The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church
Before Christ’s First Advent, the Scripture told us when He would come. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” ( Dan.9:26 ). It is evident from the above scripture that the Messiah would come after the expiry of the 69th week of Daniel’s 70-week Prophecy but before the destruction of the Second Temple by the Roman general Titus in 70 AD. Therefore any Messiah that showed up for the first time after the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, Jerusalem, in 70 AD is a pseudomessiah. And there have been a catologue of them. There are some believers that believe and teach that the Second Coming of Christ is very important, but that when He comes is immaterial. This view appears to be pious on the surface, but a closure examination reveals that it, like other views that improperly Time the Rapture, in contradiction to the Scriptures, is very deceitful. If the Scripture told us when the First Advent occurred and it was fulfilled to the letter, it is also expected that the Scriptures will also reveal when the Second Advent would occur, and it shall be fulfilled to the letter.
Dispensationalism And The Rapture
Classical Dispensationalism ( CD ) also called Traditional Dispensationalism ( TD ), makes a distinction between Israel and the Church. In principle, this view is biblically accurate. However, in practice, Classical Dispensationalism teaches that God does not work with Israel and the Church at the same time. It teaches that in the 70 weeks God is dealing with Israel. In the first 69 weeks, the Church did not exist on Earth. The New Covenant was enacted by Christ with His twelve Apostles who were representative of Israel in the Upper Room on Mount Zion at the expiration of the 69th week in 32 AD. The inception of the Church occurred on the Day Of Pentecost, in the gap of time between the 69th and the 70th week of Daniel. For this reason they name this timeless period the Church Age. In this Gentile interlude, God’s prophetic clock in relation to Israel is at a standstill. In the 70th week, God begins to deal with Israel again, and logically according to them, the Church will no longer be needed on Earth, and will cease to exist. This view necessitates that the Church be raptured prior to the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel. Some proponents of the Pretrib Rapture view concede that it is not an explicit teaching of the Scriptures as is also the Posttrib Rapture view. The Bible does not in some many words state either ( J. F. Valwoord ). Another Pretrib concedes that the proof is logically invalid, or at least unconvincing ( Richard Mayhue ). If the Pretrib Rapture view is not an explicit teaching of the Scriptures, then what is it? It is based on a man made theological system opsonized with Scriptures to make it palatable to swallow. The Scriptures must be bent to fit into their preconceived theological mold.
On the other hand, Progrssive Dispensationalism ( PD ) does not emphasize the distinction between Israel and the Church. To a very dangerous extent, it obscures and blurs this distinction to the point of extinction and obliteration or teaches that the Church has replaced Israel which fosters antisemitism in the Church. Supersessesionism is anti-Judaism and anti-Israel. This view is also dangerous. But because they do not insist that the Church must be on AWOL before the 70th week, some of them hold the Prewrath Rapture Position.
The Church And Israel
A closer examination of the Scriptures reveals that although the Church did not exist in the first 69 weeks of Daniel, for a period of 38 years from the crucifixion of Christ in 32 AD to the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem in 70 AD, God was working with both Israel and the Church at the same time. The Church and The Temple co-existed. Biblical scholars are agreed that either Apostle Paul or one of his associates wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. It was addressed to Jews who believed in Jesus but under the Old Covenant System prior to the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem in 70 AD. He told them to get out of the Old House, and get into the New House. The Old House was about to be destroyed.
In the Acts Of The Apostles, the kingdom was reoffered to Israel which it rejected. Had Israel received Jesus as its Messiah, the Roman Empire would have metamorphosed into the Eighth And Final Beast Empire and the Kingdom Of God on Earth established immediately. There would have been no need for such a long gap of time between the 69th and the 70th week. However the kingdom was postponed and The Temple was destroyed. Israel went into exile. Thus began the long Diaspora which continues to this day. Between 70 AD and 1948, Israel did not exist as a independent nation. In 1948, Israel was reconstituted from the ashes of the Holocaust as an independent state. For the past 70 years since Israel’s independence, God has being working with both Israel and the Church. Anyone who denies that has denied a self-evident fact. To teach therefore that God does not work with Israel and the Church at the same time is a blatant lie that contradicts the Scriptures. In the Olivet Discourse, Christ addresssed His disciples not only as representatives of the nation of Israel but as also foundation members of the yet to be established body of Christ. Therefore we cannot relegate the Olivet Discourse and the Gospel of Matthew to the Jewish Waste Paper Basket. We concede that the New Covenant was established with Israel, not with the Church. The Church is the product of the New Covenant which God promised and established with Israel. One cannot establish a covenant with a non-existent entity. The Church is a fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve patriarchs of Israel as well as the Davidic Covenant ( 2 Sam.7 ).
