REVIEW: “The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church” by Marvin Rosenthal
After digging into the history of this book, I found that I am obviously very naive about how much of a golden calf pre-tribulationism is to some people. I mean, I have no problem with someone BEING pre-trib…or post or a-mill for that matter. It’s really no big deal. But man, some organizations are downright MILITANT about it.
Enter Marvin Rosenthal. Martin used to be an director/editor for Friends of Israel, an organization that publishes “Israel My Glory” magazine ( which I HIGHLY recommend ). A one-time pre-tribulationist, he had to resign his position with FOI after being unable to agree to the pre-trib rapture doctrine. That alone surprised me, as I really didn’t think it would be all that big a deal. Guess it is.
Rosenthal does what few books on eschatology do: Form a sound argument. This is something that LaHaye, Van Impe, Lindsay, etc. never do. I’ll give Marvin credit, the lad did his homework and obviously knows the Bible extremely well. So much so that his views are attacked quite viciously by the die-hard pre-trib camp. I guess they know a credible threat when they see one.
Although there is an abundance of material, there are places where the book rambles on with seemingly unrelated subject matter. For the first couple of chapters the reader may find themselves tapping their fingers and thinking, “let’s get on with it already!”. However, patience will pay off.
Much effort is put into making the reader understand that the pre-trib concepts of “tribulation”, “great Tribulation”, and “Day of the Lord” have been re-defined by many modern eschatologists to fit a view that the timeline of scripture does not allow. One such example, Joel prophecies that the cosmos will go all gangbusters BEFORE the “Day of the Lord”, yet Pre-trib theology adamantly and without justification states that the rapture happens before the cosmic signs. Jesus also told us to watch for these same events, which would be pointless advise if we’re gone.
The key point of the Pre-wrath view is that the rapture comes sometime after the sixth seal is opened (Rev 6:12). The tribulation of God’s people will then be cut short (Matthew 24, Mark 13) with the second coming of Christ and the rapture, and those who are left behind on Earth will experience a new definition of “suck” with the trumpets and bowls of God’s wrath (Rev 16:1). This also means that the return of Christ happens once…not twice as pre-tribulationists mistake.
So…everybody confused? SEE A TIMELINE courtesy of Wikipedia.
The book goes on to show Daniel timelines and a whole lot more goodies to numerous to bring up here. It should be noted that while I absolutely love this book, I also do not fully agree with ALL of its conclusions. I’m personally a bit hazy on what the true rapture WILL EVEN BE, as the whole modern idea of empty laundry seems a bit out of the blue and out of sync with the theme of scripture in general.
If I can grind one axe with this book it is this…the omission of any view on the two reapings in Revelation 14:14. With the complete absence of any commentary on this, I’m starting to wonder if I have a shelf full of misprinted Bibles!
I should also emphasize that this subject is not a hill to die on for any of us. I mean really…who can be 100% sure given the amount of differing opinions on the future prophetic timeline? Truth is, we can’t. So while it is fine to have a strong opinion, we must remain cool and not dogmatic about it. But for now I feel it is safe to say that in my own mind at least, I can remove pre-tribulationism from the police lineup.
Despite some minor flaws, this book manages to squeak by with 4 feathers out of 5 mainly because of the groundbreaking work that was put into it.
May 28, 2017 at
Now at 63 I was around when Hal Lyndsey wrote “The late great planet earth”. Big hype, all scared it could happen any time. In the 80’s I read a lot from Dr. Walter Martin, Christian Research Institute. Heard him speak twice in Fresno. Post tribber. I have about 100 of his cassette teachings. I have a copy of “The church will go through the tribulation”, read that in the 80’s. Pre, mid and post have this in common. All claim to be christians, their theories come from the Bible and they are right. Not having a degree I say, huh? How can that be? I believe there is one glaring absence in all their writings. The 7 Feasts of the Lord in Leviticus 23. Passover is the Crucifixion, next day is Feast of Matza for 7 days. On the third day is the Feast of First fruits. The barley harvest, AKA the Resurection (why in the world do we call it Easter with bunnies and eggs? What an insult to God.) You look it up. 50 days later is Pentecost. The wheat harvest and harvest of souls since. Read Acts. All this happened in the Fullness of time. Not before or after. That leaves the Feast of Trumpets which the Jews look at as the time of the Opening of the Book and repentance. They also have about 5-7 other names for that day. All associated with Jesus when you understand the meaning. Ten days later is the Feast of Yom Kippur. The Book is closed and Judgement is meted. The last Festival is The Feast of Tabernacles. Celebrated for 7 days. In Zephaniah if you do not celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles your country will not have rain. And if you do not like that God will also give you the plague. These last 3 Feasts are unfulfilled prophecy. Study them and you will see where the blanks get filled in. “You will not see my face again until you…..” Jesus said that. Face to Face is once a year on Yom Kippur. It was the only time the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies. Happy reading to you all and remember, ‘It is not important when He comes but that he comes”. Dr. Walter Martin
May 29, 2017 at
I remember good old Walter Martin! I probably have a stash of his old tapes in my basement somewhere and I think I read everything he wrote. A truly great teacher with whom I can blame for helping me torment cultists who knock on my door even to this day!
