Friday, August 7, 2009

Revelation Infers A Pre-Wrath Rapture?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Can an argument be made for placing the Rapture near the end of the Tribulation?

Some have tried to do this, arguing that the wrath of God is not poured out until the end of the Tribulation. This is concept is called the "pre-wrath Rapture."

The cornerstone of this concept is that the terrifying events during the first half of the Tribulation are due to the wrath of Man and Satan, and not to God. Since the Church is only promised protection from the wrath of God, the Rapture will not occur until near the end of the Tribulation when God will pour out His wrath on the world.

This concept raises a serious theological problem because it questions the sovereignty of God. It assumes that Man and Satan can act apart from God's will, when the fact of the matter is that neither can do anything God is not willing to permit. The Bible often portrays God carrying out His will through evil persons or nations. One of the classic examples is when He allowed the evil nation of Babylon to discipline Israel by destroying Jerusalem and the Temple and by carrying the surviving Jews away into captivity. It was an action that prompted the prophet Habakkuk to ask why God would punish those who are evil with those who are more evil (Habakkuk 1:13).

Any carnage wrought by Man or Satan during the Tribulation will still constitute the wrath of God. They will simply be His instruments. The Bible says God sits in the heavens and laughs over the plots and deeds of evil men, not because He does not care, but because He has everything under control (Psalm 2:1-6). The point is that He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all evil to the triumph of His will in history. That's why the psalmist wrote that "the wrath of man shall praise You [God]" (Psalm 76:10).

I think it is also important to note that when God pours out His wrath, He does not always do so directly. One of His most common ways is to simply back away from the nation or person and lower the hedge of protection around them. This is clearly spelled out in Romans 1:18-32. That passage says that when people rebel against God to the point that they begin to worship the creation rather than the Creator, God "gives them over" to the evil in their hearts. In other words, He just steps back and lets evil multiply. The passage further states that if they still refuse to repent, He steps back again and "gives them over to degrading passions." And if they persist in their rebellion and sin, He finally "gives them over to a depraved mind" at which point the society destroys itself. Such destruction could be viewed as the wrath of Man, but it is really the wrath of God working through Man.

There is another serious problem with the pre-wrath Rapture concept. It relates to the fact that all the wrath of Revelation is specifically portrayed as the wrath of God. Where do the seal judgments originate? The answer is from the throne of God as Jesus opens each seal of the scroll that was in the Father's right hand (Revelation 6:1). And where do the trumpet judgments originate? The same place — from the throne of God (Revelation 8:2). When we arrive at the bowl judgments in Revelation 15:1, we are told that with them, "the wrath of God is finished."

Another problem with the pre-wrath concept is that it does violence to the chronological order of Revelation. The seal judgments are viewed as the wrath of Man and Satan, occurring during the first half of the Tribulation. The trumpet and bowl judgments are considered to be the wrath of God. They are lumped together at the end of the Tribulation. There is no justification for putting the trumpet judgments at the end of the Tribulation. They are clearly placed in the first half of the Tribulation in the chronological layout of the book of Revelation.

One final problem with the pre-wrath concept of the Rapture is that it disputes the fact that there is no purpose for the Church being in the Tribulation. The Tribulation is the 70th week of Daniel, a time devoted to God accomplishing His purposes among the Jewish people, not the Church.


Anonymous said...

Great article. I think it's worthwhile comparing Romans 13:3-5 with Rev 6:8. Note the words authority and wrath (orge) in Romans.

son of thunder said...

I was watching a Messianic Rabbi the other night who uses the Passover in Exodus as a model of the Rapture.

The argument is that the Hebrews represented the church and pharaoh represented Satan/Antichrist. So his statement is that the church will be pulled out just before the Bowl Judgments. Because the Hebrews were in Egypt (which represents the world) during the plagues, then the church must be here during the 1st 14 judgments. Or so he says.

I patently disagree with this argument and, although I agree with many of his other teachings, believe this rabbi needs to maybe study the Jewish feasts a little more and compare those as a whole with end times prophecy.

Of course this argument leaves out the fact that the man of sin can't be revealed until the Restrainer is removed, among other things.

son of thunder said...

