Answers to Reader Questions
Q: Why are the trumpets not the wrath of God?
A: There are several major reasons, which I discuss in Before God's Wrath in Chapter 4, “Defining God's Wrath”:
If God pours out His wrath during the trumpets, He will be pouring out His wrath upon His children. This is in conflict with 1 Thess. 5:9: “For we are not destined for wrath, but to salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Although it will be too late for post-rapture believers to be taken to heaven without undergoing the rest of the 70th Week, many will come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ when they see Him coming on the clouds after the opening of the sixth seal (Matt. 24:30).
God can no more pour His wrath out upon these new believers than He can upon the Church today — they, too, are His children and will be covered by His promise. How will these believers be protected from the outpouring of God's unrelenting wrath? Many will be martyred by the Antichrist (Rev. 12:17), some will perish during the natural disasters of the trumpet judgments (Rev. 8:1 – 9:21) , and some will likely be protected in the wilderness, along with the remnant of Israel preserved by God (Rev. 12:14). However this protection is accomplished, I see no way that God's wrath can be poured out full force upon all the earth immediately following the rapture, as scripture declares, and still be consistent with this promise.
This in mind, it is interesting that the word “wrath” is not used during the trumpets any more than it is in the seals, except at the end of the seventh trumpet, when the elders say, “God's wrath is come” (Rev. 11:18), indicating an imminent, but still future, event. The fulfillment of this coming wrath occurs in the pouring out of the bowls, where God's wrath is clearly and repeatedly seen (Rev. 16:1-16).
The fact that God's wrath is not contained in the trumpets is confirmed again at the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:18), when the elders say, “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints.” Reward for what? What prayers? This goes back to the cry of the martyrs in Rev. 6:10, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” If God has not yet avenged the blood the martyrs, His wrath has not yet been poured out.
During the trumpet judgments, the Antichrist is still strong in his power (Rev. 13:5). During God's final period of judgment, however, all earthly power will be crushed (1 Cor. 15: 21–25). If the Antichrist is allowed to continue to rise to power during the trumpets, it is not yet God's wrath.
There are a number of other reasons, as well, which I believe are also covered in Chapter 4. I also touch on this subject in Appendix D, “Do the Three Woes Tie God's Wrath to the Trumpets?”
Q: In the promotional information on your book, you say that there are more than 400 verses that talk about the coming of Christ. I would be interested in seeing this group of scripture.
A: I'm sorry, I don't. I came up with that figure by going page by page through the book, keeping a running tally of the number of different verses that I use to support the prewrath position, but I didn't put them in list form. Not all of these are discrete verses. Some are passages — for example, Matt. 24:29-31 and Matt. 24: 36-44. That's a dozen right there.
What the book does is put them all together, including putting key verses in chart form so you can make comparisons between them. But if you want to do the study on your own, you can use a concordance and look up “coming,” “appearance,” “day of the Lord,” “clouds,” resurrection of the dead, or anything else relating to the rapture. Keep in mind, however, that there are many permutations and it might take awhile to think of them all. But I assure you, they are there in abundance.
When I look at them as a cohesive whole, they assemble in the kind of perfect picture that is a work of God. The longer I study, the more I continue to find. In the first edition of the book, for example, I overlooked an entire passage in 1 Peter, something that was corrected in the second edition. They're everywhere!
Q: I believe in the prewrath rapture, but I havTe a question concerning Rev. 7:13-15. "Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, `Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?' And I said to him, `Sir, you know.' So he said to me, `These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' If we believe this is the Rapture of the Church, where are the others? Why do we see only those who came out of the Great Tribulation? Where are the saints who have died since Acts 2?
A: As far as I can tell, the other saints who have gone to be with the Lord are not mentioned in Revelation, most likely because this is not the purpose of the book. Revelation was written, in part, as a consolation to believers who would be undergoing the terrible persecution of the 70th Week, and the vision of "those who come out of the great tribulation" has a specific purpose — to encourage, strengthen, and give hope to those who are alive during this time.
Revelation is also a recounting of the events of the end times. All of the events described in its pages directly relate in some way to the 70th Week. Those who have died in Christ prior to the 70th Week are not part of this particular story, so to speak, and so have not been included. But it doesn't mean that they aren't there. Keep in mind, too, that those who were believers prior to the advent of Christ, who died under the Old Covenant, are not mentioned either, but we know that we will all be in heaven together.
The focus of Revelation is very narrow — the events of the 70th Week, and only those events, so the fact that we only see the raptured Church, and the martyrs of the 70th Week that follow the rapture (in Chapter 15), is what we might expect.