PREWRATH RAPTURE VERSUS PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE

Alan Kurschner on the flaws of a Pretribulation Rapture

Prewrath eschatology has exposed a fatal flaw in pretribulationism. It has shown that there are clear passages in the Bible that teach that certain, discernible, prophesied events will occur before the day of the Lord: the Antichrist and the apostasy (2 Thess 2:3), celestial disturbance (Joel 2:30-31), Elijah will return (Mal 4:5), the wicked saying “peace and safety” (1 Thess 5:2–3).

Pretribulation theology has traditionally taught that the rapture will occur on the same day that the day of the Lord begins, then any event that occurs before the day of the Lord will also have to occur before the rapture. This, of course, is problematic for the pretribulation position, because their entire theological pretribulation system is based on imminence, the belief that no prophesied events or signs can happen before the rapture.

Because of this crack in their system, untold numbers of pretribulational Christians in the last two decades have become prewrath in their eschatology and have rejected their previous pretribulation belief system. To be sure, there are many “pretribs” who have attempted to explain away this biblical contradiction to their system in various ways.  One of the most common attempts to do so, and one that is growing in more popularity, has resulted for them needing to create a new dispensation and forcing it between the rapture when the church age dispensation is completed and the seven-year tribulation dispensation. So in essence they are creating a “gap” between the rapture and the seven-year period, a gap of time they claim that these “before the day of the Lord” events will occur. In this way, they attempt to maintain the doctrine of imminence. To place these events before the rapture in their system would be fatal to their theology.

Here is the problem: Their claim that the rapture is disconnected from the day when the day of the Lord’s wrath begins is without support. In fact, Scripture is quite consistent that the rapture and the beginning of the day of the Lord’s wrath occur on the same day, they are back-to-back events, not separated by days, weeks, months, or—I have even heard some pretrib teachers claim—years. I have covered this before herehere, and here.

Their interpretation is a  deus ex machina in order to protect their imminence theology, so much so they are willing to grab out of thin air and inject a whole, new, distinct dispensation into God’s redemptive plan. Their dispensation-itus condition exposes their flawed theology when they feel the need to contrive a new dispensation in God’s plan when a contradiction is pointed out to them.

Let me give a plug for Alan’s book Prewrath: A Very Short Introduction to the Great Tribulation, Rapture, and Day of the Lord

PREWRATH RAPTURE BEFORE GOD’S WRATH IS POURED OUT IN TRUMPET AND BOWL JUDGEMENTS

As I have outlined previously, my position on the rapture of the Saints is Prewrath. I have presented articles by Alan Kurschner on the Prewrath position before but this one on Revelation 19 is excellent. I have also added a video produced last year where Joel Richardson interviews Alan on the Prewrath position. I am confident it will enlarge your understanding of Jesus Second Coming and give you a better perspective on how awe inspiring and wonderful is our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Let me know what you think.

Revelation 19 Does NOT Depict the Start of the Second Coming

Prewrath eschatology teaches that the second coming (parousia) of Jesus begins—not in Rev 19— but rather between the opening of the sixth and seventh seals in Rev 7 with the rapture and resurrection occurring with the innumerable multitude of believers appearing in heaven out of the period of the great tribulation.

This is followed immediately with the day of the Lord’s wrath starting with the opening of the scroll when the seventh and last seal is broken. The trumpets and bowls then release God’s judgement upon the wicked. The battle of Armageddon is one of the very last judgements in the complex-whole of God’s eschatological wrath being depicted in Rev 19—the grand finale, if you will. Revelation 19 is not about deliverance, it is wholly about judgement.

Practically every other end-time position (pretrib, posttrib, amill, historical premill, and so on) assumes that the second coming begins in Rev 19. They virtually never argue for this—they simply assume it. Besides all the evidence that points to the second coming beginning in Rev 7 with the deliverance of God’s people and the ensuing eschatological judgements in the trumpets and bowls, here are a few more reasons:

“In the first place, the passage [Rev 19] does not have features commonly associated with the Parousia in the Synoptic Gospels and in Paul. There is no mention of Christ coming on the clouds (Matt 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; Luke 21:27), accompanying angels (Matt 13:41, 49; 16:27; 24:31; 25:31;  Mark 8:38; 13:27; 2 Thess 1:7) or the gathering in of the elect (Matt 24:31, 40–41; Mark 13:27; cf. Matt 13:41, 49; 1 Thess 4:17; 1 Cor 15:52). The description of Christ on a white horse is not found in any of the Parousia passages. Patently, the interest in this passage is not in the faithful but in the destruction of evil-doers. In any case, the faithful are not on earth waiting to be delivered, but in heaven [with resurrected bodies]. To interpret the ‘coming’ of 19:11–21 as the Second Coming, with the removal of the faithful from the earth, runs counter to the strong interest in the earth in Revelation.” R. Jack McKelvey “The Millennium and the Second Coming” In Studies in the Book of Revelation, edited by Steve Moyise (New York: T&T Clark, 2001) 86.

In addition, last year Joel Richardson interviewed me on his videocast on this very topic: