Pre-trib rapture contrarian swims against ‘Left Behind’ tide



By Mark Ellis

Steve Wohlberg
Steve Wohlberg

While many trek to their local theaters to see the remake of Left Behind starring Nicolas Cage, a growing number of Christians question the basic premise of the film, which involves the rapture of the church before the Great Tribulation, followed by the visible return of Jesus.

“There’s one major problem,” says Steve Wohlberg, author of End Time Delusions: The Rapture, the Antichrist, Israel and the End of the World (Destiny Image), “the Left Behind books and movies reflect a theology I believe has multiple holes.”

Wohlberg recently completed a four-part DVD series based on his End Time Delusions book, which he admits goes against the grain of what many Christians have been taught.

“A careful study of each New Testament text used to support the rapture theory, taken in context, teaches only one return of Jesus Christ at the very end of the age, not a silent coming followed seven years later by a visible one,” Wolhberg asserts.

bookcoverWohlberg – along with Evangelical heavyweight Millard Erickson – have noted the pre-trib rapture teaching did not gain traction until the mid-1840s. The teaching was popularized by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) and through his friendship with C.I. Scofield, the teaching found its way into the Scofield Reference Bible. From there, the dispensational view of end time events influenced countless believers and became an official position at many Bible colleges, including Dallas Theological Seminary.

“I am not a liberal,” Wohlberg says. “I believe in the Bible. I believe in the return of Jesus Christ. But I don’t agree with the pre-trib interpretation of the text.”

Wohlberg says Billy Graham agrees with his understanding of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, considered one of the key verses describing the rapture: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (NKJV)

“This is one of the noisiest verses in the Bible,” Wohlberg says. “The context shows Jesus comes down with a trumpet, a shout, a voice, and the resurrection of the dead.”

“It’s not describing a silent return of Christ when everyone else is left scratching their heads and wondering what’s happening,” he adds. “This is a big event that nobody will miss.”

Wohlberg sees some potential pitfalls for those who adopt the pre-trib position. “One of the dangers is telling Christians they are going to get out of here and will not be around in the final days.” He worries Christians may develop a complacent attitude and will be unprepared when a storm of tribulation hits the world.

“The immediate context of ‘one shall be taken, and the other left’ (Matthew 24:40) clearly points to the visible return of Jesus Christ with myriads of holy angels, not the mysterious vanishing of Christians worldwide (see verses 27,30,31,35-39). Christians are then changed ‘in the twinkling of an eye’ (1 Corinthians 15:52) ‘at the last trumpet,’ not seven years before it,” he maintains.

Jewish by birth, Wohlberg grew up in the Hollywood Hills and attended North Hollywood High School, where he was “lost in the world of sin.”

But when he began to read the Bible for himself at age 20, the realization of Jesus’ sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane led him to surrender his life to Christ.

He has become accustomed to positive and negative responses to his viewpoint, including bookstores that initially refused to carry his book.

As Wohlberg surveys the world, he sees a crisis coming. “The planet is breaking down, systems are decaying, we are morally sliding, and the world economy is built on a bubble,” he observes.

“When the crisis comes, humanity will be crystallized between those who follow God and those who follow the devil. Jesus will use us in the midst of the trouble to speak to the human family one last time.”


Steve Wohlberg is the Speaker/Director of White Horse Media (Priest River, ID) and the host of World News and the Bible television broadcasts. Widely regarded by media as an apocalyptic expert, he has been featured in numerous History Channel documentaries (Secrets of the Seven Seals; Strange Rituals: Apocalypse; Armageddon Battle Plan), and has spoken by special invitation inside the Pentagon and U.S. Senate.

Related: Jerry Jenkins response to this story



  1. For a Christian from the M.E. living amidst turmoil and hatred, witnessing Christian cleansing in Iraq and Syria and the eminent civil war in Lebanon, I fully accept this interpretation of end times . The tribulation theology created an Evangelical Israeli which has worked to the detriment of local Eastern Christians that we are witnessing today.
    This interpretation of end times gives me hope and peace and I trust it will persuade American Evangelicals to see the truth before it is too late.
    I must get hold of this book.