Indeed the feasts are a massive clue to events past and events to come. Being a messianic family ourselves, it is always a treat to partake in them. Which reminds me, Shavuot is almost here!
July 14, 2015 at
Good review. I plan to buy this book this week. As a pretty much “born and raised” pre-tribber my eyes have recently been opened to the post-trib, pre-wrath view. I have this and four other books on the subject I plan to purchase this week.
August 20, 2010 at
I like your sense of humor!
Either way, it's all going to be good.
August 6, 2010 at
Quote "This also means that the return of Christ happens once…not twice as pre-tribulationists mistake."
The irony is that pre-wrath actually teaches multiple comings. Rosenthal didn't elaborate and the other pre-wrath guys are cagey about it. But they see Matt 24:30 and Matt 25:31-32 as separate events with Rev 7 occurring in between.
The problem is that they view the great multitude in Rev 7 as the raptured church. What are they doing? Verse 17 – worshiping the Lamb in the center of the Throne in heaven.
Check out Van Kampen's The Sign (pages 304-423) Also see leading pre-wrath scholar Charles Cooper's article (the last paragraph) at
August 6, 2010 at
Oh dear sweet Lord…don't make me read any more Van Kampen!!! CLICK TO SEE WHY!!
Actually, as a pre-wrath type ( in a sence…I'm soooo confused!! ) I don't believe the multitude in heaven in Rev 7 is recorded sequentially. In that way I've sort of adopted an amillenial timeline.
Thanks for the link. I WILL read it! It should be noted that I've pretty much exhausted my looking into the subject for the time being!
Link to my Rant on Rapture.
…and with a little help from Doc Brown and Marty, a podcast on the origins of Rapture.
Enjoy them if you're up to it! ;)
October 30, 2009 at
So much to read, so little time! I'll try to get a look at maybe a few of those recommends. I've got at least 5 books in my queue at them moment!
October 30, 2009 at
The Blessed Hope (1956) by George Eldon Ladd is out of print but still available from used book sellers online. It is the definitive work on the subject from a non-pre-trib viewpoint. I'll have to look at Rosenthal's book too.
This argument doesn't really matter as much as 'salvation by faith alone' or 'sola scriptura', but it can mislead the Church, and cause divisiveness, which satan uses to keep seekers out of the Kingdom. Pray for wisdom on the part of the Saints.
October 20, 2009 at
PRETRIB RAPTURE – HIDDEN FACTS !
How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He is now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. Since Jesus must personally participate in the rapture, and since He can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends, the rapture therefore cannot take place before the end of the trib! Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) (which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening – Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who would be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of “death” (15:54)! (Will death be ended before or during the trib?) If anyone wonders how long pretrib rapturism has been taught, he or she can Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards.” Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 it was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!). Other Google articles throwing light on long-covered-up facts about the 178-year-old pretrib rapture view include “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “X-Raying Margaret,” “Revisers of Pretrib Rapture History,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Desperados” and “Deceiving and Being Deceived” – all by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” which is available at Armageddon Books online. Just my two cents’ worth.
October 13, 2009 at
Glad to see Marvin is still hard at work! While his theory doesn't fill EVERY gap ( hey, which one does right? ), I find it significantly more researched and thought out than the current pre-trib-rapture "pop-culture theology" that is so popular these days.
October 7, 2009 at
Good review! I read this book back when it was first released and found it very persuasive. I now read his "Zions Fire" magazine and find it also is very well done.