The Red Moon Rapture compared to the Pre-Wrath Rapture
By Peter D. Goodgame
Are the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls fulfilled simultaneously or sequentially?
Where does the 70th Week begin within the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls of Revelation?
Sometime after the 5th Trumpet
Where does the Day of the Lord begin in relation to the 70th Week
Before the 70th Week is begun
Near the end of the 70th Week
How long is the Day of the Lord?
More than 7 years
Roughly 1-1½ yrs.
Where does the Day of the Lord begin in Revelation?
With the great shaking of the earth within the 6th Seal
Where does the Rapture take place in Revelation? At the opening of the 6th Seal, before the shaking of the earth that marks the start of the Day of the Lord After the events of the 6th Seal, just before the 7th Seal that marks the start of the Day of the Lord Who is the Great Multitude of Rev. 7? The Church, having been rescued "away from" the great tribulation right as it begins, prior to the 70th Week The Church, having experienced the persecution of the Antichrist during the second half of the 70th Week What is the Great Tribulation? Not intended to be a label. Merely a descriptive term for the Day of the Lord. See also the study here. The label for a time period prior to the Day of the Lord extending from the midpoint of the 70th Week to the rapture of the Church.
When is the Antichrist revealed?
Before the 70th Week and before the Day of the Lord begins. (NOT at the midpoint of the 70th Week)
At the midpoint of the 70th Week
When is the Antichrist resurrected?
Before the 70th Week, after the Abyss is opened at the 5th Trumpet. (NOT at the midpoint of the 70th Week)
At the midpoint of the 70th Week
When does the Antichrist take his seat in the Temple as God?
At the midpoint of the 70th Week
At the midpoint of the 70th Week
When do the Two Witnesses carry out their ministry? First half of 70th Week Second half of 70th Week
What does the gathering of the Elect in Matthew 24:31 refer to?
The post-trib gathering of Israel (parallels Isaiah 11:11-12 and 27:12-13)
The pre-wrath rapture of the Church
Where is the Day of the Lord in relation to Jesus' description of the most terrible time of distress the world has ever seen in Matthew 24:29? The Day of the Lord is the most terrible time of distress, and in v29 Jesus declares that it is over. Still in the future. Pre-Wrath teaches that the Day of the Lord begins after Matthew 24:29-31. When is Matthew 24:29-31 fulfilled in Revelation? Fifth Bowl and Seventh Bowl Sixth Seal (the Pre-Wrath view teaches that when Jesus says the most terrible time of distress is over - Mat24:29 - the people on earth will be crying out that it is yet to come - Rev 6:17). Why do the people on earth cry out in Revelation 6:17? They are responding to the events of the sixth Seal that culminate with the great shaking of the earth of v.14 saying, "Oh no, the Day of the Lord has arrived!" They are anticipating the wrath of God and the Day of the Lord that begins (according to the Pre-Wrath view) with the seventh Seal.
The Red Moon Rapture Timeline
The Pre-Wrath Rapture: Two steps forward and one step back
The development of the Pre-Wrath Rapture prophetic model can only be viewed as a positive development in the history of prophetic scholarship. Its basic premise is that the Church will be raptured prior to the Day of the Lord’s wrath, and with this premise the Red Moon Rapture is in agreement and can also be viewed as basically a “Pre-wrath” model.
Additionally, the Pre-Wrath scenario looks to the sixth Seal for evidence of the Day of the Lord, and views the great multitude of Revelation 7 that is pictured after the sixth Seal as the raptured Church in heaven. With these points the Red Moon Rapture model is also in agreement.
The problems arise, however, with the Pre-Wrath placement of the midpoint of the seventieth week of Daniel within Revelation’s sequence of the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls, and in the Pre-Wrath’s placement of the sixth Seal within the timeline of the seventieth week of Daniel. The midpoint of the seventieth week is placed either between the third and fourth Seals, or between the fourth and fifth Seals, and the sixth Seal is placed at a point far into the second half of the seventieth week. In the next few pages we will examine and refute these major errors that exist within the Pre-Wrath chronology, illustrated on the chart below.
