To distinguish the wrath of God from the Great Tribulation, we must understand and appreciate the concept of payback or retributive justice. The wrath of God is a retribution, a recompensation, a retaliation, a payback to the unrighteous wicked who have murdered the saints of the Most High in the most outrageous and egregious manner. It is a revenge, divine vendetta. Until the wicked earth-dwellers have murdered the saints in a rage that reaches up to the Heavens, God cannot begin to pay them back. Their cup of iniquity must be full.
It was was for this same reason that Israel went into exile in Egypt for four generations(430 years), for the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full.
“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”(Genesis 15:16 KJV).
God could not justly permit the Israelites to evict the Amorites from the land of Canaan though He had given it to His friend Abraham the Hebrew and his descendants after him for ever with a covenant of salt until their cup of iniquity is full. So shall it be with the people of this age. Their cup of iniquity must be full. Our God is The God of justice, and by Him actions are weighed. He is the God of Faithfulness without injustice, True and upright is He(Deut.32:3).
It is during the Great Tribulation that the unrighteous wicked earth-dwellers shall murder the saints in a rage that reaches up to the Heavens. The Great Tribulation begins with the breaking of the fourth seal(Rev.6:7,8), when the antiChrist relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem(Dan.11:45), surrounds Jerusalem with his armies(Luk.21:20), and makes his debut at the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem(2 Thess.3,4). The Surrounding of Jerusalem with the armies of the antiChrist is coincident, concurrent, and simultaneous, “pari passu” with the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet(Dan.9:27; Matt.24:15; Mk.13:14). The seals are consecutive and progressive. It is only the fourth and the fifth seals that are concurrent and co-incident and simultaneous, the fifth being entirely a heavenly scene is superimposed on the fourth. It is a heavenly reflection of the killling of the saints going here on Earth under the reign of the antiMessiah.
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”(Revelation 6:9-11 KJV).
They are disembodied souls because they have not yet received their glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies because the Rapture has not yet taken place. They are kept under the Golden altar of incense in the Holy place of the Temple of God in Heaven. They are murdered for the word of God and the testimony they uphold. If the Great Tribulation is God’s wrath, then God is responsible for the martyrdom of the fifth seal martyrs. He would then be unjust in punishing the wicked earth-dwellers for killing them because they carried out His will. Then would they be His faithful servants who carried out His orders. Would it be right and just for a master to punish his faithful servants who dutifully carried out his orders?
See, there is a certain number of saints to be killed. It is a secret number, known only to God. The secret things belong to God(Deut.29:29).
“He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”(Revelation 13:10 KJV).
The KJV translation of this verse is not accurate. A more accurate translation will be
“If anyone is destined to go into captivity, into captivity the one goes; and if anyone is destined to be killed with the sword, with the sword the one shall be killed. Here is the faith and patience of the saints.”
This understanding eliminates fear and anxiety as the believer takes refuge in the divine will. This however does not mean we should not prepare or take precautionary measures. Divine sovereignty does not preclude human responsibility. We are in partnership with God. We have to set up safe havens for ourselves and our loved ones whilst we trust God to protect us. Safe havens, in and of themselves, do not guarantee safety. Only the Divine Presence guarantees safety. Nonetheless, safe havens are necessary.
When that number is complete God terminates the martyrdom of the saints with cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with breaking of the sixth seal. Under the Golden Altar of incense in the Holy Place of the Temple of God in Heaven, they cry out to God for vengeance. If the Great Tribulation is the wrath of God, why do they cry out to God for vengeance? God answered in the affirmative, but they have to wait until the complement of their fellow saints to be martyred is reached. At this time, the Great Tribulation is in progress. How can God avenge their death if the Great Tribulation is His wrath. The wrath of God abides on those who have the mark of the Beast. The Great Tribulation is not part of God’s wrath neither does it occur during the period of God’s wrath. The wrath of God is the consequence of the Great Tribulation, not it’s cause, and so, must be preceded by the Great Tribulation.
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”(Revelation 14:9-12 KJV).