    • I highly recommend this book. I read some of Steve’s articles when I was searching for the truth and after reading them I could see more clearly in the bible he was telling the truth.

  2. Interesting that a Protestant finally recognizes what I have been saying all along, that Christians who believe in, and expect a pre-tribulation rapture are going to be in shock when they find themselves in the midst of it. Their faith will be sorely tried as everything they believed in will come crashing down on them right at the time they need it most. For this reason, I am greatly pleased to see this author write this book and get the word out. Interestingly, I am Catholic and this writer’s perspective is very similar to that of the Catholic Church, which is that there will be one final coming of Christ and it will be at very end of the world. I do believe the Catholic faith leaves room for an intermediate coming which will be spiritual only, meaning Jesus will manifest His spirit again toward the end of the world and Christians will be raised to great heights of holiness and service to the Church. This will occur to prepare them and the world for the Tribulation and to bring as many to God as possible before the end. It will not be a visible material ‘coming’ of Jesus in any sort of way until that final coming before judgement.

    • thanks for that insight, jmstalk, as it reminded me of a book which describes how that “raising to great heights of holiness and service to the Church” by Christians would develop. One can also read it online for free by typing the title The Great Controversy, authored by ellen gould white.
      God bless you!

  3. I thought that Steve Wohlberg was a Seventh Day Adventist, as I would often see him on 3 Angles Broadcasting many years ago. The Adventist view of the book of Revelation is quite different in general, is it not?

    Thank you.

  4. Steve indeed is a Seventh-day Adventist and his views are in harmony with the church and the churches understanding of Revelation.
    It’s a little hard to fit in any understanding of a secret rapture or 7 year period of tribulation into Revelation as they are not found anywhere in the bible.
    An honest reading of all the verses in context can leave no doubt that there is nothing in them other than Christ’s final return… not some sneaky pre-tribulation nonsense.
    The notion of a seven year period of tribulation itself sees the final week of a prophecy from Daniel 9 covering 70 weeks from the time of the call to restore Jerusalem to the beginning of Jesus ministry (69 weeks) through to the stoning of Stephen & the gospel going to the gentiles (the 70th week) appropriated to create a tribulation time. The idea of an anti-Christ being cut off in the middle of the “7 year tribulation” time, in it’s intended place, actually refers to the death of Jesus and the end of the sanctuary services.

  5. No Ceal. 7th Day Adventists and many other believer denominations only differ from most evangelicals in that they follow the 4th Commandment, that the Sabbath day is as stated in Genesis, Leviticus, and the 10 commandments: is from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. The Pope changed the day, as we were warned in the Bible that man would change the day. The word “Remember” is in there for a reason.

  6. I am not as much interested in what denomination theology comes from. For me it is Sola Scriptura. The Bible and the Bible only. Each individual needs to prayerfully study it for themself. Don’t just listen and believe what a pastor says. On the Judgment Day you alone will be standing before the Almighty.

    • Carrie; You need to study the “Judgement” or as is known as the ” Day of Atonement” or “Yon Kipper” in depth. If you are in Christ, having Christ forgiveness you will be redeemed and not judged. Only the wicked are judged, however we all go before God. Study it out from the Bible and the Bible only.

  7. Yes Ceal, Steve Wohlberg is a Seventh-day Adventist & Seventh-day Adventists hold the SAME view as he does. True, you may find some that do not, but the world Church & the list of 28 Adventist belief’s will confirm that we do. I’m sorry that I don’t have the website for sure, but it’s something like or possibly Anyway google & you’ll find it, OK? We take the entire Bible literally. We believe that God spoke through men & women to write His book. Yes, that’s right. We believe that the Bible is literally God’s word to us.

  8. The reason I do not hold to Steve Wohlberg’s interpretation is because the SDAs believe that Jesus Christ is Michael the Arch-Angel. Is that not true? They also do not believe that the Jews are still the Apple of God’s eye as the Bible clearly states – and that He is not finished with Israel.

    That was my reasoning for questioning this book. In my opinion… not Biblical. However, even after all of that – I know that there are SDA that are true believers and are part of the body of Christ – just as in other churches.

    • That’s ok Ceal. Forget what Steve or anyone else says… just read the bible texts listed for yourself & see what they clearly state.

