Dr. Mike Johnston
The burden of proof for the PreTrib Rapture isn’t on us, it’s on them!!
Let me explain …
Over the past forty years, I’ve discussed the rapture and Israel’s Tribulation with well-meaning men representing every angle imaginable and yet all totally convinced of their scriptural integrity and infallibility. Curiously, one “gotcha” question continues to surface: “Can you give me a single verse proving the rapture is pre-Tribulational.”
Let me answer this with two observations.
First, just as Genesis is part of the progressive revelation of OT history, requiring dozens of other books to fully explain it, the rapture is part of the progressive revelation the Lord gave to Paul about the removal of the Body of Christ prior to Israel’s Tribulation. Unless you study it in its overarching context, any one single verse probably won’t convince you.
Second, and perhaps most important, is that the burden of proof isn’t on us to prove we are raptured prior to Israel’s Tribulation – although dozens of verses in this book collectively prove that we are. The onus is on those who insist we are here without a single verse of Scripture anywhere verifying this speculation.
Please listen with spiritual ears as I reiterate an important point.
The church Body is a mystery that was unknown to the prophets (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9). Since they didn’t know about us, and never mentioned us, how could we possibly be included in the Tribulation with God’s elect Israel (Isa. 45:4) and the unsaved nations of the world?
Dr. Mike Johnston
What ardent PreTrib antagonists miss is what’s driving their error: Israel’s tribulation is NOT for the Body of Christ!
The Bible presents God overseeing two overarching programs: one for heaven, the other for earth (Gen. 1:1). God’s program for heaven involves the mystery Body of Christ and our inheritance there in heaven with Christ (Eph. 1:3, 20; 2:6), “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25). His program for earth involves prophecy for Israel concerning the coming Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16) aka the Millennial Reign of Christ prepared “from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34), promised and propagated through His Covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12, 15, 17). From there, Israel’s earthly future has progressively unfolded to her “by the mouth of the prophets since the world began” (Luke 1:70) in “time past” (Eph. 2:11-12; see Luke 24:27, 44; Acts 14:16; Heb. 1:1) to be fulfilled in the “ages to come” (Eph. 2:7). The Covenant Kingdom will be inaugurated following the Revelation of the Lord Jesus to Israel (Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-21) which occurs “immediately after the Tribulation” (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:29) or Daniel s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27), a time when God will punish the world for sin while preparing Israel for the Kingdom (Jer. 30-31; Ezek. 20:37; 22:18-22; Hos. 5:15). If the Body of Christ (church) is present on earth during Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Isa. 24; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zephaniah; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19), the Holy Spirit went to great lengths to keep us from knowing it. To wit, while we can easily find Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations on earth in Tribulation “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1) passages of Scripture (Deut. 4:30-31; Isa. 2; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7-12; Joel 2; Zeph. 1) – the heavenly Body of Christ – which has been promised deliverance from this divine punishment (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 3:10; see also Rev. 4:1) – is conspicuously absent (Rev. 6-19). In fact, there isn’t a verse anywhere in the Bible clearly and unequivocally placing the Body of Christ on earth for a single moment of Israel’s holocaust without redefining the words “saints” and “elect”, which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse and Revelation are specifically linked to Israel.
Dr. C.I. Scofield and Sir Robert Anderson
Dr. Mike Johnston, Editor
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy (Daniel 9:24).
Seventy weeks 
These are “weeks” or more accurately, sevens of years; seventy weeks of seven years each. Within these “weeks” the national chastisement must be ended and the nation re-established in everlasting righteousness (Dan_9:24). The seventy weeks are divided into seven = 49 years; sixty-two = 434 years; one = 7 years (Dan_9:25-27). In the seven weeks = 49 years, Jerusalem was to be rebuilt in “troublous times.” This was fulfilled, as Ezra and Nehemiah record. Sixty-two weeks = 434 years, thereafter Messiah was to come (Dan_9:25). This was fulfilled in the birth and manifestation of Christ. Verse 26 is obviously an indeterminate period. The date of the crucifixion is not fixed. It is only said to be “after” the threescore and two weeks. It is the first event in (Dan_9:26). The second event is the destruction of the city, fulfilled A.D. 70. Then, “unto the end,” a period not fixed, but which has already lasted nearly 2000 years. To Daniel was revealed only that wars and desolations should continue (Compare (Mat_24:6-14).
The New Testament reveals, that which was hidden from the Old Testament prophets; (Mat_13:11-17); (Eph_3:1-10) that during this period should be accomplished the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven (Mat_13:1-50) and the out-calling of the Church; (Mat_16:18); (Rom_11:25). When the Church-age will end, and the seventieth week begin, is nowhere revealed. Its duration can be but seven years. To make it more violates the principle of interpretation already confirmed by fulfillment. (Dan_9:27) deals with the last week. The “he” of (Dan_9:27) is the “prince that shall come” of (Dan_9:26); whose people (Rome) destroyed the temple, A.D. 70. He is the same with the “little horn” of chapter 7. He will covenant with the Jews to restore their temple sacrifices for one week (seven years), but in the middle of that time he will break the covenant and fulfill; (Dan_12:11); (2Th_2:3); (2Th_2:4). Between the sixty-ninth week, after which Messiah was cut off, and the seventieth week, within which the “little horn” of Daniel 7. will run his awful course, intervenes this entire Church-age. (Dan_9:27) deals with the last three and a half years of the seven, which are identical with the “great tribulation.” (Mat_24:15-28) “time of trouble” (Dan_12:1) hour of temptation” (Rev_3:10).
Time of the End
Here the prophetic foreview, having traced the history of the two parts of Alexander’s empire which had to do with Palestine and the Jews, namely, Syria and Egypt, to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and having described his career, overleaps the centuries to “the time of the end,” when he of whom Antiochus Epiphanes was a type, the “little horn” of (Dan_7:8) the “Beast out of the sea” of (Rev_13:4-10) shall appear (cf) (See Scofield) – (Dan_7:8). Prophecy does not concern itself with history as such, but only with history as it affects Israel and the Holy Land. Antiochus Epiphanes was insignificant as compared with historical personages whom the Bible does not mention, but he scourged the covenant people and defiled God’s altar, thus coming into prophetic light. From verse 36 (Dan_11:36), the “little horn” of (Dan_7:8); (Dan_7:24-26) fills the scene. His prosperity lasts until “the indignation” (the “time of trouble” of; (Dan_12:1); (Mat_24:21) is accomplished (Dan_11:36). This is parallel with; (Rev_17:10-14); (Rev_19:19-21). (Dan_11:37-45) supply details not mentioned in the New Testament. The expression “God of his fathers” (Dan_11:37) has been held to indicate that the “king” is an apostate Jew, but this does not accord with (Dan_9:26) which was fulfilled by the Gentile armies of Rome. The “little horn” is an apostate, but from Christianity, not Judaism (compare 1Jo_2:18); (1Jo_2:19). (Dan_11:38-45) describe his career. Substituting “the god of forces” (that is, Forces of nature) for the true God (Dan_11:38); (Dan_11:39), he soon presents himself as that god (cf) (2Th_2:3); (2Th_2:4). While his career lasts he is an irresistible conqueror (Dan_11:40-44). He established his palace in Jerusalem, probably at the time of his supreme act of blasphemous impiety; (Dan_9:27); (Dan_12:11); (Mat_24:15); (2Th_2:4). From this time begins the great tribulation; (Dan_12:1); (Mat_24:21) which runs its course during the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week, namely, three and one half years; (Dan_7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Dan_12:11); (Rev_13:5).
The “time of the end” in Daniel. The expression, or its equivalent, “in the end,” occurs, (Dan_8:17-19); (Dan_9:26); (Dan_11:35); (Dan_11:40); (Dan_11:45); (Dan_12:4); (Dan_12:6); (Dan_12:9).
(1) The time of the end in Daniel begins with the violation by “the prince that shall come” (that is, “little horn,” “man of sin,” “Beast”) of his covenant with the Jews for the restoration of the temple and sacrifice (Dan_9:27) and his presentation of himself as God; (Dan_9:27); (Dan_11:36-38); (Mat_24:15); (2Th_2:4); (Rev_13:4-6) and ends with his destruction by the appearing of the Lord in glory. (2Th_2:8); (Rev_19:19); (Rev_19:20).
(2) The duration of the “time of the end” is three and one half years, coinciding with the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. (Dan_7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Rev_13:5).
(3) This “time of the end” is the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” (Jer_30:7) “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan_12:1) “great tribulation such as was not from the beginning of the world. . . nor ever shall be” (Mat_24:21). The New Testament, especially the Book of the Revelation, adds many details.
Thousand Three Hundred And Five And Thirty Days
Three periods of “days” date from the “abomination” (that is, The blasphemous assumption of deity by the Beast, (Dan_12:11); (Mat_24:15); (2Th_2:4).
(1) Twelve hundred and sixty days to the destruction of the Beast (Dan_7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Rev_13:5); (Rev_19:19); (Rev_19:20). This is also the duration of the great tribulation
(See Scofield) – (Dan_12:4).
(2) Dating from the same event is a period of 1290 days, and addition of thirty days (Dan_12:11).
(3) Again forty-five days are added, and with them the promise of (Dan_12:12). No account is directly given of that which occupies the interval of seventy-five days between the end of the tribulation and the full blessing of verse 12 (Dan_12:12). It is suggested that the explanation may be found in the prophetic descriptions of the events following the battle of Armageddon. (Rev_16:14); (Rev_19:21). The Beast is destroyed, and Gentile world-dominion ended, by the smiting of the “Stone cut out without hands” at the end of the 1260 days, but the scene is, so to speak, filled with the debris of the image which the “wind” must carry away before full blessing comes in (Dan_2:35).
The great tribulation is the period of unexampled trouble predicted in the passages cited under that head from (Psa_2:5) to (Rev_7:14) and described in Revelation 11-18. Involving in a measure the whole earth (Rev_3:10) it is yet distinctly “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer_30:7) and its vortex Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It involves the people of God who will have returned to Palestine in unbelief. Its duration is three and a half years, or the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. (See Scofield) – (Dan_9:24). (Rev_11:2); (Rev_11:3)
The elements of the tribulation are:
(1) The cruel reign of the “beast out of the sea” (Rev_13:1) who at the beginning of the three and a half years, will break his covenant with the Jews (by virtue of which they will have re-established the temple worship, (Dan_9:27) and show himself in the temple, demanding that he be worshipped as God. (Mat_24:15); (2Th_2:4).
(2) The active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev_12:12) who gives his power to the Beast. (Rev_13:4); (Rev_13:5).
(3) The unprecedented activity of demons (Rev_9:2); (Rev_9:11), and
(4) The terrible “bowl” judgments of Revelation 16.
The great tribulation will be, however, a period of salvation. An election out of Israel is seen as sealed for God (Rev_7:4-8) and, with an innumerable multitude of Gentiles (Rev_7:9) are said to have come “out of the great tribulation” (Rev_7:14). They are not of the priesthood, the church, to which they seem to stand somewhat in the relation of the Levites to the priests under the Mosaic Covenant. The great tribulation is immediately followed by the return of Christ in glory, and the events associated therewith. (Mat_24:29); (Mat_24:30).
The Beast, Summary:
This “Beast” is the “little horn” of (Dan_7:24-26), and “desolator” of (Dan_9:27), the “abomination of desolation” of (Mat_24:15), the “man of sin” of (2Th_2:4-8), earth’s last and most awful tyrant, Satan’s fell instrument of wrath and hatred against God and the Jewish saints. He is, perhaps, identical with the rider on the white horse of (Rev_6:2), who begins by the peaceful conquest of three of the ten kingdoms into which the former Roman empire will then be divided, but who soon establishes the ecclesiastical and governmental tyranny described in Daniel 7, 9, 11; Revelation 13. To him, Satan gives the power which he offered to Christ. (Mat_4:8); (Mat_4:9); (Rev_13:4).
SIR ROBERT ANDERSON’S FLAWLESS CALCULATION
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined(Daniel 9:25-26).
Sir Robert Anderson was Chief Inspector for Scotland Yard, renowned for his excellent work as an investigator. Along with his writing on criminal investigation, he also wrote Christian books on devotional and prophetic subjects. His classic work The Coming Prince, still stands today as the most authoritative work on the subject of Daniel’s seventy weeks.
Sir Robert Anderson understood that the Scriptures demonstrate that God is reckoned in terms of perfect geometrical years made up of 12 months of 30 days to make a biblical year of 360 days. Sir Robert viewed this perfect 30 day Biblical month from the Genesis account of the flood (Gen 7:11 to 8:4). Five lunar months, from the 17th of the second month to the 17th of the 7th month are accounted as 150 days.
He understood the following in making his calculations:
- 3.5 years, or a time, times and a half a time, (Dan.12:7 and 12:14)
- = 42 months (Rev.11:12 and 13:5
- = 1260 days (Rev.11:3 and 12:6).
Sir Robert’s understanding of 12 x 30 day biblical/perfect cycles of the moon being equal to the biblical/perfect year of 360 days was crucial. It was a giant step of faith to count the days of the year and month as given in scripture as different from what we see in the present solar system. This was key to unlocking Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks. Anderson wrote: “The Julian date of that 10th Nisan was Sunday the 6th April, A.D. 32. What then was the length of the period intervening between the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the public advent of ‘Messiah the Prince,’ — between the 14th March, B.C. 445, and the 6th April, A.D. 32? THE INTERVAL CONTAINED EXACTLY AND TO THE VERY DAY 173,880 DAYS, OR SEVEN TIMES SIXTY-NINE PROPHETIC YEARS OF 360 DAYS, the first sixty-nine weeks of Gabriel’s prophecy.”
In his calculations, Anderson determined that these days represented the exact number from the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah was rejected at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
The Precision of Prophecy
Dr. Chuck Missler writes: This is the only occasion that Jesus presented Himself as King. It occurred on April 6, 32 A.D. When we examine the period between March 14, 445 B.C. and April 6, 32 A.D., and correct for leap years, we discover that it is 173,880 days exactly, to the very day!
How could Daniel have known this in advance? How could anyone have contrived to have this detailed prediction documented over three centuries in advance? But there’s more.
The Interval (Dan 9:26)
There appears to be a gap between the 69th week (verse 25) and the 70th week (verse 27):
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. Daniel 9:26
The sixty-two “weeks” follow the initial seven, so verse 26 deals with events after 69th week, but before the 70th. These events include the Messiah being killed and the city and sanctuary being destroyed. As Jesus approached the city on the donkey, He also predicted the destruction of Jerusalem:
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. Luke 19:43-44
The Messiah was, of course, executed at the Crucifixion…”but not for Himself.”
The city and the sanctuary were destroyed 38 years later when the Roman legions under Titus Vespasian leveled the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, precisely as Daniel and Jesus had predicted. In fact, as one carefully examines Jesus’ specific words, it appears that He held them accountable to know this astonishing prophecy in Daniel 9! “Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
The 70th Week
There is a remaining seven-year period to be fulfilled. This period is the most documented period in the entire Bible. The Book of Revelation, Chapters 6 through 19, is essentially a detailing of that climactic period.
The interval between the 69th and 70th week continues, but it is increasingly apparent that it may soon be over. The more one is familiar with the numerous climactic themes of “end-time” prophecy, the more it seems that Daniel’s 70th Week is on our horizon.
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Dr. Mike Johnston
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Rightly dividing is more than a familiar verse. It’s an underlying hermeneutic recognizing division as a basic Bible principle God introduced in Genesis when He divided:
- “the light from the darkness” (Gen. 1:4)
- “the waters from the waters” (Gen. 1:6-7)
- “the day from the night” (Gen. 1:14)
- “the light from the darkness” (Gen. 1:18)
- “good from evil” (Gen. 2:9)
- and much more.
God also espoused division by dispensing His Word to a variety of men “here a little, and there a little” (Isa. 28:10, 13) covering a sweeping time triad of past, present, and future narrative. This discrete dispensing of truth is the essence of what’s known as dispensationalism, and God’s word provides us with many examples of how this was accomplished:
- God instructed Adam not to eat from a particular tree
- God commanded Noah to build an ark
- God directed Abraham to circumcise his progeny
- God told Moses to lead His elect people Israel and gave Him 613 Laws to do it with; and
- Jesus revealed the mystery Body of Christ to Paul, who revealed it in 13 epistles – Romans through Philemon. [IMPORTANT: This is Scripture written specifically to us as the Body of Christ].