The third angelic announcement makes it clear that the wrath of God in the Day of the Lord is directed towards those who have the Mark of the Beast, but the Great Tribulation is directed towards the saints who repudiate the authority of the antiMessiah by refusal to bear the Mark of the Beast. The mark of the beast distinguishes those who give allegiance to Satan and his minion, the antiChrist during the Great Tribulation. They are held in favour with the Devil and the antiChrist and not persecuted. The mark of the beast also distinguishes those who give allegiance to the Devil and the antiChrist from those who do not during the wrath of God. Since the wrath of God is a recompensation, divine vendetta, it therefore follows that the Great Tribulation occurs before the wrath of God begins.
It is a denigration to call these faithful martyres who are killed for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus feeble saints who could not make the first roundup, and are therefore “left behind” to face the antiChrist and his gang of merciless blood hounds. The concept of the “left behind” means some saints will obtain salvation by martyrdom which flies in the face of the Scriptures because salvation is always by grace through faith, and that the gift of God.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”(Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV).
No one obtains salvation by dying; salvation is always by grace through faith. The faithful martyrs are rewarded for their faithfulness at the Bema Seat judgment of the saints. Believers are exempt from the wrath of God.
“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”(John 3:35-36 KJV).
The believer cannot witness the wrath of God becomes he is free from condemnation.
“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”(John 3:13-21 KJV).
The essence of the soteriological works of Christ on the Cross of Calvary is to free the world from the condemnation of sin and the attendant wrath of God. Therefore, if one believes in the finished works of Christ on the execution stake, he is free from condemnation.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”(Romans 8:1-4 KJV).
We conclude therefore that no true believer will witness the wrath of God.
The first five seals of Rev.6 have nothing to do with the wrath of God. It is not until the sixth seal that God will actively intervene in order to amputate the Great Tribulation(Matt.24:22). The Greek word is “ekolobotheisan” which is derived from the root “koloboo.” It means “to amputate.” It is a medical term used in surgery. Just as an orthopod(orthopedist/orthopedic surgeon) will amputate a diseased limb to save the life of the patient, God will amputate the Great Tribulation in order to save some saints alive for Rapture. If not, the antiChrist will ferret out and kill all of them if the Great Tribulation is allowed to run for the whole length of three and one-half years allotted to the antiChrist’s reign of terror. The second half of the 70th week is three and one-half years in durarion. It is the time allotted to the antiChrist to reign. If he is permitted to go on killing the saints for the whole of the second half of the 70th week, no believer or Jew or Gentile who repudiates his authority by refusal to bear the mark of the Beast shall survive the Great Tribulation to be raptured alive. So, God will have to amputate the Great Tribulation(Matt.24:22). What is amputated is the Great Tribulation not the three and one-half years allotted to the antiChrist to reign. The Scripture makes it clear that the Great Tribulation is amputated by God for the sake of the “elect”(Matt.24:22). The Greek word translated elect is “ekklektos.” It is another cognate noun of “ekklesia,” which means called out people. “Ekklesia” is translated Church in English. How then can anyone say that the Church is not here during the Great Tribulation when it is for her sake that the Great Tribulation is amputated. If the elect refers to the Jews, why is the Gospel of Matthew not read in the Jewish synagogues?
That the antiChrist will kill every believer if the Great Tribulation is not amputated is not difficult to understand. Google has mapped out the whole world. With 5G, 6G, or even 7G or 8G etc, drones and robots which can navigate through difficult terrains in place which are for surveillance and control, how can anyone hide from the prying eyes of the antiChrist and his security apparatus for any reasonable length of time?
The breaking of the sixth seal initiates the sign of the End of the ages. Remember the question posed by Christ’s disciples to Him.
“When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming(parousia) and of the end of the ages?(Matt.24:3).
The sign is given in the Sun, Moon, and Stars. When the Sun is darkened, the Moon will not give her light, and the Stars[probabaly meteorites, asteroids or comets, for the sun which is one of the smallest stars is 93 million miles(approximately 189 million km) away from the Earth: one star impinging on the Earth will pulverize it] from the Heavens. The wrath of God is about to begin. The surviving saints must be evacuated from the Earth. The Shekinah appears in the Heavens. This is the sign of His coming. There is only one sign though. The Greek word is “semeion.” It is singular. But there are two aspects of it. It is like a coin with two sides, the obverse and the reverse. The darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars is one side, and the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens is the other. The darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars will plunge the whole world into utter darkness. The natural lights of the Universe will be switched off. The Earth will be dark and cold and frozen. This will be a temporary phenomenon though. The Shekinah in the heavens shall dispel the darkness and defrost the Earth. It is at this point in the eschatos that the Church is raptured. The darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars is the sign of the End Of The Ages while the appearance of the Shekinah in the Heavens is the sign of His Coming(Parousia).
