By Nathan Jones
What's incorrect about the non-PreTrib-Rapture viewpoints?
To answer this question, we are pleased to have as our special guest the renowned Bible Prophecy teacher, Dr. Tommy Ice. Tommy is the head of the Pre-Trib Research Center and is a prolific writer on all aspects of Bible prophecy.
Dr. Reagan: A lot of people, in fact probably the majority viewpoint in Christendom today, is that of combining the Second Coming of Christ with the Rapture. They believe there's going to be a kind of "yo-yo Rapture" where believers in Christ are taken up and then simultaneously come right back down with Him at the end of the Tribulation. It's all one event to them. Why isn't that correct?
Dr. Ice: There are a lot of reasons. When you look at the passages that talk about what we call our "catching up," meaning the Rapture passages, the nature of the event related to the Rapture is qualitatively different than the nature of the event related to the Second Coming. There are also a lot of basic differences in the descriptions of Christ coming for His Church versus the Second Coming where He is coming with His Church when the Saints come back with Him. When you analyze both of these events, you see that they are quite different.
There are passages and promises throughout the New Testament, especially in Paul's writings, that promise believers in Christ are going to escape the wrath of God, or the "coming wrath" as Paul calls it in 1 Thessalonians. The term "wrath" is one of the 23 terms used in the Old Testament to describe the 70th Week of Daniel. It's a technical term. He's saying that the Church will not pass through the wrath of God.
It is a biblical fact that the Church is going to be caught up in the air and just before the Second Coming according to Revelation 19 the Church will be "married" to Jesus Christ. So, if the Church were to go through any part of the Tribulation, it would be like Christ beating up on His Bride before saying "Hey, Babe, let's get married."
Mid-Trib & Pre-Wrath Rapture
Nathan Jones: There are those who believe in a Pre-Wrath Rapture or a Mid-Trib Rapture. Dr. Ice, can you debunk those theories?
Dr. Ice: The Mid-Trib Rapture is kind of like a guy from the North and the South. He just couldn't decide if he wanted to be on the North or the South during the Civil War, so he puts on a grey top and a blue bottom and he gets shot at from both sides.
The Mid-Trib Rapture view has the Church going through the first half of the Tribulation and being taken out by Rapture in the middle. But, the Bible in Revelation 6 clearly teaches that the first part of the Tribulation is also the wrath of God. In fact it says, "Who will protect us from the wrath of the lamb who sits on the throne?" The entire seven-year period is called the Wrath of God. So, they violate the clear scriptural teaching by claiming the Church goes through any part of the Tribulation.
Then there's the so-called Pre-wrath Rapturists. It's the three-quarter Rapture view. They don't like that term, but they would say about three-quarters of the way through the Tribulation the Church is raptured.
Both views have the Church going through the 70th Week of Daniel. They should remember that Daniel 9:24 says the Tribulation is for Israel. It doesn't say it's for the Church, but very clearly the Tribulation is for Israel.
Nathan Jones: So, the Pre-wrath Rapturists see the Bowl Judgments which happen near the end of the Tribulation as only being the wrath of God, even though Jesus is the one who opens the very first Seal Judgment at the beginning of the Tribulation?
Dr. Ice: Right. Instead of seeing the multiple descriptions that describe the entire seven-year Tribulation and the different facets of it, they take different terms that refer to the Tribulation and they chop them up into segments.
Dr. Reagan: They'll argue that all the wrath at the beginning of the Tribulation is the wrath of man and the wrath of Satan, as if God is not sovereign.
Dr. Ice: Right. The term "wrath of man" is not used in the Scriptures.
Dr. Reagan: But God is sovereign, and if He's going to allow wrath, it is still His wrath.
Dr. Ice: Yes, exactly. The Church is going to be kept from that hour of wrath — the entire seven years of the Tribulation — as Revelation 3:10 points out.
In the fifth and last segment of our interview with Dr. Tommy Ice concerning the Pre-Trib Rapture, he'll single out the single most important argument on behalf of a Pre-Trib Rapture.