Periodically, as I peruse seminary journal articles on prophecy, I encounter snarky criticism of the pre-tribulation rapture view. Often, it is manifested in statements suggesting that the primary reason for the strong adherence to the pre-tribulation view among many, is a fear of “going through the tribulation.”

In other words, the character of pre-tribulation believers is lacking in courage in some way. If somehow made stronger, they would abandon the pre-tribulation view in favor of the post-tribulation view where believers would, at least, face the full fury of the “wrath of man” or “the wrath of Satan.”

This idea is a baseless supposition for several reasons. My wife and I lived in Southeast Asia for over 16 years, working as missionaries mainly in Vietnam and Taiwan, where there was a Vietnamese diaspora. During those times, I had multiple dozens of encounters with national believers who trusted that Christ would come to save them from Daniel’s 70th Week. 

These men and women were often living at the level of $200 per month (or less) and encountering fierce persecution for their faith in Christ.

The belief in the pre-tribulation Rapture is ubiquitous among Christian believers in Asia, and it is not because they are inferior in courage to the West’s post-tribulation advocates.

The idea that Christ will not come to deliver His people before “the wrath to come” (1 Thess 1:10) starkly contradicts the words of Jesus when He tells us that He will do exactly that: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Rev 3:10, emphasis added).

Jesus promises to not only keep His people from the trial to come, but from the very “hour” (hora) or time period in which those trials suddenly emerge.

All major English Bible translations translate “teresoek” as “keep you from” (ESV, NIV, NSRV, KJV, NKJV, NASB). This is a special promise to Christ’s bride because, in Christ’s marvelous grace, He sees His bride as having kept His word about patient endurance. There needs to be no other reason.

“The wrath to come,” which Paul spoke of in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, is clearly eschatological, temporal wrath. When saved, we are already delivered from eternal wrath (John 10:28-29), or “hell” (Rom 8:1, 31-39; cf. Job 14:17; Ps 103:10-14, etc.).

When Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians, he meant to comfort them with the fact that they were not experiencing the “wrath to come” of Daniel’s 70th Week. Paul is not addressing a fear that they were experiencing the “worm that never dies” or the “fire that is never quenched” in Hell (Mark 9:43-48). They were “shaken” because they thought they were facing the eschatological wrath of the Antichrist’s persecutions because of what they were already experiencing (2 Thess 1:4).

The pre-tribulation view best explains all Biblical passages concerning the end times. Furthermore, our blessed brothers and sisters in the poorest, darkest, and most needy places in the world are not pusillanimous because they have embraced “pre-trib.” They have simply studied and “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11). Their faith and our faith in Christ’s promise is well-founded.

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