The Pretribulation Rapture of the Church
A Biblical Rebuttal of the Book Entitled
"The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church" by Marvin Rosenthal
By Bill Pierce
MARKING HERESYNow I know that the Lord hates "he that soweth discord among brethren" (Prov. 16:9). Plainly, an heretic sows discord in the church by teaching something contrary to the scriptures. It is the heresy that causes the discord, and not the Bible believer who exposes the heresy by the word of God. It is the duty of the Bible believer who recognizes the heretic to mark him and warn the rest of the church about the heresy in order that they may be strong in the faith and not led astray. There are several clear scriptures that agree with these statements. We will point out several of them below.
DEFINITIONAccording to Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary, a heretic is, "A person under any religion, but particularly the Christian, who holds and teaches opinions repugnant to the established faith, or that which is made the standard of orthodoxy. In strictness, among Christians, a person who holds and avows religious opinions contrary to the doctrines of Scripture, the only rule of faith and practice."
HERESIES AMONG YOUIt should be no surprise that there are heresies among Christians in the churches. We have been sufficiently forewarned about that:
1 Cor. 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
This means that they which have studied to show themselves "approved of God" (2 Tim. 2:15) will be able by the scriptures (Acts 18:28; Rom. 16:26; 1 Cor. 2:13) to make known the truth and clearly expose the heresy.
Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
2 Pet. 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
SCRIPTURAL REACTION TO HERESYThe scriptures give us clear commandments concerning our handling of heresies in the church:
Rom. 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark THEM which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid THEM.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
2 Thess. 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject;
11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
Not only does the apostle Paul write these commandments, but he practices what he preaches as an example for us:
2 Tim. 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
1 Tim. 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
A VERY SERIOUS HERESYA very serious heresy among us today is taught in the book by Marvin Rosenthal entitled, THE PRE-WRATH RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. At first reading it wasn't difficult to see where Brother Rosenthal was in great error, but I didn't see the need to write this booklet until after I had begun to hear about the devastating effects of this heresy: a missionary who lost most of his support, a man who was disfellowshipped from his church, and a Bible teacher who was marked by this heresy and banned from teaching in several independent Baptist churches. These men were marked by their adherence to the heresy of what Brother Rosenthal calls "The Pre Wrath Rapture of the Church," and rightfully (scripturally) so (Rom. 16:17-18)! His book teaches the heresy that the Church will go through part of the "great tribulation" and will not be raptured out until just before the seventh seal (Rev. 8:1) is opened.
PURPOSEThis booklet is written in an effort to fulfill the commandment of God concerning heresy, in particular the heresy which is taught by Brother Rosenthal in his book. We trust that the scriptures in this booklet will be more than sufficient to show you the grave errors of Brother Rosenthal's PRE-WRATH RAPTURE heresy and that they will firmly establish the doctrine of the PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH in your mind, according to the word of God.
So the purpose of this booklet is two fold: first, to mark Brother Rosenthal as a true heretic by exposing his teaching as false, according to the scriptures; and secondly, to edify the reader as to the truth about the PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH.
Eph. 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ
GENERAL COMMENTSBrother Rosenthal spends much time in his book quoting the statements and positions of Bible scholars. We will do none of that. We will not waste our time with what the Bible scholars have said, or with what the historic position of the church has been, or with what "the Greek" says. We want to know what God will teach us from his pure and preserved word, the Authorized King James Bible, by "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (1Cor. 2:13).
Brother Rosenthal corrects the word of God:
"The phrase 'the end of the world' (as in the Authorized Version) is particularly misleading. It is better translated 'the end of the age' (p. 225).
"'Saints' in this verse [1 Thess. 3:13] is an unfortunate and inappropriate translation. 'Saints' in this verse does not refer to believers. The Greek word hagios should be translated holy ones and is a reference to angelic beings" (p. 218).
We will not correct the word of God, that "we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Hebr. 12:28; Rev. 22:18 19).
