The Rapture & the End Time Wrath of God We Avoid

Wrath of God

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is a source of comfort for many Christians who are nervous about what is taking place in the world. It’s comforting to think about how all our troubles could end at any moment with the Rapture.

Some of the most persuasive items that seem to favor the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view are several verses that state that Christians are not appointed to wrath. For instance, 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 states that Christians are not appointed to wrath:

“(9) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, (10) Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

Despite these verses, there are some who argue against the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view. Are these people blind? Are they ignoring Scripture? We will see by looking at the wrath of God we are not appointed to in this article.

Not Appointed to Wrath

As stated, the Bible promises that Christians will not endure “wrath”. Here are three prominent passages where this promise appears:

“(9) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, (10) Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

“(8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10)

“(9) For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; (10) And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)”

Many followers of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture believe that the tribulation is God’s wrath on the wicked. Therefore, the Rapture ought to take place before the tribulation since Christians are not subject to wrath.

  • Is this line of thinking correct? We’ll answer this question by looking at whether the tribulation is the wrath of God that Christians will not see.

Thumos Wrath vs Orge Wrath of God

Many people assume that the three passages above mean that Christians are not subject to any wrath. However, few are aware that the Greek language distinguishes between different types of wrath mainly through the use of the words orge and thumos.

  • Thayer defines thumos as “passion, angry heat, […] anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again” and orge as “indignation which has arisen gradually and become more settled…” [1]

The difference between the two terms is the nature of the wrath.

  • Thumos represents a temporary surge of anger that will rise and quickly subside.
  • Orge represents anger that lasts for a prolonged period.

Regarding God’s wrath in an end time context,

  • Thumos is the wrath that God will exhibit against the wicked as they refuse to respond to efforts encouraging them to repent.
  • Orge is God’s longstanding wrath against the wicked, who He will punish with lasting consequences (i.e. eternity in the lake of fire).

The word orge appears in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, Romans 5:8-10, and 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, so orge is the type of wrath that Christians are not subject to. Therefore, Christians are not subject to God’s deliberate, long-standing wrath against the wicked.

The Tribulation

The tribulation is not the orge wrath of God. Instead, the tribulation (or affliction) is thlipsis in Greek.

“(3) That no man should be moved by these afflictions [thlipsis]: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. (4) For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.” (1 Thessalonians 3:3-4)

“For in those days shall be affliction [thlipsis], such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.” (Mark 13:19)

Wrath of Satan: the Great Tribulation

The great tribulation is a future period when the worst persecution in the history of the world will take place. The Antichrist will use everything that he has to destroy those who will refuse to worship him and Satan.

We can refer to the great tribulation as “the wrath of Satan”. Where do we get that term? Take a look at Revelation 12, which describes Satan at the midpoint of the tribulation. Satan is full of wrath when he is cast to the earth and ready to wage war against his enemies:

“(12) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. […] (17) And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:12, 17)

What type of wrath does Revelation use to depict the wrath of Satan? Revelation uses thumos. The great tribulation is not part of the orge wrath of God that the Bible promises that Christians will not see.

The Wrath of God in the Bowl Judgments

Revelation 15:1 indicates that the bowl judgments (or vial judgments) will finish or complete the wrath of God.

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” (Revelation 15:1)

This verse causes many to think the bowl judgments and the events that take place before them are part of the wrath of God that Christians will not see. However, orge does not appear in Revelation 15:1. The verse uses thumos to depict the wrath of the bowl judgments.

  • The fact that the bowl judgments will complete or finish the thumos wrath means that every event before the bowl judgments is thumos wrath and is not orge wrath. In other words, Orge wrath has not yet begun at the onset of the bowl judgments.

When the Orge Wrath of God Arrives

God will unleash orge wrath at the onset of the Day of the Lord, a period most people view as synonymous with the wrath of God that Christians will not experience. The Apostle Paul wrote that Christians are not appointed to orge in a passage where he discussed the Day of the Lord:

“(2) For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. (3) For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. […] (8) But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. (9) For God hath not appointed us to wrath [orge], but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, 8-9)

When does the Day of the Lord Begin?

Joel tells us that the sun and the moon’s appearance will change just before the coming of the Day of the Lord:

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” (Joel 2:30)

Christ and Revelation describe the appearance of these signs. Christ tells us that these signs will appear after the end of the great tribulation:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” (Matthew 24:29)

After the 6th Seal

Revelation 6 adds that these signs will appear after the opening of the 6th seal. Also, Revelation 6 recognizes the coming of God’s orge wrath:

“(12) And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; […] (16) And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: (17) For the great day of his wrath [orge] is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12, 16-17)

We can deduce from this that the Day of the Lord and the orge wrath of God will not begin until after the end of the great tribulation and the opening of the 6th seal.

7th Trumpet

Revelation 11 adds that God’s orge wrath is present after the sounding of the 7th trumpet heralds the coming of God’s Kingdom on Earth after the tribulation:

“(15) And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. […] (18) And the nations were angry, and thy wrath [orge] is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:15, 18)

This passage reaffirms that God’s orge wrath will not begin until after the end of the great tribulation and tribulation.

Conclusion

We learned in this study that:

  • There’s no promise to remove Christians from the tribulation or the great tribulation in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, 1:9-10, and Romans 5:8-10.
  • There’s a promise to spare Christians from the pouring of orge wrath at the onset of the Day of the Lord.

Revelation 3:10

You may object to the first conclusion of this study by pointing out the promise Christ made in Revelation 3:10:

“(7) And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (8) I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (9) Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (10) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (11) Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:7-11)

Many view this verse as a promise that Christ will remove the Church before the timing of testing on the earth (i.e. the tribulation). However, the Greek text, the original language of Revelation, does not support this view.

The Greek word for “keep” (tēreō) means “to guard (from loss or injury, prop. [properly], by keeping the eye upon…)”[2]

  • Think of keeping or guarding your heart as Proverbs 4:23 encourages us to do. You don’t remove your heart from your body. You watch over it.

The Greek word for “keep” in the context of Revelation 3:7-11:

  • Implies that faithful believers associated with the church of Philadelphia will be protected during a time of difficulty
  • Conveys nothing about Christians being physically removed from the time of difficulty.

Furthermore, the word “temptation” in Greek (peirasmós) does not mean “wrath”, particularly the “wrath of God”. Instead, peirasmós means, “a putting to proof” i.e. testing.[3]

  • The ultimate end time test for Christians will be the great tribulation when they have to decide whether they are willing to die for Christ. Recall that the persecution of the great tribulation relates to the “wrath of Satan”.

Final Thoughts

At the beginning I asked whether those who oppose the Pre-Tribulation Rapture were ignoring Scripture. At this point, I hope you realize that they are not ignoring Scripture when it comes to passages about God’s wrath.

Please understand that many of today’s popular Bible prophecy teachings rely on misquoted Scripture or Scripture that’s taken out of context. This look at the wrath of God that Christians will avoid is a good example of why it’s important to be a Berean and to not automatically accept everything you hear.

free guide book

Do You Want to Study Bible Prophecy? Get My Free eBook!

Join my mailing list, and as a special welcome gift, I’ll send you my eBook guide to studying Bible prophecy. You’ll also get my latest articles and updates delivered to your inbox.

Your privacy is valued. For more information, please read the Privacy Policy.

Notes

  1. “Thayer, Joseph Henry. “thumos” Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. 1889. New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Company, 1889.”
  2. Strong, James. “tēreō”. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. New York, Cincinnati, Eaton & Mains; Jennings & Graham, 1890. G5083.
  3. Ibid. “peirasmós”. G3986.