The Pre-Wrath What?

November 11, 2009 at 12:47 AM 6 comments

correctingHaving just received the latest Zion’s Fire, from Marv Rosenthal’s Zion’s Hope organization, I wondered how many pages I would have to turn before I came across some anti-PreTrib Rapture sentiment.  It wasn’t long.  The newsletter/magazine boasts thirty interior pages and by page number seven, Marv was taking the time to offer dire warnings for those who believe and espouse the Pretribulation Rapture.  He is in the process of discussing the Beast of Revelation chapter thirteen, and he speaks of this coming unholy trio of evil agents, bent to take God and His servants on, in what is described as a seven-year period of terror, led by the Antichrist himself.

As an aside, Rosenthal states, “I have particular concern for my brothers and sisters in Christ who believe they will be removed by a pretribulation rapture from these events before they commence.  I know what they believe the Scriptures they cite in defense of their position.  For twenty-five years I was a major advocate of pretribulation rapturism through my writing and preaching.”[1]  Whether or not he is concerned for his brothers and sisters may be true, but my question is why do people who do not espouse the PreTrib Rapture feel the need to be concerned?

Rosenthal provides us with his answer in the next section, when he states, “For pretribulation Rapturists, I fear the Great Tribulation will be a spiritual Pearl Harbor.  Believing they will be exempted from the persecution of Antichrist by rapture, they will be caught off guard and totally unprepared for what is coming on the earth.  They will be like a man taking a placebo that does not help, when nearby is medication that can strengthen the immune system to faithfully withstand the attack.”[2]

While the statement above sounds interesting, one is forced to ask, what does it actually mean?  What exactly is Marv saying?  I hear him saying that I am unprepared, as I have heard so many others say this same thing, but again, what does that MEAN?  I study my Bible, I pray to God, I seek His strength and His will in my life daily.  I seek His face, and I ask the Holy Spirit guide me and strengthen me from within, as I go about my day-to-day life.  I believe that my heart is directed toward God and I believe that I seek Him with as much of my heart as I know how.  I’m certain that there are parts of my life that are not perfect, but no one’s life is perfect here.  What does Marv mean that I am taking a placebo, when the “real” medication is nearby?  Am I not using the correct Bible?  Am I not praying correctly, or with the right amount of earnestness?

I think it’s clear what Marv means.  He apparently means that he (like so many others), are spiritually prepared, because he is not deceived and deluded like I am.  Because I am deceived (according to Rosenthal), then I cannot possibly be on the same spiritual level that he shares with many who believe as he does.  Because of my belief in the PreTrib Rapture position, there is a propensity toward lethargy when it comes to my spiritual life.  In fact, no matter what I do, no matter how much time I spend in prayer, or reading Scripture, the sad fact of the matter is that I am just not good enough, because the deception of the PreTrib Rapture position keeps me from true spiritual growth and maturity.

However, Marv is not done yet.  On the next page, he charges, “To think that during the Great Tribulation, when hell breaks loose on earth, the Church will not be present will be a grave error in judgment.  It requires embracing a position unknown for the first eighteen hundred years of church history, first aught under highly questionable circumstances and without any biblical substantiation.”[3; emphasis added]  Wow, that’s certainly interesting.  In fact, it would be more interesting if it was true, but it is not.  However, let’s say that it is true.  If you talk to an individual who espouses a Posttribulation Rapture position, they would agree with Marv’s statement, but they would go further than Marv did.  They would say that the early Church knew only a Posttribulation Rapture position and nothing else.  Where does this leave Marv since Marv is a believer in the Pre-Wrath Rapture position?  This position did not officially come to the fore until 1990.  In fact, the actual origins of the Pre-Wrath Rapture are over 100 years later than the alleged origins of the PreTrib Rapture position, yet we are to believe that the Pre-Wrath position is viable?  This makes absolutely no sense at all, and many Posttribbers and Pretribbers have written articles and books against this position.

If there is apparently no biblical substantiation for the PreTrib Rapture position, there is also none for the Pre-Wrath position.  The idea that because Christians go through part of the Tribulation somehow makes these individuals more spiritual is patently absurd.  The truth in all of this is that no one is more prepared or more spiritual because they happen to believe in a particular Rapture position.  In fact, the more people point fingers at others, the more arrogance they are actually espousing.