    • Ceal, the name Michael means “one who is like God”. But we know that none are like God–except God Himself! Arch-angel means “over all the angels”–like the President of the U.S. is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces–and yet he is not in the military, but over it. Jesus is not a created angel (messenger) but the Son of God from all eternity, filling the role of commander-in-chief of all the angels of heaven.
      The Bible does not say ‘Jews’ are the apple of His eye–but Israel. Israel means “overcomer” or “prince.” All who accept Jesus are grafted in to the true Israel–the root stock. True Israel continues to the end when Jesus returns. They are now Jew and Gentile–all who accept the Israel of God, Jesus Christ. That is what composes the royal nation spoken of in 1 Peter 2:9. God will still do a special work for the remaining Jews to give them one last call to accept Jesus and be prepared for His coming. That will be exciting to see!

    • Here is a Bible study I wrote many years ago shortly after becoming Seventh-day Adventist when the internet was new, to prove to myself first, and then to the reader of my fledgling web site, that it is entirely supported by scripture for Michael the Archangel to be a title of Christ.


      And here is an overview of the history of how the Historicist interpretation held by all Reformation era Protestants, has today been almost totally eclipsed by a spectacularly successful, devious and diabolic Jesuit campaign of infiltration, carefully crafted to derail the Protestant identification of the papacy as the Antichrist.

      The Catholic Origins of Futurism and Preterism

  9. Steve, writes and speaks as the bible states it. The church body will in fact go into and out of the tribulation, the return of JESUS ( Amen ) will be visible and seen by ALL, it will be noise …. no secret there … The left behind have truly left people behind, please correct your thinking folks. Be watchful, that it don’t sneak upon you, don’t be the foolish virgins, PRAY and READ the scriptures. Come LORD, Come quickly Amen.

  10. I have read Steve’s book from cover to cover at least 5 times and I am hard pressed to deny what he teaches. Because it goes against what the “casual” Christian blindly accepts will occur during the end times, it often is lumped into the category carved out for fanatics or cults. Steve speaks the truth in his book “End Time Delusions,” as the arguments are Biblical and based on Scripture, not his own personal opinion. I would get a copy and read it for yourself. It is a very easy read, and Steve writes in a way that is both engaging and captivating. Get the book, read it, and pray about it. Don’t take Steve’s or my word for it, be like the noble Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily to see if what was being taught was true.

  11. The deception is great. Jesus warns us about this again and again.
    All I am going to say is – do your own homework. Really check out Darby and Scofield. Read and Ask God in Prayer to show you the truth. He promises to lead us in truth and that truth is Gods Almighty Word.

    The Rapture is phony! Get ready – things are surely going to get worse as time goes on. Stay close to Jesus Christ Almighty.

    Praise the Lord O my Soul. In Him – Bob

  12. I hope ALL are now beginning to see why Jesus said 3 times, Let no man deceive you by any means, in Matthew 24. Yet also referred to deceptions twice more, “If they say He’s in the desert .. or Jesus is here or there believe it not.
    Satanic deceptions are rampant, because most know nothing of God’s Word!

  13. I am thrilled to see that there are so many positive responses to Steve Wohlberg’s books – and as most of them say to “you” read the books and compare them with what the Bible says and once you do you will see how well they read, how Biblical they are and how much sense they make and most of how how they simply QUOTE “IN CONTEXT” what the Good Book has to say and you will realize what is in Steve’s book is “The Truth”. If you study the derivation of the deviation from Scripture as is the so-called “SECRET Rapture Theory” as briefly revealed in a prior Blog you will have no problem discovering the derivation of that Scriptural deviation and that alone would be enough to warn you to examine the subject as Steve’s books do, but there are plenty of other books and authors who are in complete agreement with Steve since they are equally Bible based so they’d have to be in agreement. You can find such books at the web site of Amazing Facts ( Pastor Doug Batchelor’s Organization) or the Organization entitled “Secrets Unsealed” headed by Pastor Stephen Bohr, or the many books offered by Remnant Publications. The Truth is everywhere “too” once you know where to look. There’s simply nothing like knowing you KNOW the Biblical Truth. I praise God for men like Steve who helped opened my eyes.

