In Christ There Is No Wrath

Our Excerpt today is from a paper authored by Dr. Mal Couch which was presented to the Pre-Trib Research Study Group at its annual conference a few years ago. The paper is titled: “Major Rapture Terms and Passages” and is focused on the major New Testament terms and passages that support the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church. For our purposes today I wish to focus on one passage from this work which emphasizes the fact that the Church, which is the Bride of Christ, will not experience the Wrath of the Tribulation because of the Rapture.

The excerpt begins:

The rapture has to do with the dispensation of the church or those “in Christ.” The church age is a unique period with special promises. Those with Him now by faith will not face the coming wrath (1 Thess. 5:9). There was nothing like the rapture for Old Testament saints, and there will be nothing similar for Tribulation believers.

Most of the rapture passages mention the believer’s relationship to Jesus. Paul speaks of “our Lord Jesus at His coming” (1 Thess. 2:19) and of the dead as those “who have fallen asleep in Jesus” (4:14), who are now called “the dead in Christ” and who will rise first (4:17). The reason for the rapture, Paul says, is so we might escape the coming wrath and obtain salvation “through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:9). Awake or asleep we will live together “with Him” (5:10). The apostle continues to punctuate this relationship with our Redeemer when he reminds the confused Thessalonians of this “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (2 Thess. 2:1).

In Paul’s great resurrection and rapture section, 1 Corinthians 15:12-28, both events are tightly tied to our spiritual position in Christ. “In Christ all shall be made alive,” he says (15:21). Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection and then those who are Christ’s “at His coming” (15:23). And following the apostle’s great description of our “change” at the rapture and the resurrection of the dead, he concludes with this triumphant statement, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory because of our Lord Jesus Christ” (15:57). In Titus, Paul calls the Lord “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2:13). He “gave Himself for us,” and thus redeems and purifies “a people for His own possession” (2:14).

These statements are important because they reveal the unique position the church now has with its Savior that spares it from the coming wrath.

Words of Grace for Strength

Today the subject of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the church has come under fire from many directions. There are now those who deny the Rapture altogether, those who support a Post-Trib Rapture, a Mid-Trib Rapture, and the latest variation is a teaching suggesting a Pre-Wrath Rapture in which the church will endure Satan’s wrath but not the Wrath of God.

I agree that the purpose for the Rapture is to keep the Church from the Wrath of God. Paul tells us this very thing in 1 Thessalonians 5:9; “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” however a distinction between the wrath of Satan and the Wrath of God during the Tribulation is tenuous at best. A true understanding of the Tribulation period places every event of that time in the context of God’s purposes and God’s Wrath. Satan has no power except that granted by God. Therefore, any wrath meted out by Satan is in fact God’s as He accomplishes His purposes during the Tribulation.

What is God’s purpose for the time of Tribulation as He inflicts His Wrath upon the world? I believe there are four things He intends to accomplish.

First, Satan will be given every opportunity, during the Tribulation, to make his rebellion succeed only to fail. Revelation 19 describes the defeat of Satan’s army and the destruction of the Beast (Antichrist) and his false prophet, and chapter 20 describes Satan being bound and cast into the pit. Thus, God will use Satan to accomplish His own purposes. The depravity  and sin nature of man will be seen through these last rebellious events, leaving no doubt that without the redemptive blessings through Christ, all would be lost for no man resists sin without salvation through Jesus.

The second purpose of God during the Tribulation is to bring Israel into a position of obedience and redemption. The scriptures teach us that God will use this time to bring His chosen people to Faith in Jesus as their Messiah. God will use Satan, the Beast (Antichrist) and the wicked gentile nations to persecute and punish Israel for her unfaithfulness to God. Zechariah prophesied that during this time two-thirds of Israel will be destroyed; ‘“And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the LORD, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,”’ (Zechariah 13:8) but one-third will declare; “The Lord is my God” (Zechariah 13:9). With this having been accomplished the prophecy will be fulfilled; ‘“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” (Romans 11:26&27) Notice when Paul says “all Israel will be saved” he is speaking of the believing remnant of one-third because the Scripture in Zechariah 3:8 has already acknowledged the two-thirds which are cut off and die. Israel, coming to terms with Jesus as Messiah, and as a result, coming to Messiah, brings the covenantal promises of God to the nation of Israel to their ultimate fulfillment.

