Part 2 of 3: “The Second Coming (Parousia) Begins with the Rapture”
Addendum to the three-part series: “Does the ‘Day of Christ’ and the ‘Day of the Lord’ Refer to the Same Event?”
This is Part 3 of 3
The Day of the Lord Begins with the Rapture
In Part 1, it was established that the terms parousia and the day of the Lord co-referentially denote the same period. In Part 2, it was shown that the rapture begins the parousia. It follows therefore that the rapture begins the day of the Lord. However, we do not have to rely on this inference to know that it is true. In this section, we will examine key passages that use the term the day of the Lord and instruct us that the rapture will begin this period.
As a preface I need to describe a change that is taking place within pretribulationism. Traditional pretribulationism, along with prewrath, have consistently believed that the rapture and the beginning of the day of the Lord’s wrath will occur back-to-back. The day that the rapture happens is the same day that the day of the Lord begins. (To be sure, pretribulationalism locates the rapture before the seven year period begins, while prewrath does not). A few traditional statements from pretribulation theologians will suffice:
Henry A. Ironside: “. . . when at last the day of grace [the church age] is ended the day of the Lord will succeed it. . . The day of the Lord follows [the rapture].”
Dwight Pentecost: “The only way this day [of the Lord] could break unexpectedly upon the world is to have it begin immediately after the rapture of the church.”
John S. Feinberg: “According to pretribulationism, after the rapture the Tribulation begins.”
Robert L. Thomas: “The return of Christ for His church and the return of Christ to inflict wrath and tribulation on the world is close at hand and can happen at any moment. He also states, “Only if the rapture coincides with the beginning of the day of the Lord can both be imminent and the salvation of those in Christ coincide with the coming of wrath to the rest. (1 Thess 5:9)
Kevin D. Zuber: “Since the rapture will take all living saints to be with the Lord at the same time that the day of the Lord commences, no believer need fear that he will be found in the day of the Lord.”
However, in the last three decades prewrath has made a significant critique of this view by pointing out the explicit “before the day of the Lord” prophecies: the celestial disturbance (Joel 2:30–31), Elijah’s coming (Mal 4:5), “peace and safety” (1 Thess 5:2–3), the apostasy and revelation of the Antichrist (2 Thess 2:1–4). These prophesies predict that key events will occur before the day of the Lord, and by logical extension they will occur before the rapture. This of course, undermines pretribulation imminence theology at its core. Many pretribulation interpreters have recognized the validity of this prewrath argument and in response have reconfigured the foundational pretribulation framework by creating an undetermined “gap” of time—days, months, and even years—between the rapture and Daniel’s seventieth week. In this way, they maintain their belief in imminence by situating the ‘before the day of the Lord” prophecies within this intervening gap that will occur after the rapture but before the day of the Lord. For example, pretrib teacher Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum believes that the rapture will occur before a gap of time before Daniel’s seventieth week begins and thus claims it is an “erroneous assumption that pretribulationism requires the rapture to occur just before, or right at the start of, the seven years.”
The problem with this new pretrib development is that it is forced and contradicts the biblical evidence. I will continue to demonstrate this back-to-back biblical reality in this section, where immediately on the same day the rapture occurs, the judgment upon the wicked begins. Just as was explained above that the rapture and the resurrection will occur at the start of the parousia (1 Thess 4:15), Jesus and Paul also use day of the Lord language to depict the back-to-back events. The day that Christ returns arriving on the clouds to rapture his people will be the day that his eschatological judgments begin to unleash upon the world for an undetermined length of time. The following analysis of the day of the Lord texts will provide additional corroboration to our thesis.
The Day of the Lord According to Paul and Jesus
There is a biblical pattern where God supernaturally rescues his people just before he executes divine judgment upon the wicked. For example, this is memorably portrayed in the story of God’s plagues against Egypt, culminating in the deliverance of Israel from the hands of Pharaoh’s army that was ultimately destroyed in the Red Sea. This pattern is continued in the context of the eschatological day of the Lord when Paul gives believers the reassuring promise: “For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:9). The term for “salvation” in this verse is sōtēria. It can have two common meanings: salvation in the sense of physical deliverance and salvation in the sense of non-physical deliverance, such as spiritual salvation. Here it takes on the former meaning since this promise is in the context of the rapture and the day of the Lord; thus, for believers, the day of the Lord will not “overtake you like a thief” (1 Thess 5:4).
