Since the term Pre-Wrath was coined several years ago, there has been a growing movement of people believing in a Pre-Wrath Rapture. In 1990 Marv Rosenthal published his book, The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church, and shortly after that in 1992 Robert Van Kampen published his book, The Sign. Since that time, there have been a number of authors and bloggers that have jumped onto the Pre-Wrath bandwagon.
Within the Pre-Wrath camp, there has been some diversity over side issues. For instance, in Revelation 7, are the 144,000 sealed first, or does the rapture of the church happen first? You will get different answers from Rosenthal and Van Kampen. Who are the first three beasts in Daniel 7? You will get different answers from Van Kampen and Charles Cooper. When do the beginning birth pains of Matthew 24:4-8 occur? You will get different answers from Rosenthal and Dr. Alan Hultberg. There are some side issues where not everybody is in complete agreement. However, this does not affect the integrity of the Pre-Wrath Rapture position. These side issues can be disagreed upon, but the basic idea of the Pre-Wrath Rapture of the church is not up for debate between these scholars.
There comes a point, though, when someone has strayed so far from Pre-Wrath, that they can no longer be considered Pre-Wrath. It becomes necessary to examine the bare essentials of the Pre-Wrath Rapture position in order to determine who can actually use that label accurately. The following is a brief list of Pre-Wrath essentials. Basically, if you don’t adhere to this very short list, you are not Pre-Wrath.
One of the reasons for this post is that Pastor Steven Anderson has gained quite a following and is using the term Pre-Wrath to describe his position. There are others who have done the same, but their following is not quite as wide as that of Pastor Steven Anderson. He has a video out which has been publicized in many groups. For some people, his version of the Pre-Wrath Rapture position is all they know about Pre-Wrath. They join a Pre-Wrath discussion group thinking Anderson’s position is the authoritative position on the whole matter. This post is to differentiate between true Pre-Wrath and the views of Pastor Steven Anderson on the matter of the great tribulation and the rapture of the church. You can view Anderson’s chart at the following link:
#1- Daniel’s 70th week is a future 7 year period, but not all of that future 7 year period is tribulation, or great tribulation. The great tribulation does not begin until the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week, that is, 3 ½ years from the beginning, see Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 21. The Pre-Wrath position holds that there is ongoing persecution and tribulation for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ throughout all of the church age, but the eschatological tribulation, also known as the great tribulation, does not begin until the midpoint of the future 7 year period. This is one difference right here. Pastor Steven Anderson believes more along the lines of the post-trib charts which believe that the first half of Daniel’s 70th week is tribulation while the second half is great tribulation. On Anderson’s chart, you will notice that he has “tribulation” marked for the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. This does not have support in any Pre-Wrath publication, nor in the scripture.
#2- There is a significant difference between tribulation and wrath. Tribulation and persecution for the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ is something that every believer should expect. When the great tribulation, or persecution occurs, the church is not exempt from this. The eschatological wrath of God is something completely different from the great tribulation. The church will enter the great tribulation, but be raptured before the eschatological wrath of God is poured out upon the earth. In the book of Revelation, the seven trumpets and seven bowls are where that eschatological wrath is located. On this point, Anderson is in line with the Pre-Wrath view.
#3- The rapture of the church will occur at the sixth seal in Revelation 6:12-17 which is a parallel passage to Matthew 24:29-31, described there as the gathering of the elect. This cuts short the great tribulation before the end of Daniel’s 70th week, and shortly after this the wrath of God will be poured out upon the earth in the form of the seven trumpet judgments and seven bowls which are plagues containing the wrath of God. On this first portion, Anderson is in agreement, but there is one other necessary component to the timing of the rapture that is essential to the Pre-Wrath position. The timing of the rapture occurs at a day and hour known to no man, see Mark 13:32. Within the last half of Daniel’s 70th week, the coming of Christ and rapture of the church will happen, but nobody can calculate how far away it is from either the midpoint or the end of the 7 year period. The trumpets and bowls will take a significant period of time, but we do not know exactly how much time. This entire period of wrath is known as the Day of the LORD and will constitute a period of time longer than one day. So in one sense, it is obvious that the coming and rapture do not occur 3 years and 179 days after the midpoint (one day shy of 3 ½ years). It must be somewhat before this in order that there may be time for the trumpets and bowls to occur. The key, though, is that it is an unknown day and hour. If it were known, then Pre-Wrath could be called the Three-Quarters Rapture position, or the Two-Thirds Rapture position. We can safely say it is a Sixth Seal Rapture position, but we simply do not know the timing of the sixth seal. The great tribulation will begin at the midpoint after the abomination of desolation, but will be cut short at a day and hour that no man knows for the sake of the elect, otherwise, no believing flesh would survive, see Matthew 24:21-22, 36.
