The Rapture
 Part 1 

Go to Part 2
, or scroll down the page.
Read Ted’s other commentaries. | Read Ted’s email responses about this topic.
Quotes by Jesus are in orange.


The subject of the Rapture is a controversial topic in Christian circles.  There are five main Rapture views: Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, Post-Tribulation, Pre-Wrath, and Multiple Raptures.  The Rapture involves the concepts of “changed bodies,” as well as being “caught up” in the air to be with Jesus, from that point forward.  Before you continue, you may want to read Corrie ten Boom on the Tribulation and the Rapture and Ruth B. Graham on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.  Both of them warned believers not  to expect to be exempt from tribulation and persecution.

Although there are numerous biblical passages describing or referring to the Rapture event, probably the two most descriptive passages are 1 Corinthians 15:50-55 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.  Those who are caught up will be “lifted up in love” to be with Jesus in the clouds.  The question is, when does this astonishing event occur?

A widely-accepted theory is that of the Pre-Tribulation or “Pre-Trib” Rapture.  This is based on the belief that the Rapture event (that is, the catching up of all those who maintain a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior) will take place just prior to the final seven years of this age (also referred to as the 70th Week, and often called the “tribulation” period).  See “Pre-Trib”: My Prior View.

To help determine the point during the 70th Week at which the initial, primary Rapture event will occur, it first is helpful to determine the points at which other events are known or presumed to occur.  Then, this collection of scripturally-sound information becomes a solid foundation on which to build the Pre-Wrath theory—which, I feel, demonstrates the proper timing of the main Rapture event.  My detailed chart, The 70th Week and Extensions, at the bottom of Part 2, shows my placement of the Pre-Wrath Rapture during the 70th Week.

abomination that causes desolation

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, His disciples came to Him and asked Him what would be the sign of His Second Coming and of the “end of the age.”  Jesus responded with a lengthy series of answers (Matthew 24:4-31) which, I feel, explain events that will take place from the beginning of the 70th Week to the point during that final seven-year period when the primary Rapture event (the first phase of His Second Coming) will occur.  The latter event will take place shortly after the opening of the Sixth Seal of the heavenly scroll, depicted in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 6:12-17), as viewed and described by the apostle John.  (See also my three-part commentary, The Chronology of Revelation.)

In the midst of Jesus’ response to His disciples is a very significant statement:  “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel...(Matthew 24:15).  Jesus was referring to words written by the Old Testament prophet Daniel, via a prophecy given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel.  The event to which Jesus’ statement refers will take place within the 70th Week of years.  In considering this self-evident axiom, it can be seen in Daniel 9:27bc that it is in the middle or midst  of the 70th Week when sacrifice and offering will be put to an end, and also when the abomination of desolation will be present in the “holy place,” as Jesus called it.

Most have considered this “holy place” to be in a third temple to be built in Jerusalem before Jesus returns.  In most Bible translations, a “temple” is mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and by John in Revelation 11:1.  However, in these specific verses, a more precise translation of that word, from the Greek, is “shrine” (which can be seen here).  The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine, and it very likely stands where the first two temples stood.

Although the Dome of the Rock certainly would not  be considered by the true God to be a holy building, the location where it stands on the Temple Mount, where the first two Jewish temples stood, still would be a holy place to God.  Since the time of Solomon’s temple, this is the place where God’s Name, eyes and heart always have been and always will be (1 Chronicles 7:16).  Perhaps, then, the “abomination” will stand in the Islamic Dome of the Rock, which was built on ground that is holy to God (see Third Temple).

There has been a great deal of speculation as to what will constitute the “abomination that causes desolation.”  Some have suggested that this abomination of desolation could be something taking place in the temple, should one be built, which is revolting to orthodox Jews, such as the setting up of an idol and/or the sacrificing of a pig.  However, in case another temple is not constructed, then this notion would not be likely.

Furthermore, there is a past precedent of performing sacrifice and offering with no temple standing.  Even before the foundation of the Second Temple had been laid in Jerusalem, burnt offerings were sacrificed on an altar built for this purpose (Ezra 3:1-6).  Thus, future sacrifices and offerings, and the cessation thereof, would not necessarily require another man-made temple in which to occur.

Now, Daniel pointed out that rebellion, presumably against God and His commands, can cause desolation (Daniel 8:12,13).  Paul said that once the rebellion or apostasy occurs, the man of lawlessness (the Antichrist) will be revealed 2 Thessalonians 2:3.  One of the hallmarks of this man will be that he will rebel against God’s laws and commands and will deceive and persecute others into doing the same.

So according to 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4, the “man of lawlessness” will “set himself up” in the temple (or shrine) and proclaim himself to be God.  Jesus indicated that the “abomination” would be “standing in the holy place(Matthew 24:15).

