by Paul Benson
Recently a reader sent me an e-mail asking my thoughts on the ‘Pre-wrath Rapture’ view and sent me also a link to an article by Alan Kurschner who holds to the Pre-wrath view. His article was titled ‘Still waiting for a Post-tribber to respond to Prewrath eschatology… Crickets!’. You can find that article HERE.
I will in this writing give the reasons I firmly believe the Pre-wrath position to be (in certain key areas) an incorrect assessment of the events surrounding the Return of our Lord.
It’s Not ALL Bad
Please let me begin by telling you I do have a great affinity for the Pre-wrath position in that it gets people ‘over the hump’ so to speak in regard to the most damaging aspects of the Pre-trib Rapture teaching. I am speaking of the Pre-tribber’s false claims that the Body of Christ will not be here to face: 1). the pressure and sifting of the time of great tribulation 2). Antichrist’s war on the Saints nor 3). the implementation of the Mark of The Beast and the economic sanctions and grave personal danger involved in refusing that mark.
Also the Pre-wrath position does not promote the heretical Dispensational notion that the ‘age of grace’ concludes prior to the time of great tribulation and the ‘tribulation Saints’ are saved in a different manner (and under a different covenant!) than the Church. Much could be said (and has been said HERE ) about the Dispensational errors which are such essential elements of Pre-trib theory.
I do believe the Pre-wrath position is somewhat close to a proper understanding of eschatology; and I personally have gained many valuable insights into the end-time puzzle by listening to Pre-wrath teachers like brother Kurschner as well as others. So for that I am quite grateful.
But there are certain aspects of the Pre-wrath theory that are (in my opinion) merely remnants of the Pre-trib teaching yet to be discarded. And these lingering errors (holdovers from the Pre-trib/Dispensational fable we have been inundated with for so many years) need to be put aside as they skew the narrative and present provably unbiblical notions. As I answer the various points of brother Kurschner’s article I think you will see what I mean.
As I have studied the Pre-wrath teachings, and listened to various teachers promoting that view, I feel their main arguments against the Post-trib view fall into two categories – both of which are seriously flawed: 1). Arguments that are based upon an incorrect expression of Post-trib doctrine and 2). Presuppositions imposed upon scriptural texts that in themselves do NOT supply those ‘insights’ that supposedly prove certain Pre-wrath claims. Here are the points he raised that he thinks are solid evidence against the Post-trib view and my response to each:
Kurschner: 1. Prewrath does not believe that the second coming will be an instantaneous or single-day (simple) event. Rather, it will be complex unfolding through a manifold events (as the first coming of Christ).
Benson: I do NOT teach (nor do I know of any other Post-trib teachers that do) that the Second Coming of our Lord and the associated happenings will be ‘a single-day (simple) event’. Any arguments against the Post-trib position based upon that flawed understanding are not valid; but I see you do use that argument quite a bit in your writings and lectures.
I clearly see that the Coming (Parousia) of Christ, and the wrath he administers upon his enemies (causing them to gather together their armies to fight him), will take some time to unfold. Armageddon does NOT take place on the day of Christ’s revealing to the world but some time later, and to portray all Post-trib teachers as believing and teaching this ‘one-day-event’ scenario is not even close to accurate. I think you maybe need to up-grade your understanding of Post-trib theory.
Kurschner: 2. Revelation 19 does not picture the inception of Christ’s second coming. Rather, it pictures Christ coming to battle the nations at the end of his wrath, not the beginning of his coming. The second coming begins between the sixth and the seventh seal.
Benson: Yes, I agree it is proper to place the Second Coming at the beginning of the 7th seal (I however clearly see it also at the seventh trumpet – something you disagree with).
BUT… After incorrectly assessing that Post-trib teachers such as myself restrict the Second Coming to a one-day-event you turn around and do exactly the same type of ‘modification’ to the allegorical description of Christ’s Return in Revelation 19! You say the chapter is only about the time of the battle of Armageddon and it does not include the day Christ comes for the Church. That is perhaps your opinion, but it is not in accord with what imagery the passage actually gives us. You have imposed an unwarranted ‘short-term event’ designation to the text. Why? The text does not dictate such on its own.