The day of the Lord is not a mere literal twenty-four day. It is the unified complex-whole of events starting with deliverance of the saints and followed by an undetermined period of judgment. This will be followed by the salvation of Israel and the establishment of Jesus’s earthly kingdom. In 1 Thess 5:1–11, Paul teaches that the last generation of the church will exist up to the first day of the day of the Lord. On the first day, the Lord will deliver the church via the rapture from the ensuing day of the Lord’s wrath. In his first epistle to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul furnished us with one of the most important biblical teachings on the day of the Lord.
Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation. For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are alert or asleep we will come to life together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as you are in fact doing. (1 Thess 5:1–11)
In its immediate context of 1 Thess 4:13–18, Paul responded to the hopeless grieving of the Thessalonians by correcting an important point in their eschatology as it relates to the rapture and resurrection. Evidently, that was not the only element of defective eschatology that Paul had to correct in his first epistle to this young church. The Thessalonians were feeling trepidation that they might experience divine judgment. Accordingly, in 1 Thess 5:1–11, Paul reassures them of God’s promise and sovereignty in their election, while at the same time explaining how the return of Jesus will affect unbelievers. It is unfortunate that there is a chapter break at ch. 5 since ch. 4 is part of the same unified, coherent message. 1 Thessalonians 4–5 is an explicit text that relates the hope of Christ’s return to God’s judgment of unbelievers. Paul introduces 1 Thess 5:1–11 with the Greek phrase peri de (“now on the topic”). This phrase suggests that a question was raised by the Thessalonians, indicating further confusion in their defective eschatology. Peri de does not mean that Paul is now introducing a topic that is unrelated to his previous discussion on the parousia. Its technical meaning is not “what comes before it is disconnected from what comes after it.” This phrase simply means Paul is beginning to shift to another perspective or topic that can be related to what came before. Only context can inform us of the nature of the shift, not the phrase itself. In this context, Paul is not addressing two completely different topics; instead, he continues his discussion of the return of the Lord, showing its effects upon the godly and the ungodly. In ch. 4, Paul comforts the Thessalonian believers about the destiny of their dead loved ones. Then in ch. 5 he turns to exhort these same believers about their own position in Christ in light of his parousia, teaching them to practice spiritual watchfulness. With reference to unbelievers, he explains they will not be able to escape the sudden return of the Lord—they will experience his eschatological wrath.
Colin R. Nicholl provides six reasons for the cohesion between 1 Thess 4:13–18 and 1 Thess 5:1–11 regarding the Lord’s return:
- Both relate to the fate of believers at the eschaton and both reflect an ‘apocalyptic’ conceptual framework.
- They have a similar structure: the topic statement with adelphoi (4:13; 5:1), the essential reply (4:14; 5:2) and the paraenetic conclusion (4:18; 5:11).
- 5:10’s eite katheudōmen [“or asleep”] recalls 4:13–18, while eite grēgorōmen [“or alive”] seems to allude to the problem underlying 5:11ff.
- Jesus’s death and resurrection are the basis for confidence regarding eschatological destiny in both (4:14a; 5:9–10).
- ‘Being with Christ’ is the eschatological goal in both (4:17b; 5:10)
- Both have the same function of reassuring/encouraging the community members (4:18; 5:11), and indeed 5:11 may well function to conclude 4:13ff.
Another reason we know Paul is continuing his instruction from ch. 4 into ch. 5 is given by Douglas J. Moo:
[O]bserve how Paul speaks of “times and dates” in verse 1 without specifying the time or date of what. The omission of any specific event here could indicate that the previous topic is in mind. (emphasis his).
