The Prewrath Rapture

Below is a recent article written by BRIAN MELIA for Prophecy Today. Link at the bottom of the article.
This article explores the prewrath position of the rapture. This view proposes that the rapture of the church takes place after the revealing of the Anti-Christ, between the 6-7th seal. This would mean that the generation of believers alive in that final hour would see the rise of The Anti-Christ and go through the great tribulation, or persecution of the Anti-Christ, but would be removed before the wrath of The Lamb. There is room for varying views on the rapture and this is something we are not dogmatic about, but this article provides good food for thought!

Paul taught that believers who are alive when the Lord returns will be translated directly into their resurrection bodies to join believers resurrected from the dead: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1Thes 4:16-17). This event of being ‘caught up’ (Greek ‘harpazo’) is referred to by many as ‘the rapture’– deriving from the Latin translation of this verb.

Zondervan has published the book ‘Three Views of the Rapture: Pretribulation, Prewrath or Posttribulation1 which is an updated second edition, replacing the mid-tribulation view of the first edition with the prewrath view. This reflects the fact that many pastors and teachers have switched from other views to the prewrath view.

Concerning the second coming of Jesus, prewrath teachers regard it as a complex, whole event that encompasses the resurrection and rapture of those who belong to the Lord, the judgments upon Antichrist and those who oppose the Lord, the rescue and restoration of Israel and the establishment of the Lord’s millennial kingdom reign. The Scriptures describe multiple events as taking place in the Lord’s return. For instance, Paul describes this coming as including the gathering of the saints (the rapture) and the destruction of ‘the lawless one’ (the Antichrist), using the same Greek word for ‘coming’ (‘parousia’) in both verses (2Thes 2:1, 8).

A future seven-year period

Amongst those who take a futurist approach to interpretation (believing for instance, that most prophecies of the book of Revelation are yet to be fulfilled) the seventy ‘sevens’ prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27, is very significant. The passage describes a period of 490 years (seventy ‘sevens’). A number of scholars have demonstrated how the first sixty-nine ‘sevens’ of 483 years, beginning from the command of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-9), predicted exactly the year of the crucifixion of Jesus – “the Anointed One will be put to death”. However, the final seven years in these key timings for the nation of Israel are still to come, and, according to Daniel 9:27, will include at the halfway point an abomination in the temple. Jesus refers to this “abomination of desolation” as the event that leads to the time of unparalleled persecution known as the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:15, 21 ESV).

Correcting the Thessalonian church’s misunderstanding about the timing of the Day of the Lord, Paul gave further details about this abomination, explaining that the day of the Lord could not come about until the man of lawlessness (the Antichrist) is revealed: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2Thes 2:3-4).

Paul then described one who is holding back or restraining the appearance of the Antichrist, and the associated satanic power of lawlessness, until the appointed time (2Thes 2:5-8). Bible teachers who say that the Church will not experience the great tribulation, often claim that the Holy Spirit is the restrainer, in line with their view that the church is raptured before this unparalleled tribulation. However, a convincing case can be made that the restrainer is a powerful angel and may well be the archangel Michael. Michael has a specific role in God’s purposes for Israel in the final years of this age (Dan 12:1). Michael and his angels fight against Satan and his angels and prevail and eject them from heaven (Rev 12:7-9). Also, it is an angel who chains Satan in the Abyss during the Lord’s millennial reign (Rev 20:1-3).

The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord

Many Bible teachers, call the whole final seven years period of Daniel’s prophecy ‘the tribulation’ or ‘the tribulation period.’ However, prewrath scholar Alan Kurschner, in his book ‘Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord’,2 states that the expression ‘the tribulation period’ is misleading as “it neglects the biblical distinction between the great tribulation and the day of the Lord” (p13). This distinction is crucial. I highly recommend Dr Kurschner’s book.

The Greek word, ‘thlipsis’ is often translated ‘tribulation’ or ‘distress’ in referencing the persecution of Christians and Israel. Following the abomination of desolation, Antichrist’s actions, inspired by Satan, will initiate ‘the great tribulation’: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matt 24:21 ESV).