I suggest to you that the description of the Bride making herself ready, the mention of the impending marriage and the subsequent marriage supper (which is the battle itself – not some event in Heaven), as well the description of the armies gathering together and being ultimately destroyed by our Lord, makes this allegory a picture of a protracted time of unfolding events. The time-frame of this description runs from the appearance of Christ to *take his Bride unto himself and continues on all the way to Armageddon itself and beyond.
(*which is the biblical manner of marriage – they didn’t go before a minister/judge and ‘get married’ like we do. They just came and took the betrothed woman unto themselves in a covenant relationship.)
If we cannot see Revelation 19 depicting the Church being joined to Christ at his Return (aka the rapture) it is because we chose not to!
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. Revelation 19:7
This allegory in Rev. 19 is NOT about Christ ‘returning’ to this world after the wrath of God has already mostly been poured out! Would a bride ‘make herself ready’ AFTER her husband has come for her, joined himself to her, and (supposedly) taken her off to Heaven, and then returned with her in tow as Pre-wrath suggests? If she wasn’t ready when he first came she would not have been caught-up to meet him in the first place! To suggest the Bride goes to Heaven with Jesus, and THEN gets ready to be joined to him toward the end of the wrath of God AFTER they return from a time together in Heaven, does not fit any pattern or descriptive text I have ever read anywhere in the Bible.
FOOD4THOUGHT: This false concept of Christ coming to Earth, leaving with the Church, and then returning later at the battle of Armageddon (a 2nd and then a 3rd coming) presents conundrums of which we are given no explanation. Think about it for a minute here. Why would the world gather together to fight an enemy who came briefly and then left the planet? What sense would that make? And why would they gather together at Armageddon (rather than any other location) if Jesus is not here on Earth administering his wrath? If Hitler had briefly appeared in Europe, and then vanished, would the armies of the world have gathered there to fight him? I kind of doubt it.
I personally have a hard time with this idea of Jesus ‘arm-chair quarter-backing’ the out-pouring of God’s Wrath from somewhere in Heaven as both Pre-trib and Pre-wrath teachers seem to propose. I see clearly stated in the Scriptures (with multiplied witness) that Jesus brings, and personally administers, the Wrath/Vengeance of God upon his enemies and those who have persecuted his beloved Church. The Scriptures clearly us teach Christ initiates ‘sudden destruction’ at his Second Coming (1 Thess. 5:2-3, Matthew 24:37-39, Luke 17:28-30); and there is no description given anywhere of him ever leaving before his enemies are destroyed and his holy indignation is satiated (Zephaniah 3:8, 2 Thess. 1:8-10, 2Thess 2:8).
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Thessalonians 1:7-8
This ‘Christ personally taking vengeance’ theme is presented throughout the Bible (same day – sudden destruction! Matt. 24:38-39, Psalm 50:1-5 etc.). The Word promises us that when Jesus is revealed he will take vengeance personally upon his enemies and our persecutors. He has to be here on Earth to do so! Again, there is nowhere the Bible presents this idea of Christ coming for the Church and then departing while the ‘wrath of God’ is poured out. It is a fabricated concept. The notion that we will be in Heaven chowing-down with Jesus while the wrath of God unfolds upon Earth is just another part of the Pre-trib fable that has lingered on in the Pre-wrath teachings. Let’s get it right!
This allegory of Rev. 19 is one more picture (among many) of Christ coming for his Church (1 Thess. 4:13-18, Matt. 24:29-31, 2Thess. 1:7-8, Psalms 50 etc.) and then waging war upon his enemies. This unfolds over a period of time. The catching-away of the Church to meet Jesus in 1Thess. 4 surely IS the same marriage (joining) of Jesus to his Bride found in Revelation 19! What other event could be it? And why would we think it to be anything else (unless maybe that truth interfered with a particular view-point and needed to be explained away)?