Studying the responses to God’s will for great men of the Bible is a blessed lifetime endeavor. In that light, it becomes profitable for us,  without having to be personally to us. Right division will keep us from cross-pollinating commands God issued to other people in other dispensations from that which He gave to us through Paul (Romans – Philemon).
Rightly Dividing Between Two Overarching Programs:
Prophecy and Mystery
God’s primary division for studying His Word is hidden in plain sight in the opening verse of Scripture: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Although Bible scholars like Darby, Scofield, Torrey and many others have recognized a number of dispensations (see Appendix [i]) two dominant programs God has used since the world began:
1. The Prophecy program for Israel predicting a coming earthly kingdom:
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70; see Acts 3:21)).
2. The Mystery program for the Body of Christ promising a heavenly inheritance:
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).
Both of these programs – or dispensations – have separate participants, purposes and ordinances (Jer. 33:25); existing “since the world began” (Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25), which more detail will be given later.
Now here’s the essence of right division: God’s plan is to rule earth for one thousand years. In the Providential panorama, all non-Pauline Scripture exists to explain or enhance the prophetic program for Israel leading to the coming King and earthly kingdom.
God’s Earthly Program
Prophecy – Earth – Israel King – Kingdom
The Body of Christ is a temporary mystery God set in place at Israel’s rejection of the Messiah which produced Israel’s blindness, to remain here “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). At that point, the Body that appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) will likewise disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51).
In short, the plan is underway and the Kingdom is still on!
Rightly Dividing Between a Time Triad:
Time past, but now, ages to come
The two programs – heaven (mystery-Body) and earth (prophecy- Israel) – extend across three periods: Past, Present, Future. Our Apostle Paul (Rom. 11:13) reveals them in context as follows:
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus … Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (excerpted from Ephesians 2:7-13).
1. Time Past (Eph. 2:11-12)
Part of the Prophecy Program for the nation Israel (which includes her history) – (Genesis – Acts)
2. “But now” (Eph. 2:13)
Part of the Mystery Program of the Body of Christ exclusive of the nation Israel – (Romans – Philemon)
3. “Ages to come” (Eph. 2:7)
Part of the Prophecy Program to be fulfilled through the nation Israel – (Hebrews – Revelation)
Chart of Time Triad
for Israel, a Nation
[Kingdom presented and rejected]
Which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his
since the world began
(Acts 3:21; see Luke 1:70)
of the Church, a Body
<- [Began at the death of Christ] ->
… according to the revelation of the mystery, which was
since the world began
(Rom. 16:25; see Eph. 3:1-9)
for Israel, a Nation
Old Covenant (continues)
[to be ratified at the Revelation]
For these be the days of vengeance, that all things
which are written
may be fulfilled
Christ prophesied as Messiah
Dispensation of the Law
Gospel of circumcision
Gospel of the kingdom
(Matt. 4:23; 9:35)
Revelation (Zech. 14:3-4)
Christ is Head of Body
Dispensation of Grace
Gospel of uncircumcision
Gospel of the grace of God
(Acts 20:24; see 1 Cor. 15:1-4)
Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Christ becomes the Messiah
Dispensation of the Law
Gospel of circumcision
Gospel of the kingdom
Revelation (Rev. 19:11)
Blind, asleep, lost
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery … that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Revelation 3:10)
Aware, awake, saved
(Dan. Rom. 11:25-26)
Daniel’s 70 Weeks – Dan. 9:24-27 Jacob’s trouble/Day of
trouble/Day of the Lord
Coming of the Messiah
Davidic Covenant/New Covenant
Resurrection (John 5:28-29)
Revelation of Christ
Resurrection (Rev. 19-20)
Rightly Dividing Between the Two Testaments
Understanding right division as given us through prophecy for Israel and mystery for the Body, is the proper foundation for rightly dividing between the Old and New Testaments. But this division has caused other division as Bible teachers have reduced Second Timothy Two fifteen to a catch phrase without really employing it in their studies. The result of this has rendered to us conclusions suspect from the outset since they were obtained from study using an improper dichotomy between the Testaments as I’m about to explain.
Conventional wisdom convinced us that the Old Testament is for Israel – which is true, but that it ended with Malachi, which is NOT true. The New Testament didn’t begin until the death of Christ the Testator (Matt. 27; see Hebrews 9:16-17). Now traditionalists will contend this is inconsequential nonsense – and for them it probably is. However, for those of us committed to right division, we understand that ignoring this facilitates error by basing our study on an improper division between testaments that can only lead to wrong interpretations and improper conclusions. One example ignored routinely is the division between the Testaments.
Since the NT didn’t begin until sometime after the crucifixion, Jesus’ teachings are a furtherance of the Old Covenant narrative (we will discuss later) extending through the Gospel of John. This includes the Sermon on the Mount, Mysteries of the Kingdom, and the Olivet Discourse. 
Rightly dividing the word of truth begins by understanding the right division between the Old and New Testaments then employing the right principles to identify the correct program, covering the proper time period, employing the appropriate gospel message which further demonstrates why the Body of Christ will not go through Israel’s tribulation. (see Appendix [ii]).
We now come to a critical yet controversial subject regarding …
Rightly Dividing Between Two Primary Gospels:
Gospel of Circumcision and the Gospel of Uncircumcision
|2 Primary Gospels|
|“Time past” (Eph. 2:11-12)
Genesis – John
Kingdom gospel to the circumcision
|“But now” (Eph. 2:13)
Body of Christ, Heaven
Romans – Philemon
Grace gospel to the uncircumcision
|“Ages to come” (Eph. 2:7)
Hebrews – Revelation
Kingdom gospel to the circumcision
If you’re ever itching for a fistfight, explain to a carnal Christian that God changed the gospel message from what it was in time past to what it is in the but now dispensation. Let me explain.
The word gospel means “a good message” (Strong), not necessarily the plan of salvation as it has often represented to be. The fact is, there are several of them listed in the Bible  that God dispensed to and through people in specific time periods. In his superb book “Why So Many Churches”, Dr. Noah Hutchings, one of my favorite Bible teachers, writes, “It is important for Christians to understand … Paul and Peter did not preach the same message. They preached the same Christ, but not the same gospel.” [You will understand this shortly when I unfold this].
Two primary Gospel messages exist within the harmonious framework of the three specific time periods:
1. The Gospel of the Kingdom during the Prophecy Program – (time past, ages to come)
The gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) – is good news to the Jews which Christ preached “in time past” connecting Israel to the Abrahamic Covenant and the circumcision (Gen. 17; Gal. 2:7) and Davidic Covenant (earthly Kingdom from David’s seed (2 Sam. 7:8-16).  Bear in mind the church must be removed at the rapture allowing for Jewish tribulation evangelists in the “ages to come” to once again preach this gospel of the kingdom message heralding the Lord’s return to inaugurate His Davidic Kingdom in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:14). 
2. The Gospel of the grace of God during the Mystery Program – (but now)
The gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) – is good news for Jews and Gentiles who come to Christ by faith and are saved, justified, sanctified, glorified, and spiritually baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) where we are seated in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6) and sealed forever (Eph. 1:13-14) apart from anything other than faith in Christ’s shed blood which permanently removes our sin from us.
By Paul’s own words this was a “but now” gospel unique for the uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), never before preached or taught: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). Dr. William MacDonald observes that this “is the thrilling message of God’s undeserved favor to guilty, ungodly sinners who deserve nothing but everlasting hell. It tells how the Son of God’s love came from heaven’s highest glory to suffer, bleed, and die on Calvary in order that those who believe on Him might receive forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, 1995) This is the only gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13; see 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:6) for this dispensation. 
Rightly Dividing Between Three Study Principles
This principle is somewhat reactionary and predicates itself on the ones preceding it. Having come face to face with the truth a decision must be made regarding how you – as an honest student of the Bible will approach Scripture from this point forward.
My experience tells me students – knowingly or unknowingly – study Scripture through one of two lenses: the objective lens (exegesis), or the outcome lens (eisegesis). Every time you pick up your Bible, you view it through one of these two perspectives.
Principle 1. Exegesis over Eisegesis
Exegesis is the fact based analytical explanation of a text
In a Scriptural context, exegesis means “evidence driven Bible study.” It is the proper interpretation of a passage of Scripture as it appears with cumulative Biblical support. It rejects emotion in favor of evidence. Exegesis, therefore, is incorruptible, objective, reliable, and principled. It greets facts with humility and views Scripture corporately and in context without cheapening or changing it because it lays no claims to a preconceived conclusion. In short, it follows the text wherever it leads and reports its findings with honesty and humility.
Eisegesis is the feelings based argumentative explanation of the same text
Eisegesis is driven by emotion so it greets opposing facts with suspect and hostility. Eisegesis is corrupt, subjective, unreliable, and unprincipled. Since it approaches Scripture as a means to an end, and therefore feels no compunction about distorting data to ensure a desired conclusion. In short, it flouts the text wherever it’s necessary, and misrepresents its findings with regularity.
The number of students viewing eschatology through this latter lens is scandalous. I know from experience with them that they willingly compromise integrity to arrive at preconceived conclusions otherwise impossible if employing exegesis as the basis for their analyses.
|Optional Means of Studying Scripture|
|Option #1: Exegesis||Option #2: Eisegesis|
Relies on evidence
Context is critical
Follows the truth
Israel and the Church distinct 
Ends with a conclusion
Relies on emotion
Critical of context
Fudges the truth
Israel and the Church not distinct
Begins with a conclusion
Viewing the Bible from the objective lens – exegesis – is the right choice and will provide us with the right perspective to make the following choice between …
Principle 2. Context over Pretext
Exegesis will determine the precise meaning of any Bible Book, verse, or passage. Its preliminary inquiry is ascertaining the specific circumstances encapsulating it. That’s the context.
In every passage you have to ask yourself who, what, when, where, and why. This is the setting. The 16th Century Bible translator Myles Coverdale put it like this (sic): “It shall greatly helpe ye to understand Scripture, if thou mark not only what is spoken or wrythen, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth.” (The Structural Principles of the Bible, 1969, p. xiii).
Essentially, Mr. Coverdale was advocating the need for interpreting the Bible – not from one’s experience, shrewdness, or theological perspective – but solely from its divinely orchestrated setting in which each of the sixty-six Books exists and from which an impartial interpretation can spring forth when studied contextually. This setting consists of the following factors: The person who wrote or dictated it; the purpose for writing it (concern, conflict, correction, compassion, etc.); the people receiving it (Israel or the Body of Christ); the period covered – past, present, or future which we’ll discuss shortly. Armed with this information, we need to draw a distinction between …
Principle 3. Truth over Tradition
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Tradition comes to us with strong emotional attachments. Caution is needed here because tradition becomes idolatry when it stands in the way of the clear teaching of Scripture. What most Bible students fail to understand – and which leads them into confusion and heresy – is that Jesus’ mission was under the Old Covenant as “minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8). Believe me, conversations about this begun in innocency can explode into major confrontations rather quickly when the golden calf of tradition is threatened.
In Christ’s day, those controlled by tradition often victimized Him. Clearly, He was the subject of the prophets (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; Matt. 2:23; 5:17; 26:56; etc.) throughout the Old Testament, pictured as the loveliness of God incarnated in the Son, Israel’s Messiah. However even though Jesus’ mission was under the Old Covenant as “minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8), He was viewed as an illegitimate inconvenience to the religious community who would have recognized Him had it not been for their Fascist Torah traditions.  Since highbrow Pharisees considered religious duties equal to Scripture, they held congregants hostage by enforcing them through various means including extortion (John 9:22; 12:42). Therefore, when their fuming at Christ’s refusal to respect their rituals surfaced, He warned them that their cold tradition would result in their inability to recognize and obey clear teaching from God’s Word (Matthew 15:3) which of course included what Scripture said about Him.
Unfortunately, these traditionalists also sought opportunity to nullify Paul’s ministry as well (Acts 15; 21:21; 25:7-8; etc). Although his doctrine remained a mystery hidden from the prophets since world began (Eph. 3:9; see Rom. 16:25; Col. 1:26) in due season it too was rejected by the same cabal that hated Jesus and rejected Him (Acts 13:43, 50; 14:4-5; 17:5; etc).
Albeit, while rejection from the unsaved is to be expected, what is most troublesome is the violent opposition Paul received from brothers who refused out of hand the mystery Jesus revealed to him (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9). In fact it became so problematic, Peter – apostle to the Jews (Gal. 2:8) – penned a note of warning to all the brethren who were fighting against Paul’s mystery doctrines (Rom-Phile), that they were actually destroying themselves  in the process:
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
I’ll go into more detail as this treatise unfolds.
With this as our backdrop, we will move into deeper discussions of many of the subjects introduced in this chapter beginning with highlighting the premier distinction of Israel in God overarching program for the coming kingdom on earth.
(see Chart of Exegesis in Appendix [iii])
 This is most certainly what Paul had in mind when he wrote: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
 Pause to remember the number of times Matthew 24 is offered in proof of a post trib rapture when the fact is, the passage is Jewish and has no bearing on the Body of Christ whatsoever. We will discuss this much more in depth later in our treatise.
 Salvation in God’s economy has always involved faith and grace that He dispensed separately to particular individuals at any given time. For instance, Adam and Eve never heard the Name Jesus Christ, but God pictured His sacrifice by shedding the blood of innocent animals to cover their sin (Gen. 3:21). They apparently demonstrated their faith the moment they put on this new clothing.
 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: (Psalms 105:6-11)
 God made 5 unilateral Covenants with Israel and none with the Body of Christ. Bear in mind our status: “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise …” (Ephesians 2:12).
 This includes the gospel of circumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is good news for the Jews preached “in time past” linking them to the Abrahamic Covenant, the foundational contract for Israel’s relationship with God. It formed the groundwork for the promises that would be revealed in the other covenants. The Lord Jesus Christ, James, Peter (Cephas) and John were all ministers of the circumcision (Rom. 15:8; Gal. 2:7-9). [Old Covenant, Dispensation of the Law]
 This includes the gospel of uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is is good news for Gentiles as Paul explains, “Ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13). [No Covenant, Dispensation of Grace]
 Most doctrinal disagreements stem from men conflating God’s prophetic program for Israel and her earthly kingdom, with His mystery program for the Body of Christ and our heavenly inheritance.
 The major repositories of the Oral Torah are the Mishnah, compiled between 200–220 CE by Rabbi Yehudah haNasi, and the Gemara, a series of running commentaries and debates concerning the Mishnah, which together are the Talmud, the preeminent text of Rabbinic Judaism. In fact, two “versions” of the Talmud exist: one produced in Jerusalem c. 300–350 CE (the Jerusalem Talmud), and second, more extensive Talmud compiled in Babylonia and published c. 450–500 CE (the Babylonian Talmud). Belief that the Oral Torah was transmitted orally from God to Moses on Mount Sinai during the Exodus from Egypt is a fundamental tenet of faith of Orthodox Judaism, and was recognized as one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith by Maimonides. However, not all branches of Rabbinic Judaism accept the divine provenance of the Oral Torah, such that Conservative and (to a greater extent) Reform Jews give deference to the Talmudic sages while empowering themselves to formulate and adopt their own rulings and interpretations. – Source: Wikipedia
 This is evident in the Body of Christ today. Bible teachers totally ignoring the difference between prophecy for Israel and the mystery of the Church, often try to disparage us with names such as “hyper” dispensationalists, and “Bullingerites” to name a few. Scoffing at the Word of God is never wise.
[i] 7 Dispensations
Dr. C.I. Scofield
From his classic work Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, Dr. CI Scofield writes: The Scriptures divide time (by which is meant the entire period from the creation of Adam to the “new heaven and a new earth” of Rev. 21: 1) into seven unequal periods, usually called dispensations (Eph. 3:2), although these periods are also called ages (Eph. 2:7) and days, as in “day of the Lord.”
These periods are marked off in Scripture by some change in God’s method of dealing with mankind, or a portion of mankind, in respect of the two questions: of sin, and of man’s responsibility. Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment, marking his utter failure in every dispensation. Five of these dispensations, or periods of time, have been fulfilled; we are living in the sixth, probably toward its close, and have before us the seventh, and last: the millennium.
