be lose upon the earth with an army of two hundred thousand demons for 13 months and will kill 1/3 of humanity.

          Seventh Trumpet – will mark the beginning of the second half of the Tribulation. There is lightening and voices from heaven and thundering and an earthquake and great hail.

          At this point there is also a war in heaven between Satan and His angels and Michael and his angels and Satan 1s defeated and he and his angels were cast out of heaven for good and down to the earth. [Rev 12:7-17] This begins Satan’s wrath on earth as wells as Gods.

          The Vial or Bowl Judgments [Rev 15-16]

          First Vial – Grievous sores upon all people who took the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.

          Second Vial – All of the oceans and seas turned to blood and every living soul dies that is in the water.

          The Third Vial – All of the rivers and fountains of water became like blood, there will be no fresh water to drink.

          The Fourth Vial – The intensity of the Sun will be intensified sevenfold and people will be scorched with such great heat. [Rev 16:8-9]

          The Fifth Vial – is poured out on the “seat of the beast and his kingdom” [most likely Babylon] and it will be in complete darkness.

          The Sixth Vial – The waters of the great river Euphrates will dry up and the armies of the nations will gather for the Battle of Armageddon

          The Seventh Vial – There were voices and thunders and lightening and a great global earthquake so strong that every mountain was leveled and every island disappeared. Cities throughout the world will be leveled Jerusalem will be divided into the parts. There will be 100 pound hail stones falling from heaven and the City of Babylon, Iraq will be completely destroyed.

          These are real literal judgments resulting from the wrath of God on the unbelieving world and they are coming in the near future and will affect the entire world.

          You said: And if it is not asking too much, perhaps I could get a little clarification where you say all prophecies are fulfilled that the Church could be raptured at any moment. I used to listen to that idea, and it kind of made me mental, thinking I could any moment enter paradise while those I care for are ‘left behind’ to deal with chaos. I realize a lot who believe as you do use this to compel them to evangelize, which is a noble cause, but I have no gift of evangelism whatsoever…I mean I have a hard time being heard trying to order a milkshake and fries at Burger King.

          Born againbeliever: All of the signs of the time that Jesus gives in Matthew 24 are for His second coming not the rapture. The rapture is imminent meaning it could occur at any moment. The Scriptures tell us that God will turn His attention back to Israel when the “fullness of the Gentiles comes in.” Meaning God has designated a specific number of born gain believer to be in the Church and when that number is reached it will be removed and the Tribulation will being. That is all that we are waiting for, that last convert.

          “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, unto the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” [Romans 11:25 AKJB]

          “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” [2 Peter 3:9-10 AKJB]

          I posted an article called “God’s Promises of Victory: The Rapture” By Dr. David R. Reagan, today and I think it will give you a lot more information understanding the Rapture verses the Second Coming of the Lord.

          This has gotten really long so I am going to respond to the rest of your post in a second post, later today. Blessings!

          • You said: And if it is not asking too much, perhaps I could get a little clarification where you say all prophecies are fulfilled that the Church could be raptured at any moment. I used to listen to that idea, and it kind of made me mental, thinking I could any moment enter paradise while those I care for are ‘left behind’ to deal with chaos. I realize a lot who believe as you do use this to compel them to evangelize, which is a noble cause, but I have no gift of evangelism whatsoever…I mean I have a hard time being heard trying to order a milkshake and fries at Burger King.

            Bornagainbeliever: Evangelizing is not easy for most people, but like anything the more we know about a subject the easier it is to talk about it. I would suggest that one way would be to pick up some good gospel tracts and study them so you know how to share the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Spend time studying the New Testament, and ask God to teach you His truth and to give you the boldness to share Jesus with others whenever He opens the door for you. Chick tracts are really good and you can find them at this website if you are interested. [http://www.chick.com/] This is the link to their salvation tract. [http://www.chick.com/information/general/salvation.asp]

            You said: Needless to say, the idea that Jesus could come back any moment, it troubled my mind to a considerable degree. When it did lead me to try to witness to others, I felt it backfired terribly, like the ‘workers of iniquity, who preached in his name’ but He knew them not.