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”(Luke 21:25-28 KJV).
This is unmistakable. Who are the people told to look up? Who are those being redeemed here? He was addressing His disciples, and by extension the body of Christ. They are looking up; they are not looking down. They are going to be evacuated from the Earth. They are under siege and very Great persecution and distress. They need relief. This is unmistakably the Rapture of the Church. The Church must be rescued. The Rapture is not a pleasure ride in holiday park or Disneyland. It is the rescue of an army besieged behind the enemy line. They have to be evacuated lest they all be decimated. It is a “brilliant,” “desperate” and “galant” “military operation.” A rescue of the faithful saints on Earth in the midst of the Great Persecution by angelic paratroopers(Heaven’s airborne division).
Luk.21:25-28 rubbishes and upends the Pretribulational Rapture position because it states clearly that the Rapture is preceded by the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. This is a prophesied event. But the Pretribulation Rapture position is anchored and sustained on the doctrine of imminence which states that no prophesied event needs occur before the Rapture can take place. In other words, the Rapture is signless and can occur at any moment without being preceded by any prophesied event. The proponents of Pretribulationism go about all over North American holding Bible Prophecy conferences every month annually. What are they prophesying about? I wonder! Some of them also tell us that the only event that needs occur before the Rapture is the Gog and Magog war(Ezek.38,39). Is that not a prophesied event? I wonder! The Rapture cannot be signless because it is a relief. The Church to be rescued(raptured) must be in the midst of the Great Tribulation. So, the Rapture must be preceded by the Great Tribulation by the antiMessiah.
Our brother Apostle Matthew adds his voice to that.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”(Matthew 24:29-30 KJV).
Why is the Earth mourning? Because God is about to punish them for their evils. In the Scroll of revelation which parallels the Olivet Discourse, the sequence of events is the same, cosmic and celestial disturbances and then men hiding from the impending wrath of God.
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”(Revelation 6:12-14 KJV).
The wrath of God is preceded by the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars.
Then the Great men and rich men, the high and low will seek nonexistent refuge in the rocks and the mountains invoking these to fall upon them and to hide them from the impending wrath of the Lamb. Why? Because it is infinitely far better to be crushed by the rocks and the mountains than to face the wrath of God. Our brother Apostle Paul says,
“knowing the terror of God we persuade men”(2 Cor.5:11).
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”(Revelation 6:15-17 KJV).
So, the Great Tribulation is nothing in comparison to the wrath of God which is contained in the trumpet and bowl judgments of God(Rev.8-9, 16-20). The Great Tribulation is like a child’s play in comparison to the wrath of God. During the wrath of God, the whole Earth shall be salted with fire. The whole Earth and the works that therein shall be burnt up.
At the outpouring of the seventh bowl, the Great City(Jerusalem, the capital of the antiChrist’s Eighth And Final Beast Empire) will be divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations shall fall, and Great Babylon will come into remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of wine of the fierceness of His wrath(Rev.16:19). The overthrow of Babylon shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone.
“And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.”(Isaiah 13:19-22 KJV).
The beautiful and wonderful smart cities of the future will fall alongside them also. It is ridiculous for anyone to think that in the Day of the Lord, the antiChrist, a mere mortal, will arise, set up his kingdom and kill believers, at a time when God alone is exalted.
“Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?”(Isaiah 2:22 KJV).
The context of this verse is the wrath of God and “man” is the antiMessiah who cannot save those who put their trust in him by taking his mark of allegiance from the wrath of God in the Day Of The Lord. The interesting thing is that there are no believers on Earth during the wrath of God in the Day Of The Lord, let alone being killed.
“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?”(Isaiah 2:10-22 KJV).
