Is the Pre-Wrath Rapture Satanic? Is pretrib satanic? What about other rapture views? Should we divide over the rapture? Eschatos Ministries recently took one of Jan Markell’s videos to task:
In last weekend’s Understanding The Times Conferences 2017 hosted by Jan Markell’s Olive Tree Ministries, she had a meeting with two of the speakers that was video recorded. In the video below starting at the timestamp 6:45 you can hear them talk about how prewrath is “Satanic.”
You can watch the video HERE
So, is the Pre-Wrath rapture satanic? Nope! Neither is the midtrib, posttrib or pretrib rapture. No one should go down that route. All rapture timing views are deductions. I defend the pretribulational view because I think it has far better arguments than the others. But I don’t consider rapture timing a doctrine to divide over.
There are some ironies to this, though. Here’s where I get to do some ax grinding once again.
Marvin Rosenthal once declared that the pretrib rapture was a satanic deception (meaning the alleged Darby-MacDonald connection). Dr Ice – who noted the fact – also employed the “Big Lie” analogy by referring to propaganda and Nazi Germany. It was a strategic error because sensitive critics consequently accused him of saying that Rosenthal used Nazi propaganda tactics. I don’t think he was doing anything of the kind. Ice made a point about how ingrained falsehood can spread via a constantly repeated lie. The analogy was perhaps regrettable – the backlash predictable. The point is that Rosenthal associated the pretrib rapture with satanic deception.
Manfred Kober has also noted Rosenthal’s thinking in the latter’s seminal book (The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church):
The pretrib position is beset with “impossible-to-resolve problems” (p.197) and “insurmountable exegetical” difficulties (p.147). Even worse, the pretribulational teaching leads to “calamitous” consequences and “a spiritual catastrophe” which is in reality “a satanically planned sneak attack” (p. 281-282). With such scathing attacks, Zion’s Fire seems to be appropriately named. (Emphasis mine)
Is it any wonder some proponents of his system have become so militant?
Speaking of propaganda: I watched Paul Wilkinson’s first reply to the epic “Left Behind or Led Astray?” documentary. During the live stream we discussed the claim that there wasn’t one Bible verse – on its own – which supported the pretrib rapture. Agreeing, I chimed in that the same may be said of many other doctrines – for example, the Trinity. One of the documentary participants promptly chided me for placing pretribulationism on the same level as the doctrine of the Trinity. The man was putting words into my mouth. Rapture views are Category 3, whereas the Trinity is a Category 1 doctrine. This was the sort of one-upmanship he and his colleagues used throughout their polemical documentary.
This brings me back to Jan’s video. Did she or J. D. Farag say PW was satanic? The word “satanic” was specifically used in reference to the attacks they’d received regarding their pretribulational stance. There’s a distinction between calling a critic’s view satanic and commenting on the nature of the criticism. I don’t consider most pretrib criticism to be “satanic.” In many cases I see it as the product of compulsive, misguided people pushing their belief system. One might argue that obsessive behavior which takes our focus off Christ may render our witness ineffective. That includes us all, despite our eschatological differences.
Bill Randles’ article makes some excellent points HERE. Even so, one person couldn’t help making derogatory remarks about pretrib. The persistent “two-gospel” canard refuses to die. And pretribs obsessively promote their system…but others don’t? Prewrathers and posttribbers don’t also want to have their own safe-space churches, their own Prophecy Conferences and Study Bibles? Try again.
Ministries such as Jan Markell, David Reagan, J. D. Farag and Prophecy Watchers routinely receive hate-mail because of their pretribulationism. This is why Reagan and Stearman decided to address the PW view. It wasn’t because they were concerned about losing ground – they’d had enough of the behind-the-scenes beligerence. Predictably, these responses ignited further conflict.
By the way, pretribulationism may indeed be losing ground. I don’t have supporting data but my guess is that amillennialism is becoming the dominant view, if it isn’t already. Amil is cool – premil isn’t.
At the 8:37 min mark of Jan’s video, she says she gets mail asking why she doesn’t do a program explaining PW. Her response is that she doesn’t want to confuse people with nonsense. Again, nothing is said about PW being satanic. PW shouldn’t be regarded as nonsense, even though I think it is flawed. But I’m not going to pass the tissues around either.
One critic recently associated pretrib with 2 Tim 4:3-4. Another one called pretribbers liars who twist and torture Scripture. He claimed that the “logical conclusion” of pretribulationism leads to a form of Replacement Theology and “another gospel,” making the view a “damnable heresy.” What motivates this sort of bizarre thinking? If only these cases were isolated.
Still another person has been all over social media promoting his new book. Given that our paths crossed many times, I read the book. It was a badly researched hit-piece against pretribulationism. Furthermore, he seemed confused regarding details of his own system. Often, people operate under the impression that allegedly debunking pretribulationism automatically gives their view a pass.
Pre-Wrath leader Dr. Charles Cooper chastised self-published PW authors in a hard-hitting 2014 article:
The overwhelming majority of books written on the PreWrath rapture position are not worth your money. You are learning very little, but exposing yourself to error, “juke-truth,” and fodder for endless speculation and squabbles. At the end of this process, most will improve very little in the serious “followship” [sic] of Christ. Personal holiness will remain a slight “tick” on the scales of God’s divine pleasure.
As a side note, I don’t wish to disparage Dr. Cooper’s experience with Moody following his revised rapture position. Yet if someone belonging to a Pre-Wrath Ministry switched to pretrib – would the person still be entitled to promote their new view? Shouldn’t one go with the courage of their convictions while avoiding self-aggrandizement or bitterness?
Sadly, I acknowledge that pretribbers can be divisive as well. However, over the years I’ve found the prewrath community to be generally contentious. Sorry, that has been my experience. Many are ex-pretribulationists who’ve come to “see the light” and are now zealous to deliver others from “deception.” This behavior may be attributed, in part, to PW leaders such as Rosenthal and Van Kampen.
Pretrib critics can be thin-skinned when challenged back. Aren’t we all? Has someone recently slammed your eschatological system? If you’re going to constantly throw mud at peoples’ belief systems, you’ll eventually get some feedback. Grow a thicker skin. Better still, go read Bill Randles’ article, mentioned above, and give it some thought. He has sound advice for us all:
Why fight over the [rapture] timing? I know, it seems so clear to you, (your particular position) , but is it not possible that people of equally good will can think they see something else (as clearly)?…Someday soon it is all going to happen, and on this point one or maybe all positions currently championed will be proven to be in the wrong. Will we not all rejoice together anyway, and praise the LORD in his presence for coming to rescue us all?
Let’s be more kind to one another.
On a final note: Someone has objected that imminence doesn’t really prepare pretribulationists, because of our “human nature.” I’ve addressed this in a previous article. It takes daily discipline to live as if Jesus could return imminently, or that death might take us suddenly. I confess to not doing this very well. But lately, especially as I grow older, I catch myself more frequently. Many of the great Puritans lived that way, and prescribed it to others. So should we.