Romans 5:9 – Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 – For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.
A lot of people use these two verses as a defense for a pre-Tribulation rapture. While there are many more reasons to take this position, these verses only work if indeed, the entire Tribulation is designated in Scripture as God’s wrath. This is not the case.
The only time we see “wrath of God” in Revelation is in reference to the bowl judgments. It’s mentioned seven times in chapters 14-19, all of which are describing the events surrounding the bowls. John tells us these seven events are the wrath of God which has been held back since the beginning of mankind’s fall into sin.
Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished. … Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. … Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” (Revelation 15:1,7;16:1)
The previous events have been a warning, a call to repentance, but once that first angel steps up and tips the first bowl, God’s wrath will be unleashed.
What’s in the bowls?
#1 – Those who have received the mark of the beast will be covered with malignant sores (16:2).
#2 – The seas will be turned to blood, and all animal life in them will die (16:3).
#3 – The rivers and springs will also turn to blood (16:4).
#4 – The sun’s heat will intensify so as to scorch men with fire (16:8).
#5 – The world will experience darkness so complete they will gnaw their tongues in pain (16:10).
#6 – The river Euphrates will dry up, making way for the kings to gather in the Valley of Megiddo (16:12).
#7 – The angel will proclaim, “It is done.” There will be flashes of lightning, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake more powerful than any earthquake since the beginning. The great city will be split into three parts; cities around the world will crumble; every island and mountain will disappear into the earth and sea. Huge hailstones weighing 100 pounds will fall from heaven.
Each of these bowl judgments will happen in quick succession. Because this is the wrath of God, we can confidently say as believers we will not be here. We will have been caught up to be with Christ before this happens. Whether that is at the beginning of the Tribulation, or indeed, if the “last trumpet” that Paul mentions is Trumpet #7 which announces the bowl judgments, we will not suffer the wrath of God. Jesus took God’s wrath on Himself for us; our sins have been atoned for and we stand in His righteousness. We should not assume, however, that we won’t be called to experience the persecution, trials, and suffering that will occur before God’s wrath. If we don’t, praise God. But if we do, praise God, He will see us through!
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 – Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Revelation 16 and 19 describe the actual events that happen as the bowls are poured out on the earth. Chapters 17 and 18 are an interlude that again gives justification for God’s wrath, as it describes the doom of Babylon, the antichrist’s kingdom. John sees a vision of a harlot upon the beast. I believe this is the picture of the one-world religion led by the false prophet carried by the antichrist’s government that is in place. The “harlot” is the false religion that has deceived the multitudes and condemned them to God’s wrath. Personally, I believe the Catholic church will unite with Islam in the last days, as well as apostate Israel, but at some point, Israel will realize they are following the wrong man.
Do you find that hard to believe? It’s already happening. Do a quick search on the “Abrahamic Family House” in Dubai. It’s already in construction, with a completion date of 2022! From their website:
The Abrahamic Family House will be a beacon of mutual understanding, harmonious coexistence, and peace among people of faith and goodwill. It consists of a mosque, church, synagogue, and educational center to be built on Saadiyat Island, the cultural heart of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Through its design, it captures the values shared between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and serves as a powerful platform for inspiring and nurturing understanding and acceptance between people of goodwill. The vision for the Abrahamic Family House originated after the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity by Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb in February 2019. This landmark will be a place for learning, dialogue, and worship – open to all and a true reflection of the UAE’s belief in tolerance and hospitality. Within each of the houses of worship, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about religious services, listen to holy scripture, and experience sacred rituals. A fourth space—not affiliated with any specific religion—will be an educational center where all people can come together as a single community devoted to mutual understanding and peace.
Note: In this context, “Christianity” = Catholicism; this is an undertaking of the Pope, not true, biblical Christianity. (Visit the “Our Story” page on the website.)
All around us are the signs that we are in the last days. There are no more prophecies to be fulfilled. Every aspect of our culture and society is primed and ready for Jesus to open the seals and start the countdown to His second coming. If you belong to Christ, the bowl judgments are not a threat to you; you should not fear them for yourself. But we should fear for those who do not know Christ – those we care deeply about and desire salvation for their souls.
Keep talking about Jesus.
Keep on living faithfully.
And trust God who knows all things and is perfectly just, perfectly righteous, and perfectly loving to hold us tightly in His grip, as He ends all things well.