Q. In your response to a question claiming that in some places the Bible seems to indicate the Church’s presence for at least part of the tribulation, you said, “If you do a word study on 1 Thes. 1:10, you’ll see it promises that Jesus will rescue the Church from both the time and the place of God’s wrath in a manner that requires our prior departure.”
I can understand why some would think that this gets us out of the tribulation, but in John 17:15 Christ prayed that: ” My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” If so, could 1 Thes. 1:10 actually mean that we will be rescued from the wrath of eternal death?
A. As Biblical evidence of the Pre-Trib rapture becomes more obvious, opponents are finding new ways to re-interpret Scripture to deny it. Now that more people are coming to understand that the wrath of God begins with the Seal judgments (Rev. 6:16-17) and ends with the Bowl judgments (Rev. 15:1) some opponents are trying to change the meaning of wrath to be the eternal suffering of the unsaved.
But the Bible doesn’t support this. Throughout the Old and New Testaments variations of the phrase “Wrath of God” clearly refer to the end times judgments that take place on Earth before the 2nd Coming, and not to the eternal suffering of the damned.
Also, a careful reading shows that in John 17:6-19 Jesus was praying specifically for the disciples who were there with Him, and as you know they were not taken out of the world when He was. Then beginning in verse 20 He expanded His prayer to include all believers. Because of this, John 17:15 cannot be used in support of a mid or post trib rapture.