The Christ in Prophecy Journal

The Pre-Wrath Rapture: Understanding the Concept

The Pre-Wrath Rapture


What does the Pre-Wrath Rapture view believe wrath is during the Tribulation?

Let’s begin with some definitions and clarifications. The term, Rapture, refers to the idea that a day will come when Jesus will appear in the heavens, at which time the dead in Christ will be resurrected to meet Him in the air and to receive their glorified bodies. Living believers will be taken up also and will be translated en route from mortal to immortal. Both the resurrected believers and the living ones will then return to Heaven with Jesus. This event is viewed by most as being separate and apart from the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth to reign for a thousand years.

The word, Rapture, does not appear in English language Bibles, but it can be found in the Latin Vulgate translation of Jerome, which served as the basic Bible of the Western world for over 1200 years, from 400AD to 1611 when the King James Version was published. The word appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In English versions it is expressed as “caught up.” The concept of the Rapture can be found in many other places in the New Testament — for example, in John 14:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

One other thing that needs to be made clear about the Rapture is that it is a promise to the Bride of Christ, which is the Church. It will not include Old Testament Saints. They will be resurrected at the time of the Lord’s Second Coming, at the end of the Tribulation (Daniel 12:1-2). The Tribulation Martyrs — those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior during the Tribulation and who are killed for their faith — will also be resurrected at the time of the Second Coming.

The Question of Timing

Among those who believe in a Rapture of the Church, there is disagreement as to the timing of the event. Until recent years, there were three concepts of the Rapture’s timing:

1) The Pre-Trib View — This is the idea that the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation begins.

2) The Mid-Trib View — This viewpoint places the Rapture in the middle of the Tribulation.

3) The Post-Trib View — According to this view, the Rapture and the Second Coming are all one event that takes place at the end of the Tribulation.

The “Pre-Wrath” View

In 1990 Marvin Rosenthal presented a fourth viewpoint in his book, The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church. Rosenthal was not the originator of this new viewpoint. Rather, he was the one who popularized it with his book.

The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church

The person who conceived the “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture was a man named Robert Van Kampen (1938-1999). Van Kampen became one of America’s richest men through his involvement in investment banking. During his lifetime he accumulated one of the largest private collections of rare and antique Bibles in North America.

In the 1970’s Van Kampen began developing the “Pre- Wrath” concept of the timing of the Rapture. Once he had completed his work on the concept, he started trying to find a well known person in the field of Bible prophecy to endorse his new view. That person finally turned out to be Marvin Rosenthal, who at the time was serving as the director of a very influential ministry called Friends of Israel. Rosenthal tried to convince the board of the ministry to abandon its commitment to the Pre-Trib view and accept the new viewpoint. They refused, and Rosenthal was forced to depart. He went to Florida where he built the Holy Land Experience — a Christian theme park which has since been taken over by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Today, Rosenthal serves as the director of Zion’s Hope, a ministry located in Winter Garden, Florida.

Rosenthal’s book was financed by Van Kampen’s fortune, and he mailed out thousands of copies to pastors all over America. Later, Van Kampen wrote his own books about the “Pre-Wrath” view, the most important being The Sign (1992).

The Meaning of the “Pre-Wrath” View

The “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture argues that the first three-fourths of the Tribulation is the wrath of Man and the wrath of Satan, and not the wrath of God. Therefore, the proponents of this view argue that the Church will suffer through the first three-quarters of the Tribulation since the Church is promised protection only from the wrath of God.

Those who espouse this viewpoint of the Rapture’s timing believe that the Seal Judgments are the wrath of Man and Satan and that they continue throughout the first half of the Tribulation and into the second half, right up to the three-quarters point, or shortly thereafter. They place the Trumpet Judgments in the last quarter of the Tribulation and the Bowl Judgments in the first 30 days following the end of Daniel’s 70th Week of Years.

In the second part of this look at the Pre-Wrath Rapture view, we’ll consider some objections to the viewpoint.

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ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. David Reagan

Dr. David Reagan is the Founder and Evangelist Emeritus of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He is a life-long Bible student, teacher, and preacher and he led over 45 pilgrimages to Israel. Dr. Reagan was the host of the radio then television program Christ in Prophecy for nearly 40 years.

18 CommentsLeave a Comment


  • For those who follow bible codes there is a website- – that has a bible code section with links to many codesearcher tables. Matt wright is just one of the codesearchers on this website (also on youtube as 'code searcher') anyway- many of his tables over and over again reflect 'rapture' and 5775/5776 or Gregorian years 2015/2016. It appears that Tishri 1-3, 2015 (September 13-17) is a time to 'watch' for this event. I stumbled upon them doing my own research on sept bet 23, 2015- Yom Kippur- day of atonement, which I believe 'kicks off' the seven year trib period – as day of jubilee.