Of this time of future intense persecution in the great tribulation, Jesus said: And “if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (Matt 24:22 ESV). The phrase ‘cut short’ (Greek ‘koloboō’) means to cause something to be reduced in number or extent. This completely fits with Jesus words: “But about that day or hour no-one knows” (Matt 24:36). In contrast, some would argue that the view that Jesus gathers the saints at the very end of the final seven years of Daniel’s seventy sevens prophecy conflicts with no-one knowing the day of the Lord’s return.

Taken to safety

Those amongst the elect who survive the great tribulation are then rescued. “And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matt 24:31). Concerning this sudden gathering of the saints in the rapture, Jesus also says: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and one left” (Matt 24:37-40).

Many Christians reading this passage think that because some versions such as the NIV (above) and the KJV and NKJV use the word ‘took’ for those killed in Noah’s flood, then those ‘taken’ in the repeated phrase “one will be taken and one will be left” must also be taken in judgment. However, two different Greek words are used in these verses. The phrase “took them all away” referring to those killed in Noah’s flood, uses the Greek verb ‘airo’. The ESV and RSV translate this phrase “the flood came and swept them all away”.

However, the Greek verb used in “one will be taken and one left” (vs 40 & 41) is ‘paralambanō’ which means ‘to take with oneself’ or ‘to join with oneself’ or ‘to receive’ or ‘to bring someone along with.’ ‘Paralambanō’ is used: of Joseph both taking Mary to be his wife and taking Mary and the baby Jesus into Egypt (Matt 1:20,24, Matt 2:13-14), and also of Jesus taking Peter, James, and John with Him to the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt 17:1). In John 14:3, Jesus promised his disciples: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back, and take you to be with me, that you also may be where I am” – where the Greek verb used for ‘take you’ is again ‘paralambanō’. Thus, we can conclude that Jesus takes the believers who are still alive alongside himself, in safety, as he cuts short the great tribulation and it is the unrepentant sinners who remain on earth who are in danger of being killed in judgments of the trumpets, bowls and Armageddon, described in Revelation.

In harmony with this interpretation, it was the wicked in Noah’s day who rejected God’s warning, who were left to the judgment of the flood and killed, while those on the ark were protected from the worldwide waters of judgment. The flood began on the very day that Noah and his family were shut in the ark (Genesis 7:11-13). Likewise, concerning the destruction of wicked city Sodom, Jesus said: “But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:29). To parallel “as it was in the days of Noah” (and Lot) the judgments of the day of the Lord are poured out immediately after the rapture.

The first six seals

Prewrath scholars believe that the first six seals of Revelation 6 are not part of God’s wrath but describe events that must happen before the Lord’s return. For instance, the fifth seal describes faithful martyrs slain in persecution crying out for vengeance. This cannot be part of the wrath of God, otherwise the Lord is inflicting wrath on those who belong to Him, and we know that the promise to the Church is: “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thes 5:9).

At the sixth seal, the day of the Lord’s wrath is clearly impending, and the associated judgments are about to break upon the earth. Those who have resisted the Lord in unbelief react with terror: “They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?’” (Rev 6:16-17). Signs accompanying this impending wrath include celestial disturbances, such as the sun turning black like sackcloth and the moon turning blood red (Rev 6:12-14, Joel 2:30-31, Matt 24:29). The opening of the seventh seal releases the contents of the scroll: the consecutive, cataclysmic, worldwide trumpet and bowl judgments of the day of the Lord’s wrath. This event is so awesome that it produces “silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Rev 8:1). This awed silence at the prospect of the judgments of the day of the Lord is also prophesied by Zephaniah: “Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near” (Zeph 1:7). These judgments include those on the armies of nations intent on destroying Israel (Zech 14:1-4, Joel 3:1-3).

Rapture before the seventh seal

Thus, the resurrection and rapture take place just before the seventh seal pronounces the day of the Lord’s wrath. Revelation describes the resurrection and rapture of the saints as taking place between the opening of the sixth and seventh seals: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’.” They are described as coming “out of the great tribulation” (Rev 7:9-10,14) including those previously described at the fifth seal as martyred souls “under the altar” (Rev 6:9).