The Day of the Lord
The Gathering of the Elect
The Midpoint of the Seventieth Week of Daniel
The Problem of the Two Witnesses
A. Competing Powers
B. 1290 Days
Does 2 Thessalonians 2 prove that the revealing of the Antichrist and the Day of the Lord cannot occur until after the midpoint of the 70th Week?
One of the first problems found within the Pre-Wrath chronology stems from equating the cosmic signs mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24:29 with the cosmic signs that take place after the opening of the sixth Seal of Revelation. They are certainly similar, but this does not mean that they are necessarily the same:
Matthew 24:29 – “Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”
Revelation 6:12-14 – “I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.”
The fact that is not considered within the Pre-Wrath model is that there are actually two cosmic disturbances within the timeline of the Apocalypse. The sixth Seal describes the first, whereas the second cosmic disturbance is associated with the fifth and seventh Bowl judgments at the very end of Revelation:
“The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness… The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air… Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake… Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.” (Revelation 16:10-21)
This sixth Seal disturbance is similar to Matthew 24:29, but the final disturbance of the fifth and seventh Bowls is also similar to the one mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24:29. The disturbance described by Jesus is to come after the most terrible time of the tribulation the world has ever seen, and it makes sense that it would then come at the end of the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls, rather than at the beginning when mankind cries out that the Day of the Lord has just begun.
The idea that Matthew 24:29 describes the last cosmic disturbance of Revelation, rather than the first is supported by the fact that Matthew 24:30 goes on to describe the visible appearance of Jesus Christ returning on the clouds of heaven. Jesus makes no such appearance in connection with the sixth Seal, but he certainly does after the seventh Bowl, an appearance described in Revelation 19:11-16.
Matthew 24:29 is better equated with the final cosmic disturbance of the Apocalypse, whereas the sixth Seal is better equated with the disturbance that comes as a result of the Magog invasion of Israel, which itself precedes a specific seven-year period that the Red Moon Rapture model equates with the seventieth week of Daniel. Here is Ezekiel’s disturbance, which remains unaccounted for in the Pre-Wrath chronology:
“This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground.” (Ezekiel 38:18-20)
Another point that separates the post-tribulation cosmic disturbance of Matthew 24:29 from the sixth Seal disturbance is the fact that Jesus describes a complete darkness, including the darkening of the moon, whereas the sixth Seal describes a moon that appears red like blood.
Throughout Bible prophecy all of the predictions of a completely darkened moon (Isaiah 13:10, Joel 2:10, Joel 3:15, Matthew 24:29, and Revelation 16:10) place it within or at the very end of the Day of the Lord. On the other hand, only the blood red moon is specifically predicted to come before the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31).
It makes little sense to equate the darkened moon mentioned by Jesus that occurs “after the distress of those days” with the blood red moon of the sixth Seal that involves the beginning of the Day of the Lord (“For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” – Revelation 6:17).
The Day of the Lord
Perhaps the main reason for equating the disturbance of Matthew 24:29 with the sixth Seal is that the primary Pre-Wrath goal is to promote a chronology that has the Church enduring the majority of the seven-year Tribulation on earth before being raptured to heaven.
By equating Matthew 24:29 with the sixth Seal the Pre-Wrath model can go a step further and equate the post-tribulation “gathering of the elect” of Matthew 24:31 with the Rapture of the Church and the appearance of the great multitude in heaven after the sixth Seal.
Within the Red Moon Rapture model the Rapture is placed at the beginning of the sixth Seal events, and the Day of the Lord is viewed as beginning with the fifth of the sixth Seal’s five events, which is the shaking of the earth described in 6:14. After the earth is shaken then mankind reacts by running to the hills and caves and crying out in fright that the Day of the Lord has begun.