Here is Daniel 9:27 from the Orthodox Jewish Bible:

And he shall confirm brit [covenant] with rabbim [the many] for one heptad [week of seven years]; and in the midst of the heptad he shall cause the zevach [sacrifice] and the minchah [gift offering] to cease, and on the kenaf [wing or overspreading] of the abominations is one making desolate, even until the complete destruction, a destruction that is decreed, shall be poured out upon the Shomem [Desolator, Destroyer]. (Daniel 9:27—OJB).
Taken altogether, these three verses may indicate that the Antichrist, himself, is the “abomination” who will “set himself up,” who will be “standing in the holy place,” and who will be the “one making desolate.”  That is, this “man of lawlessness”—the “Desolator” or “Destroyer”—may himself  be the one who “causes desolation” or “makes desolate” and for whom complete destruction, ultimately, has been decreed (at the Battle of Armageddon).  Thus, it may be that Jesus warned those who are in Judea in the middle of the 70th Week, when they see this man standing in the “holy place,” to flee as soon as possible (Matthew 24:16).

The “abominations” (Daniel 9:27—OJB) might include a public proclamation by the Antichrist (“the first beast”), at the “holy place,” that he is “God,” as well as his blasphemy of the true God and the heavenly host (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:5,6).  Furthermore, he might state emphatically that Jesus is not  the Son of God, a tenet expressed clearly in the Qur’an (Maryam: 35, 92) that is abominable to God.  John indicated the following about the antichrist with an antichrist spirit:

Who is the liar?  It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.  Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.  No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also (1 John 2:22,23).

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (1 John 4:2,3).

Perhaps there also will be an abominable idol erected, similar to the one that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; the idol honored the king, and a command was given to worship the idol (Daniel 3:1-7).  This would seem to correspond with the “image,” set up by by the False Prophet (“the second beast”), to honor the first beast and to be worshiped (Revelation 13:14,15).  Interestingly, the dimensions (height, width, and depth) of King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol were 60 cubits x 6 cubits x 6 cubits, or “666.”

According to Luke, Jesus noted, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near(Luke 21:20).  It would seem, then, that whatever happens at that time, there may be some type of military involvement, whether attempting to keep the peace and/or triggering, or even causing, the ensuing desolation.

the restrainer

Paul indicated that something or someone was restraining or holding back the “secret power of lawlessness,” the latter which will empower the man of lawlessness (Antichrist) when he ultimately is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8).  Those who adhere to the “Pre-Tribulation” Rapture viewpoint commonly believe that it is the Holy Spirit working through the Church of believers, or some feel that it is a government, who is holding back the power (and man) of lawlessness until the proper time of revelation.

If the restrainer is the Holy Spirit, then the idea is that He is working through believers in the world; and after they are raptured (allegedly at the beginning of the 70th Week), the man of lawlessness will be revealed.  Yet the Holy Spirit is everywhere.  The idea that He could be “removed” from any location (for instance, the world) is an illogical, tenuous notion.  Plus, if the Holy Spirit were gone, that would mean that nobody else could receive faith—which is a gift of the Holy Spirit—during the 70th Week.  Therefore, no one else could be saved.

I hold a different view altogether about “the restrainer.”  Jesus indicated that, following the abomination that causes desolation (in the midst or middle of the 70th Week), “there will be great distress [or great tribulation], unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again(Matthew 24:21).  The Old Testament prophet Daniel indicated that just prior to this same period of distress, the archangel Michael would “arise” (Daniel 12:1).

The archangel Michael always has been the special protective “prince” of Daniel’s people, Israel (Daniel 10:13,21).  In the midst of the 70th Week, he is seen to “arise” or “stand up.”  The term used is the Hebrew word amad, which actually means to “stand aside,” “stand still,” “desist,” or “be inactive.”  Other examples of the usage of amad  are found in Job 32:16, Nehemiah 8:5, and 2 Samuel 18:30 (see Amad).

Michael, in the midst or middle of the 70th Week, will oust Satan and his angels from heaven (where they now have access, accusing saints before God day and night), hurling them down to the earth (Revelation 12:7-9) during the ultimate battle in heaven.  This will end Satan’s access to heaven (which he was shown to have in Job 1:6 and 2:1) forever.  Immediately after this, the following will happen, in sequential order:

  1. Michael, the restrainer, will “amad” (desist from any further assistance to Israel—Daniel 12:1a) by being “taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7b).  This will lead to a period of great distress on the earth, unequaled previous to that time (Matthew 24:21), for all nations including Israel.
  2. The revealing of the true nature of the “lawless one” (Antichrist) will occur (2 Thessalonians 2:8a). 
  3. The work of Satan, through the “lawless one” who will come, will be “displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing” (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10a).
  4. Ultimately, this man of lawlessness will be overthrown by Jesus, following His return to earth (2 Thessalonians 2:8b), which will be 3½ years later.
Thus, once Michael—Israel’s angelic protector and restrainer of desolating evil upon Israel—has been “taken out of the way” (by God), the Great Tribulation will begin.

