On this blog I am splitting it up in two sections. The first section deals with something no Pre-Tribber touches: The Day of the LORD. Part 2 will show the Pre-Wrath Rapture in the Gospels and Revelation. Pre-Tribbers go to Paul but they don't go to Jesus, and that's because Jesus never taught a Pre-Trib Rapture. Paul didn't either but Pre-Tribbers ASSUME Paul taught it.
Onto the Day of the LORD:
Part 7- The Pre-Wrath Rapture and the Day of the LORD
To begin, we need to look at three views of the Millennium.
I) Amillennialism: This view says that there is no literal, earthly reign of Christ on the earth. This was popularized by the allegorical methods of Augustine, Origen and others. This is a faulty view that doesn’t view Scripture in its proper context. What is sad, the same allegorical methods that destroys a literal reign of Christ also replaced the Jews in the OT with the Church, opening the door for Anti-Semitism.
II) Post-Millennialism: This view says that Christ will return after man brings the Kingdom to earth through preaching the gospel. The idea is that the gospel will spread, things will get better and better, and when the time is right, Jesus comes. This is also seen in the “Manifest Sons of God” and “Joel’s Army” teaching. Of course, this goes against Scripture that says things will get worse and worse and the Church is called on to endure.
III) Pre-Millennialism: This view says that Christ will return physically to earth and will establish a literal Kingdom marked by peace, righteousness and justice. This lines up with OT and NT writing and is the proper, exegetical context. (Psalm 2, Isa 9, Rev 19, Isa 2)
Three Popular views on the timing of the Rapture:
I) Pre-Tribulational: Christ will rapture the church in a secret moment that is unknown to everyone, even the church, before the 7 year tribulation begins.
II) Mid-Tribulational: The Church will have 3 ½ years of persecution then at the mid-point of the Tribulation, Christ will rapture the Church.
III) Post-Tribulational: The Church will be raptured at the end of the 7 years when Christ returns to earth.
In many circles, these are the only options that are presented. There is endless debate, and many make valid arguments for either side. However, all three have gaping holes, none of them fulfill every Biblical requirement. For example, Pre-Trib doesn’t properly define the Tribulation, Great Tribulation. It has no concept of the Day of the LORD, the Seals vs. Trumpets and Bowls, and mistakes the nature of Christ‘s Second Coming. Mid-Trib allows the day of Christ’s return to be known and doesn’t understand the Day of the LORD. Post-Trib doesn’t make sense in why would Christ rapture the church at the end when He returns. It also doesn’t account for the fact the Church is on earth while God judges. It also doesn’t take the Day of the LORD into account.
Is this all we are stuck with, or is there another view?
There is another view that has been quietly gaining ground. The Pre-Wrath view. Rather than try to refute the other views, an examination of the Pre-Wrath view should prove sufficient to show its validity on its own merits.
IV) Pre-Wrath View: The Rapture occurs before the Day of the LORD, after the Great Tribulation, before the opening of the Seventh Seal.
To begin an important question must be asked.
What is the Purpose of the Rapture?
There are two purposes to the Rapture:
I) To remove the Church before God pours out His wrath in the Day of the LORD judgment. (1 Thess 1:10, 1 Thess 5:9)
II) To implement the restoration of the Remnant and transition back to the Jews. (Joel 2:28-32, Eph 3:6, Rom 11:11-21, Rev 7:3-8, Dan 9:24)
The primary purpose of the Rapture for the Church is to remove the Church before God pours out His wrath. When does God pour out His wrath? Pre-Trib teachers make the assumption that God pours out His wrath during the entire 7 years. However, what does the Bible say about God pouring out His wrath?
The Day of the LORD
God’s outpouring of wrath is known as the Day of the LORD. In the Old Testament, eight (8) prophets use the term “Day of the LORD” a total of 19 times! In the New Testament, three (3) writers use the term in 4 passages. The NT writers are Luke, Paul and Peter (Acts 2:19,20; 1 Thess 5:2-4; 2 Thess 22:1,2; 2 Pet 3:9,10). There are 7 additional passages that refer to the “day of Christ” or “the day of Jesus Christ.” They are generally understood as being in the same timeframe as the day of the LORD. Those passages referring to the day of (Jesus) Christ are 1 Cor 1:8, 3:13, 5:5; Phil 1:6,10; 2:16; 2 Tim 4:8
What does the Old Testament say about the Day of the LORD?
To begin, let’s look at the purpose for the Day of the LORD.
First of all let’s look at Obadiah. Obadiah 15 says, “The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.”
Isaiah 34:8 says, “For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.”
Joel 3:2-4 says, “I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. They cast lots for my people and traded boys for prostitutes; they sold girls for wine to drink. “Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done.
These three passages are clear. One purpose for the Day of the LORD is to judge the nations for how they treated Israel. God Himself will vindicate His people.
There is another purpose for the day of the LORD. That purpose can be seen in other portions of Scripture.
Isa 33:10-14 says, “‘Now will I arise,’ says the LORD. ‘Now will I be exalted; now will I be lifted up. You conceive chaff, you give birth to straw; your breath is a fire that consumes you. The peoples will be burned to ashes; like cut thornbushes they will be set ablaze.’ You who are far away, hear what I have done; you who are near, acknowledge my power! The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: ‘Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?’”
