Pre-trib? Mid-trib? Post-trib? Pre-wrath?
The old joke of a ragged prophet holding a sign proclaiming “THE END IS NEAR” is no longer a joke for some people who are now saying “the end is HERE.” If a ship is sinking, it would be a good thing to find clearly marked signs to the lifeboats. Where are the clearly marked signs pointing out a rescue (or rapture as it is commonly called) at the end of this perilous age?
Pre-trib? Mid-trib? Post-trib? Pre-wrath?
It’s confusing with signs pointing in different directions but Jesus promised that His Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth so there IS hope (John 16:13).
Is it not disgraceful that so many tribulation rapture theories exist when Jesus already gave the simplest most straightforward explanation in no uncertain terms? When asked by His disciples “what will be the signs of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus listed several warning signs: spiritual deception, false Christs and many other important signs including “… just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man…” (Luke 17:26-37 NASB). We should pay attention to the emphasis “just as it happened” in the days of Noah which means that keen attention should be given to every detail of the Noah and Lot narratives (Luke 17:29-30). There’s a lot happening: “eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (preoccupation with temporal activities), violence and sexual depravity – all of which are relevant – but for the purpose of this study, the pattern of tribulation, rescue and wrath need careful attention. A careful and prayerful reading of the Noah/Lot Bible narratives will show that this order of events holds true because our unchanging God has held it true from creation until now and in the future when he will snatch away His faithful ones “immediately after the tribulation of those days… ” (Matthew 24:29-30; Matthew 24:31).
JUST IN TIME RESCUE
The future rescue of God’s people will be just in time before His wrath is fully poured out on His enemies. This is clearly seen in the Noah/Lot examples and is prefigured in many types and shadows from Genesis to Revelation. For example the prophet Daniel speaks of “a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued” (Daniel 12:1). Collectively, all these biblical examples bear witness to the following two verses where Jesus explicitly stated that “… In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NASB) and where Paul the Apostle stated that “… God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9 NIV). In plain language, God’s people can expect tribulation but His people will not suffer His wrath.
JUST AS IT HAPPENED
In the days of Noah: “… violence filled the earth” (Genesis 6:11-12) and God rescued Noah with his family just in time while the wrath of God was already beginning to pour out on the whole earth (Genesis 7:12-16). In the days of Lot: “He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men” (2Peter 2:7). As will be seen near the end of this presentation, it was rescue when the angels firmly took Lot’s family by the hand and snatched them to safety just in time, then wrath while Lot’s wife looked back to see that fire and brimstone was already pouring down on Sodom and Gomorrah.
Can you see the pattern yet? Wipe the sleepy dust from your eyes and we’ll look at a few more historical parallels from God’s word. By the way, all those red words? Those are a few of the synonyms for tribulation out of Strong’s Concordance and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon to help you see the pattern and to help you understand. Forgive the following details but some will need more proof 🙂
“Strong’s Concordance #2347: thlipsis (pronounced thlip’-sis) from 2346; pressure (literally or figuratively): — afflicted (tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.”
“Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: thlipsis — 1) a pressing, pressing together, pressure; 2) metaphorically oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits. Part of Speech: noun feminine – Relation: from G2346 – Citing TDNT: 3:139,334.”
TRIBULATION then RESCUE then WRATH
(Watch how this pattern is prefigured in the Old Testament)
TRIBULATION before the Exodus: sons of Jacob (children of Israel) were afflicted with heavy burdens (Exodus 1:12).
RESCUE: By the power of God, the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground (Exodus 14:21).
WRATH of God on Pharaoh where just after rescue, the Red Sea swallowed Pharaoh’s army (Exodus 14:28-29).
Three more historical examples following the same pattern and then a recap from the signs Jesus gave His disciples.
TRIBULATION during the Babylonian captivity: Brutally afflicted by the Babylonians by the sword, by fire and destruction (2 Chronicles 36:17-21).
RESCUE where God warned His people through Jeremiah to get out of Babylon before it is destroyed (Jeremiah 51:6).
WRATH of God on Babylon who had severely afflicted God’s people (Daniel 5:27-28).
TRIBULATION with Esther in distress among the persecuted Jews .. “great mourning … fasting, weeping and wailing …” (Esther 4:3).
RESCUE where king Ahasuerus gave Jews the right to defend themselves (Esther 8:11).
WRATH: “… Jews struck all their enemies with the sword…” Haman’s family hung on the gallows. (Esther 9:5-16).
TRIBULATION: DANIEL is under pressure in the lion’s den while his king is “deeply distressed” and “troubled.” (Daniel 6:14-23).
RESCUE where God sent his angel to shut the lion’s mouths until morning when Darius freed Daniel (Daniel 6:21-22).
WRATH: Those who accused Daniel along with their children and wives are killed in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:24).
Now a recap of the Noah/Lot narratives:
TRIBULATION where “violence filled the earth” … only 8 souls are saved (Genesis 6:10-11).
RESCUE where God told Noah to build an ark for him and his family to be saved from the flood (Genesis 6:13-14).
WRATH where the flood began the “very same day” Noah and his family entered the ark (Genesis 7:11-12; Genesis 7:13).
TRIBULATION where Lot is oppressed by the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:7)
RESCUE where the angels snatched Lot and his family to safety just in time (Genesis 19:16).
WRATH: fiery judgment begins to pour down on God’s enemies even while the rescue is still underway (Luke 17:29).
Those who know God intimately will not be surprised by these unchanging historical patterns in His dealings with His people because He is the unchanging God (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). Our LORD is the ultimate artist is He not? The way He interweaves parallel themes like this from the beginning of time … it is sheer poetry IMHO.
BTW the future rescue – or rapture if you like that word better – is between the sixth and seventh seal of Revelation. Compare Matthew 24:29-30; Matthew 24:31 with Revelation 6:12-7:14 as an appetizer. — Love to all.
More TRIBULATION then RESCUE then WRATH biblical parallels at the Home Bible Study INDEX