THE DEVELOPMENT AND ORIGINS OF MODERN PRE WRATH & INTER SEAL POSITIONS
THE DEVELOPMENT AND ORIGINS OF MODERN PRE WRATH & INTER SEAL POSITIONS – A BRIEF SYNOPSIS
The first author to identify himself as “Pre Wrath” was CS Lovett in his book “The Latest Word on the Last Days” (1980). It was probably Lovett who actually invented the term ‘Pre Wrath’. His view of Pre Wrath combined the Post Tribulational views of Dr. Samuel Tregallis with a Pre Wrath position because he placed the wrath of God only at the very closing phase of the final 7 years preceded by the rapture.
Dr, Tregallis, an able Greek scholar, had a much more basic view of dispensationalism than John Nelson Darby and he did not subscribe to Darby’s Pre Tribulationism. His works were republished by the Sign Ministries of Bob Van Kampen who saw Tregallis as important in developing Pre Wrath in that the church would suffer tribulation, but it was Lovett who first set the precedent in modern terms of the Rapture being Post Tribulational, yet Pre Wrath in his book in 1980.
Others began to hold to a Rapture following the 6th seal claiming early Patristic history supported it. This included Stuart Traille who fell into apostasy and became a cult leader but who, like Lonnie Frisbee, Moe Berg and other figures who turned sour in the Jesus Movement, had a pervasive influence on saved hippies (it was at this time in the Jesus Movement that I was first exposed to and believed the rapture followed the 6th Seal in the early 1970s). The Jesus Movement of Chuck Smith that became Calvary Chapel however was staunchly Pre Tribulational.
Another very influential figure in the Jesus Movement at this time who was not Pre Tribulational was Dr. Walter Martin.
This trend in mainstream circles was spawned in considerable measure in the 1970s by Robert Gundry’s book ‘First the Anti Christ’, (although Gundry himself favored a Post Tribulational view seeing the Great Tribulation as the full seven years). Gundry explored the implications of the eschatological writings of Hippolitus in particular.
Along this line in the nineteen eighties and nineties, Bob Van Kampen and Mar Rosenthal both claimed that they were not setting any new precedents and denied they were entering new territory. Marvin Rosenthal stated: “Pre Wrath is consistent with what is known of the beliefs of the early church” and Bob Van Kampen stated that “Pre Wrath simply expands on the position of the church fathers”. Both claimed not be setting a new precedent, but influenced by Tregallis, Gundry and others, claimed they were only returning to what the early church believed. Others such as researcher Ed Tarkowski disputed this and saw Pre Wrath as breaking new turf suggesting that there is as much evidence from the early church that could just as well support a full seven year Post Tribulational position.
Much of the initial controversy surrounding Pre Wrath was not about the position itself but the effect of theocratic politics as Marv Rosenthal was a known figure within the world of Jewish missions and evangelism when nearly all Jewish mission agencies were solidly Pre Tribulational and Marvin Rosenthal dared to break ranks. It cost him his leadership position with an established evangelistic mission to the Jews.
Intra Seal is closely akin to Pre Wrath. Intra Seal is Post Tribulational but it does not view the entire seven years as the Great Tribulation. It varies from Pre Wrath however on the identity of the restrainer which Intra Seal sees as The Holy Spirit (akin to Pre Tribulationalism). In a sense, just as the original Pre Wrath of CS Lovett combined Pre Wrath with Post Tribulationalism, Intra Seal combines Pre Wrath with Pre Tribulationism concerning the identity of the Restrainer.
Patristic history cannot absolutely confirm Pre Wrath, Intra Seal, or Post Tribulastionism. It does however confirm that Pre Tribulationism was never the view of the early church.
Although Dr. Tregallis was Post Tribulational, as Bob Van Kampen asserted in his republishing the works of Samuel Tregallis, he nonetheless had a profound impact on the development of Pre Wrath. Van Kampen actually purchased the publishing rights for Tregallis’ book.
The influence of Robert Gundry in academic and scholarly circles in the development of Pre Wrath and Intra Seal cannot be over stated, pointing back to the early church.
It was CS Lovett however who is the best demonstrable candidate to be called the father of modern Pre Wrath, and it was he who at least in published form, first coined the term.
Pre Wrath and Inter Seal became refined versions of what technically commenced, at least in modern terms, with CS Lovett.