No man or idol will be exalted in the Day Of The Lord. For further elucidation, see my article, “Exposition On Isaiah 2. Link: https://mtzionheritageministries.com/2019/09/02/exposition-on-isaiah-21-22/
Our brother Apostle Peter also spoke of the Day Of the Lord. In the day of the Lord, the whole Earth shall be salted with fire and the works therein totally destroyed. On the basis of this understanding, he implores believers not to lay their treasures upon the Earth and to live holy and righteous lives.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
2 Peter 3:10-13 KJV, emphasis added).
Time and space will not permit me to go into details. Interested persons should consult my articles: The Wrath Of The Lord. Link: https://mtzionheritageministries.com/2019/09/01/the-day-of-the-lord/ and The Day Of His Wrath. Link: https://mtzionheritageministries.com/2019/09/01/the-day-of-his-wrath/
The Olivet Discourse(Matt.24, 25, Mark 13, and Luke 21) and Rev.6 are parallel. Rev.6 marks the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel with the breaking of the first seal which is the emergence of the antiChrist and other false christs. Rev.1-5 form the background to the Scroll Of Revelation. The subject matter of the Scroll of Revelation is the 70th week of Daniel. For those scholars who see it as the wrath of God, and that may well be true, they extend the background to Rev.7. The wrath of God begins in Rev.8:1. Rev.6 contains the first six seals which are at the exterior of the Scroll of Rev.5. The content of the Scroll is the wrath of God. When the seventh seal is broken, the wrath of begins(Rev.8:1). Seal one is the rider upon a white horse which is the emergence of the antiChrist and other false christs(Rev.6:1-2; Matt.24:5). Seal two is rider upon a red horse which signals wars, commotions, rumours, and threats of wars(Rev.6:3-4;Matt.24:6,7a). Seal three is rider upon a black horse which signals famines, plagues or pestillences and earthquakes(Rev.6.5-6; Matt.24:7b). These are the natural consequence of wars.
Seal three brings to an end the first three and one-half years, the first half of the 70th week, the beginning of sorrows or the beginning birth pangs. At the breaking of Seal four, the Great Tribulation begins(Rev.6:7-8; Matt.24:9-28). Seal four begins at the midpoint of the 70th week. Seal five signals martyrs under the altar of the Temple God in Heaven who are being killed under seal four which is the Great Tribulation(Rev.6:9-11). Seal five has no parallel in the Olivet Discourse in that is entirely a heavenly scene. In the Olivet Discourse Christ was dealing strictly with earthly events whilst in the Scroll of Revelation He revealed what was going in both Heaven and Earth. As they are being killed, their disembodied souls and spirits arrive in Heaven, and are quartered under the Golden Altar of incense in The Holy Place of the Temple of God in Heaven. There is no distance in the realm of the spirit.
Seal six is cosmic disturbances which terminate the Great Tribulation. There is an interlude of unknown duration between seal six and seal seven. In this interlude, the Shekinah appears in the Heavens, the 144,000 Jewish remnants are sealed for protection from the impending wrath of God(Rev.7:1-8). The Chuch is raptured(Rev.7:9-17). The seventh seal is broken in Rev.8:1, and the wrath of commences. Rev.10-14 are parenthetic. They are recapitulations of previous events with some elaborations or fine points. Rev.15 is prelude to the final seven bowl judgments. The bowl judgments cover Rev.16-20. Rev.21-22 are a periscope on the Millennium and a commentary on Rev.20:1-6. Chronologically, the Scroll of Revelation ends with the White Throne Judgment and Eternity Future(Rev.20:11-15).
We have seen this motif of tribulation/persecution/distress–retribution/retaliation/recompensation/payback/divine vendetta with relief inbetween in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as in the Scroll of Revelation. As is the Olivet Discourse, Our Lord Jesus the Christ Himself is the author of the Scroll of Revelation. Our brother Apostle John the revelator was His amanuensis. We can see the same motif also in Thessalonians, two epistles written by our brother Apostle Paul to reassure the Thessalonians that they were not yet in the Day Of The Lord. Twice he had to reassure them, both at the beginning and the end of 1 Thessalonians that the believer will not go through the wrath of God(1 Thess.1:10, 5:9). The wrath of God is meant for the children of disobedience.
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”(Ephesians 5:6 KJV; cp Col.3:6).