So, to summarise the prewrath view3: There is an important biblical distinction between the great tribulation (Antichrist’s satanically inspired persecution against the Church and Israel) and the day of the Lord’s wrath (against unrepentant sinners). The great tribulation begins with the ‘abomination of desolation’ committed by the Antichrist at the midpoint of the final seven years of Daniel’s ‘seventy sevens’ prophecy. The great tribulation is ‘cut short’ at an unknown day in the final half of this seven years, by the Lord gathering the saints in the rapture which is followed immediately by the judgments of the day of the Lord’s wrath.

Concerning interpretation of Biblical prophecy, followers of the Lord Jesus certainly hold a range of different views. However, I believe we can all agree with John’s prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20).

Article from Prophecy Today UK by Brian Melia



  1. Reply
    Katee says:

    This view is the only one that makes the most sense… there are no unanswered questions. If we look at the trajectory of the New Testament & the commands placed on His Disciples, along with the contents of Daniel 12.1, we can see where pre tribulationists are holding to a view that wreaks of wishful thinking. Not to say anything negative of them, but the last generation of the Church will be both blessed to be the last generation who sees Him coming on the clouds & persecuted in such a way that the Lord, Himself knows must be cut short or there would be no Church left to rapture.

  2. Reply
    Carman says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your interpretation!

    Myself and a few close friends have come up with very a simlar interpretation except for perhaps a couple small changes. Note we are NOT Bible scholars, but Holy spirit led believers, free from denominational influence and just doing our best to interpret what we read with as little outside influence as possible.

    We believe the 6 seals are more mans judgement upon himself BUT enflamed by the release of the four spirits of antichrist, war, famine and pestilence in the first four seals.

    We believe that the 1st seal – the white horse, may be the actual antichrist – however that may not mean that he is actually revealed yet. He will have to be at work in the world building up power and followers for perhaps several years before he is able to broker the peace treaty with Israel and is then “revealed”. Therefore the Holy Spirit (residing in the spirit filled church) could still be the restrainer and thus removed during the rapture. We believe the chaos that ensues after the rapture will be the catalyst to launch him into true power and help him broker that treaty.

    The rest of your interpretation is pretty much what we came up with. There really is no other explanation of the vast multitude from every tribe and language after the 6th seal is broken.

    It’s also interesting that a sealed scroll like that was often a legal document – like a deed to the earth or perhaps a marriage document?

    However I admit that your explanation of the 24 elders already having their crowns does put a hole in our theory. I don’t have an explanation as to why they would already have crowns in our version, but perhaps they were a special case (like Enoch and Elijah who had their own raptures), and already had their judgements? I envision them being the 12 sons of Jacob and the 12 acts apostles (and Paul not Matthias… but that is another interpretation)

    Also interesting, we wonder if right now – summer of 2023 – may be just at the beginning of the 3rd seal. There are many things lining up to make the inflation of the last year seem like childs play. Only time will tell obviously – but I must say it truly feels as though the Lords comming is immenent!! It will be a very dark and sad day, yet exciting and hopeful at the same time for believers! Now is the time to make yourself ready!! Be one of the 5 wise virgins and fill your flasks with oil!!

    For As Jesus said in Luke 21:36
    Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

    The above is another good arguement for the rapture (which is also promised to the church of philidelphia, so I have trouble understanding how some call the rapture blasphemy lol)

    • Reply
      Jerry says:

      Hey Carman! I’m 79 (old Marine combat vet) and like you, not a scholar, but have studied eschatology only since the Spring of 2006 when I was in Iraq (for 38 months)…and, yes, I was in my early 60’s. I was a staunch “Pre-Tribber” since I got saved in Sept 1980 spending time with one of the greatest end-time teachers and Biblical Scholars. I had no reason to doubt all that I learned from him…and others. But in Iraq in 2006, I was witnessing to a young warrior before he was going out on patrol and telling him about the rapture…how it could happen at any moment…while we were talking even! I wanted him to know that he could be saved no matter what. As I was saying this, that still, small voice (not audible) spoke to me and said, “Do you know that of yourself…or, did someone tell you?”

