Joseph Prince’s use of Romans 5:9 about God’s wrath that excuses us from tribulation is erroneous – By Rev George Ong (Dated 22 Feb 2023)


(This article was also sent to Rev Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) office, and for the attention of the Executive Committee Members.)


In a weekly Sunday sermon aired on YouTube on 19 Feb 2023, 3 days ago, Joseph Prince said;


Please click here to view the 20-second video:


“If you are, listen, much more, ‘we shall be saved from wrath through Him’ (Rom 5:9 NKJV).


That tells you straightaway we are not going through the Great tribulation because the 7 years (tribulation) is known as the day of God’s wrath.


See. That’s why the rapture must happen before the tribulation.”


Joseph Prince uses Romans 5:9 as a proof text for the Pre-trib rapture:


Romans 5:9 NKJV

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.


Joseph Prince argues this way – that since we are not appointed to wrath,


and wrath equals tribulation,


we will be raptured out of this world before the 7-year tribulation begins.


Here Joseph Prince has blatantly added to the word of God again.


He has replaced the word ‘wrath’ with ‘tribulation’ in Romans 5:9:


Romans 5:9 NKJV

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.


If Joseph Prince really knows his English, he ought to know that


‘wrath’ is not only spelt differently from ‘tribulation’,


it also does not have the same meaning as ‘tribulation’.


They are two different words, with different meanings, and they aren’t synonymous.


Since Joseph Prince often uses the Greek language in his teaching to impress his audience,


does he not know that the Greek words for wrath and tribulation are represented by 2 different Greek words?


The Greek word for wrath is ‘Orge’.


The Greek word for tribulation is ‘Thlipsis’.


If that is so, how can the 2 different English words and 2 different Greek words (wrath and tribulation),


have the same meaning and be used interchangeably?


While it is true that Romans 5:9 states that believers are not appointed to God’s wrath,


it requires a leap of logic for Joseph Prince to go on to say


that this verse then justifies the removal of the Church from the earth in the Pre-trib rapture to escape tribulation,


even though the word or idea of ‘rapture’ or ‘tribulation’


is not even found in the verse.


Is tribulation mentioned in the text?




Is rapture mentioned?




So how can Joseph Prince build a doctrine that rapture must happen before tribulation on this text in Romans 5:9?


When both words ‘rapture’ and ‘tribulation’ are totally absent from the text,


a Pre-trib rapture cannot be proven.


In order to support the Pre-trib doctrine, Joseph Prince has assumed


that the word ‘wrath’, in Romans 5:9, means ‘tribulation’.


It is an unwarranted biblical assumption


because not a single passage in all of scripture


defines tribulation as God’s wrath.


The scripture does not support such an assumption.


Next, Joseph Prince presents a self-contradictory view.


While he teaches that believers who are raptured will escape God’s wrath,


believers who get saved during the tribulation (the Tribulation saints in the Pre-trib rapture theory),


must go through it.


Why are those believers who come to know the Lord after the Pre-trib rapture – the Tribulation saints


appointed to God’s wrath


while others aren’t?


Doesn’t the word ‘we’ in Romans 5:9 include every believer?


Romans 5:9 NKJV

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.


Of course, it does!


What Joseph Prince is nonsensically saying is this,


“Believers will not experience God’s wrath,


but if you are saved during the tribulation, even though you are a believer,


we’re sorry that this passage in Romans 5:9 doesn’t apply to you,


and you will go through God’s wrath.”


In other words, only believers living before the tribulation begins can claim this promise,


while those who are saved during the tribulation cannot claim it.


This is not only plainly illogical but unscriptural,


as it contradicts the very verse that Joseph Prince uses to prove his Pre-trib rapture in Romans 5:9:


Romans 5:9 NKJV

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.


The word ‘we’ in Romans 5:9 must mean that every believer will be saved from God’s wrath.


But Joseph Prince distorts God’s word by teaching that only one part of the Church is not appointed to God’s wrath,


while the other part has to go through it.


If every believer is to escape God’s wrath,


then the Pre-trib doctrine would have to also include that those who believe in Christ during the tribulation


must also be immediately raptured upon their conversion,


which is clearly not the case.


To argue that the Tribulation saints, who are believers ‘deserve’ to go through God’s wrath


as a ‘punishment’ for their failure to believe in Christ before the Pre-trib rapture happens,


is grossly unfair and downright cruel.


This is because many will be saved only during the tribulation who had no previous opportunity to believe.


For example, a four-year-old child


may not be mature enough to understand the gospel and receive Christ as Saviour and Lord


at the time when the Pre-trib rapture happens.


But as the child grows in maturity, he may be ready to become a Christian a few years later during the tribulation.


Why should the child be penalised for being born too late and punished by going through God’s wrath


just because he became a Christian later in the tribulation?