  14. HI all. I agree with what both Steve and Michael teach. I teach it myself in my home church. The only real point of difference is that I/we believe that the SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) church is now part of Babylon as was predicted by EGW (Ellen G. White ,
    an end time prophet for those who don’t know), said they would become if the did certin things. They have done so and have joined them selves with the Catholic Popes.
    Still they {Steve and Mike are used by God to preach the truth.) Not at a strange if you read the Word. Abraham, a man chosen by God let his wife talk him into taking another women to make a son. And so a flaw in a man of God.
    The Word says of David that he was a man after God”s own heart. Yet he was a murder and and adulterer.
    God uses fallen people as he wills. Just take what they or any other teaches to the Word for your self. You will not go wrong.

    Tip Use the KJV Bible (King James version) only. If you have something else burn it.

    In Christ,

    • Dear Reader,

      What a strange response from an (obviously) disgruntled Adventist. Adventists follow the Bible and the Bible only. I suspect Bro. Wohlberg is only a Seventh-day Adventist because he can’t find a church that is more Bible-based. I’m sure he would switch if he did. I have read a few of his books and I see that his loyalty is with the Scriptures. He repudiates the secret rapture for the same reason countless other Protestants of other faiths do the same: there is no Bible support for this doctrine.

      As for Chris above, I can’t imagine his 10 member rogue church spreading the Three Angels’ Messages to every nation, kindred, tongue and people… instead he is trying to give everyone a bad taste in their mouth for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which has been raised up by God to bring people back into a faithful (obedient) relationship with Jesus by keeping all of His 10 Commandments. And for those wondering Adventists do not teach Jesus is a created being (far from it–He is our Creator Who always has been), nor do we teach that the King James Version Bible is the only valid or accurate translation, and to burn any Bible would be sickening to any true Adventist.

      Blessings to all true seekers!

    • Chris Schroeder You say “(Seventh Day Adventist) church is now part of Babylon as was predicted by EGW (Ellen G. White ,”
      Will you please give the sorce of the quote, book and page, I would like to read the whole quote.
      Many things people say EGW said are taken out of context or are not said at all.

  15. Hi Wyatt,
    I get that a Catholics give me grief cause I call their pope Anti-Christ. Many Protestants because I tell them of the Sabbath and that their rapture story is a myth. SDA’s cause I tell them their church is Babylon. It goes on and on.

    For the Record I have never been a member of the Adventist Church. I am an ex Catholic and ex a few others. I came out of the Babylon of Sunday keeping churches in part because of what Steve and Mike teach. I give glory to the Lord for the rest of what it took to get me to understand the Sabbath and to keep it Holy.

    As for the Bible thing, it was a figure of speech. I have about 14 different Bible I purchased when I was researching the issue. I will still only use the KJV.

    I will now use a disclaimer I learned from Steve. I do”” not speak about individual
    people, only the organizations they are in. God’s word has made it clear that he has people in Babylon. He says come out of her.

    As for the SDA church, I posted a second post that did not seem to make it. Wonder why? It had a link for you all to look at.

    Steve in a recent White Horse E-News wrote. “The Emerging Church has gone global.” “it ‘s teaching have entered nearly every Protestant church, including the Seventh Day Adventist Church.” His words not mine. He has a TV show about it on Oct 17 and 18th. Tune in. I sure will.

    My little home church follows the Seventh Day Remanent Church with churches in a number of different countries. Even the SDA church was small at one time. God blessed it in it”s day and He is blessing us in our day.

    Any how I did not mean to offend and wish you and yours the very best.