Here is the major discrepancy with Anderson’s view. He believes that the great tribulation will begin at the midpoint and last exactly 75 days. The reason he believes this is an erroneous reading of Daniel 12:11-13. He rightly accounts the 1290 days from the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week, but for some reason he numbers the 1335 days from the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, which is not even mentioned in the text. He sees the blessing in Daniel 12:12 which comes from waiting until the end of the 1335 days as being the blessing of partaking in the rapture. The rapture (or resurrection) are not in view here. However, the claiming of one’s inheritance in the kingdom come is in view. The blessing in Daniel 12:12 should be linked with Daniel rising to his inheritance in Daniel 12:13. Pre-Wrath basics should tell us that it is not until after the wrath of God has been poured out upon the earth that we will inherit the new earth, see II Peter 3:12-13.
Instead, the context of Daniel 12:11-13 should result in numbering the 1290 days from the midpoint, and numbering the 1335 days from the midpoint as well. These days were not given to us at the end of Daniel to be able to calculate the rapture. They were given to show that after the abomination of desolation occurs, that there will be 1290 days numbered, most likely until the cleansing of the temple, and there will be 1335 days numbered from that same event, most like until the blessings of the millennial kingdom are being appropriated, see Daniel 7:27 for same prophet reference.
The implication of believing that the great tribulation will only last 75 days could be devastating to those living through the great tribulation. Imagine seeing the abomination of desolation, then witnessing a great persecution of believers, but in your heart you believe it will only last 75 days long. Somehow, someway, at the end of 75 days (you think), there will be a rescue. The context of Matthew 24:23-24 tells us that during the great tribulation there will be false prophets arising to deceive people with wonders so great, that if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived. Imagine a false prophet rising up exactly 75 days after the great tribulation begins and deceiving many Christians because they were falsely programmed to believe that the great tribulation would only last 75 days. This is why it is so important to take the entire counsel of the word of God from this passage. He has told us all things beforehand, Matthew 24:25. If someone states that Christ has returned secretly out in the desert somewhere, do not believe it, Matthew 24:26. The reason being is that when Christ returns it will be instantaneous, flashing like lightning from east to west. His coming will also be at a day and hour that no man can calculate, even within the context of the great tribulation after the abomination of desolation has occurred. Watch, because you do not know what day or hour the LORD is coming, see Matthew 24:42-44. If for some reason, as Anderson suggests, that the day of Christ’s coming can be calculated, Matthew 24:36, 42-44 would be null and void.
Those are the two obstacles which prevent Anderson from being considered Pre-Wrath. I suppose it could be debated that the first half of Daniel’s 70th week is tribulation, and then at the midpoint it “switches” somehow to great tribulation. I don’t know if one could be successful at it. I also don’t know how the Pre-Wrath community would receive that. But what cannot even be debated is the idea that the day of the coming of Christ can be calculated once the abomination of desolation has occurred and the great tribulation has started. On Anderson’s chart, he even notes below that the trumpet of Jubilee will sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, and this is lined directly below the event of the rapture of the church. So it would seem that Anderson has the exact day of Christ’s coming all figured out.
In order to be considered Pre-Wrath, Pastor Steven Anderson will have to renounce this idea that the length of the great tribulation is exactly 75 days and that the timing of the coming of Christ can be calculated to the day. He has many things to say that line up with Pre-Wrath in other areas, but this issue runs contrary to every Pre-Wrath author out there and to the scriptures. Because of some other controversial things he has been a part of, some Pre-Wrathers wouldn’t want to associate with him even if he brought his eschatological views in line with Pre-Wrath. For those of you who have believed that his views are Pre-Wrath, I would encourage you to purchase The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church by Marv Rosenthal. For those who read my blog, it is obvious that I don’t agree with every detail in the book, but this is the best explanation of the Pre-Wrath Rapture position out there.
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