The Pre-Wrath view, by erroneously equating the events during and after the sixth Seal with Matthew 24:29-31, is forced to change this clear sequence of events from “Rapture-Cosmic Signs-Day of the Lord” to “Cosmic Signs-Rapture-Day of the Lord.” This change is necessary because Matthew 24:29-31 clearly places the cosmic signs before the “gathering of the elect.” The end result is that according to the Pre-Wrath view the Day of the Lord cannot begin within the sixth Seal, but must instead begin with the opening of the seventh Seal after the raptured Church is shown in heaven in Revelation 7.
The problem that arises with this interpretation stems from the Pre-Wrath explanation for the words and actions of mankind after the 6:14 event. If the Day of the Lord does not begin until the seventh Seal of 8:1 then why do the unbelievers react with such fear and terror and cry out that the Day of the Lord has begun after the 6:14 event? The Pre-Wrath explanation is that the words “has come” or “is come” in 6:17, which is the Greek verb elthen, a derivative of the word erchomai, can be translated as “is about to come” or “is soon to come” because elthen appears in the Greek aorist tense. In other words, Pre-Wrath advocates interpret Revelation 6:17 as “For the great day of their wrath is about to come, and who can stand?”
The above interpretation is certainly a grammatical possibility, but what about context, and what about the usage of the very same word, in the very same tense, throughout the rest of the book of Revelation? The fact is that the same word is used in the exact same way eleven other times in the book of Revelation, and all of them, without exception, are translated either in the past or present tense and never in the future tense (5:7, 7:13, 8:3, 11:18, 14:7, 14:15, 17:1, 17:10, 18:10, 19:7, 21:9).
This argument could degenerate into a tedious debate between opposing camps of Greek language experts, but thankfully that is not necessary. Jesus and the Apostle Paul actually solve the dispute for us. According to the Pre-Wrath view the unbelievers on the earth cry out and react after the cosmic signs of the sixth Seal in anticipation of the Day of the Lord that is said to begin with the seventh Seal. This simply cannot be the case. Only believers will be prepared for the Day of the Lord, and only believers will be able to anticipate it. For unbelievers the Day of the Lord will be completely unexpected and they will be caught by surprise when it comes. They will not have a chance to anticipate it.
Jesus said that the Day of the Lord would come “unexpectedly like a trap” (Luke 21:34), and that it would come like a thief in the night (Matthew 24:43). Paul reiterates the very same thing saying that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night,” that “destruction will come on them suddenly,” but that for believers—for those not in darkness—only for them will the Day of the Lord not surprise them like a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4). If this is the case, then the Pre-Wrath position that unbelievers will cry out and flee to the caves in anticipation of the Day of the Lord becomes impossible.
The bottom line is that when the unbelievers cry out and run away to the hills and caves after the earth-shaking events of the sixth Seal, they are doing so because of what has just happened, or in response to what is still happening. In either case, the Day of the Lord can only be seen as beginning with Revelation 6:14, and not with the seventh Seal of Revelation 8:1 as maintained by the Pre-Wrath view.
Furthermore, if this is the case, then it becomes impossible to equate Matthew 24:29-31 with the events before, during and after the sixth Seal of Revelation. If the Day of the Lord begins with 6:14 then the Rapture must occur before that time. The sequence of the sixth Seal then becomes “Rapture—Cosmic Signs—Day of the Lord.” The sixth Seal then cannot be the same as the Pre-Wrath view of the sequence of Matthew 24:29-42 which is “Cosmic Signs—Rapture—Day of the Lord.”
