Why the premise of the DVD, “Before the Wrath,” may not be biblical

Comparison of some teachings promoted by the DVD, “Before the Wrath,” with what the Bible actually says.

(And why “After the Wrath” makes more sense)

by Dick Lentz

(All Scriptures cited come from the NIV2011 version of the Bible) 

I recently watched a DVD titled, “Before the Wrath.” It is a high-quality video produced and distributed by Ingenuity Films that compares the meal Jesus and His disciples shared the night before He was crucified with a marriage betrothal. It then suggests that Jesus’ second coming and the rapture of the Church will be comparable to a Galilean wedding.

Although I liked one of the premises this video reinforces, that Jesus’ followers will one day be gathered so they can be with Him, an event many Christians call, “The Rapture,” I found the Scriptural basis for some of its conclusions to be questionable. I will point out some of these in the post below and at the end will summarize why I feel it’s important to note these.

What meal was Jesus celebrating?

“Before the Wrath” alleges that Jesus’ disciples would have associated the meal they shared with Jesus the night before He was crucified with a traditional Galilean betrothal ceremony. And so, one of the things that first needs to be established is the type of meal the Bible says that Jesus actually shared with His disciples that evening.

Here is what Matthew wrote about this:

17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. (Matthew 26:17-19)

There is no question when noting the portions underlined in the passage above that the meal Jesus shared with His disciples the night before He was crucified was a Passover dinner.

Passover was a reminder of what God did to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The account of this is found in Exodus 11 — 13. After Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go, God informed Moses that He was going to cause the firstborn male of every family and their livestock to die. The Israelites would be spared however if they killed an unblemished one-year-old lamb, spread its blood on the doorposts of their homes, then cooked and ate the meat of the lamb along with some unleavened bread. God then told them to remember this event annually during a celebration called “Passover” to commemorate the day the angel of death passed over those who trusted that the blood of a lamb would save them.

Jesus compared what was going to happen to Him to a Passover lamb. Just as the shedding of a Passover lamb’s blood spared those who trusted that this was sufficient to save their firstborn, so would the shedding of His blood spare those who trusted that this was sufficient to secure their eternal salvation.

Here is what Matthew wrote about this:

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)

When Jesus’ disciples looked back at this, Jesus wanted them to remember what He did so that they could be forgiven of their sins – so that their sins could in effect be “passed over.”

The early Christians understood this and celebrated something we now call “communion” in order to be reminded of the significance of what Jesus did to secure their forgiveness. Here’s what Paul wrote about this:

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

Neither Jesus nor Paul associated the meal Jesus shared with His disciples the night before He was crucified with a wedding betrothal. The meal was simply a reminder of the “passing over” that occurred when the angel of death spared the firstborn of those who trusted in the blood of the Passover lamb and that a similar “passing over” would occur to those who trusted in the blood of the Lamb of God for their forgiveness.

What covenant was Jesus’ establishing?

“Before the Wrath” not only suggests that the meal Jesus shared with His disciples the night before He was crucified was comparable to a Galilean wedding betrothal, it proposes that the covenant Jesus was referring to when He shared the cup of wine with His disciples was one a bridegroom would offer to his bride on the night of their formal engagement.

Most accounts of the meal Jesus shared with His disciples do say that Jesus associated the cup of wine He offered to His disciples with a covenant. Matthew for example wrote this:

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:27-28)

Luke added “new” to this association when he wrote this:

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:20)

And Paul wrote this when reminding the Corinthians what they were to remember when they celebrated the Lord’s Supper:

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

I believe the “new covenant” both Jesus and Paul were referring to comes from this passage in Jeremiah:

27 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals. 28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord. 29 “In those days people will no longer say,

‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

30 Instead, everyone will die for their own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge.

31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more
.” (Jeremiah 31:27-34)

The above was prophesied at a time when the Jews were under national judgment for their corporate sin. The city of Jerusalem was under siege and would soon be destroyed by the Babylonians. God was promising that there would come a day when the Jews would no longer be judged as a nation for their sins but instead would only be judged individually for them. God said that there would come a day when He would make “new covenant” with His people (vs. 31), a day when He would “forgive their wickedness” and “remember their sins no more” (vs. 34).

