Premillennialism and the Tribulation Part VIII: Midtribulationism -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 113:450 (Apr 1956)
Article: Premillennialism and the Tribulation Part VIII: Midtribulationism
Author: John F. Walvoord


Premillennialism and the Tribulation
Part VIII:
Midtribulationism

John F. Walvoord

Definition of the Theory

Midtribulationism is a comparatively new interpretation of Scripture relating to the translation of the church. Its principal expositor is Norman B. Harrison. Accepting some of the basic premises of pretribulationism, such as the future character of the seventieth week of Daniel (Dan 9:27), midtribulationism places the translation of the church at the middle of this week instead of at its beginning as do the pretribulationists. In contrast to the posttribulationists, it holds that the translation takes place before the time of wrath and great tribulation instead of after it.

Midtribulationism is, therefore, a mediate view between posttribulationism and pretribulationism. As such it has commended itself to some who for one reason or another are dissatisfied with both pretribulationism and posttribulationism. it has also provided a place for certain prophecies to be fulfilled before the translation of the church instead of afterward, and at the same time is able to claim the promises of comfort and blessing which seem to be denied by the posttribulationists who take the church through the entire period.

Midtribulationists usually do not use the term of

themselves, and prefer to classify themselves as pretribulationists—pretribulational in the sense that Christ is coming before the “great tribulation” which characterizes the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week. Harrison refers to his view as teaching “His pre-Tribulation coming” (Norman B. Harrison, The End, p. 118). The term midtribulation is justified by the common designation of the entire seventieth week of Daniel as a period of tribulation even though pretribulationists can agree that only its latter half is properly “the great tribulation.”

Important Issues

The midtribulational interpretation bristles with important theological, exegetical, and practical problems, and it differs radically from normal pretribulationism. Among the crucial issues are such questions as the following: (1) Does the seventh trumpet of Revelation mark the beginning of the great tribulation? (2) Is the rapture of the church in Revelation 11? (3) Is the seventh trumpet the “last trumpet” for the church? (4) Do the programs for Israel and the church overlap? (5) Is the hope of the imminent return of Christ unscriptural? In general, the midtribulational view requires a different interpretation of most of the important Scriptures relating to the coming of Christ for the church...

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