Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More on the rapture will be pre-tribulation, from John MacArthur

I am reading a wonderful book by bible teacher and pastor John MacArthur. MacArthur is a strict bible preacher, preaching the Word verse by verse. He has been a pastor for 50 years, and has preached from the pulpit at Grace Community Church for 40 years. He is the only preacher I can find who has preached the entire New Testament verse by verse. He is just concluding that wonderful work now.

MacArthur has also written many books and commentaries. The book of his that I'm finishing is called "Because the time is near: John MacArthur explains the Book of Revelation." It is understandable to the mind and uplifting to the spirit. As we near the chapter of Revelation that depicts the second coming, MacArthur takes a moment to explain why the rapture is different from the second coming, and why it will happen prior to the Tribulation:

"The second coming must be distinguished from the rapture of the church prior to the seven-year tribulation. At the rapture, Christ comes for His saints (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). At the second coming, He comes with them. At the rapture, Christ meets His saints in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) to take them to heaven (John 14:2-3). At the second coming, He descends with them from heaven to the earth. (Zechariah 14:4)."

"Some attempt to harmonize those two distinctions by arguing that believers meet Christ in the air, then descend to earth to with Him. By so doing, they essentially make the rapture and the second coming the same event. But that view trivializes the rapture. There is not a hint of judgment in passages describing the rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, but judgment plays a prominent role in the second coming (Revelation 19:11; Revelation 15, Revelation 17-21.) The dramatic signs accompanying the second coming, such as the darkening of the sun and the moon, and the disruption of the “powers of the heavens” (Matthew 24: 29-30), are not mentioned in the passages describing the rapture. In its description of the second coming, Revelation 19 does not mention a rapture of living believers (1 Corinthians 15:51-52), or a resurrection of dead believers (1 Thessalonians 4:16)."

I hope this educates you, and encourages you.

23 comments:

  1. Stamping Out Harold Camping

    I don't care a fig for date-setters, especially those who predict when Christ will return. The current champion is 89-year-old, headline-grabbing Harold Camping of Family Radio fame.
    Is Second Coming date-setter Harold Camping worthy of death? He already has a zero batting average after his September 1994 prediction fizzle and, according to the Bible, is a false prophet.
    Nevertheless that California shaman, who should be ashamed, claims he's found out that Christ's return will be on May 21, 2011 even though Matt. 24:36 says that no one knows the "day" or "hour" of it!
    A Google article ("Obama Fulfilling the Bible") points out that "Deut. 18:20-22 in the Old Testament requires the death penalty for false prophets."
    The same article reveals that "Christians are commanded to ask God to send severe judgment on persons who commit and support the worst forms of evil (see I Cor. 5 and note 'taken away')."
    Theologically radioactive Harold Camping and his ga-ga groupies (with their billboards featuring "May 21, 2011") should worry about being "stamped out" if many persons decide to follow the I Cor. 5 command.
    The above article concludes: "False prophets in the OT were stoned to death. Today they are just stoned!"
    PS - For many years Camping was not known as a pretrib rapture teacher. But now, for $ome my$teriou$ rea$on, he seeks support from those who believe in and teach an imminent, pretrib rapture which supposedly will occur SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE the traditional SECOND COMING to earth! For a behind-the-scenes, documented look at the 181-year-old pretrib rapture belief (which was never a part of any official theology or organized church before 1830!), Google "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty," "Pretrib Rapture Diehards" and "Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts." These are from the pen of journalist/historian Dave MacPherson a.k.a the "Pretrib Rapture Answerman" & the "Rush Limbaugh of the Rapture" - author of the bestselling book "The Rapture Plot," an "encyclopedia" of pretrib rapture history (see Armageddon Books).

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  2. We are all worthy of death. It is only through Jesus's grace that He forgives us of our sins and gives us life. To that effect, we are all Harold Campings, that is to say, sinners. You are no better than him and he is no better than you. Me as well. The only difference between anybody is that some have claimed Jesus' free gift of grace and life, and others have not. We pray for the lost, not call for their eternal damnation. We do not call for another person's death, EVER. Shame on you.