The third purpose I see God accomplishing during the Tribulation is to punish the world and the gentile nations for their sins against God and His chosen people Israel. (Deuteronomy 30:7; Isaiah 13:9; Isaiah 24:19&20) This purpose is retribution for the unrepentant during this time, and has nothing to do with the Church. And we of the Church need to see our blessed position in Christ and give praise that we are kept from enduring this purpose of God in these end times events.

The fourth purpose of God during this time is to evangelize the world. This is prophesied by Jesus Himself in Matthew 24:14; “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” We see the fulfillment of this in Revelation 7:1-17 through the preaching of the 144,000 Jews, the Two Witnesses and Angel. We see occurring during these most terrible of times the very thing we ourselves are now commanded to do, during our daily times in our daily lives.

So, in conclusion, I do not find evidence of the Church in any of these events during the Tribulation. Let ume give one last common sense example. Since the Church is the bride of Christ, does it not make sense that Christ would protect His Bride from God’s Wrath? Realistically, what groom would beat his prospective bride before their wedding? It is my hope that this common sense evidence borne out by the Scripture should be enough to put this subject to rest. The Rapture is Pre-Tribulational… and imminent. Jesus is coming soon!


What Really Is the Question?

A few weeks ago the seed of this article was rolling around in my head as I considered the question: Why is it so many people consider the study of Biblical prophecy to be foolishness? Knowing that approximately one-third of the Scripture is prophetic in nature I personally have dedicated my life in service to Christ, to the study and teaching of Biblical eschatology. Anyone who follows what I write is aware that I am continually calling out cultural, institutional, and mainstream “Christianity” and their so-called “churches” for abandoning sound theological doctrine and embracing a liberal theology of compromise, tolerance, and inclusiveness which is no more than dead religiosity.

Now then, since I began ruminating on the question above, the United States and the World have continued their ever accelerating descent into the Last Days, careening from crisis to crisis. From Russia and the Ukraine; to the IS in Syria, Iraq, and now Lebanon and Turkey; to Libya dissolving into anarchy; to Israel’s war against the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and the resulting rise of anti-Semitism around the world including the US; to the many domestic crisis within the US resulting from the actions of a lawless President and his administration, not the least of which is our open southern border with Mexico. Every time you look at the news (it really doesn’t matter which venue you choose) it seems we’re faced with a new crisis, and almost predictably you will also hear some babbling leftist liberal or deliberately ignorant Islamist supporter, misquoting or taking Scripture out of context in support of the position of the narrative put forth by the “oppressed” terrorists and their liberal supporters, or for the interests of their “progressive” liberal leftist political party. And, follow me here, what boggles the mind is that one part of this group hates Christians (and Jews) and the other part of them call themselves “Christian” while denying the inerrancy of the very Scriptures they are misquoting, and the deity of Jesus Christ.

So, I believe the answer to the question above as well as the larger question as to why Scripture is so often misquoted or taken out of context, can be found within a passage that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. ‘“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”‘ 1 Corinthians 2:2-16

In this passage Paul tells the Corinthians that he has come to teach them about Jesus Christ, and not doing so in his own power, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. He tells them that the wisdom of God is available to them, can be revealed to them, if they love God, and this is done through His Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself promised His disciples; “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16 & 17. As He had promised them His Holy Spirit to help them He also told them; “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you” John 16:12-15. Jesus knew that they could not understand these things with a natural mind, but after He sent the Holy Spirit, their minds would be opened to the very things of God and He would bring them understanding in a spiritual way.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to teach us all things, the deep and intimate things of God. So as Paul taught the Corinthians “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” 1 Corinthians 2:14, he was telling them that in their natural state (wherein they did not have a belief in Jesus Christ as Messiah and Savior) and without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit they would not “receive (believe) the things of the Spirit of God.” In their state of unbelief they would simply see them as foolishness even though they could understand the written words. He goes on to say that they could not “know them because they are spiritually discerned” which is to say that it requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to have a complete grasp of the Word of God. Anyone can read the Word of God, and anyone can have a rudimentary understanding of what it says, but without a believing faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit cannot teach them spiritual truth.