Meanwhile, the lost of the world are going to hell in a hand basket, and the enemy of our souls laughs his red tail off.  While a particular Rapture position does not unspiritual Christians create, I will tell you what is and has been creating apostasy within the visible Church:

  • The New Age Movement
  • The Mystical Movement
  • Contemplative Spirituality
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Churches Going Green
  • Kingdom Now
  • Dominion Theology
  • A Shift from Literal to Allegorical Bible Interpretation
  • Ecumenism
  • Unity of Diversity within All Religions
  • A Coming One World Order
  • Easy Believism Stemming from the Seeker Sensitive Movement

 

The list could get bigger, but the items listed above represent the type of doctrines that have wormed their way into the visible Church.  As they have done so, sound Bible teaching has gone out the door.  Look that list over carefully.  Would you agree that these things have infiltrated the visible Church in large measure, over the past number of decades?  Would you agree that they have done something that nothing else has been capable of doing?  They have opened the door to another gospel, which is really no gospel at all.  Why the focus on one very minor aspect of Eschatology, when the above bulleted list of items have literally inundated evangelicalism?  Today more than ever, people are hearing what they want to hear about the gospel, God, salvation and Jesus Christ.  They are being told that salvation is different than what they have been taught for centuries.  They are told that it is not important to believe that Jesus Christ was and remains God and that He came to die, by shedding His precious blood, in order that we might live.  They are being told that if they are Buddhists, they do not need to stop being Buddhists to be “Christian.”

 

There are many things that have been and are attacking the Church in this generation, but one thing that has not been part of that is belief in the PreTrib Rapture. That’s nonsense and people like Marv Rosenthal should know better.  During the days I attended Philadelphia College of Bible, he was part of that board and he knew the men who taught daily at that school.  He knew their commitment and saw their lives.  Is he now saying that those men were/are unspiritual, carnal, lazy and in danger of being fully deceived?  He must be saying that, because that’s ultimately what he is saying about himself and anyone who believes the PreTrib Rapture position.

 

Rosenthal is on very shaky ground.  He pretends the ground underneath him is firm, but it is not.  The idea that people continue to repeat what Dave MacPherson and others have claimed to be truth is pitiful and needs to stop.  I will say it again…if believing the PreTrib Rapture position has caused me to become spiritually illiterate, then believing that my death could occur at any moment should do the same thing.  What’s it gonna be folks?  Are we going to continue to play the devil’s game of pointing fingers and arrogantly stating that the PreTrib Rapturist is deceived and unspiritual, or are we going to focus our attention on the real problem facing the Church today?  I think we had better take the time to consider the fact that the lost continue dying.  Have you talked to any of them?  Have you witnessed?  Have you explained to them their need for Christ?  That is infinitely more important than arguing over the veracity of a particular Rapture viewpoint, don’t you think?

 

[1] Zion’s Fire, Vol 20, No. 5, September/October 2009, p 7
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid, p 8 

Having just received the latest Zion’s Fire, from Marv Rosenthal’s Zion’s Hope organization, I wondered how many pages I would have to turn before I came across some anti-PreTrib Rapture sentiment.  It wasn’t long.  The newsletter/magazine boasts thirty interior pages and by page number seven, Marv was taking the time to offer dire warnings for those who believe and espouse the Pretribulation Rapture.  He is in the process of discussing the Beast of Revelation chapter thirteen, and he speaks of this coming unholy trio of evil agents, bent to take God and His servants on, in what is described as a seven-year period of terror, led by the Antichrist himself.

As an aside, Rosenthal states, “I have particular concern for my brothers and sisters in Christ who believe they will be removed by a pretribulation rapture from these events before they commence.  I know what they believe the Scriptures they cite in defense of their position.  For twenty-five years I was a major advocate of pretribulation rapturism through my writing and preaching.”[1]  Whether or not he is concerned for his brothers and sisters may be true, but my question is why do people who do not espouse the PreTrib Rapture feel the need to be concerned?

