The Pre-wrath Rapture of the Church -- By: John H. Fish III

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 01:1 (Winter 1991)
Article: The Pre-wrath Rapture of the Church
Author: John H. Fish III

The Pre-wrath Rapture of the Church1

John H. Fish III2

A Review Article

The Debate Over The Rapture

Evangelicals are agreed on the fact of the rapture of the church. Christ will come again to receive us to Himself. The dead in Christ will rise first, and then we who are alive will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air (John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; 1 Cor. 15:51–52). This should be the blessed hope of every believer. We will be with Christ. We will be changed to be like Him. This hope should sustain us in trials, encourage us in death, and stir us up to holy living in life. The fact of the rapture cannot be disputed by evangelicals.3

What has been a matter of intense debate in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is the time of the rapture in relation to other end time events. Premillennialists who hold to a future interpretation of Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:24–27) and a futuristic interpretation of the book of Revelation see the coming of Christ in power and glory preceded by a time of tribulation and judgment here on the earth. The issue is whether the church will go through any, part of, or all of this tribulation.4

Pretribulationalists believe the rapture will occur before the tribulation so that the church will escape the entire period. Midtribulationalists see the church on earth during the first 3 1/2 years, but delivered from the last half. Posttribulationalists believe the church will go through the entire period. A fourth view is that of the partial rapturists who hold that the godly and faithful will be raptured and escape the tribulation, but carnal Christians will be left to endure the trials.

A New View

Marvin Rosenthal has come up with a new view of the timing of the rapture. For thirty years this graduate of Dallas Seminary and former executive director of the Friends of Israel believed in pretribulationalism. Now he has changed his viewpoint and adopted a new position which is neither pretribulational, midtribulational, or posttribulational. He feels that Christ will come for the church sometime during the latter half of Daniel’s seventieth week (Daniel 9:24–27) before God’s wrath is poured out on the ea...

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