Thursday, July 10, 2014

Oliver B. Greene on Pre-trib rapture

Oliver B. Greene published a wonderful verse-by-verse exposition of Daniel in 1964. I've enjoyed reading it, because the book of Daniel is so hard for me to interpret. I was struck by Mr Green's certainty and fervency regarding the pre-tribulation rapture.

A Pre-Trib rapture is biblically correct. The rapture itself has been in the bible all along, notwithstanding assertions that it was a made-up doctrine from the 1800s. And the rapture's timing happening prior to the Tribulation has always been biblically evident too. It was only lately that man began to shy away from the clear teaching of this and muddy the waters to the extent that people now are hesitant to be dogmatic about it- so much so that they think they are being pious to show uncertainty. Look at Mr Greene's statement on the subject (I kept his exact emphases):
The Great Tribulation has nothing to do with the church; the Church will not enter or go through any part of that terrible time. Any preacher or teacher who suggests that the bride of Christ will be subjected to any part of the reign of the Antichrist is definitely wrongly dividing the Word of Truth. God pity the preacher who will accuse Jesus of allowing the Antichrist to reign over His bride-and the Church IS the bride of Christ!

We have the blessed promise, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth." (Revelation 3:10).

In the writings of Paul we are promised. "For God hath not appointed us to WRATH, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thess. 5:9). The Great Tribulation has to do with the nation of Israel, not with the Church.

If the Church were to enter or go through any part of the tribulation, believers would be commanded to watch for Antichrist, not for THE CHRIST. We would be commanded to watch for the great tribulation, not to wait for God's Son from heaven. (1 Thess. 1:10).


  1. Also, be wary of those who write best-selling books on end-time prophecy and who seek to either hide or downplay their real views on the Rapture and its timing. For example, while I love and respect Joel Richardson as a brother in Christ and for his work and contributions, he made these statements:

    "While I do believe that pastorally speaking, the pre-trib view is potentially very very dangerous..."

    "I do believe that the rapture and the resurrection are one and the same. I also believe that the return of Jesus and the resurrection are one and the same."

    I could find more, but there's no point. He is one more popular author who insists on flopping around in the pre-wrath/post-trib milieu, and I want to emphasize that this in and of itself is *NOT* what gets under my skin. I refuse to pillory a brother in Christ for simply holding a sincere but differing view of the timing of the Rapture.

    But what *does* get under my skin is the attitude of not being forthright about it in order to sell books and build a ministry. How I wish that just once someone like him would just come out and be straight up: it's about the money. The simple, black-and-white reason is the green. They always say it's because they want people to focus solely on their theories or arguments without the added distraction of the Rapture, but to me it comes across as a rather flimsy smokescreen. (If the Rapture and its timing are a "distraction" from what you're teaching, then perhaps there are a few problems with what you're teaching, n'est ce pas?)

    And he's quite right. Good business acumen. If I find out an author is not pre-trib, then I am indeed less likely to buy that person's books, and the reason is simple:

    If he's got *that* wrong, then heaven only knows what else he's got wrong.

    Doctrinal errors never exist in a vacuum--they've got friends.

    1. Yes, I'm disappointed from when I learned that Joel was pre-wrath/a-trib (a-trib is the word for if you don't believe the Church will escape the Tribulation in the rapture, right?) and continuationist. Thankfully, while those are errors, we know from careful study that many other theologians and Bible scholars can diverge from us on those doctrines but still be orthodox in their soteriology and other essentials. Which is simply to say, I think Richardson is someone discerning saints can learn from as a brother, they just need to be mindful not to absorb every thing he would say on those two subjects.

      Which I don't think is in disagreement with what you said; I'm just adding my opinion on to the pile.

      What I have gotten, and intend to use Richardson's research to get, is limited to his Scriptural studies as to the potential identity of nations and alliances mentioned in eschatological passages: who is the King of the North and the King of the South, is the Psalm 83 war distinct from that war and what is the timeline, etc. So because he's not my sole source for analysis of Biblical subjects across-the-board, I'm not afraid of letting myself be subject to error, presently.

      And I also agree with your suspicion...if someone's continuationist and doesn't believe in a rapture, considering their otherwise careful study of passages, might this indicate a deep-seated flaw in their reasoning, affecting their interpretation of those other passages?

      I didn't buy The Islamic Antichrist, btw. I got it online for free, because Joel had made the first edition available to :)

    2. Thanks for the term "a-trib," which I haven't seen before. I actually like it--it's simple, it's to the point, and it's accurate and descriptive. It's a bit like "anti-pre-trib," but not as clumsy. I promise to do my part in helping it catch on. =:)

      You know, Hakam, here's the thing. Maybe some of these guys *do* have some insight. Maybe they *have* seen some things others haven't seen in Scripture. I don't have a problem with that.