From the Old Scofield Study Bible: [i] dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. Seven such dispensations are distinguished in Scripture. (see Gen_1:28)
The First Dispensation: Innocence (Gen 1:28). Man was created in innocence, placed in a perfect environment, subjected to an absolutely simple test, and warned of the consequence of disobedience. The woman fell through pride; the man deliberately. (1Ti_2:14) God restored His sinning creatures, but the dispensation of innocence ended in the judgment of the Expulsion (see Gen_3:24)
The Second Dispensation: Conscience (Gen 3:23). By disobedience man came to a personal and experimental knowledge of good and evil — of good as obedience, of evil as disobedience to the known will of God. Through that knowledge conscience awoke. Expelled from Eden and placed under the second, or ADAMIC COVENANT, man was responsible to do all known good, to abstain from all known evil, and to approach God through sacrifice. The result of this second testing of man is stated in (Gen_6:5) and the dispensation ended in the judgment of the Flood. Apparently “the east of the garden” (Gen_3:24) where were the cherubims and the flame, remained the place of worship through this second dispensation.
The Third Dispensation: Human Government (Gen 8:21). Under Conscience, as in Innocency, man utterly failed, and the judgment of the Flood marks the end of the second dispensation and the beginning of the third. The declaration of the Noahic Covenant subjects humanity to a new test. Its distinctive feature is the institution, for the first time, of human government — the government of man by man. The highest function of government is the judicial taking of life. All other governmental powers are implied in that. It follows that the third dispensation is distinctively that of human government. Man is responsible to govern the world for God. That responsibility rested upon the whole race, Jew and Gentile, until the failure of Israel under the Palestinian Covenant (Deuteronomy 28 – (Deu_30:1-10)) brought the judgment of the Captivities, when “the times of the Gentiles” (See); (Luk_21:24); (Rev_16:14) began, and the government of the world passed exclusively into Gentile hands; (Dan_2:36-45); (Luk_21:24); (Act_15:14-17). That both Israel and the Gentiles have governed for self, not God, is sadly apparent. The judgment of the confusion of tongues ended the racial testing; that of the captivities the Jewish; while the Gentile testing will end in the smiting of the Image (Da 2.) and the judgment of the nations (Mat_25:31-46).
The Fourth Dispensation: Promise (Gen 12:1). For Abraham, and his descendants it is evident that the Abrahamic Covenant (See Scofield) – (Gen_15:18) made a great change. They became distinctively the heirs of promise. That covenant is wholly gracious and unconditional. The descendants of Abraham had but to abide in their own land to inherit every blessing. In Egypt they lost their blessings, but not their covenant. The Dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law (Exo_19:8). Grace had prepared a deliverer (Moses), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by divine power brought them out of bondage (Exo_19:4) but at Sinai they exchanged grace for law. The Dispensation of Promise extends from (Gen_12:1) to (Exo_19:8); and was exclusively Israelitish. The dispensation must be distinguished from the covenant. The former is a mode of testing; the latter is everlasting because unconditional. The law did not abrogate the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal_3:15-18) but was an intermediate disciplinary dealing “till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made”; (Gal_3:19-29); (Gal_4:1-7). Only the dispensation, as a testing of Israel, ended at the giving of the law.
The Fifth Dispensation: Law (Exo 19:8). This dispensation extends from Sinai to Calvary — from Exodus to the Cross. The history of Israel in the wilderness and in the land is one long record of the violation of the law. The testing of the nation by law ended in the judgment of the Captivities, but the dispensation itself ended at the Cross.
(1) Man’s state at the beginning (Exo_19:1-4).
(2) His responsibility (Exo_19:5); (Exo_19:6); (Rom_10:5).
(3) His failure (2Ki_17:7-17); (2Ki_17:19); (Act_2:22); (Act_2:23).
(4) The judgment (2Ki_17:1-6); (2Ki_17:20); (2Ki_25:1-11); (Luk_21:20-24).
The Sixth Dispensation: Grace (Joh 1:17).
(1) Grace is “the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man. . . Not by works of righteousness which we have done” (Tit_3:4); (Tit_3:5).
It is, therefore, constantly set in contrast to law, under which God demands righteousness from man, as, under grace, he gives righteousness to man (Rom_3:21); (Rom_3:22); (Rom_8:4); (Phm_3:9). Law is connected with Moses and works; grace with Christ and faith; (Joh_1:17); (Rom_10:4-10). Law blesses the good; grace saves the bad; (Exo_19:5); (Eph_2:1-9). Law demands that blessings be earned; grace is a free gift; (Deu_28:1-6); (Eph_2:8); (Rom_4:4); (Rom_4:5).
(2) As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom_3:24-26); (Rom_3:4); (Rom_3:24); (Rom_3:25). The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation, (Joh_1:12); (Joh_1:13); (Joh_3:36); (Mat_21:37); (Mat_22:24); (Joh_15:22); (Joh_15:25); (Heb_1:2); (1Jo_5:10-12). The immediate result of this testing was the rejection of Christ by the Jews, and His crucifixion by Jew and Gentile (Act_4:27). The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church:
(See Scofield) – (2Ti_3:1); (2Ti_3:1-8); and the resultant apocalyptic judgments.
(3) Grace has a twofold manifestation: in salvation (Rom_3:24) and in the walk and service of the saved (Rom_6:15).
The Seventh Dispensation: the fullness of times (Kingdom) (Eph 1:10)
The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. This, the seventh and last of the ordered ages which condition human life on the earth, is identical with the kingdom covenanted to David. (2Sa_7:8-17); (Zec_12:8).
(Luk_1:31-33); (1Co_15:24); and gathers into itself under Christ all past “times”:
(1) The time of oppression and misrule ends by Christ taking His kingdom. (Isa_11:3-4).
(2) The time of testimony and divine forbearance ends in judgment. (Mat_25:31-46); (Act_17:30-31); (Rev_20:7-15).
(3) The time of toil ends in rest and reward. (2Th_1:6-7).
(4) The time of suffering ends in glory. (Rom_8:17-18).
(5) The time of Israel’s blindness and chastisement ends in restoration and conversion. (Rom_11:25-27);
(6) The times of the Gentiles end in the smiting of the image and the setting up of the kingdom of the heavens.
(Dan_2:34); (Dan_2:35); (Rev_19:15-21).
(7) The time of creation’s thralldom ends in deliverance at the manifestation of the sons of God. (Gen_3:17); (Isa_11:6-
Prophecy is for Israel and the Tribulation exists purely as prophecy. Moses was the first to reveal it (Deut. 4:30). Through the years – by means of Progressive Revelation – the prophets unfolded it to Israel. However, in doing so, God never revealed His mystery Body to any of them; reserving it for Paul alone.
We would do well to study carefully the words of Zephaniah as he uses many terms for the tribulation for Israel: “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” (Zephaniah 1:14-18). (See: Deut. 4:30; Isa. 24; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zephaniah; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19)
Coinciding with Zephaniah’s prophecy, the book of Revelation delineates the tribulation as a time of “wrath” by using the word at least 10 times. It is called “the wrath of God” five times (Revelation 14:10, 19; 15:1,7; 16:1) and “the wrath of the Lamb” once (Rev. 6:16 see v 17). Opening the first seal unleashes the tribulation [ii] which continues 7 years (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14) and concludes with “the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15) when Christ returns to fight the armies gathered against Israel at Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21).
The following info is from the Old Scofield Study Bible.
Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. These are “weeks” or more accurately, sevens of years; seventy weeks of seven years each. Within these “weeks” the national chastisement must be ended and the nation reestablished in everlasting righteousness (Dan–9:24). The seventy weeks are divided into seven = 49 years; sixty-two = 434 years; one = 7 years (Dan – 9:25-27). In the seven weeks = 49 years, Jerusalem was to be rebuilt in “troublous times.” This was fulfilled, as Ezra and Nehemiah record. Sixty-two weeks = 434 years, thereafter Messiah was to come (Dan – 9:25). This was fulfilled in the birth and manifestation of Christ. (Dan_9:26); (Dan–9:26) is obviously an indeterminate period. The date of the crucifixion is not fixed. It is only said to be “after” the threescore and two weeks. It is the first event in (Dan 19:26). The second event is the destruction of the city, fulfilled A.D. 70. Then, “unto the end,” a period not fixed, but which has already lasted nearly 2000 years. To Daniel was revealed only that wars and desolations should continue (Compare (Mat-24:6-14).
The New Testament reveals, that which was hidden from the Old Testament prophets; (Mat – 13:11-17); (Eph–3: I – 10) that during this period should be accomplished the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven (Mat – 13:1-50) and the out-calling of the Church; (Mat – 16:18); (Rom – 11:25). When the Church-age will end, and the seventieth week be- gin, is nowhere revealed. Its duration can be but seven years. To make it more violates the principle of interpretation already confirmed by fulfillment. (Dan–9:27) deals with the last week. The “he” of (Dan – 9:27) is the “prince that shall come” of (Dan_9:26); 9:26); whose people (Rome) destroyed the temple, A.D. 70. He is the same with the “little horn” of chapter 7. He will covenant with the Jews to restore their temple sacrifices for one week (seven years), but in the middle of that time he will break the covenant and fulfill; (Dan – 12:11); (2Th – 2:3); (2Th_2:4). Between the sixty-ninth week, after which Messiah was cut off, and the seventieth week, within which the “little horn” of Daniel 7. will run his awful course, intervenes this entire Church-age. (Dan – 9:27) deals with the last three and a half years of the seven, which are identical with the “great tribulation.” (Mat–24:15-28) “time of trouble” (Dan_12:1) hour of temptation- (Rev_3: 10).
The Time of the End
Daniel 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed Here the prophetic foreview, having traced the history of the two parts of Alexander’s empire which had to do with Palestine and the Jews, namely, Syria and Egypt, to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and having described his career, overleaps the centuries to “the time of the end,” when he of whom Antiochus Epiphanes was a type, the “little horn” of (Dan – 7:8) the “Beast out of the sea” of (Rev – 13:4- 10) shall appear (cf) (See Scofield) – (Dan–7:8). Prophecy does not concern itself with history as such, but only with history as it affects Israel and the Holy Land. Antiochus Epiphanes was insignificant as compared with historical personages whom the Bible does not mention, but he scourged the covenant people and defiled God’s altar, thus coming into prophetic light. From verse 36 (Dan – 11:36), the “little horn” of (Dan–7:8); (Dan–7:24-26) fills the scene. His prosperity lasts until “the indignation” (the “time of trouble” of, (Dan – 12: 1); (Mat–24:2 1) is accomplished (Dan – 11:36). This is parallel with; (Rev – 17:10-14); (Rev–19:19-21). (Dan_11:37-45) supply details not mentioned in the New Testament The expression “God of his fathers” (Dan –I 1:37) has been held to indicate that the “king” is an apostate Jew, but this does not accord with (Dan_9:26) which was fulfilled by the Gentile armies of Rome. The “little horn” is an apostate, but from Christianity, not Judaism (compare Ho – 2:18); (1Jo_2:19). (Dan–I 1:38-45) describe his career. Substituting “the god of forces” (that is, Forces of nature) for the true God (Dan –I 1:38); (Dan–1 1:39), he soon presents himself as that god (cf) (2Th 2:3); (2Th–2:4). While his career lasts he is an irresistible conqueror (Dan –I 1:40-44). He established his palace in Jerusalem, probably at the time of his supreme act of blasphemous impiety; (Dan T 9:27); (Dan – 12:11); (Mat 24:15); (2Tb–2:4). From this time begins the great tribulation; (Dan_12:1); (Mat–24:21) which runs its course during the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week, namely, three and one half years; (Dan–7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Dan_12:11); (Rev_13:5).
Isaiah 10:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. “That day”: often the equivalent of “the day of the Lord” (Isa_2:10-22); (Rev–1 9:11-2 1). The prophecy here passes from the general to the particular, from historic and fulfilled judgments upon Assyria to the final destruction of all Gentile world-power at the return of the Lord in glory. (See “Armageddon,”; (Rev –16:14); (Rev – 19:21) “Times of the Gentiles,”; (Luk–21:24); (Rev–16:19); “The great tribulation,”; (Psa–2:5); (Rev_7:14)
Revelation 7:14 And 1 said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The great tribulation is the period of unexampled trouble predicted in the passages cited under that head from (Psa_2:5) to (Rev_7:14) and described in Revelation 11-18. Involving in a measure the whole earth (Rev –3: 10) it is yet distinctly “the time of Ja- cob’s trouble” (Jer – 30:7) and its vortex Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It involves the people of God who will have returned to Palestine in unbelief. Its duration is three and a half years, or the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. (See Scofield) – (Dan – 9:24). (Rev_11:2); (Rev–1 1:3) [Editor’s note: Please never forget that the Lord Jesus promised to keep us from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth Rev. 3:10].
The elements of the tribulation are:
- The cruel reign of the “beast out of the sea” (Rev – 13: 1) who at the beginning of the three and a half years, will break his covenant with the Jews (by virtue of which they will have re-established the temple worship, (Dan –9:27) and show himself in the temple, demanding that he be worshipped as God. (Mat – 24:15); (2Th-2:4).
- The active interposition of Satan “having great wrath” (Rev–12:12) who gives his power to the Beast. (Rev – 13:4); (Rev_13:5).
- The unprecedented activity of demons (Rev – 9:2); (Rev_9:11), and
- the terrible “bowl” judgments of Revelation 16.
The great tribulation will be, however, a period of salvation. An election out of Israel is seen as sealed for God (Rev_7:4-8) and, with an innumerable multitude of Gentiles (Rev–7:9) are said to have come “out of the great tribulation” (Rev_7:14). They are not of the priesthood, the church, to which they seem to stand somewhat in the relation of the Levites to the priests under the Mosaic Covenant. The great tribulation is immediately followed by the return of Christ in glory, and the events associated therewith. (Mat 24:29); (Mat-24:30).
- The time of the end in Danielbegins with the violation by “the prince that shall come” (that is, “little horn,” “man of sin,” “Beast”) of his covenant with the Jews for the restoration of the temple and sacrifice (Dan–9:27) and his presentation of himself as God; (Dan – 9:27); (Dan_11:36-38); (Mat–24:15); (2Tb–2:4); (Rev–13:4-6) and ends with his destruction by the appearing of the Lord in glory. (2Th_2:8); (Rev 19:19); (Rev-19:20).
- The duration of the “time of the end”, is three and one half years, coinciding with the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. (Dan – 7:25); (Dan_12:7); (Rev_13:5). This “time of the end” is the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” (Jer – 30:7) “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan 2: 1) “great tribulation such as was not from the beginning of the world… nor ever shall be” (Mat–24:2 1). The New Testament, especially the Book of the Revelation, adds many details. [ii] The churchis never mentioned- nor can it be clearly identified- in any part of the 7 year tribulation.
AntiPreTrib Problems Associated with the Tribulation
The Tribulation is a ubiquitous term that has become a well-known doctrine. Prophecy is for Israel and the Tribulation exists purely as prophecy. It was well known by the prophets (Deut. 4:30) so it was never a part of the mystery. That being said, there isn’t a prophecy or verse for that matter anywhere in Scripture: (1) clearly consigning the mystery Body of Christ to the time of Jacob’s trouble, or (2) revealing her as being on earth for a single hour during this time [unless two terms used for Israel, “elect” and “saints” are pulled from their context to prove something that simply is not provable in any other fashion].
There are several problems AntiPreTrib advocates have with the Tribulation.
- Their first problem is what to call it.
The term tribulation, which includes the great tribulation (Matt. 24:21, 29), is part of “the day of the Lord” (Isa. 2; 13; 34; Jer. 30-31; 46; etc). It is also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) [Jacob is Israel], “Daniel’s Seventieth Week” (Dan. 9:24-27), and the “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), and “the hour of temptation” (Rev. 3:10).
- Their second problem is the length of it.
The first mention of seven in the Bible tells us how it stands connected in God’s mind. “. . . on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made” (Gen. 2:2). Seven from that point on signifies something started and finished. Since Daniel’s prophecy of seventy weeks is our Rosetta Stone for interpreting the tribulation trilogy, we have one seven year period still future, dispensational Bible scholars view in connection with the beginning and ending of tribulation and great tribulation period; Scripture bearing witness. In the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:21; 29), and the Book of Revelation, two separate three and one-half year periods form one whole seven year tribulation: 42 months (Rev. 11:3); 1260 days (Rev. 11:3, 12:6); and time, times, and half a time (Rev. 12:14).