  • As far as I can tell, neither Rosenthal nor Van Kampen used the term "three quarters." PreWrath does NOT believe the rapture is 3/4 of the way through the tribulation. I would invite you to read Rosenthal's or Van Kampen's books instead of other PreTrib critiques of PreWrath if you want to understand it. You guys seem to recycle the same misunderstandings.

    In "The Three-Quarters Rapture Theory" by Dr. Thomas Ice, the 3/4 figure is mentioned. In fact, he renamed the PreWrath position for us. (No joke!)

    Tim LaHaye, in "No Fear of the Storm," said PreWrath claimed that Christians go through the "first three-quarters of the Tribulation" (p97).

    I found a quote by a Dr. Gerald Stanton, who said of the PreWrath rapture, "the rapture will be three-quarters of the way through the '70th week of Daniel'" (p103 in LaHaye's book).

    Dr. Reagan, whom I have read since the 80s, has now become the fourth to voice this same mistake. Please correct this is your next article.

    I would think that in any description of the PreWrath rapture, one must explain up front that the tribulation is cut short before God's wrath begins, and this happens at the sixth seal.

    An honest critique cannot be made until one understands the position.


  • I agree with Sheila that the prewrath timing is commonly misrepresented as being about 3/4 of the way thru the week. Tommy Ice likely first coined the phrase, and I'm sure he was having a gentle dig at prewrathers. Prewrathers have been known to do the same.


    The fact is that official prewrath charts invariably locate their rapture timing around about there. Perhaps prewrathers should spend less time attacking pretribulationism and more time actually explaining their system on their websites.

    I notice that your website does its share of digging at pretrib but little in the way of explaining your system in detail. You even provide a complex chart showing the rapture at about 3/4 of the way thru the week.

    After all these years that your site has been up, you may want to devote some space to explaining your system in more detail instead of just providing a link to where people can buy books. That way people can understand your system and critique it in a fairer manner.

    I'd personally love to see discussions on how Rosenthal differed to Van Kampen (and we know he did) and the modifications to the prewrath system in the last few years.

  • here is a link to a free book if you want to learn about the pre-wrath rapture position

    sheila I am pre-wrath and agree that pre-wrath websites need to explain better because there is stuff the pre-wrath teachers haven't addressed the signs of the end times, the millennial kingdom which some pre-wrath teachers do addressed that though. it seems to me being new to pre-wrath that alot of them is more focused on spreading the pre-wrath rapture position then explaining it in further detail to people who believe in the pre-wrath rapture.

    also sheila about that chart even though it puts it there. pre-wrath teachers says that the rapture happens at the sixth seal sometime in the great tribulation. I agree with you on pre-wrath chart issue though.

    I would love to see marvin rosenthal or charles cooper who van kampen taught to come on this show to explain the pre-wrath rapture.


    I have some questions re Sheila's chart – she has the rapture cutting the tribulation short between the 6th & 7th seals. This assumes the Matt 24:29 cosmic signs = the 6th seals. But Matthew says:

    29 "Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

    30 "THEN the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

    31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Mat 24:29-31

    So the v 31 gathering does not cut the tribulation short. If that's the case then the Great Multitude in heaven is not the newly raptured church because this group has come out of the tribulation, not after. A T Robertson states that this group is continuously arriving from the tribulation.

    Regarding the tribulation being cut short – the only verse prewrathers use for this is Matt 24:21. Scripture consistently has the post AoD tribulation lasting three-and-a-half years. That verse should be understood as the tribulation being cut short so that flesh is saved, not that people remain alive to be raptured. Are there other verses that prewrathers can use to support their argument? If not, then the great tribulation lasts the full 3.5 years and the Matt 24 cosmic signs cannot be the 6th seal if you take Revelation chronologically.

    In 2 Thess 2:8 Paul states that Christ destroys the Antichrist at His appearing. But he is neither destroyed nor "handcuffed" at the 6th seal because he's able to muster armies at the 6th bowl. The 5th bowl is poured out on the Antichrist's kingdom. How can that be when he only has authority for 42 months and prewrath has the bowl judgments after the 70th week?

  • alf in the greek on blue letter bible endorsed by chuck missler who is pre-trib that group is a one time event not a continuous event. why bowl judgments is poured out after the 70th week is because the antichrist does not want to give up his kingdom and instead fighting against jesus to keep it and is moving to the place where battle of armageddon is fought plus jesus is pouring his wrath out on the antichrist followers and leading them to the battle of armageddon which is also part of his wrath. pre-wrath believe trumpets is God's wrath also. we use also to support rapture at the sixth seal is joel 2:30-31 "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
    Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
    31 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
    And the moon into blood,
    Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord." this is quoted in the book of acts also. acts 2:19-21.

  • I thought that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb was to take place with raptured Saints in heaven during that seven year period of tribulation on earth that follows the rapture and that was when they would be given their crowns for ruling with Christ over the earth for a 1000 years. So why are old testament saints not allowed to participate in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? Are they not to share equally in the rewards of the righteous? Please explain.