These brethren were mistaken that the sufferings, persecutions, and tribulations they were going through at that time were the wrath of God. They thought they had missed the Rapture. Paul has to reassure them that that day in which the Rapture will take place will not come except two events occur.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”(2 Thess. 2:3-4 KJV).
First, their will be an apostasy, a total abandonment of the faith during the Great Tribulation by some who had previously professed faith in Christ. Some pretribs like Thomas Ice interpret “apostasy” as physical departure, thus denoting Rapture. What a theological legerdemain. There is no record of the rendering of apostasy as physical departure in the koine Greek. It was not until 500 years later that this usage came into being. We do not interpret the works of William Shakespeare by reading back the present day meaning of the words he used into his works. This is what these men are trying to do by reading back into the text of the Greek Bible the present day meaning of words used 500 years early. This is unacceptable. This is not the right way to do biblical exegesis. This is called eisegesis, reading into the text the interpreter’s own concept without textual evidence.
And second, this Great Tribulation and the attendant apostasy will be precipitated by the unveiling of the Man of Sin in the Rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem(Dan.9:27; 2 Thess.2:3,4) dedicated to the worship of Jahweh of Judah, the antiChrist who is a dead man come back to life(Rev.17:8,11). He also reassured them of relief when Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His holy and mighty angels in flaming fire taken vengeance on they know not God and obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus the Christ.
“Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”(2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 KJV).
God will pay them back with tribulation because they troubled the Thessalonians believers. This is one of two places in the whole of the Scriptures where God’s wrath is described as tribulation(cp, Rom.2:9). At the same time God will give the Thessalonian believers relief. The Greek word is “anesis,” a derivative of “aneiro.” The KJV renders it “rest.” Some other translations render it “relief.” This relief will be final and eschatological because it will not be given to the Thessalonians alone but with us, that is every other believer that has experienced persecution or tribulation during the whole length of time the Church existed from Pentecost to Rapture. The Thessalonians are dead nearly 2,000 years ago, and yet not obtained this relief. It therefore follows that there will be a final tribulation/persecution(the Greek words are similar and have a common root and meaning and sometimes used interchangeably or in tandem in the same setting: “thlipsis,” and “thlibo”), during which Our Lord Jesus will be revealed from Heaven to give rest or relief to His saints and to pour out His wrath in flaming fire upon the unrighteous wicked who killed his saints. The relief comes when believers are under siege by the forces of the antiChrist during the Great Tribulation not before as is touted by our brethren of the pretribulation persuasion. If the Rapture occurs pre-70th week and before the Great Tribulation as our pretrib brethren insist, there will be no relief involved in the eschatological sense.
At this juncture, a brief history of pretribulationism will suffice. Pretribulational Rapture was not the original view of the Apostles nor the Church fathers. It is not found in the Didache, a first or secondary century Christian document containing the teachings of the Twelve Apostles Of our Lord Jesus The Christ and the Church fathers. The church fathers believed unanimously that the Church will go through an intense period of persecution and suffering before being giving relief by evacuation from the Earth by the Holy angels. There were no dissenting views and voices. This view was not systematically defined and given a theological label.
Pretribulational Rapture view was first advocated by Morgan Edwards in 1744, a Welsh theologian who founded Brown University in the US. Pretribulationists tell us there are half a dozen others who advocated this view before Morgan Edwards. However, no Church or denomination adopted this view in their doctrines or doctrinal statements. In modern times, the view began in 1828 when it was advocated by Dr. John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth brethren in England. It has also been linked to a charismatic visionary teenager called Margaret MacDonald. This is a false association. In her original pamphlet which was published in 1840 she said that the Church would go through the Great Tribulation which God would use to purify the Church before Rapture. An expurgated version of her pamphlet was released in 1861 which was made to read as though Margaret advocated Pretribulational Rapture. Both versions are available on Wikipedia.
In Britain this new view of the Rapture was popularized by Edward Irving, a very prolific writer who is regarded as the father of modern Pentecostalism. From Britain it crossed over the Atlantic Ocean to the US, and was picked up by Dr. C.I. Scofield who made it a major facet of the 1909 and 1917 editions of the Scofield Reference Bible. Scofield influenced such stellar personalities as Dr. Louis Spery Schaffer, the founding president of Dallas Theological Seminay and his successor, Dr. John F. Walvoord, and their Students many of whom are stellar biblical scholars. Other advocates of this view are Harry Ironside, Charles Feinberg, Richard Feinberg, Leon Morris, and a host of other fundamentalist evangelicals at Fuller Theological Seminary, Capital Seminary, Masters Seminary, Cairn University etc.