Great Tribulation

After mentioning the abomination that causes desolation, recall that Jesus added, “For then there will be great distress [or great tribulation], unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again(Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1b).  In many versions of the Bible, “great distress” is translated “great tribulation.”  The abomination that causes desolation will be set up in the “midst” or near the middle of the 70th Week, and the Great Tribulation will begin soon thereafter.  Then it may be that the Fourth and Fifth Seal events will ensue (Revelation 6:7-11).

Just prior to the onset of the Great Tribulation, Satan and his angels will be expelled permanently from heaven by the archangel Michael and his angels (Revelation 12:7-9), causing Satan to be filled with fury (12:12c).  He will pursue “the woman” (those who have fled into the desert) in a rage; but they will be protected by God for “a time, times and half a time” (12:13,14) or a year, two years and half a year = 3½ years or 1,260 days (12:6).  So Satan will make war against those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus (12:17).  The persecution and deaths of many of these will be apparent after the Fifth Seal has been opened (6:9).

Through the Antichrist, Satan will carry out his wrath upon the earth during the Great Tribulation.  When the identity of the Antichrist is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3), he will set up the abomination that causes desolation in a “holy place” (Matthew 24:15)—not necessarily a structure holy to Jews or Christians (see Third Temple)—in Jerusalem.  Then he will utter blasphemies and exercise his authority—over every tribe, people, language and nation—for 42 months (Revelation 13:5-7) or 1,260 days (= 3½ years), the duration of which those who have fled Judea into a mountainous desert wilderness will be protected by God (Matthew 24:15,16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20,21; Revelation 12:6).

During the Great Tribulation, as much as a quarter of the world will be killed, or perhaps a quarter of the world’s area will be affected by death from several causes (Revelation 6:7,8).  Amazing counterfeit satanic miracles, signs and wonders, which will deceive multitudes of people, will occur (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10; Revelation 13:13,14).  It will be necessary to take the mark of the beast on one’s right hand or forehead to be able to buy or sell anything (Revelation 13:16-18)—although its acceptance by anyone, evidently, will doom that person to extreme suffering (16:2) and even to permanent damnation (14:9-11).

In essence, the period of Great Tribulation on the earth will be a time of Satan’s wrath upon humankind, which is God’s greatest and most valuable creation and which Satan hates and despises.  After being cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:7-9), Satan—who leads the whole world astray—will go on a campaign of great deception and a rampage of immense destruction.  He will attempt to destroy God’s chosen people, Israel, as well as the spiritual offspring of Israel (Christian believers), who have been “grafted in” to the “olive root” of Israel (Romans 11:17,18) and, ultimately, all of humankind.  Satan will use his evil angels and the malicious regime of the Antichrist to accomplish this.

Jesus said that “if those days [of great tribulation] had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened(Matthew 24:22).  The insinuation is that the time of the Great Tribulation will be cut short by the Pre-Wrath Rapture, when the elect (believers who will have full faith in Jesus/God at that time) will be caught up into the clouds to be with Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).

If this Rapture event were not to take place, then presumably Satan’s goal of extinguishing all  of humankind would be successful and no one would survive.  Even King David understood that due to the mercy of God, His wrath for a short period of time would be better and less destructive than the wrath of human enemies (which would be instigated by Satan) for a longer period of time (2 Samuel 24:11-14; 1 Chronicles 21:9-13).

There is only one other place in the New Testament where the term “great tribulation” is seen, and that is in Revelation 7:14 (describing those who will “come out of the great tribulation” via the main Rapture event).  The label of “tribulation” is found in the annotated Bible notes of some “Pre-Tribulation” Rapture advocates, such as C. I. Scofield and Grant Jeffrey.  As such, even though I agree that the term “tribulation” (implying “distress”) is an apt description of the overall atmosphere and mood of the 70th Week, its use as a substitutionary name for the whole period of the final seven years is not scriptural.

However, “Great Tribulation” is an applicable name for the period beginning at the onset of the final 3½ years of this age.  Jesus indicated that those days of great distress (or great tribulation)—the worst time in human history—will be “cut short,” for the sake of the elect (Matthew 24:21,22).  The events that will shorten the days of the Great Tribulation, for the elect believers, will be the opening of the Sixth Seal and the subsequent Pre-Wrath Rapture.

cosmic disturbances: Sixth Seal

Jesus referred to the “great distress” or “great tribulation,” which will begin in the “midst” or “middle” of the 70th Week.  Then he described that at some point thereafter, there will be an extremely eerie time “immediately after the distress [or great tribulation] of those days” when the sun and moon will be darkened, the stars will seem to be falling from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24,25; Luke 21:25,26; Revelation 6:12,13).  This prophecy parallels one by the Old Testament prophet, Joel, in which he described similar cosmic disturbances as happening just before the period of time known as the “great and dreadful day of the Lord(Joel 2:30,31).  In effect, God will “clothe the sky with darkness and make sackcloth its covering” (Isaiah 50:3)—I believe as a stark expression to humankind that there will be one last chance to repent before God begins to pour out His wrath upon the world.

