[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Pre-Wrath response to Zane Hodges

by Matthew

This is a response to the post below.

I am sure that Pre-Wrathers will welcome Zane Hodges' contribution to the debate. He raises some interesting issues:

The shortening of the tribulation

The Pre-Wrath interpretation of the cutting short is certainly not the only viable interpretation. However, it is still a possible and plausible one.

If the days of the tribulation are pre-determined it does seem odd that they should be shortened in advanced. How long should those days be?

Wrath in the Tribulation

Hodges cites Matthew 24:22 as evidence of divine wrath in the tribulation. I do not think this is a necessary conclusion, even if we reject Rosenthal's reading of that verse. I am sure I have read Pre-Tribbers understand that verse in terms of the war and famine that will be unleashed through the destructive energy of man. That energy is halted by the outpouring of divine wrath after the rapture.

Hodges faults Rosenthal's view that 'no flesh' refers to the Jewish nation. It may not convince all, but it does fit the Jewish context of the passage and reflect some of the Old Testament descriptions of devastation falling on the land of Israel. Pre-Tribbers make plenty of assumptions about Matthew 24 too.

The Day of the Lord

Zane Hodges suggests that reading the term 'Day of the Lord' as a static term always referring to a specific period is very questionable. I agree that viewing the term as a fixed and definite period is not demanded by the biblical texts, but the Pre-Wrath view does provide a framework that can allow for consistency between the uses of the term.

Pre-Wrathers and Post-tribbers have frequently faulted Pre-Tribbers for their failure to defend the idea that the entire period of the Daniel's Seventieth Week is the Day of the Lord.

Are the seals, trumpets and vials consecutive?

Hodges raises an important fault with Rosenthal's book. Rosenthal failed to defend the consecutive view. Thus, when I first read it I was quite unconvinced. My previous Post-Tribulational views of course depended upon the seals, trumpets and vials being parallel events. When I came to doubt the certainty of this conclusion, it became clear that the Pre-Wrath view was a better option.

It is interesting that Hodges makes this point, because in general, Pre-Tribulational writers seem to assume that the seals, trumpets and vials are consecutive.

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