The Church, The Rapture And The 70th Week Of Daniel
The Pretrib Rapture Position designates the whole of the 70th week of Daniel as the period of God’s wrath. It also labels it the Tribulation Period and equates it with Time Of Jacob’s Trouble ( Jere.30:7 ). It divides the 70th week into two equal halves of three and one-half years each which is biblical. The first three and one-half years it labels the Tribulation, and the second three and one-half years it labels the Great Tribulation, none of which is biblical accurate. It rightly points out that the Church is exempt from the Wrath Of God, but wrongly concludes contrary to the Scriptures that the Church must be raptured before the commencement of the 70th week inasmuch as it is exempt from the wrath of God ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). Do the Scriptures teach that the whole of the 70th week is the period of God’s wrath? The Pretrib Rapture Position makes no distinction between the wrath of God and the wrath of Satan. ( Rev.6:17, 12:12 ). Reading through any Pretrib writing one would be at a loss as to which is God’s wrath and which constitutes the wrath of Satan.
It rightly concedes that Israel enjoys relative peace during the first three and one-half years due to protection from the antiChrist ( Meno Kalisher ), the most powerful ruler of the most powerful empire in history due to the peace agreement which probably involves other Arab and Islamic nations like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Turkey which are part of the ten nation confederation of The Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan ruled by the antiChrist, based on the tenor of the words in Hebrew. Events that occur during the first three and one-half years are the emergence of false christs, wars, commotions, threats and rumours of wars. It concludes with famines, pestilences, and earthquakes which are the natural consequences of war. Meanwhile Israel enjoys relative peace stemming from the protection offered her by the antiChrist, and the resumption of animal and grain offerings in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Why then do pretribs regard the first three and one half-years as part of the time of Jacob’s Trouble when Israel is peaceful all this while and prospers, and freely sacrifices in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple? The first half of the 70th Week will be Israel’s best period since independence in 1948, although the lull will lead it off its guards.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” ( Dan.9:27 ).
The antiChrist does not interfere with Jewish worship in the temple until the middle of the 70th week when he receives power and authority from Satan ( Rev.13:2b ), relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem from somewhere in the land of Magog ( Dan.11:45 ), makes his debut at the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, desecrates the Third Jewish Temple by threading on its sacred precincts forbidden to Gentiles, erecting an image of himself in the Holy Of Holies, and demanding worship of all mortals.
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” ( 2 Thess.2:4 ). It therefore follows that the time of Jacob’s Trouble does not begin until the midpoint of the 70th week when the antiChrist makes his debut at the temple. At the same time, he sorrounds Jerusalem with his armies. Jesus taught his disciples in the Olivet Discourse that the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet is coincident with the surrounding of Jerusalem with the armies of the antiMessiah.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” ( Matt.24:15-21; cp. Mk.13:14-19 ).
Luke equated the same situation with the surrounding of Jerusalem with the armies of the antiChrist. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” ( Luk.21:20-24 ).
It is explicitly clear from the Scriptures that the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel is not part of the time of Jacob’s Trouble. The time of Jacob’s Trouble begins at the midpoint of the 70th week and corresponds with the whole of the second half of the 70th week which is the time allotted to the antiMessiah to reign in Jerusalem. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”( Rev.13:5 ).
Why then do pretribs designate the first half of the 70th week as part of the time of Jacob’s Trouble? Because they want to keep the Church out of it. Do they truly succeed? No. They concede there are believers in the 70th who are not strictly Jewish. These they label Tribulation saints. But they have not been able to provide Scriptures that prove that so many millions or perhaps even billions of believers came to the saving knowledge of Christ in so short a period, three and one-half years after the Rapture of the Church, at a time when all the good pastors and believers are gone and there is no formal worship inasmuch as the first half of the 70th week consists of the emergence of false christs, wars and rumors of wars, famines pestilences and earthquakes. Is it the time for mass crusades, revival, evangelism, missions, and soul winning? Is this a good time for new converts to Christianity or old ones who missed the rapture because they were spiritual weak or indolent to acquire so much knowledge and inner fortitude to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of the 70th week whilst the seasoned saints are whisked away to heaven before the antiMessiah hangs out his shingles?