The insistence of Pre-wrath teachers that the allegorical imagery of Revelation 19 is a depiction of only the day of Armageddon (and does not also picture the catching-away at his Second Coming) is prime example of presupposing a notion and then imposing it upon the text. This need to separate the Second Coming (and the catching-away of the Church) from the allegorical description of the events involved in Christ’s return in Rev. 19 is a hold-over from bogus Pre-trib teaching that claims Rev. 19:14 is actually a 3rd Coming of Christ! An additional coming (not taught anywhere in Scripture!) to supposedly return to Earth a previously raptured Church from their stay in Heaven.
So we see the Pre-wrath position sadly follows the gross error of Pre-trib theory in stating that at the Second Coming Christ raptures the Church away to Heaven while the wrath of God unfolds; and then Christ returns with the Church later on (supposedly depicted by the ‘armies in white’ coming out of Heaven with Jesus in Revelation 19:14). I realize I am being a bit redundant with this point, but it is one error that has a great number of folks in a fog. It really needs dealt with if we are going to move ahead with our understanding of end-time things.
I won’t get into proving who the ‘armies of Heaven’ are here, but I do have an in-depth article showing that this imagery of the angels of God coming out of Heaven with Christ has been totally twisted and corrupted into a bogus affirmation of Pre-trib/Pre-wrath theory. For 20 centuries the theologians have taught Rev. 19:14 was a description of the angelic host; but now (post-Darby) many are incorrectly teaching the ‘riders in white’ are a previously raptured Church returning from Heaven. Please see the article: Who Are The Armies Coming Out of Heaven With Jesus?
If Jesus is revealed to the world at the Second Coming, then leaves again with his Bride to return to Heaven, and then returns later to Earth once more – that is a 2nd and now a 3rd coming – no matter how you try to explain away that reality! Again, this ‘two comings of Christ in the end-times’ scenario is absolutely NOT presented in Scripture. It only exists in the minds of those who approach the Scriptures with preconceptions brought on by sitting under teachings based upon J. N. Darby’s Dispensational delusions. The Second Coming of Christ is ALWAYS portrayed as a singular event in Scripture. Never is it referred to in a plural fashion!
Please see : Two Comings Of Christ In The End-times?
And there is absolutely no where in the Bible that we are taught the Body of Christ ever leaves planet Earth at the Return of Jesus. Nowhere does it teach a ‘marriage supper in Heaven’, nor a raptured Church returning from a sojourn in Heaven.
That is all extra-biblical fiction!
The evidence presented by bro. Kurschner and others to ‘prove’ a raptured church in Heaven is based upon a handful of verses that in themselves present no such concept. This smacks of the scripture-embellishing tactics of the Pre-trib crowd. It is one of the main reasons I rejected Pre-trib theory in the first place! You have to believe it first, and then you can ‘see it’ implied in certain passages that others who don’t wear rapture colored glasses for some odd reason do not. For example he uses Revelation 7:13-15 as proof of a resurrected and glorified Church in Heaven. But the passage without embellishment states no such thing (nor does any other)!
The ‘irrefutable proof’ commonly given is that they are wearing white robes given by God; and this means they have been already resurrected. They exclaim: ‘This proves a previously raptured Church in Heaven!’ But what he, and others who claim this as proof, fail to grasp is that there is also another description of departed believers in Heaven given white robes that are told to wait for the rest of the brethren who will be martyred during the tribulation.
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 6:11
Here we clearly have pre-resurrection believers given white robes! White robes do not prove Revelation 7:13-15 to be a description of a ‘raptured Church’ in Heaven.
If white robes indicated resurrected believers in Heaven in chapter 7 then they also would in chapter 6; and then the rapture could not be a post-tribulation event (which Kurschner properly teaches it is); and he thus has shot his Pre-wrath view in the foot by using elements of pre-trib doctrine to refute post-trib view. OUCH! Better let go of those remnants of Pre-trib theory brethren! but seriously the verses in Rev. 7 do NOT (nor do any others in the Bible) show a raptured Church in Heaven! And furthermore to assign any particular timing to this interlude passage in Revelation 7 is just more unwarranted speculation.