The truth is that the sixth Seal describes the beginning of the Day of the Lord, while Matthew 24:29-31 describes the end of the Day of the Lord. The sixth Seal sequence is "Resurrection/Rapture - Cosmic Signs - Shaking of the Earth (Day of the Lord begins)" whereas the sequence of Matthew 24:29-31 is "Cosmic Signs (end of Day of the Lord) - appearance of Jesus in the sky - gathering of Israel's Elect"
The Gathering of the Elect
This brings us to the Pre-Wrath premise that Matthew 24:31 is a description of the Rapture of the Church: “And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
The Pre-Wrath position is that at this point the Day of the Lord is still in the future. However, this position becomes virtually impossible to maintain if Matthew 24:30 is addressed: “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”
If this Pre-Wrath premise is correct then it means that Jesus physically appears in the clouds of the sky prior to the Rapture and prior to the Day of the Lord. Yet Jesus said that these events, the cosmic signs, his glorious appearance, and the gathering of the elect, all come “after the distress of those days” (Matthew 24:29), which will be the most terrible time of distress the world has ever or will ever experience.
The only remedy for this confusion is to understand that Jesus was not speaking about events prior to the Day of the Lord in Matthew 24:29-31, but rather of events surrounding his Second Coming at the very end of the Day of the Lord.
The first event is the cosmic sign of Matthew 24:29 which is also shown in Revelation with the blackout and cosmic disturbances of the fifth and seventh Bowls.
The second event (v.30) is the glorious appearance of Jesus Christ in the clouds of the sky, which is shown in Revelation 1:7, Revelation 19:11-16, as well as Zechariah 12:10.
The third event (v.31) is the final gathering of Israel’s elect that occurs after the Second Coming and after the end of the seventieth week of Daniel. Keep in mind that the prophet Zechariah predicted that at the time of the end the people of Israel would be scattered “to the four winds of heaven” (2:6), and then compare the following descriptions of this final gathering of Israel’s elect:
Isaiah 11:11-12 – “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.”
Isaiah 27:12-13 – “In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.”
Matthew 24:31 – “And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
The Midpoint of the Seventieth Week of Daniel
One of the strongest points of the Red Moon Rapture chronology is its definitive placement of the midpoint of the seventieth week of Daniel between the sixth and seventh Trumpet judgments. The midpoint occurs on the day when the Two Witnesses are killed by the Antichrist (11:7) after their 1260-day ministry has expired (11:3), which is also the moment when the Antichrist’s forty-two month period of authority over the saints and over the entire world begins (13:5).
Within the Pre-Wrath chronology, however, the midpoint of the seventieth week is placed prior to the fifth Seal of Revelation. This is necessary to support the Pre-Wrath notion that the sixth Seal falls within the second half of the seventieth week, and that these events equate with the second-half events of Matthew 24:29-31. To uphold this chronology the Pre-Wrath view is forced to the conclusion that the 1260-day ministry of the Two Witnesses occurs entirely within the second half of the seventieth week as well.
This means that in the Pre-Wrath chronology the Two Witnesses and the Antichrist exercise their conflicting powers of authority during the exact same period of time. It also means that the Antichrist kills the Two Witnesses only after his forty-two months of power has expired, and it also places the three and a half days during which the bodies of the Two Witnesses lie in the streets of Jerusalem beyond the end of the seventieth week of Daniel.
Prophecy scholars who believe in a future fulfillment of the seventieth week of Daniel are virtually unanimous that the Second Coming and the return of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem comes at the precise end of the seventieth week, and that this also marks the precise end of the Antichrist’s career. Holding to what is by far a minority opinion Pre-Wrath scholars dispute this and lengthen the Day of the Lord by thirty days.
This lengthening is necessary because the effects of the sixth Trumpet end only after the resurrection of the Two Witnesses (11:14), and without a further period of time there would be no place on the Pre-Wrath chronology for the fulfillment of the seventh Trumpet and the seven Bowl judgments of Revelation. The basis of this thirty day lengthening is given as Daniel 12:11,
“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.”
What Daniel tells us in this verse is that the abomination of desolation will remain in place for 1290 days, during which time there will be no daily sacrifices offered in the Temple. Each half of the seventieth week lasts for exactly 1260 days, or forty-two months. The seventieth week itself expires 1260 days after its midpoint, so Daniel 12:11 simply explains that the abomination will remain in place throughout the second half of the seventieth week and for thirty days beyond it. However, this does not become a valid basis for placing the return of Jesus thirty days after the end of the seventieth week, as the Pre-Wrath view tries to maintain.