In 2 Thess.2:1, our Brother Apostle Paul linked our gathering together unto Him ( Rapture ) with the Parousia ( the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ); “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,”: as also did our Lord Jesus in the Olivet Discourse; “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” ( Matt.24:29-31 ). Pretribs break this link in order to keep the Church out of the 70th week of Daniel, place the Rapture before the commencement of the 70th week, and the Second Coming at the end of the 70th week. They teach that those who are gathered are gathered into the Millennium at the end of Armageddon. But there is no reference to Armageddon in this segment of the Olivet Discourse quoted above. Our Lord Jesus Christ stated very clearly that the sign of His Coming which is the Shekinah in the heavens occurs after the Tribulation of those days and is preceded by the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. This event occurs in the second half of the 70th week, a significant amount of time before Armageddon which occurs towards the end of the 30-day Reclamation Period that follows the expiry of the 70th week of Daniel.
Secret And Silent Rapture
Pretribs also teach that the Rapture shall be secret and silent. But we see here that the Rapture is linked with cosmic and celestial disturbances and the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens. Every eye will see Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and with an entourage of angels ( Rev.1:7 ). The tribes of the Earth shall mourn. Men’s heart shall fail them for fear of the raging of the waves and roiling of the sees, and those things that are coming upon the Earth. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” ( Luke 21:25-27 ). It is at this point in The 70th week that Christ instructs His disciples to look up; for their redemption draweth near. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” ( Luke 21:28 ). The trumpet shall sound, and the angels shall be dispatched to gather His elect from one end of heaven to the other.
Pretribs teach that no prophesied event shall occur before the Rapture can take place. This is their pet doctrine of imminence which teaches that the Rapture can occur at any moment and will be signless. But we see here that the Rapture is preceded by the Great Tribulation, the cosmic and celestial disturbances and the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens. The Rapture cannot be signless inasmuch as it is preceded by these events: the Great Tribulation and the cosmic and celestial disturbances, and the sign of the coming of the Son Of Man in the heavens.
Will The Rapture Be Sudden?
Pretribs teach that the Rapture will occur suddenly, like a thief in the night. Yes, the Bible teaches that, but it relates it to the unbelievers who are in darkness, the children of the night who have no knowledge of the times and epochs. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” ( 1 Thess.5:1-8 ). On the contrary, believers are the children of the day and light. They are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore that day cannot come upon them unawares.
Amputation Of The Great Tribulation
Pretribs label the whole of the second half of the 70th week the Great Tribulation. If the Great Tribulaion covers the whole of the 70th week, when do the trumpets occur? Between the end of the 70th week and the end of Armageddon is 30 days. The fifth trumpet alone lasts as long as five months. If the Great Tribulation covers the whole of the second half of the 70th week, then there is no time left for the trumpet and bowl judgments before the Millennium begins. Therefore, the Great Tribulation does not cover the whole of the second half of the 70th week. A distinction must be made between the Great Tribulation and the eschatological day of the Lord both of which occur during the second half of the 70th week of Daniel.
The Scriptures make it that the Great Tribulation is cut short by the cosmic and celestial disturbances in order to save some saints alive for rapture. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” ( Matt.24:22 , cp. Mk.13:20 ). The Greek word is ekolobothesan derived from koloboo which means to amputate. If the Great Tribulation were not cut short, the antiMessiah and his security apparatus would ferret out and kill everyone who repudiates the authority of the antiChrist by refusing to accept the mark of the Beast. Google has mapped the whole world including ocean floors. There would be no where to hide. But pretribs teach that the Great Tribulation is not cut short. That what is cut short is the second half of the 70th week. That God could have permitted to be longer. Would the 70th week be a week if it were made shorter? This is the position of Renauld E. Showers, a professor at the Institute Of Jewish Studies, Cairn University. This explanation is begging the question. It contradicts the clear teaching of the Scriptures.
The Fifth Seal Martyrs
Pretribs describe the fifth seal martyrs as feeble Christians who could not make the first round up who were made the bottom of the altar. But the Scripture does not say so. They were killed for the word of God and the testimony which they upheld. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy andrue, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” ( Rev.6:9-11 ). They should not be disparaged but honored. Even far more interesting is how did the fifth seal martyrs acquire so much inner fortitude in so short a time to withstand the horrors of the Great Tribulation if the rapture occurred before the terminus-a-quo of the 70th week?