      At that point, I knew that everything I was saying & knew about the rapture, had come from someone telling me! A few days later, I came across a huge box (sent from the states) with books for the troops. I looked inside this “washing machine size” box and all the books were gone except about 3-4 paperbacks. One got my attention: white cover, blue lettering, and all I saw was in the upper right hand corner: “Some believe Jesus could rapture the Church at any moment; others say that He won’t until the middle of the Tribulation; still others place the Rapture at the end of the Tribulation. Are any of them right-or does the Bible teach something else? Find out in…..The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church, by Marvin Rosenthal.

      I climbed into that box & I picked up that book and took it back to my tent near Baghdad and the Euphrates River and was anxious to open up to the middle and see “the answer”….but that same small voice told me STOP!….read EVERY word starting at the cover (and not even the back cover!), and not turn a page until I search the Scriptures & understood what was been said on THAT page!

      That started my long journey in searching the Scriptures for the next 35 months in Iraq, turning the pages one at a time…and never going forward. It took me 4 1/2 yrs to finally read the last page…only to find that EVERY SCRIPTURE used in the book was already laid out in full in the Appendix!! I could’ve completed the book in 6 months had I known that! But, looking back, I wouldn’t trade the search for anything shy of the journey it took me on!

      Out of that experience, and continued searching of the scripture (reading websites and articles like this one) I continue to be open to learn. For no matter who we are, what degree (or lack of), no matter what position we hold on any subject in the Bible, we need to always stay humble and remember: “For now we only know in part….” And, that I applaud your’s and your friends search into this amazing subject of the Rapture of the elect….at that unknown hour!

      Given that long, scene setting background…I wanted to challenge you just on part of your comment: “ We believe the chaos that ensues after the rapture will be the catalyst to launch him into true power and help him broker that treaty.”

      From the Pre-Wrath viewpoint (which I now hold strongly to until proven by Scripture otherwise), your statement would cause the Rapture to be BEFORE the start of Daniel’s 70th Week, as my understanding is that the anti-Christ’s Treaty with Israel is what starts the 7 yr period. Therefore, the chaos following the rapture (in order to help him broker the deal) would put you in the “Pre-Tribulational” Rapture group! That’s what confused me about your remarks, as you started out saying that your findings were pretty much the same except for a couple of “small changes”. That threw me, brother…as I was assuming that you all pretty much agreed with the rapture being between the 6th & 7th Seal.

      At any rate, just something for your group to chew on. And, a couple of other “freebies”…in all my studies in really trying to DIS-prove the Pre-Wrath position, I’ve only become more convinced. I’ve yet to fine even ONE scripture in the OT or NT that even hints of a “secret-unannounced-signless” rapture of the church! Secondly, so many Pre-Trib scholars are simply NOT making any distinction whatsoever between the wrath of satan and the wrath of God. Therefore, they have to believe that the first 5 seals along with the rest of the whole 7 yr period is the Wrath of God! There’s a huge difference in those first 5 seals and in the 7th when God’s Wrath stored up from the beginning of time is poured out! This is imperative to understand in order to see the fallacy of a Pre-Trib rapture! I sometimes start out asking someone whether they would prefer to endure the wrath of satan or the Wrath of God…just to get them thinking! (Clue: remember the Word says don’t fear the one who can take your life, but the One who can send your soul to hell!)

      So, brother, just give it some thought and continue your meeting with one another and encouraging each other as we are constantly seeing the “end days” play out right before our very eyes! May God bless and keep you and His face shine upon you!
      In Christ alone,
      Jerry in Texas

  3. Reply
    Jim Black says:

    I have a question about the feast of trumpets (Lev. 23:24), Tishri 1, and day of atonement (vs. 27), Tishri 10. Ten days separate them. Many believe Trumpets is the rapture and Atonement is part of the second coming. Is that a problem for pretrib, which places seven years between them, and prewrath which places about a year and a half between them?

    • Reply
      Graham King says:

      Hi Jim
      Thank you for your question. I have had that very same consideration and have concluded that both the pretrib abd prewrath views allow for the feasts prophetic fulfilments.
      thank you

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