I’ve been following Anna Marie at Anna.Xanga.com. She challenges me to rethink our traditional interpretations on Revelations and End-Time teachings. Recently she has made several statements that has caused me to re-think our terminology. For example, she said that Revelation is not chronological. I’ve believed this for many years; I don’t see how anyone can understand Revelation apart from seeing that it is not chronological. My own charts in the “Reveal” section of http://themercyplace.com indicate this. AnnaMarie then goes on to discuss how someone long ago got Chapter 8 verse 1 out of its rightful place in scripture divisions. This, too, I’ve maintained for many years. The Trumpet Vision begins in Revelation 8:2. Revelations 8:1 belongs with the seventh seal and is in fact the conclusion of the vision of the breaking of the seals.
Now comes the part that has caused me to rethink our terminology. Anna says that she grew up Pre-Tribulation, Pre-Millennialist but since we weren’t raptured prior to the beginning of Tribulation then she has abandoned this Pre-Trib position in favor of a Pre-Wrath position. Here’s where we need to change our terminology. I, too, grew up Pre-Trib and until reading this in Anna’s blog never gave it a second thought. I also agree that Tribulation has already begun and that Christians/believers will endure tribulation. Fact is “tribulation” began in the first century and has continued for 2000 years. John, the Apostle, who penned Revelation says in Revelation 1:9, “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation…” In fact, when John wrote this in about AD96, the church was undergoing it’s third great persecution. So Tribulation began before AD70 and has continued for 2000 years, so to speak correcctly, we cannot hold to a Pre-Trib rapture. We need to change our terminology to reflect a more accurate belief. Perhaps, ‘Pre-Great Tribulation Rapture’ would be more precise. Another possibility is ‘Pre-Jacob’s Trouble Rapture’. Anna suggested that she is “Pre-Wrath”. A lot of people are jumping on the Pre-Wrath wagon. I think I will too; but even here new definitions are needed. I have always said and still maintain that NOTHING needs to happen prophetically prior to Jesus coming for His Bride. In the traditional Pre-Wrath approach, He could not come for His Bride until half-way through Great Tribulation or later; this doesn’t line up with scripture. In fact, from the time of Christ’s ascension into Heaven, IT HAS BEEN GOD’S WILL THAT BELIEVERS WATCH AND PRAY BECAUSE WE DON’T KNOW WHEN THE LORD WILL RETURN FOR HIS BRIDE! Hear me! It is God’s will that I watch and pray (Luke 21:36) and expect His return, whether or not his return occurs in my lifetime. Anna has beautifully said that many have longed be alive in this day that we are blessed to live in. My objection to the Pre-Wrath view is that it negates the “Expectation of the Imminent Return of Chrsit for His Bride.” However, allowing that Tribulation has been going on for 2000 years and that more Christians were martyred for the cause of Christ in the 20th century than all 19 preceding centuries combined, one can hardly argue that Christians will escape tribulation. So, that’s a mute point. Christians have and will endure tribulation until Christ removes us.
Consider the outline given in Matthew 24 by Jesus to His followers and sync that with the Vision of the Seven Seals in Revelation 6 and 7 and we see that The Seals have to do with the followers of Christ and what they experience during the whole of the Last Days from Christ’s Crucifixion/Resurrection until the end of the Age. True enough, we will be taken out at the end of this Age, which began, by the way, on the Day of Pentecost. In Acts 2:16 ff, Peter tells us, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘and it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…” Peter identified the Day of Pentecost following the ascension of Jesus into Heaven as the beginning of the Last Days. Since that day, it has been God’s will that we expect His return and make ourselves ready. So forget Pre-Trib rapture. We’ve demonstrated scripturally that the Last Days have been going on for 2000 years. We’ve demonstrated scripturally that we were already in tribulation before the end of the first century.
So, Big question… If I embrace the Pre-Wrath position, can I scripturally maintain the “Expectation of the Imminent Return of Christ”? Yes, if I accept the obvious… When is Pre-Wrath Rapture? Before the Wrath of God is poured out on the Earth. When will the wrath be poured out? Duh? The Bowls of What??? The Bowls of Wrath. Ohhhh!
It fits into place and still maintains the Immient expectation if we see that as Anna pointed out. (and scripture agrees with by the way) that the seals have to do with the followers of the Lamb, and the Trumpets have to do with the judgements cast down on the Earth. Let me suggest that as the seals have been progressing for 2000 years so have the Trumpets. (Remember: forget trying to make this chronological; they in fact run concurrently) Whereas the seals have shown what the followers of Christ have endured, so the Trumpets have shown partial judgements upon the Earth. One-third, One-third, One-third. As the Seals and Trumpets have run concurrently, so “Birth pains” have grown in intensity and frequency over these centuries. All the while allowing us to make ready for the Bride Groom, who could come for us at any time.
This leaves God’s Full Judgement to be unvieled in the “pouring out of the bowls of wrath upon the Earth,” and we, who are ready will get to escape that wrath that is to come upon the Earth. Luke 21:36.
In this sense, Pre-Wrath? definitely! …and yet not robbed of my expectation that He could come today.