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Enjoying God Blog


That was the title to an article that appeared at the Christian Post a couple of weeks ago. I’m quite sure that it caught the attention of many who then read it with unbridled joy. If you’re wondering what the cause of their joy might be, the answer was clear: escape from the wrath of God.

Before I give you my answer to the question in this title, let me say a brief word about “escape from the wrath of God.” Those who argue for a pretribulational rapture do so, in part, because of their belief that if Christians were to remain on earth during the tribulation, they would be subject to God’s wrath. And, needless to say, this will never happen insofar as Christ Jesus has endured and exhausted the wrath that we otherwise deserved to suffer when he died on the cross. Therefore, all believers have to be raptured or translated or caught up out of the earth before the time of the great tribulation.

I will forego responding to the idea that there will be a seven-year period of great tribulation at some point in the future. Although there will be increasing tribulation and persecution of God’s people the closer we come to the return of Christ, nothing in Scripture dictates that it will be precisely seven years in length. In fact, the Scriptures indicate that the entire church age in which we live, spanning the first coming of Christ to his second coming, is a time of great tribulation and suffering.

But what about the argument presented in this article? If Christians remain on earth during the time of the outpouring of the seals, trumpets, and bowls, will they not be compelled to suffer divine wrath? In the first place, the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments have already been poured out and are continuing to be inflicted on the world ever since the exaltation of Jesus to the right hand of God. This entire argument is false based on the notion that these three sets of seven judgments are reserved for the final few years preceding the coming of Jesus. But I believe they are characteristic of the entire age in which we live. Yes, their intensity will increase as we draw closer to the conclusion of history, but these judgments are what might be called the “commonplaces” of our experience these past 2,000 plus years. They have been poured out, are being poured out, and will be poured out with consummate intensity just before the return of Jesus.

So, then, it is clearly the case that Christians can live on the earth in the midst of these expressions of divine wrath at the same time as they are not subject to suffering from them. That doesn’t mean we don’t suffer. It would be impossible to live on the earth while such judgments are imposed and not experience some measure of discomfort and pain. Remember this: according to Romans 1:18 “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven” even now (Rom. 1:18) and has been since the ascension of Christ. But Paul clearly states that such wrath is reserved for the “ungodliness and unrighteousness of [unbelieving, Christ-rejecting] men” (Rom. 1:18). When the earth is inflicted with tornadoes and hurricanes and famine and all manner of natural disaster, together with the moral disintegration described in Romans 1:19-32, we all, to one degree or another, suffer from these expressions of divine wrath. But such wrath is directed against the unbelievers of the world, not believers. Whatever we may endure of what God pours out on unbelievers, it is not God’s intent that we experience it as wrath against our sin.

There are countless expressions throughout history of God’s wrath against the unbelieving and idolatrous of the world that we could cite, none of which God intends for his redeemed children to experience as his anger or judgment. But we would have to live in utterly secluded and insulated groups to escape all side effects of these expressions of divine judgment.

One of the favorite texts of those who believe in a pretrib rapture is Revelation 3:10. But they fail to note that Jesus explicitly says that “the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world” is specifically designed “to try those who dwell on the earth.” That last phrase, elsewhere in Revelation rendered “earth-dwellers” is standard language in the book for unbelievers. So, yes, the “whole world” will be the place where divine wrath is vented, but to be experienced as wrath only by those who have not trusted in the wrath-bearing, wrath-exhausting death of Jesus on the cross.

One more thing that I believe forever puts to rest this pretrib argument is the fact that all pretrib advocates, as far as I can tell, believe that countless individuals will come to faith in Christ during this so-called “great tribulation”. But if these people are among the redeemed, those who have trusted in the wrath-bearing work of Christ on the cross, they will most certainly not suffer divine wrath. Yet they will be on the earth, alive and well while the judgments of God are being poured out. If they do suffer God’s wrath, then the work of Christ for them on the cross, which they have sincerely trusted to deliver them from wrath, would prove to be altogether insufficient.

Now, listen closely. If it is possible for those believers during the tribulation to live on the earth when God’s wrath is being poured out and yet not suffer from it, why would it be any more difficult for the entire church to do so? In other words, the Holy Spirit doesn’t have to remove the church from the earth via the rapture to preserve her from divine wrath. If he can protect those who convert during the tribulation, and he most certainly would, why can he not do this for the entire church? The presence during the tribulation of born-again, forgiven and justified believers in Jesus is demonstrable proof that no rapture is needed to protect said believers from divine wrath. If God can do it for those who come to faith during the tribulation, he can obviously do it for those who came to faith before the tribulation.

Now, on to the title of this article. The authors make much of the bizarre scenario they envision when millions of Christians suddenly disappear and non-believers are left to wonder where they went. You may recall attempts to portray this in various movies and best-selling fictional novels.

No, no, no. There are not two phases to the return of Christ, one before an alleged seven-year tribulation and one after it. The rapture does not occur seven years before the Second Coming. The rapture most assuredly will occur (see 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:50-55). But it occurs simultaneously with the Second Coming. Christ will descend from heaven, bringing with him those who have died in faith. They will be instantly resurrected, receiving their glorified bodies before those do who are alive on the earth (1 Thess. 4:14-16). Then those who are alive will themselves be caught up or raptured to meet the Lord in the air. Jesus will then continue his descent to the earth in uninterrupted sequence, at which time he will destroy all those who stand opposed to him in unbelief (Rev. 19:11-21).

So, if you want to know what will happen 30 seconds after the rapture, the answer is quite simple. Our Lord Jesus Christ “will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Rev. 19:15) as he engages the unbelieving of the world at what is called Armageddon (Rev. 16:16; 19:17-19). All will be “slain by the sword that” comes from the mouth of King Jesus.

And the next event? As an amillennialist, I contend that what follows is the great white throne judgment of all mankind (Rev. 20:11-15), immediately after which is the inauguration of the eternal state in the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21-22.



The church will never be recipients of God's wrath. The. Church is not appointed to wrath but to obtain salvation. God punishes the wicked and not the just. When the flood came Noah and his family are safe inside the ark.

The promise for the church is not preservation but deliverance from the hour of trial revelation 3:10
Praise God! This is our blessed hope!

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