The disruption of the unified discourse with the chapter break could misleadingly suggest that Paul has two different returns of Jesus leading an interpreter to think there is a temporal gap between two returns. But this is mistaken given the reasons for cohesion above. Paul is teaching that Jesus’s single return will involve back-to-back deliverance and judgment. 1 Thessalonians 4 instructs how the return of Jesus will affect believers, while ch. 5 shifts to how that same return will affect unbelievers. We should therefore keep in mind that chapter breaks can be misleading, lest we think Paul is starting some completely new topic at ch. 5.
An additional observation is noteworthy in 1 Thess 5:4, where Paul teaches that believers who are living at that time will not be caught off guard: “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would.” Moreover, in 1 Thess 5:6–9, he instructs believers to watch for the day of the Lord, because it will be salvation for saints living at that time but judgment for the world:
“So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert [grēgoreō] and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation. For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
It would not make sense for Paul to instruct the Thessalonians to “watch” for the day of the Lord if the saints have already been raptured to heaven. Paul then reassures the Thessalonians that when the day of the Lord begins, all saints “whether we are alert [alive and watching] or asleep [dead in Christ] we will come to life [resurrection] together with him [raptured]” (1 Thess 5:10; cf. 1 Thess 4:14–18). The last generation of the church therefore will be here to witness the day of the Lord beginning. The day of the Lord therefore denotes the unified Lord’s return, including both the rapture event and the pouring out of God’s wrath upon the world.
In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he reiterates this “same day” occurrence with two statements. First, Jesus returns in the clouds to deliver the righteous, immediately he will begin to punish the wicked. In 2 Thess 1:6–10, he clearly shows the hope that God’s people will be given relief from their tribulations on the same day that God’s judgment begins for unbelievers.
“For it is right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to you who are being afflicted to give rest together with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. With flaming fire he will mete out punishment on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will undergo the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength, when he comes to be glorified among his saints and admired on that day among all who have believed—and you did in fact believe our testimony.”
In 2 Thess 1:7, Paul instructs that the church will experience affliction right up to the initial day of the revelation of Christ: “and to you who are being afflicted to give rest together with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.” Then we are told two things will happen on the initial day of the revelation of Christ. First, believers will be given “rest” (i.e. delivered). This is certainly a reference to Paul’s previous rapture teaching in 1 Thess 4:13–18 when God’s people will experience deliverance at Jesus’s return. Second, the day they are given rest is “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. With flaming fire he will mete out punishment on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess 1:7–8). Paul is making reference back to his first epistle with regard to the day of the Lord’s wrath that will immediately follow the rapture (1 Thess 5:1–9). Paul reiterates this point explaining that “on that day” when the godly are united with Christ he will begin to judge the ungodly: “They will undergo the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength, when he comes to be glorified among his saints and admired on that day among all who have believed—and you did in fact believe our testimony” (2 Thess 1:9–10). So for believers alive at that time “who believe our testimony” (v. 10), that day will begin eternal rest; but for unbelievers who “do not obey the gospel” (v. 8), it will begin eternal unrest. In other words, there will not be any delay between the rapture of the righteous and the day of the Lord’s judgment upon the ungodly. The Lord’s coming will be twofold: deliverance and judgment, back-to-back.
The second “same day” statement in his second letter to the Thessalonians is found at 2 Thess 2:1–2, where he restates this connection by again linking the gathering of the saints with the day of the Lord: “Now regarding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him [the rapture], we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.” Paul conceives Christ’s unified return to begin with the effect of the back-to-back nature of the rapture and the onset of the day of the Lord’s wrath. When Jesus returns to deliver God’s people he will mete out wrath upon the wicked.
Pretribulationist Richard Mayhue, however, thinks that Paul does not teach a back-to-back nature of the rapture and God’s eschatological wrath. He writes,
Paul is not writing a detailed, chronological, or even precise prophetic treatise here, but rather is wanting to give the Thessalonians hope that, in the end, God’s righteousness would prevail. Like Old Testament prophets (cf. Isa 61:1–2; 2 Pet 1:10–11), Paul has compressed the details so that the range of time is not apparent, nor are all of the details. The apostle is plainly assuring the Thessalonians that there will certainly be a coming day of retribution for their persecutors. As a result, this text has no bearing on determining the time of the rapture.
