In Search Of The Origins Of The PreWrath Doctrine
Part 7: Why A "New" Revelation Of Christ's Coming At This Hour?
By Ed Tarkowski

I want to answer that question, but want to lead up to what I believe to be the answer to it by sharing the following first.

In seeking answers to my many questions about the "new" Prewrath doctrine, I wrote to both Pretribulationists and Posttribulationists on the Internet asking what their views were of Matthew 24:22 and Mark 13:20. The following excerpt from one reply I received is representative of others I received:

"It seems clear enough to me that the undeclared event which will serve to shorten the days will, in fact, be the second advent of Christ to the earth. When Jesus returns to the earth the days and times of tribulation come to an immediate halt. The forces of antichrist are aimed exclusively against the person of Jesus Christ himself who, with a word of his mouth, destroys him (Revelation 19:11-21). Upon his return to earth Jesus casts both the Beast and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire and he kills, with the word of his mouth, all others who have stood to be counted with Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet. Up to that moment, the earth is still experiencing the great tribulation, in fact, unless I have seriously misread Scripture, when Jesus returns to earth, he returns at the darkest hour of the tribulation."

This is basically what John Lightfoot said:

22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

[Those days shall be shortened.] God lengthened the time for the sake of the elect, before the destruction of the city; and in the destruction, for their sakes he shortened it. Compare with these words before us 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise," &c. It was certainly very hard with the elect that were inhabitants of the city, who underwent all kinds of misery with the besieged, where the plague and sword raged so violently that there were not living enough to bury the dead; and the famine was so great, that a mother ate her son (perhaps the wife of Doeg Ben Joseph, of whom see such a story in Babyl. Joma). And it was also hard enough with those elect who fled to the mountains, being driven out of house, living in the open air, and wanting necessaries for food: their merciful God and Father, therefore, took care of them, shortening the time of their misery, and cutting off the reprobates with a speedier destruction; lest, if their stroke had been longer continued, the elect should too far have partaken of their misery. (A Commentary of the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (1602-1675): Exercitations upon the Gospel of St. Matthew Chapters 24, 25).

Antichrist will be on a rampage by the end of the tribulation period, and Christ's intervention prevents all flesh from being wiped out. In this same email, the following statement was also made, bringing another aspect into the scenario of the days of the Great Tribulation being shortened:

"It is my considered opinion that the answer to the question of what will serve to shorten those days is alluded to in verses 23-28. After Jesus states that "...unless those days are shortened, no flesh should be saved," he immediately follows with the statements concerning those who falsely claim to have seen or who claim to know the whereabouts of Christ. In fact, Jesus closes his statements on the sign of the end of the world with the remarks on those who claim to have seen or have knowledge of the whereabouts of Christ."

Notice that last sentence very carefully:

"In fact, Jesus closes his statements on the sign of the end of the world with the remarks on those who claim to have seen or have knowledge of the whereabouts of Christ."

Let's look at these verses, and notice the period of the time BETWEEN THE MIDDLE OF DANIEL'S WEEK (The Great Tribulation) and THE END OF THE TRIBULATION when Jesus returns and what it says about false christs and false prophets:

Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Mat 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
Mat 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Mat 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.
Mat 24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: . .

Mark 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
Mark 13:21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
Mark 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
Mark 13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
Mark 13:25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. . .

In Matthew 24:21 and Mark 13:19, Jesus refers to the Great Tribulation and in the following verses, Matthew 24:22 and Mark 13:20, He refers back to them saying "those days" will be shortened. In other words, the days of the Great Tribulation, i.e. the last half of Daniel's 70th week, will be shortened. But we must notice the tense used in these verses concerning the shortening of those days.

Mark 13:20 says it is the Lord who "HATH shortened the days," as though they had been shortened in the past. But, in Matthew 24:22, He speaks of them as being shortened in the future, saying, "those days SHALL BE shortened." I don't believe Jesus was confused or that He left us in the dark as to how He has and therefore would shorten the days, because after giving the aspects of the Great Tribulation, He says, "And then shall they see the Son of man coming" (Mark 13:26). This coming is what cuts short the days of the antichrist rampage throughout the earth. It is quite apparent that in the prophesies given in the OT concerning this period of time, He set an established limit on how long Antichrist's persecution would last and God would punish Israel. In other words, Antichrist would not be able to wipe out all flesh because God put limits on him, thus shortening those days. But this period also has another aspect to it that I mentioned, the aspect mentioned in the time between the beginning and end of the tribulation in the above scriptures: a time of false christs and false prophets.

