Dr Douglas Hamp has a special guest Alan Kurschner on his programme, The Awakening Report to discuss reasons why a Prewrath Rapture best fits Scripture and all of the problems with PreTrib and MidTrib rapture positions. Most of you know I support Alan’s PreWrath view of The Rapture of Christians prior to Jesus return to rule and reign from Jerusalem in the Millennium. Douglas Hamp has realised the PreTrib position is not Biblically tenable but is yet to decide on PreWrath versus Post Trib positions. I am confident that you will find this video instructive as did Douglas. He intends to have Alan back on his programme at some future date.
The Prewrath Rapture positions the rapture at the trumpet blast of the seventh seal . Jesus said believers would not endure the wrath of God that is poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements but He said that we would see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (Matthew 24:15). It is at the end of the sixth seal that we are told ‘For the great day of His wrath has come.” (Revelation 6:17) At the seventh seal; The Rapture occurs and then the wrath of God begins to be poured out on the unrepentant. Much the same as Noah, his family and the animals enter the ark, God closes the door, and the wrath of God is poured out.
Believers will experience tribulation even great tribulation meted out by the Antichrist but at the same time Christians will shine brightly in the darkness with many turning to Christ despite the persecution it brings.
Dr Alan Kurschner of Eschatos Ministries explains how the greek grammar in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 supports Prewrath.
The Greek grammar in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 clearly supports the prewrath interpretation that those two events: 1. apostasy and 2, the lawless one revealed, will occur first, before the day of the Lord.
“Let no one deceive you in any way; for the day of the Lord will not come unless [ean mē] the apostasy comes first [prōton] and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3
A couple of simple cross-references of the same Greek construction in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 to other biblical examples will demonstrate that the pretribulational view skews Paul’s message. The Greek is constructed with the conditional “unless” (ean mē) coupled with the adverb “first” (prōton), which results in placing the conditional events sequentially before the main event.
For example, John 7:51: “Our law doesn’t condemn a man unless [ean mē] it first [prōton] hears from him and learns what he is doing, does it?”
That is to say, before the event of “condemnation,” two events need to happen first: (1) hearing from the accused, and thus (2) learning what he is doing. The two events do not happen “during” the condemnation, as the flawed pretrib Greek analysis would have it. Rather, they occur before the verdict of condemnation.
Next Mark 3:27: “But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless [ean mē] he first [prōton] ties up the strong man; then [tote] indeed the house can be plundered.”
That is to say, the strongman is tied up first, before the house is plundered (the “then” [tote] confirms this).
These two examples that share the same Greek construction with 2 Thessalonians 2:3 suffice to illustrate Paul’ message that before the day of the Lord begins, two events must happen first: the apostasy and the revelation of the man of lawlessness. Only then can the day of the Lord begin.
Another excellent video from Nelson Walters of The Gospel in the End Times.
Jesus said his coming would be like the Days of Noah, that unbelievers would be living relatively normal lives up to that point. Do the details of the Flood account along with Daniel’s 70th Week give us an idea of how long the wrath of God is? Watch this video to learn from Nelson’s explanation from important but less explored Scriptures relating to the timing of events prior to Jesus second coming.
Alan Kurschner of Eschatos Ministries does a creditable job to explain that Matthew 24:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:3 do not explain the same events, which provides support for the PreWrath Rapture position: the Rapture occurs after the tribulation and great tribulation but before the wrath of God is poured out at the Trumpet and Vial judgements.
“Pretribulational proponents believe that the beginning of birth pangs that Jesus mentions in his Olivet Discourse refer to when the day of the Lord’s wrath begins and typically place it at the beginning of the seven-year period.
In an attempt to make the “beginning of birth pangs” in Matthew 24:8 describe the day of the Lord’s wrath, pretribulationists assert that this is parallel with Paul’s usage of “labour pains” in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, which clearly refers to the beginning of God’s wrath. However, it is obvious the respective contexts show that Jesus and Paul are not describing the same event, but actually very different events. The metaphor “birth pangs” is not a technical phrase to denote the day of the Lord as some wrongly claim. Context must determine the application of the usage of the common metaphor of birth pangs.
Let’s compare both verses:
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of birth pangs.” (Matt 24:8)
“For you yourselves know perfectly that THE DAY OF THE LORD so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3
There are six differences that demonstrate that Jesus and Paul are using it for two separate and distinct periods.
1. Jesus’ usage in Matthew 24 describes events before the great tribulation; Paul’s usage is found at the inception of the day of the Lord. Jesus uses the birthing metaphor to warn that the end has not arrived (“Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. . . All these things are the beginning of birth pains”). Paul uses it to announce that the end has arrived (“then sudden destruction comes on them, like labour pains,” cf. Isaiah 13:7–8).