  • For me being raise in church, I found a scripture that said: Ask the Holy Spirit and He will lead you into all thruth. I had listened to so many ideas and at the time felt I needed to listen because I did not know how to read the bible. Since I decided to see truth as it is written I learned how so many take scripure out of context and learn when they do that , all they end up with is a lie. Now whatever G-d's Word says is my truth. I stand with Rev 4 and Rev last two chapters how we can count ourselves worth to escapte the things coming down on the earth. It is by His blood. none of us is ruggteiysm no not one, but we are saved by what HE did, not by what we do. when we hear His voice and follow HIM shows we love HIM and He said If you love ME keep my Commands. no I don't believe we are under the law but is our teacher as to what is truth. When we except the L-rd as our Saviour we are grafted into Israel, yet people overlook Romans nine ten and eleven . Even Paul said: I find myself saying and doing things I hate, I am the chief sinner. For me, People who think G-d has canceled the Everlasting Covenants for Israel is wrong. I stand with Israel all the way. I see all time apostasy grow and fall away from truth. it is written but they don't heed HIS WORD. it is so sad for me. I have not found one word that is against G-d's Word from Lamb and Lion Ministries. Shalom

  • I guess we will all find out soon enough. If I fly away at the appointed time that is all I care about. We take Father God's Holy Word and dissect it into crazy ideas of our own. As I see the state of affairs happening before our eye's right now, I wonder, what do we call this period of time we are living in and witnessing, as our Brothers & Sisters are being persecuted around the world? Seems we are experiencing some very terrible times.

  • I truly believe that the Harpozo, snatching out, rapture will be the signal to Lucy that he has 7 years to get-r-done. Please notice that 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says that the Lord will call up the dead and living bride/church to meet him in the air. The air where we all gather is the realm of Lucy and his demons. So the Lord gathers us all in Satans realm as a signal that it is indeed the last week for the WWO so desired by Satan and his followers.
    Get ready as it is so close and with this being a Shemitah year(americas final judgment into uselessness, as well as all the worlds economies)leading into a Jubilee with the last of the blood moons being on Passover and Sukkot, Tabernacles we need to be doing what Titus 2:13 says.
    The groom is about to call his bride out for the wedding feast for 7 years, it's a Jewish thing you know done by OUR Jewish Savior and Lord.
    Lucy will allow & build the prefab Temple at the start of the 7 years next to the Doom of the Rock didvided by a wall, so he can claim to be God & worshiped in it on Passover 3 1/2 yrs later.
    I would start looking up especially around Passover or Pentecost or the feast of Trumpets this year could be the one.

  • I'm confused. No Rapture in the bible but 'harpazo' is. Lots of other new words. Many conjectures here also. I get hesitant when people take a verse or two of Holy Writ to build doctrine on those alone. I am also hesitant about being 'snatched' off the planet as a group just because of a confessional admission. Christ leads us through tribulation, right? I think we need to be in a position at the Bema seat despite any harpazo. Christ never preached ease, it was count the cost, be ready, be awake. He also promised much persecution, of which we have only seen a fraction of. He's coming back as Judge. Don't get waylaid by the 'Shemitah, blood moons or whatever else is the fad that is NOT in the Word of God. If we are not CLEARLY focused, holy and sanctified, well maybe learn to be a prepper.

  • Anonymous, the Church – the Bride of Christ – will be raptured and will be celebrating the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with Jesus in Heaven while the Tribulation is going on. Those saved during the Tribulation and the OT Saints are not part of the Church. Those saved who die during the Tribulation are given white robes and wait before God's throne for the number of the rest to be martyred are complete (Rev. 6,7). They along with the OT Saints will not be resurrected until the end of the Tribulation at Jesus' Second Coming (Rev. 20:4; Dan. 12:1-2).

  • It's been a while since Dr Reagan's articles and I've read and listened to a number of prewrath responses. One responder (Bruce Biller) kept mentioning how Jesus only comes back once and that pretrib was wrong on this point, but that prewrath only teaches one future coming. Another responder (Alan Kurschner) kind of admitted to comings (plural) but that his Parousia understanding allowed this in the prewrath case.

    Well, no, it doesn't. Only die-hard committed prewrathers will swallow that Greek grammar line. Four different comings mean four comings. If prewrath teachers were honest and had no issues with it, they'd portray these comings on their charts. That way their proselytizers wouldn't be embarrassed when they get told this by someone else. The fact is that it really is a problem.

    Worse, none of the responders provided any proof that the great tribulation was cut short for the church, but not for Israel. The cutting short of the tribulation is of vital importance for the prewrath view. If the trib isn't cut short for the church then the Matt 24 cosmic signs occur at the end of the week and are not the 6th seal. In his book, Alan Kurschner borrows the resurrection mentioned in Daniel 12 and applies it to Matt 24 in order to prove that v 31 is the rapture. Yet Daniel 12 affirms that the tribulation is three-and-a-half years. The prewrath rapture view is untenable.


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