The Teaching Of Christ
“And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” ( Luke 17:22-30 ).
Because they would be in severe distress due to persecution, the disciples will desire to see the days of the Son Of Man, but will not see it. False teachers and false prophet who purportedly know His whereabouts will say to them, look here, see there. Christ warned His disciples not to follow them. This would be an attempt to lure them out of hiding in order that they maybe coerced to receive the mark of the Beast or be killed outright on refusal to accept it. His coming will not be to any secret chamber or in the desert. It will not be secret or silent. It will be like lightning that flashes from one part under the heaven to another with thunder and rumbling. Then He likened His Coming with the deluge in the days of Noah. They were eating and drinking, marrying and being giving in marriage, until Noah entered the Ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Christ taught His disciples that rescue ( Rapture ) and wrath occur the same day. The same day that Noah and family entered the Ark, rain deluged the heavens and the Earth. “In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;” ( Genesis 7:13 ).
Christ also compared His Coming to the days of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. They were eating and drinking, buying and selling. They planted, they builded. But on the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. The teaching of Christ in the Olivet Discourse is very obvious. The same day that Christ is revealed, referring to Christ Coming like lightning, the saints shall be rescued ( raptured) and the judgment of God on the wicked will begin.
But this clear teaching of Christ has been turned into a controversy by the pretribs claiming that there was a gap of seven days between the entry of Noah and his family into the Ark and the beginning of the deluge. God warned Noah that there was seven days left and the deluge would begin. “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” ( Genesis 7:4 ). Noah had to go in and out of the Ark to complete his job of bringing in the animals according to God’s instruction. On the seventh day he completed his job of bringing in the animals, and he and his family were safely shut in in the Ark. on the same day, the fountains of the deep were broken, the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain deluged the heavens. “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.” ( Genesis 7:11-16 ).
In their attempt to keep the Church out of the 70th week, they negated the clear teaching of Christ. Christ taught his disciples that the two events, the entry of Noah and his family into the Ark and the judgment of God on the ungodly occurred on the same day. On the seventh day, Noah and his family, and the animals were safely in the Ark, God shut them in, and the deluge began. The rescue of Noah and his family occurred on the same day that the judgment of fell. Jesus compared this to the day of the Son Of Man. So shall it be on the day when the Son Of Man is revealed ( Luk.17:30 ). The disciples understood this truth. It informed their question, “ when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of their coming and of the end of the ages?” ( Matt.24:3 ). The parts of the sign would be given in reverse order: the sign of the end of the ages will precede the sign of His Coming. The cosmic and celestial disturbances will occur before the appearance of The Shekinah, the Sign Of The Coming Of The Son Of Man in the heavens. Pretribulationism contradicted the teaching of Christ in the Olivet Discourse. Christ’s Coming to rapture the Church occurs at the end of the ages. The end of the ages initiated the day of the Lord.
The Teaching Of Apostle Peter
“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” ( 2 Peter 2:5-9 ).
Our brother Apostle Peter repeats the teaching of Christ that the righteous are rescued and then the punishment of the wicked follows. Noah’s rescue before the world was submerged in the waters of the deluge illustrates the back-to-back timing of the rapture of the Church and God’s judgment of the wicked that follows. Both events occur on the same day. Our Lord Jesus used the same illustration in His Olivet Discourse.
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as it was in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” ( Matt.24:37-39 ).
They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah and his family entered the Ark. And they knew not until the flood came and took them all away. So shall the Coming of the Son Of Man be. The same day the Church is rescued, then the judgment of the wicked begins. Christ gave another illustration saying the same thing all over again.
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” ( Matt.24:40-41 ).
But the pretribs in order to defend their pet doctrine of imminence and to keep the Church out of the 70th week of Daniel have made Christ’s illustration applicable to the battle of Armageddon instead of the rapture of the Church. They say those who were taken were taken in judgment and those left were left to enter into the Millennial Kingdom Of Christ. But the question of the disciples pertains to the sign of His Coming and of the end of the ages. His coming will initiate the rapture of the Church and the wrath of God on the wicked earth-dwellers who remain. The meaning of the passage is very clear. Those who were taken were taken to be with the Lord when He comes to rescue the faithful. Those who were left will be the unrighteous wicked who remain after the rescue of the righteous. They were left to face the wrath of God as it was in the days of Noah. This is exactly how Peter understood it. The righteous are rescued, and the wicked are left for judgment.
