How PreWrath Unlinks References to Israel’s Mourning to Suit Their Model
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)
Quite frankly, I’m appalled at how PreWrathers treat the Scriptures. They blame pretribbers for changing the meaning of words to suit our theology(1) but they are themselves guilty of this and worse.
Here is just one example of the kinds of manoeuvrers they do to try to maintain a PreWrath rapture model.
The Mourning of Israel
The Scripture teaches that when the nation of Israel will look unto Him whom they have pierced, they will mourn:
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves;” (Zechariah 12:10-13)
This is a huge event! Israel’s mourning is one of the climactic events of Scripture, constituting one of the very reasons that God is bringing a Great Tribulation upon the nation of Israel in the first place – namely, to bring His nation Israel to a state of repentance. As a Jewish believer, this prophetic event is very close to my heart.
This mourning event is also mentioned by our Lord Jesus when He outlines the last days in the Olivette Discourse in Matthew 24:
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven,
and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn,
and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
When Jesus says “then all the tribes of the earth will mourn,” He makes a clear reference to the mourning event mentioned in Zechariah, the clearest and most important mourning event in Scripture, occurring right at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week.
When Does This Happen?
“The sign of the of Son of Man” appearing in heaven is mentioned a few verses earlier. First Jesus warns His people not to listen to rumours and go out of their hiding place until He comes. “do not go out,” He exhorts. We read of this hiding place prepared for Israel in Revelation 12 (v. 6, 13-17). They are not to go out of their hiding place since, when He comes, it will be clear to all: “for as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” It happens right at the end of the 70th week. That’s when Jesus comes in all His glory and splendor, riding on the clouds of Heaven, to save His people from the Antichrist (Rev. 19). The Antichrist is that little horn spoken of in Daniel 7. He speaks great things, wars against the saints of the Most High for 3½ years, until the Ancient of Days comes, delivers His people and hands them the millennial kingdom (see vv. 13-14, 21, 25-27).
The fact that Jesus’ coming in glory occurs right at the end of the 70th week, and not any time before that, should be amply clear from many passages of Scripture, including the Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25:
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25:31-32)
This judgment occurs right before the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom and determines who can enter it and who gets thrown into the Lake of Fire. That’s why it’s clear that it occurs at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week.
So when Jesus is speaking about His sign appearing in Heaven, then about the great mourning and then about His return in glory, it all points to one thing: It’s speaking about the end of the 70th week, the end of the last terrible 3½ years of persecution of the saints.
Revelation 1:7, Every Eye will See Him
Reading Revelation 1:7 in conjunction with Matthew 24:30 further clarifies what Jesus is referring to. Here’s a side by side comparison of the two verses:
Revelation 1:7: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.”
Matthew 24:30: “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
If anyone had the slightest doubt whether Matthew’s mourning was referring to the mourning of Zechariah 12:10, then John’s reference in Revelation 1:7 should remove it and settle the matter.
But this creates a problem for PreWrathers.
Reassigning Matthew’s Mourning
PreWrathers like to place the glorious Second Coming of our Lord Jesus not at the end of the 70th Week, but somewhere at the ¾ point. For that reason, when they read “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn” it links the appearing of the Son of Man too strongly to the end of the 70th Week. That’s a problem for PreWrath. That’s why the reference to Israel’s mourning has to be understood differently in order to maintain a PreWrath Second Coming model. So the reference to Israel’s mourning, which would have naturally been understood from the passage, is conveniently reassigned by PreWrathers to the fleeing and terror of the ungodly at the 6th Seal:
“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”” (Rev 6:15-17).
Important to note: ‘mourning’ and ‘terror’ are not the same thing. They are not even similar. Mourning and grieving are similar. Terror and panic are similar. But ‘mourning’ and ‘terror’ are not. Example: what if I were to tell you, “when the roof cracked over my head and the house started callapsing I went into mourning” – wouldn’t you think I got something wrong? I would if I were told that. Or, if I were to tell you “I attended a funeral and they were all terrified”, you would ask “what happened?” You’d tell me I’m using the wrong words.
