“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”JOHN 5:22-30
We are looking at how the Judgment of God works. If you have not read previous parts of this study, we have linked to each one at the bottom of this article and invite you to read them.
There are three views of Pre-Millennialism: Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation and Post-Tribulation. These are based on the rapture (catching, seizing) of the Church to be with Jesus forever. We looked at the Pre-Tribulation view in the last part of our study. We turn now to the Mid-Tribulation view(s).
The Mid-Tribulation view has some similarities with the Pre-Tribulation view, but the timing is different. Whereas the Pre-Tribulationist believes Jesus will return in the air to catch up (rapture) His Church before the beginning of the Tribulation Period, the Mid-Tribulationist believes Jesus will rapture His Church in the middle of the Tribulation Period – thus the name Mid-Trib. There are some differences within the Mid-Trib view which we will look at in a few minutes. That’s why we called this section Mid-Tribulation View(s).
Mid-Tribulationists believe Revelation teaches a tribulation period (small “t”) and a Tribulation period (capital “T”). They point to Daniel 7:25; 9:24-27; 12:7-12; Revelation 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; and 13:5 to support their belief.
“The tribulation will involve suffering and difficulty for believers and unbelievers alike, although Christians will be spared the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9). This tribulation will last three and one half years (Dan. 7:25, 9:24-27, 12:7-12, Rev. 11:2-3, 12:6, 12:14, 13:5).”The Biblical Case For Mid-Tribulationalism, Steve Lemke, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
They also point to Jesus’ use of the term “great tribulation” in Matthew 24:21 – “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Jesus used the term in the context of the “abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” in verse 15. They believe that event will occur after three-and-a-half year and act as a demarcation line between the small “t” tribulation and capitol “T” Tribulation.
Some Mid-Tribulationists also use the term “Pre-Wrath” to describe the timing of the rapture.
“Midtribulationism is the view that the church will be present for and go through the first half (3 1/2 years) of the tribulation, but be raptured out at the half-way point and so be absent for the latter 3 1/2 years. The first half is seen as natural tribulation whereas the second half is God’s wrath. More recently, the “pre-wrath” view has emphasized that the rapture occurs just prior to the outpouring of God’s wrath.”Key Areas In Eschatology: Doctrine Of Last Things, Bruce A. Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, Southern Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
Mid-Tribulationists believe that the seal and trumpet judgments in Revelation are natural events rather than divine judgments. That’s one reason they see no reason for the Church to be raptured in the first half of the Tribulation. They believe that the seventh and final trumpet is the beginning of divine wrath and that the Church would be removed from earth just prior to that.
Mid-Tribulationists believe the Church will be raptured in the middle of the Tribulation period. If we were to put it on a timeline, it might look something like this –
We mentioned earlier about some timing differences among Mid-Tribulationists. There are some who believe in what might be called a “three-quarter view.” Key Scriptures for their belief are also found in Daniel 9 and 12 –
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”Daniel 9:27
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.”Daniel 12:11-12
The “he” of Daniel 9:27 is believed to be the same person identified as the Anti-Christ, beast and “man of sin” in the New Testament. “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week.” Mid-Tribulationists (including Pre-Wrath and Three-Quarter views) believe the Anti-Christ will make a covenant with Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation period. The “one week” view is of seven days with each day equaling one year. In the middle of the week (three-a-half years), the Anti-Christ will bring an end to sacrifice and offering. That’s when the “abomination of desolation is set up.” Jesus referred to time when He answered His disciples’ question about the sign of His coming and end of the age –
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand), ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”Matthew 24:15-22
Three-Quarter Mid-Tribulationists move the needle a bit to the right of their Mid-Trib brethren. They believe the Church will be raptured in the middle of the second half of the Tribulation period. Their Pre-Wrath view might look something like this –
They believe the Church will still be on earth to witness the “abomination of desolation,” but be raptured at the point God’s wrath is poured out on the Anti-Christ. We look to Revelation to see when that might happen.
Some Mid-Tribulationists believe the rapture will occur at the same time the “two witnesses” are raised from the dead and ascend to Heaven in a cloud –
“Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.”Revelation 13:11-13
Some Mid-Tribulationists believe the rapture will occur after Satan is cast from Heaven and pours out his wrath on the earth (Revelation 12). They believe the Church will be on earth when Satan guides the “beasts” from the sea and the earth and Christians will have to refuse to receive the “mark” of the beast (Revelation 13). They point to the words of Revelation 14 to support their view that the Church will still be on the earth at that time –
“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”Revelation 14:12-13
Some Mid-Tribulationists believe the rapture will occur when Jesus “reaps” the earth – “So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.” They believe Jesus “on the cloud” reaps (raptures) His Church.
One of the reasons they put the rapture at Revelation 14:16 is because of the words that follow concerning the “great winepress of the wrath of God” –
“Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, ‘Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.’ So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.”Revelation 14:17-20
Other Mid-Tribulationists point to the words in Revelation 15 about angels in Heaven preparing to deliver seven golden bowls “full of the wrath of God” to people on earth –
“After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”Revelation 15:5-8
These Three-Quarter Mid-Tribulationists believe the rapture of the Church will occur prior to Revelation 16 when the bowls of the wrath of God are poured out on the earth. That would seem to be the last point for a rapture to occur under the Pre-Wrath view of a Pre-Millennial rapture.
The Mid-Tribulationist view of the rapture is probably the most complex of the three primary views. The Pre-Tribulation rapture begins before the Tribulation and the Post-Tribulation rapture begins after the Tribulation. However, the Mid-Tribulation rapture could happen at several points during a mid-way point in the Tribulation. It depends on when you believe God’s wrath is being poured out on the earth.
If you have not read all of the parts of this study, we invite you to do that now for the Scriptural background to Christ as Judge.
- Part One
- Part Two
- Part Three
- Part Four
- Part Five
- Part Six
- Part Seven
- Part Eight
- Part Nine
- Part Ten
- Part Eleven
- Part Twelve
- Part Thirteen
- Part Fourteen
We will look at the Post-Tribulation view in the next part of our special series “God’s Judgment: How It Works.”
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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