Jesus Christ has to return at the end of the seventieth week, because only he can provide the necessary conditions for it to end. Recall that there are six things that are completed with the end of the entire prophecy of the seventy weeks, according to Daniel 9:24:
“…to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.”
These things could not be completed with the Antichrist’s kingdom still present on the earth, or with Jesus Christ still in heaven. The Antichrist’s kingdom ends with the end of the seventieth week. He is given power only for forty-two months, not for forty-three. By the same token, Jesus Christ must be in control of Jerusalem and the Temple for the entire seventy week prophecy to be complete. There can be no lengthening of the Day of the Lord for thirty days after the end of the seventieth week.
Daniel says that the abomination remains in place for thirty days after the end of the seventieth week, yet Daniel 9:24 says that at the end of the seventieth week the “most holy” will be anointed. This refers to the Most Holy Place of the Temple. It is the room in which the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and the room that was entered only once a year by the Jewish High Priest on the Day of Atonement. Jesus Christ will cleanse and anoint this room when he returns at the precise end of the seventieth week.
But what about the abomination? Why does it remain in place for thirty more days? According to Jesus in Matthew 24:15 the abomination will be set up in the “Holy Place” of the Temple, which is the outer room of the Temple. The Antichrist’s image will be set up in the Holy Place, but no one will dare enter the inner room, the Most Holy Place of the Temple.
A possible explanation for allowing the abomination to remain in the outer room of the Temple for thirty days, even after the sacred inner room is cleansed and anointed by Jesus Christ our High Priest, is that it will remain as a symbol that will face the survivors of the Day of the Lord who will be gathered from the entire world outside of Jerusalem to be judged after the Second Coming. This judgment is described in two texts, one from the New Testament and one from the Old:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
“In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.” (Joel 3:1-2)
This judgment of every individual on the face of the earth will begin thirty days after the Second Coming, at which point the abomination will be removed from the Temple, and the judgment will last for forty-five days. The prophet Daniel implied a thirty-day period after the Second Coming in 12:11 when he mentioned the “1290 days,” and in 12:12 he reveals a further period lasting an additional forty-five days that will involve the judgment of the nations:
“Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.”
When Daniel says that those who reach the end are “blessed” he was referring to those who are judged worthy to enter the kingdom after the judgment of the “sheep and goats” has ended. Jesus said of these righteous survivors, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
A period of judgment that begins a short time after the Second Coming is also implied in two other Old Testament texts:
“In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days.” (Isaiah 24:21-22)
“The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.” (Daniel 7:12)
After the judgment is finished and the wicked have been separated from the righteous then mankind will enjoy a great feast. Preparation for the feast is noted in Revelation 19:9 but the best description is given by the prophet Isaiah (25:6-8):
On this mountain the LORD Almighty
will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy the shroud
that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces;
he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.
The Problem of the Two Witnesses
The Pre-Wrath view is absolutely dependant upon a chronology that places the ministry of the Two Witnesses entirely within the second half of the 70th Week. The Red Moon Rapture chronology, however, places their ministry within the first half of the 70th Week.
A. The Two Witnesses and the Antichrist are both empowered in such a way that their powers cannot overlap.
The ministry of the Two Witnesses is a 1260-day period during which they will be empowered by God to defeat their enemies, "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die." Revelation 11:3-5
In distinction to the empowerment of the Two Witnesses, Scripture also describes the empowerment of the Antichrist,
"He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time." Daniel 7:25
"The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation." Revelation 13:5-7
The Antichrist is given power over all the saints on the earth, and Revelation describes that this includes the power to persecute, capture and kill every saint that exists within his kingdom.