It was picked up by the Pentecostals and Charismatics in America who brought it across the Atlantic Ocean once again to Africa, particularly Nigeria. Much of Christianity in Nigeria is made in America Pentecostalism and fundamentalism. The mainline denominations, the Roman Catholics and the Protestants(Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists), do not advocate this view. Those of them who proclaim it learned it from the Pentecostals. This was the view you and I were taught in SCM in Ife, and I zealously proclaimed it. I was taught and grounded in the same view in the Bible School in the US in which I scored an A. The major proponents of this view know that is not anywhere taught in the Scriptures. John F. Walvoord said: ”neither Pretribulationism nor posttribulationism is an EXPLICIT TEACHING OF THE SCRIPTURES.” He was the second President of Dallas Theological Seminary. Most prominent fundamentalist evangelicals today past through him at Dallas. If pretribulationsim is not an explicit teaching of the Scriptures, what is it? Another prominent pretrib proponent, Dr. Richard Mayhew, in his doctrinal thesis wrote about pretribulationism: “……. the proof is illogical, at least, unconvincing.” If pretribulationism is not an explicit teaching of the Scriptures, and the proof illogical and unconvincing, why would believers put their hope in it? It is not an explicit teaching of the Scriptures because there is not a single verse of the Scriptures that teaches or supports pretribulationsism. It is based on ecclesiology, or Church doctrine. It is a Church dogma. It is illogical and unconvincing because it does not make sense. Why would the antiChrist show up and persecute people after the True Christians have been evacuated from the Earth? Who is he antagonizing? His own followers?
The so called “Tribulatoin saints” and “left behind” did not exist in the original thesis. They were later additions when the opponents of pretribulationism at that time, namely the postribulationists who rightly believed that the Church will go through the Great Tribulation pointed out to them that believers will be here during the Great Tribulation. They theorized that they are feeble and unserious Christians who are left behind after the Eapture and have to earn their salvation by martyrdom because there would be no second Rapture. Let me tell you brethren, the Church age begins at Pentecost and ends at the Rapture. Those saved within this period are the Church, the bride of Christ. Any so called Christian left behind after the Rapture is not a Christian at all. When the bridegroom comes and the wise virgins who have oil in their lamps enter, the door is shut. There is no second chance. This is the teaching of the parable of the Ten Virgins(Matt.25:1-13). After the Rapture is the Wrath of God in the Day Of The Lord. The Church cannot enter Heaven in her present state, being flabby and impure; she has to be purified by passage through the fires of purification which is the Great Tribulation. A generation of believers brought up on bread and butter Christianity, prosperity, and the good life and no suffering is hardly ever ready for entry into Heaven.
There are four cardinal pillars on which the doctrine of the Rapture rests. Put together, the first four letters of each of the four criteria will form the acrostic EDDA.
E– exemption of the saints from the wrath of God(1 Thess.1:10, 5:9; Eph.5:6; Col.3:6);
D– Distiction between the wrath Of God and the wrath Of Satan(Rev.6:17, 12:12);
D– Distinction between the Day of the Lord and the Great Tribulation(Matt.24:29; Joel 2:31). The darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars occurs after the Great Tribulation, whereas the cosmic and celestial phenomena precede the wrath of God in the Day of the Lord. A little bit tricky I suppose. The Rapture occurs between the two.
A– Amputation of the Great Tribulation(Matt.24:22).
Of all these four pillars, the Pretribulation Rapture view has only one, the exemption of the saints from the wrath of God. It fails in the other three criteria. It teaches that the whole of the 70th week of Daniel is the wrath of God. It does not distinguish the wrath of God from the wrath of Satan. It does not also distinguish the Great Tribulation from the Day Of The Lord, neither does it recognize the amputation of the Great Tribulation by the cosmic and celestial disturbances. It teaches that the Great Tribulation covers the whole of the second three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel. Their understanding of the amputation of the Great Tribulation is that God could have permitted it to go on longer than the second three and one-half years of the 70th week which is the time allotted to the antiChrist to reign. This is ridiculous in that the 70th week of Daniel would no long be a week if the second half extended beyond three and one-half years.
