The Pre-Wrath Rapture View

The Rapture of the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:00:48
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The Rapture of the Church: The Pre-Wrath Rapture View-Lesson # 17

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The last view of the rapture in relation to the tribulation portion of Daniel’s seventieth week is the “pre-wrath” view, which asserts that the church will be taken off the earth by Jesus Christ just prior to God exercising His wrath during the last year and a half of the seventieth week.
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Sunday July 22, 2018
Lesson # 17
The last view of the rapture in relation to the tribulation portion of Daniel’s seventieth week is the “pre-wrath” view, which asserts that the church will be taken off the earth by Jesus Christ just prior to God exercising His wrath during the last year and a half years of the seventieth week.
The pre-wrath rapture theory is relatively recent interpretation of the time of the rapture of the church in relation to the seventieth week of Daniel.
So this view contends that the rapture occurs about three fourths of the way through the seventieth week of Daniel and thus before God exercises His wrath against the inhabitants of planet earth.
This view argues that the wrath of God is not striking the earth for the first and one half years of the seventieth week but rather the wrath of man.
When God is about to exercise His wrath, He removes the church.
This view argues that the church will be removed at the time of the sounding of the seventh trumpet in the book of Revelation.
At that time, the church is removed.
The pre-wrath view divides the seventieth week of Daniel into three periods.
The first is the “Beginning of Sorrows” which lasts three and a half years.
The second period is the Great Tribulation, which lasts twenty-one months or one and three-fourths years.
The third and final period is the day of the Lord, which lasts twenty-one months.
During this period, God exercises His wrath.
This view argues that because the wrath of God does not begin until last into the seventieth week, the rapture need not take place before that time.
This pre-wrath view argues the wrath of Satan will be exercised through Antichrist before God exercises His wrath.
Therefore, the suffering of the inhabitants of the earth during the period in which Satan is exercising His wrath through Antichrist is not attributed to God.
John H. Fish III writes “Marvin Rosenthal has come up with a new view of the timing of the rapture. For thirty years this graduate of Dallas Seminary and former executive director of the Friends of Israel believed in pretribulationalism. Now he has changed his viewpoint and adopted a new position which is neither pretribulational, midtribulational, or posttribulational. He feels that Christ will come for the church sometime during the latter half of Daniel’s seventieth week () before God’s wrath is poured out on the earth in the Day of the Lord. Thus the church will not endure the wrath of God, but it will suffer the trials and persecutions of the Antichrist. His book, The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church, is an exposition and defense of this position. Rosenthal is a well-known evangelical leader, a popular conference speaker, and an effective writer. The popular style of this book and the reputation of the author will probably secure it a wide reading. The issue that it raises is itself an important one and deserves to be considered. Will the church go through the tribulation at the end of the age? Rosenthal is not the only one who has shifted from pretribulationalism in the last thirty to forty years. Many have given up the dispensationalism and pretribulationalism that were once so popularly represented by the Scofield Reference Bible. More significantly there does not seem to be the same sense of fervency and expectancy in looking for the coming of Christ among pretribulationalists today. Our doctrine does make a difference, and the issue of the rapture does have many practical implications. We need to examine the doctrine of Rosenthal like the Bereans to see if these things are so. Rosenthal’s Argument. First we will try to understand Rosenthal’s position and the arguments used to support it. The following chart adapted from the book itself may help to understand what is being said.
Rosenthal does not believe that the church will suffer the wrath of God which will be poured out on the earth in the judgments of the end times. If those judgments occur throughout the entire seven years, then he would have to be pretribulational. He must therefore show that the wrath of God is restricted to a latter portion of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. He argues as follows. First of all Scripture nowhere designates the entire seven years as the Great Tribulation. The phrase great tribulation is used in to describe the persecution and trials which begin with the Abomination of Desolation which takes place in the middle of the seven-year period (). The Great Tribulation therefore is at most the second 3 1/2 years. More significantly, the first half of the week is not the Great Tribulation and is not the time of the outpouring of God’s wrath. Secondly, the Great Tribulation does not last the entire 3 1/2 years. says that “unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.” What is it that is cut short? Certainly not the seventieth week of Daniel. The length of that has been specifically and precisely predicted. What is shortened is the Great Tribulation. It begins in the middle of the seventieth week, but does not run until its end (p. 109). Here again the key to Rosenthal’s argument is that the Great Tribulation itself is not part of the wrath of God.”[1]
Interestingly, like every view with the exception of the pre-tribulation view, the pre-wrath view does not teach that Christ could come back at any moment.
Thus, this view rejects the imminency of the rapture.
Thus, the church will have to suffer severe persecution before the rapture.
Therefore, a major objection to the pre-wrath view is that it rejects the imminency of the rapture.
There is no “blessed hope” as mentioned by Paul in with this view.
Another problem with this view is that it fails to see that the entire seven year period of the seventieth week of Daniel is a time when God exercises His wrath against the world.
In fact, the seventieth week is the final seven years of God disciplining the nation of Israel for her rejection of Him and His Son Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, the first of the seven seals recorded in the book of Revelation chapter six begins the period in which God exercises His wrath which coincides with the beginning of the seventieth week.
However, the pre-wrath views the opening of this seal as the beginning of Satan’s wrath.
However, makes clear that the seven seal judgments are from God.
In fact, Jesus Christ Himself breaks the seven seals on the scroll and the elect angels execute the judgments related to these seals.
Therefore, how could this judgment being associated with the wrath of Satan or man?
It is obviously the wrath of God.
Furthermore, does not mention the seventy-weeks as being a time of Satan’s wrath but rather it speaks of God disciplining the nation of Israel for their rejection of Him.
Our study of the rapture, which is when the church age believer will receive a resurrection body from the Lord Jesus Christ was a mystery which means that it was not known to Old Testament saints.
We have also seen in our study of the Scripture that it is also imminent which means it could happen at any moment, which should motivate the believer to make it their habit of staying in fellowship with God.
We also have noted that the rapture or resurrection of the church will bring to completion the process of salvation and sanctification which both began at the moment of their justification through regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.
This study has also revealed that the guarantee of a receiving a resurrection from the Lord Jesus at any moment should motivate the believer to appropriate by faith their identification with Him in His death and resurrection in order to experience their salvation and sanctification.
We have also seen that the believer must not overlook the distinctions between the rapture and the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
The latter will be visible to the entire world and will result in the deliverance of the believing remnant of Israel from Satan, Antichrist and the tribulational armies as well as the establishment of Jesus Christ’s millennial kingdom.
The former will be invisible to the world and will result in delivering the church from the divine judgments which will be executed upon the inhabitants of planet earth during the last three and a half years of Daniel’s seventieth week.
Lastly, this study has also investigated four different views of the rapture, namely, “pre-tribulation,” “partial,” “mid-tribulation,” “post-tribulation” and “pre-wrath” views and we have concluded that the “pre-tribulation” is the correct view since it is supporting by the teaching of the Scriptures, while the others are not.
[1] Emmaus Journal, 1(1), 23 (1991).
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