The events Jesus speaks about from the time He refers to the beginning of the tribulation to His coming at the end is this: false christs and false prophets, and these are spoken of in the context of the days being shortened by His coming. Look at the above and see for yourself. This will be a time of tremendous pressures on humanity. Let's look at it:

  1. It will be a time when no man can buy or sell unless they have the mark of the beast and worship him. If time went on without the coming of Christ, then all flesh would eventually come under his power.

  2. Antichrist will spreading death and destruction upon the earth against all who will not follow after him, worship his image and accept his mark. If time went on without the coming of Christ, no flesh would be saved.

  3. For whatever circumstances some will be in where they are not Christians it is quite possible unbelievers will not believe Antichrist is "the 'Christ'" - but also have not accepted the mark, but escaped antichrist's wrath, these will be seeking a way out and the false prophets and false christs that arise IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE TRIBULATION would gobble up these people. And this is the danger of the PreWrath doctrine: it wrongfully places the coming of Christ into a time when Jesus said, Mat 24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

The PreWrath places the coming of Christ into a time when Jesus said false christs would be prevalent and we are not believe He has come. Commenting on this last point, Jesus said,

"24 For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before" (Matthew 24).

The elect will be in danger of believing false christs and false prophets, and without an intervention of Christ, no flesh would be saved. Peter said,

2 Pet 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2 Pet 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

When did he say this would occur? In the LAST DAYS. And Jesus said,

Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

He may as well have said,

"Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, will He come in time that some flesh will be saved?"

Look at the most plausible pressures of this tribulation period when all humanity is threatened with possible extinction temporally and/or spiritually. If this went on and on without an intervention of Christ and thus a shortening of the days of this period of Antichrist, false christs and false prophets, "no flesh should be saved." And that shortening does not have to negate any of 1260 days of Daniel's 70th week as the Great Tribulation period. I don't believe the shortening of those days is a mystery at all, though it has been just that when I tried to explain it in PreWrath terms or asked PreWrathers for their input. I truly believe when Jesus comes back, His return is the shortening of those days lest "no flesh be saved."

Now, to answer the question that I asked at the beginning: Why A "New" Revelation Of Christ's Coming At This Hour? To begin with, I know some very dear people who are believing the Prewrath rapture theory, but their dearness does not negate what this doctrine appears to be: a deception, a "rich man's" Pretribulational scenario for the second coming of Christ. As I have said elsewhere, "new" revelations in this day and age are prevalent and should be automatically suspect and then investigated, and the Prewrath doctrine can be treated no differently. There is no sure foundation for it in the past and it is a "new" revelation in the present, and that combination has always proved spiritually deadly. I don't enjoy saying that, but I needed answers and spent a year reading and joining forums and had no satisfactory answers when I asked for a reasonable explanation of the foundations of it all.

I see many Pretribulationists "escaping" their deception because they knew something was wrong with that belief, and many are now turning to PreWrath, but it too appears to be a deception. There's no other way to say that because there can only be one true second coming of Christ and all others have to be false. That does not mean those promoting it are doing so intentionally to deceive. What it does mean is that the members of the body of Christ who believe in it will be looking for the coming of Christ at the wrong time and that will bring consequences into their life, even if it be temporary confusion and doubt and wondering where the promise of His coming is.

The verses between Matthew 24:21 and 27, and between Mark 13:19 and 24 point to a time when false prophets and false christs will be active, very active, and Jesus warned, "But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things" Mark 13:23). If Prewrath is a deception, and I truly believe it is, then this warning needs to be applied to it for the reasons I have stated above. It is "new" and I believe it is a deception to catch those looking for a way out of Pretribulationism, to catch them in the time of Great Tribulation with false prophets and false christs - and I believe this is "Why A 'New' Revelation Of Christ's Coming At This Hour."