As was stated in part 1, the pre-wrath rapture theory is the newest of the four theories we are presenting. It was first developed by Van Kampen in the 1970’s, and then endorsed and made popular by Marvin Rosenthal, through his book The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church, published in 1990.
The main distinctive of this view is the belief that the rapture does not occur until about three-fourths of the way through Daniel’s 70th week. Though there are some similarities to both the partial rapture view and the mid-trib view, this theory has plenty of unusual features (see diagram). Rosenthal’s book, though intriguing to many, seems, in my opinion, to be lacking in biblical scholarship.
In part one of this article I laid out three of eight points. In this post I will give you the remaining five points.
4. The purpose of the 70th week. They teach that one of the main purposes of the 70th week is to purge and purify the church. This purpose would of course pertain only to the five and one-fourth years that the church is on the earth before they are raptured.
Rebuttal. I strongly object to this pre-wrath view that the church needs to be purged and purified by sever suffering; for the blood of Christ has already cleansed the church from all sin (1 Jn. 1:7). Rather, the stated purpose of the 70th week is to accomplish six things for Israel.
5. Revelation 3:10. According to Marvin Rosenthal and the pre-wrath rapture teaching, the phrase in Revelation 3:10 that normally reads (in the NASB) “I also will keep you from the hour of testing,” they teach that it should read, “I also will keep you through the hour of testing.” So the word “through” instead of “from,” or “out of,” indicates that God intends for the church to be on the earth and that He will protect them and bring them through the testing.
Rebuttal. The meaning of “ek” in this verse is not “through.” It should be interpreted as either “from” or “out of.” The meaning is clear: that God will keep the church out of the hour of testing—He will keep the church out of the Tribulation.
The second part of the verse also helps to confirm the meaning: that the testing of the Tribulation is not for the church, but is to test those who “dwell upon the earth,” which is referring to all those unbelievers on the earth (Rev. 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8; 14; 17:8).
6. The bowl judgments. This theory teaches that the bowl judgments come after the 70th week, during a 30 day period, described in Daniel 12:11.
Rebuttal. The thirty days (mentioned in Daniel 12:11) could not be designated for the bowl judgments. This thirty day period is more likely for the sheep and goats judgment described in Matthew 25:31-46. The bowl judgments are announced by the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15) and are described in chapter 16. There is no doubt that these most terrible judgments will occur during the second half of the tribulation.
7. Matthew 24:29-31 and Revelation 6:12-14. This theory teaches that the cosmic disturbances of Matthew 24:29 are the same as those of Revelation 6:12-14. And since they teach that Matthew 24:30-31 is descriptive of the rapture of the church, they conclude that it will happen after the sixth seal (Rev. 6:12).
Rebuttal. The teaching of the pre-wrath rapture theory in regard to these verses is entirely wrong. The events in Revelation 6:12-14 are during the sixth seal, and so the time frame here is about in the middle of the first half of the Tribulation. But in Matthew 24:29-31, these events, as noted in verse 29, are “immediately after the Tribulation.” Therefore, the cosmic disturbances in these two passages, though similar, occur about five years apart.
It should be noted that since this theory insists that the rapture comes during the Tribulation, this incorrect assumption throws everything else off. When studying scripture, we must not enter it with any preconceived ideas, but instead should study scripture for what it says—not for what we want it to say. It is just like telling a lie. One lie will force us to make things up so that the lie will appear true; but in the end, everything gets mixed up.
8. They reject imminence. Since this theory teaches that the rapture must come after the sixth seal, they reject Christ’s imminent return. Instead of looking for Christ’s coming, they look for the coming of the antichrist and for the signing of the treaty (Dan. 9:27).
Rebuttal. Since this theory holds that Jesus will not come to rapture the church until three quarters of the Tribulation is past, they do not look for His coming; instead they are looking for the coming of the antichrist. How sad! We should be looking for the Saviour, our blessed hope.