The meaning of Christ teaching is made more glaringly obvious when we consider the meaning of the Greek word paralambano rendered taken. It means to receive near, to associate with oneself in a familiar or intimate act or relation. It is used six times by Christ in reference to future events. It is used twice in Matt.24:40,41, and three times in Luk.17:34-36. In each instance it refers to the one being taken and the other left behind. It is also used by Christ in Jon.14:1-4. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” In this passage also, it carries the meaning of being received by Christ. When the saints are received by Christ in clouds of heaven at the Rapture of the Church, it carries the notion of the angels of God gathering the wheat into the barn ( Matt.13:30 ). Christ will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other ( Matt.24:31 ). “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” ( 1 Thess.4:17 ). A better rendering of paralambano is to receive intimately. So, those who are left behind will face the wrath of the Lord during the Day Of The Lord judgment of the wicked.
The Teaching Of Apostle Paul
As we have pointed out earlier, our brother Apostle Paul in His letter to the Thessalonians linked the coming of the Lord to our gathering together unto Him ( Rapture ). “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,”( 2 Thess.2:1 ). The classical rapture passage: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” ( 1 Thess.4:13-18 ); parallels the Second Coming passage in the Olivet Discourse: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” ( Matt.24:29-31 ). Those of us who are alive and remain at the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep. It is when Christ descends from heaven with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God that He will dispatch His angels to gather together His elect from one end of heaven to the other. This event occurs after the Great Tribulation of those days, after the cosmic disturbances asssociated with the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. The Church is raptured and God’s judgment of the unrighteous wicked begins.
God cannot begin to punish the wicked until their cup of iniquity is full. Their sin must pile up to heaven. It is a righteous thing with God to recompense Tribulation to them that trouble us. “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”( 2 Thess.1:6-10 ). They must trouble us during the Great Tribulation for God to trouble them during the day of the Lord. The rest to the righteous is given when Christ descends from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taken vengeance on them that know not God. He shall punish the unrighteous with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. This event, the punishment of the wicked in perpetuity shall occur when He comes to be gloried in His saints, and to be admired in all those who believe in that day.
Apostle Paul also taught the Thessalonians believers that although Christ will come like a thief in the night, it is only in relation to the wicked and unrighteous who are of the night and of darkness. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”( 1 Thess.5:1, 3-9 ). But believers are not of the night and darkness that that day should come upon them unawares. The day of sudden destruction cannot come upon believers like a thief in the night. We can know the general time period of His Coming but not the very day and the hour ( Matt.24:36 ). The believers are here until the day of the judgment of the wicked, but are delivered from it. The same day the saints are rescued, the judgment of the wicked commences. In all those passages of the Scriptures where Christ Coming is described as a thief in the night ( Luk.12:39,40; 2 Pet.3:10; Rev.3:3 ), the suddenness of His Coming is connected to the ignorance of the unrighteous wicked.
The Teaching Of Christ In The Scroll Of Revelation
The Scroll Of Revelation is highly organized and chronological. It is unique in the canon of the Scriptures being a direct communication from Christ to Apostle John the apocalyptist. It is the revelation ( unveiling ) of Jesus Christ which the Father gave to Him to reveal to the Church. It was revealed to Apostle John, the revelator through the mediation of an angel. In the first chapter, Christ, the risen Saviour is unveiled walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks which are the seven representative churches. Chapters two and three contain the letters to the seven churches. Chapters four and five unveil the Throne Room of God in the Temple of God in Heaven, a beehive of activities from where the events in the 70th week of Daniel in both heaven and on Earth are monitored and controlled. It is magic and hermeneutical jingoism, not biblical exegesis, to conjure up the Rapture in Rev.4:1 when John the revelator is invited into the Throne Room of the Temple Of God in Heaven to receive the revelation. The pretribs hold this unscholarly view in order to keep the Church out of the 70th week of Daniel and to sustain their doctrine of imminence. The first five chapters form the background to the Scroll Of Revelation.