However, in a concerted contrarian effort to thwart scholarly teaching, you’ll find antiPreTrib proponents to be of the most creative antagonists on the planet; especially those espousing the most recent – and perhaps most confusing – PreWrath rapture ruse. Their claim to fame is in arbitrarily placing the church into the time of Jacob’s trouble for most of seven year period with nothing more than bizarre calculations and misguided outcomes they arbitrarily apply to the Body of Christ without ever proving she is here during any part of the Tribulation aka Jacob’s trouble.
- Their third problem is not accepting its origin and purpose.
The Tribulation is for Israel through prophecy; Moses being the first prophet to reveal it (Deut. 4:30). The purpose of the tribulation is to punish sin and purify Israel and her supporters for the Millennial Kingdom (Jer. 30-31; Obad. 1:15; Zech. 13:9; Matt. 25:31-46; study the great catastrophes in Rev. 6-19). “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city . . . to seal up the vision and prophecy …” (Dan 9:24). Although Daniel prophesied that the seventy weeks would seal up the vision and prophesy, there appears to be a secondary reference here to a cessation of prophecy which occurred at the 69th week and will last for an unspecified time. Knowing what we now know, that happened when God moved from prophecy to mystery at the rejection of Jesus’ Kingdom offer. Interestingly, the corollary to this rejection brought about a dual blindness each leading in separate directions for distinct purposes.
- Their fourth problem is consigning the Body of Christto it.
The tribulation is a watershed for Israel given through prophecy before she ever knew about the coming kingdom (Deut. 4:30). It was later expanded upon by the prophets (Jeremiah, Isaiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc) through Progressive Revelation. When the Lord summed up Israel’s end time’s scenario in Luke 21:22, He referred to this epoch as “the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” The days of vengeance is the tribulation – aka the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), and the “time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), also referred to as Daniel’s Seventieth Week for Israel and Jerusalem. All things fulfilled refers to Israel’s prophets. The notion that the Body of Christ will share in the prescribed horrors of the Jewish tribulation is an invented doctrine without clear Scriptural support.
There are only three ways to place the church in the tribulation:
(1) by wresting Scripture from its context where it clearly can be found implicating Israel and the Gentiles, not the Bride of Christ (Rev. 19:9; 21:2,9; 22:17);
(2) by superimposing the church over the top of Israel, which is Satanic Replacement Theology condemned by the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 2:9; 3:9); or
(3) by a dogged determination to maintain the anti-rapture mantra even when presented with clear evidence refuting it. The tribulation is for Israel (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 12:1, etc) and placing the Body of Christ here during that time is a manmade doctrine devoid of integrity and Biblical authority.
In summary, the tribulation – known by other names – covers Daniel’s Seventieth Week and as such is seven years in length. Its purpose is to punish sin and prepare Israel for the Revelation of the Messiah and the Davidic Kingdom on earth which the prophets applied exclusively to Israel. Any suggestion that the Body of Christ will be here for a moment of the time of Jacob’s trouble is without Scriptural authority and should be rejected out of hand with no more ink devoted to it.
|Chart of Exegesis – 2 Tim. 2:15|
|Time past – ages to come
(Eph. 2:11-12; Eph. 2:7; Heb. 1:1)
(Eph. 2:13; 5:8; Col. 1:26)
|Israel||Church (Body of Christ)|
|Nation of Jews||Body of Believing Jews and Gentiles|
|Christ is Messiah of the Nation||Christ is Head of the Body|
Ministry to: Christ, Peter, James, John, etc
(Rom. 11:13; Gal. 2:7-9)
|Spoken since the world began
(Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21)
|Kept secret since the world began
(Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:26)
|Kingdom in Earth||Inheritance in Heaven|
Daniel Is The Key That Unlocks The Timeline Of Revelation
“At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew [thee]; for thou [art] greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. ” Daniel 9: 23-27
So much of what is talked about in the book of the Revelation has it’s roots in the Old Testament. And of the Old Testament prophets, there is one that stands out from among the rest. The prophet Daniel was given many direct visions and revelations by God through the angel Gabriel that pertain to the End Times. In fact, he was given so much information that Jesus Himself recommends that we study and understand what Daniel had to say.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” Matthew 24: 15
It’s quite telling to note that in all of Matthew 24, the only Old Testament prophet that Jesus quotes in is Daniel. So perhaps there are more nuggets of truth pertaining to the End Times in Daniel’s book.
The above-mentioned chart of Daniel’s 70 weeks is very useful because it lays it all out in sequence to make it easier to understand. Drawn by Clarence Larkin, a devout man of God and bible scholar from the 19th century, we can glean much insight from the ‘fruits of his labors’.
The explosive 9th chapter of Daniel starts with Daniel doing what we are doing – studying the bible, looking for clues. And that sets up another very important building block of understanding prophecy. We are all ‘looking for answers’, and where does God say the answers are? In His Word, the bible. Because that’s where he put them. It was true for Daniel and it’s just as true for us today. So Daniel was studying the book of the prophet Jeremiah when he see this clue –
“In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:2
By reading, believing and then understanding the prophecy of Jeremiah, Daniel was rightly able to determine that he was living in the time that Jeremiah foresaw. (An interesting side note here is as many ‘dreams and visions’ that Daniel was given by God, he still needed to read and study the bible.) Daniel, upon reading and realizing that he was living out Jeremiah’s prophecy, “sets
his face unto the Lord my God” in deep and reverent prayer. The very first thing that he does in prayer is to repent, which is always the biblical model for getting right with God, and he passionately pouts out his heart to God for not only himself, but for all his fellow Jews who are being held captive in Babylon at the time. His prayer is both personal and national for Israel. And then right in the middle of his prayer, the angel Gabriel shows up and blows him away –
“Yea, whiles I [was] speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed [me], and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth,
and I am come to shew [thee]; for thou [art] greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Daniel 9
The angel Gabriel tells him that he has a special message for him, one that will show him the immediate future of Israel, as well as the future of Israel in the end times. Gabriel continues –
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. ” Daniel 9
Before we continue, we must clarify the meaning of the term ’70 weeks’. It was not 70 calendar weeks, but rather it was 70 ‘weeks of years’, figuring each day of the 70 weeks as one year. We know this for a variety of reasons. First, the word that was translated as ‘weeks’ is the word ‘heptad’, which means a ‘group of sevens’. By the context that was given, we come to see that indeed it was meant as years and not days, as we shall soon see. Also note that Gabriel divides up the 70 weeks into 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and one week. If you miss that distinction, then you have missed the boat entirely.
This is how the 70 weeks break down:
- The 7 weeks – This 49 year period is the time where the ‘commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem’ was given. It would take 49 years to accomplish this, and it began in 445 BC.
- The 62 weeks – From the end point on the rebuilding of the walls, until Messiah was to be revealed, it would be 62 weeks, or 434 years.
- The last week – This 7 year period is yet future because God stopped the timeclock when Israel rejected the Messiah and He went to the cross.
Adding the 7 weeks, or 49 years, to the 62 weeks, or 434 years, brings us to a total of exactly 483 from the time that the commandment went forth to rebuild the walls unto the very day, April 2, 30 AD, that Jesus was paraded through the streets of Jerusalem just prior to going to the cross. Note: due to the differences in the calendars, you cannot do the math on the years without first taking into account the different calendars that were used in the past 2,500 years. For an exhaustive breakdown of the 70 weeks, please refer to the left sidebar entitled, The 70 Weeks Explained. Bible scholar Clarence Larkin, who by trade
was a mechanical engineer, gives you all the facts and figures you could ever ask for.
The last week, 7 years, is paused and deferred to a point in the future
Amazingly, everything happened precisely as Gabriel had told Daniel that it world. The streets and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt in exactly 49 years. And from that day to the day that “Messiah was cut off”, a reference to Jesus rejection by His own people and then execution on the cross, was exactly 434 years. Then, after 483 years of exacting bible prophecy come true, God stops the clock and began the time of ‘the great pause’. All through the bible we read where, because of the rejection of Jesus as Messiah, God turned to the gentiles. In the Old Testament this was a great mystery, but in the New Testament that mystery is revealed as the Church. The bible then goes on to say that this is called the ‘times of the Gentiles’ which will end with the Rapture of the Church. At which point, with the Church taken out of the way, God again turns His attention to the Jews and Israel, and restarts the clock to begin the final week of Daniel’s prophecy. Before we continue, allow me to show bible verses which demonstrates the points I just made –
- Jesus rejected by His own people –
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53: 3,4
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” John 1: 10.11
- God turns to the Gentiles –
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” Romans 11: 25
“But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by [them that are] no people, [and] by a foolish nation I will anger you.” Romans 10: 19
“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Acts 13: 46
- God turns His attention back to the Jews –
“For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead?” Romans 11: 15
“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. ” Romans 11: 26
“Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” Revelation 7: 3,4
“And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. ” Zechariah 12: 9-11
They are many, many more verses I could quote to prove my point, but these verses hit the nail right on the head regarding what God said He would and what would happen in the end times. So why all this attention to a week that hasn’t even happened yet? Because if you fail to grasp this “missing” or paused week, then every conclusion you come to after that will by necessity be off base. Gabriel was telling Daniel very clearly that there would be 3 divisions of time within the 70 weeks, or 490 years. Paul, in Romans 11: 25, gives us a great clue. He says that the “blindness” of Israel, or the “paused week” would not end until all the gentiles whom God would have to be saved were saved, or “come in” as he puts it. And that it would
be after this “time of the gentiles” that God would restart the timeclock on the last week. At the risk of repeating myself, the times of the gentiles happen during the as yet undetermined period of time that Daniel’s 70th week is paused. So far this time period has lasted roughly 2,000 years, but is about to come to an end. What will end the “times of the gentiles” is the Rapture.
There is a time period for the Jews, and for the Gentiles, but they are not the same
Shortly after Jesus went to the cross, and before the New Testament was finished, the event known as the Great Dispersion happened in Israel, when the Romans set fire to Jerusalem and drove the Jews out to live in the “four corners of the earth.”
This occured in the year 70 AD. And all during this time, the period known as the ‘time of the gentiles’ is taking place, with the Jews in exile. But Jesus, when asked by His disciples in Matthew 24 about the time of the end days, gave an amazing prophecy of a time in the future when Israel would be restored as a nation, and the true End Times would begin –
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” Matthew 24: 32-34
Jesus was saying that when you would see Israel regathered, an event prophesied in dozens of places in the Bible, then you would know that that generation would not pass off the scene until all the things He talked about in Matthew 24 were fulfilled.
The end times could not of started before May 14, 1948, the day that Israel officially became a nation.
Are the Jews still God’s chosen people?
Lately, many well-meaning (at least I think they were) Christians have told me that the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people because Paul said that we are ‘one in Christ’. After making that error in interpretation, they quickly proceed to their next point, namely that since the Jews rejected Jesus, then the Church has become the ‘Israel of God’, and inherits all the promises made to the Jews and national Israel. This heresy is known as Replacement Theology, the idea that believing Christians ‘replace” the Jews in God’s sight. This is more than error, it is heresey and very anti-semetic. (You may want to order our track refuting the egregious heresy known as Replacement Theology)
The last week of Daniel’s prophecy will happen soon
To recap: So far we have gotten a good handle on the 70 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. Events that it predicted have unfolded and occured with uncanny accuracy, as what you would expect with God-given bible prophecy. We know that Daniel’s last week, when it happens will, as Paul says, open the eyes of the Jews and they will finally see, as a nation and not just as a remnant, that Jesus – Yeshua Ha’Maschaich – is indeed the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. And we also know through Scripture that the “times of the Gentiles” must end before the last paused week of Daniel’s prophecy can start. There are things that
God has promised to the Jews and Israel – namely an eternal homeland in Israel – and there are things that God has promised to the Church – namely an Heavenly eternal existence. If you don’t see that the two are seperate, that God has two different plans to work out, then the timing of when the Rapture happens – Pre, Mid or Post Tribulation – will remain a mystery to you, or worse, you will wind up placing it in the wrong time slot. I cannot stress more strongly that a careful study of Romans 9-12 will go a long way towards getting your mind set to see that the “times of the Gentiles”, the Church, must end before the last week of Daniel’s prophecy can begin.
By George W. Zeller
Middletown Bible Church
“FOR GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” — 1 Corinthians 14:33
The Prewrath Rapture theory is set forth in the book, The Prewrath Rapture of the Church by Marvin Rosenthal (Thomas Nelson, 1990). This view may be summarized as follows:
The Rapture of the Church is not an imminent event (p. 292). It cannot take place today. It is impossible for the Lord Jesus to come for His Church today. The Rapture cannot take place next week, next month or next year. Indeed the Rapture cannot take place for at least four or five years [at the very earliest]. The Rapture will occur immediately prior to the Day of the Lord and the Day of the Lord will begin with the opening of the seventh seal (pp. 18,60,176). The Rapture will occur on the very day the Day of the Lord begins (p. 117). It will occur at the very outset of the Day of the Lord (p. 210).
Daniel’s 70th week (a period of seven years) contains three distinct time periods (p. 233): (1) The first is the “beginning of sorrows” which is the first 3½ years (p. 147). (2) The second is the “Great Tribulation” which begins in the middle of the 70th week [at the beginning of the last 3½ years]. The Great Tribulation is also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (pp. 74, 206). The Great Tribulation is man’s wrath against man, not God’s wrath (p. 105). The Great Tribulation is “cut short” and made less than 3½ years (pp. 108,109,112). (3)The third time period of Daniel’s 70th week is the Day of the Lord which is the time of God’s wrath. The Day of the Lord begins with the opening of the 7th seal (p. 26).
According to this view, the Day of the Lord must be clearly distinguished from the Great Tribulation. These two time periods are distinct and separate and do not overlap (p. 147). They both occur during the last 3½ years, beginning with the Great Tribulation and followed immediately by the Day of the Lord. It is uncertain when the Great Tribulation ends and when the Day of the Lord begins because no man knows the day or the hour (Matt. 24:36). The Day of the Lord will commence sometime within the second half of the 70th week (p. 60). How long will the Day of the Lord last? It will end at the end of the 70th week. The uncertainty involves when it will begin. It will begin “long before the end of the 70th week” (p. 153). The Day of the Lord will begin “a considerable period of time before the 70th week ends” (p. 248). The Day of the Lord must be longer than five months because the 5th trumpet judgment alone is said to last five months (Rev. 9:1,5 and see p. 153) and the trumpet judgments take place during the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord will immediately follow the Rapture of the Church, which according to this theory is described in Matthew 24:31.
The Church will be on earth when the Antichrist makes a treaty with Israel which marks the beginning of the 70th week. The Church must enter the 70th week (p. 19, 137). The Church must pass through all of the first 3½ years. Indeed, the Church must be on earth during a significant part of the second half of the 70th week (p. 138). The Church must be on earth during the entire period called the Great Tribulation (“the time of Jacob’s trouble”) and will not be Raptured until after the Great Tribulation is over, but immediately prior to the Day of the Lord. Thus Church saints must be on earth to decide if they will accept the mark of Antichrist (p. 36) and they must be willing to suffer and die for Christ, if necessary, under the persecution of the Antichrist (p. 34). The true Church will be on earth when the Antichrist is personally present, empowered by Satan (Rev. 13:4), demanding that the world bow down and worship him (p. 137). Thus the Church will be present on earth “during a significant part of the 70th week of Daniel” (p. 138). The great multitude from every nation described in Revelation 7 is the raptured Church (p. 184-185).
The first four seal judgments (Rev. 6) take place during the “beginning of sorrows” and the 5th seal takes place during the Great Tribulation (p. 147, and see Rosenthal’s chart published in Zion’s Hope, 1990). During the Day of the Lord the Trumpet judgments take place, but not the bowl judgments (p. 147). The bowl judgments are not poured out until after the 70th week of Daniel during the 30 additional days mentioned in Daniel 12:11. The seal judgments involve the wrath of unregenerate men whereas the trumpet and bowl judgments involve the wrath of God (pp. 34-35, 145). The Day of the Lord is not the time of God’s wrath in its totality because the Day of the Lord includes the trumpet judgments but not the bowl judgments. The bowl judgments take place after the Day of the Lord during the 30 days which follow Daniel’s 70th week. Thus, the seal judgments and the bowl judgments are not part of the Day of the Lord; only the trumpet judgments take place during this time.