2. Accordingly, Jesus emphasises the tolerable stage of “the beginning of birth pains” (Matt 24:8); hence, the reason he reassures, “Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matt 24:6). In contrast, Paul is drawing from Isaiah’s labour imagery focused on the intolerable stage of actual giving birth, “cramps and pain seize hold of them like those of a woman who is straining to give birth” (Isaiah 13:8).
3. Jesus teaches that the “beginning of birth pangs” is what Christians are destined to experience (Matt 24:4–8); Paul teaches just the opposite that Christians are promised exemption from the hard labour pains, the time of God’s wrath (1 Thess. 5:9).
4. The labour pains in Matthew 24 refer to natural events such as false christs, wars, famines, and earthquakes (Matt. 24:5–8). Paul’s reference is to the supernatural event of the day of the Lord (2 Thess. 1:5–8).
5. Jesus’ usage of the beginning of birth pangs occurs before the celestial disturbance happens (Matt. 24:8–29). But in the Isaiah passage that Paul is drawing from associates the birth pangs of the onset of the day of the Lord with the celestial disturbance (Isaiah 13: 8–10).
6. Jesus uses the birthing metaphor to apply to both unbelievers and believers (Matt 24:5–8). While Paul uses it exclusively applied to unbelievers (1 Thess. 5:3–4).
The interpreter must be careful not to fall into the similarity equals identity fallacy. Context is key.”
Prewrath eschatology sees the Parousia as a complex-whole, where God will fulfil a variety of purposes:
- Beginning with the revelation of Christ in the sky displaying his shekinah glory and power to the whole world .
- Resurrection and rapture of God’s people.
- Immediately followed by the wrath of God poured out on the earth with the trumpet and bowl judgements. It is the day of the Lord’s judgements upon the ungodly and Antichrist’s kingdom. Duration is possibly 1 year and 10 days, same time as God poured out His wrath the first time during the days of Noah.
- Jesus return to this earth with the saints, restoring Israel to salvation which begins Christ’s earthly reign on this earth for a thousand years. Curse is not lifted off the entire earth. People still die. At the end of Jesus thousand year reign, Satan is released and deceives the nations and a final battle occurs which God ends with fire from heaven. Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire and God’s word says he, the beast and the false prophet will be tormented forever and ever.
- The Great White Throne Judgement is held in heaven after the dead unbelievers are raised to life.
- Unbelievers will be cast into the lake of Fire, which for them will be ultimately, after due punishment, the second death. “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14 Also Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Only Satan and his minions face eternal torment in the Lake of Fire which was prepared for them. Matthew 25:41
- “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:2-5
The debate between pretribulation and prewrath rapture scholars about Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians has been fierce – mostly centred around 2 Thess. 2:3 and the meaning of the Greek word apostasia.
Dr Nelson Walters of Gospel in the End Times has written about that passage at length in his book Rapture: Case Closed? However, he points out in this presentation that very little discussion has taken place about the passage that precedes 2 Thess. 2 and provides its “context,” that is 2 Thess. 1. The eschatological material in chapters one and two are really one continuous teaching! We cannot understand chapter two without understanding chapter one that provides introductory thoughts on the more hotly contested chapter.
Nelson does a stellar job of presenting the Prewrath case for the timing of the Rapture in this seven minute video.
As some of my followers will have determined, I hold to a Prewrath Rapture position. It means that Christians will go through the tribulation period outlined by Daniel and John in Revelation, but not be subjected to the wrath of God that is poured out during the trumpet and bowl judgements.
For those of you who would like to explore this position further, I can recommend the resources produced by Alan Kurschner – Antichrist: Before the Day of the Lord and Nelson Walters – Rapture Case Closed? both who hold to the Prewrath Rapture position.
Don’t forget you can find sermons and videos relevant for these “last days” available for download on my other website http://www.powerpointsermons.net
I found the following fifteen tenets of the Prewrath position as outlined on Alan Kurschner’s website a great help and I hope you do too.
- There is a future seven-year period, and at the midpoint the Antichrist will be revealed and commit the abomination of desolation, initiating his great tribulation against the Church and Israel.
- There is a biblical distinction between the Antichrist’s great tribulation against the Church and Israel and the day of the Lord’s wrath against the ungodly. The latter event happens after the former event.
- The gathering of the elect mentioned in Matthew 24:31 refers to the rapture (cf. Mark 13:27; Luke 21:28; Rev 7:9–17; 1 Thess 4:13–18; 2 Thess 2:1).
