The 70th week of Daniel is divided into two equal halves of three and one-half years each. The first three and one-half years the pretrib designate the Tribulation. Are there any scriptural bases for this designation? No. There are no scriptural bases for this designation. Though the antiChrist and his enforcer, the false prophet and other false prophets and teachers emerge at the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel, and there are wars, rumors and threats of wars and commotions, famines, pestilences and earthquakes in the first half of the 70th week of Daniel(Matt.24:4-8; Rev.6:1-8), it is NOT called the Tribulation but rather “The Beginning Of Birth Pangs” or “The Beginning Of Sorrows”(Matt.24:8). It is better to stick to the scriptural appellatives.
The pretribs also designate the second half of the 70th week of Daniel the Great Tribulation. Are there any scriptural bases for this designation? No, there are no scriptural bases for this designation. Unlike the first half of the 70th week of Daniel which is more or less homogeneous in that all the three seals are the activities of Satan and his humanoid subordinates, the second half of the 70th week of Daniel is heterogeneous in that all the activities are not all attributable to either Satan and his humanoid minions nor God and his angels. Satan continues his activities began in the first half of the 70th week into the second half of the 70th week of Daniel in seals four and five.
From seal six, God begins to intervene physically in these activities on Earth at that time. A distinction can clearly be seen here. The first two seals of the second half of the 70th week of Daniel, seals four and five constitute the Great Tribulation. They are the activities of Satan and his minions. There has been none like it, and there shall be none like it, before and after it in the annals of history(Dan.12:1; Matt.24:21). From seal six, God begins to actively intervene in the goings-on on Earth with cosmic and celestial disturbances which terminate the Great Tribulation. At the breaking of the seventh seal, the wrath of God in the Day of the Lord begins(Rev.8:1ff).
Yes, the whole of the second half of 70th week of Daniel is the time allotted to the antiChrist to reign(Rev.13:5), there is really no biblical justification for designating the whole 42 months or three and one-half years as the Great Tribulation. From the time God actively intervenes physically in the goings-on on the Earth at that time, a clear distinction can be made. God does not give the antiChrist free reign to go on killing His saints the whole three and one half years of the second half of the 70th week of Daniel.
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”(Matt.24:22 KJV).
He paralyzes him at the breaking of the sixth seal(2 Thess.2:8). Why? Because if the antiChrist is left alone to go on killing the saints, no believers will be left alive to be raptured. Google has mapped out the whole Earth. With such advanced technology as at now or to be developed in the future it will be extremely difficult to hide from the prying eyes of the antiChrist and his security apparatus and army of enforcers and informers. This will invalidate the Scriptures. Some saints must be kept alive to be raptured. So, the antiChrist cannot be given free reign to go on killing the saints of the Most High throughout the whole length of the second half of the 70th week of Daniel. In other words, the authority of the antiChrist to reign in the second half of the 70th week of Daniel is relative not absolute.
Again, there is a complement of the saints to be martyred during the Great Tribulation(Rev.6:9-11).
“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.”(Rev.6:9-11 KJV).
When this number is complete, God is duty bound to amputate the Great Tribulation lest the antiChrist exceeds this number or all the saints be martyred, thusly invalidating the Scriptures. This CANNOT be allowed to happen. The Scripture CANNOT be broken(Jon.5:35). The complement of the saints to martyred worldwide during the Great Tribulation is a divine secret. It is not revealed to us in the Scriptures.
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”(Deut.29:29 KJV).
Note that the martyred saints under the Golden Altar in the Holy Place of the Temple of God in Heaven make a plea of vengeance to God for their martyrdom. God affirms but they have to patiently wait until their fellow brethren who are destined to be killed are also killed. So, the wrath of God is a RETALIATION, a RETRIBUTION or VENGEANCE. God CANNOT begin to punish the unrighteousness wicked earth-dwellers until they have killed the saints of God in a rage that reaches up to Heaven.
“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 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 Thess.1:4-10 KJV.
So, we can see that the wrath of God is divine VENDETTA. God gives relief to His persecuted saints and then pours out His wrath on the unrighteous wicked who remain. When it begins, it is unmistakable. Even the wicked shall know God’s wrath has begun and will cry out and run to hide in the rocks and mountains in vain for nonexistent refuge; for no one can hide or stand before the wrath of God.
“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?”(Rev.6:15-17 KJV).
And again, the Pretribs designate the whole 7-year period of the 70th week of Daniel the wrath of God. The Scriptures make it clear the saints are exempt from the wrath of God.