The Antichrist and the Two Witnesses are both given power for exactly three and a half prophetic years, which is exactly 1260 days and exactly 42 prophetic months. The Pre-Wrath position is that the Two Witnesses and the Antichrist are both empowered for the very same time period, the post-abomination three and a half years after the midpoint of the 70th Week. This view teaches that the Two Witnesses, God's most powerful saints, will be preaching at a time when the Antichrist is given unlimited power over the saints. Certainly there is a conflict here, because their powers seem to contradict each other. One is given unlimited power to kill, and the other is given unlimited power to defend. However, there is a time when the Antichrist does prevail over the Two Witnesses,
"Now when they (the Two Witnesses) have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them." Revelation 11:7
The strange thing about this though, according to the Pre-Wrath model, is that the Two Witnesses are killed after the Antichrist's power over the saints has expired. You see, if the time of the Antichrist's power parallels the time of the Two Witnesses' power, and the Two Witnesses are killed after their time expires, then they are killed after the Antichrist's time has expired as well.
B. 1290 days of the Abomination
The Pre-Wrath view concludes that the Two Witnesses are killed at the very end of the 70th Week, and then three and a half days after the 70th Week has ended they are resurrected and taken to heaven. Aside from pre-wrath scholars, most are in agreement that the Second Coming comes precisely at the end of the Antichrist's 42-month reign of power, precisely at the end of the 70th Week, because only Jesus Christ is empowered to conquer the Antichrist. This is supported by the terms of the Seventy Weeks themselves: at their fulfillmen they will:
"...finish transgression ...put an end to sin ...atone for wickedness ...bring in everlasting righteousness ...seal up vision and prophecy and ...anoint the most holy." Daniel 9:24
Certainly this can only be accomplished when Jesus enters the temple and anoints the Most Holy Place Himself. No one possesses that right except for our High Priest and Messiah Jesus Christ.
The Pre-Wrath view looks to Daniel 12:11 for a reason to extend the Second Coming past the end of the 70th Week. This text states that the abomination will remain in the temple for 1290 days, thirty days past the end of the 70th Week. The Pre-Wrath view teached that the Second Coming occurs at that time, thirty days after the end of the 70th Week. This would mean that the Antichrist's reign will last for an unscriptural 43 months.
The Pre-Wrath view maintains that no reason exists for allowing the abomination to remain in the temple after the Second Coming, if the Second Coming took place at the end of the 70th Week as believed by most scholars. They believe that if the abomination remains for 1290 days, then Jesus Christ must not return for 1290 days.
Here is a possible reason for the abomination to remain in the Temple for 30 days after the Second Coming:
The Most Holy Place of the temple will be anointed at the precise end of the 70th Week when Jesus returns. However, the abomination does not stand in the Most Holy Place, it stands in the Holy Place (Matthew 24:15). It will stand in the outer room of the temple, and not in the inner room. When Jesus Christ returns He will anoint the inner room as predicted in Daniel 9:24, but he will not touch the abomination standing in the outer room.
The first event after the battle of Armageddon will be the wedding feast of the Messiah as predicted in Revelation 19:9. Isaiah 25:6 tells us that this feast will include Israel and it will take place on the earth on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. After the wedding feast, then there will be the judgment of the nations as predicted in Matthew 25:31-46 and Joel 3:2-3. The nations must wait a short time after the Second Coming, before this judgment begins. Isaiah 24:21-22 describes this waiting period,
"In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days."
Daniel 7:11-12 also describes a waiting period after the Second Coming, prior to the judgment,
"Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)"
The judgment of the nations begins thirty days after the Second Coming and after the wedding feast. It will begin when Jesus Christ dismantles and destroys the very image which these nations had worshiped, from where it stands in the Holy Place of the Temple.
The judgment of the nations will then begin, and will continue for forty five days. Jesus says that those who survive it are "blessed," (Matthew 25:34), and Daniel says "Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days," (12:12). Those who survive the judgment of the nations after the Second Coming are indeed "blessed," because they are those who were faithful to God during the tribulation and they will be rewarded with eternal life.