Summary of this view:
The Prewrath view is not a pre-tribulational view because it insists that the Church will be present on earth during most of the seven years of Daniel’s 70th week (all except for the last phase which this view calls the Day of the Lord).
The Prewrath view is not a mid-tribulational view because it insists that the Rapture will occur after the midpoint of the final seven years, somewhere around the middle of the last 3½ years.
The Prewrath view is a post-tribulational view in the sense that it teaches that the Rapture will occur after the Great Tribulation. However, this view redefines the Great Tribulation period in a way that is unusual. Instead of saying that the Great Tribulation ends at the same time Daniel’s 70th week ends (at the end of this 7-year period), this view says that the Great Tribulation ends just prior to the Day of the Lord which they say takes place a significant time prior to the end of Daniel’s 70th week. Thus this view is post-tribulational but not post-“Daniel’s 70th week.” This view teaches that the Rapture will take place toward the end of Daniel’s 70th week but not at the end.
The Prewrath view is a prewrath, pre-“Day of the Lord” view because it teaches that the Rapture will take place immediately prior to the Day of the Lord which is the time when God pours out His wrath upon the earth.
In summary, this view rejects the pre-tribulational view because it says that the Rapture will not take place prior to Daniel’s 70th week; it rejects the mid-tribulational view because it says that the Rapture will take place a significant but unknown period of time after the middle of Daniel’s 70th week; and this view rejects the post-tribulational view because it places the Rapture not at the end of Daniel’s 70th week, but at a significant period of time before the end.
The Prewrath view CONFUSES, yea, TOTALLY REJECTS the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ (the doctrine that Jesus Christ may come for His Church at any time). Instead of looking for the Saviour from heaven (Phil. 3:20), we should be looking for the signing of the treaty (Daniel 9:27). Instead of looking for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God (Titus 2:13), we should be looking for the coming of Antichrist. Instead of looking for the Bridegroom (John 14:3), we should be looking for the man of sin. Instead of rejoicing in the fact that “we shall not all sleep” (1 Cor. 15:51) we should be bracing ourselves to face the persecutions of Antichrist resulting in physical death for believers. Instead of the Lord being at hand (Phil. 4:5), He is at least four or five years away. Instead of rejoicing in the fact that His coming is drawing nigh (James 5:8), we should be sobered at the thought that the 70th week of Daniel is drawing nigh. Instead of looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 21), we should be looking for the greatest time of tribulation that this world has ever known (Matt. 24:21). Instead of waiting expectantly for His Son from heaven (1 Thess. 1:10) we should be waiting for the abomination of desolation.
How can the Prewrath Rapture be a COMFORTING HOPE (see 1 Thess. 4:18) if we are told that we will be on earth to face the wrath of Satan (Rev. 12:12), the fury of the Antichrist (Rev. 13) and the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known (Matt. 24:21)? The careful student of Revelation realizes that the tribulation saints are not without hope, and yet the comfort given to them by the Lord is of a different nature than given to Church Age believers now. Today He comforts those who face an imminent Saviour with the words, “We shall not all sleep!” (1 Cor. 15:51). The comforting promise that the Lord gives to tribulation believers is this: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (Rev. 14:13).
Where in all of the Church epistles are believers told to be looking for the tribulation? Where are we told to be looking for the Antichrist or the Abomination of Desolation? Repeatedly in the epistles believers are told to be looking expectantly for the Saviour who is OUR LIFE: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:3-4). Indeed, God will keep us from (keep us out of) the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Rev. 3:10). “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
To the one holding the Prewrath Rapture view this question can be asked, “DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST COULD COME FOR YOU TODAY?” He would have to deny this with an emphatic “NO!” To such a person the Lord’s coming is not near at hand. It is at least four or five years away!
The Prewrath view CONFUSES the mysterious and parenthetical nature of the Church Age.
It confuses CHURCH HISTORY with ISRAELITE HISTORY. God has a program for the Church and God has a distinct program for His people Israel. The two must not be confused.
The clearest and most complete chronological prophecy that God has given to us is the 70-week prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. These 70 weeks involve 490 years of Jewish history: “Seventy weeks are determined UPON THY PEOPLE AND UPON THY HOLY CITY.” These 490 years pertain to the Jews and to Jerusalem, not to the Church. Of the 490 years, the last seven years are yet unfulfilled. After the first 69 weeks the Messiah was cut off and we know that the Church Age began less than two months after the Messiah was cut off. Daniel’s 70th week has remained unfulfilled for nearly 2000 years. The prophetic time clock has stopped ticking for all these years. The clock stopped ticking after the 69th week and has not yet resumed ticking. How can we explain this large 2000 year gap between the 69th week and the 70th week? The answer is revealed on the pages of the New Testament. DURING THIS 2000 YEAR GAP GOD IS INVOLVED IN THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM:
- He is building His Church (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47).
- He is taking out a people for His Name (Acts 15:14).
- He is bringing in the fullness of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:25).
- He is placing believers into a living organism (1 Cor. 12:13).
- He is saving a “showcase” that will eternally display His matchless grace (Eph. 1:7).
- He is manifesting Himself through His body which is upon the earth (1 Tim. 3:15-16).
Just as the Church had an abrupt beginning on the day of Pentecost shortly after the conclusion of the 69th week, so it should be expected that the Church will have an abrupt removal shortly before the beginning of the 70th week. The Pretribulational model harmonizes perfectly with Daniel’s 70th week prophecy while at the same time recognizing the parenthetical and mysterious nature of the Church Age. It is “mysterious” in the sense that Church truth was unrevealed on the pages of the Old Testament and the Church Age was not foreseen by the prophets. The Old Testament prophets did not tell us about the gap simply because they did not see the gap. It was unrevealed to them. They saw only the two mountain peaks which represent the first and second comings of Christ but they did not see the large valley in between.
The Prewrath view sees the Church as being on earth during a large part of Daniel’s 70th week (the Church will be on earth, according to Rosenthal’s charts, for approximately 3/4 of the last seven years, or approximately five years or more). This mixes up and confuses God’s purpose for Israel and God’s purpose for the Church. THE CHURCH HAS NEVER AND WILL NEVER BE PRESENT ON EARTH DURING ANY OF ISRAEL’S 70 WEEKS. The Church began after the 69th week ended and the Church will be raptured before the 70th week begins. Compare the two models below:
Which model best fits the data? Which model best explains the 2000 year gap? Which model best distinguishes between the Church and Israel? Which model best distinguishes between dispensations? Which view mixes the Church Age with Jewish history?
The Prewrath view is CONFUSING in light of the Book of Revelation and the God-given outline of that book. We can draw a similar chart with respect to the sequence of events in the Book of Revelation. First we have the Pretribulational model of the Book of Revelation in light of the divine outline given in Revelation 1:19:Next we have the PREWRATH model of the Book of Revelation in light of the divine outline given in Revelation 1:19:Again we see that the PREWRATH view makes the Church pass through a large part of the 70th week of Daniel while the PRE-TRIB. view keeps the Church completely separate from Daniel’s 70th week and better harmonizes with the God-inspired outline of the book as found in Rev. 1:19.
The PREWRATH view makes the CONFUSING distinction between the GREAT TRIBULATION as described in Matthew 24:21 and the DAY OF THE LORD (the time of God’s wrath) which is said to begin with the 7th seal judgment.
Essentially this view says that the Great Tribulation does not include the events of Revelation 7-19. We are told that the Great Tribulation is a time of great persecution and a time of man’s wrath and Satan’s wrath, but it is not the time of God’s wrath. The Day of the Lord is the time of God’s wrath and includes all of the trumpet judgments.
This view is confusing in light of Matthew 24:21 which says that the Great Tribulation is a unique time of trouble “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, NOR EVER SHALL BE.” In other words, this will be the most difficult and trying time of trouble that the world has ever known. There has never been a time in the past and there will never be a time in the future that will be worse than this very unique time of trouble. Other passages teach this very same thing: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1); “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:7). Compare also Joel 2:2 (a “Day of the Lord” passage).
The PREWRATH view teaches that the Day of the Lord begins after the Great Tribulation and that the Day of the Lord is the time of God’s wrath. Matthew 24:21, Daniel 12:1 and Jeremiah 30:7 all teach that the Great Tribulation is the greatest time of trouble that the world has ever known. Therefore, if the Day of the Lord is distinct from the Great Tribulation, then the Day of the Lord must be LESS SEVERE than the Great Tribulation. But how can the great day of God’s wrath be less severe and less troublesome than the Great Tribulation? How can God’s wrath be less severe than man’s wrath? How can the trumpets and bowls be less severe than the fifth seal? How can God’s wrath be less severe than Satan’s wrath? How can unregenerate men and Satan cause more trouble for this world than the wrathful JUDGE Himself? The PREWRATH view, when compared with Matthew 24:21 and these other verses, makes the Day of the Lord an ANTICLIMAX!
Rosenthal CONFUSES the issue even more because he says that the Day of the Lord will be “the most awesome period of divine judgment the world will ever know” (p. 126). But how can the most awesome period of divine judgment the world will ever know be A LESS SEVERE TIME OF TROUBLE than the Great Tribulation?
The real solution is to simply recognize that the Great Tribulation includes the trumpet and bowl judgments (the outpouring of the wrath of God) and this is one of the reasons why this is a time of unparalleled trouble. It is the time of unparalleled and unprecedented trouble on earth because it is the culmination of God’s wrath (the trumpet and bowl judgments), the culmination of Satan’s wrath (Rev. 12:12-14) and the culmination of the wrath of man (Rev. 13:5-7).
Matthew 24:21 presents a problem for the Prewrath view. It is unthinkable that the time of God’s wrath should be less severe than the Great Tribulation. Daniel’s 70th week does not get better, it only intensifies and gets worse. If the Great Tribulation is the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known, then the Great Tribulation MUST include the time of God’s wrath. But the Prewrath view must deny this. The very foundation of their view depends upon the alleged fact that the Great Tribulation is distinct from the Day of the Lord. This view struggles with the enormous problem of having to explain how the time of unparalleled trouble upon the earth has nothing at all to do with the time of God’s wrath or the Day of the Lord.
The GREAT DAY OF THE LORD is clearly described in Zephaniah 1:15, “That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” How can any unbiased student of God’s Word say that this day is totally unrelated to that great and unparalleled day of trouble and distress described in Matthew 24:21? As Bible students we must carefully distinguish things that differ. This is a case where the Prewrath advocates distinguish things that are not different, resulting in confusion.
If indeed the Great Tribulation will be the greatest time of trouble this world will ever know (as Matt. 24:21 and Daniel 12:1 teach), then we would expect great and significant things to be taking place during this period of time. The Book of Revelation mentions seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls. According to Rosenthal, the only thing which takes place during the Great Tribulation is the 5th seal.
According to the Prewrath view, the “beginning of sorrows” (first 3½ years) involves the first four seals. During the Day of the Lord the trumpet judgments are sounded. But during the Great Tribulation (which is said to last probably more than a year and a half and probably less than two years), there is only the 5th seal! HOW CAN SUCH UNPARALLELED TROUBLE COME FROM JUST ONE SEAL? Do not the judgments progressively intensify (so that the trumpets are worse than the seals and the bowls worse than the trumpets)?
Rosenthal’s Prewrath View fails to account for how the Great Tribulation will be an unprecedented time of trouble. We wish he would discuss the implications of such passages as Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1 and Jeremiah 30:7 (“that day is great, so that none is like it”). Rosenthal sees the Great Tribulation as a time of great trouble because of the fierce persecution of Antichrist (the wrath of man). However we must recognize that the fierce persecution of Antichrist will last throughout the last 3½ years according to Revelation 13:5-7. Thus the Day of the Lord, as defined by the Prewrath view, would include the fierce persecution of Antichrist as well as the horrors of the wrath of God (the trumpet judgments). In other words, in the Great Tribulation we have the wrath of man (Antichrist). In the Day of the Lord we have the wrath of man (Antichrist) as well as the wrath of God (trumpet judgments). Would not this make the Day of the Lord a more severe time of trouble than the Great Tribulation? How then does the Prewrath view explain the verses which teach that the Great Tribulation will be an unprecedented time of trouble? How can God’s wrath and man’s wrath combined be less severe and cause less trouble than man’s wrath alone? It is very CONFUSING!
The Prewrath view makes a CONFUSING distinction and discontinuity between the seals, the trumpets and the bowls. This view says that the seals involve only the wrath of man, not the wrath of God and will take place during the first 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week and also during the Great Tribulation. The trumpets involve the wrath of God and will take place during the Day of the Lord. The bowls involve the wrath of God also, but they will be poured out after the day of the Lord and after Daniel’s 70th week has been completed (during the 30 days following).
Thus, according to this view the seals are totally different in nature and character than the trumpets and bowls. The seals come from man and from man’s wrath. The trumpets and bowls come from God and from God’s wrath. However the Bible presents the seals/trumpets/bowls as being UNIFIED. They all come from the hand of God (Rev. 5:1). They are all part of ONE UNIFIED SCROLL (Rev. 5:2). It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is found WORTHY to loose its seven seals. Thus, the seven seals are personally let loose by Jesus Christ Himself. Ultimately these judgments come from God. In His judgment God can use men and nations to fulfill His purposes (even as He did with the Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, etc.), but ultimately we must recognize that the judgment comes from Him.
As Paul Feinberg has said, “To identify the wrath of God simply with His direct intervention is to overlook the fact that primary and secondary agency both belong to God. Would anyone deny that the Northern Kingdom had been judged by God because Assyria conquered her? Did the Southern Kingdom escape the wrath of God for her sin because the instrument of judgment was Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon? Surely the answer is no. Then why should anyone think that because the early seals and trumpets relate to famine and war as well as natural phenomena that they cannot and are not expressions of the wrath of God?”
The Prewrath view is forced to say that the seals contain only the wrath of man. They cannot contain the wrath of God. Why not? Because according to this view the Church is on earth during the seal judgments. According to the Bible Church Age believers are not appointed unto WRATH (1 Thess. 5:9). Thus, the only way to keep Church saints on earth during the seal judgments is to say that these judgments do not involve the wrath of God. This then forces the Prewrath advocates to make the unbiblical distinction between the seals and the trumpets/bowls. Does the Bible really warrant such a distinction? To say that a judgment which reduces the world’s population by a fourth has nothing to do with the wrath of God is incredulous (see Revelation 6:7-8, the 4th seal judgment).
The Prewrath theory causes great CONFUSION by insisting throughout the book that the Day of the Lord is the great time of God’s wrath, but at the same time we are told that the bowl judgments, which are the most intense aspect of God’s wrath upon the earth, are not part of the Day of the Lord at all, but take place during the 30 days following the Day of the Lord. If the bowl judgments contain the wrath of God, then why are these judgments not included in the Day of the Lord? The author spends much time arguing that the Day of the Lord is the time of God’s great wrath upon the earth, but then he excludes the greatest and most intense time of God’s wrath from the Day of the Lord. Confusing!
Rosenthal’s Prewrath handling of Revelation 3:10 (“kept from the hour”) is total CONFUSION (pages 231-241). Rosenthal is reluctant to explain the meaning of the phrase “kept from the hour” because conservative Greek scholars are not in agreement with what it means (p. 233). This is confusing. There are many things that conservative scholars do not agree on, but the humble believer needs to submit to God and be taught by the Lord. We should also recognize that one reason conservative scholars disagree on this passage is because many of them force the text to say what they want it to say (to support their pre-held position) rather than simply letting the inspired text say what it says.
Rosenthal wants this verse to support the Prewrath position. How does he understand it? The time of testing spoken of in this verse refers to the Great Tribulation, according to Rosenthal. The Rapture and the Day of the Lord will follow this time of testing (p. 241, see chart). His understanding is as follows: “Because you (the church of Philadelphia) have kept the word of My patience (during the ‘beginning of sorrows’ or the first 3½ years), I will keep you from the hour of testing (the Great Tribulation)” (p. 241). Do you see the confusion in this position? ROSENTHAL CLAIMS THAT REVELATION 3:10 PROMISES THAT GOD WILL KEEP THE CHURCH FROM THE GREAT TRIBULATION, AND YET THE PREWRATH VIEW INSISTS THAT THE CHURCH WILL BE ON EARTH DURING THE ENTIRE TIME OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION.