Another Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, described these same cosmic disturbances and shaking of the earth (Isaiah 13:10,13).  They are contained in a passage in which Isaiah claimed that the “day of the Lord”—described as “a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger”—would be coming.  After describing the astonishing cosmic disturbances, he said that God would “punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins” and that the heavens would tremble and the earth would shake “at the wrath of the Lord Almighty in the day of his burning anger” (13:6-13).  The prophet Amos wrote that the “day of the Lord” would be one of “darkness, not light” (Amos 5:18,20), which is in keeping with the fact that the sun and moon will have been darkened, just prior to that time.  Furthermore, the fact that that that Sixth Seal events will be caused supernaturally and directly by God seems evident (Job 9:5-8,10).

Another self-evident axiom is that Jesus’ description of the cosmic disturbances and the shaking of everything, as well as everyone’s perception of them—including their observation of Jesus in the clouds as the “Son of Man” and “the Lamb” followed by the redemption of believers via the Rapture event (Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28)—are paralleled in the Book of Revelation by John’s description of what will occur after the opening of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-17).  Similar to Joel’s prophecy, John indicated that the cosmic disturbances would occur just before the great “day of their wrath” (Revelation 6:17), referring to the wrath of the Father and Jesus the Lamb (see further unity), which will take place during the Day of the Lord period.  Even the Apostle Peter attested to this, adding that all who would call on the name of the Lord at that time would be saved (Acts 2:19-21)—via the Pre-Wrath Rapture, I believe.

There are those (such as many who embrace the “Pre-Tribulation” and “Post-Tribulation” Rapture views) who believe that the events following the opening of the Sixth Seal (Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28; Revelation 6:12-17) will occur at the very end of the 70th Week.  Thus, those of the “Pre-Tribulation” persuasion believe that Matthew 24:30,31 and Mark 13:26,27 must be a picture of Jesus’ return to earth, while those of the “Post-Tribulation” persuasion believe that the same passages are a picture of the Rapture concurrent with  Jesus’ return to earth.  I disagree with these views, for the following reasons:

  1. Matthew 24:30,31 and Mark 13:26,27 say nothing about Jesus’ returning to earth, only about His appearance “on the clouds of the sky,” at which time “He will send His angels” to “gather His elect” to join Him (in the Rapture event).
  2. The Sixth Seal events will not  occur at the very end of the 70th Week (see Sixth Seal and Seventh Bowl).  Following the Sixth Seal, the events of the Seventh Seal will still have yet to transpire before Jesus returns to earth, at the end of the 70th Week.  There simply is no way to wedge all of the Seventh Seal events, comprised mostly of the seven Trumpet Judgments, between Matthew 24:29 and 24:30 or between Mark 13:25 and 13:26.  (The Chronology of Revelation provides many more details regarding the chronology of the events about which John wrote in the Book of Revelation.)
  3. Jesus stated,
    Immediately after the distress [or tribulation] of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken (Matthew 24:29).

    But in those days, following that distress [or tribulation], the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken (Mark 13:24).
    The word “distress,” in some versions of the Bible, is translated “tribulation.”  For many, “tribulation” is another name for the entire 70th Week (final 7-year period).  Yet, by using the term “distress” or “tribulation,” Jesus simply was giving an abbreviated description of the “great tribulation” period.

    There is nothing at all in the Bible equating the term “tribulation” with the 70th Week.  The only portion of the 70th Week which aptly can be called a period of “great tribulation” is the period following the setting up of the abomination that causes desolation, which will occur at the beginning of the final 3½ years.

Rapture event

Here is Jesus’ description of what will happen simultaneous with  or immediately following the cosmic disturbances of the Sixth Seal (which Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:29 and in Mark 13:24,25; cf. Revelation 6:12c,13):

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other (Matthew 24:30,31).

At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens (Mark 13:26,27).
That is a description of the Rapture event.  The spirits/souls of believers who previously have left their bodies, in death, will be gathered from wherever they are in heaven to be united with their new glorified, resurrected bodies.  “The elect” who still are alive will be changed into glorified forms, joining those who have been resurrected to be caught up in the air to meet the Lord in the clouds.

The Rapture is the first phase in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and it will not  be a “silent, hushed” phenomenon, as many of those who believe in a “Pre-Tribulation” Rapture suppose.  The people of the world will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30b; Mark 13:26a).  John gives us added information, in the Book of Revelation, as to what will happen when the nations of the world see Jesus, the Lamb of God, coming in the clouds on His throne:

Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.  They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” (Revelation 6:15,16).
People in all of the nations of the world will see the “face of Him who sits on the throne” as He appears in the clouds.  The unsaved will be terrified; they will cry out to the elements of God’s creation (mountains and rocks), rather than to God Himself, to shield them from the glorious, radiant face of Jesus.  In essence, their “goddess” Mother Earth will not be able to protect them from the imminent wrath of the Lamb to come.

