by James T. Bartsch
"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be." Matt. 24:21
Explanation of PreWrath Rapture
Index of This Article
Part ONE: The Seven Seals. Items 1-13 on the Time-Line.
Part TWO: The Seven Trumpets. Items 14-23 on the Time-Line.
Part THREE: The Seven Bowls of Wrath; Armageddon. Items 24-31 on the Time-Line.
Part FOUR: Judgment and Kingdom. Items 32-33 on the Time-Line.
Part ONE: The Seven Seals
1. The "Beginning of Birth Pains" constitutes the first half of Daniel's 70th Week. (This is the Blue Color Background of Kurschner's PreWrath Timeline.)
2. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Seals (Items 1-3) appear in the first half of Daniel's 70th Week. (Blue Background). The first four seals prove the wicked deserve God's wrath. These seals include
a. Item 1: First Seal. The White Horseman (Rev. 6:1-2). Rider, Bow, Crown = Conquest. See also Matt. 24:4-5.
b. Item 2: Second Seal. The Red Horseman (Rev. 6:3-4). Power was given to him to take away peace from the earth. Related Scripture: Matt. 24:6-7a
c. Item 3: Third Seal. The Black Horseman (Rev. 6:5-6). Famine. Related Scripture: Matt. 24:6-7b
1. The Mid Point of Daniel's 70th Week is the Red Color Background. The Mid Point is 3 1/2 years into Daniel's 70th Week.
2. The Items that Appear at the Mid Point include the following:
a. Item 4. Antichrist's Revelation (2 Thess. 2:3-4). Related passages: Matt. 24:15-22 and Dan. 9:26-27
b. Item 5. The Abomination of Desolation (Dan. 9:26-27). Related passage: Matt. 24:15-31
c. Item 6. The Arrival of the Two Witnesses (Rev. 11:3-5)
"Satan's Wrath" (Purple) Items 7-10
Item 7. The Fourth Seal (Rev. 6:7-8). The Pale Horse. The Rider's name is Death. Hades followed him. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth to kill with sword, famine, pestilence and by beasts of the earth. Additional Scripture: Matt. 24:9, 21-22. The label at the bottom of specifically states that this is "Satan's Wrath." Matt. 24:21 speaks of unprecedented "Great Tribulation."
Item 8. The Fifth Seal (Rev. 6:9-11). The caption at the top inside the pop-up states, "The fifth seal promises God's wrath." Additional Scripture: Matt. 24:9, 21-22.
a. The contents of the Fifth Seal (Rev. 6:9-11): Slain martyrs cry for vengeance.
b. Caveat: Neither reference cited says anything about "God's Wrath" being promised.
c. At the bottom of the Time-Line is the title, "Promise of Vengeance." It is true that the martyrs who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne cry out for vengeance. But no vengeance is specifically promised. Instead, they were given a white robe and told to rest awhile the number of their fellow believers would be completed in death.
Item 9. The Sixth Seal (Rev. 6:12-17). Additional Scripture: Matt. 24:29.
a. The Title at the top of the pop-up reads, "The sixth seal portends God's wrath."
b. The title at the bottom of the Time-Line reads, "Sign of Christ's Return"
c. Matt. 24:29 states that immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
d. Rev. 6:12-17: John witnessed a great earthquake, the sun became black, the moon like blood, the stars fell to earth, the sky vanished like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Consequently, kings, generals, the rich, the powerful, slaves and freemen hid themselves in caves and among rocks. They pled for the mountains and rocks to fall on them and hide them from the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, "for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"
Item 10. Second Coming of Christ. Scripture given: 2 Thess. 1:5-10. Some comments:
a. The title at the top of the pop-up reads, "Second Coming of Christ."
b. The comment underneath the title of the pop-up reads, "Sometime during the second 3 1/2 years (Matt. 24:36)
c. The content of 2 Thess. 1:5-10: God will grant relief to persecuted Christians, and also repay with judgment those who persecute them when Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. Jesus will, in flaming fire, deal out retribution to those who do not know God and do not obey the Good News about Jesus. But on that day Jesus will come to be glorified in His saints and will be marveled at among all those who believe in Him. Clearly this passage describes the Second Coming of Christ in power to bring relief to believers and retribution to unbelievers in preparation for His setting up of His kingdom here upon earth.
c. Tellingly, Kurschner cites no Scripture at this point in the Book of Revelation to denote Christ's return. Why not? Because there are none! Jesus does not return at any time in the last half of the Tribulation. In fact, He does not return to earth in the Book of Revelation at all until Rev. 19:11-21. His return terminates Daniel's 70th Week, and it terminates the Tribulation. Moreover, there is no Rapture of the Church mentioned anywhere at this time (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13-18). I.e., there is nowhere at Christ's return in Rev. 19:11-21 mentioned a translation of living believers into glorified saints who ascend upward to meet Christ in the air. If the Rapture of the Church is not mentioned in Rev. 4:1 (and I think it is), it is not mentioned anywhere in the Book of Revelation. Conclusion: Kurschner's interpretation, it seems, is incorrect. The facts do not appear to support his interpretation.
d. It is worth noting that Item 10 actually points directly at the division between the Purple-Colored "Satan's Wrath" in his time-line and the Green-Colored segment called "The Parousia of Christ.
e. At the very bottom of the Time-Line is the title, "Day of the Lord." Apparently Kurschner believes that the parousia (coming, 3952) of Christ is the "Day of the Lord." In the main, that is incorrect. The Day of the LORD is the time when God directly enters into human history and explicitly judges evil men. See the Glossary entry, "Day of the LORD." See also the author's Word Study on Parousia.