We can agree with Mayhue on two points. First, it is true that Paul is not writing a detailed account. He is indeed compressing the details in a summary of judgment. Paul is summarizing the gamut of judgments that the ungodly will experience from the first day of the day of the Lord’s wrath, up to, and including, their eternal destination in hell. He is emphasizing judgment qua judgment and not intending to describe the full account of the unified complex-whole of judgment elements that we see, for example, with the trumpets and bowls in the book of Revelation. Second, we can agree with Mayhue that Paul is giving “hope that, in the end, God’s righteousness would prevail” and “assuring the Thessalonians that there will certainly be a coming day of retribution for their persecutors.” We must, however, disagree with Mayhue’s assertion that Paul does not use temporal language. Paul uses explicit temporal language by chronologically tying together deliverance and judgment: “when,” “on that day.” In fact, the “hope” that Paul is seeking to foster for the trepidatious Thessalonians is grounded in the promise that God will begin to judge their persecutors on the same day as the deliverance of the godly! Paul could not describe it more plainly: When Jesus is revealed from heaven “to give rest” to his afflicted people, he will be accompanied “with his mighty angels” and with “flaming fire to mete out punishment” upon the wicked. Thus, Mayhue’s interpretation of Paul is flawed and ignores this key point in Paul’s instruction.
Having analyzed Paul’s teaching on this topic, I will take up Jesus’s teaching. Jesus’s portrayal is consistent with Paul’s teaching that eschatological deliverance and judgment will occur back-to-back with the day of the Lord beginning on the same day. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus invokes vivid illustrations and parables about the eschatological separation at his coming.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt 24:30–31)
“And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:25–28).”
“But be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day close down upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will overtake all who live on the face of the whole earth. But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that must happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34–36)
An explicit account of the back-to-back, same-day separation is described in another of Luke’s eschatological accounts where Jesus draws from the Noahic narrative:
“The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. Then people will say to you, ‘Look, there he is!’ or ‘Look, here he is!’ Do not go out or chase after them. For just like the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage—right up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:22–27 emphasis mine; cf. Matt 24:37–41)
In this passage, there are at least three important truths regarding Christ’s return. First, the sign to his second coming will be like lightning that will light up the sky (cf. Matt 24:3, 27, 30). This will be his glory announcing his divine presence to the entire world when Jesus arrives in the sky on the clouds.
Second, Jesus likens unbelievers at the time of the flood to unbelievers at the time of his future second coming. Jesus says people were going on with their everyday affairs of eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage. He does not make reference to gluttony, drunkenness, and immorality. To be sure, the antediluvian world were egregiously God-haters and self-lovers (Gen 6:11–13), and it is safe to assume they were engaging in gluttony, drunkenness, and immorality (2 Pet 2:5). But in this particular passage that is not the point Jesus is making, even though there would have been these connotations evoked from his audience. He is highlighting that they were going on with their everyday activities, indifferent and oblivious of God’s coming wrath. In short, the people in Noah’s day were unprepared when the flood came. So will it be in the days at the coming of Christ. People will be going on with their everyday business, living only to please themselves. Paul is consistent with this truth, teaching that at the onset of the day of the Lord unbelievers will be saying, “peace and security” as “sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape” (1 Thess 5:3).
The third point Jesus makes, and the one relevant to our discussion, is that this obliviousness from Noah’s generation occurred “right up to the day” Noah entered the ark. The same day they entered, the flood began, not two days or five days or seven days later—the very same day. The deluge began the very day Noah and his family entered the ark and shut the door (Gen 7:1–18). Noah was told that he had seven days to corral the animals because the Lord warned, “in seven days I will cause it to rain” (Gen 7:4). At the end of the seven days “all the fountains of the great deep burst open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Gen 7:11). This happened “on that very day Noah entered the ark” (Gen 7:13).