Rosenthal provides us with his answer in the next section, when he states, “For pretribulation Rapturists, I fear the Great Tribulation will be a spiritual Pearl Harbor.  Believing they will be exempted from the persecution of Antichrist by rapture, they will be caught off guard and totally unprepared for what is coming on the earth.  They will be like a man taking a placebo that does not help, when nearby is medication that can strengthen the immune system to faithfully withstand the attack.”[2]

While the statement above sounds interesting, one is forced to ask, what does it actually mean?  What exactly is Marv saying?  I hear him saying that I am unprepared, as I have heard so many others say this same thing, but again, what does that MEAN?  I study my Bible, I pray to God, I seek His strength and His will in my life daily.  I seek His face, and I ask the Holy Spirit guide me and strengthen me from within, as I go about my day-to-day life.  I believe that my heart is directed toward God and I believe that I seek Him with as much of my heart as I know how.  I’m certain that there are parts of my life that are not perfect, but no one’s life is perfect here.  What does Marv mean that I am taking a placebo, when the “real” medication is nearby?  Am I not using the correct Bible?  Am I not praying correctly, or with the right amount of earnestness?

I think it’s clear what Marv means.  He apparently means that he (like so many others), are spiritually prepared, because he is not deceived and deluded like I am.  Because I am deceived (according to Rosenthal), then I cannot possibly be on the same spiritual level that he shares with many who believe as he does.  Because of my belief in the PreTrib Rapture position, there is a propensity toward lethargy when it comes to my spiritual life.  In fact, no matter what I do, no matter how much time I spend in prayer, or reading Scripture, the sad fact of the matter is that I am just not good enough, because the deception of the PreTrib Rapture position keeps me from true spiritual growth and maturity.

However, Marv is not done yet.  On the next page, he charges, “To think that during the Great Tribulation, when hell breaks loose on earth, the Church will not be present will be a grave error in judgment.  It requires embracing a position unknown for the first eighteen hundred years of church history, first aught under highly questionable circumstances and without any biblical substantiation.”[3; emphasis added]  Wow, that’s certainly interesting.  In fact, it would be more interesting if it was true, but it is not.  However, let’s say that it is true.  If you talk to an individual who espouses a Posttribulation Rapture position, they would agree with Marv’s statement, but they would go further than Marv did.  They would say that the early Church knew only a Posttribulation Rapture position and nothing else.  Where does this leave Marv since Marv is a believer in the Pre-Wrath Rapture position?  This position did not officially come to the fore until 1990.  In fact, the actual origins of the Pre-Wrath Rapture are over 100 years later than the alleged origins of the PreTrib Rapture position, yet we are to believe that the Pre-Wrath position is viable?  This makes absolutely no sense at all, and many Posttribbers and Pretribbers have written articles and books against this position.

If there is apparently no biblical substantiation for the PreTrib Rapture position, there is also none for the Pre-Wrath position.  The idea that because Christians go through part of the Tribulation somehow makes these individuals more spiritual is patently absurd.  The truth in all of this is that no one is more prepared or more spiritual because they happen to believe in a particular Rapture position.  In fact, the more people point fingers at others, the more arrogance they are actually espousing.

Meanwhile, the lost of the world are going to hell in a hand basket, and the enemy of our souls laughs his red tail off.  While a particular Rapture position does not unspiritual Christians create, I will tell you what is and has been creating apostasy within the visible Church:

·         The New Age Movement

·         The Mystical Movement

·         Contemplative Spirituality

·         Spiritual Formation

·         Churches Going Green

·         Kingdom Now

·         Dominion Theology

·         A Shift from Literal to Allegorical Bible Interpretation

·         Ecumenism

·         Unity of Diversity within All Religions

·         A Coming One World Order

·         Easy Believism Stemming from the Seeker Sensitive Movement

 

The list could get bigger, but the items listed above represent the type of doctrines that have wormed their way into the visible Church.  As they have done so, sound Bible teaching has gone out the door.  Look that list over carefully.  Would you agree that these things have infiltrated the visible Church in large measure, over the past number of decades?  Would you agree that they have done something that nothing else has been capable of doing?  They have opened the door to another gospel, which is really no gospel at all.  Why the focus on one very minor aspect of Eschatology, when the above bulleted list of items have literally inundated evangelicalism?  Today more than ever, people are hearing what they want to hear about the gospel, God, salvation and Jesus Christ.  They are being told that salvation is different than what they have been taught for centuries.  They are told that it is not important to believe that Jesus Christ was and remains God and that He came to die, by shedding His precious blood, in order that we might live.  They are being told that if they are Buddhists, they do not need to stop being Buddhists to be “Christian.”

