It’s a story that most of us in the West know—or think we know. If you’ve spent any time in the Christian faith, you’ve probably seen the movies, read the books, or heard the sermons about a forthcoming supernatural event known as the rapture.
A time when millions of people will suddenly vanish from the earth just prior to the greatest apocalyptic event imaginable.
For Christians, this has become a message of hope and comfort, but it’s also been the cause of major disagreements.
And even after years of debate, the Church is still equally divided on the major questions about the rapture—can it really occur at any moment, or does the Bible speak of certain prophetic and celestial events that must occur first? Will the Church have to face its greatest enemy, the Antichrist, before the rapture, or will the rapture happen just before he comes on the scene?
Join us as we go on a journey through the Holy Scriptures to review and answer the most critical aspects of the rapture debate.
This is “7 Pretrib Problems – And the Prewrath Rapture”
Over the years, many different views about the timing of the rapture have been proposed, but the rapture debate has been especially active in the last decade or so. And as a result, there have been some major shifts in the way that the scholars have been teaching them.
For example, if you’ve studied one of the more popular views Pretribulationism twenty or thirty years ago, you probably wouldn’t even recognize what is being taught in the seminaries today.
Part of the reason for these, sometimes drastic, changes in Pretribulational theology has been a direct result of criticisms from scholars holding to the Prewrath position on the rapture which has massively gained in popularity in the last 30 years overtaking the Midtribulation position for example, by a significant amount.
But most of this debate has taken place among scholars in theological journals and in university lecture halls. So, it’s not something the average Christian engages with, and even most pastors aren’t aware of the intricate arguments that the theologians have been wrestling with the past few years.
In this documentary we interviewed many scholars, theologians, and pastors who hold the Prewrath position on the rapture and asked them to help us determine the most critical aspects of the rapture debate.
We then distilled these arguments down to the “Seven Pretrib Problems” which we will present one by one.
Before we present the first problem on our list, we need to understand the basics of the main rapture timing positions.
Most rapture views teach that the “end times” are played out over a period of seven years.
This seven-year timeframe is sometimes called the 70th Week of Daniel because of Daniel 9:24-27 where the seven-year period is first introduced.
The disagreements primarily concern when the rapture happens, and when the Wrath of God (known as the “Day of the Lord”) begins in relationship to that seven-year period.
- Pretribulationists believe the rapture can begin at any moment. But whenever it does happen, it will prove to be just before the seven-year period begins, and that the entire seven-year period is the “Day of the Lord.”
- Midtribulationists believe the rapture occurs at the midpoint of the seven-year period and the last half of the 70th Week is the “Day of the Lord.”
- Posttribulationists believe the rapture occurs at the very end of the seven-year period. Most Posttribbers believe that the “Day of the Lord” is a literal twenty-four-hour day occurring at the very end of the seven years.
It should be said that some Posttribbers believe the “Day of the Lord” is longer, specifically that it will start at the midpoint and continue to the end, but that the Church will be supernaturally protected through the Wrath of God until the final day when the rapture will take place.
- The Prewrath view teaches that the rapture occurs at some unknown time after the midpoint. They say that no one knows exactly when the rapture happens—it could be weeks, or it could be years after the midpoint—but that it will be after the midpoint.
They teach that on whatever day the rapture does occur, the “Day of the Lord’s Wrath” will begin on that same day.
Prewrathers, therefore, believe that the Church will face the persecution of the Antichrist that begins at the midpoint of the seven-year period, but that persecution is said to be “cut short” with the rapture.
Basically, the idea is that on the very day that God’s people are out of the way, the Wrath of God, known as the “Day of the Lord,” begins on the rest of the world.
I’ll explain all the details and the reasonings behind most of these positions as we progress, but there is one more term that really needs defining before we go any further.
Recently, it has become something of a tradition to refer to the entire seven-year period as the “tribulation period.”
This is unnecessarily confusing since there is a recognized theological term called the “Great Tribulation,” and almost all biblical scholars, regardless of their view on the rapture, recognize that the Great Tribulation is specifically the time of the Antichrist’s persecution which begins after the midpoint.
In other words, in order to avoid confusion with the Great Tribulation, we will refer to the seven-year period as either the 7-year period or the 70th Week of Daniel in this film.