It makes its rounds from time to time. The Pre-Wrath Rapture view. If I started advocating that concrete is made out of vanilla ice cream, it would not take long before there would be somebody who would believe it. Put out any false view and there will be takers. The same with this prophetic view. It makes no sense and cannot be defended by anyone who knows the Bible and particularly knows well the Greek language.
My personal friend, Dr. Renald Showers, knew well these men as friends, the advocates of this position, Marvin Rosenthal and Robert Van Kampen. He worked with them in several ministries. He watched as they tumbled into this view. He tried to show them the way of their error but it didn't work. They had an agenda they were trying to sell! Neither were true Bible scholars, but they just would not listen. Shower's story is fascinating as he describes how they came about that view. Showers wrote the definitive answer to their error in his book "The Pre-Wrath Rapture View" (Kregel). It would be a waste of time reviewing Showers' scholarly work; I suggest that those interested would simply purchase this great volume.
But just to put it simply in this article:
The Pre-Wrath view holds that the church will go through part of the tribulation. The Pre-Wrathers argue that it is wrong to use the word "tribulation" for the entire seven-year seventhieth week of Daniel 9. However, they fail to notice Jeremiah 30:7 that makes clear the Hebrew word "tsarah" is used to describe the entire wrath period. In the English it is translated as "distress" but it could, and should, be translated as "tribulation." Showers points this out, but as one who teaches graduate Hebrew, I noticed this fact before Showers wrote his book.
There is more involved in this error so I'm not going to spend time defending the right view—I just suggest you purchase Showers' book.
One question of the Pre-Wrathers is how do we know the restrainer is the Holy Spirit in 1 Thessalonians? Why not, some say. They argue it could be Michael the archangel, while some say the restrainer is the church. (Wow!)
Note Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:6 "What restrains" the anti-Christ. This is a Present Active Participle, neuter, singular. But in verse 7 we have "He who now restrains ..." The masculine pronoun is used.
Question: What Force, Power, or Person in the Bible is described with a neuter noun but also with a masculine pronoun as "He"? Only the Holy Spirit. The word Spirit is always neuter in Greek, even when describing the Spirit of God, but the masculine pronoun "He" is always used when speaking of Him. Michael is masculine (not neuter) and the word "church" is feminine. (Michael is not mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2, nor is the church.
Some other verses to take note of: "To wait for His Son from heaven (the rapture), whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who is our Deliverer from the coming wrath."
(Deliverer—Alford; Who Rescues—Pulpit Commentary; Drags us away—Liddell & Scott; Delivers us from the Wrath Coming—Ellicott)
"God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining deliverance through our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:9).
"The world says to the mountains 'Fall on us and hide us from the presence of the one who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day OF THEIR WRATH HAS COME; and who is able to stand under it?'" (Rev. 6:16-17). (Here the wrath has begun right up front at the beginning of the seven year tribulation period.)
If one wants to follow a minor viewpoint put forth by lightweights, for an agenda, he has the right to do so. But this is not where I, nor real scholars, are coming from!
Again, without laboring this issue, I suggest strongly those who want a solid answer to the Pre-Wrath issue, get Showers' book. -- Dr. Mal Couch