Are there any objections to the Pre-Wrath Rapture concept?
I have a number of objections to the Pre-Wrath Rapture 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.
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.
In the third and last part of this look at the Pre-Wrath Rapture view, we'll consider more objections to the viewpoint