Every person, whether he is a child or an adult, has a kairos moment to be saved.


Joseph Prince has kept on repeating in every sermon about his theme for this year:


“2023 Kairos Year of Right Time Right Place.”


That being the case, Prince ought to agree with me that many will become Christians only during the tribulation at their Kairos moment.


Can one be blamed and censured if the kairos moment for him to be saved by the blood of Jesus is during the tribulation?


Rather, we should rejoice with those who become Christians at the toughest moment of history during the great tribulation,


at the risk of their lives during the reign of the Antichrist,


rather than pass a self-righteous judgement that they have brought the wrath of God upon themselves


just because they became Christians too late?


In summary, Joseph Prince’s teaching that believers will be raptured before tribulation


based on God’s wrath in Romans 5:9 is untenable and must be rejected.


The simple reason is that God’s wrath is never equated with tribulation in the scriptures. 


God’s wrath is not the same as tribulation, as Joseph Prince would have us believe.


Furthermore, while Joseph Prince shows you Romans 5:8-10,


he ‘hides’ from you Romans 5:3-5, just a few verses before the said text:


Romans 5:3-5 NKJV

3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations (thlipsis), knowing that tribulation (thlipsis), produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


First, Paul never teaches from Romans 5:9 that we can escape tribulation,


but Joseph Prince does.


Second, Paul, in the same passage, exhorts us to not only bear with tribulation


but also to glory in them, to boast about them, and to celebrate when we go through them:


Romans 5:3 NKJV

3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations (thlipsis), knowing that tribulation (thlipsis), produces perseverance;


Romans 5:3 MEV

3 Not only so, but we also boast in tribulation (thlipsis), knowing that tribulation produces patience,


Romans 5:3 NASB

3 And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations (thlipsis), knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 


Did you ever hear Joseph Prince teach on this issue about tribulation,


much less that we can glory in them, celebrate them and even boast about them?


In fact, Joseph Prince teaches the reverse – that we can escape tribulation.


I thought Joseph Prince has always been boasting to the world about the fact that he is an undying follower of Paul in his grace doctrine.


So, what happened?


What Paul didn’t teach – about escaping tribulations

– Joseph Prince does,


and what Paul did teach – about celebrating our tribulations

– Joseph Prince doesn’t.


So, how can Joseph Prince have the decency to claim that he learnt his grace theology from Paul?


This, along with the numerous other pieces of evidence I have produced on this website,


have proven that Joseph Prince is indeed a fake follower of Paul.


The decisive argument against Joseph Prince’s teaching that the Church will escape tribulation


is the teaching from the Lord Jesus Himself in John 16:33:


John 16:33 NKJV

“… In the world you will have tribulation (thlipsis); but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”


The Apostle Paul (and Barnabas) agrees with the teachings of Jesus when he says in Acts 14:22,


Acts 14:22 KJV

“… we must through much tribulation (thlipsis) enter into the kingdom of God.”


Note that the Greek word, ‘thlipsis’ for tribulation is used in both John 16:33 and Acts 14:22


is the same word used elsewhere in the New Testament for ‘tribulation’, especially in Matthew 24:29 (30-31 too),


the key text of Post-trib rapture – that the church will be raptured after tribulation:


Matthew 24:29-31 NKJV

29 “Immediately after the tribulation (thlipsis) of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.


It is also the same word used in Revelation 7:14 (NASB):


Revelation 7:14 NASB

… “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation (thlipsis),


Revelation 7:14 is another key text of Post-trib rapture – that the church will go through tribulation and come out victorious from it. 


It is significant to note that the Greek word for tribulation, thlipsis, is also found in many New Testament scriptures:


Acts 20:22-23 NKJV

22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations (thlipsis) await me.


Romans 5:3 NKJV

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation (thlipsis) produces perseverance;


Romans 12:12 NASB

rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation (thlipsis), devoted to prayer,


2 Corinthians 1:4 NKJV

who comforts us in all our tribulation (thlipsis), that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.


2 Corinthians 4:17 YLT

17 for the momentary light matter of our tribulation (thlipsis), more and more exceedingly an age-during weight of glory doth work out for us


2 Corinthians 6:4 NKJV

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations (thlipsis), in needs, in distresses,


2 Corinthians 7:4 NKJV

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation (thlipsis).


Ephesians 3:13 NKJV

Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations (thlipsis) for you, which is your glory.


1 Thessalonians 1:6 WYC

and ye be made followers of us, and of the Lord, receiving the word in much tribulation (thlipsis), with joy of the Holy Ghost;


1 Thessalonians 3:3 DRA

That no man should be moved in these tribulations (thlipsis): for yourselves know, that we are appointed thereunto.