Zech 13:8-9 says, “’In the whole land,’ declares the LORD, ‘two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’”
Mal 3:2-5 says, “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. ‘So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
Amos 5:18-20 says, “Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
The second purpose is clear. The Day of the LORD will be a time in which Israel will be judged for her treatment of Yahveh through her history. In the wilderness, in Canaan, during the reign of the kings, the captivity in Babylon, the apostasy under Antiochus, the rejection of Christ, and the ultimate betrayal of apostasy in following Antichrist all point to Israel being an unfaithful wife. God will judge Israel for her deeds and because of His faithfulness, bring a remnant.
The purpose is clear and singular. The Day of the LORD is a day of judgment. It will be judgment for Jew and Gentile who have forsaken Christ. Many will be refined and the Remnant brought through, but it is a day for judging.
The following Scriptures show forth the dreadful nature of that day:
Zeph 1:14-2:3 says, “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD's anger come upon you. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger.”
Isaiah 2:12-21 says, “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.”
Isaiah 13:6-13 says, “Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”
This is a day when God arises to shake the earth and humanity in its arrogance is brought low. There will be mourning and wailing for the realization that judgment is coming. The LORD will repay all the wrong and show Himself to be just, powerful and the true Judge. Despite the raging of Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, they will be powerless.
What is the relationship to the Day of the LORD and the Rapture? The day of the LORD is God’s judgment. In 1 Thess 5:9 in speaking of the day of the LORD, Paul makes it clear that we are not appointed to wrath. We have to be raptured before God’s wrath is poured out.
So the question is, is the day of the LORD signless? If there are no signs before the day of the LORD, then there are no signs before the Rapture and it can happen at any moment. However, if there are specific signs that must occur before the day of the LORD, then these signs will also precede the Rapture.
In the Bible, in the OT and NT, there are signs associated with the Day of the LORD.
First of all, Peter and Paul refer to the day of the LORD as a thief in the night. (2 Peter 3 and 1 Thess 5). However 1 Thess 5:2-4 we see that not only does that Day come like a thief, but that many will say “peace and safety” before destruction comes. That bears a similarity to Amos 5. In verse 4, Paul specifically says to the Church, you are not in darkness that the Day should overtake you like a thief. Paul further gives admonition in verses 5-8 to watch, to be sober, to not sleep. How can we watch for something that is signless and imminent?
There are a number of signs given that mark the beginning of the Day of the LORD.
In Malachi 4:5 we read, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD”
Before God pours out His wrath on the earth, we see that he will send Elijah. In Rev 11 we have the Two Witnesses, many of whom believe to be Moses and Elijah. There is a lot of Biblical evidence to support that. They appear together in Malachi’s prophecy in Malachi 4. When Jesus were transfigured (μεταμορφόω “metamorphoo”) who was with Him? Moses and Elijah. Moses in the OT was the lawgiver. Elijah was a premier prophet, the one who was taken to heaven in a whirlwind. In Rev 11, look at their power. They have the power to shut heaven, to turn water to blood and to smite the earth with plagues. Elijah prayed and it didn’t rain for around 3 and a ½ years during the reign of wicked Ahab. Moses commanded Aaron to smite the Nile and it turned to blood. Moses was the one who prayed for plagues to strike the Egyptians. Elijah and Moses seem the likely candidates for the Two Witnesses. Elijah must come before God pours out His judgment, which means he must come before the Rapture.
In Isaiah 13:10 we see that when the Day of the LORD comes, the sun will not shine, the moon will not give light and the stars will not shine.
In Joel 2:10 we see earthquake, we see the stars not shining, the moon not giving light and the stars will become dark. In verse 31 we see that the sun will be turned to darkness, the moon to blood before the Day of the LORD comes.
In 2 Thess 2, Paul talks about something that must happen before the gathering to Jesus (Rapture) and the Day of the LORD. The man of lawlessness (Antichrist) must be revealed and the Apostasy must occur. The Greek for “revealed” is ἀποκαλύπτω “apokalypto” meaning “unveiling.” The word used later in 2 Thess 2:9 for the Antichrist’s coming is παρουσία “parousia” meaning “coming” and “continuing presence.” Interesting enough, this is the same word used for Jesus in His coming.
As stated in Part 5, the Apostasy was when the Jews forsook the covenant with Yahweh. Acts 21:21 and 2 Thess 2:3 are the only places in the NT to use the word. The historical precedent is set in 1 Maccabees. The day of the LORD cannot occur until the Jews forsake the covenant when Antichrist sets up the Abomination of Desolation. When does this happen? 3 and ½ years into the 7 year treaty! The Day of the LORD doesn’t happen until after that. Therefore, the rapture cannot happen until after that.
To sum up the signs of the Day of the LORD:
1) The Abomination of Desolation and the Apostasy have to occur.
2) Elijah must come
3) The sun must be darkened, the moon not give light (turn to blood) and the stars stop shining. (Cosmic Disturbance)
The third sign is seen most consistently. Is there anywhere in the NT where that sign of the, as Marvin Rosenthal phrases it, “cosmic disturbance” happens?
Yes. Not just in one place but in multiple places, and all listed by the same person. Jesus Christ Himself. Next week, we will examine Jesus' words in relation to the End Times.