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Gary Answers: Pre-Trib or Pre-Wrath?

by: Gary Stearman on December 5, 2014

Kelly asks on December 1st, 2014:

I have followed you [and others] and have studied the pre-Trib teaching and pray that is His plan for us. Recently I watched a Sid Roth episode with [a man] who appears to have a pre-wrath belief. Both [sides] have said their beliefs extend from extensive study and revelation from God. Both cannot be correct. I personally can’t see the U.S. Christian community not going through some sort of tribulation prior to the rapture and tribulation because of our country turning it’s collective back on God and his will for us, but I still hope for a pre-Trib scenario. How can two thoughts, both being portrayed as revelatory be correct. Does this not create confusion in the body, and how can this be remedied? I do not want to come off as someone that does not study or call out for wisdom, because I do, but I’m not receiving an answer one way or the other. Both points of view have merit and it is difficult to recognize which is correct. Can you shed some light on my darkness? Thanks for your time.

Dear Kelly,

I won’t attempt to completely answer your question, but I’ll address it by saying that you’ve put your finger on a debate that is rapidly becoming the number-one theological dispute in the body of Christ.

I expect the discussion to grow much more passionate in the days leading up to the rapture. First of all, we know that the Tribulation hasn’t yet begun, so we still have plenty of time for a pre-Trib rapture.

But how will we know? In my opinion, the Tribulation begins with the opening of the First of the Seven Seals, not the Seventh, marking the “time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jer. 30:7). It is not “the church’s trouble.” Like Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophets all speak of Israel in the latter days as being the specific focus of their prophecies. The 144,000 are not the church, they are the tribes of Israel. The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are global, but their effect is local; they are aimed at Israel. The Two Witnesses come from the tribes of Israel; they measure the Temple, an Israelite edifice. Everything about the Tribulation revolves around Israel, versus the World System of the Antichrist.

In the Tribulation, God saves righteous Israel by grace, even as He destroys the system of the Antichrist and the harlot called Mystery Babylon the Great.

We in the Church have no business in the Tribulation. We are the “body of Christ,” who will be present at His bema seat, which has nothing at all to do with His wrath; it is a life review of those things done in the body.

At the rapture, every last member of the church – from Pentecost to that moment – will be resurrected to eternal life in a single instant … before the Day of the Lord. Jesus is the Lord, and He is the Judge whose wrath will blast the world (See Jn. 5:22). As the head of the body of Christ, it doesn’t make any sense that he would excoriate His own body again! That has already been done … once for all time!

Hang on, Kelly. The debate has just begun, but the Tribulation hasn’t. In fact, it isn’t even imminent … but the rapture is.

One thing I know about the Bible: Some of its concepts are more difficult to understand than others. Understanding grace is a real factor in what one believes about the timing of the rapture.

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