The Lord’s second coming (parousia) will be a comprehensive-complex whole. In other words, it will not be a simple, instantaneous event as the rapture will be. Instead it will span various events that will fulfil divine purposes.
We can illustrate this by looking at Jesus’ first coming. When we think of this event, we do not think exclusively of his birth. His birth was his arrival, but his subsequent presence included his upbringing, teaching ministry, miracles, discipleship, death, burial, and resurrection. It was a complex whole that God used to fulfil his purposes. Similarly, the second coming will begin with Jesus’ arrival in the clouds to resurrect the dead and rapture them along with believers who are alive at that time (1 Thess. 4:13–18). The biblical writers often emphasised the arrival aspect of the parousia because they wanted to induce godly living in their listeners. But it would be a mistake to think they viewed it as limited only to Jesus’ glorious appearing in the sky to resurrect the dead and rapture all believers. This is because his subsequent presence (parousia) will encompass major events such as the day of the Lord’s wrath, bringing the remnant of Israel to salvation, and reclaiming his earthly regal-rule, which will extend into the millennium. In short, Christ’s parousia will be realised in his delivery of God’s people, judgement upon the wicked, and reign over the world.
What are key passages that you believe best represent your Prewrath position for the rapture?
I think the strongest passage is 2 Thessalonians 2, where Paul reassures the trepidation of the 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.
I also see Jesus’ Olivet Discourse as a key passage that supports the pre-wrath 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 fulfillment of the salvation of Israel will happen when the seven-year period is complete.
Alan Kurschner is director of Eschatos Ministries, which is dedicated to teaching biblical prophecy from a futurist, premillennial, prewrath perspective. www.AlanKurschner.com.