MAJOR BRICKS OF THE PRE-WRATH POSITION
Following are three of the major bricks of the Pre-Wrath position which can be established in Scripture:
1. THE "GREAT DISTRESS" (TRIBULATION) CAUSED BY THE ANTICHRIST BEGINS AT THE MIDPOINT OF DANIEL’S 70TH WEEK WITH THE “ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION”.
The “abomination of desolation” is when the Antichrist will be revealed for who he is:
“He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4 In the middle of the final seven weeks prophesied in Daniel, the Antichrist sets up as God in the temple in Jerusalem.
Daniel 8:23-25 and Daniel 11:21-35 tell about Antiochus Epiphanes IV who ruled from 175-163:
"His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation..” Daniel11:31 He is considered to foreshadow the Antichrist. He sacrificed a pig on the altar in Jerusalem, considered to be the epitome of sacrilege or blasphemy against God.
The angel Gabriel told Daniel that the “abomination that causes desolation” would occur in the “middle of the seven”:
“He (Antichrist) will confirm a covenant with many for one `seven.’ In the MIDDLE OF THE `SEVEN’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple HE WILL SET UP AN ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." Daniel 9:27
Jesus explains in the book of Matthew that the “great distress” commonly known as the tribulation or great tribulation occurs when “the abomination that causes desolation” is set up:
"So when you see standing in the holy place `the ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel…For then there will be GREAT DISTRESS, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again.” Matthew 24:15, 21
Pretribulationists call the entire seventieth week mentioned Daniel the tribulation, but those seven years are never called the tribulation in the Bible. The first three and one half years are never specifically mentioned in Scripture, but the last three and one half years are mentioned several times.
“Time” is accepted to one year. “Time, time and half a time”, “42 months", and “1,260 days” are three and one half years. The periods that refer to this time period refer to the last three and one half years before Jesus returns.
“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a TIME, TIMES AND HALF A TIME.” Daniel 7:25 The Antichrist will specifically oppose the saints during the last 3 ½ years.
“The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a TIME, TIMES AND HALF A TIME. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." Daniel 12:7 Notice that it is after “time, time and half a time” that “all these things will be completed”.
“But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 MONTHS.” Revelation 11:2 The Gentiles (led by the Antichrist) will trample on the holy city (Jerusalem) during the last 3 ½ years.
“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 DAYS, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 11:3 The witnesses will specifically oppose the Antichrist when he is in Jerusalem during the last 3 ½ years.
“The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 DAYS.” Revelation 12:6 This takes place after the dragon has entered the Antichrist in the middle of the 3 ½ years (Revelation 12:13-17).
“The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a TIME, TIMES AND HALF A TIME, out of the serpent’s reach.” Revelation 12:14 The woman flees from the Antichrist during the last 3 ½ years.
Jesus teaches that the Great Tribulation begins when the Antichrist stands in the temple at the midpoint of the 70th Week and is revealed to the Jewish people as an evil, satanic man.
The Antichrist instigates the great tribulation:
“When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth (when Satan enters the Antichrist) he pursued the womawho had given birth to the male child (Jews from whom Jesus had come). Revelation 12:23 He is enraged that he will not be able to harm the Jews so will “make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Christians) Revelation 12:17. We know the great tribulation begins exactly in the middle of the seventy week prophesied in Daniel.
However, we do not know exactly when God’s wrath will begin:
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36
2. THE ARRIVAL OF JESUS AND THE RAPTURE OCCUR AFTER THE ANTICHRIST IS REVEALED AND AFTER THE GREAT DISTRESS (TRIBULATION).
The timing of the rapture in relation to the Antichrist being revealed is specifically stated:
“Concerning the COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST and OUR BEING GATHERED TO HIM (rapture), we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for THAT DAY WILL NOT COME UNTIL the rebellion occurs and THE MAN OF LAWLESSMESS IS REVEALED, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
From 2 Thessalonians 2, we KNOW that the Antichrist appearing first is an absolute. The Antichrist is revealed for who he when he claims to be God. This happens half way through the last seven years (Daniel 9:27). The coming of the Lord, our gathering to Him and the Day of the Lord are all equated at 2 Thessalonians 2 and all clearly occur after the midpoint of the week.
We CAN SAY APPROXIMATELY WHEN the rapture will occur, although we don’t know the day or hour:
“But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-9
When certain events take place, we know the end is near. Jesus said:
"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” Matthew 24:32-33
This passage is often interpreted to mean that when Israel becomes a nation, we know the end is near. Israel’s
becoming a nation is foretold several times in the Bible. For example:
“When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” Deuteronomy 30:1-6
3. THE RAPTURE OCCURS AT THE ARRIVAL OF JESUS.
When Jesus arrives, one will be taken and the other left:
"Immediately after the distress (described in v. 21) of those days `the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will GATHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other…
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the COMING OF THE SON OF MAN. 40 TWO MEN WILL BE IN THE FIELD; ONE WILL BE TAKEN AND THE OTHER LEFT. TWO WOMEN WILL BE GRINDING WITH A HAND MILL; ONE WILL BE TAKENM AND THE OTHER LEFT.” Matthew 24:20-31, 36-40
When Jesus appears those who have died and believe in Jesus will rise to meet Him in the air. Then those who are live alive and believe in Jesus will rise to meet Him in the air:
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. FOR THE LORD HIMSELF WILL COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, WITH A LOUD COMMAND, WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL AND WITH THE TRUMPET CALL OF GOD, AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST WILL RISE FIRST. AFTER THAT, WE WHO ARE STILL ALIVE AND LEFT WILL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18