At about the same time, saved believers will be caught up to be with Jesus in the clouds.  This same multitude of raptured believers will be seen standing in front of Jesus, seated on the same throne, soon thereafter in heaven (Revelation 7:9).  The 144,000 Jews or Israelites, who will have witnessed the Rapture event, most likely will become instant believers and immediately will be sealed for protection (7:1-8).  Presumably, they will enter into God’s service and will be kept safe as they spread the Gospel message throughout the world until, as a group, they are caught up to Mount Zion in heaven (14:1-3) in their own rapture event: 144,000 caught up.

This is what Paul described, in quoting Hosea, about the victory associated with the Rapture:

Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55).
The first part applies to the saved dead, over whom death has had a “victory”; but this victory will be destroyed when they are resurrected at the Rapture.  The second part applies to the saved living at the Rapture, who never will experience the “sting” of death at all.

On the other hand, those who, up to that point, will have failed to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, will be “left behind” to be subjected to the wrath of God that soon will come upon the earth:

For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:17).
The “great day of their wrath” is a direct reference to the initial segment (the “day of vengeance” described in the next section) of the “Day of the Lord” period.

Day of the Lord

The apostle Paul noted that the Day of the Lord would come as a “thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).  However, to believers, he wrote that “you are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief” (5:4); so, for believers, the onset of God’s wrath will not be sudden and unexpected.  Paul indicated that believers in Jesus are not  appointed to suffer God’s wrath (5:9).  Thus, it is important to understand what interval of time God considers to be the “Day of the Lord”; believers will be removed before, and saved from, the portion of that period that consists of God’s wrath.

Commonly, but I am convinced erroneously, the entire 70th Week is referred to as the Day of the Lord.  Many will equate this entire period  as a time of God’s wrath and vengeance.  On the contrary, most of this 7-year period will consist of an increase in natural disasters and cataclysms, a surge in man’s inhumanity toward man and an escalation of Satan’s wrath upon mankind and his supreme and ultimate rebellion against God.

I have shown that, beginning in the midst of the 70th Week, the following events—as a sequence of five axioms used as foundational blocks in demonstrating the timing of the Pre-Wrath Rapture event—will occur in chronological order, as follows:

  1. the cessation of sacrifices and offerings, then the abomination that causes desolation inside of a “holy place,” as described by Jesus, which will be standing in Jerusalem at that time (Daniel 9:27bc; Matthew 24:15);
  2. the beginning of the Great Tribulation period;
  3. the cosmic disturbances of the Sixth Seal, where the sun and moon will turn dark and the heavenlies will be shaken;
  4. the Pre-Wrath Rapture of believers; and finally
  5. the Day of the Lord, which will not be merely one day in length; it will begin with the opening of the Seventh Seal, which will consist of God’s righteous wrath, vengeance and judgment (the “day of vengeance”) upon an unrepentant and rebellious world, via the Trumpet Judgments and the Bowl Judgments.

The initial  “day of vengeance” portion of the Day of the Lord period—following the Pre-Wrath Rapture of believers—should last about a year (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, 63:4), during which the devastating wrath of God will be poured out upon the earth.  Just as the 70th Week is a “week” of seven years, I believe the final “day” of that “week” of years—the seventh year—most likely will be set apart from the rest of the week.  It will be the first segment of the very lengthy Day of the Lord period.  The remainder, which will be the majority of the extensive Day of the Lord, will be the Millennium, lasting a thousand years (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8; Revelation 20:2-7).

After Jesus the Bridegroom takes His soon-to-be Bride of betrothed believers to be with him at the Rapture, they all will spend a year of time together in heaven, and they will celebrate the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9).  After this, Jesus will mount a white horse and return to earth to judge and make war (19:11), with the armies of believers in heaven following Him (19:14).

The apostle Peter, quoting the prophet Joel (Joel 2:31) in his reference to the Day of the Lord (Acts 2:20), changed one word in his description.  Joel said that it would be “great and dreadful,” but Peter described it as “great and glorious.”  Both were correct.  The beginning of the Day of the Lord period, consisting of God’s wrath and vengeance, will be dark, cruel, fierce, and dreadful.  After that, however, the 1,000-year “day” of the Lord Jesus’ rule and reign on the earth will be bright, compassionate, gentle, and glorious (Isaiah 11:10).

A day, in Jewish tradition, begins with darkness (after sunset) and continues into light (after dawn).  Likewise, the Day of the Lord will begin with a time of gloominess and despair and will be transformed, after Jesus returns, into an era of righteousness, illumination and enlightenment.

In Paul’s day, some of the Thessalonians had been given deceptive information, indicating that the “day of the Lord”—with which Paul associated “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered [raptured] to him” (2 Thessalonians 2:1,2)—already had come.  Paul told the Thessalonians that the “day of the Lord” would not come until some point after the man of lawlessness (Antichrist) is “revealed” and sets himself up in God’s temple [or shrine], exalting himself over everything that is called God and proclaiming himself to be God (2:3,4).