      The problem is that in order to write their bestselling books and develop their worldwide ministries (which is the holy grail for them), they have to develop their theories into full-blown prophetic scenarios and in the process they virtually *have* to go beyond what Scripture actually says, at least a little. They have to push the speculative envelope to sell books, which can become more important than bringing the Savior to a lost and dying world.

      And who's to blame? We are.

      It seems the Church will eagerly gobble up whatever is set before it as long as it's got the name of Christ slapped on it, and it purports to unlock the secrets of Scripture and develop them into a thrilling end-time scenario that we need to watch for.

      May we seek to do nothing but continually humble ourselves before our awesome God, and seek only to know Him and to glorify Him with our entire beings.

      Not much else matters at this point--it's too late in the game.

  2. Hey Elizabeth, I found Oliver B. Greene's book on Daniel about 20 years ago! I'm going to get it out again.

  3. I so enjoy your very thoughtful blog. I always find these types of discussions interesting. We are called to suffer, but not to suffer the wrath of God I believe. In the end though, I have to remind myself that the timing of the rapture is a question most easily debated by we Christians in a relatively comfortable time and place. Our hope is that Jesus will return for us before great suffering is at hand. I cannot imagine that our North Korean, Chinese, Sudanese, Iranian or Eritrean Christian brothers and sisters, meeting in the dark of night, tortured in prison, or facing execution have discussions about whether the rapture will precede the Great Tribulation. They are facing their tribulation now. May we, no matter our eschatology, follow the example of so many of them, and be faithful to our Lord to the end, no matter what we suffer or when we suffer it.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. "We are called to suffer, but not to suffer the wrath of God I believe."

      You're right, and let me help you not just believe it but be confident. All you need is two passages:

      1 Thess 5:9 For God has not appointed us to suffer wrath

      Rev 6:17 The great Day of His Wrath has come, and who can stand?

      Ba-bing and ba-boom (Frielian quirk) :)

    2. actually the church is not heard of again after 4 in book of revelation when God tells John to come up hither. that is the theory of the pre tribulation rapture. also the rapture and tribulation goes along with the jewish feasts and you can find more info from perry stone who has spent over 30 yrs learning about prophecy and how everything in Bible is centered around jewish customs and jewish feasts.

  4. Revelations 6:17 is about the sixth seal so presumably the tribulation has already started at that point. What you revealing is a "prewrath" point of view (meaning God's wrath which starts at the sixth seal and not Satan's wrath which starts at the first seal).

    Ba-bing and ba-boom.

    1. Revelation 6 (singular, no 's') begins the Lamb's wrath. This is seen in Rev 6:1. Satan might get angry about stuff but the wrath delivered in this apocalyptic book is God's wrath from start to finish.

    2. Yes, of course, Revelation as singular. Thank you for that correction.

      Just because the lamb opens the seal, does not mean its God's wrath that is being dispensed. It just means that God allows it to happen and will use it for His ultimate purpose. Job is a perfect example of this. God permitted Satan to sift Job, but this was in no way an action of God's wrath against Job.

      To believe seals one through four is done as an act of the will of God (rather than an act of Satan that God uses for His divine plan) we would have to believe that God desires for man to be killed by the sword as in the second seal. Never!!

      Moreover, the tribulation saints in seal five are pleading with God to bring retribution against the perpatraitors of those responsible for seal one through four. This makes no sense if God is the one responsible in dispensing wrath. Shall God smite himself?

      No, God's wrath starts at the sixth seal and not before. It says so right in the text.
      Rev 6:17 The great day of His Wrath has come

    3. I'm sorry but the pre-wrath, "Satan's wrath" interpretation is deeply flawed. God is the deliverer of His wrath throughout the Tribulation. I tried to explain above, and that didn't work so here is GotQuestion's explanation of the flaws in your "Satan's wrath" view. I'm being form on this because it is blasphemous to reduce God in His wrath as much as it is to reduce His holiness. The Tribulation is a time of wrath, God's wrath. The Revelation 6:17 indicates that the wrath HAD BEGUN at the opening of the first seal, one which the Lamb had opened. I'll offer the following below from GotQuestions and Lamb/Lion ministries, as resources and then I'll not take any more debate on this.

