Q. What can I say to a friend who uses the persecution of the early Church to deny the pre-trib rapture? Looking at the way they suffered he can’t understand how we can expect to escape?
A. Rapture passages all point exclusively to the end times. The fact that the early Church suffered terribly is beyond question, but they were never promised otherwise. Speaking to the church in Smyrna, who suffered during that time, Jesus said, “Be faithful even to the point of death and I will give you life” (Rev. 2:10).
But where the Church at the end of the age is concerned He said, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth” (Rev. 3:10).
Excluding the Great Flood, the only judgment from God that will involve the whole world full of people living on the earth is His wrath at the end of the age.
Paul said Jesus will rescue us from the coming wrath (1 Thes. 1:10) because we are not appointed to suffer wrath (1 Thes 5:9). Both these verses appear in the context of the end times. And in both of them he used the same Greek word for wrath as John used twice in Rev. 6:16-17, indicating the coming wrath will begin with the Seal judgments.
“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!” (Romans 5:8-9).