But PreWrathers don’t mind assigning the mourning of the now repentant and broken Israel in Zechariah 12:10 to the fleeing in panic and terror of the ungodly in Revelation 6. They have practically made the word “mourning” mean something else, to suit their purposes. “Mourning” from fright, “mourning” because the sky is falling down, but heaven forbid that there should be mourning over an only Son. That would be too costly for a 6th Seal Second Coming.
Reassigning ‘Every Eye Will See Him’
But they go further than that. If anyone thinks that Matthew’s “all the tribes of the earth will mourn” (24:30) is too faint a reference and could be reassigned to another event altogether, then there should be no question whatsoever about the Revelation 1:7 reference: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.” It couldn’t get any clearer than that for a reference to the mourning in Zechariah 12:10. In fact, it helps strengthen the link between Matthew 24:30 and Zechariah 12:10.
I can only assume that, for this very reason, PreWrathers have decided to reassign the Revelation 1:7 reference to the terror of the ungodly in Revelation 6 too. I’ve held discussions with PreWrathers, read articles and consulted Kurschner’s “Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord” – a kind of PreWrath textbook. In his book, Zechariah 12:10 doesn’t even appear in the scripture index, so I assume this most important event is not properly dealt with. However, I did find this:
“that the nations (tribes) of the earth will see Him indicates that this is not a localized event but a global appearance (cf. Rev. 1:7). The nations will not repent. They will mourn, knowing that Jesus is coming as judge.” (p. 70, emphasis mine).
So, “the nations will not repent.” Here we have a clear reference to mourning and repentance in Revelation 1:7 clearly being stated by PreWrathers NOT to be referring to repentance at all, but rather to ungodly people being sorry that Jesus is coming. This blatantly contradicts the force of the text. True, Kurschner is right in that there is no repentance at the 6th Seal, but deliberately fails to see the point that Revelation 1:7 has nothing to do with the 6th Seal. It’s about Zechariah 12:10. He is deliberately avoiding the connection between Revelation 1:7 and Zechariah 12:10, and one should ask why.
Referring Revelation 1:7 to the mourning of Zechariah 12:10 doesn’t by itself pose any problem for the PreWrath model. It could have been left in tact. They could have said that “Matthew 24:30 is not a reference to Zechariah 12:10 – it’s just a free quote, but Revelation 1:7 is.” They could have done that, but they didn’t. Since both references seem to allude to the same event, it would have appeared too inconsistent to refer one of them to Zechariah and not the other, forcing them to explain why they are doing this. So to maintain consistency, they went ahead and reassigned the Revelation 1:7 reference too, by which they achieved a Stalinesque removal of any trace or smell of a link to the mourning of Israel in Zechariah 12:10. All for the greater good of maintaining the PreWrath model.
Put more bluntly: they would have had no reason whatsoever to dissociate the Revelation 1:7 reference from Zechariah 12:10 and reassign it to anything else, except that leaving it intact would have generally weakened their PreWrath position. They willingly chose to disjoin it from where it belongs solely for the purpose of supporting PreWrath.
I don’t blame PreWrathers for linking the falling of the stars in the Olivette Discourse with those of the 6th Seal, although they occur at two different times. And I don’t blame them for interpreting the “gathering from one end of heaven to the other” as a rapture. The two descriptions have striking similarities. But I DO blame them for 1) intentionally, consistently and inappropriately reassigning a clear reference to a prophetic event from its natural place in Zechariah to a totally unrelated event in Scripture, simply to suit the 6th Seal Second Coming model; and 2) redefining words to mean something else, for the same purpose.
So while PreWrathers point the finger at Pretribbers for changing the meanings of words, it’s clearly shown that they engage in these practices, and worse, themselves. As for myself, I have repeatedly found the pre-tribulational view to be the most satisfactory explanation from Scripture for the timing of the rapture.
1. Some Pretribbers wrongly translate ‘apostasia’ in 2 Thess 2:3 as the rapture. Thankfully, Lee Brainard has written a whole book to defend the regular “falling away” translation of the word. More here: https://prophecywatchers.com/product/apostasia-in-2-thessalonians-23-rapture-of-apostasy-by-lee-brainard/