 

There are many things that have been and are attacking the Church in this generation, but one thing that has not been part of that is belief in the PreTrib Rapture. That’s nonsense and people like Marv Rosenthal should know better.  During the days I attended Philadelphia College of Bible, he was part of that board and he knew the men who taught daily at that school.  He knew their commitment and saw their lives.  Is he now saying that those men were/are unspiritual, carnal, lazy and in danger of being fully deceived?  He must be saying that, because that’s ultimately what he is saying about himself and anyone who believes the PreTrib Rapture position.

 

Rosenthal is on very shaky ground.  He pretends the ground underneath him is firm, but it is not.  The idea that people continue to repeat what Dave MacPherson and others have claimed to be truth is pitiful and needs to stop.  I will say it again…if believing the PreTrib Rapture position has caused me to become spiritually illiterate, then believing that my death could occur at any moment should do the same thing.  What’s it gonna be folks?  Are we going to continue to play the devil’s game of pointing fingers and arrogantly stating that the PreTrib Rapturist is deceived and unspiritual, or are we going to focus our attention on the real problem facing the Church today?  I think we had better take the time to consider the fact that the lost continue dying.  Have you talked to any of them?  Have you witnessed?  Have you explained to them their need for Christ?  That is infinitely more important than arguing over the veracity of a particular Rapture viewpoint, don’t you think?

 

[1] Zion’s Fire, Vol 20, No. 5, September/October 2009, p 7
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid, p 8

Entry filed under: dispensationalism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

And They Say The PreTrib Rapture is THE Deception! The Poor, Misguided PreTrib Rapturist…(Sigh)

6 Comments

  • 1. modres  |  January 14, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Hi Matthew,

    Thank you for your comments. If ALL Christians could appreciate the differences in viewpoint we share in areas like Eschatology, we would be able to spend more time evanglizing.

  • 2. Matthew C  |  January 14, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    I believe in the Pre-Wrath rapture, but I do get embarassed and ashamed by all the anti-pretrib rhetoric by post-tribbers and some pre-wrathers.

    In my opinion, those who are Pre-Trib tend to be sounder in doctrine than those who are Post-Trib.

  • 3. modres  |  November 15, 2009 at 9:11 PM

    Couldn’t agree with you more, AMC. Thanks.

  • 4. amc  |  November 15, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    I hadn’t been aware of Brainard’s book but I do have Dr Showers’ excellent “The Pre-Wrath Rapture View”.

    H L Nigro wrote a lengthy online essay trying to rebut it, claiming Showers didn’t portray the view accurately. Actually he does and Nigro’s attempt to defend her view against his critique often stretches incredulity.

    Interestingly, she observes that preWrath has been refined since Showers’ book. However, its core tenets haven’t changed and he thoroughly addresses those. She allows her (recent) rapture system the luxury to be refined yet attacks preTrib for, allegedly, not being taught until 1830.

    What this highlights to me is that some people are better at unfairly maligning preTrib than defending their own systems.

    I think the truth is important. If the Lord could come back at any time then we should live our lives in that expectation so as not to be found wanting. In my opinion, pretribulationism has more going for it than the other systems. Unfortunately it’s the squeaky wheels of the naysayers that make more noise.

  • 5. modres  |  November 12, 2009 at 7:26 PM

    Hey AMC,

    Thanks for the note. In truth, it really does not matter to me which version of the Rapture is the correct one. For all the huffing and puffing, we will find out when it happens. 🙂

    I have Rosenthal’s and Van Kampen’s books. I also have one that is tough to find, written by a guy who spent a good portion of his adult life believing and espousing the PreWrath Rapture. The book, “The Pre-Wrath Rapture Answered” by Lee W. Brainard really knocks it out the park, as far as I’m concerned.

    Thanks for your comments.

  • 6. amc  |  November 12, 2009 at 4:09 PM

    I hear what you’re saying, Modres. I was fairly rapture neutral and leaning postTrib when I turned my attention to studying about three years ago. I quickly picked up on the condescension towards preTribulationism.

    I read Marvin Rosenthal’s book and recall that he chastised Ryrie (page 280) for devoting too much time refuting postTrib. His contention was that disproving one view doesn’t automatically make one’s own view correct. This is a fair statement yet that’s exactly what Marv tried to do to preTrib in his book, and obviously missed the irony. He should have spent more time providing evidence for the unique preWrath view of Matt 24:22.

    Interestingly, in that book he declined to connect Darby with Margaret MacDonald yet some time later he came out and declared that preTrib was a satanic delusion inspired by MM. Pity he didn’t spend ten minutes reading her vision.

    Appreciate your posts.


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