Back in 1992, I received in the mail a free copy of a book. This is not unusual for pastors. Occasionally authors will go to the expense to mail a book out to pastors as a means of getting it exposed through their congregations and among their peers. It can be extremely expensive with a mailing to 500K to 750K churches. Only rarely, however, do they spark my interest as something of such great importance that I would use it, or share it, or recommend it with fellow pastors. I've been retired from pastoral ministry for the past few years, but still received "freebies" from some ministry from time to time.
The book that I received as a free copy of was 'The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church' by Marvin Rosenthal. The copyright indicated the book had been published in 1990. Later that same year I bought a copy of Robert Van Kampen's book 'The Sign' which had been first published in 1992. I foolishly bought his second book 'The Rapture Question Answered Plain and Simple' a few years later. But being a student of Bible prophecy since 1965, I was an easy mark for anything on Bible prophecy, and that included many diverse authors/topics.
I should have caught on to the title because the first book was so confusing that it took me months to finish. I would read a chapter, scratch my head, compare it against Scripture, set it on the shelf, and intuitively would sense something afoot that seemed inconsistent or just out of place or disjointed. Eventually, I nearly finished the book but put it on my library shelf, and left it there till Robert Van Kampen came out with his 'The Rapture Question Answered Plain and Simple'. The fact was, this book was about as inconsistent as Marvin Rosenthal's original book. Actually, Marvin Rosenthal's book on the 'Feasts of the Lord' is a much better work to read and cherish. I would have no problem recommending his book on the "Feasts of Leviticus 23".
In a previous post I referred the reader to two sources which do an outstanding critique of the Pre-Wrath Rapture babble. In fact, their value is certainly an essential overview of the Pre-Wrath Rapture teaching, that I have included them in a list below of those one can read and discover for themselves the faulty beliefs in this teaching.
The Pre-Wrath position dates only to the 1970's with the now deceased, but ultra-wealthy entrepreneur Robert Van Kampen.
Interestingly, the Pre-Wrath babble of Robert Van Kampen is regularly promoted by those that also keep high on their web site, the teachings of SDA cult spokesman, Steven "Mark" Wohlberg. They also promote the video messages of David J. Smith, publisher of 'Newswatch' magazine. David J. Smith was once a minister in the Herbert W. Armstrong Worldwide Church of God, when it splintered at the death of Herbert W. Armstrong. Pastor Smith and his literature teaches the false doctrine of "British-Israelism" and "Sabbath" observance. I even once subscribed to his publication for about two years back in the early 1990's. In a previous post I warned about those that come under the umbrella of "British Israelism".
I offer a referral web site that discusses the subject of the "Worldwide Church of God: Christian or Cult?" for those that would like to know more about the topic of "British Israelism", also known as "Ango-Israelism". This will prove most helpful in understanding all of the splinter-groups that came out of the Armstrong WCG. The web site is:
It seems that those wanting to resurrect and hype the Pre-Wrath Babble get a great deal of pleasure out of posting heresy and related cult teachings as well as to quote the dog of a Bible, the 1599 Geneva Bible. Go figure what their motives are. Perhaps it is more about making money, since those sites earn from as little as a nickle up to several dollars for each hit made on their web site topics. Maybe this is the reason they are hyping the non-canonical books dated to the Biblical period. It seems their interest is all about the hyper sensationalism topics or headlines, even exaggerated with bogus topic headlines, all designed to sidetrack and deceive the reader.
Dr. Thomas Ice, executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Group refers to the Pre-Wrath Babble as "The Three-Quarter Rapture Theory". Dr. Ice calls this view "The 3/4 Rapture Theory" because Rosenthal/Van Kampen teaches that the Church will be Raptured somewhere in the middle of the last three-and-a-half years of the 70th Week of Daniel. Dr. Ice identifies many errors that can be found in the Van Kampen theory. Dr. Ice says, "It should be clear that Van Kampen must resort to strained characterizations of things like the day of the Lord, the tribulation, and the scope of God's wrath in order to first avoid pretribulationism and then to support his new rapture view."
>From what I know, and have read, Robert Van Kampen lured Marvin Rosenthal into writing and publishing his book [but it was his (Robert Van Kampen's theory)]. As events went, Marvin Rosenthal lost his position as the head of the Philadelphia-based "Friend of Israel Gospel Ministry", over his book. While Robert Van Kampen died a few years back, in 1999 as I recall, he was awaiting a heart-transplant. His mansion, a 13,000-sq.ft. single family home, built in 1993, on a 28-acre lakeside front property, in Grand Haven, Michigan, was on the market with an asking price of $7.5-million. Mr. Van Kampen was a self-made millionaire, investment-banker, and sold mutual funds. He owned an incredible collection of rare old Bibles and manuscripts. He was only 60 years of age when he died. He also founded Van Kampen-Merritt, an investment banking firm, which he later sold for $200-million. Another of his investment group was Van Kampen Funds, and today it has under management some $79-billion in assets. His book 'The Sign' sold over 100,000 copies, and this is considered huge for the religious genre of books.
Robert Van Kampen, despite all of his wealth, was unsuccessful in dethroning the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position. Those seeking to revive his misguided Pre-Wrath position are themselves misguided and facing a futile effort in calling God a liar. We are going home before the beginning of the "Seven"-year Tribulation. Perhaps this coming September 25/26th on Rosh HaShanah, but for now we wait with great anticipation.
I could address over two dozen issues of confusion and conflict in his Pre-Wrath position, but I do not want to bore you with something that, for all intent and purpose, was thoroughly dismissed twenty years ago in the theological community. The Pre-Wrath position died with Robert Van Kampen. Marvin Rosenthal went on to write his book on 'The Feasts of Israel' and found the "Holy Land Experience" in Orlando, Florida.
Here is a good list of web sites that have done comprehensive, thorough in depth analysis and dissecting of the Pre-Wrath position:
Keep looking up and listening for the trumpet!