      The pre-wrath rapture theory views the trumpet and the bowl judgments (Revelation 7–16) as the wrath of God, from which the church is exempted (1 Thessalonians 5:9). However, the first six seal judgments (Revelation 6) are not considered the wrath of God; rather, they are viewed as “the wrath of Satan” or “the wrath of the antichrist.” This is because there is no direct mention of God’s wrath until after the sixth seal is broken (Revelation 6:17). According to the pre-wrath rapture theory, the church will be present to experience the first six seals.

      Comparing Revelation 6 with Matthew 24, the pre-wrath rapture theorists identify the first seal judgments with Jesus’ description of the end times in Matthew 24:4-7. Jesus then refers to these events as “the beginning of birth pains” (verse 8). In verses 29 and 30, “the sign of the Son of Man” appears in the sky, and it is at this time, according to the pre-wrath rapture theory, that the rapture of the church occurs.

      One weakness of the pre-wrath rapture position is its presumption that the “elect” mentioned in Matthew 24:22, 31 are church-age saints. These saints could just as easily be individuals saved during the seven-year tribulation; in fact, Jesus tells those who flee the antichrist’s persecution to pray that their flight does not occur “on the Sabbath” (verse 20). Since the church is not under the Mosaic law and does not keep the Sabbath, Jesus’ words cannot be directed to the church.

      Another flaw in the pre-wrath rapture theory is its teaching that the first seal judgments are not the wrath of God. Scripture shows that it is the Lamb who opens the seals (Revelation 5:5; 6:1). No other man is found worthy to open them (5:3-4). It would seem, then, these are not man’s judgments, but God’s. The tribulation begins when Jesus opens the first seal, and from that point on, the wrath of God is meted out on a sinful world.

      Read more:

      Lamb & Lion Ministries,

      This [pre-wrath] concept raises a serious theological problem because it questions the sovereignty of God. It assumes that Man and Satan can act apart from God's will, when the fact of the matter is that neither can do anything God is not willing to permit. The Bible often portrays God carrying out His will through evil persons or nations. One of the classic examples is when He allowed the evil nation of Babylon to discipline Israel by destroying Jerusalem and the Temple and by carrying the surviving Jews away into captivity. It was an action that prompted the prophet Habakkuk to ask why God would punish those who are evil with those who are more evil (Habakkuk 1:13).

      Any carnage wrought by Man or Satan during the Tribulation will still constitute the wrath of God.


      Because these judgments are initiated by Jesus Himself at the beginning of the Tribulation, the whole Tribulation must be God's wrath, which the Church is exempt from.

  5. pre trib thats what i believe too

  6. I agree with Pre tribulation as well remove the spirit of God so lawlessness can abound

  7. It is my fear that the falling away from the church mentioned by Paul might in part be a by product of this belief in the “Rapture”. How many western Christians will become disillusioned when it becomes apparent that their lives will be adversely affected during some near future calamity. Why is it that so many Americans believe that they are the only ones worthy to be spared from this trial? Tell a Chaldean Christian in Iraq not to worry because they will be “raptured” before any tribulation.
    Many blessings to you all.

    1. You asked why Christians are looking forward to the blessed event of the rapture? Becuase the bible tells us to. 1 Thess 4:18.

      You asked why Christians feel "are the only ones worthy to be spared from this trial?" because the bible tells us we will. Revelation 3:10.

      You are mixing up two events. There is the regular Christian life, which Jesus told us will be full of trials and tribulations, such as persecution. (John 16:33, Acts 14:22).

      And then there is the singular and unique event of the rapture, which is different from regular trials. The unique event of the rapture is to remove His bride from the world before He sends His wrath upon it. The wrath is for the unique and singular purpose of punishing the wicked. The Bride is not appointed to wrath (1 Thess 5:9) , therefore we will be removed. We're not talking regular tribulation AKA troubles.

      We're talking THE tribulation, a specific event. Maybe the word 'tribulation' is mixing you up. The time period His bride will be removed from is also known as The Time of Jacob's Trouble, The Day of the Lord, The Great Day of God Almighty, The Day of Wrath.

      I would love to "Tell a Chaldean Christian in Iraq not to worry because they will be “raptured” before any tribulation," because I'm sure they will appreciate knowing that though they are suffering trials, Jesus is going to bring them home before He pours out His anger on the unbelieving world. If they are martyred before that time, as many millions already have I know they are in heaven looking forward to a resurrection of their broken body and glorious eternity with Jesus. The rapture is EXACTLY the kind of encouragement Paul was talking about when he spoke those words (1 Thess 5:11) to the Chaldean Christians of the first century, soon to be burned at the stake for their faith.
      "Worthy" is actually a good word to use in this case. After Jesus regenerates us at the moment of justification, we are imputed with HIS worthiness. His worthy Bride will escape the wrath.