Someone who is struggling between posttrib and prewrath from a facebook group asked a few honest questions. I don’t intend my answers to be exhaustive, but I do want to make a few brief comments. She asks:
The prewrath and post trib views are similar in many important ways. One of the issues why I can’t fully embrace post trib is the timing of events having to be taken out of order (even though the Semitic way of writing allows for this to some degree) and the fact that Jesus didn’t describe any trumpet or bowl events in Matthew 24.
i. As far as the Semitic argument, there is scant evidence for this, and that is even questioned. Further, suppose some non-biblical apocalyptic Jewish text written three hundred years before the book of Revelation did evidence a concurrent-recapitulatory shema. It would not mean that the apostle John (and ultimately Christ) intends this literary framework in the book of Revelation. And certainly, this should not override concrete statements in the book of Revelation itself that militates, for example, placing the wrathful trumpets before the sixth seal.
ii. As far as Matthew 24, we should not expect that Jesus should had mentioned the trumpet and bowl judgments in Matthew 24 for several reasons:
a. The question that the disciples were asking is the sign of the Coming, not what will happen afterwards.
b. The depiction of the trumpets and bowls are almost exclusive to the book of Revelation. As Christians we believe in progressive revelation, where God reveals his plan progressively. In the context of the doctrine of the second coming, the book of Revelation is the culmination of this revelation revealing details such as the trumpet and the bowls.
c. There are many parallels between Jesus and Paul, but Paul does not mention, for example, the celestial disturbances. But that does not prevent us from building a composite, a full picture of the second coming.
At this point, I think I’m only still struggling with a couple of things in embracing prewrath again. When John 6:44 says “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (also last day used in verses 39, 40, 54) how can it be proven that the last day is something besides the very end of the 3 1/2 years?
i. All “last day” is referring to is when Christ returns he will resurrect his people (1 Thess 4:13–17). So this moves the question back to the issue: will the resurrection be prewrath or posttrib?
ii. Further, the term “day” in eschatological contexts almost always refers to the “day of the Lord,” an eschatological complex period unfolding over time.
The second thing is Revelation 20:4-6 about the first resurrection. How can there be more than one first resurrection that includes all those who have ever died in Christ, and who are now living to be raptured at the same time unless it happens on the last day before the millennium kingdom? If there is a gap between the rapture and the millennium kingdom, it seems like there would be some in limbo. I would like to return to the prewrath fold, if these questions have answers. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
i. The first (protos) resurrection refers to, not the ordinal sense, but qualitative sense. There are two kinds of resurrection: one to life and one to death (see 1 Cor 15).
ii. This passage is very problematic for posttribs since many of them see Revelation 20:4-6 occurring after the battle of Armageddon, the time when the resurrection was suppose to happen. Further, the church is pictured with new bodies coming with Christ at Armageddon (Rev 17:14; 19:7–8, 14). And yet, in the posttrib schema, the resurrection is not suppose to happen before Armageddon, since they believe that the second coming begins with Armageddon. (In my book, I show that this resurrection is being highlighted, not that it is happening at that moment in the narrative after Armageddon.)
iii. Certainly there will be a resurrection for mortal saints who die in the millennium.
iv. The two witnesses are resurrected and their “enemies watched them” go to heaven. There is nothing about the church being resurrected. The focus is on the witnesses’ resurrection, so to read the church into this event takes the focus off the purpose for the witnesses-resurrection event. I.e., there is more than one resurrection-to-life event. The resurrection-to-life is a series of complex events, not a simple event (e.g., 1 Cor 15).
More could be said, but I hope this person finds these answers at least valid, if not sound.