The Midtribulation Rapture view has only two: the exemption of the saints from the wrath of God and the distinction between the wrath of God and the wrath of Satan. It fails in the other two criteria. They believe that the wrath of God begins at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel. Therefore, the Church must be raptured at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel shortly before the wrath of God Commences. It does not make a distinction between the Great Tribulation and the Day Of The Lord, neither does it recognize the amputation of the Great Tribulation.
The Posttribulation Rapture view which rightly believes that the Church will go through all the horrors of the 70th week of Daniel, only to be raptured shortly before its end and returns to the Earth almost immediately and put under divine protective umbrella in the Day Of The Lord(fantasy, unsubstantiated by the Scriptures) passes three criteria, namely, exemption of the Church from the wrath of God, distinguishing the wrath of God from that of Satan, and the Great Tribulation from the Day of the Lord which is the wrath of God. It teaches that the Great Tribulation lasts almost throughout the whole of the second half of the 70th week of Daniel which is the time allotted to the antiChrist to reign, that the wrath of God will be very brief and occurs towards the end of the 70th week of Daniel.
The Prewrath Rapture view propounded and advocated jointly by Dr. Marvin J. Rosenthal and Robert Van Kampen of blessed memory is the only Rapture view that passes the four criteria, vix: exemption of the Church from the wrath of God, dintinguishing the wrath of God from the wrath of Satan, and the Day Of The Lord from the Great Tribulation, and finally amputation of the Great Tribulation. Using the chart in the graphics, one can review the Scriptures and see which one of these four views is more biblically accurate. It is ridiculous, that the least qualified is the one touted by most biblical scholars and embraced by the Church at large almost to the exclusion of the other more biblically accurate views. It is even better to believe in Posttribulationism than Pretribulationism. The one who holds this view will prepare for the Great Tribulation. Those who hold to the Pretrib and Midtrib Rapture views are the most vulnerable because they do not prepare for the worst which is the Great Tribulation. They are most likely to be caught off guard, unawares, and unprepared. “It is better not to fight a war you prepared for than fight a war you did not prepare for.” There is nothing to lose by preparing for the worst case scenario if one does not encounter it, but there is everything to lose if one does not prepare for the worst case scenario and then encounters it. A bit of common sense I presume which they say is not common. The way this thing is hidden from the wise men of the Church, and revealed to babes and sucklings like us indicates it is by His grace. Not many wise men are called, not may noble,….(1 Cor.26-31).
There is a fifth view of the Rapture called the Patial Rapture Theory. It is indeed a theory. It is a modified pretribulational Rapture view. It does not merit to be mentioned. It is a cup out. However, I mention it for the sake of completeness. It teaches that some believers will be raptured pretribulationally and others at various points inside the 70th week of Daniel depending on their spirituality. This is graded Rapture. Christ has to wait for each group to be ready before they are raptured. This is utter nonsense which has no scriptural basis. Like its precursor, Pretribulational Rapture theory, it is an attempt to explain away the presence of believers on Earth in the 70th week of Daniel while promising Rapture to the supposedly super holy ones before the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel.
The wheat and the tares(Hebrew: “Darnel,” wild wheat) are growing together until the harvest when they are all mature and the wild wheat can be clearly distinguished from the real wheat. Without the Great Tribulation the wild wheat cannot be distinguished from the real wheat by the angelic reapers. It is during the Great Tribulation that the wild wheat will be clearly distinguishable by being branded with the mark of the Beast. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, the harvest is the END OF THE AGES and THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS(Matt.13:39). The Rapture occurs at the Parousia, and the Parousia occurs at the END OF THE AGES. “What shall be the sign of thy coming(Parousia) and of the END OF THE AGES.”(Matt.24:3). And again, “I Am with you until the End Of The Ages,”(Matt.28:20). “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”(Matthew 24:14 KJV). He that endures to the end(of the ages) shall be saved(Matt.10:22; 24:13). If we can locate the end of the ages in the eschatological timeline, we can locate the timing(sequence of events leading to the Rapture). For further elucidation, see my article, “The End Of The Ages.” Link: https://mtzionheritageministries.com/?s=The+end+of+the+ages
They tell us, we cannot know the time of the Rapture. That is a VERY BIG LIE. We can know the time of the Rapture. What we cannot know is the day and the hour(Matt.24:36). We are children of the day, we are of the light; we are not of night nor of DARKNESS that that day should overtake us as a thief in the night nor come to us unawares. Christ’s coming as a thief in the night is in relation to unbelievers who are children of the night and darkness who also slumber and are fallen asleep.