Let’s not force the Bible to say what we want it to in order to validate our views. Let’s base our beliefs upon what the text actually does plainly say. Only then can we get it right.
The other proof texts he uses to show a resurrected Church in Heaven also do not in any way speak forth any such a thing – including John 14:1-3. Please see: Does John 14:1-3 Promise The Believer A Home In Heaven?
Kurschner: 3. Prewrath does not view the seals, trumpets, and bowls as identical events (i.e. “from different perspectives”) or as different events but occurring “at the same time.” Rather, the narrative depicts them occurring one after another.
Benson: One of the greatest sources of confusion over end-times prophecy has been the notion of a consecutive order to the events described in Revelation. The Pre-wrath (as well as the Pre-trib) notion that the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls are events that must occur in succession (one set does not begin until the previous ends) is another provably false construct many impose upon the text of Revelation. Although much ‘evidence’ is given to purportedly prove this theory none holds up under close scrutiny! We will look at that, but first let’s address another issue.
Another mistaken claim against Post-trib theory is (as brother Kurschner stated above) that Post-tribbers think the seals, trumpets, and bowls are ‘identical events with 3 different descriptions’ or possibly ‘different events that occur at exactly the same time’. In another article brother Kurschner presents this (horribly erroneous) Post-trib understanding of the occurrence of these events in Revelation as such:
Like we believe that seal #1 = trumpet #1 = bowl #1 and so on and so on. Honestly folks, I have never met anyone that teaches any such thing! If there is any Post-trib teacher claiming such a structure of total concurrence he would be a one-off for sure. That is absolutely not a proper example of Post-tribulation theory.
I am a bit hesitant to use graphs as they often, through limited opportunity for clarification, lend to wrong assumptions about what is being stated. But if I were to try to express what I see as a proper view of how these events play out it would look something like this:
Please finish this article and see if you do not agree with why I say these event must approximate this pattern. I am interested to hear your thoughts. Yea or Nay?
There is (and HAS to be) somewhat of a concurrent fashion in the unfolding of the seals and trumpets; but not with them all jiving totally in their occurrence. As we will see later most of both the seals and trumpets MUST play out before the Return of Christ. The seals will probably begin (and maybe have begun) much before the trumpets. I do not claim to have insight as to just what these events are that are being described in such an allegorical manner.
But the seals, trumpets, and bowls do ALL find completion in the (protracted) Day of our Lord and his dealings with this evil world. The Day of the Lord begins with the Revelation of Christ and the resurrection/catching-away of the Church, and then continues on forever from there.
And the bowls of wrath cannot begin until the Revelation of Jesus to this world because he himself administers (oversees) that wrath upon his Arrival.
There are a couple of important truths that once grasped will clear up a lot of common confusion about the end-time scenario and the book of Revelation:
Firstly, we must understand that Christ brings the wrath of God to Earth at his glorious Appearance. What occurs before the Second Coming is not God’s wrath but Judgment calling mankind to repentance. The time of tribulation is NOT the Wrath of God; it is one last call to repentance for humanity. The only wrath mentioned in association with the time of tribulation is the wrath of Satan against God’s people (Rev. 12:12).
Please see: Is The Time Of Tribulation God’s Wrath?
The modern Church seems to have lost sight of the difference between God’s Judgments and his Wrath. God’s Judgments carry a redemptive quality to them; they are a call to repentance. The Lord has the heart of a father toward his creation, particularity those who call upon his name. God’s chastisements are for the benefit of those he chastens. In God’s judgments/chastisements there is always a call to, and opportunity for, repentance.