The Parousia of Christ (Green Section) (Items 11-31)Item 12. Sealing of the 144,000. Rev. 7:1-8
Item 11. Resurrection and Rapture. (Rev. 7:9-17)
a. The Title at the top of the pop-up reads, "Resurrection and Rapture"
b. The Scripture, as stated, is Rev. 7:9-17
c. The Title at the bottom of the pop-up reads, "Second Coming of Christ."
d. At the bottom of the Time-Line the topic is "Day of the Lord."
e. In the following items, I wish to make several observations.
(1) I believe Kurschner has incorrectly labeled this event. There is no indication in Rev. 7:9-17 that there is either a resurrection or the Rapture of the Church. There is no indication that these who appear before the throne and the Lamb have been resurrected. They appear there in their spiritual bodies, and they are to be identified with "the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained" (Rev. 6:9). In other words they constitute all or a portion of the Martyrs of the Fifth Seal (Rev. 6:9-11).
(2) Notice that Item 11 and Item 12 are out of order in the Timeline. The Biblical order is that the Sealing of the 144,000 Israelis (Rev. 7:1-8) takes place first. (It should be Item 11.) An innumerable number of people from every nation and language grouping on earth appear in heaven as a result of the witness of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev. 7:9-17). (Really, this should be Item 12). Kurschner offers here no explanation of why he has reversed these two events. It does not, in my judgment, further his case.
(3) The people who appear in heaven in Rev. 7:9-17 are NOT the Church. The Church has already been raptured prior to the Tribulation, as symbolized in Rev. 4:1. The word "church" (ekklesia, 1577) appears nowhere in Revelation 4:1-22:15.
(4) The people from among the nations who appear in heaven did not appear there through the means of the Rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:50-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). They are all post-Church martyrs who died for their faith during the Great Tribulation (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19; Rev. 7:14; 13:7, 15), not during the Church Age (Rev. 2-3).
a. Four angels, who are holding back the four winds of the earth, are instructed by another angel holding the seal of the living God not to harm the earth or the sea or the trees "until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads" (Rev. 7:1-3). Apparently this angel and others assisting him sealed 144,000 from every tribe of the Sons of Israel (Rev. 7:4). There were 12,000 sealed from each of the tribes, each listed by name.
b. Kurschner offers no explanation for the purpose or the result of their sealing. Let me offer you mine. They are sealed in order to be protected during this tumultuous time. Their purpose is to proclaim the Good News about Jesus to as many as possible around the world. The result of their ministry is seen in Rev. 7:9-17, where an innumerable company of people from every nationality, ethnicity, and language stand before the throne and praise God and the Lamb. They are martyrs who came out of the Great Tribulation and now serve God in His temple. They will never suffer again, for the Lamb will be their shepherd and guide them to springs of the water of life. And God will wipe away ever tear from their eyes.
Item 13. Seventh Seal. Rev. 8:1-6
a. The title at the top of the pop-up reads "Seventh Seal." The description immediately underneath the title reads, "The seventh seal pronounces God's wrath."
b. The Scriptures listed are Rev. 8:1-6, followed by Matt. 24:30, 37-41, followed by Luke 21:25-36.
c. At the bottom of the Time-Line there is the designation "YHWH's Wrath." This designation is applied to Items 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
d. Additionally, according to the Time-Line, Items 13-16 occur in Year 5 of Daniel's 70th Week. Year 7 begins sometime the Third and Fourth Trumpet (Items 16 and 17).
e. My synopsis of each of the Scriptures given:
Rev. 8:1-6. (1) The Lamb broke the Seventh Seal. (2) Seven angels stood before God and were given seven trumpets. (3) Another angel was given a censer filled with much incense to add to the prayers of the saints ascending before God from the golden altar. (4) The angel filled the censer with fire from the altar and threw it to the earth. (5) There was lightning, thunder, and an earthquake. (6) The seven angels prepared to blow their trumpets.
Matt. 24:30, 37-41. (1) Matt. 24:30 reads, "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory." (2) Matt. 24:37-41 mentions the following: (i) The coming of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah. (ii) Then, people carried on life as usual. They were eating and drinking and celebrating weddings until the day Noah entered the ark. (iii) They did not understand until the Flood came and took them all away. (iv) That is how the coming of the Son of Man will be. (v) Two men will be in the field. One will be taken away in judgment and the other left behind in safety. (vi) Two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken away in judgment, and the other left behind in safety.
Luke 21:25-36. (1) There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars, and on the earth dismay among the nations. Men will faint from fear at what is coming on the world because the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26). (2) They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:27). (3) Believers are to lift up their heads because their redemption draws near. (Luke 21:28). (4) Jesus' parable: When the fig tree and all trees produce leaves, you know that summer is near. Similarly, when you see all these things, know that the kingdom of God is near. (Luke 21:29-31). (5) This generation will not pass away until all things take place. (Luke 21:32). (6) Heaven and earth may pass away, but Jesus words will never do so. (Luke 21:33). (7) Be on guard so that day will not come upon you like a trap. It will come upon all the earth. Keep alert and pray that you may have strength to escape all these things, and stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:34-36).
f. My interpretive comments in relation to the Time-Line. (1) Not one of these Scriptures "pronounces" "God's Wrath" or YHWH's Wrath" as Kurschner terms this time. (2) Understand that he is contrasting Satan's Wrath (Items 7, 8, 9) (Purple Color) with YHWH's Wrath (Green Color) (Items 13-19). (3) His contrasting of "Satan's Wrath" with "YHWH's Wrath" is completely arbitrary. There is nothing in the text of any Scripture that warrants or justifies this distinction. It is Jesus who breaks the Seven Seals, not Satan (Rev. 6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12; 8:1).
Updated March 13, 2021