Certainly, we do not intend to answer all of Brother Rosenthal's "arguments" for we neither have the time nor space to expend on such an endeavor. We believe that the comments from his book that we have chosen to quote will be sufficient to show the reader the heresy that he is teaching. Furthermore we most certainly believe that the scriptures given in this booklet will be sufficient to refute the heresy taught by Brother Rosenthal and that they will show beyond any doubt to the believer that the born again, blood washed church of God will be leaving this earth BEFORE the great tribulation begins, that is, BEFORE the Lamb of God opens the first seal (Rev. 6:1-2) and the antichrist brings his false peace to the world.
IMMINENT RETURN OF THE LORDBrother Rosenthal makes the following statement:
"No amount of rationalizing can explain away the fact that if the coming of the Lord is imminent and pretribulational, He will, of an absolute necessity, return as 'a thief in the night' even for the believers" (p. 224).
What Brother Rosenthal is saying is that IF the rapture of the church has always been imminent [always impending; could happen any time], then the church would have no signs to look for concerning the rapture. Then, he says, if that is so, then the church could not know the times and seasons of the Lord's coming! Brother Rosenthal claims that pretribulationists have ALWAYS believed that the rapture of the church is imminent. This is not true, for other Christians have recognized that the regathering of Israel must first take place and that the second coming of Christ would be around the year 2000. Before the canon of scripture was complete I don't doubt that many believers were looking for the Lord to come for them at any time. But after the completion of the scriptures, the believers who were noble and searched the scriptures would know that the Lord was not going to come back for the church until after two thousand years!
Hosea 6:2 After two days [the 2000 year church age] will he revive us: in the third day [the 1000 year day of the Lord] he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
2 Pet. 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Believers would also have the sign of the fig tree putting forth leaves and would know that the Lord would come before that generation passed away.
Matt. 24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree [a type of Israel (Gen. 3:7; Hos. 9:10; Joel 1:6-7; Luke 13:6-9)]; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it [the second coming] is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass [the generation living to see Israel become a nation in 1948], till all these things be fulfilled.
We are NOW nearing the year 2000. The rapture of the church will be seven years BEFORE the Second Coming of Christ, according to the scriptures and as we shall show in the following pages. Therefore we know the "last days" are upon us. The world of unbelievers knows nothing of these things, and so "when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction" shall come upon them, "as a thief in the night" (1Thess. 5:2-3).
We NOW believe in the imminent return of the Lord for the church with NO FURTHER SIGNS to be given! Had we been living in the 1800's,we would have known that we were not living in the generation of the Lord's return, and therefore would not be looking for the Lord's "imminent" return.
THE EFFECT OF TRUTHGod's word is always effectual toward them that believe it:
1 Thess. 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
The truth will always provoke unto love and good works:
Hebr. 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works
My profession of faith is based solely and entirely upon the word of God. If we will hold fast to the word of God and his promises, we will always be provoked to do good works. We know by the word of God that the church will be raptured out of this world without any further warning and BEFORE the antichrist is revealed. The knowledge of this provokes the Bible believer to stay right with God and to get busy doing the work of the Lord.
THE EFFECT OF ERRORA Christian who has been subverted by the heresy of The Pre Wrath Rapture of the Church will be looking for the signs which will appear before the wrath of God is poured out upon the earth (mark of the beast, the beast sitting in the temple as God, supernatural locusts coming out of the pit of hell, two hundred million supernatural fire breathing horsemen to kill a third of the earth, the sun darkened and the moon turned to blood), and he won't expect the Lord to come "as a thief in the night" (1Thess. 5:2)!
Because of this heresy he will believe that he will receive almost a seven year warning that the Lord is coming. As a result of this, man's corrupt human nature being what it is, he will slack off on his service to the Lord. The heresy has made the word of God of none effect! It has promoted coldness toward the things of God.
Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
A nonbeliever having heard this heresy will be encouraged to put off his salvation at least until he begins to see the signs! If he continues in this expectation, looking for signs, then he will find himself suddenly destroyed (1Thess. 5:3) when "God [as a thief in the night] shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they ALL might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2Thess. 2:11-12).
SPECIAL MEANS OF HIGHLIGHTINGAll bold faced type, and all words written with ALL CAPS have been added by the author to emphasize certain words and phrases. All words contained in [brackets] are added to give the proper context or to add explanatory notes. Words which have been italicized within quotations are reprinted as found.
All scripture quotations are from God's pure and preserved word, the King James Authorized Bible (Ps. 12:6-7).