In chapter six, the 70th week of Daniel begins with the breaking of the first seal which is the emergence of false christs, and of course the ultimate antiChrist who enters into a false peace pact with Israel for seven years ( Dan.9:27 ). He tries to form alliances with nations through subtle peace agreements. When this fails he resorts to war. This is the breaking of the second seal. Wars will naturally lead to famine, pestilences and natural disasters. This is the third seal which brings the first half of the 70th week to a close. In the middle of the 70th week, Satan is cast down to the Earth by archangels Michael with His hordes of fallen evil angels whose abode had been in the Dark Void and starry heavens. Satan is enraged ( Rev.12:7-9 ). He possesses the antiChrist, gives his power seat, and authority ( Rev.13:2 ). He relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem, surrounds Jerusalem with his armies, suspends temple worship and offerings, desecrates the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah by erecting a statue of himself in the Holy Of Holies, and demands worship of all mortals. This is the abomination that makes desolate spoken by Daniel the prophet. Those who repudiate his authority by refusing his mark of allegiance are executed. This is the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of the 70th week at the breaking of the Fourth Seal ( Rev.6:7,8 ).
The fifth seal depicts the arrival of the saints in heaven martyred under the fourth seal taking place on Earth at that time ( Rev6:9-11 ). It is purely a heavenly scene. It does not advance the chronology of the Scroll Of Revelation. So, the fifth seal is concurrent with the fourth. There is a certain number of saints to be martyred. It is not revealed to us. It is a secret number known only to God ( Deut.29:29 ). When that number is complete, God cuts short the Great Tribulation with the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal. There is a great earthquake, the Sun is darkened, the Moon will not give it’s light, and Stars will fall from the heavens. At the breaking of the sixth seal ( Rev.6:12-17 ), the unbelieving world will realize God is about to punish them for their evils. They scurry for nonexistent refuge under the rocks and the mountains. The saints are looking up for their redemption draws near. But before God unleashes His wrath on the wicked earth-dwellers, He seals the 144,000, and raptures the Church to take them away from the scenes of His wrath ( Rev.7 ). The Church is not appointed to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus the Christ ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). In Rev.8, the seventh seal is broken, and the wrath of God begins. There is no hint whatsoever of rapture before the commencement of the 70th week except that magically conjured up in Rev.4:1 by pretribs who are hell bent on getting the Church out of here before the 70th week begins.
The Rapture Occurs At The Parousia
The bane of the Pretribulational Rapture Position is the separation of the Rapture from the Second Coming Of Christ by a minimum of seven years. There is not a single verse of the Scriptures that clearly teaches or supports this separation. It is neither explicit nor implicit. Of all the passages of the Scriptures we have examined, there is none that makes this assertion. Until Christ descends from the heavens with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, there can be no rapture. And this event occurs after the Tribulation of those days and the attendant cosmic and celestial disturbances that cut short the Great Tribulation. It is witnessed by all and sundry ( Matt.24:30;Rev.1:7 ). It is neither secret nor silent. There is no evidence in the Scriptures that Christ descends from the heavens with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God twice, once to rapture the Church before the commencement of the 70th week, and another, at least seven years later at the end of Armageddon. Christ’s descent from the heavens to the sky with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God occurs at the interlude between the end sixth seal and the breaking of the seventh. This event occurs in the second half of the 70th week after the Tribulation of those days ( Matt.24:29 ). At this point, He descends from the heavens to the sky to rapture the Church and the punish the unrighteous wicked during the day of His wrath that follows the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. All the OT prophets that spoke of the Day Of The Lord are unanimous in their proclamation that the Day Of The Lord is preceded and heralded by the cosmic disturbances.
Christ’s descent at Armageddon with the raptured saints and holy angels is not accompanied with the blowing of the trumpet with voice of the archangel ( Rev.19:10-21 ). The sole purpose is to defeat the armies of the kingdoms of this age and to reclaim physical repossession of the Earth in the behalf of the Father. Christ’s descent with the voice of the archangel occurs inside the second half of the 70th week, whilst Armageddon ends at the end of the 30-day Reclamation Period that immediately follows the expiration of the second half of the 70th week. To teach rapture before the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel is to court disaster. It makes the Church vulnerable to deception by false prophets, false teachers, and false christs of whom there will be a preponderance beginning from the first half of the 70th week of Daniel. The commencement of the 70th week is marked by the emergence of false christs, and of course the ultimate antiChrist, the Son Of Destruction. It will make the Church unprepared to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation. A generation of believers that have been taught they shall be taken to heaven on the wings of a “silver bird” before the emergence of the antiChrist will be ill prepared to resist the allurement of the antiChrist especially in those nations where the citizenry are used to food stamps and government handouts. The antiChrist will promise to put a chicken in every pot, and he will certainly deliver, thusly making unprepared believers chickens in his own pot during the Great Tribulation.
