Monday, February 27, 2006

Pre-wrath is Meat and Potatoes

Some have tried desperately, with some success, to convince people that pre-wrath is a confusing position and next to impossible to understand. I believe this is a very inaccurate assessment made by those who are very confused themselves. Pre-wrath is a meat-and-potatoes position for meat-and-potatoes-people, and a plain reading of a few select passages easily sums up the doctrine. Pre-wrath can be broken down to its very bare essentials so that anyone can understand it in under five minutes. Set your watch.

Matthew 24 informs us that, at some unknown time in the future, “the abomination of desolation” (v. 15) will take place. Following the abomination, “there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world” (v. 21).

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky. (v. 29)

[And then all] “will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect. (v. 30)

The gathering mentioned in verse 30 is the rapture of the Church as seen in 1 Thessalonians (and other places):

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thess. 4:16-17)

The sign in the sun, moon, and stars, as mentioned in Matt. 24:29, that proceeds the coming of Christ and the gathering of the elect from the great tribulation, is seen in Revelation to take place after the sixth seal is opened.

I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. (Rev. 6:12-13)

Because the rapture is shown to take place after the sign in the sun, moon, and stars in Matthew 24, we should also see evidence of a rapture after the triple sign in Revelation. And we do.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands…

…Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?"

I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9,13-14)

So why is this position called pre-wrath? Because we believe that, at an unknown time in the future, God will gather His bride before He distributes His end times wrath.

After the rapture of the Church has taken place, the wrath of God that is contained within the Day of the Lord will begin. We know that the Day of the Lord cannot begin until after the sixth seal is opened and the signs appear in the sky. The prophet Joel made this clear for us:

The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Joel 2:31)

Pre-wrath Timeline

1. Abomination of Desolation
2. Great Tribulation
3. Triple Sign at Sixth Seal
4. Christ’s Coming and Gathering of the Elect
5. Day of the Lord/God’s Wrath (contained in the trumpet and bowl judgments that follow the seven seals)

In conclusion, yes, the pre-wrath position is simple, but is it also important? I believe the answer is yes, and no. It is helpful to place everything into a neat and orderly package, name the package in order to give it distinction from the other packages, and present it to others for their evaluation. This is especially true when the other packages are full of erroneous claims that have great potential to hinder an individual’s understanding of God and His plan, among other things. But I’m not one that believes we need to be overly concerned with names and titles, or that we need to have a name for every belief we hold. So, yes, the pre-wrath position is important, but not a necessity.

I believe the important factor within the rapture debate that everyone must understand is this: Christ followers have been given a promise to suffer (Phil. 1:29), no matter what a certain new belief systems teaches. The final generation is not exempt from suffering and gets no special escape ticket from the Great Tribulation, but Christ will come for us when it’s time.

Speaking of time—check your watch.

2 comments:

Recovering said...

Thanks! That is a very clear and simple way to look at it. Just the bare facts. My head doesn't hurt...it's a miracle.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your concise summary, I used to hold to the pre-trib position, but it bothered me that some bits of scripture didn't seem to fit like Mat. 24 and the martyrs in Rev coming out of the tribulation.

Your page on Rev 3:10 was also very helpful.