Hebrews 10 refers to this passage in Jeremiah when it describes the effect of Jesus’ death. After noting that the sacrifices the priests performed were insufficient to forgive sins as, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (vs. 4), it says, “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (vs. 10), as well as, “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (vs. 14).

This portion of Hebrews 10 concludes with this:

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds

17 Then he adds:

“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

The verses underlined above are direct quotes from Jeremiah 31:27-34. What this indicates is that the new covenant Jeremiah spoke of was put into effect when Jesus was crucified. Based on this, it’s my conclusion that the covenant Jesus was referring when He shared the “cup of the covenant” with His disciples was not a marriage covenant but was the new covenant of forgiveness God promised through Jeremiah.

Who is the bride of Christ? And when will His marriage take place?

Although I believe that the comparison of the meal Jesus’s shared with His disciples the night before He was crucified to a Galilean wedding betrothal to be questionable, one of the main points of “Before the Wrath” is to offer support for the belief that the Church, who many consider to be the bride of Christ, will be taken from the world (raptured) before the period when God exercises His wrath upon those who have rejected Him.

There are a couple reasons I find this conclusion flawed. First, as I noted in a previous blog titled, “The Church may not be the bride of Christ,” the Bible does not explicitly state anywhere that the Church or that Christians in general are the bride of Christ. There is ample evidence however that the bride of Christ is Israel. Here are some verses I cited in support of this:

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth, ”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Revelation 21:9-14).

The passage above identifies Jesus’ bride as the city of Jerusalem. But I don’t believe that this means that the city itself is Christ’s bride. I believe it is who the city represents. And it seems to me that who the city represents is indicated by what is on its gates: it is the twelve tribes of Israel (vs. 12).

The conclusion that Jerusalem, which the above passage says is Jesus’ bride, represents the Jews is consistent with this statement Jesus made a few days before He was crucified:

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matthew 23:37-39)

Jesus wasn’t accusing the city of Jerusalem of killing the prophets in these verses. He was accusing the people of the city – the Jews – of doing so. And He was indicating that He would not see them again (the Jews, not the city), until they acknowledged that He is Lord, an event that seems to be fulfilled when Jesus finally sees Jerusalem, His bride, coming down from heaven in Revelation 21:2.

A second reason I find the conclusion that the Church will be raptured “Before the Wrath” to be questionable is noting when Jesus’ wedding takes place as well as when His bride is revealed.

Here’s where Jesus’ wedding feast is mentioned in the book of Revelation:

6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.

8 Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.” (Revelation 19:6-8)

What occurs in these verses comes right before the final destruction of the end-time “beast” and those who follow him, events described in Revelation 19:11-21. But note that though the time for the wedding has begun and the bride is ready that the Lamb does see His bride “coming down from heaven” until the events prophesied in Revelation 21:1-14 take place. This lends support for my conclusion that Jesus will not join with His bride, whomever it may be, until nearly all the events in the book of Revelation have occurred, including those typically associated with the final period of wrath.

Rather than joining with His bride “Before the Wrath”, it seems to me that Jesus will not meet His bride until after it.

Why it matters

Even though “Before the Wrath” may be biblically questionable, does it matter? After all, the intent of the video is to strengthen our confidence that Jesus will return someday so that we can be rescued from the trials and tribulations of this world. And that’s a good thing. It’s also consistent with Jesus’ promise that a time will come when He will wipe every tear from our eyes, a time when “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). But the means in which “Before the Wrath” reinforces this comes at the expense of what I consider to be some essential biblical truths.

The first truth that gets lost in the midst of comparing the meal Jesus shared with His disciples the night before He was crucified with a Galilean betrothal is the actual purpose and effect of Jesus’ death. Jesus died so we could be forgiven for our sins. When we celebrate communion by eating the bread and drinking from the cup of the covenant, we do so to remember why Jesus was crucified. Doing so for any other reason takes something away from the message of salvation and what Jesus did to secure our redemption. Believing when we celebrate communion that we are drinking from a wedding cup is not only questionable; it takes our focus off of the explicit things both Jesus and Paul said we are to remember.