It would seem that the man who will be the Antichrist (or the first beast) initially will display a “face” to the world of honesty, integrity, and sincerity.  However, it may be that this man’s traits and attributes will not be what people expect, and his outward disposition may be unpredictable.

Presumably, this man will be an advocate of peace, probably in favor of Israel making land-for-peace concessions to the Palestinians.  He ultimately will rise to the zenith of world power, amidst great turmoil and disorder, probably including disasters and cataclysms, worldwide.  He will become a well-known figure.  At some point, though, his “beastly” qualities will be observed by the world.

Paul noted that this “man of lawlessness” will be “revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).  This will be at the beginning of the final 3½ years, when the Antichrist will walk into the “holy place” (Matthew 24:15) in Jerusalem and set up the abomination that causes desolation.  He may be “lawless” in the sense that he will reject the Law/Torah of God, in which is contained God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).  It is possible that he will insist that the law of the land is Sharia law and that Israel’s land should belong to those who embrace Islam.

This man will be influenced, motivated and directed by Satan.  He will display his true character and temperament, will begin to behave as a “beast,” and will utter blasphemies against God and exercise his authority—over every tribe, people, language and nation—for 42 months (Revelation 13:5,6).  He will make war against Jews and Christians, that is “those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (12:17).  He will oppress them for “a time, times and half a time”—that is, one year plus two years plus half a year (1 + 2 + ½ = 3½ years).  This will be the final 3½ years (Daniel 7:25, 12:7), or 42 months, of the 70th Week.  Even after the Pre-Wrath Rapture, there will be those who “see the light,” will come to a firm belief in Jesus, and will be persecuted by those devoted to the Antichrist.

Great Tribulation

The latter half (3½ years) of the 70th Week will begin with the Great Tribulation period, which will be “cut short,” according to Jesus, “for the sake of the elect” because, otherwise, “no one would survive(Matthew 24:22).  The tumult of the cosmic disturbances: Sixth Seal will cut short the Great Tribulation, after which the Day of the Lord period will commence.  The first portion of the Day of the Lord period, probably spanning about one year of time, will be the “day of vengeance.”

day of vengeance

The “day of vengeance” will commence with the opening of the Seventh Seal, initiating God’s wrath during the seven Trumpet Judgments and being completed with the seven Bowl Judgments.  The prophet Isaiah wrote, “For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause” (Isaiah 34:8).  In this passage, I believe that “a day of vengeance” refers to the initial segment of the lengthier “day of the Lord” period; and “a year of retribution” seems to indicate that this period will last for about a year (see The Seventh Year)—the seventh “day” of the seventh “week” of years of the 70th Week.

Isaiah also wrote, “For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come” (Isaiah 63:4).  Here, the “day of vengeance” is equated to “the year of my redemption”—that is, the year during which God will take vengeance on unbelievers and  during which believers will be redeemed, via the Pre-wrath Rapture.

Similar to this is another passage by Isaiah: “ proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God...” (Isaiah 61:2).  In effect, this equates to a year of God’s vengeance taken upon most of the world, while the Lord’s favor will been given to believers, just prior to its beginning, via the Rapture.  The “day of vengeance” will be the initial brief period (a year) of the overall Day of the Lord, commencing with the opening of the Seventh Seal and the Lord’s vengeance on the world.  The Day of the Lord will continue through the Millennium, consisting of the Lord’s blessings and favor upon the world.  To the Lord, a thousand years are like a day (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).

A typical Hebrew day, beginning at sunset, starts with darkness.  After sunrise, the day becomes light.  Likewise, the Day of the Lord will begin with the darkest, most terrifying time in human history: the “day of vengeance.”  This will be followed by a bright, glorious epoch of time, the Millennium, which will commence after Jesus’ second advent (bodily descent) back to earth.

Jesus likened the time following His appearance in the clouds (a day and hour unknown), at the main Rapture event (Matthew 24:30,31), to the time of Noah when the flood came and took all the people away (24:36-39).  The great flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month (Genesis 7:11).  A little over a year later, the earth was completely dry on the twenty-seventh day of the second month, when Noah’s family and the animals came out of the ark (8:14-19).  Just as the flood and its effects—a time of God’s vengeance against mankind—lasted about a year, it may be that Jesus was insinuating that God’s future “day of vengeance” also would last about a year.

Much of God’s vengeance and wrath, during the “day of vengeance,” will be in response to slain believers’ having cried out to God during the persecution of the Fourth and Fifth Seals.  He will avenge their blood, which will have been shed upon the earth, by judging mankind:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (Revelation 6:9,10).

Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.  See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins.  The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer (Isaiah 26:20,21).

They have given the dead bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the air, the flesh of your saints to the beasts of the earth. ... Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name ... Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”  Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants (Psalm 79:2,6,10).
It is soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal that God’s wrath, to avenge the blood of slain believers, will be imminent, and it will commence with the opening of the Seventh Seal.  Countless numbers of terrified people will be hiding in all kinds of places, including in caves and under rocks.  They will know that the great day of God’s wrath (or vengeance) is very near:
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.  They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!  For the great day of their wrath [God’s day of vengeance] has come, and who can stand? (Revelation 6:15-17).

Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth (Isaiah 2:19).

Second Coming

Jesus’ specific answer to His disciples’ inquiry about His future coming was that the nations would “see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory,” at which time angels will gather His elect to be with Him (Matthew 24:30,31).  It is then that believers, both dead and alive, will experience deliverance via the Rapture.  This will be Jesus’ return in the clouds, not  His return to earth to rule and reign.

Many who embrace the idea of either a “Pre-Tribulation” or a “Post-Tribulation” Rapture event feel that the incidents described in Matthew 24:30,31 will take place at the very end  of the 70th Week.  However, I maintain that these events will occur soon after the removal of the Sixth Seal from the heavenly scroll, which will not  be at the end of the 70th Week but rather, most likely, about a year prior to the end (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, 63:4—see The Seventh Year).  The events of the Seventh Seal, the seven Trumpet Judgments, and the seven Bowl Judgments, chronologically described by John, will be yet to come (see Sixth Seal and Seventh Bowl).

In Revelation 6:16 is described how the world will see, in the clouds of the sky, “the face of him who sits on the throne.”  I believe this is when the Pre-Wrath Rapture will take place.  The Rapture will be the initial  event in the Second Coming of Jesus.  It will portend the imminent  beginning of the Day of the Lord period (which will commence soon after the opening of the Seventh Seal).  Jesus’ Second Coming will be completed  when He returns physically to earth, at the end of the 70th Week, in association with the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet (11:15-17).

Jesus compared the first phase of His next (second) coming to the time of Noah and the ark (Matthew 24:37-41).  At that time, Noah was saved by entering the ark, but the destructive flood took away all those who had no idea that the flood was coming.  At the Rapture, the saved will be taken (caught up); while the lost will be left behind, mostly to be swept away by the “flood” of God’s wrath.

In the Greek translation of what Jesus said, the word airo indicates how the flood “took away” the lost people in Noah’s time (Matthew 24:39); whereas, the word paralambano describes how the saved people in the future will be “taken” (24:41).  While airo implies to “put aside” or “take away” (with a negative connotation), paralambano means to “take with” or “take alongside” (in a positive context, occurring also in Matthew 1:24, 2:14, and 20:17).

Thus, it seems evident that the multitude comprising the elect will be caught up at the initial appearance or coming of the Son of Man in the clouds (Matthew 24:30,31).  They will be saved individuals who are translated up into the clouds, in the Rapture, to be alongside Jesus.  On the other hand, those remaining, at least up to that point, will be unbelievers and/or scorners who will be left behind to face the terrifying judgments of God, which will begin the Day of the Lord.

Mid-Tribulation Rapture

There are many who have embraced the idea of a “Mid-Tribulation” Rapture, believing that it will take place in the midst or middle of the 70th Week, just prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation.  The idea is that the Great Tribulation is a period of supernatural wrath upon the earth, and that Christians will be protected from it.

Although I believe that God’s wrath will not be imminent until after the opening of the Sixth Seal, and will not begin until after the opening of the Seventh Seal (probably a year prior to the end of the 70th Week), it is true that Satan’s fury, rage, and wrath (Revelation 12:12,17) will be in effect during the Great Tribulation.  It will begin soon after the battle in heaven, when Satan and his angels are hurled out of heaven and permanently onto the earth by the archangel Michael and his angels (12:7-9).  Therefore, I do acknowledge the plausibility of a “Mid-Tribulation” Rapture, whereby some believers would be protected from Satan’s wrath, via the Antichrist.

In Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), it is widely accepted that all of the ten virgins are saved believers.  However, only five wise virgins, who have brought their “oil” with them, will get to go with the Bridegroom when He comes the first time.  It seems that there are parallels between this passage and Leviticus 24:2:

Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil [desire to obey] from beaten olives [tribulation] for the lamp [commandment], that a light [the law] may be kept burning regularly [go forth continually] (Leviticus 24:2—ESV).
Pertaining to the wise and foolish virgins, perhaps the following apply:
  • wise virgins: those who strive to be obedient to God’s commandments and have an intimate relationship with Him, proving their love for Him
  • foolish virgins: those who do not see the necessity of being obedient to God’s commandments and do not have an intimate relationship with Him
  • lamps: the commandments of God
  • light: the Law/Torah of God
  • oil: resulting desire to obey the Law of God due to “pressing” or tribulation
Interestingly, the Bridegroom comes at “midnight” (Matthew 25:6), which perhaps could indicate that He will come midway through the dark so-called “tribulation” period and will supernaturally change those who have had an intimate, ongoing, obedient relationship with Jesus.  Then He will take them away to be with Him.