A proper view of the time of tribulation puts it into the context of a final call to repentance for the people of this age. In the prophetic Feasts of the Lord the days before the Day of Atonement are referred to as the Days of Repentance or the Days of Awe. This is a prophetic picture of the time of great tribulation. The Judgments of that era will be a fullness of expression of man’s call to get right with God before Jesus returns (him thus fulfilling the prophetic picture given by the Day of Atonement. And remember the people of God entered in Jubilee on Yom Kipur/Atonement, NOT on Rosh Hashana/Trunpets like the Pre-tribbers teach. Lev. 25:9-10).
God’s wrath comes AFTER the tribulation! And we need to understand the purpose of God’s wrath is not redemptive but strictly punitive. There is no offer of, or opportunity for, repentance! The offenders are deemed reprobate and the offer of mercy is thus withdrawn. God’s wrath is reserved for his enemies (Nahum 1:3). Its purpose is the destruction of evil doers and their evil deeds.
When God has exhausted his efforts to bring redemption he will then bring his wrath. The time of great tribulation is not the prophesied ‘day of vengeance’ (Isaiah 61:2). That will be the day the Lord Jesus returns in flaming fire taking vengeance upon his enemies (2Thess. 1:7-8) after the time of tribulation!
Secondly: As we shall see, the ‘cosmic signs’ given as preceding the Second Coming prevent the notion that the trumpet judgments are a part of God’s Wrath that Jesus administers after his Return. It causes error and confusion to place the sounding of the 7 trumpets after Christ’s Coming. We should discern that these trumpets are sounded to herald (warn of) the Return of Christ and the wrath to come.
The Pre-wrath position improperly places the trumpets after the Second Coming in conjunction with the bowls/vials of God’s wrath. This forces one to see the Coming of Christ expressed in the 7th trumpet as a separate event from the Coming in seal #6-7; which it certainly is NOT! These are merely two descriptions of the same event among many other descriptions of that event found throughout Scripture.
FOOD4THOUGHT: To claim (as both Pre-trib and Pre-wrath do) that the Coming of Jesus at the 6-7th seal is a totally different event than the 7th Trumpet Coming presents much conflict with what the Scripture teaches about the various aspects of Jesus’ Return. Let’s look at just one aspect: the reward of the Righteous. Jesus has promised us we will be judged and rewarded at his appearing!
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2Timothy 4:1
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Revelation 22:12
…for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:14
The Scriptures plainly teach the believer will be rewarded/recompensed at the resurrection/catching away. We have quite a multiplied witness of this throughout the Bible. This ‘judged/rewarded at the resurrection’ scenario is also clearly shown in that the level of glory our resurrected bodies will exude will differ from one believer to another. Some of us will shine brighter than others! (see Daniel 12:3 and 1Cor. 15:40-42) We will vary in our glory because we have been judged and rewarded according to our works as was also promised.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Matthew 16:27
Though many teach the White Throne Judgment is an event that takes place at some later date after the Church is caught-up to meet Christ I do not. The fact that Jesus promised us our reward at his appearing, and also that there has to be a judgment (according to our works) made as to what level of glory each resurrected believer will enjoy, leads me to believe the Judgment Seat of Christ and his Appearing to rescue/reward the Church are one and the self-same event.
But the point I want to emphasize here is that if the 6-7th seal Coming of Christ is not the same event as the 7th trumpet Coming then the Scripture is completely in error stating that the Church receives her reward at that 7th trump coming. They would have already received that reward at the (supposed) earlier coming! Right? Do you grasp that? Read what transpires at the 7th (last) trump:
And the seventh angel sounded… …And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. Revelation 11:15-18
The Pre-wrath (as well as the Pre-trib) teachings present a confusing duplication of the day of ‘the reward of the righteous’ as well as the day ‘thy wrath is come’ (and also the great earthquake). That redundancy causes great cOnFuSiOn in people trying to get a proper grasp on eschatology!
Or should I say ccoonnffuussiioonn? (sorry about that but i think you get the point.)