So, if it can be proven that the whole of the 70th week of Daniel is the period of God’s wrath rather than His judgment which is a process, the pretribulational Rapture view would be scripturally validated. But we have already shown from the Scriptures that until the sixth seal, God does not actively begin to intervene in the goings-on in our world in the 70th week of Daniel. The wrath of God which consists of the trumpet and the bowl judgments DO NOT begin until after the breaking of the seventh seal. This event occurs way into the second half of the 70th week of Daniel. When the seventh seal is broken, the wrath of God begins(Rev.8:1ff). The seventh seal has no judgment of its own but opens into the seven trumpets(Rev.8,9). The seventh trumpet has no judgment of its own but opens into the seven bowls(Rev.15-20). So, designating the whole of the 70th week of Daniel as the Wrath of God has no biblical justification and builds an a priori case for pretribulationism. It CANNOT be scripturally substantiated. It is an extravagant designation.
“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”(1 Thess.1:10 KJV).
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”(1 Thess.5:9 KJV).
Also, some Pretribs like my dear brother and friend Meno Kalisher equate the whole of the 70th week of Daniel with the time of Jacob’s Trouble(Jere.30:7). Do the Scriptures teach that the whole of the 70th week of Daniel is the time of Jacob’s Trouble? This designation CANNOT be true because Israel enjoys a relative peace during the first half of the 70th week of Daniel under the protection of the antiChrist. This is one of the conditions of the 7-year peace agreement which the antiChrist will broker between Israel and seven of her Arab and Islamic neighbors in the Middle East(Dan.9:27; Ezek.38:1-6). When this covenant of peace is made, the antiChrist, the man of lawlessly or sin will station a protection force in the land of Israel to deter these other nations, the anti-Israel aggressors from attacking Israel. He will be the most powerful emperor to reign over the most powerful empire in history, with the most sophisticated and up to date military and equipments. Because of this relative peace, Israel shall prosper tremendously and amass a lot of wealth trading with over 200 million Arabs. Apart from the desire to annihilate Israel, the great wealth of the state of Israel shall be one of the allurements of the antiChrist to attack Israel. He will covert the wealth of the nation of Israel.
“To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”(Ezekiel 38:12 KJV).
So, we can see that the whole of the 70th week of Daniel is not the time of Jacob’s Trouble.
“For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”(Jere.30:5-7 KJV).
It is the second half of the 70th week of Daniel that is designated the time of Jacob’s Trouble. It is the real travail, the real hard labour. This view is shared by some Pretribs like the late professor Renald E. Showers of the Institute Of Jewish Studies(IJS), Cairn University. During the Great Tribulation covered by seals four and five, Israel is the epicenter of antiChrist’s persecution as he relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem, makes his debut at the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem and desecrates it by importing his image into the Holy of Holies. Even when God amputates the Great Tribulation with cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal, Israel also faces part of God’s wrath in the first six trumpets. They are only exempt from the bowl judgments contained in the seventh trumpet. So, we can see that labeling the whole of the 70th week of Daniel the time of Jacob’s Trouble is also an extravagant designation which has no biblical justification and CANNOT be scripturally substantiated and validated.
If it can be proven that during the 70th week of Daniel, God deals with Israel only, then the Church is exempt. The Pretribs do this to take away the Church from the Earth before the 70th week of Daniel begins. For this same reason, they relegate the Gospel of Matthew to the Jewish waste paper basket in order to disconnect the Church from the Olivet Discourse which deals with events in the 70th week of Daniel. But the gospel of Matthew is not read in the Jewish synagogues. It is for this same reason they designate the Intermediate Period between the 69th and the 70th weeks of Daniel the Church Age, to build an a priori case for the Pretribulation Rapture view.
Pretribs also designate the 70th week of Daniel the Tribulation Period. Admittedly, the 70th week of Daniel is a period of troubles. Does that warrant designating it the Tribulation Period? No. It is better to stick to the scriptural label the 70th week of Daniel. But if one understands that the Tribulation Period refers to the 70th week of Daniel and does not conflate it with the first half which pretribs designate the Tribulation and the second half which they designate the Great Tribulation, that is fair enough.
Another term that cries out for definition in the terminology of eschatology is the antiChrist himself. The Greek word “anti” means against and in place of. The antiChrist is against the true Christ. He also seeks to take the place of the true Christ(2 Thess.2:4). For the antiChrist to resemble the true Christ, he must of necessity be of Jewish ancestry. The Scriptures say so.
“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”(Dan.11:37 KJV).
“I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”(Jon.5:43 KJV).
The interesting thing is that neither Israel as a nation nor the Jews as a people or race recognize Jesus as the Messiah. It is the Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles who recognize Jesus as the Messiah. If the Christians are evacuated from the Earth in the Rapture before the 70th week of Daniel commences and antiChrist makes his debut in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, who then is he antagonizing? Jesus is not here, and the saints are in Heaven. Hurrah, one would say, game over!