The second truth that gets lost is Jesus’ warning that Christians will experience, witness, or be affected by nearly all of the events described in the book of Revelation. I wrote about this in a prior post titled, “Warning to Christians: We may be here for the duration,” a post based on the parable of the wheat and weeds in Matthew 13:24-30. In that post I noted Jesus’ statement that the good seed and the bad seed – Christians and non-Christians – will share the same field until the moment the harvest takes place. This means that both groups will experience the same trials, troubles, and tribulation until the very last moment. Spending too much time hoping for an early or quick release from this world can result in unrealistic expectations and a lack of preparation regarding the difficulties the Bible says we are destined to experience as we wait for Jesus to return.

The third truth that I believe gets lost is Jesus’ heart for the unsaved. At one point “Before the Wrath” depicts a groom entering his wedding banquet with his bride and guests and after doing so, shutting the door behind him and refusing to let anyone else in. Although it’s true that someday it will be too late for the un-redeemed to come to Jesus, one thing I’ve found consistent in Scripture is Jesus’ constant and passionate desire to seek and save the lost. A more accurate image of this is not the closed door of a wedding banquet depicted in “Before the Wrath” but the open door found in this verse:

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)

I believe that the door is always open for the lost to be redeemed. And I also believe that this door will not be closed until the very last moment, after most of the events prophesied in the book of Revelation have taken place.

Here’s a verse that seems to confirm this:

6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7)

The event prophesied above occurs near the end of what I consider to be the second account of the return of Jesus in Revelation, right before the final harvest –  before the final “hour of judgment” (vs. 6). What this indicates to me that Jesus will do everything He can to bring the fallen into His realm, even up to the last moment of this world’s life. And if it’s Jesus’ desire to continually keep the door open to the lost – to keep asking to be invited in – to always be looking for ways to share the Gospel to the unsaved – perhaps that ought to be our focus as well.

And that is how I see it today

For further reading on this or other topics, check out these posts:

Is Revelation describing events that will occur PRIOR to the return of Jesus?

Three things that must happen before Jesus returns

The Mark of the Beast may be a concern only for Christians

Jesus’ return will be visible to everyone

The three accounts of the return of Jesus in Revelation

Why the parable of the thief coming in the night may be a warning to Christians

Why the Church may not be the Bride of Christ

When Jesus returns, it won’t be Christians who are “taken away”



  1. This is a great article and you’ve picked up a new reader.

    I’m not really dogmatic about eschatology, but I would A) like to be accurate when it comes up and B) don’t want anyone (including myself) falling into erroneous thought, some of which can be very dangerous to one’s faith.

    I found this article because I was talking with a sister at church who’s adamant about the right answer being pre-Trib (like a lot of US evangelicals). She mentioned “Before the Wrath” and I did a Google search on it and came upon your blog.

    Not only did you present a cogent argument for its error (and I will admit, I already don’t like the fact they base the last supper on a wedding feast because that DOES most certainly take away from the real meaning of that meal), but you also brought up the church possibly not being the bride.

    This was something I wasn’t prepared to read, but I’m glad I did. I whipped out my Accordance software and did a search on Bride and…sure enough, I think you’re onto something.

    It’s amazing what we (Christians) latch on to because someone said so…without doing our research then we continually eisegete that as we read Scripture. Granted, a lot of very well-meaning, very intelligent pastors and teachers may see the Bride as the Church….but honestly I find that point extremely weak. Rev 21:9 is pretty explicit in its language and this is really backed up by Isaiah 62:1-12.

    The only caveat is that one could argue, with some plausibility, the bride *includes* the saints along with the redeemed Israel, only because Rev 21:1-3 infers that and the bride is clothed with the deeds of the saints (Rev 19:7-8).


    1. Some good thoughts. I for one believe that a better starting point for understanding the end-times isn’t the “missing” seven years in Daniel 9:24-27 but is instead the parable of the wheat and weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43. According to this parable, the wheat and weeds (believers and unbelievers) are destined to be together in the same field until the harvest which the parable says is a time of reward and judgment, the same as what I believe will happen when Jesus returns to sit on His throne and separates the sheep from the goats, sending each to their eternal destination (Matthew 25:31-46). Regarding who the Bride of Christ is, although she is clothed with the “righteous acts of God’s holy people” (Rev. 19:8), I would argue that if these acts represent the Church that the Church in this passage clothes the Bride but is not the Bride itself. In a way, the Bride carries the clothes with her to the wedding, much like the grafting of the Gentiles to the Jews that Paul described in Romans 11:11-24.