            Bornagainbeliever: My first question to you is are you born again. Do you know Jesus personally? Because if you don’t then you can’t share with others about someone you don’t know. If you are and just had a bad experience witnessing, then you simply need to spend more time learning about the subject. Study the Word of God, beginning in the NT because it is what applies directly to us in this Age. The prison Epistles of Paul are written to the Church. Before you begin to study ask the Holy Spirit to give you His wisdom and understanding to teach you His Truth. The more you know and understand the easier it gets to talk about.

            You said: I realize that when you separate the rapture from the second coming, you do not have difficulty with 2 Thess. 2:2, but for those like myself who do not grasp the separation between the events, then the idea of being taken away–at the rapture at his second coming, which is one event to my way of thinking–the idea that this day could be at hand leads one to be “shaken in mind” and “troubled.”

            Bornagainbeliever: The rapture and the second coming are two separate events at least 7 years apart.

            Contrast between the Rapture and the Second Coming [this is part of an article written by John F. Walvoord, the entire article can be found here: http://www.biblicist.org/bible/fifty.shtml ]

            39. At the time of the Rapture the saints meet Christ in the air, while at the Second Coming Christ returns to the Mount of Olives to meet the saints on earth.

            40. At the time of the Rapture the Mount of Olives is unchanged, while at the Second Coming it divides and a valley is formed to the east of Jerusalem (Zech. 14:4-5).

            41. At the Rapture living saints are translated, while no saints are translated in connection with the second coming of Christ to the earth.

            42. At the Rapture the saints go to heaven, while at the Second Coming to the earth the saints remain in the earth without translation.

            43. At the time of the Rapture the world is un-judged and continues in sin, while at the Second Coming the world is judged and righteousness is established on the earth.

            44. The translation of the church is pictured as a deliverance before the day of wrath, while the Second Coming is followed by the deliverance of those who have believed in Christ during the Tribulation.

            45. The Rapture is described as imminent, while the Second Coming is preceded by definite signs.

            46. The translation of living believers is a truth revealed only in the New Testament, while the Second Coming with its attendant events is a prominent doctrine of both Testaments.

            47. The Rapture concerns only the saved, while the Second Coming deals with both saved and unsaved.

            48. At the Rapture Satan is not bound, while at the Second Coming Satan is bound and cast into the abyss.

            49. No unfulfilled prophecy stands between the church and the Rapture, while many signs must be fulfilled before the Second Coming.

            50. No passage dealing with the resurrection of saints at the Second Coming ever mentions translation of living saints at the same time.

            You said: Then from verses following, Paul foretells a great falling away (from religious persecution most likely) and that a man would be revealed who will set himself in the temple claiming to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4), before we would see that Day of the Lord.

            I understand you define the Day of the Lord as something more akin to judgment day than a day of rapture, but what if the Day of the Lord has a much broader scope than we typically attribute to it?

            What if it incorporates a day of resurrection and rapture for great tribulation martyrs and believers, as well as a day of wrath against people who take the mark of the Beast; in addition, a day of glory, such glory as 1,000 years with the Lord (e.g. the Millennial reign), wherein peace on earth and goodwill towards men is more real than we have ever known; and then at last a literal last day (i.e. the end of time as we know it, the resurrection of the just and the unjust–Judgment day)?

            Bornagainbeliever: The great falling away is from sound doctrine into apostasy and that is happening now all over the world. There is a great ecumenical movement to join all religions into one. The sound doctrine of the Scriptures is being set aside and replace with politically correct feel good teachings that unite all people. Paganism and occult practices are being introduced into the Christian Churches. This is all Satan’s preparation for the one world occultic religion the Antichrist will introduce. The problem arises because God’s Word cannot be compromised or altered because it offends some people, it is God’s Word not mans. Changing it in anyway violates God’s directive not to add or subtract from His Word. Additionally man changing what God has said does not in any way keep what God said from occurring. That is like putting a paper bag over your head to keep from seeing what is coming. What is written will come to pass exactly as it is written. God gave us prophecy so that we would know what His plans are for this world.

            “The Day of the Lord” is a term that is used to describe the 7 year Tribulation and God’s judgments on the unbelieving world as well as the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, it has nothing to do with the Rapture of the Church.

            I hope I have been able to help you understand prophecy a little better. It is such a deep and vast study that involves many books of the Bible. I am always happy to answer any questions that I can. Blessings.

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