In his gospel the Apostle John tells us; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” John 1:1-5. He is speaking here of Jesus Christ, Jesus is the Word! The implication is that every jot and tittle of the written Word is from God. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy; “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. If we truly believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God breathed into the writers by the Holy Spirit, then we must understand that we need Him to help us comprehend it just as much today as when it was first written. An unbeliever cannot know those things which are spiritually discerned. The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:4

The truth of the matter is the Bible is simply not open to interpretation or even analysis by the unbeliever. Without knowing Jesus you cannot know the Word. Even the rulers of Israel, during Jesus’ life, did not know Him, even though they had studied the Word of God every day of their lives. The Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t recognize their long-awaited Messiah even when He stood before them. Jesus told them; “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” John 5:39-40. They did not see the “Word” which “became flesh” because they did not want to see Jesus as the Christ. No one can see and embrace the truth of the Word of God unless they first come face-to-face with the Word of God, who is Jesus Christ. They must believe in Him for who He is and His finished work of grace for them when He paid their sin debt at Calvary. Without faith in Jesus Christ no one can accept or like truth. When you cannot accept truth you end up embracing worldly values which may satisfy your base desires, but will ultimately leave you devoid of an eternal future.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that unbelievers are intellectually incapable of grasping biblical truth. In fact they do have that capability, but because they reject the truth of the Word of God and who Jesus Christ is, they will be judged for their willful unbelief. The unbeliever or “natural man” may have an intellectual grasp of the entire gospel, but without a embracing it and accepting it as truth in his own life, he rejects God, His Son Jesus Christ, and His indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples; “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe” John 6:63 & 64. So, herein lies the answer to the question, the things of God are spiritually discerned, but unfortunately it’s not just “some” who do not believe today, it is actually a vast majority. And, because they have not the Holy Spirit, they willfully choose to not only ignore biblical prophecy, but the very Word Himself, Jesus Christ.

In 1921 Dr. C. I. Scofield wrote his “Addresses on Prophecy” and within the pages of this book I found this quote. “There is a great deal of the study of prophetic truth, and a great deal of the hearing of the exposition of prophetic truth which has no effect upon conduct or character, simply because it is heard or studied without faith. We bring to it a sort of vulgar curiosity. We desire to know what all these images, and beasts, and horns signify, believing in a way, that there is in them some unfolding of that which is to come to pass, if one can but hit upon the correct interpretation: We may come to the study of prophetic truth with that in mind and derive no profit whatever. It is therefore a believing understanding of prophetic truth which has an influence on either character or conduct.”

As we continue to study biblical eschatology it is my hope and prayer that all of those who blatantly abuse the Word of God will have a face-to-face encounter with Jesus Christ, which transforms them from their liberal ignorance into an active faith. It is also my prayer that in faith they will begin to study and understand God’s prophetic Word. When anyone receives Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior their life begins to change. The natural man that he was, begins to be replaced through the process of sanctification, by the new man who is in Christ Jesus. As he grows in this relationship, the Holy Spirit becomes more and more a reality in his life as he studies the Word of God. The presence of the Holy Spirit in his life enables his mind to know and believe the truth of the Word.

Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Does His Holy Spirit indwell you? Those of us who study the prophetic Word will tell you that the time to make a decision for Jesus Christ is growing very short. We are living in the Last Days, Jesus Christ will Rapture His Church, and a time of Great Tribulation will then enveloped the earth, followed by the physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth to set up His Kingdom.

Jesus is coming soon!