The PreWrath doctrine proposes that the Great Tribulation ends at least 6 months before the end of Daniel's 70th week when the sixth seal is opened (celestial phenomena of Rev 6:12-17). When Jesus returns, Rosenthal and Van Kampen say that the Church will be raptured to heaven and then come back a second time to bring judgement on the nations. But, Jesus comes back "with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30) at or just after the sixth seal. Can He come in this fashion and then return to heaven, leaving six months left in Daniel's 70th week? Let's look at some of the verses that speak of His coming in "great glory."
Mat 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
GLORY 1391. doxa, dox'-ah; from the base of G1380; glory (as very apparent). . .
Jesus comes in His glory which is "very apparent" as He comes. This verse speaks nothing of a rapture to heaven or remaining in the sky for at least 5 months or going here and there on earth performing various tasks of war, etc. His "very apparent" coming fits well with His singular coming at the end of Daniel's 70th week, which is also the end of the Great Tribulation in Posttribulationism.
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:
Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
MOURN 2875. kopto, kop'-to; a prim. verb; to "chop"; spec. to beat the breast in grief:--cut down, lament, mourn, (be-) wail.
This mourning is what is described in the book of the prophet Zechariah, and Zechariah describes it as taking place at a time when the Lord said,
Zec 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
Zec 12:3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
After saying this, the Lord goes on to tell what will happen "in the day" when Jerusalem is being besieged by the nations gathering together against it:
Zec 12:4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. . . .
Zec 12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Zec 12:11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
Zec 12:12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;
Zec 12:14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
Zec 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
The mourning of Matthew 24:30 is described more fully in these verses from Zechariah, with a description of the Lord's going forth to cut down the gathering nations BEFORE He mentions the mourning of the tribes of the earth. The context would indicate that this mourning takes place at the time when the Lord "will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness" (Zech 12:4).
Verse 30 also describes the Lord coming "with power and great glory," with "great" meaning "plenteous" [G4183] and "glory" meaning "apparent glory." Thus, Jesus' return at the sixth seal is with plenteous, apparent glory.
Also, "all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they SHALL SEE the Son of man coming IN THE CLOUDS of heaven." Most of these facts can be summed up in one of the opening verses of Revelation, which points to one single coming:
Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
This verse does not indicate a rapture to heaven 6 months before the end of the week with a return later at the end of the week to smite the nations. EVERY EYE will see Him, ALSO those which pierced Him. Again, wailing and mourning are present as described in Zechariah.
This singleness of the coming of the Lord is apparent in the words of the angels at His ascension:
Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
In His ascension, Jesus left earth and went to heaven, and in this manner will He return - "in like manner" - meaning, leave heaven and come back down to earth. There is no indication of a rapture to heaven. If, in PreWrath, this would be considered His coming at the end of the 70th week with the saints after the rapture six months before, then one would wonder why Jesus didn't mention the time when He would come to gather His own to Himself.
The word "power" in Matthew 24:30 also witnesses against this gap between the rapture and Christ's judgment on the nations in Prewrath. The word "power" means, in part, "violence," and "a mighty deed," describing an event that would be hard to relegate to having little effect on the world after it was over:
POWER 411. dunamis, doo'-nam-is; from G1410; force (lit. or fig.); spec. miraculous power (usually by impl. a miracle itself):--ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.
From these pictures painted in scripture, there does not appear to be adequate room for a five month gap between the rapture and Armageddon.
Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
These verses do not indicate a rapture and then a return to heaven and then another return to earth to judge the nations. Both occur at the same time, when He gathers those left in the world for judgment, most likely for entrance (or not) into the millennium. When He comes IN HIS GLORY, He stays to bring complete, immediate judgment. Surely, when the Lord comes it is in apparent glory and PreWrath sets up an impossible chore of trying to distinguish which coming in glory belongs where, just as Pretribulationism sets up the chore of distinguishing which coming is before and after the tribulation period. Seeing His coming in exceeding glory as one coming at the end of the tribulation and the 70th week has no need of such efforts nor is it contradictory of itself nor does it breed confusion and unsureness of what Scripture is saying what or where those Scriptures should be placed in the endtime scenario.
Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
This is an important verse regarding these matters. Jesus will rapture the Church at His coming, but this verse says HE shall be ashamed of those who have been ashamed of Him "when HE COMETH IN the glory of his Father with the holy angels." This glory and the angels also are those mentioned in Matthew 24:29-31, which is the sixth seal.
2 Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
2 Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
2 Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
2 Th 1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Here again we have Christ coming with His "mighty angels" in fire WHILE THE SAINTS ARE ON THE EARTH as He comes to give the saints rest. This happens "WHEN the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven." In this same flaming fire - in other words, at this time - He takes "vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." The punishment "with everlasting destruction" ("power"=violence) is the equivalent of Matthew 25:31-32 above and the entire scenario of the sheep and the goats in the rest of those verses. ALL of this happens "WHEN he shall come to be glorified in his saints."
There is little justification in these verses (and others we have not mentioned) for a gap of six months between PreWrath's rapture and the judgment of the nations when Christ is revealed to the world.
Let's now look at the picture Van Kampen paints on pages 266-270 of his book, "The Sign." Keep the following in mind: the coming of Christ in glory for the Church occurs 6 months to 1-1/2 years before antichrist is destroyed after the end of the 70th week. Of the coming in glory to rapture the Church, Van Kampen says:
"Just as the disciples' question linked these two signs together - 'What will be the sign of your coming, and [what will be the sign] of the end of the age?' (v.3) - so these two signs will be interlocked with each other, the first leading immediately to the second. [By "immediately, Van Kampen means the 6 months-plus gap-Ed.] For first, all the natural lights in the heavens will be extinguished by the sign of the end, plunging the world into total darkness; and then in stunning contrast the darkened natural lights will be replaced by the supernatural brilliance of the sign of the Son of Man when He comes.
". . . . After the natural lights are turned off all over the world, the supernatural light of God's holy splendor will return to earth from the east, flooding the world with the radiance of Christ as He returns in power and great glory. The majestic glory of Christ's second coming [to rapture the Church-Ed] is the sign every true believer has looked for since Christ ascended to His Father some forty days after His resurrection. Every eye on earth - even the despicably evil eyes of Antichrist and his wicked hosts - will clearly witness the return of Christ. . . . His return will be anything but secret or unobtrusive. . . .
"So that all would know the true sign of His coming and be able to distinguish it from the many false signs that will abound in the last days (Matt. 24:26), Jesus declared that 'just as the lightning come from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be' (v. 27, emphasis added in original). Immediately after all natural light in the heavens is extinguished (v.29), the true sign of the coming of Christ will exhibit itself in an immeasurably immense flash of supernatural light that will come from the east and encompass and illumine the earth in an instant. Astounding and incredible as it will be, the vast radiance will be but the precursor and partial reflection of the infinite divine glory which will be revealed in the heavenlies when Christ appears, when every man, woman and child on earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory' (Matt. 24:30)."
Astounding as it is, Van Kampen is describing here the coming of Christ to rapture the Church 6 months to 1-1/2 years BEFORE the end of Daniel's 70th week when He then comes in glory to destroy Antichrist after this unbelievable manifestation to rapture the Church:
"Yet the same glory that will infuse God's saints will obliterate His enemies [6 months to 1-1/2 years later-Ed], commencing with Antichrist, 'whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming' (2 Thess, 2:8)" (p. 270).
The GAP BETWEEN these "two comings" of Van Kampen's Christ in infinite glory is absolutely ludicrous.