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”(1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 KJV).
We know the times and the seasons or epochs. We are like the men of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do at each point in time(1 Chron.12:32).
Pretribs tell us, the next big event is the Rapture. Well, the Rapture has not yet taken place and Coronavirus is here, and Bill Gates and co. want to forcibly reprogramme us all into humanoids and hybridize us with their mRNA and rDNA viccines lazed with RFID and nanopartles for monitoring and surveillance, a dystopian control. It was for this same reason of satanic hybridization of the human race by cohabitation of fallen evil angels and human females that God destroyed the antediluvian world(Gen.6,7). Noah and his family were spared because they were not hybridized; Noah was pure in his descendants(Gen.6:9). Today Satan wants to hybridize man not only through fallen angel-human female cohabitation but also through alteration of the human genome by incorporation of plant and animal genes, biometric implants in the human body, nanobots in the brain linked to neocortices in the cloud, human-machine meld and Artificail Intelligence(AI). And certainly, before Satan achieves his aim to totally hybridize the whole of humanity which is the sole purpose of the Mark Of The Beast, God will sweep in from the Heavens, give relief to the saints who are besieged by the forces of darkness by evacuating them from the Earth, and salt the Earth with fire and brimstone(2 Pet.3:10). Shall we continue to hold to this straw called pretribulation Rapture. It is time to awake out of slumber and prepare for the worst. The night is far spent: the day is at hand(Rom.13:12). Let us not sleep as do other, let us watch and sober.
My view of the Rapture however changed in 1990 when I travelled to Israel and came across the first four editions of the Zion’s Fire magazine published by Dr. Marvin J. Rosenthal, a HEBREW Christian scholar and the former Executive President of the Friends Of Israel Gospel Ministries who was my teacher at IBS. My brother and friend Meno Kalisher in whose house I saw these copies of Zion’s Fire magazine was my classmate at IBS. Marv was booted out of this ministry as a result of the controversy over the Prewrath Rapture view. He founded another ministry called Zion’s Hope Inc. He published his work in 1990. It is titled “The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church.” This was followed two years later in 1992 by much more comprehensive work by his close friend, Robert Van Kampen of blessed memory titled, “The Sign.” Of late Allan E. Kurschner of Eschatos Ministries has written: “AntiChrist Before The Day Of The Lord,” and “Prewrath: A Very Short Introduction.” All these are available through Amazon. If the Day Of The Lord were to begin immediately after the Rapture, then there would be no Great Tribulation because the Great Tribulation CANNOT occur in the Day Of The Lord. The Great Tribulation and the Day Of The Lord are not concurrent, coincident or simultaneous. The Great Tribulation CANNOT be superimposed on the Day Of The Lord. Only God is exalted in That day. The antiChrist CANNOT gain control of the world and persecute anyone in the day when God alone is exalted. Besides, there will be no Christians on Earth in the Day Of The Lord. Though the antiMessiah shall be on Earth in the Day Of The Lord, Christians will not be on Earth at that time. They will be in Heaven.
Briefly, let us summarise what we learned so far.
2 Thessalonians chapter one is one passage of Scripture that shows:
(1) That the Great Tribulation cannot be part of the wrath of God because the wrath of God is a payback, i.e., divine vendetta;
(2) That the Rapture cannot occur before the Great Tribulation because the Rapture is a Relief or Rest from the final trouble or Tribulation; and
(3) That the Rapture occurs at the “Parousia,” Second Coming of Christ when He is revealed from the Heavens with His mighty angels to give REST or RELIEF to His saints, and in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that worship not God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus the Christ.
Yours In Divine Majesty’s Service,