- At an unknown day and hour during the second half of the seven-year period, the Antichrist’s great tribulation will be cut short by the Revelation of Christ to resurrect and rapture God’s people, and this will be followed immediately by the day of the Lord’s wrath with the trumpet and bowl judgements.
- On the same day the rapture happens, the onset of the day of the Lord’s wrath takes place, just as it was in the days of Noah and Lot (Luke 17:22–37; cf. 2 Thess 1:5–10).
- The second coming (parousia) is not a simple (instantaneous) event. The second coming is a complex-whole event containing various purposes of God, beginning with the Revelation of Christ in the sky displaying his Shekinah glory and power to the whole world, and resurrecting and rapturing God’s people, followed by the day of the Lord’s judgments upon the ungodly and Antichrist’s kingdom, restoring Israel to salvation, and culminating in Christ’s earthly reign.
- Although Armageddon is an element within the complex-whole second coming, Armageddon does not initiate the second coming; instead, the second coming begins between the sixth and seventh seal.
- The resurrection and rapture happens between the opening of the sixth seal and the seventh seal.
- The first six seals are not part of the day of the Lord’s wrath. The first six seals are conditional events that must happen before Christ’s return.
- The sixth seal signals the impending day of the Lord’s wrath as recorded in Joel 2:30–31; Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25–26; Mark 13:23–25; and Revelation 6:12–17.
- The seventh seal pronounces the day of the Lord’s wrath.
- The trumpets, bowls, and Armageddon contain and execute the day of the Lord’s wrath.
- The trumpets, bowls, and Armageddon will not occur before the seventh seal is opened.
- Paul’s “last trumpet” (1 Cor 15:52) is not the seventh trumpet judgment in the book of Revelation.
- Christ’s return to resurrect and rapture God’s people is not imminent (“any moment”), since discernible prophesied events must happen first (e.g., the Antichrist’s revelation and his ensuing great tribulation; the apostasy; coming of Elijah; and a cluster of discernible celestial events). Christ can return in any generation of the Church.
—Alan Kurschner, 08/01/12
Alan Kurshner of Eschatos Ministries on the Prewrath Rapture.
What are key passages that best represent the Prewrath Rapture position?
I think the strongest passage is 2 Thessalonians 2, where Paul reassures Thessalonian believers that they are not experiencing the day of the Lord’s wrath. Paul explains that they are not experiencing the day of the Lord’s wrath because two discernible events must happen first—the revelation of Antichrist and the apostasy. Since they have not happened, Paul argues, the day of the Lord has not materialised. This passage eliminates the possibility of a Pretribulation Rapture.
I also see Jesus’ Olivet Discourse as a key passage that supports the Prewrath Rapture position. It depicts all the key elements: the Antichrist’s great tribulation, cutting short of the great tribulation, celestial disturbances, Son of Man’s return to the clouds, rescue of God’s people, and the impending wrath of God.
I would argue, as well, from the book of Daniel and Revelation, but the former two passages, in my view, form a strong case for the pre-wrath position.
What role does Daniel 9 have in your understanding of the timing of the rapture?
I do not see Daniel 9 informing a particular eschatological sequence vis-à-vis the rapture question (but I do in Daniel 11:36–12:4). There are at least two points that Daniel 9 informs us on: (1) There will be a future seven-year period during which time key events will unfold, and (2) the fulfilment of the salvation of Israel will happen when the seven-year period is complete.
How does your understanding of the rapture affect your life?
Jesus ominously warns believers, “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt 24:25). This is not a cliché, but a real warning to God’s people. The great tribulation will be a concrete event occurring in the future just before the Lord returns. Jesus says it will be characterised by martyrdom, hatred, apostasy, betrayal, deception, and lawlessness. So much so that he says, “such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matt 24:21).
To be sure, if we do not experience this event in our lifetime, there are still important faith-principles that we can use to apply to our lives in the present time.
Since God has ordained that the last generation of church will experience tribulation before she meets her Rescuer bride-groom, should this not be an urgent warning for the church? The temptation during the great tribulation to capitulate to persecution, false teaching, and slothfulness will be intense. There will be two imperative duties for the believer during the great tribulation: to overcome the adversity through faith and to encourage the fellow believer to do the same.
One final implication is saliently portrayed in the angelic warning not to take the beast’s mark, lest they suffer eternal punishment in hell (see Revelation 14:9–12).
God perseveres the faith of his people through concrete warnings, so it is incumbent on Christian leaders not to dismiss these eschatological warnings for their people that God has entrusted to them. So the practical implications for the basic correct interpretation are sober for the believer.
This information is taken from Alan Kurshner’s book Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Return of Christ.