Moreover, the Prewrath view teaches that believers will be severely persecuted during the Great Tribulation: “Some will be sent into captivity. Others will be slain” (p. 236). Thus, the PREWRATH view presents two confusing, contradictory statements: (1) BELIEVERS WILL BE ON EARTH TO BE PERSECUTED, TO SUFFER AND TO DIE DURING THE ANTICHRIST’S REIGN OF TERROR KNOWN AS THE GREAT TRIBULATION and (2) BELIEVERS WILL BE KEPT FROM THE GREAT TRIBULATION (according to the promise of Rev. 3:10). Do these two statements harmonize and make sense or are they very confusing and contradictory?
Rosenthal makes the confusing statement that Revelation 3:10 “has nothing whatever to do with the rapture.” He teaches that the Rapture will take place after the Great Tribulation. God’s promise to keep His people (Rev. 3:10) will be fulfilled during the Great Tribulation and has nothing to do with the Rapture. He teaches that the Rapture will keep the Church from the Day of the Lord, but it will not keep the Church from the time of Great Tribulation. The Church will be on earth during this tribulation time, tested severely by the Antichrist.
Rosenthal’s view on Revelation 3:10 is startling! To paraphrase it: “Because you have kept the word of My patience during the ‘beginning of sorrows’ (the first 3½ years), I am going to send you into a far more severe test, even into the Great Tribulation!” Thus, their reward for passing the test of the first 3½ years is to be exposed to a far greater time of testing and trouble, the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known! If the Church is involved in this time of testing and suffering under the persecution of Antichrist, then how is the Church kept from it?
In a confusing way, Rosenthal misrepresents the Pretribulational view of Revelation 3:10 by saying that this view teaches “removal from the temptation (testing).” See his chart on page 234. This is not true. The verse does not say “kept from the temptation (testing)” but it says “kept FROM THE HOUR of temptation (testing).” Pretribulationists have long taught that our exemption will not just be from the testing but from the TIME of the testing. We will be KEPT OUT OF (Greek: “ek”) THAT HOUR. We will not be on earth during that time.
On page 239, Rosenthal re-translates the verse to fit his theory. He translates Revelation 3:10 in this way: “kept through the hour.” The verse does not say this. It says “kept from the hour” or “kept out of the hour.” The preposition “ek” literally means “out of” and does not mean “through.”
On page 234, he says that the verse means “protection from the Great Tribulation.” But in what way are believers protected from the Great Tribulation if they must endure this time? Rosenthal’s answer is that certain men will be kept from the hour by physical removal: “perhaps men of faith and patience who are watchful will flee Jerusalem.” But how is fleeing from Jerusalem going to keep a person from the hour of testing which will “come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10). The only true protection from this worldwide testing is to not be present on earth. Rosenthal’s other suggestion is that some men will be “kept through the hour of temptation by direct, divine protection.” But as mentioned before, Revelation 3:10 says nothing about being kept THROUGH the hour. It speaks of being kept from (out of) the hour of temptation. Again we must ask, how can believers be kept from this time of testing (the Great Tribulation) if believers will be on earth during this time?
Finally Rosenthal makes this confusing statement: “It is only the church of Philadelphia which is promised exemption from the hour of temptation¼.To apply the promise given to the church of Philadelphia to all of Christendom is to interpret the Scriptures non-literally” (p. 237). If this is so then the promise of Revelation 3:10 has absolutely nothing to do with believers living in the 20th century. There is no church of Philadelphia in Asia Minor today. And yet Rosenthal on page 239 does apply this verse to a future generation of believers, even to those believers who are steadfast under the stress and pressure of the first 3½ years and who will thus be protected from the Great Tribulation. In what sense are these believers part of the church of Philadelphia? Confusing!
Rosenthal is careful to leave himself a way out. What happens if the Pretribulational view of Revelation 3:10 turns out to be correct? What if this verse really does speak of the Rapture? What if it really does refer to removal from and exemption from the time of testing? Rosenthal makes it clear that if this should ever prove to be the case, then the PREWRATH VIEW would still survive. All you would need to do would be to change the chart somewhat. The idea of “removal” would still fit the Prewrath view. All you need to do is let the “hour of testing” refer to the Day of the Lord (see page 233). Thus, the Church would be removed prior to the Day of the Lord! So when all else fails and his understanding of Revelation 3:10 proves to be wrong, his Prewrath theory will still be vindicated! He can’t lose!
The Prewrath view CONFUSES the purpose for why the Church is on earth. Daniel’s 70th week relates specifically to the nation Israel (Daniel 9:24). The Lord will deal in a very special way with His chosen people preparing them for the coming of their Messiah (Jer. 30:4-17). What purpose is served by having the Church present on earth during the greater part of Daniel’s 70th week? According to Scripture, we recognize that the Church does need to be on earth until:
- the fullness of the Gentiles comes in (Rom. 11:25).
- the building is complete (Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:5; Matt. 16:18).
- God finishes calling out a people for His Name (Acts 15:14).
- Christ finishes building His Church (Matt. 16:18).
- the last believer is placed into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
- the Church is received up in glory (Col. 3:4; cf. 1 Tim. 3:15-16).
The fulfillment of all these things will take place prior to Daniel’s 70th week.
The Prewrath view holds to the CONFUSING position that the Great Tribulation was shortened by God from a period of 3½ years to an unknown period of time less than 3½ years. This is based upon Matthew 24:22, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Rosenthal’s understanding of this verse is essential to the Prewrath position (see his discussion on pages 108-110). All agree that the Great Tribulation begins at the time of the abomination of desolation, at the midway point of Daniel’s 70th week (after the first 3½ years). The key question is not when the Great Tribulation begins but when it ends. Does it last a full 3½ years (Pretribulational position) or does it last less than 3½ years (the Prewrath view)?
Though not specifically stated, Rosenthal seems to imply that the Great Tribulation was originally intended to be 3½ years, but was shortened to an unknown period of time less than 3½ years: “What the Lord Himself teaches is shortened is the Great Tribulation. It is less than three and one-half years in duration. It begins in the middle of the seventieth week, but it does not run until the end of the seventieth week” (p. 109). On page 112 he refers to “the cutting short of the Great Tribulation (i.e., making it less than three and one-half years.”
Rosenthal makes it clear that Daniel’s 70th week is not shortened (p. 109). This 70th week is a period of seven years (made up of two 3½ year segments). But where in Scripture are we told that the Great Tribulation was originally intended to be 3½ years? Could not it have been a longer period of time that was shortened to 3½ years? In other words, Rosenthal seems to teach that the original long period of time was 3½ years and that this was cut down to a shorter period of unknown length (less than 3½ years). But is it not possible that the original long period was an unknown period of time (more than 3½ years) which was cut down to a shorter period of time, that is, shortened to 3½ years?
Let’s think about what the Lord was actually teaching in Matthew 24:22. The verb “shortened” means to “mutilate, curtail, shorten, lop off, cut off, shorten, abridge, amputate.” These days were not PROLONGED, but they were cut short. The expression “those days” (Matt. 24:22) refers back to verse 21 (those days of great tribulation). The Lord had just predicted a time of unparalleled and unprecedented tribulation upon the earth (verse 21). Those days are said to be so difficult that if those days were to be prolonged, then no flesh would be saved (v.22). God, in mercy, shortens those days for the sake of His elect (v.22).
How should we understand the shortening by God of the time of the Great Tribulation? The world because of its wickedness and rejection of Jesus Christ deserves a much LONGER time of great tribulation (which we understand to include the wrath of Almighty God). God in His mercy cuts short the time when His greatest fury will be unleashed upon the earth. God in mercy gives man a shorter period of time—only 42 months, only 1260 days. This same period of time is referred to in Revelation 12:12 where the devil himself recognizes it as a short time: “the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” He knows he has just a LITTLE time! Thus the prophetic Scriptures refer to those last 3½ years as a very short period of time (compare also Rev. 17:10 with Rev. 13:5 where we are told that Antichrist’s reign will continue 3½ years—”a short space.”). If God had prolonged this time then no flesh would be saved.
Rosenthal’s view has the Great Tribulation immediately followed by the Day of the Lord and the wrath of God. Hence we have this confusing series of events: God in mercy shortens the Great Tribulation so that He might unleash upon the world the fury of His wrath!! If mankind will barely survive the Great Tribulation (the time of “man’s wrath” according to Rosenthal), then how will mankind ever survive the time of God’s wrath? Thus Rosenthal’s understanding of how any flesh will survive the Great Tribulation is as follows: The Church will survive by means of a post-tribulation Rapture but the rest of the world, including Israel, will be plunged into the greatest time of divine wrath the world has ever known! Saved by wrath divine! Confusing!
Matthew 24:22 says “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.” Rosenthal understands this as a reference to the Jewish people (p. 174). If Jews barely survive the Great Tribulation, then how will they ever survive the Day of the Lord? The Day of the Lord will include Satan’s wrath (Rev. 12:12,14), man’s wrath (in the person of Antichrist— Rev. 13:1-10) and God’s wrath. In what way can the Day of the Lord help the Jews to survive?
CONFUSION #10: Tries to Make a Distinction between the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” and “The Day of the Lord”
The Prewrath view makes the CONFUSING distinction between the “time of Jacob’s trouble” and the Day of the Lord. The “time of Jacob’s trouble” is described in Jeremiah 30:7—”Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Rosenthal teaches that the time of Jacob’s trouble is identical to the Great Tribulation, but different from the Day of the Lord (which he says follows the time of Jacob’s trouble).
Here’s the problem: Will not the Day of the Lord be a time of great trouble for Israel? What makes the Great Tribulation a time of particular trouble for Israel and not the Day of the Lord? Furthermore, how will Israel be saved out of this time of trouble? The Rapture follows the Great Tribulation (according to the Prewrath view), but this does not involve Israel [apart from a very small remnant of believing Jews who are members of the body of Christ]. The Rapture involves only the Church. Israel would remain on earth to face the awesome Day of the Lord, the time of God’s wrath. Revelation chapter 12 teaches that Israel is under fierce Satanic attack throughout the last 3½ years, not just during the first part of these last 3½ years. Also Israel is under attack from the Antichrist throughout the last 3½ years, not just during the first part of these last 3½ years. Why then should we only call the first part of these 3½ years the time of Jacob’s trouble?
It makes much more Biblical sense to understand the entire 3½ years as being the time of Jacob’s trouble. Israel will be saved out of that time by the glorious coming of the Messiah at the end of Daniel’s 70th week. Rosenthal saves Israel by plunging this nation into the awesome fury of the Day of the Lord! Confusing!
The Prewrath view holds to the CONFUSING position that men will be saying “Peace and safety” immediately following the greatest time of trouble and persecution the world has ever known! Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5, indicates that prior to the Day of the Lord men will be saying “Peace and safety”: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:2-3). This indicates that prior to the Day of the Lord there will be conditions on earth of peace and safety (absence of war, security, people holding and having a false sense of security and well being).
This passage is a problem for Prewrath advocates because they teach that prior to the Day of the Lord the world will experience the Great Tribulation which will involve intense persecution, the fury of Antichrist, the wrath of Satan, Israelites fleeing for their lives from Jerusalem, thousands of people dying for their faith, etc. Conditions during the Great Tribulation are the very opposite of “Peace and safety.” Rosenthal describes this time as follows: “At the middle of the seventieth week [beginning of the Great Tribulation] the Antichrist will make his capital the city of Jerusalem. He will seek to become a world ruler, ruthlessly destroying men and nations as he moves to consolidate his power. His greatest fury will be unleased against the Jewish nation. For that reason, this period of time is called ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble.’ It will be a time of such severity that except those days were shortened, no flesh would live” (p. 174). Does this description sound like a time when men will be saying “Peace and safety”?
How then does the Prewrath view explain the cry of “Peace and safety”? Here is Rosenthal’s ingenious explanation: “At that moment cosmic disturbance will signal the approach of the Day of the Lord. Jews being persecuted by the Antichrist will view this as divine intervention on their behalf in the nick of time. They will proclaim ‘peace and safety,’ but their cry will be premature—an expression of short-lived duration” (p. 174). In other words, according to this view these people who will be bruised and battered from the Great Tribulation will not be experiencing any peace and safety, but when God begins to intervene with cosmic disturbances, then they suddenly get encouraged to hope that conditions will change, only to have their hopes dashes to pieces by the fury of God’s wrath being unleased upon them! Confusing!
Is Rosenthal letting the facts of the Bible speak for themselves or is he taking these facts and forcing them to fit his theory? By the way, why does Rosenthal identify those who say, “Peace and safety” as being Jews (p. 174)? In the context of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, we should understand the “they” of verse 3 as referring to unsaved people, whether Jews or Gentiles [throughout verses 1-9 there is a contrast between “they,” the unsaved, and “ye/us,” the believers].
The Prewrath view is very CONFUSING in its understanding of Daniel’s 70th week and the “birth pangs” (birth pains) associated with it.
The Bible definitely teaches that there are birth pangs associated with Daniel’s 70th week (the seven years prior to the Lord’s return to the earth). Keep in mind that a woman about to give birth experiences two kinds of birth pangs. There are the BEGINNING BIRTH PANGS which come suddenly and unexpectedly when the woman first goes into labor. These are the less severe birth pangs. Then there are the severe birth pangs of hard labor which are very intense. These very difficult pains, however, do not come unexpectedly. The woman knows that the severe birth pangs follow the beginning birth pangs, and though the severe birth pangs are very intense and difficult, they do not catch the woman by surprise.
In Matthew 24:8 we read, “All these are the beginning of sorrows [beginning of birth pangs].” This refers to the coming of false Christs, wars, famine, pestilences, earthquakes, etc. (verses 4-7). Rosenthal and most Pretribulationists equate these things with the four seal judgments of Revelation chapter 6, saying that these things will take place during the first 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week. This will be followed by a much more intense and difficult time: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21). This corresponds to a woman’s hard labor which she must endure just prior to giving birth. The Great Tribulation is also called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” and this time is said to involve terrible birth pangs: “Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:6-7). This again must refer to the severe phase of childbirth, that of hard, intense labor.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, we are told that the Day of the Lord will come at a time when the unsaved world is not expecting it (like a thief in the night): “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” A thief comes without any forewarning. The Day of the Lord will come the same way. Its destruction will come very suddenly, when least expected (when people are saying “Peace and safety”). This sudden destruction of the Day of the Lord is likened to those unexpected birth pangs of a woman with child. The only kind of birth pangs which are unexpected are the BEGINNING BIRTH PANGS. These are the pains (initial labor) that catch a woman by surprise. The more severe birth pangs which come later do not come by surprise. The woman who has already begun labor is fully expecting the more severe phase to come.
Rosenthal rightly understands the “beginning of sorrows” to refer to the less severe birth pangs during the first 3½ years (p. 173). He then says that the “hard labor” phase refers to a time immediately prior to the Day of the Lord (the Great Tribulation). He bases this on 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3. However, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 includes the birth pangs (the “sudden destruction”) as part of the Day of the Lord, not as a time preceding the Day of the Lord. He also assumes, wrongly so, that 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 refers to “hard labor.” This passage refers to labor which comes suddenly and without warning, and this can only apply to beginning labor pains.
Rosenthal’s view is confusing. If the first 3½ years are the beginning birth pangs and if the period prior to the Day of the Lord (p. 174) is the time of hard labor (the Great Tribulation), then what kind of pains are there during the day of the Lord? If the time of man’s wrath is likened to beginning labor and hard labor, what shall the time of God’s wrath be likened to?
Rosenthal’s view confuses the childbirth analogy. In childbirth, the beginning labor and the severe labor are followed by the birth! The difficult time is followed by a wonderful and joyous time! Daniel’s 70th week (with its beginning and hard labor) is followed by a glorious time (the Lord’s return to earth and millennial bliss). However, in Rosenthal’s view we do not have this. In the Prewrath view the beginning labor and the severe labor are followed by the Day of the Lord, the most intense time of God’s wrath the world has ever known! Thus, this mother who thought she would be relieved by giving birth, discovers to her horror that SHE HAS GIVEN BIRTH TO A MONSTER! How confusing!! Imagine telling a woman who has just completed hard labor: “Your worst time is still ahead!”
