The heavenly censer with the prayers of allthe saints spoken of in Revelation 8 symbolizes what currently shields the world from divine judgment, so its sudden casting down to the earth filled with fire from the altar must represent the removal of that covering. It is as if this is the final offering up of the prayers of the saints just prior to the Rapture, the censer is no longer needed to hold the prayers of the saints hence the angel filled it with fire from the altar and it is thrown to earth to initiate the wrath of God. Note: the Trumpet and Bowl judgments immediately follow in sequential and escalating order.
“Another angel holding a golden censer came and was stationed at the altar. A large amount of incense was given to him to offer up, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar that is before the throne. The smoke coming from the incense, along with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it on the earth, and there were crashes of thunder, roaring, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.” (Revelation 8:3-5)
This interpretation of the censer makes sense of the events that immediately precede the Rapture of the saints and the Wrath of God being poured out simultaneously. This is a perfect fit for the Prewrath position of the rapture of the saints prior to the Trumpet and Bowl judgements. That the heavenly censer is removed at the seventh seal thus provides additional verification that God’s wrath does not begin until the seven trumpets.
Prewrath interpreters such as myself locate the resurrection just before the day of the Lord’s wrath is poured out beginning with the breaking of the seventh seal. The six seals depict the wrath of Satan being vented on Christians and Jews by the Antichrist and his followers. It is a time of great tribulation then the rapture and resurrection take place after which the wrath of God with the trumpet and bowl judgements. This is consistent with Matthew 24 and Paul’s Thessalonian teaching.
“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)
The rapture and the resurrection will happen at the cutting short of the Beast’s great tribulation and before the day of the Lord’s wrath.
IT IS AT THE SEVENTH SEAL THAT JOHN SEES THE FOLLOWING
“After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. They w ere shouting out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood there in a circle around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” Then one of the elders asked me, “Thesedressed in long white robes—who are they and where have they come from?” So I said to him, “My lord, you know the answer.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb! For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them.They will never go hungry or be thirsty again, and the sun will not beat down on them, nor any burning heat,because the Lamb in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:9–17)
Social justice activist Shaun King unleashed a barrage of comments on social media claiming that statues of Jesus Christ are “a form of white supremacy” and should be torn down. King is the co-founder of Real Justice PAC and supports the Black Lives Matter movement by sharing his views on injustice through social media. His remarks come in the wake of a surge of protests and activism that have been taking place over racial injustice and equality. Across a number of countries protesters have vandalized and torn down statues that represent history. In a series of tweets, King declared that “public statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been.”
He continued, “All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down. They are a gross form of white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down.” The activist alleged that the “white Jesus is a lie” and “a tool of white supremacy created and advanced to help white people use the faith as a tool of oppression.”
Many of my previous posts have quoted Scriptures that clearly demonstrate the Bible prophesied this coming escalating persecution of Christians. Bible prophecies also address the apostasy, the falling away of churches that don’t uphold the inerrancy of God’s Word. This we also see happening as churches approve gay marriage and homosexuality. The good news is that these events signal the soon return of Jesus to rule and reign on this earth. Man’s time to rule on this earth, as well as Satan’s time of dominion, is coming to an end. Although, the Bible reveals that Satan gets an another opportunity to deceive mankind at the end of Jesus Millennial reign.
“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”Revelation 20:7-10
Jesus tells us that Christians will experience great tribulation during the last seven years prior to His return, but they will not experience the wrath of God that is poured out on unbelievers. The wrath of God follows the opening of the seven seals around the Scroll containing the trumpet and bowl judgements.
“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:12-17
The next event John sees in Revelation 7 is the saints in heaven. The Rapture of the saints has occurred at the seventh seal. The censer that held the prayers of the saints is offered up one last time and then the censer is filled with fire from the altar and thrown to earth to initiate the the first trumpet judgement.
“And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.Revelation 8:3-5
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 7:9-12
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:-14
How, when and by whom is this gospel of the kingdom preached in all the world as a witness to all nationsjust prior to the end?
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgement has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14:6-7
It will be one of three angels that God sends out with messages for all peoples on earth just prior to the wrath of God being poured out on the unrepentant.
In Revelation, at the completion of his commentary on the opening of the sixth seal, John says, “For the great day of His wrath has come; and who is able to stand?”
The Rapture of the saints happens at the seventh seal just prior to the wrath of God being poured out with the trumpet and bowl judgements.
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.
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.