The Parousia Occurs At The End Of The Ages
In the Olivet Discourse, the disciples asked,our Lord Jesus the Christ, “ what shall be the sign of the thy coming and of the end of the ages.” They linked His Coming with the end of the ages. The word semeion in Greek is singular. There is only one sign of His Coming And Of The End Of The Ages. Jesus answered this question by narrating a series of events that shall transpire within the 70th week beginning from the emergence of false christs, then wars and rumors of wars, famines pestilences and earthquakes that bring the first half of the 70th week to a close. From the midpoint of the 70th week the Great Tribulation begins. Jesus told His disciples that the sign they asked Him about would occur after the Tribulation of those days. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” ( Matt.24:29-31 ). So the sign of His Coming and of the end of the ages occur back-to-back but in reverse order. First is the sign of the end of the ages which is the cosmic and celestial disturbances. This sign will switch off the natural lights of the universe. The Sun will be darkened, the Moon will not give her light, and the Stars will fall from the heavens. The darkened and frozen state of the Earth caused by the sign of the end of the ages will be reversed by the sign of His Coming which is the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens. There is only one sign but there are two components of this sign. When Christ appears in the heavens, He dispatches His angels to gather His elects from one end of the heavens to the other. Then and only after then shall the end of the ages begin which is the outpouring of the wrath of God on the unrighteous wicked who remain.
In His post resurrection message to His disciples, Jesus promised His disciples His presence with them till the end of the ages. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”( Matt.28:18-20 ). If His disciples will not be here till the end of the ages why would Jesus promise to be with them till the end of the ages? We see that the parousia occurs at the end of the ages. If the parousia occurs at the end of the ages, then the Rapture also occurs the the end of the ages because the Rapture occurs at the parousia. This conclusion is biblically accurate because Jesus told His disciples that he who endures unto the end ( of the ages ) shall be saved. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” ( Matt.10:22 ). This promise was made in relation to the Great Tribulation when the disciples shall be hated of of all nations on account of His name. Those who would be delivered from the Great Tribulation will be the faithful disciples who endure unto the end of the ages when the Great Tribulation will be amputated with the cosmic and celestial disturbances.
The End Of The Ages Occurs At The Breaking Of The Seventh Seal
The Olivet Discourse parallels the breaking of the seals in Rev.6-8. The fourth seal parallels the Great Tribulation. The fifth seal has no parallel in the Olivet Discourse because it is a heavenly scene. In the Olivet Discourse Christ was dealing with events on the Earth only. In the Scroll Of Revelation, He dealt with both earthly and heavenly events. The fifth seal is concurrent with the fourth seal. It is a heavenly reflection of the killings going here on Earth during the fourth seal, the Great Tribulation. The fifth seal will end when the number of saints destined to be martyred is complete. “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” ( Rev.13:10 ). The KJV translation is not helpful here. The correct translation would be “ If any man is destined to go into captivity, into captivity he goes: if any man is destined to be killed with the sword, with the sword , he shall be killed.” Those taken into captivity have been so destined, and those to be killed with the sword have also been so destined. Christ knows who they are. We do not know. Th secret things belong to God ( Deut.29:29 ).
The sixth seal corresponds with the cosmic and celestial disturbances, the sign of the end of the ages which indicates even to the unrighteous wicked earth-dwellers that God is about to punish them for the their evils. At the breaking of the sixth seal they seek non-existent refuge under the rocks and the mountains. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the
rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” ( Rev.6:12-17 ). They know instinctively that the wrath of God to be poured out on them is about to begin.
There is an interlude between the sixth seal and the breaking of the seventh seal. This interlude in the Scroll Of Revelation corresponds with the appearance of the Shekinah in the Olivet Discourse. The appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens is not described in the Scroll Of Revelation. What is described is the appearance of the raptured saints in heaven in Rev.7:9-17. In the Olivet Discourse, Christ tells His disciples that at this juncture, the saints are gathered by the angelic reapers. In the Revelation account, He adds more details by revealing that the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel are sealed for protection during the impending wrath of God ( Rev.7:1-8 ). The innumerable multitude which no man could number from all tribes and nations are the raptured saints in heaven who came out of the Great Tribulation.