If Jesus does indeed return to the earth at the precise end of the 70th Week, to anoint the Most Holy Place as predicted in Scripture, then the Pre-Wrath Rapture position is dealt a very serious blow, because it is unreasonable that the Two Witnesses would be caught up to heaven three and a half days after a point when Jesus and the saints are already back on the earth, and the tribulation has ended.
C. A More Scriptural Conclusion
Scripture supports the conclusion that the 1260-day ministry of the Two Witnesses occurs entirely within the pre-abomination first half of the 70th Week. They are killed on the very first day of the time during which the Antichrist is empowered to "make war against the saints and to conquer them." The Two Witnesses are the earth's most powerful saints, and out of all the saints on earth he kills them first, after their God-given powers of protection have run out.
Here is the sequence as given in Scripture,
1. First half of the 70th Week- "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed." Revelation 11:3-5
2. Second half of the 70th Week- "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them." Revelation 13:5-7
3. Midpoint of the 70th Week- "And when (the Two Witnesses) shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them" Revelation 11:7. Note that this text simply says that the Beast that ascends out of the Abyss will kill them at this time. He is named as the "Beast from the Abyss" in distinction to the "Beast from the Sea" and the "Beast from the Earth." The text does not say that he will ascend out of the Abyss at this time, merely that he kills the Two Witnesses at this time. His ascension from the Abyss happens prior to the 70th Week, and then his attack on the Two Witnesses occurs at the midpoint.
4. The Result of the killing of the Two Witnesses, those two terrible men of God who torment the earth- "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" Revelation 13:4
The sequence goes like this:
-The Two Witnesses are given their power, and then 1260 days later it expires.
-The Antichrist is given his power and he uses it immediately on the first day he possesses it, to kill the Two Witnesses on the first day after their powers of defense have expired.
Additionally, mankind would not respond in the above manner if the Two Witnesses were walking around publicly resisting and testifying against the Antichrist. In the above verse humanity is not asking a question, they are making a statement. They are saying "No one can stand up to the Antichrist!" And indeed no one on earth can during the time he is given to persecute the saints. He even possesses the power to kill the Two Witnesses, who previously destroyed all of their enemies with fire coming out of their mouths.
One final point that supports the pre-abomination ministry of the Two Witnesses is the result of their resurrection three and a half days after they are killed. At their resurrection there is a terrible earthquake in Jerusalem, which destroys a tenth of the city, and kills seven thousand people. However, the rest of the inhabitants of Jerusalem who survive this earthquake give glory to the God of heaven. They turn to God and repent, and become believers. One does not "give glory to the God of heaven" and not repent. Notice that at the fourth bowl in Revelation 16:8, the unbelievers "refused to repent and glorify him (God)." Glorifying God includes repentance.
Jerusalem will be the Antichrist's capital (Daniel 11:45). After the midpoint of the 70th Week he will begin to enforce the Mark of the Beast. This mark is the point of no return, because one cannot repent after taking it and it condemns that person to hell, without any chance of mercy. The Pre-Wrath view would have us believe that the Two Witnesses are killed after the world has endured three and a half years of the Mark of the Beast, and that nine-tenths of the inhabitants of the Antichrist's capital have been somehow exonerated from taking the mark of the beast, and that they all repent after the earthquake.
It is inconceivable that the vast majority of the residents of the Antichrist's capital avoid taking the Mark of the Beast for three and a half years, and then repent after the earthquake near the end of the tribulation. However, it is very possible that this could occur if the Two Witnesses are resurrected near the midpoint of the tribulation, only three and a half days after the Mark is introduced and before it can be widely implemented. The newly repentant saints would then have to go underground or face capture and death at the hands of the Antichrist, because they would have missed their chance to flee that existed on the first day of the abomination, but they would still have their eternal souls.
It is crucial to identify the proper placement of the ministry of the Two Witnesses, because their resurrection sets a benchmark within the 70th Week, and within the seals, trumpets and bowls of Revelation. At the time of their resurrection we find that "the second woe has passed..." (Revelation 11:14).