Drawing from Jesus’s Noahic analogy we can therefore conclude that there will not be any so-called “gap” of days, weeks, months, or years between the deliverance of the righteous and the unleashing of God’s wrath at Jesus’s return. It will be back-to-back events beginning on the same day, because one of the main purposes for delivering God’s people is to protect them from his judgment. To make sure he is not misunderstood about this truth, Jesus marshals the episode of Lot and Sodom.
Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot, people were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; but on the day Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be the same on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, anyone who is on the roof, with his goods in the house, must not come down to take them away, and likewise the person in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. (Luke 17:28–35, emphasis mine)
In the days of Lot—just as in the days of Noah—people were going on with their everyday tasks, “eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building.” They were unaware and unprepared for God’s impending judgment. His judgment began on the same day of Lot’s deliverance: “On the day Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all” (cf. Gen 19:23–28). Accordingly, “it will be the same on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”
Some pretribulational teachers recognize the weight of this argument but continue to maintain an interval between the rapture and the beginning of the day of the Lord’s wrath. A common pretrib objection claims that the Flood narrative depicts Noah entering the ark—not on the same day the flood begins—but seven days before the flood. It has been argued that the seven days are a type of the future seventieth week of Daniel with the rapture corresponding to the deliverance of Noah’s family before the Flood begins. This typology is always assumed, never proven. For example, Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum asserts,
[T]he statement is not true in reference to Noah. Luke 17:27 simply states “that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” There is nothing Jesus said that implies that the judgment came “on the same day” that Noah entered the ark (emphasis his).
Fruchtenbaum is demonstrably mistaken. First, he misquotes Luke 17:27, which actually reads, “People were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage—right up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.” Notice which important fact Fruchtenbaum leaves out: “right up to the day.” So when he claims, “There is nothing Jesus said that implies that the judgment came ‘on the same day’ that Noah entered the ark,” he is ignoring Jesus’s very words, as well Jesus’s teaching that there is a cause and effect action to Noah entering the ark and God initiating his judgment. Second, Jesus makes the same point with the Lot episode and concludes: “It will be the same on the day the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:30). This directly contradicts his position. Next, Fruchtenbaum writes,
In fact, Genesis 7:10 states that the waters of the flood began seven days after Noah entered the ark, and then continued forty days. The flood did not come the same day that Noah entered the ark, nor was all flesh destroyed in that day. . . . Just as there was a period of time between Noah entering the ark and the start of the rain, so there can also be a period of time between the rapture and the start of the seven years (emphasis his).
Again, he is mistaken. The text does not say that the flood began seven days “after” Noah entered the ark, as if there were a seven-day delay from the time Noah’s family entered the ark and when the flood rains began. Gen 7:10 reads, “And after seven days the floodwaters engulfed the earth.” Fruchtenbaum is assuming that the seven days began after Noah and his family entered the ark. He lifts this statement out of its context, which shows that the seven days refers to God’s command to Noah to gather animals into the ark before seven days come to pass. Here is the context of v. 10:
The LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, for I consider you godly among this generation. You must take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, the male and its mate, two of every kind of unclean animal, the male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird in the sky, male and female, to preserve their offspring on the face of the earth. For in seven days I will cause it to rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the ground every living thing that I have made.” And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him. Noah was 600 years old when the floodwaters engulfed the earth. Noah entered the ark along with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives because of the floodwaters. Pairs of clean animals, of unclean animals, of birds, and of everything that creeps along the ground, male and female, came into the ark to Noah, just as God had commanded him. And after seven days the floodwaters engulfed the earth. (Gen 7:1–10 emphasis mine)
The text reveals that the seven days refer to the period of time to fulfill God’s command to Noah to take animals into the ark before the seven days are completed. It does not depict Noah’s family entering the ark seven days “before” the flood began. That is the time frame for Noah to corral the animals. Fruchtenbaum is reading his preconceived ideas into the narrative and changing the biblical story.
