Pretribber pastor Billy Crone was recently on Gary Stearman’s Prophecy Watchers (see video below). Crone was promoting his new book, The Seals: A Panoramic View of the First Half of the Seven Year Tribulation. Hence, I have written a reply to Billy Crone on the seals in the book of Revelation. Being pretribulational Crone was defending the notion that all of the seals in the book of Revelation are expressions of the future day of the Lord’s wrath. Regrettably, it was the same cliched stock arguments that we are all accustomed to and that I have responded many times too. But Crone and many others, to their loss, live in an echo chamber with no willingness to engage challenges to their interpretations.
Nevertheless, we always have new readers at Eschatos Ministries who are either pretrib themselves or have recently become prewrath and are ex-pretribbers. So in this article, I want to comment on several assertions that Crone makes. I will note the time-stamp for each one followed by links where I have previously discussed the issue.
Will the Church Be Present in Daniel’s 70th Week? (Time Stamp 2:37)
Billy Crone make an erroneous argument that Daniel’s 70th week has nothing to do with the church. I have responded to his arguments previously in my article “A Teachable Moment Why Pretrib Logic Fails Miserably on the Daniel’s Seventy-Weeks Prophecy.” He shows no willingness to be corrected on this point. I have also responded to it in “A Critique of the Pretribulation Interpretation on Daniel’s 70 Weeks’ Prophecy.”
Incidentally, if you watch the video, you will notice how dogmatic Crone is about his pretrib position. Yet, when he is challenged to debate such as by myself in a public moderated debate, there is only…crickets. He keeps on saying in this video things like “there is no possible way to believe such and such.” Crone is disingenuous because he refuses to even listen to the other side, which is telling in itself.
The Meaning of Jesus Opening the Seals (Time Stamp 6:00)
Crone claims that by virtue that Jesus is the one that opens the seals then that must mean the seals by nature are expressions of the day of the Lord’s wrath. This is a naive pretrib argument that is frequently heard.
Crone has an incredibly skewed understanding of the God of Scripture. It’s as if in his thinking that Jesus can only act in control if it relates to God’s wrath! Further, I do not think he is even aware that he is committing the ancient heresy of dualism in his attempt to defend his argument at all costs, even at the cost of God’s sovereign character. I have responded specially to his theology on this in “Billy Crone Commits a Form of the Ancient Heresy of Dualism.” See also “Are the Seven Seals of Revelation’s Scroll the Wrath of God Because Jesus Opens Them Up?” I have also done a podcast episode related to this titled “Do the Seals on the Scroll in the Book of Revelation Express the Day of the Lord’s Wrath? – Ep. 13.” And see “The Beginning of Birth Pangs Parallel the First Three Seals in the Book of Revelation.”
Is “has come” in Rev 6:17 Refer to Past Time of God’s Wrath? (Time Stamp 10:50)
In this part, Crone illustrates the axiom “a little Greek is a dangerous thing.” He commits the “aorist tense = past time” fallacy. He asserts that the aorist Greek tense-form behind the phrase “[the wrath] has come” (ἦλθε) in Rev 6:17 means “past time.” It does not. You will rarely find this blanket statement in commentaries today. This outdated notion of the aorist has been dispelled for decades, but I do not think that he is even aware of this. I think he is simply aping another dated pretribber. In fact, I called out Thomas Ice on this fallacy in my debate with him in Texas a few years back. The contextual indicators show that the verb should be taken as the wrath is about to begin, not that it has already been happening back at the first seal! I have written an entire article on this instance in Rev 6:17, “A Reply to Pretrib Thomas Ross and His Faulty Understanding of the Aorist Greek Tense-Form in Revelation 6:17.” I have also written a primer on the Greek verb tense-forms if one is interested in learning about it, “A Primer on the Koine Greek Verb Tense-Form.”
How Many People Die in the Fourth Seal? (Time Stamp 18:25)
Crone claims that one fourth of the population of the earth dies in the fourth seal and therefore this must mean that it is God’s wrath. This is not what the biblical text actually says. He has read into God’s Word to make it fit with this pretrib presuppositions. I have written on this topic in “The Fourth Seal of Revelation.”
What about Christian Martyrs in the Fifth Seal (Time Stamp 20:00)
This is where Crone’s pretrib theological vehicle loses it wheels and crashes. He tries to explain away the problematic fifth seal for pretribbers by dismissing them as “not the church.” Who are they then?…surprise! They are deus ex machina tribulation saints! For whatever twisted theological reason Crone thinks these blood-bought saints of Christ are deserving of God’s wrath. Keep in mind he claims all the seals are God’s wrath.
In other words, he is teaching that Christians in the tribulation period are some sub-class group that have not been redeemed by the blood of Jesus in the same way as “the Church,” so they can experience God’s condemnation in his wrath.
This is heresy, because it eviscerates the very heart of the Gospel by making God a liar claiming that there are certain Christians who have not truly “gained salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” That statement comes from the very verse that promises exemption from God’s wrath!: 1 Thessalonians 5:9.
This is just another reason Crone will not debate me because he knows I will ask such questions as: If as you claim that the seals are God’s wrath, then why do Christians experience God’s wrath in the fifth seal? He cannot answer this. And if you notice in the video he skirts around it. He knows it contradicts his position. He completely diverts attention to the “screaming” of the martyrs. This diversionary tactic will not work with thinking Christians.
For articles and episodes that I have done on this issue see “The Fifth Seal and ‘The Pretrib Contradiction’ – Ep. 110.” On a related issue see “Refutation of Dave Love’s Purgatory Interpretation of the Fifth Seal in the Book of Revelation – Ep. 73.”And see, “The Fifth Seal — And “Those Who Die in the Lord From This Moment On!”