Pretribs teach that the Rapture shall be secret, silent, and sudden, and that no prophesied events need be fulfilled before the Rapture can occur. In other words the Rapture shall be signless. This is the pretrib doctrine of imminence. It is the fundamental pillar of pretribulationism. We have shown above that the Rapture shall be preceded by the first six seals of Rev.6. An event preceded by the first six seals of Rev.6 and heralded by the trumpet blast with the voice of the archangel can hardly be secret, silent or sudden((Matt.24:29-31; 1 Thess.4:13-18). On the contrary, obviously, it is preceded by prophesied events.
Pretribs make no distinction between the wrath of God(Rev.6:17) and the wrath of Satan(Rev.12:12). They designate the whole of the 70th week of Daniel as the period of God’s wrath. Does God’s wrath begin at the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel(Dan.9:27)? No. We have shown that God’s wrath does not begin until after the Great Tribulation is terminated by the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth sealRev.6:12-14). God’s wrath begins after the breaking of the seventh seal(Rev.8,9). It consists of the seven trumpets and the seven bowls(Rev.8,9,15-20). The fact that God’s wrath begins after the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking breaking of the sixth seal invalidates the Pretrib doctrine of imminence which teaches that the Rapture is secret, silent, suddden, and signless, and can take place at any moment. God’s wrath cannot begin when any true believer in Jesus is still on Earth. God’s wrath is directed against the unbelievers for their disobedience.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.”(Colossians 3:5-7 KJV).
“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.”(Eph.5:5-7 KJV).
And the wrath of God is administered by God and his angels(Rev.8,9,15-20).
The wrath of Satan is administered by the antiChrist and his followers, and is directed towards the Jews, Christians and nonbelievers who reject the mark of the Beast(Matt.24:4-28; Rev.13). The wrath of Satan begins at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel(Dan.9:27a), and reaches its zenith during The Great Tribulation(Satan’s Great Wrath:(Dan.9:7b; Rev.12:12) which begins at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel when Satan is downed from his abode in the heavenlies onto the Earth.
This short article is by no means an exhaustive treatment of the pitfalls of the pretribulational Rapture View. We shall now attempt a brief summary of the salient points while at the same time embellishing it with a few more facts.
Pretribs equate the prophetic Great Tribulation with the wrath of God.
Tribulation Versus Wrath
The Wrath of God equals Tribulation for the unbelieving world(Rom.2:9; 2 Thess.1:6). The Wrath of the devil equals Tribulation essentially for the people of God(Rev.13; Matt.24:9-29): Jews and Christians alike, and nonconformist unbelievers.
Who Executes Whose Wrath?
The Wrath of God is executed by the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Lamb of God
The Wrath of the devil is executed by the first Beast, the antiChrist(Rev.13).
What The Pretrib Theory Teaches
The Problem With The Pretribulation Position.
Just before the antichrist appears on the world scene, the church is raptured. antiChrist reaches peace agreement with Israel for 7 years but breaks it in the middle of the peace period(Dan.9:27). Tribulation is on Earth, but the Church is in Heaven. Those who are “left behind” include backslidden believers and unbelievers. Some backslidden believers now repent and face the terror of the antiChrist as they refuse to take his mark. They are killed and save themselves through martyrdom. Some unbelievers also repent and die likewise. These ones who die through martyrdom are referred to as the “tribulation saints.”
(1) The name antiChrist means: “in place of” as well as “against.” The antichrist is both an impostor and opposer of Christ.
(2) As antiChrist he is against the true Christ and all that belongs to Him – His people – Jews and Christians. There is no way he can touch Jesus directly, so he turns against His people. If the believers or the church have gone, antiChrist is not properly and fully antiChrist in name. He would only be anti-Jew and anti-Israel.
(3) The world will hail antiChrist. They will see him as a saviour. They are already his. The real aim of the antiChrist is to get God’s people away from Christ by pretending to be the expected One. That’s one reason why he must be of Jewish descent. He won’t have such opportunity if the Church has gone. Many Jews will actually believe him until it is too late!
(4) In better times backslidden believers could not stand for the Lord. How easy will they stand under the beast. Also the “rapturable” believers and pastors are in Heaven, who will support and guide these ones left behind. The Bible is banned or a new corrupt version is allowed ……
(5) Who is the mark of the beast really meant for? The people of the world that already belong to Satan and to whom having a mark is no big deal and actually of no consequence in essence (they go to Hell mark or no mark) or believers to force them to reject Jesus.
No one is ever saved through martyrdom, but by the blood of the lamb! Salvation is by grace alone through faith in the finished and soteriological works of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. This is the theme of Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Galatians: no WORKS, no MERIT is required to receive salvation, no DEBT to pay, and no GUILT weighing on one’s heart or conscience. It is the doctrine of grace and liberty in Christ. Liberty is not license to sin though, to do whatever one wants. The believer in Christ Jesus is not under the mosaic law. The believer is free from the law. Whomsoever the son makes free is free indeed.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”(John 8:36 KJV).