The second Woe is the sixth trumpet judgment (Revelation 8:13). Revelation tells us that the resurrection of the Two Witnesses marks the point when the sixth trumpet judgment has ended. This means that the seven seals and first six trumpets are blown prior to their resurrection, and the seventh trumpet and seven bowls occur after their resurrection.
If the Two Witnesses are indeed resurrected three and a half days after the midpoint of the 70th Week, then this marks that all important benchmark. The Pre-Wrath view believes that the rapture (near the sixth seal), which brings up the great multitude, occurs after the abomination, but if the Two Witnesses are killed at the midpoint then this proves that the seven seals and the first six trumpets are pre-abomination events, and the rapture of the Church is pre-abomination as well.
The basic chronological outline of Revelation also supports the conclusion that the seven seals and first six trumpets are pre-abomination events. Chapters 6 through 9 describe the first seven seals and the first six trumpets, then chapters 11, 12 and 13 describe the mid-trib events of the death of the Two Witnesses, the flight of the Jewish remnant and the setup of the abomination of desolation. Finally, the seventh trumpet initiates the seven bowls, which are then described in Revelation 15-16. The Pre-Wrath view would place the mid-trib events betwen Revelation 6:8 and 6:9, between the fourth and fifth seals, yet Revelation does not support this manipulation. Midtrib occurs after the sixth trumpet is blown, and the sixth trumpet judgment ends right where Revelation 11:14 says it ends.
The Pre-Wrath View of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
The Pre-Wrath view teaches that the revealing of the Antichrist will take place at the midpoint of the 70th Week when the Man of Sin will be indwelt by Satan himself.
This is another misconception. Some prophecy scholars teach that Israel and the world will not know the true identity of the Antichrist until he takes his seat as God in the rebuilt Temple at the midpoint of the 70th Week. At this time, they teach, the body of the Antichrist will be “indwelt” by a demonic or satanic “spirit” that comes out of the Abyss.
First of all, it is not “spirit possession” that causes the world to wonder and be astonished as shown in both Revelation 13:3 and 17:8. The Antichrist was possessed by Satan from the very beginning, as he is the literal son of Satan, so he does not need to be “spirit possessed” again to fulfill his role. It is not spirit possession that causes the world to wonder, but resurrection! Spirit possession is an invisible event, whereas the resurrection of an ancient corpse would truly cause the world to be awestruck, especially if this corpse is first found and put on display as a significant archaeological discovery. But again, this does not take place at the midpoint of the 70th Week, but prior to the beginning of the 70th Week Covenant.
Secondly, the revealing of the Antichrist is an event that should not be connected with the mid-point of the 70th Week, which sometimes happens from a misreading of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4,
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
Some prophecy scholars teach that the Antichrist will be revealed when he takes his seat as God in the Temple. Yet Paul is not saying that. He is simply saying that the Antichrist will be revealed before the Day of the Lord, after which he will then go on to take his seat as God in the Temple. The Day of the Lord begins within the sixth Seal, so the revealing of the Antichrist must take place before the sixth Seal. The resurrection of the Antichrist then takes place at the fifth Trumpet, after which the 70th Week Covenant is initiated, and then the Antichrist breaks the covenant at the midpoint of the 70th Week when he takes his seat as God in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.
Some scholars argue that the revealing, the resurrection, and the triumph of the Antichrist all take place at the same time at the midpoint, but I believe that they are all separate events occurring at separate times. The revealing of the Antichrist will merely be the discovery of the corpse of the Antichrist, which will soon happen just as Jesus predicted, in a secret chamber out in the desert (Matt. 24:26). When Jesus comes back He will be revealed from Heaven as the Living God who once was dead, and every eye will see Him, whereas the Antichrist will be revealed as the corpse of a dead god, who once was alive, and only a select few will gather to honor and observe him. He will be viewed as a corpse, but eventually that corpse will come alive again, to the world’s amazed astonishment!
December 31, 2012