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Rev.7:9-17 ).
This Great multitude who no one could number are the raptured saints in heaven. But the pretribs tell us they are Tribulation saints who are martyred for their faith. How this innumerable multitude will come to the faith in the time when their is no formal worship and all the good pastors and teachers, and saints are gone, develop the so great a faith and inner fortitude to resist the antiChrist and his killing machine, they profer no answer and the Scriptures are silent. But we can see that after this gathering in Heaven the wrath of God begins in Rev.8 after the breaking of the seventh seal. The same day the Church is raptured, the seventh seal is broken and the wrath of God begins. The seventh seal has no judgment of its own but opens into the seven trumpets. The seventh trumpet has no judgment of its own but opens in the seven bowls. The seven trumpets and seven bowls constitute the wrath of God. They begin at the breaking of the seventh seal.
The Harvest Is The End Of The Ages And The Reapers Are The Angels
In the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus is the Master who showed the good seed ( Matt.13:37 ). The good seed are the children of the kingdom ( 38a ). The tares are the children of the wicked one ( 38b ). The wicked one is the Devil ( 39a ). Because in the early stages of growth, the tares look like the real wheat, it will be impossible for the angelic reapers to separate the tares from the wheat ( 29 ). Therefore they must be allowed to grow together until maturation when the tares are clearly distinguishable from the real wheat ( 30 ). When they are ripe, the farmer harvests the tares first, bundles them into heaps at the edges of the farm to be burned later after the harvest of the real wheat ( 42 ). Jesus makes it clear the harvest is the end of the ages, and the reapers are the angels ( 39b ). As we have shown, the end of the ages occurs after the Great Tribulation and the cosmic and celestial disturbances which interrupt the Great Tribulation. The wheat and the tares come to maturation during the Great Tribulation when the tares are marked for destruction with the mark of the Beast during the day of the Lord. Without the Great Tribulation, the angelic reapers cannot distinguish the tares from the wheat. The tares will be burned in the day of the Lord which occurs at the end of the ages. This is the message of the third angel: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” ( Rev.14:9-12 ).
There is no separation before the Great Tribulation. As a matter of fact, the purpose of the Great Tribulation is to separate the wheat from the tares in order to enable the angelic reapers to conduct the harvest of the real wheat. When the marking of the tares is complete during the Great Tribulation, and the full complement of the saints to be martyred is reached, God cuts short the Great Tribulation with the sign given in the Sun, Moon, and Stars. Then the Shekinah appears in the heavens as Jesus descends to the sky from the Heaven with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. The angelic reapers can now do their job of reaping the real wheat, the true believers who not only believe in Jesus but have not the mark of the Beast. This is the Prewrath Rapture Of The Church. Thereafter, the wrath of God begins in the Day Of The Lord At The End Of The Ages which corresponds with the breaking of the seventh seal. This is the same sequence of events occurs in Rev.14. The third angel announces the wrath of God on those with the mark of the Beast. This is followed by the final harvest in two stages. First the real wheat are harvested into the barn ( Rev.14:14-16 ). This is followed by the second harvest which is the wrath of God on the unrighteous wicked ( Rev.14:17-20 ). It ends in a bloodbath at Armageddon. The height of blood reaches up to the horse bridle, about 1.5 meters, and covers a distance of about 188 kilometers. The Armageddon Campaign begins in the vicinity of Jerusalem with the remnants of the armies of the nations surrounding Israel who are part of the Eight Beast Empire involved in the Jehoshaphat Campaign which occurs shortly before the amputation of the Great Tribulation, and ends in a final bloodbath involving the armies of all the nations of the Earth on Mount Megiddo in the valley of Esdraelon.
The Pretrib Rapture Position teaches harvest before maturation which Jesus says is impossible. The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church is in consonance with the clear unforced interpretation of the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus interpreted this parable Himself. We have added nothing to His interpretation of the parable. We have simply analyzed His interpretation and applied it to the eschatological timeline. The result is obvious to any honest exegete of the word of God. For further clarification see my article on the parable of the wheat and the tares, https://mtzionheritage.com/the-parable-of-the-wheat-and-the-tares/.