Rosenthal’s view does not make sense. The Great Tribulation is the greatest time of trouble the world will ever know (Matt. 24:21), but Rosenthal says that the Day of the Lord follows it! The Great Tribulation is a time of hard and severe birth pangs, but Rosenthal teaches that the Day of the Lord follows it! When we should be expecting birth and a time of rejoicing, Rosenthal plunges us into the horrors of the Day of the Lord. Confusing!
The Prewrath theory CONFUSES the cosmic disturbances of Matthew 24:29 with the cosmic disturbances of the 6th seal in Revelation 6:12-14. May God grant us discernment to carefully distinguish things that differ.
Let us first consider the passage in Revelation chapter 6. The sixth seal involves cosmic disturbances. There is no question about this. A “blackout” of the light from the heavenly bodies takes place. WHEN does this take place? It takes place prior to all of the trumpet judgments (Rev. 8-9) and prior to all the bowl judgments (Rev.16). The second coming of Christ in power and great glory does not take place until Revelation 19:11-20. Our point is this: Between the sixth seal “blackout” and the second coming of Christ a great number of events take place over a considerable period of time. The sixth trumpet in and of itself lasts for a period of five months (Rev. 9:10). We should also be very careful to notice that the fourth trumpet judgment also involves a cosmic disturbance (a “blackout” or at least a reduction of light from the heavenly bodies)—see Revelation 8:12. We must assume, therefore, that the darkening of the 6th seal was temporary, because during the fourth trumpet the heavenly bodies are darkened again. Could it be possible that the heavenly bodies are darkened once again immediately prior to the Lord’s second coming in power and great glory?
Let us now consider the passage in Matthew chapter 24 (verses 29-30). This “blackout” takes place “immediately after the tribulation of those days.” What happens when this takes place? Do we have a lengthy unfolding of the trumpet and bowl judgments? No! Immediately after the Great Tribulation we are told that 3 things will happen “THEN” [at that time] (v.30): (1) the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven [probably a reference to the Shekinah glory, and since there is no light from the other heavenly bodies this will be a glorious sight]; (2) all the tribes of the earth will mourn [see Revelation 1:7— “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen”]; (3) they will see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
If we are to read Matthew 24:29-30 literally and understand it in a normal and natural way, we can only conclude that immediately after the Great Tribulation the Son of Man will come in power and great glory. This is normally and naturally understood to be a reference to our Lord’s glorious coming to the earth to judge His enemies and establish His kingdom. According to the Prewrath view, before the Lord returns to the earth, there must first occur all of the trumpet judgments associated with the Day of the Lord (lasting for months) and only after this will Christ return to the earth. This is not what the passage says.
If Matthew 24:30 is describing our Lord’s glorious coming to the earth as King of Kings (compare Rev. 19:11-16), then there must be a great gap between verse 29 (describing events immediately after the tribulation) and verse 30 (describing an event which the Prewrath theory says will not take place until a significant time after the Great Tribulation). If Matthew 24:30 is understood to refer to the Lord’s second coming to the earth, then the Prewrath view must create a huge gap (lasting many months, perhaps years) between Matthew 24:29 and Matthew 24:30. During this gap the Day of the Lord takes place including all of the trumpet judgments. How confusing! How much better to understand this passage in its normal sense, letting it say just what it says. The passage simply says that immediately after the tribulation of those days (the Great Tribulation mentioned in verse 21) the Lord Jesus will return to the earth in power and great glory.
Of course, the Prewrath theory, in order to avoid the problem of this gap, understands Matthew 24:30-31 as referring to the Rapture of the Church, which according to their theory does take place immediately after the Great Tribulation. There are problems with this understanding. Matthew 24:30 says that those on the earth will see the Son of man coming with power and great glory. The second coming of the Lord to the earth will be very visible indeed, but not the Rapture. The Rapture will take place “in a moment [in a split second of time], in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52). If something takes place that quickly how can it be seen? It reminds us of Enoch who “walked with God, and he was not; for God took him” (Gen. 5:24). The people did not see God take him because it took place too quickly. All they could see was that “he was not” (he had disappeared). So it will be with the translation of the Church at the Rapture.
Another problem with the Prewrath view is this: If Matthew 24:30-31 refers to the Rapture, then where in Matthew chapters 24-25 do we have a description of the Lord’s glorious coming to the earth? Where in these chapters does it speak of the trumpet judgments? Where does it speak of the Day of the Lord? [The Pretribulational view understands the Day of the Lord with its trumpet judgments to be included as part of the Great Tribulation mentioned in verse 21]. Matthew 25:31 speaks of the Son of man, the millennial King, sitting on the throne of His glory [on earth]. How did He get there? It was not the Rapture that brought Him to that throne, because the Rapture takes place “in the air” (1 Thess. 4:13-17). He came to that throne by way of His glorious second coming to earth which takes place at the end of the Great Tribulation and which is described in Matthew 24:30 and Matthew 25:31.
The Prewrath view confuses the Rapture with the second coming in glory to the earth. It also confuses the blackout which occurs during the 6th seal with the blackout which occurs immediately prior to the Lord’s return to the earth. May God help us to distinguish those things which differ, rightly dividing His Word of truth.
The Prewrath view of the second coming is CONFUSING in that it teaches that “there is only one Second Coming” which “includes the Rapture of the Church, the outpouring of God’s wrath during the Day of the Lord, and Christ’s physical return in glory (pp. 221-222).” “It means a coming and continuing presence” (p. 222). From this view one gets the impression that Christ meets the Church in the air at the Rapture and then Christ and the Church continue to gradually descend to the earth during the Day of the Lord. However the Bible teaches that when Christ comes to rapture the believers He will receive His believers unto Himself “that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). The context is referring to the Father’s house in heaven (John 14:1-3). According to our Lord, the Rapture involves Christ receiving His Bride (the Church) and taking her with Him to heaven. The Prewrath view does not allow for this because it insists upon the Lord’s “continued presence” with respect to the earth (once He comes He must remain present and not return to heaven). Thus it is very significant that in a 300-page book dealing with the Rapture, Rosenthal does not once even mention John 14:3 which is one of the key passages on the Rapture. The reason is clear: John 14:3 does not fit in with the Prewrath theory and thus it is best to ignore contradictory data.
The Prewrath view CONFUSES the post-tribulational re-gathering of the nation Israel with the Pretribulational Rapture of the Church. This view teaches that Matthew 24:31 (which in light of Matthew 24:29 is clearly a post-tribulational event) is a description of the Rapture of the Church: “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
It is far better to understand Matthew 24:31 as the final re-gathering of the nation Israel, an event repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament Scriptures. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem” (Isaiah 27:13). “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:11-12). See also Jeremiah 16:4-16.
The Prewrath view CONFUSES the way in which the Lord will deal with people at His coming at the end of the age. Rosenthal argues, based on Matthew 28:20, that the Rapture will take place at the end of the age. This is because the Lord promised to be with His Church Age believers until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). What happens at the Rapture? All would agree that at the Rapture God separates the righteous from among the wicked. He does this by removing believers by the Rapture. Unbelievers (unrighteous ones) remain on earth. However, the Lord Jesus taught that at the end of the age the very opposite of this takes place: “So shall it be at the end of the age: the angels shall come forth, and sever [separate] the wicked from among the just [righteous]” (Matt. 13:49). This indicates that the unrighteous will be removed by judgment and the righteous will remain on earth. It was this way in the days of Noah when the unrighteous were taken away in judgment (Luke 17:34-37) and the righteous remained on the earth (Noah and his family).
Rosenthal teaches that the Church is on earth until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), at which time the Rapture will take place. Matthew 13:49 teaches that at the end of the age God will separate the wicked from among the righteous. But all would agree that the Rapture involves a separation of the righteous from among the wicked. How then does Rosenthal explain this seemingly confusing contradiction?
The Prewrath position makes the CONFUSING claim that the angel Michael is the Restrainer referred to in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 (p. 260, 271). This view cannot identify the Restrainer with God the Holy Spirit because the presence of the Restrainer will prevent the man of sin from being revealed (2 Thess. 2:6-8). According to the Prewrath view the CHURCH (INDWELT BY GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT) WILL STILL BE ON EARTH AT THE TIME WHEN THE MAN OF SIN IS REVEALED. Indeed, the Church will be on earth to suffer the severe persecutions of Antichrist during the Great Tribulation! Hence, Rosenthal must find someone else to play the role of the Restrainer.
The Prewrath view causes CONFUSION with respect to Satan and who his enemy is during the tribulation. In Revelation 12:13 we read, “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman [Israel] which brought forth the man child.” In the middle of the tribulation Satan is cast out of heaven and he comes down unto the inhabitants of the earth, having GREAT WRATH (Rev. 12:7-12). The object of Satan’s attack at this time is clearly the nation Israel. According to the Prewrath view, the Church of Jesus Christ is still on earth at this time (the halfway point of Daniel’s 70th week). If at this time God’s saved people on earth comprise the Church of Jesus Christ, then why is the devil’s wrath poured out upon Israel? Why is not the Church under attack? Why would the devil ignore the Church and attack unregenerate Israel? The Pretribulational answer is simple. The devil does not attack the Church because the Church is not on earth!
The Prewrath Rapture view is CONFUSING in its identification of those who are saved during the 70th week of Daniel. Keep in mind that according to the Prewrath view, Daniel’s 70th week belongs primarily to CHURCH HISTORY. Approximately 3/4 of these last seven years (5+ years) will belong to the Church Age. Only the very last phase of Daniel’s 70th week (approximately the last one or two years) will be a time when the Church will be absent from earth (during the Day of the Lord). Thus everyone who is saved during the first 5+ years will be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and will be a part of the Rapture, according to this view.
This carries with it several implications. What about the 144,000 Jewish witnesses described in Revelation 7 and 14? If these are saved during the first 5+ years, then they would be members of the Church and they would be taken up in the Rapture (unless we are to teach a partial Rapture). Since their identity is clearly Jewish, this implies that their salvation must have taken place toward the end of Daniel’s 70th week during the Day of the Lord. [Rosenthal seems to suggest the possibility that the 144,000 could have been sealed and saved prior to the Day of the Lord and hence prior to the Rapture (p. 182). If so, then why are these saved persons not included in the Rapture?]
What about the great multitude from every nation described in Revelation 7:9? They are identified as those who have come out of great tribulation (Rev. 7:14). Thus Rosenthal is forced to say that this multitude is the raptured Church (p. 184-185). However, the great host of Church Age saints never came out of great tribulation because they lived on earth prior to Daniel’s 70th week. Hence, if the raptured Church consists only of those who have come out of great tribulation (p. 185), then we must have a partial Rapture.
The Prewrath view says that during most of Daniel’s 70th week God is placing believers into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) and dealing with the Church. Those saved during this time are members of the Church. Those Gentiles who will be saved and enter the kingdom in their natural bodies must be saved toward the end of Daniel’s 70th week during the Day of the Lord’s wrath. When it comes to salvation and who the people of God are, it is the Church that is prominent during the greater part of these final seven years. This is very confusing in light of the fact that the 70 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy pertain to the Jews and Jerusalem (see Daniel 9:24), not to God’s called out assembly, the Church. When clear-cut dispensational distinctions are ignored much confusion results.
The Prewrath view CONFUSES the purging of the heavens and the earth by fire (2 Peter 3:10-12) with judgments which take place near the end of Daniel’s 70th week. This view says that the dissolving of the universe will be pre-millennial rather than post-millennial and this view also teaches that the new heavens and the new earth will be realized during the Millennium (see pages 127-134).
The passing away of the heavens and the melting of the elements are included as part of the Day of the Lord in 2 Peter 3:10: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Since Rosenthal limits the Day of the Lord to a very short period of time (less than 3½ years) and since he teaches that the end of the Day of the Lord coincides with the end of Daniel’s 70th week, then a post-millennial event cannot be included in the Day of the Lord. Indeed, Rosenthal cannot include any of the Millennium as being part of the Day of the Lord either because the Day of the Lord “is exclusively a time of devastating judgment” and “no blessing is associated with it” (p. 127).
An objective reading of 2 Peter 3:10-12 reveals that Peter is describing the total dissolving and melting of the present universe by means of fire: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” If we interpret these verses LITERALLY, then how could this possibly be a description of what shall take place during Daniel’s 70th week? If such were to take place during Daniel’s 70th week, how could there be any survivors? When the world was judged by water there were only eight survivors! If God were to judge the earth by fire during Daniel’s 70th week in such a way that the very elements dissolve, how could anyone survive? Rosenthal fails to interpret 2 Peter chapter 3 literally.
The key to prophetic chronology is the Book of Revelation. Rosenthal places the new heavens and the new earth during the time of the Millennium. The Book of Revelation places the new heavens and the new earth after the Millennium. The Millennium is described in chapter 20 and the new heavens and the new earth is introduced after the Millennium in chapter 21 (see verse 1).
The Lord Jesus predicted that there would come a time when heaven and earth would pass away (Matt. 24:35). When would this event take place? In 2 Peter 3 we are given a very important chronological clue as to exactly when the heavens and the earth will be judged by fire: “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). God is reserving the present universe for a great final judgment (a fire judgment). When will this take place? At the “day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Pet. 3:7). On what day will ungodly men be judged and sent into perdition [into the lake of fire]? This will take place at the time of the GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT (Rev. 20:11-15). This is confirmed in Revelation 20:11, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away [compare 2 Pet. 3:7,10-12]; and there was found no place for them.” Notice carefully that the Great White Throne judgment is post-millennial (after the Millennium) and therefore the dissolving of the universe by fire, spoken of in 2 Peter 3, must take place after the Millennium. This also perfectly harmonizes with Revelation 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”
In 2 Peter 3:13 we learn that righteousness will find its home in this new heaven and new earth: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” This is because “there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). During the Millennium the Lord Jesus will exercise a righteous rule and will swiftly punish unrighteousness, but sin will still be present in the hearts of men and righteousness will not find its true home on earth at that time.
Moving the elemental destruction of the heavens and the earth to a time before the Millennium creates more problems than it solves, and does not respect the chronology given to us in 2 Peter 3:7 and the Book of Revelation. Placing this fire judgment after the Millennium does not harmonize with the Prewrath view, but it does fit well into the prophetic time framework of the Book of Revelation.
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Does the Prewrath view accurately present the facts of Scripture in a sane, safe and solid way?
“Prove [test all things by the Word of God] all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). May God be pleased to reveal His truth to His humble servants (Rev. 1:1), with the result being that we may live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age, looking (expectantly and eagerly) for that blessed hope (that happy expectancy), even the glorious appearing of the GREAT GOD, even our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 2:12-13). As our godly teachers have encouraged and exhorted us in the past, so we say again, “IT MAY BE TODAY!”
“MARANATHA!” “EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS!”
The Middletown Bible Church
349 East Street
Middletown, CT 06457
Dr. Mike Johnston
For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written [prophecy for Israel] may be fulfilled . . . for there shall be great distress in the land [Israel], and wrath upon this people [Jews] (Luke 21:22-23).
Conventional thinking has set a confusing precedent for rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). When the Bible was written it was divided into Old Testament and New Testament, but the Bible is basically divided into two more well defined and descriptive terms: prophecy and mystery. Prophecy is the purpose God has for the earth and Christ’s reign upon it, which includes the elect nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 24:23; Mic. 4:7) as given by the prophets. Mystery is that body of truth proclaimed by the Apostle Paul, concerning heaven and the exaltation of the Body of Christ in heaven, together there with Christ (Eph. 2:4-10, 3: 1-4) that the prophets never saw.
Our study here is the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21) which describes a prophetic period of time in Israel’s future that the Bible and scholars refer to as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). While this self descriptive title should be all that is necessary to convince us of God’s intention for it, this factor has been largely ignored and rejected by certain groups determined to insert the mystery church into a prophecy strictly implicating Israel and the unsaved world (Isa. 13; Rev. 6-19). To better understand the Jewish nature of the Olivet Discourse, one must first understand Daniel’s seventy week prophecy.
