Traditional pretribulationism, along with prewrath, have consistently believed that the rapture and the beginning of the day of the Lord’s wrath will occur back-to-back. The day the rapture happens is the same day that the day of the Lord begins. (To be sure, pretribulationalism locates the rapture before the seven year period begins, while prewrath does not).
Prewrath came along and pointed out the “before the day of the Lord” passages (e.g. Joel 2:29–31; Mal 4:5; 1 Thess 5:3–4; 2 Thess 2:3) and demonstrated that since the Bible teaches that prophesied events will occur before the day of the Lord, then by extension they will occur before the rapture. Therefore, pretribulationism lacks biblical support.
There have been two pretrib responses to this prewrath argument.
1) Many pretribs grasped the validity of the argument and became prewrathers.
2) Many pretribs also grasped the validity of this argument but changed their foundational framework in order to maintain their pretrib view. They created the “gap” theory which creates a new intervening dispensation—days, months, and for some pretrib teachers, years—between the rapture and the day of the Lord’s wrath, which they equate with the seventieth week of Daniel. In this way they maintain their imminence and pretribulationism by locating those ‘before the day of the Lord” prophecies within that gap taking place after the rapture but before the day of the Lord.
The problem is that it does not work. The Bible clearly teaches that the deliverance of the church through the rapture and the beginning of the judgment on the wicked through the day of the Lord’s wrath will occur back-to-back on the same day. There is no intervening period.
Arnold Fruchtenbaum is one of these pretrib teachers who holds to the gap theory. I want to comment on his deeply-flawed defense of it.