1 Thessalonians 3:7 DRA

Therefore we were comforted, brethren, in you, in all our necessity and tribulation (thlipsis), by your faith,


2 Thessalonians 1:4 NKJV

so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations (thlipsis) that you endure,


Hebrews 10:33 NKJV

partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations (thlipsis), and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;


James 1:27 DRA

Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation (thlipsis): and to keep one’s self unspotted from this world.


Revelation 1:9 NASB

I, John, your brother and fellow participant in the tribulation (thlipsis) and kingdom and perseverance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.


Revelation 2:9-10 NASB

9 ‘I know your tribulation (thlipsis) and your poverty (but you are rich), and the slander by those who say they are Jews, and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation (thlipsis) for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.


All these verses about tribulation are in line with what the Lord Jesus and Paul said


that we would have to go through tribulation in this world.


This brings us to the burning question:


Why should God spare the final generation before Christ’s coming from going through tribulation,


which Joseph Prince said He would,


when He didn’t for all the other generations of believers?


Isn’t it self-centred theology for Joseph Prince to believe that the last generation


is the only exceptional generation that has the privilege of escaping the great tribulation


because they are the ‘bride of Christ’, while others aren’t?


In a real sense, the tribulations that many believers went through are not any less


than the great tribulation at the end of time.


Christians of all generations have been subjected to the kinds of merciless suffering


associated with the great tribulation.


There have been Christians tortured to death for their faith.


Godly people have been burned at stakes and crucified to a slow and agonising death.


Believers who refused to deny Christ have seen their children mercilessly slaughtered before their eyes.


What suffering and tribulation could be more intense than to be burned alive, sawn into pieces


and torn apart by wild animals like many of them were?


What tribulation could be more painful than to see how their own children have their heads chopped off


just because they refused to deny Christ.


If the first century Christians had to participate in tribulations,


and Christians had to suffer for their faith down through the centuries,


why should the last end-time generation be exempted from the tribulation to come?


Didn’t Jesus pray in John 17:15 (NIV),


“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world


but that you protect them from the evil one.”


Joseph Prince may counter argue by bringing the example of Lot, when God brought him out of Sodom


before the people were destroyed.


Of course, God did.


God commanded Lot and his two daughters to come out of Sodom


in the same way as He commanded believers in Revelation chapter 18 to come out of Babylon:


Revelation 18:4-5 NIV

4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “‘Come out of her, my people,’   so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; 5 for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.


So the call of Lot and his two daughters to leave the sinful system of Sodom


is the same call when the last generation of believers will be called to leave the world’s system of sinful Babylon


to escape destruction.


But did Lot leave this world to escape destruction?




He merely left sinful Sodom.


Do the last generation of believers have to leave this world to avoid being destroyed?




But they would have to leave the abominable Babylon in order to stay safe and secure.


Leaving the place of sin in this same world from one place to another as in the case of Lot,


to be protected by God


is markedly different from leaving this planet in order to escape tribulation


as Joseph Prince would have us believe.


Paul said that


we are appointed to tribulation


and that we will suffer tribulation:


1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 DRA

3 That no man should be moved in these tribulations (thlipsis): for yourselves know, that we are appointed thereunto. 4 For even when we were with you, we foretold you that we should suffer tribulations (thlipbo), as also it is come to pass, and you know.


Paul didn’t say believers would escape tribulation.


Paul says that it is normal for Christians to go through tribulation.


Tribulation is normal in Christianity.


Tribulation has always been a common experience with the Body of Christ for the last 2,000 years.


That is why it is no accident that in Matthew 24:21 Jesus warned that before the end of this age,


believers would encounter the great tribulation,


one that would be greater than any other tribulation that man has ever seen:


Matthew 24:21 NASB

21 For then there will be a great tribulation (thlipsis), such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again.


Jesus is making this known not to exempt us from it but to warn us about it so we can prepare ourselves


to endure and overcome it.


In the same way, when Paul wrote Romans 8:35-39,


he knew what it was like to experience tribulation:


Romans 8:35-36 NASB

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation (thlipsis), or trouble, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 Just as it is written: “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE REGARDED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”


That is why he can courageously say in Romans 8:35-36, “Who (including tribulation), will separate us from the love of Christ?”


Then Paul confidently concluded in Romans 8:37-39


that nothing, not even tribulation,


can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Paul didn’t teach what Joseph Prince loves to


– that the Christian life is a passport to financial success, earthly prosperity, youthful appearance and good looks.


But Paul seems to be saying that tribulation is our common lot, 


and emphatically states that tribulation will not separate us from the love of God.


What this means is there is no power in the Antichrist that is stronger than the love and strength of Christ


to empower us to endure the tribulation.


We can endure and even overcome any tribulation, including the great tribulation,


because we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.


Rev George Ong