One more thing: the prophetic symbolism of Passover has been fulfilled at the Cross as has the feast of firstfruits at the Resurrection and Pentecost at the giving of the Spirit. The next prophetic sign (in order of the feasts) is the feast of trumpets which probably symbolizes the Rapture.

Dennis said...

I have found a very interesting site with a story from sweden.

In this true story a mother sell her own daughters life and health for money.

Even the sisters were involved in this and get paid too.

(30 silver coins ?)
(the mother in this story has a mark in her forehead, pictures will come on the site soon)

Regards Dennis

glen walling said...

the problem i have with a complete pre trib rapture theory is that 2 thess says "concerning the coming of our lord AND OUR GATHERING TOGETHER TO HIM.....that day will not come till the falling away(apostasy) comes first and that man of sin is revealed
i believe we will know who he is before the great tribulation starts
now that does not mean to say that we can predict the day of the lords return because i do not believe he will be revealed when he signs a 7 year covenant with israel
i don't believe in a 7 year tribulation at all in fact, but that revelation only indicates a 42 month period when he reigns, and we will know him before this time
so basically we could be raptured AT ANY UNKNOWN time before this 42 month period after he is revealed(although i don't have a strong view on pre or post trib)
now here is the reason i don't believe in a 7 year tribulation or covenant by the antichrist;

the 70th week of daniel was fulfilled!

"and the people(this means romans and jews) of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and it's end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined(Dan 9:26)
the word "prince" refers to two people.
JESUS:PRINCE OF THE COVENANT. the messiah is the prince (Dan 11:22)the jews are the people of the prince who destroyed him.They destroyed his body which he referred to as the sanctuary.
"destroy this temple, and in three days i will raise it up.....but he was speaking of his body (john 2:19,21)
TITUS:PRINCE OF ROME. the desolation occurred as predicted by the roman army (flood)
"and he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week"(Dan 9:27)
jesus confirmed this with the jews at the beginning of his ministry of 31/2 years (a common time length in many other prophecies)
and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and grain offering to cease(Dan 9:27)
jesus was killed in the middle of this 7 year period and by doing so did away with the need for sacrifices and offerings
then after his resurrection the gospel was preached to the jews for another 3 1/2 years until the stoning of stephen after which time the gospel was taken to the gentiles (fulfilling the final week)
"and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate" (Dan 9:27)
god brought about or allowed desolations because of unfaithfulness
the romans destroyed the city/sanctuary and killed over 1 million people

glen walling said...

i believe the length of the end time tribulation will be unknown (until the beast begins his reign)
personally i think it will be longer than 7 years, and the church will experience a portion of it and we may be raptured AFTER he is made known to us BUT before his actual reign (the time of which will not be known), probabaly between the 1st and 6th trumpets of which time span we do not know, therefore cannot predict the day of the rapture as jesus made clear to us
as for the 6th seal, some people believe this is the rapture but it simply cannot be because everybody sees christ and calls for the rocks to fall on them, in which case how can it be a secret? and also how would people be deceived by the beast if they already saw christ?!!

Anonymous said...

This is interesting:

Anonymous said...

Jesus said no man would know the day or the hour - but was He speaking of the pre-trib rapture when He said this? No - He was describing the events of the 6th seal as we can see in Matthew 24:29-36.

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that someone at Prewrath Rapture Dot Com wants to debate Dr Reagan for “facilely” describing the Pre-wrath rapture. For a site that is – presumably - dedicated to perpetuating Pre-wrath “truth”, a disproportionate amount of time and space seems to be apportioned to pre-trib attacks.

Anonymous said...

Jesus said no man would know the day or the hour - but was He speaking of the pre-trib rapture when He said this? No - He was describing the events of the 6th seal as we can see in Matthew 24:29-36.

If you’re a prewrather quoting the above you should consider that those “signs” in Matt 24 appear at the end of the week. The pre-wrath justification that the great tribulation is cut short, thus dividing the last half of the week into two segments, is problematic on several levels. If the GT isn’t cut short then we can know the day. I think R L Thomas answers the question quite well. Go to -

Anonymous said...

Wow, the lack of scholarship is astounding. Is this the best pre-trib can do to try and disprove pre-wrath? Talk about weak arguments.

GMV said...