“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.”(Eph.2:8-9 KJV).
Sin shall NOT have dominion over the believers because believers are not under the mosaic law but under GRACE.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”(Rom.6:14 KJV)
Grace is appropriated by FAITH. And FAITH cometh by hearing the word of God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”(Rom.10:17 KJV).
Salvation is not by WORKS nor by MARTYRDOM but by GRACE alone through FAITH. And GRACE is a free GIFT of God, an unmerited favour. G R A C E is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. It stands in opposition to the mosaic law which requires WORKS and is a DEBT one owes. We are not rewarded in Heaven for salvation, but our WORKS of FAITH and LOVE in Christ.
Backslidden believers don’t deserve to be called “saint.” Saint is the English translation of the Greek word “hagios,” which means “holy one.” Concerning the word “saint,” it is one of the names or titles of believers. It is the most glorious of our titles because it conveys godliness and holiness. We easily don’t mind saying we are born again, Christians, children of God, etc but although we know we are saints we rarely use the word in reference to ourselves. It is the most appropriate and most befitting title for the believer during the world’s darkest moment in history under antiChrist, Satan incarnate himself(Rev.13:2). During the period of darkness and horrific sins God’s light shines through His saints who would remain faithful to the end!
The Pretribulation Teaching As A Major Reason For The Apostasy, “The Great Falling Away.”
The teaching says, “Don’t you worry, before antiChrist comes, Jesus takes you away.” So when people suddenly realise their error when they meet antiChrist, the Rapture yet to occur and not having prepared beforehand they fall away under pressure.
Consider The Following:
(1) How can God take away His champions before the final conflict? Only backslidden believers and new believers will now be left behind to stand for God? They were ‘yoyo’ Christians before the antichrist emerged and will they be suddenly strong to face the antichrist?
(2) Moses faced Pharaoh, David faced Goliath, The Apostles faced the Jews and Rome, Protestants faced the Popes. But we, surrounded by the cloud of witnesses and to whom much is given will just dodge the enemy?
(3) Satan’s greatest delight is to see God’s people of ALL AGES suffer. He will do it most severely against the last generation of Christians “upon whom (truly) the end of the world have come.”
(4) We are in a race, a relay race in fact. The believers that carry the “baton” last have the greatest challenge to win the race for all, for themselves and for the glory of God!
(5) Up until the 19th century, believers expected that the church will be dealt with by the final antiChrist. But this changed in the early part that century(1827), and has remained to this day. The argument that the “Church” is missing in Revelations after chapter 3 is of no consequence. Our salvation is individualised. Each saint will be tried not a church, group or denomination. Salvation is about personal responsibility!
(6) If the pretrib teaching is correct: Those of us who believe we will pass through antiChrist generated tribulation will still be raptured because though we have prepared for the worst, and it hasn’t happen, our preparation in love, faith, holiness and faithfulness makes us rapturable!
(7) If the pretrib teaching is wrong: Our preparation will still help us to face the fire of the antiChrist while those who did not, who were promised and taught soft landing will find it more difficult to resist the enemy. The pretrib teaching will make believers unprepared to stand to the end against antiChrist because they have been assured that they would never meet this son of perdition.
(8) Today in the Church:
(a) Hardly are end time issues discussed, preached or taught.
(b) The dominant issues are: prosperity, miracles, personal development, motivational talks, etc
(c) Songs like, “Me I no go suffer, I no go beg for bread …God of miracles, na my papa o …..” and “The God that answereth by fire, let Him be my God …,” reflect our thoughts and attitudes, and orientation.
(d) Many have no depth in the word. Many of us have poor relational testimonies. Evangelism is relegated to the background. Mission work is poorly supported. The world has entered the Church. We have adopted e.g., its fashion trends, its entertainment, etc. Money is being worshipped. We are engrossed in projects (e.g. building Church Palaces) and programmes, etc.
(9) The condition in which the Church is right now is appalling! Jesus must not come now to meet us this way! We are simply not ready for the Lord, because he is coming back for a Church that is without spot or wrinkle. A glorious Church!! The world is going to get more and more unliveable for us because of sin. Lot was so much in pain in Sodom.
“And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”(2 Peter 2:7-8 KJV).
(10) Finally, God’s people have generally been delivered at the height of their suffering. It will be so in future for believers. Rapture will take place at the height of the greatest persecution of living saints never seen or experienced before! We have been warned adequately.
(11) Let those who have ears hear “what the Spirit is saying” to the Church in these last days!