    In Christ,


  16. / Greets, Mark. Have you seen this? I bumped into it while surfing the you-know-what. /

    The Pretrib Rapture Jackpot!

    by Bruce Rockwell

    Attention, writers. You can make millions by promoting the pretrib rapture!
    As you know, pretrib began in Scotland in 1830. Early developers including Edward Irving and John Darby admitted it was then a totally new view that had never been part of any theology or organized church.
    They also admitted that it had suddenly sprung from only OT and NT “types” and “symbols” and not from any clear Bible statement! (Part of their “cut and paste” included stretching forward “gather” (Matt. 24:31) on their “charts” and turning it into a pretrib coming!)
    As late as 1957, pretrib expert John Walvoord admitted in “The Rapture Question” (p. 148) that “pretribulationism” is NOT “an explicit teaching of Scripture”!
    Since the early 1900s pretrib has been sold by novelists like Sydney Watson (in 1913) and by Salem Kirban whose “Left Behind”-type novel “666” came out in 1970 – the same year Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” started breaking sales records.
    The very first pretrib rapture novel titled “Left Behind” came from the joint pens of Peter and Patti Lalonde in mid-1995 before Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins somehow came up with the very same title: “Left Behind”!
    The pretrib rapture view, which admittedly is only an “inference” and not “explicit,” rests basically on verses in John 14, I Thess. 4, and I Cor. 15, none of which have either a “taken/left” separation or exciting, nail-biting scenarios that can “sell” pretrib.
    You have to go to Revelation’s action-packed chapters instead. When you do, you discover they can be tied to end time details found basically in the Olivet Discourse.
    As you know, pretribs believe in two stages; Stage 1 is the pretrib rapture which supposedly occurs several years before Stage 2 which is the posttrib second coming to earth.
    Since the three “rapture” chapters listed above don’t have any clear rapture-type separation between the “righteous” and the “wicked,” your best launching pad if you want to be a bestselling author is “the one shall be taken, and the other left” phrase in Matt. 24:40, 41 and Luke 17:34-36.
    Trouble is, Dr. Walvoord and many other pretrib leaders declare that the “one taken” refers to the “wicked” taken in judgment while the “righteous” are left! But since average pew-sitters don’t seem to know this, you can easily convince them that the “one taken” is a sort of code for an any-moment pretrib rapture!
    And the pew-sitters don’t know that Walvoord etc. also teach that the same phrase is part of “non-imminent” Stage 2 which is posttrib (and not pretrib) and is on “Jewish” (and not “Church”) ground!
    In order to preserve Stage 1 (the long-stretched-forward pretrib rapture), pretrib merchandisers in recent decades have been stretching forward various aspects found in Stage 2 and quietly applying them to Stage 1. Aspects include “the day of the Lord,” “God’s wrath,” “the taken/left phrase,” “the unknown day and hour,” and Christ’s coming “as a thief” (which in the Bible is always tied to Armageddon and other posttrib events).
    (For more on the above, Google “The Correct Answer to Who’s Taken” etc. on Joe Ortiz’s blog of Apr. 12, 2010. Sure, there’s disagreement on who’s “taken” first, but pretrib pew-sitters forget or don’t know that THE TAKEN/LEFT PHRASE IS FOUND IN ONLY A POSTTRIB SETTING IN THE BIBLE!!)
    Yes, I’ve told you how you can turn yourself into a bestselling, wealthy author.
    But unfortunately you have some competition because LaHaye and Jenkins have long been aware of the above facts. And for years they’ve been milking their 19th century cash cow (which hasn’t dried up yet) to shatter all-time sales records and make millions of pretrib dollars that are destined to be left behind!
    For more on LaHaye etc. Google “Left Behind or Led Astray?,” “The ‘Left Behind’ Rupture,” “Prof. Craig Leaves Tim LaHaye Behind,” “LaHaye’s Temperament,” “Jerry Jenkins Apologizes for Being Seen Gambling in Casinos,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Pretrib Rapture Pride,” “Walvoord Melts Ice,” “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “Margaret Macdonald’s Rapture Chart,” “Pretrib Rapture’s Missing Lines,” “Roots of Warlike Christian Zionism,” “Evangelicals Use Occult Deception,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Letter from Mrs. Billy Graham,” “Pretrib Rapture: A Staged Event,” “Pretrib Rapture Stealth,” “Deceiving and Being Deceived” (by D.M.), and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty.” (Most of these are by the author of “The Rapture Plot,” the most accurate and documented book on pretrib rapture history, obtainable by calling 800.643.4645.) BTW, for a unique Obama-inspired article, Google “The Background Obama Can’t Cover Up.”
    In closing let me say that Jeremiah 17:11 warns that “he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.”
    And you can bet on this!

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