But this rebuke of erroneously seeing two different Comings in the seals/trumpets is not the strongest evidence against the Pre-wrath ‘consecutive unfolding of the seals, trumpets and bowls’ time-line. The strongest evidence is found in the description of what those trumpets bring to planet Earth. The Pre-wrath insistence of a consecutive unfolding is not a workable position if for no other reason than this: There are certain ‘Judgment events’ expressed in the 7 trumpets that MUST transpire before the great ‘signs in the heavens’ that we are told will precede the Return of Jesus to Earth (Luke 21:11+v.25-27). Thus the trumpets can not happen after the Return of Christ!
Every Pre-wrath teacher I have listened to uses the ‘Cosmic Signs’ that must precede the Day of the Lord as heavy artillery against the Pre-trib teaching. And rightly so! The Coming/resurrection/catching-away truly begins the Day of the Lord; and the Bible most certainly teaches that Day will be preceded by great and fearful cosmic disturbances. Peter was quoting the Old Testament prophet Joel when he said:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: Acts 2:20
But what the Pre-wrath crowd has missed (or chosen to ignore) is that the ‘Cosmic Signs’ that happen immediately before, or in conjunction with, the Return of Christ include an unimaginable event in which the stars disappear! The days in which the Sun grows dark and the Moon turns to blood give way to the day the heavens are no more! I know that’s heavy; but it is plainly stated Bible truth.
In studying these things out years ago I was amazed at the amount of Scripture we have on this very topic. I found nearly twenty passages of Scripture that detail these ‘celestial events’ that signal the time of Jesus’ coming. And it is undeniable that the disappearance of the stars of heaven are a firm part of those Cosmic Signs! Let’s look at a few of the many passages which speak of these things:
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: Psalms 102:25-26
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. 16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. Joel 3:14-16
And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. Isaiah 34:4
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; 13 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. 14 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
Unbelievable things going on up above us in those verses! Job gives further witness that this disappearing act of the stars absolutely must precede the resurrection of the dead and our catching-away to meet Christ:
But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Job 14:10-12
There will be no resurrection til the heavens be no more. So… the Coming of Christ and our gathering together unto him must be preceded by this event. To deny the Bible teaches this would be foolhardy in light of all the Scripture we have on the topic.
I have to wonder why those who teach the Pre-wrath view never seem to focus on this issue of the stars going away as a part of the Cosmic Signs which are (quite properly) such a staple of their teaching. Is this willful blindness? Is this also some ‘hold-over’ from the pre-trib indoctrination we were all subjected to? I suspect it truly is.
Lord, help us all (including Paul Benson!) to embrace the entirety of your Word; and to not ignore the parts that don’t jive with our pet ‘theories’. Help us believe what your Word says and not just what man says about your Word. In Jesus name!
See also Joel 2:10-11, Jeremiah 4:27-28, Joel 2:30-31, and 2 Peter 3:5-13
The Real Proof A Sequential Timing To The Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls Is A Bogus Claim
Now lets examine the events that are discussed during the 7 trumpets of Revelation, and you will get the point I am trying to make here. We will clearly see there are certain aspects of these trumpet events that MUST be played out before the day the stars vanish.
And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; Revelation 8:8
How could an asteroid (if that is what this truly is) hit earth if the heavens had already vanished? Where would it come from?
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 1 1And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. Revelation 8:10-11
Again, we have here some really funky stuff going on that apparently is falling out of the heavens! How could that be an event that happens after the heavens go away in seal #6?
And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. Revelation 8:12
Honestly, I must confess I have a hard time getting my head around the notion that God is going to cause the stars to vanish even though the Bible plainly teaches this with multiplied witness. But even someone with my limited grasp on the things of God can discern that the trumpet events dealing with asteroids, the Sun, the Moon, the stars, etc. have to unfold before the day the heavens and the stars are no more.
This truth alone should cause any honest Bible believer to reject the notion that the trumpets are a part of God’s wrath poured out after the Appearance of Jesus to resurrect the believers and catch-away the Church. Thus the trumpets must run in somewhat of a concurrent fashion along side of the seals. Any other theory is just not workable.