Moreover, if one continues to read more of the narrative context, it becomes explicit that the exact day Noah and his family entered the ark that day the flood-judgment began:
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month—on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. On that very day Noah entered the ark, accompanied by his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, along with his wife and his sons’ three wives. (Gen 7:11–13 emphasis mine)
The very day “the fountains of the great deep burst open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” was the “very day Noah entered the ark.” The pretribulational objection is flawed and thus cannot be biblically maintained. Jesus is consistent about the Genesis account when he said, “right up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.” His application of the flood story likening it to his own future coming is accurate and fitting. Deliverance of his people and the onset of judgment will occur back-to-back—on the very same day.
The major implication of this three-part series demonstrates that key prophesied events will occur before the parousia / day of the Lord. And since the rapture occurs on the same day that the parousia / day of the Lord begins, it follows that these prophesied events will happen before the rapture. These key events include:
“I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth—blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the color of blood, before the day of the LORD comes—that great and terrible day!” (Joel 2:30–31)
“Look, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD arrives.” (Mal 4:5)
“For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” then [tote] sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape.” (1 Thess 5:2–3)
“Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until [“first,” proton] the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God.” (2 Thess 2:1–4; cf. Matt 24:15–31)
These prophesies explicitly state that pivotal events will occur before the parousia / day of the Lord. The preponderance of evidence adduced in this article undermines the pretribulation parousia presupposition. The parousia and the day of the Lord are co-referential. The rapture was demonstrated to occur on the same day that the parousia / day of the Lord begins to unfold. I applied the passages from Paul and Jesus that instruct us that the rapture begins the parousia, and then turned to passages from Paul and Jesus that describe the rapture starting the day of the Lord. There is no interval between the rapture and the parousia / day of the Lord. Consequently, the rapture is linked to the second coming, and therefore the parousia presupposition cannot be biblically maintained.
 To be sure, some early pretribulationists, while viewing the entirety of Daniel’s seventieth as God’s wrath, have construed the day of the Lord as not including the Daniel’s seventieth but rather to the period from the battle of Armageddon to the end of the millennium (e.g. Scofield, Reference Bible, 1349; Gaebelein, Harmony of the Prophetic Word, 41). But most traditional pretribulation theologians, at least in the past century, have rightly viewed the day of the Lord beginning on the day that the rapture happens, spanning Daniel’s seventieth week and, for some, continuing to span the millennial period. This point of debate has been focused on the day of the Lord’s terminus a quo and not on whether it includes the millennial period.
 Ironside, James and Peter, 98–99.
 Pentecost, Things to Come, 230.
 Feinberg, “Arguing about the Rapture,” 200.
 Thomas, “Rapture and the Biblical Teaching of Imminency,” 24.
 Thomas, “1, 2 Thessalonians,” 281.
 Zuber, “Paul and the Rapture,” 164; see also Blaising and Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism, 264; Darby, Letters of J. N. D. Volume 3, 424 Elmore, “J. N. Darby’s Early Years,” 137–38; Pentecost, Things to Come, 201; Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 148; Rydelnik, “Israel,” 257; Patterson, “Israel and the Great Tribulation,” 70.
 Fruchtenbaum, “Is There a Pre-Wrath Rapture?,” 395. Fruchtenbaum claims (“Is There a Pre-Wrath Rapture?” 395) that he has always held to a gap view. Nevertheless, more pretribs are changing their view to a gap framework in response to prewrath teaching. See also Salus, Next Prophecies, 33–37.
 Nicholl, Hope to Despair, 73.
 Moo, Three Views on the Rapture, 202.
 Mayhue, “Why A Pretribulation Rapture?,” 101.
 Similarly, in the same context of the celestial disturbances in both Matthew and Luke’s account, the sixth seal depicts the universal and sorrow-foreboding nature (Rev 6:11–17; cf. Rev 1:7).
 Karleen, Pre-Wrath Rapture, 66–67; McLean “Another Look,” 394.
 Fruchtenbaum, “Is There a Pre-Wrath Rapture?” 392.
 Fruchtenbaum, “Is There a Pre-Wrath Rapture?” 392–93.