Israel’s Seventy Weeks Prophesied to Daniel
The angel Gabriel  revealed to Daniel the prophet God’s plan for the inauguration of Israel’s earthly kingdom in the 6th century BC. The prophecy consisted of seventy weeks of seven 360-day years, to commence with the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem which was given by Cyrus March 14, 445 BC. Since this event occurred with perfect precision liberals – in typical godless fashion- have consistently fudged the date for Daniel’s writings to sometime after the fact. The 1947 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls proved Daniel was written centuries earlier.
Daniel writes [emphases mine]:
Seventy weeks (according to Strong’s original Hebrew this amounts to 70 weeks of 7 years) are determined upon thy people (the Jews) and upon thy holy city (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, (the promised kingdom) andto seal up the vision and prophecy, (God moves from prophecy to mystery) and to anoint the most Holy (Jesus Christ). Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (Neh. 2:1-8) unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: (sixty nine weeks of years) the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks (this would include the seven weeks already mentioned to total again sixty nine weeks of years) shall Messiah be cut off . . . (Daniel 9:24-26). On April 6, 32 AD- which is exactly 173,880 days after Cyrus’ decree, Messiah presented Himself as the messiah in Jerusalem just as foretold.
Israel’s Messiah King Presented at 70th Week
When interpreted in their proper context, the Gospels through the crucifixion are actually a continuation of the OT narrative (see Heb. 9:15-16). Matthew’s Gospel was written to convince Jews that Christ was the long awaited Messiah who had come to set up His kingdom of heaven  on earth. Luke further documents that Christ was heir to the Davidic throne in Jerusalem (Luke 1:32-33) and as such would convene the covenant. Therefore, Jesus and John the Baptist both heralded His arrival with a crystal clear invitation to Israel: Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). The King, of course validated His presence with many miraculous signs. However, after 40 months of confirming His ministry to the Jews, when He entered Jerusalem to present Himself as their long awaited Messiah, He was cut off and crucified at the beginning of the 70th week just as Daniel predicted. [i] Please keep in mind, this one final week Daniel prophesied for Israel- is still out there, unfulfilled. Dispensational Bible scholars believe the rapture will trigger God moving from mystery back to prophecy with the tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:29); the day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6; Jer. 46:10; Ezek. 13:5; Joel 2, etc); time of trouble (Dan. 12:1);the hour of temptation (Rev. 3:10); days of vengeance (Luke 21:22); and of course the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) soon to follow. Messiah, according to the prophet Isaiah, will return after Israel and the Gentile nations are dealt with in this frightening future hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Rev. 3:10).
With this information we will begin our study of the Olivet Discourse- one passage at a time- as it appears in Matthew’s Gospel with brief commentary in [bracketed] inserts.
Matthew’s Record of the Olivet Discourse
The four Gospels aggregately describe the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, each from a different perspective. Interestingly, only three of the Gospels present the Olivet Discourse which outlines the signs of Christ’s return to Jerusalem to inaugurate the Davidic Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16):
- Matthew presents Christ as the King of the Jews and appeals to Israel (Jews around the world)-
The Olivet Discourse is recorded in Matthew 24-25
- Mark portrays Christ as the servant, and appeals to Romans (final empire)-
The Olivet Discourse is recorded in Mark 13
- Luke presents Christ as the Wisest Man and appeals to Greeks (Gentiles)-
The Olivet Discourse is recorded in Luke 21
- John portrays Christ as God the Son, and appeals to the church-
The Olivet Discourse is NOT recorded because the church is NOT here
As we study the Olivet Discourse, please please pay particular attention to the following factors revealing and reinforcing its Jewish audience:
- It was delivered to converted Jewish patriots concerned about fulfillment of the recently rejected Davidic Covenant Kingdom (Matt. 24:3; Mark 13:3-4; Luke 21:7).
- It is concerned specifically with events in Judaea and Jerusalem (Matt. 24:16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20-24); location of the Second Coming (Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11) and home of the coming Jewish kingdom (Isa. 2; 52; Zech. 8; 14).
- It features signs which Jews required (John 2:18; 1 Cor. 1:22) and were convinced by, and subjects of special concern to Jews alone (the Temple, synagogues, anti-Semiticism, the Sabbath, Judea, etc);
- It fulfills prophecy which is specifically for Israel;
- It concludes with the visible Revelation (Second Coming) of Christ to Mount Olivet outside Jerusalem (see Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11) where He separates the sheep (Israel and her supporters) into the Messianic Jewish kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:31-34), and the goats (enemies of God and Israel) into everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:41-46).
Matthew 24:1-2 – Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem
And Jesus went out, and departed from the Temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the Temple. (2) And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
The entire Olivet Discourse describes events leading to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to Jerusalem to set up His Davidic millennial kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16). The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was the visible testimony of God’s involvement with Israel, and her worship of Him, and service to Him. It will reappear in the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth (Isa 2:3; 60:13; Ezek. 40-48). However, here we find Jesus predicting its destruction which incidentally happened in 70 AD meaning it would require rebuilding sometime in the future.
Matthew 24:3 – Mount Olivet East of Jerusalem
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives [east of Jerusalem- from where He ascended and will one day return], the disciples [Peter, James, John, and Andrew- Mark 13:3] came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming [to set up the Kingdom in Jerusalem- see Acts 1:6], and of the end of the world [system as they knew it]?
By this time, Peter, James, John, and Andrew were almost four year old Christians. Still, they were patriots that held fast to their Jewish roots, and a deep religious connection to the Law, customs, the Temple and the prophets (read Acts 1-10). Moreover, they were all awaiting the Covenant Davidic Kingdom as evidenced in their preaching (Matt 10:7; Acts 3:19). This interest in the Kingdom continued up through the glorious ascension of the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:6). The first nine chapters of Acts is specifically oriented to Jewish customs, laws, and the coming Covenant Kingdom. Gentiles were generally excluded from the church until Acts 10.
THE SIGNS BEGIN
Matthew 24:4-5 – SIGNS: Deception from False Messiahs
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Since Satan knows the Messiah is coming to Israel, he has many false Christs masquerading as Christ in an effort to influence a spiritually blind Israel with signs and wonders designed to deceive the elect- Israel (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2 Thess. 2:3-12; 2 Tim. 3:13; see also 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 2 John 1:7; Rev. 12:9; 13:14; 16:14).
Matthew 24:6-8 – SIGNS: Wars and Sorrows
And ye [remember, He was giving signs about the coming kingdom to four converted Jewish patriots] shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (7) For nation [ethnics] shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (8) All these are the beginning of sorrows [birth pangs].
War is on the minds of billions of people as the Islamic Beast is rising across the Middle East and around the world (Psa. 83; Dan. 7-12; Rev. 11-19). Interestingly, Luke not only mentions wars but commotions [instability and disorder] which in context speaks of terrorism (Luke 21:9). To date, there have been an over fifty admitted acts of terrorism perpetrated by Islamists against America alone since the toppling of the twin towers. The most recent is the Boston Marathon, where two pressure cooker explosions killed at least 3 while injuring and destroying the lives of hundreds more. Sadly, things like this are becoming common occurrences. Add to this the fact that countries are crumbling, children are starving, economies are failing, diseases are escalating, and earth is quaking like a woman in travail before childbirth. Few would argue these are the signs Christ alluded to.
Matthew 24:9-10 – SIGNS: Affliction, Anti-Semiticism, and Betrayal in Jewish Synagogues
Then shall they deliver you [Jews] up to be afflicted [to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten- Mark 13:9; see Luke 21:12], and shall kill you: and ye [Jews] shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake [Jews are blamed today for all the problems with Islam in the Middle East. It will escalate unto Armageddon- the final battle outside Jerusalem, Israel]. (10) And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Once again, the setting is Jerusalem and the warning is for Jews.
Matthew 24:11 – SIGNS: False Prophets
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Israel exists from prophecy and as such she will be extremely vulnerable to false prophets in her spiritual blindness. The Lord Jesus is warning the Jews that there will be a vast influx of strange seductive voices attempting to lure them into the final deception featuring the Antichrist (see Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:8-12; Rev. 16:13-14). In light of this, it will require great discernment as the end draws near. I believe that many Jews will begin to study the Old and New Testament for the first time.
Matthew 24:12 – Increasing Iniquity and Decreasing Love
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Can this not be clearly seen in the millions of abortions in America and around the world have degenerated into the mass baby murderer from Philly, Kermit Gosnell? 
Matthew 24:13 – Endurance Produces Deliverance
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
This is a most inappropriate verse to apply to the church that is saved by faith in Christ alone (Rom. 3:22-28; Phil. 3:9; Titus 3:5). When studying the Book of Revelation (Rev. 6-19) which describes the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7)– we find that almost two-thirds of the world’s population will die. The Lord Jesus is telling the Jews that survive this unprecedented period will enter His Kingdom at the sheep and goat judgment (see Matt. 25:31-34).
Matthew 24:14 – Gospel of the Kingdom Shall be Preached – again
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Israel has been awaiting the earthly Kingdom in Jerusalem since God promised it to King David in 1042 BC (2 Sam. 7:16). Christ came 2000 years ago as the promised Messiah King for the lost sheep of Israel (Matt. 15:24), and He offered it to Israel with the message: repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 4:17). This same kingdom message was passed on to His disciples for their ministry (Matt. 10:6) and final great commission (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20). Sometime after the mystery church (Eph. 3:3) disappears in the mystery rapture (1 Cor. 15:51), there will be 144,000 Jews- not Gentiles- that will be sealed by an angel of God for service (Rev. 7:4-8). These specially selected Jews will be spared from harm and commissioned to preach the same gospel of the kingdom that John the Baptist, Christ the Messiah King, and the disciples of Christ all preached early on (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:17). Please understand. The Body of Christ- the church- does NOT preach a kingdom gospel; we preach the gospel of the dispensation of the grace of God through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as He revealed to Paul (Acts 20:24; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 3:2), and that Paul referred to as my gospel (Rom. 2:16; 16:25; etc).
Matthew 24:15 – The abomination of desolation prophesied to Israel, not the Church
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Again, this is a reference to Jewish prophecy. The abomination of desolation that Christ mentions constitutes an act Scofield  calls “the blasphemous assumption of deity by the Beast (Dan. 12:11; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4).” Sadly, Jews that rejected Christ as Messiah will fall for an imposter (John 5:43). Making sense of this is only possible by first understanding that Jesus was referencing Daniel’s 490 year prophecy we looked at earlier which begins: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [Israel] and upon thy holy city [Jerusalem]. . . (Daniel 9:24;). When He spoke this, Christ had been recently cut off at the 70th week, leaving one 7 year period scholars teach will be fulfilled duringthe time of Jacob’s trouble, aka the tribulation and great tribulation so called. This period will likely be fully facilitated through universal deception (2 Thess. 2:8-11) aimed particularly at the Jews (Matt. 24:4, 5, 11, 24) who in their blindness rejected Christ’s offer of the Kingdom of peace and New Covenant blessings, but who will in the future gleefully accept a seven year peace covenant brokered by the Antichrist who will violate this treaty in the midst of the week (Dan. 9:27) by entering the holy place of the temple he perhaps championed where he puts a halt to animal sacrifices, then enters the holy of holies (Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 11) from which he will declare himself god and force worship of himself through the acceptance of a specific mark: 666 (2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13-14).
Matthew 24:16-19 – Warning to the Inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem- Jews
Then let them which be in Judaea [southern Israel mostly occupied by Islamic squatters] flee into the mountains: (17) Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: (18) Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. (19) And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
Read this warning carefully. This isn’t for the church; it’s for Jews in Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus warned that when Antichrist enters the Jewish Temple declaring that he’s god (2 Thess. 2:4), it is a sign that the Jews are to flee as quickly as possible. Luke writes: And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh (Luke 21:20) . . . and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24).
Matthew 24:20 – Reinstitution of the Sabbath for Israel
But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
Sometime after the mystery church is removed from earth, God’s focus will once again be upon prophecy for the Jews who will have reinstituted Temple worship with the sacrificial system (Dan. 9:27) and the Mosaic Law including Sabbath worship. Here is the patience of the saints [saints are God’s set apart people; in this instance they are Jews]: here are they that keep the commandments of God [the Law is for Israel, not the church], and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12) [these are Jewish converts to Christ who follow the OT Law]. May I reiterate, the Olivet Discourse is not for Christians (the church). This is strictly Jewish.
Matthew 24:21, 29 – The Revelation of Jesus Christ after the Tribulation
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation [first prophesied by Moses- Deut. 4:30], such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be Matthew 24:29-30 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Luke helps further define the Jewishness of the tribulation period using Christ’s Words: For these be the days of vengeance [in vengeance- aka wrath- God will punish sin (Isa. 2:12) and prepare Israel for the kingdom], that all things which are written [prophecy for Israel] may be fulfilled . . . for there shall be great distress in the land[Jerusalem, Israel], and wrath upon this people [Jews] (Luke 21:22-23).
Matthew’s record of the Revelation of Christ compliments God’s prophetic Word describing how King Jesus will arrive on earth then conduct the sheep and goat judgment which determines who enters the Jewish Davidic Kingdom:
Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. [see 2 Thess. 2:8).
Zechariah 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Matthew 25:31-34 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. (34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: [The Millennial (Davidic) Covenant Kingdom is in Jerusalem. If you study Matthew 25 carefully, you’ll discover that during the sheep and goat judgment, Gentiles are welcomed into the Kingdom based upon their treatment of Christ’s brethren- Jews. See Gen. 12:1-3; Num. 24:9; Gen. 26:2-4; Obad. 1:15; etc].
Matthew 24:22 – Days are shortened for Israel- Mine elect
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
Anti-PreTrib advocates have staked a fraudulent claim on the false notion that the church is the elect mentioned here even though the nation Israel is referred to in the law of first mention- mine elect (Isaiah 42:1) as well as being the clear subject of the entire Olivet Discourse. Therefore, while anti-PreTrib advocates desperately want elect to mean the church, Scripture isn’t supportive of their supposition. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer clears up the confusion:
“Throughout the Olivet Discourse Christ refers to Israel as the elect. The most casual contemplation of this discourse (Mat. 24:1-25:46) will disclose the truth that only Israel is in view as the elect of God. Similarly, a revealing Scripture from Paul (Rom. 9:1-10:4) sets forth the truth respecting Israel’s election. Too often this portion of Scripture has been applied to believers today who comprise the Church. The salient facts in the case which make it impossible, however, are that in Israel’s election there is a national objective and that an individual Jew, though belonging to the elect nation, did not have any personal election assured him.” (Systematic Theology)
Matthew 24:23-26 – Further warnings about false Messiahs, false prophets, and miracle workers
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. (24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect [Israel]. (25) Behold, I have told you before. (26) Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
The signs and wonders crowd are mentioned here and can be found actively recruiting souls: Revelation 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Matthew 25:31-34 The Revelation of Jesus Christ and the Sheep and Goat Judgment
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand [Jews and their supporters], but the goats on the left. (34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
In summary: Israel exists from prophecy and the church from mystery. The Second Coming (aka the Revelation) of Jesus Christ to earth is in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom that will be inaugurated on earth (2 Sam. 7:16). This kingdom is a major topic of OT prophecy, and the Olivet Discourse provides signs for Israel to know when it is about to happen; after the tribulation (the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble- Jer. 30:7), where Christ will return in visible glory to Jerusalem where He will destroy the Antichrist and his army with the brightness of His coming (2 Thess. 2:8), set His feet on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4), and sit upon a throne of judgment separating the sheep- comprised of Israel and her supporters- into the Davidic kingdom (Matt. 25:40), from the goats- comprised of surviving unsaved, anti-Semites- who will be cast into everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:45-46). 
 It was also Gabriel who 540 years later told the virgin Mary she would bear the promised Son Immanuel as heir to the throne of Israel (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Luke 1:31-33).
 Mentioned 32 times- only in Matthew: 3:2; 4:17; 5:3, 10, 19, 20; 7:21; 8:11; 10:7; 11:11, 12; 3:11, 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47, 52; 16:19; 18:1,3, 4, 23; 19:12, 14, 23; 20:1; 22:2; 23:13; 25:1, 14.
 He murdered babies that survived the horrors of abortion buy slitting open the back of their necks and slicing their spinal cords. Workers reported hearing the screams of these precious children as Gosnell butchered them alive then tossed them in a garbage can.
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[i] Calculated by Sir Robert Anderson, former director of the Scotland Yard.