Irwin Baxter did a great job discussing these very things in the following talk. Though I don’t see eye to eye with some of his labeling of historic events as fulfilling the seals/trumpets he does bring out many good points concerning the error of teaching a ‘consecutive unfolding’ of the seals/trumpets/bowls. It is worth a listen if you remain unclear on this issue.
The Order of the Book of Revelation – Irvin Baxter
Kurschner: 4. Prewrath does not believe that after God’s people meet Jesus in the sky they immediately descend with Christ to the earth. Rather, Scripture explicitly states Jesus brings them before the throne of the Father in heaven.
Benson: Excuse me brother Kurschner, but the Bible does NOT explicitly state any such thing. Seriously Alan! Your doctrine might explicitly state Jesus transports the Church off to Heaven; but to say the Scripture explicitly states such is a false witness.
I am going to have to call you on that one!
Perhaps you could take time to look up the meaning of the word ‘explicitly’? Something explicitly stated in the Bible means that the text expressly gives us the details of such. The explanation is clear, it is not a conclusion we have to come to by deductive reasoning, preconceived ideas or extra-biblical sources. The text actually states it in a clear and simple fashion or it is not explicit!
For example: we know the Return of Jesus will be a totally ‘visible for all to see’ event because we have much detail of this clearly stated in multiple places. Thus we can honestly state ‘the Bible explicitly says’ – because it actually does say it. And if we tell folks ‘the Bible says’ things it really does not (things we are merely reading-into the text) then we stand in danger of condemning ourselves as a false witness. Lord help us not to do so!
Let’s get THAT right! Shall we?
Alan, I realize this rapture off to Heaven is something you wholeheartedly believe; BUT… there is not one passage in the Word of God that gives us any detail of such an event as the resurrected Church being transported to Heaven, residing there as resurrected believers, or being transported back to Earth after God’s wrath.
If such a thing were true it would be a significant doctrinal point and we would have a clear multiplied witness of it in the teachings of Christ and his Apostles. But we do not. The reason? It’s a falsity invented in the mind of man! This ‘POOF – we are outta here!’ notion is a (Darby-ite) teaching that (must I say it again?) has to be presupposed and then imposed upon various texts that do not of themselves speak forth the understanding the passage is being used to ‘prove’. Inserting your doctrine into the text of the Bible does not ‘prove’ your doctrine!
Call it what you will. I call that a tactic of deception!
Those tactics need to be repented of and put away.
As to the claim Post-trib teaches ‘immediate descent’ this also is not a firm tenant of the Post-trib view as I know it. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever heard any Post-trib view holder firm on that point. Perhaps some do. I haven’t come across it; and I have been at this a while.
Though we are given a clear description of being caught-up to meet Jesus in the air, and have a number of passages that detail us descending with him to Earth, we are not given a specific *length of time we are in the air with Jesus. It could be a brief time, or it could be 40 days as some teach, or some other figure. I don’t know. All we can do is speculate about things we have no firm detail of.
But, for the record, I do not teach any ‘immediate descent’ of the Church after the catching-up to meet Jesus.
(*The same goes for the length of time between our resurrection from the dead/transformation and our ascension to meet Jesus in the clouds. Will it be immediate or will we remain on Earth for a certain amount of time? Again, I do not claim to know. But resurrection and ascension are not the same event. Paul said the dead will rise and THEN we will be caught-up. He didn’t claim it was a simultaneous event! Paul did teach our transformation at the resurrection will take place ‘in the twinkling of an eye’ (1Cor. 15:51-52); but the catching-away is not even mentioned in that entire chapter, and it is a misuse of Scripture to attribute the catch-phrase ‘in the twinkling of an eye’ to the rapture! We have been taught all these years that both our resurrection and ascension are one instantaneous event but the Bible gives no such info. For Jesus it was a 40 day span of time between his resurrection and his ascension! I do believe they occur in close proximity to each other for us; but again I can only speculate.)
