Cannot the 6th seal/pre-wrath rapture occur at the midpoint of the tribulation period, and cannot the 7 bowls be placed within the 7 seals and the 7 trumpets timeline?

Email Received:

I was looking at your website. For some time now, I have not believed the pre-tribulation rapture as thought by most.

One question is this: Cannot the 6th seal and pre-wrath rapture occur at the midway point of the tribulation? I donít see a rapture happening before the 6th seal and not be the main one. I do see 6th seal and 7th trumpet/Christ returns raptures.

Also, it does seem that the 7 trumpets will occur after the 7 seals. But cannot everything else be placed within them (except the first and last few chapters of Revelation)? Cannot the 7 bowls be placed within the 7 seals and the 7 trumpets timeline? This would make the 7th trumpet occur at Christ's return which would make sense that those not in the 6th seal rapture will be raptured when Christ returns.

Ted's Response:

Firstly, consider Jesus' reference (Matthew 24:15) to Daniel's 7-year prophecy (Daniel 9:27) and the setting up of the abomination that causes desolation, which most feel will take place at the midpoint. Jesus indicated that the next thing to take place after that would be the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).

Secondly, another event to happen at the midpoint is the casting out of Satan from heaven by Michael (Revelation 12:7-9). We know this will be at the midpoint because there will be 1,260 days remaining. Satan will be furious when he is booted out of heaven (12:12), knowing that he has only 3Ĺ years (12:14) left to accomplish his goals. As a result, he will make war against those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus (12:17), presumably believers.

Incidentally, Satan still does have access to heaven (Job 1:6,7, 2:1,2), though his throne is on the earth (Rev. 2:13). Once the final 3Ĺ years of this age have commenced, though, he no longer will be able to gain admittance into heaven. He will be hurled down to the earth (12:9), which will fill him with fury because he will know that his time is short (12:12).

Now, if the Sixth Seal were opened at the midpoint, with an associated Pre-wrath Rapture, then Satan could not go after "those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 12:17) because they would not be here. John saw many slain believers who had maintained their testimony for God (some of the ones pursued by Satan when he is kicked out of heaven) after the opening of the Fifth Seal (Revelation 6:9-11). So it seems likely that it will be the Fifth Seal, or possibly even the Fourth Seal (6:7,8), that will be opened at the midpoint, with the Sixth Seal coming later.

Believers will be protected from God's wrath, via the Pre-wrath Rapture at the Sixth Seal; but they will not be protected from Satan's wrath and fury during the Great Tribulation, which will commence when the final 3Ĺ years begin. For them, though, the days of great tribulation and distress will be cut short (Matthew 24:22), and what will cut it short for them will be the opening of the Sixth Seal (Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12,13) and the Pre-wrath Rapture (Matthew 24:30,31). John was shown the great multitude of raptured believers in heaven (Revelation 7:9) and was told that they had come out of the Great Tribulation (7:14). Soon thereafter, the Seventh Seal will be opened (8:1) and the "day of vengeance" and wrath of God will begin, via the trumpet judgments.

So the question is, if the Sixth Seal and the pre-Seventh Seal Rapture will not take place at the midpoint, then when will they occur? Well, first of all, the souls of the slain saints will cry out for God to avenge their blood (Revelation 6:10). So as soon as the Sixth Seal is opened, the "day" of God's wrath or vengeance will be imminent (6:17). Evidently, Isaiah equated this "day" of vengeance with a year of time (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, 63:4). For this and other reasons, I feel that there will be about a year between the Pre-wrath Rapture and the return of Jesus back to earth to rule and reign. More reasons can be found on my Seventh Year page.

Having said all of that, I do acknowledge the possibility of a Mid-tribulation Rapture of a smaller group of "firstfruits" believers, just prior to the final 3Ĺ years. I have addressed this in another email response here: Is it possible that Jesus' parable about the ten virgins could indicate that there will be a Mid-tribulation Rapture?

I know there are many who think that the seven Bowl Judgments must be "wedged" in somewhere before the return of Jesus back to earth to rule and reign. I completely disagree with this. I am absolutely convinced that Jesus will return to earth in association with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-17). Then, while He is sitting on His throne in Jerusalem, the Bowl Judgments will be poured out upon the kingdom of the Antichrist/beast (16:10) and on most of the world outside of Israel.

Daniel 12:11 talks about 1,290 days from the abomination that causes desolation (at the beginning of the final 3Ĺ years). Jesus will return after 1,260 days, and the Bowl Judgments will be poured out for 30 days (1,260 + 30 = 1,290). During those 30 days, the Antichrist and the kings and others who have given their allegiance to him will become enraged that Jesus, the Son of God, is dominating them, as with an iron scepter. So they will conspire with each other and will gather to come against Him, in the plain of Megiddo; but He will come out and destroy them all at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16-21; 17:12-14). This 30-day period is what Psalm 2:1-12 is all about. Furthermore, there is 45-day period after that to complete the 1,335 days of Daniel 12:12.

The battle that will take place on the day Jesus returns to earth and treads the winepress of God's wrath (Revelation 14:19,20, 19:15) will not be the Battle of Armageddon. The details of these two battles, 30 days apart, are described in my Final Battles commentary.

As for a secondary catching up of believers taking place when Christ returns to earth, I agree that there is a distinct possibility of this. Revelation 14:14-20 is one of the depictions of Jesus' return at the end of the 7 years, initially in the clouds to gather a harvest of people (14:16), then all the way down to the earth to tread the winepress of God's wrath in a huge bloodbath (14:19,20). I suspect that many "stragglers" who miss the Pre-wrath Rapture will be caught up in this Post-tribulation Rapture (14:16).

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