The Scriptures speak clearly of Christ's coming, not in secret, but openly. Even 1 Thess.4 hardly speaks of a secret coming, but rather has the Lord Himself descending (visibly, no doubt) with a shout, the voice of the archangel (audibly), the trumpet of God (audibly), and the resurrection of the dead and rapture of the living (visibly, no doubt). Where is this idea of a "secret" invisible rapture?

Also, 2 Thess. makes it clear that our "gathering together" with the Lord will be AFTER the Antichrist takes his seat in the temple of God - the midpoint of the 70th week.

And, regarding the discussion of wrath above, the Great Tribulation is the Antichrist persecuting God's people - Jews and Christian, not God punishing his enemies. Even the 5th seal martyrs recognize that God's wrath has not come yet. No, it doesn't start until after the 6th seal, after His people have been delivered "out of the Great Tribulation" as is seen in Revelation 7.

Prewrath is patently obvious from the Scriptures, while pre-trib is based on assumptions, taking Scriptures out of context, and much hand-waving.

Anonymous said...

That the wrath of God falls before the 6th seal has been defended many times on this forum - both Greek grammar and context have been invoked. Is that your exposition of 2 Thess? Perhaps you should read Mayhue’s full expository on that subject. On the 5th seal martyrs – reading the text carefully will tell you that they are specifically asking for God to avenge them. Nowhere does it imply God’s wrath isn’t present.

Pre-trib teaches that there is a rapture that occurs suddenly without warning. When it happens it won’t be a secret. Some Scriptures talk about the rapture while others are about the second coming. By the way, how many comings of Christ does pre-wrath actually teach?

Speaking of lack of scholarship, pre-wrath falls over on the very tenet that God shortens the great tribulation. If that one principle is incorrect the pre-wrath theory fails. Perhaps someone can enlighten me how Matt 24:22 means that God actually shortens the tribulation yet we find in Rev 20:4 that trib martyrs are resurrected. Wasn’t the trib cut short and the church raptured?

son of thunder said...

To any and all pre-wrathers: this is not the first time we have been down this road on this forum. The amount of criticism that is spewed towards pre-tribbers is completely unwarranted.

Hopefully, none of the "regulars" will lower themselves to get into this useless debate, as we've all been into it before.

Anonymous said...

Son Of Thunder, I'm not a regular and you make a good point about not lowering oneself to useless debates. I sometimes get tired of reading incessant attacks on pre-trib and occasionally speak out.


Anonymous said...

Dr Reagan, I think your response to Mr AK was gracious and to the point. That someone refuses to debate does not automatically follow that one is incapable of defending one’s position and even challenge an opponent’s viewpoint. You set a great example that I am not always able to follow.

Anonymous said...

Would someone mind posting a simple list of objections to the pre-wrath position from a pre-trib viewpoint? Just the plain objections without any supporting arguments, etc. #1,#2,#3,and etc. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I’m skeptical that giving points #1, #2, #3 etc without providing arguments would be fair or helpful.

My view is that pre-wrath is essentially a derivative of post-trib, with some modifications. One essential difference to post-trib is the idea that the great tribulation is shortened.

This alleged shortening - the various reasons given for it in comparison to Scripture - is a major problem for pre-wrath. The refutation of this one element might cause many prewrathers to default to post-trib.

From a pre-trib point of view the objections then mainly fall back on differences with posttribulationism - wrath of God; Day of the Lord vs rapture etc.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Since posting my comment about pre-wrathers possibly defaulting to post-trib I've found sound examples of that but also a migration to pre-trib!

It may be small scale, but I think the larger the pre-wrath push, the more the inconsistencies in the arguments become exposed.

James Somers said...

If the trib is shortened...then how can the 1,260 days be fulfilled as is plainly taught? It might be possible that Jesus is referring to this time only lasting 1,260 days instead of continuing until all flesh perished...that the shortening is God holding it to a defined period of 1,260 days...there clearly is no shortening of that time and yet he claims that the time is shortened...contradiction? No...mercy that God doesn't allow it to go beyond His prescribed time...remember that Paul state "He will cut it short in righteousness (referring to His Creation Plan overall...that it will not go on and on) this may be the same sort of application to the "shortening" of the tribulation...something to consider since the word states both will occur (shortening and 1,260 days)