Beyond Prewrath: End-Time Prophecy. By Robert Parker. Winter Garden, FL: Robert’s Trumpet, LLC, 2021. 139 pp. Paper, $19.95.
Robert Parker is a student of the Bible and has a background in mathematics/engineering. Both of these aspects of his life come through in this book on Biblical prophecy. As a result of his studies, he posits a new understanding of the prewrath Rapture of the church. The old prewrath view maintains that the church will go through most of the seven-year Tribulation, but will be raptured before God pours out His wrath on the world at Armageddon. Believers will experience the persecution of the Antichrist prior to the rapture.
For most students of prophecy, Parker’s book will be hard to follow. It would have been helpful if he had included a concluding chapter of his view that summarized all of his findings.
Parker sees three raptures in the Book of Revelation (Rev 8:5; 11:19; 16:18; p. 5). The 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7 represent the church raptured in Rev 8:5 (p. 17). To arrive at his conclusions Parker often employs mathematical formulas, using ratios regarding Daniel’s 70 week to determine literal time in the book of Revelation (pp. 20, 37, 39). A half hour of silence in heaven in Rev 8:1 equates to about 7.5 days on earth. Few readers will be convinced of his reasoning.
Parker also uses OT analogies to support his conclusions. Most readers will probably see these references as being highly subjective. For example, Parker says that in Lev 16:13 God told the priest to burn incense when he entered the Holy of Holies to prevent the priest from dying. This is parallel to Rev 8:3-4 where believers are not to die before the rapture in Rev 8:5 (p. 20).
According to this view, the second rapture will include those who believe after the first rapture, as well as believing Jews in the Tribulation. This is described in Rev 11:19. Revelation 19:1-5 describes the arrival of these believers in heaven with the Lord. Parker also says that all these believers will be a part of the bride of Christ (p. 90).
There is a discussion of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Parker rightly concludes that this judgment will not be one that deals with eternal condemnation. Both the church of today and Jewish believers from the Tribulation will appear at this judgment to give an account of how they lived their lives (p. 92).
One of the strangest parts of the book is the discussion on the third rapture. In Rev 16:18, those during the Tribulation who did not take the mark of the beast but are still unbelievers will be raptured. This involves the sheep and the goats of Matt 25:31-40. They are spiritually unsaved, but can enter the kingdom if they showed mercy to Jews during the Tribulation (p. 94). In other words, the sheep are unbelievers who enter into the kingdom because of their works.
The old prewrath view, as well as Parker’s new wrinkles to it, both maintain that the church will go through most of the Tribulation. He says that believers who commits apostasy during the persecution of the Antichrist will lose their salvation (p. 126). During the first half of the Tribulation believers will need to store up food and medicine. Believers today need to be looking forward to the beginning of the Tribulation in order to begin this hoarding. A clue that it is time will be if there is a multinational treaty signed with Israel (p. 127).
It is difficult to determine exactly what Parker believes one must do to be saved from hell, even though he believes one can lose that salvation. He says that we must understand that we are sinners and deserve eternal death. However, God offers us the gift of eternal life. We need to tell Him we want the free gift. Then, we need to confess that Jesus is Lord by telling others we believe He is Lord and that God has raised Him from the dead. Finally, we must be baptized (p. 125). He also mentions repentance and Acts 2:38. It may be that Parker sees water baptism as nothing more than publicly proclaiming one’s faith and not a necessary work. At the very least, his gospel is very confusing.
Clearly, a person who believes in the pretribulational Rapture of the church will have serious reservations about this book. So will anybody who believes that a believer cannot lose their eternal salvation and that eternal life is given as a free gift. Parker’s methodology is not built on solid ground. On a positive note, it is clear he has studied this topic at length. He is not arrogant. However, I would be very surprised if many people are convinced by Parker’s arguments. The person in the pew will be overwhelmed trying to understand the OT analogies and the math needed to understand what is being said. If one is a student of eschatology and is looking for information on the prewrath view of the Rapture and specifically has an interest in what others are saying, this book may have some value. Otherwise, I do not recommend it.
Kenneth W. Yates
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society