It may be that the five wise virgins, who have the “oil” of the Holy Spirit, are those who have recognized and acknowledged the importance of the five books of the Torah or God’s Law (Genesis through Deuteronomy)—in particular, the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:7), which consists of Exodus 20-23.  They also would recognize the importance of God’s appointed feasts and His seventh day Sabbath of rest (Leviticus 23:1-44).  If so, the five foolish virgins may be familiar with Jesus (who observed God’s feasts and festivals, as well as a seventh-day Sabbath), His commands, and His teachings but not “know” Him intimately nor walk with Him daily.

Also, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).  So, evidently, the five wise virgins will have an appropriate and reverential fear of God that the five foolish virgins will be lacking.

Jesus said that He was the fulfillment of the Law (Torah) and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17).  Thus, although many know of  the Torah, most have “discarded” it as irrelevant and no longer applicable, thereby unknowingly breaking fellowship with the Bridegroom, who is the physical manifestation and model of the Torah.  They will not have deemed it important to keep all of the commandments (including the observation of a seventh-day Sabbath) and the feasts, festivals, and holy days that Jesus did.

If so, when the Bridegroom comes, maybe the foolish virgins will be left behind.  They will be told to go buy their “oil”—that is, to go learn about and pay attention to the Torah, especially the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:7).  Then, if they do not fall away from the faith, perhaps they will be caught away at the main Rapture event to come, after the opening of the Sixth Seal, at which time they also will be “known” by the Bridegroom.

Maybe the “son” in Revelation 12:5, who will “rule all the nations with an iron scepter,” will consist of overcoming believers in Jesus (2:26,27), who have been grafted into “the woman” (Israel)—the personification of the Torah and the focal point of God’s new covenant.  If so, these particular believers may be “snatched up to God and His throne” (12:5), via a Mid-Tribulation Rapture, since this would be just prior to the final 1,260 days (second half) of the 70th Week (12:6).  If so, “the rest of her [the woman’s] offspring” (12:17)—presumably, the “foolish virgins” of Matthew 25:3,8,11would remain behind to face Satan’s wrath but would be caught up later at the Pre-Wrath Rapture.

The Philadelphian Church (Revelation 3:7-13) was the only church with whom no fault was found.  To them was presented an “open door” (3:8), which perhaps is analogous to the “door” into which the wise virgins will enter with the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:10).  If so, this will be a door that no one can shut until “Philadelphian-type” believers or “wise virgins” have walked through it with their Bridegroom.  Immediately after it has been shut, the remaining believers or “foolish virgins” will be unable to “open” that door (Matthew 25:11).  Presumably, though, it will be re-opened later, for their entry, at the Pre-Wrath Rapture; and they will join the wedding banquet (25:10) at that time.

If  there is a Mid-Tribulation Rapture, I would see it much like how a so-called “Pre-Tribulation” Rapture usually is described: as a silent event, with no signs preceding it, like a “thief in the night” (Matthew 24:43).  Perhaps, some segment or subset of believers would be changed or glorified on the Feast of Firstfruits, a barley harvest of “first grain” (Leviticus 23:9,10) during Passover week.  This would be in keeping with Jesus Christ’s “firstfruits” resurrection from the dead on this day:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
Whether the changed, glorified “firstfruits” believers would be caught up immediately, or awhile later, is unknown.  We know that Jesus remained on earth for forty days following His resurrection (Acts 1:3), encouraging believers to look forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit ten days later (1:4,8, 2:1-4) on the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15-22) or Shavuot (Pentecost).  Perhaps, glorified believers would remain behind, for a time, to encourage those who will have to endure the dreadful Great Tribulation period.  (See more details in “Is it possible that Jesus' parable about the ten virgins could indicate that there will be a Mid-tribulation Rapture?”)

Another possibility is that some believers who have seen a “firstfruits” rapture of a group of their peers—perhaps on the Feast of Firstfruits during Passover week—will be motivated to obtain the “oil” of the Law/Torah for themselves, in particular an observance and adherence to much of the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23, 24:7).  Then maybe this second group of “virgins,” as well, would be caught up and away on the fiftieth day thereafter (following the counting of the Omer), on the Feast of Weeks = Pentecost = Shavuot, as a “firstfruits” wheat harvest of “new grain” (Leviticus 23:16,17).

Go to Part 2

Ted’s Bible Commentaries
and Other Links

Summary of Commentaries
Who Is God? Was Jesus God? Good Thursday
 The Rapture 
 Part 1 
The Chronology of Revelation The Endtimes
The Final Battles The Beasts The Creation
God’s Covenant: with Israel or the Church? End of the Age: 2024 – 27?
My Beliefs and Faith
Bible Question Emails
and Ted’s Responses
The Holy Bible
Pride Island
(a novel by Ted)
Creation ... Counterfeits ... and the 70th Week Bible Study
Ted’s Homepage Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology
of the Human Eye

Comments or questions?  Email Me.


Copyright © 2004– by Ted M. Montgomery, O.D.  Most rights reserved.

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.