  2. Please consider the following. The church of Jesus Christ is made up of those who have come to him, admitted their sins and ask forgiveness, and then accept it knowing that they are forgiven, because of his sacrifice and not by anything any of us did. When we as gentiles accept Christ we are grafted into God’s chosen people. When Christ (being from Galilee) returns it will be to collect his bride. The description of Christ’s return is exactly the same as the Galilean wedding ceremony.
    I think what most people miss, is that Christ’s return isn’t to keep us from the trials and tribulations of the world. It’s to spare us from God’s wrath.
    Thank you for your time.


      1. Yes sir I did. And I agree that the “Last Supper” was about celebrating the Passover and not a wedding feast. Maybe I didn’t state my thoughts properly. Please allow me this.
        The Passover as I understand was the sacrificing of a yearling lamb without blemish, taking the blood of it and marking the door posts (top and sides). Which I believe is a direct representation of Christ and his sacrifice. I only tried inadequately I’m sorry to say that Christ is referred to as the groom and his church as his bride.
        I offer the following; Ephesians 5:29-32, Matthew 25:1-13. And I am certain you can reference many others.
        I too wish that movies of faith were biblically correct, but I think the number one hurdle would be that almost everyone interprets the Bible differently. Many religious leaders would rather tell people what the people want to hear, not what they need to hear.
        I can only offer you my apology for not being more accurate in my response and ask your forgiveness.
        Thank you


      2. Dave: Thanks for your reply. I think the error in some end time teachings today, as I see it today, is the emphasis that Jesus’ return will be followed by an extended period of judgment for those left behind. Paul addressed this in Romans 2:4 when he wrote that it’s the kindness of the Lord (not His wrath) that leads to repentance. Peter said something similar when he wrote in 2 Peter 3:9 that God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish. I have frequently wondered what kind of God would take us out of the world when those left behind so desperately need to hear about Jesus? And if God removes those charged with the task of taking the Gospel to the world prior to an extended period of judgment, what does that say about His compassion for those who are suffering in Afghanistan, in Haiti, in China, and in other places where people need more than just the Gospel; they need to be saved from those victimizing them. As I have tried to piece this together, I’ve come to the conclusion that Christians are destined to be here in this world until the very end – until the completion of nearly all the events described in Revelation – and that the question we need to ask ourselves is what God wants us to do in the meantime I believe it is to remain faithful to the end and to continue to share the Gospel with others (Matthew 24:13-14). This conclusion is consistent with what I wrote in another post about my understanding of the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13, one titled, “We may be here for the duration.”


      3. Yes sir, I absolutely agree. I’m not an expert on the Bible. I’m still working on reading it for the first time. But it seems to me that a very precise time line was laid out. Matthew 24, Thessalonians 1&2, Revelations. They talk about a time of great tribulation, that the son of perdition must come before Christ’s return, that Christ’s return will be signaled with the sound of a trumpet (I believe the last trumpet). I look at what we are going to go through as proofing or purifying. When you want to remove the impurities from gold, you put it to the fire. I know that salvation comes by accepting Christ’s gift of salvation, and it’s in the faith that his death and resurrection was for the sins of the world. If only the entire world would accept his gift. I think that before God’s wrath is poured out onto the world, we (Christians) are called to share Jesus Christ and the word of God. And to give comfort, by that I mean, encouragement, hope, love and compassion, and first and foremost truth.
        I was not a true believer, but God gave me a gift that I didn’t deserve and could never earn. Maybe we could talk sometime about what Our Father gave me.
        Thank you for your time and what you’re doing. God bless and keep you forever.


      4. It’s my contention that we will all go through the period many call, “The Great Tribulation,” and that we will witness or experience most of the events described by the passages referencing this. If you look at the context and lesson each writer was trying to convey when talking about these events, I believe that it was for Christians to always be found doing what is commendable in God’s eyes no matter when Jesus returns, as if He could come any day, and to remain faithful to Him no matter what challenges they face. Several of my posts about the passages you cited elaborate on this.

        What part of the world are you from?


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