Kurschner: 5. Prewrath does not view the resurrection taking place in Revelation 20. Rather, it takes place after the sixth seal is opened (see Rev 7). Revelation 20 depicts the elevated status of the martyrs who have been resurrected, rather than depicting the resurrection taking place at Rev 20:4.
Benson: I wouldn’t attribute any timing, or order of sequence to these verses in Rev. 20 that speak of the resurrection, other than that since they include the tribulation martyrs it clearly could not be a Pre-trib event being spoken of; info which would not conflict with either a Pre-wrath or Post-trib view. So I am not quite sure what issue with the Post-trib view you are getting at there. Sorry if I am being a little dense here. Maybe I am missing something obvious? I just don’t get your point.
Kurschner: 6. Prewrath does not believe that in Matthew 24 those who are taken are the unrighteous for judgment and those left behind are the righteous for the kingdom.
Benson: I have to admit that this ‘who is taken?’ issue is one I have kind of waffled on over the years; but this is what I have come to understand. We must view this ‘harvest of the Earth’ in light of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares.
Though, in the biblical harvest picture, the tares truly are separated out first – they are not destroyed at that time. They are separated out, bundled, and set aside for later destruction (I believe this separating and marking for destruction is the purpose of the Mark of the Beast). Then the Wheat is harvested and gathered unto the Husbandman. Then later the field is burnt and the tares destroyed.
So… while I guess we could say the tares are taken first (in that they are dealt with/gathered in bundles first) in the harvest story, it is really the Wheat that is taken out and the tares that are left behind to face their destruction. I believe that in the text in question in Matthew it is the Righteous who are taken up, and this is a reference to the Post-trib catching-away of the Saints to meet Christ in the air.
But through an eternal perspective it is the Righteous who eventually are left to go on with going on, and it is the wicked who get ‘taken away’ and destroyed. In the overall scheme of things we see both the Righteous and the Wicked at some stage finding themselves getting ‘left-behind’; but it is truly the Righteous who are taken up in Matthew. I also believe the reference to vultures/carcass in Matthew 24 is likewise (an additional witness) speaking of the Church being gathered to Christ. We have been eating his flesh and drinking his blood for 2,000 years have we not? But many cannot receive that, and insist the vulture/carcass imagery is to show the death and decay of the tribulation time. I beg to differ.
Kurschner: I still have never had a single Post-tribber respond (i.e. interact meaningfully) to any of these points!
Benson: Well, my brother in Christ, now you have! As I stated earlier I really have not felt a great need to rail against the Pre-wrath view as it is so close to the Post-trib view; and it does not represent the grave danger to the Body of Christ as that of those who are deceptively teaching we will not face Antichrist or the Mark. And I really have benefited from the teaching of men such as Rosenthal, Richardson, Walters and yes, even Kurschner. Again, many thanks in that regard!
The main issues I have with the Pre-wrath view (2 comings of Christ in the end-times, a rapture off to Heaven, and consecutive-timing/trumpets being post-Second Coming) are clearly out-lined in this writing; and I hope you would prayerfully consider my response to those points.
It is not my intention to offend or be overly contentious; but your incorrect assumptions about certain Post-trib teachings, and your practice of imposing presuppositions upon the text that the text does not actually speak forth of itself are (in my opinion) the source of all the ‘problems’ with Post-trib view you think you see.
You have shown where my position conflicts with what doctrine you believe; but not any conflicts with the plainly stated truths of the Scriptures. I am certainly a flawed person. And if I have any beliefs that really do conflict with God’s Word I would gladly change them and conform. I have before; and it is truly a part of the process of pursuing an untainted understanding of God’s ways. But to me certain problems with the Pre-wrath position present such obvious conflict with the Scriptures that I would be crazy to back-track and resume that former plateau upon which I once rested in this glorious trek up the mountain of truth.
Let’s keep ferreting out the pieces of the end-time puzzle in the love of Christ and for one-another, and the picture will continue to become more clear as we go along!
Blessings to all who love our Savior and his Holy Word;