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  3. thanks for your scripts and explantion of the pretrib rapture. I was raised to believe pretrib and until the last several months started leaning towards prewrath. Which is now I read from you is the second coming after pretrib. I put all the verses and explanations down in my Bible. I hope to do this for all rapture views to have if someone ever asked for more detail on them.

    My hope, prayer and desire is to leave this ole' sinful world like NOW!! I'm ready to be walkin' the streets of gold in my NEW heavenly body. If we are still here for part of the trib...after lots of prayer...I just have to trust God to help me thru whatever comes my way. That would be sooo hard and dissappointing too.

    Life in this world is changing soooo much. and time goes by sooo FAST. The things that we see and hear are soo terrible. the morals and values of this time is just awful. and everyone seems to accept it. God convicted me of not watching tv a long time ago. It is just sooo sinful!

    PLEASE LORD, COME AND TAKE US AWAY!! OH HOW WONDERFUL IT WILL BE TO LIVE IN A SINLESS ENVIROMENT! Just think about that for a while. It is really unimaginable! How PRECIOUS that life of eternity will be. OH PLEASE GOD, CALL US TO COME HITHER TODAY!!! We are sooooo ready to rid this world for our HEAVENLY HOME! PRAISE THE LORD!!

    GOD'S GIRL!!

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  4. [Recently saw this on the net, for what it's worth. Theresa]

    Who knows, maybe John MacArthur is right and the greatest Greek scholars (Google “Famous Rapture Watchers”), who uniformly said that Rev. 3:10 means PRESERVATION THROUGH, were wrong. But John has a conflict. On the one hand, since he knows that all Christian theology and organized churches before 1830 believed the church would be on earth during the tribulation, he would like to be seen as one who stands with the great Reformers. On the other hand, if you have a warehouse of unsold pretrib rapture material, and if you want to have “security” for your retirement years and hope that the big California quake won’t louse up your plans, you have a decided conflict of interest – right, John? Maybe the Lord will have to help strip off the layers of his seared conscience which have grown for years in order to please his parents and his supporters – who knows? One thing is for sure: pretrib is truly a house of cards and is so fragile that if a person removes just one card from the TOP of the pile, the whole thing can collapse. Which is why pretrib teachers don’t dare to even suggest they could be wrong on even one little subpoint! Don’t you feel sorry for the straitjacket they are in? While you’re mulling all this over, Google “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” for a rare behind-the-scenes look at the same 181-year-old fantasy.

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    1. It's pathetic the way you have judged John MacArthur -suggesting that he is intentionally teaching false doctrine for the sake of his retirement and that his conscience is seared. Maybe you need to get right with God.

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    2. Watch after the Tribulation, it will all make sense.

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    3. Anonymous, we don't have to wait that long. When we are raptured before the Tribulation, we will receive our glorified bodies, and then "we will know...as we are fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

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  5. It is continually interesting to me that people who pooh-pooh the rapture never use one iota of scripture to back up their opinions. Hmmmm.

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  6. Want some Scripture for the rapture debate? Google "Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts," "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," and "Walvoord Melts Ice." Just my two bits. Wally

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  7. Hi, no thanks, I do not want to debate. There are no "hidden facts". The bible is an open book available to all, and the Holy Spirit imparts wisdom to all who ask, without reproach (James 1:5). I've prayed, studied and listened to the Spirit, and I am fully satisfied that the bible presents only one view of the rapture and that's pre-trib. Just as there is no equivocation over whether Christ died and rose, whether God is the only God, and therefore there is no need to "debate" those facts, the pre-trib rapture is a foundational concept and is the only one that is consistent with His character and promises.

    You could pray, as well, and ask for wisdom on this doctrine, and He will impart that to you. In other words, debate the Spirit, not me. :)

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  8. Matthew 24:21,22,29-31 clearly states:

    21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

    22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

    29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

    “‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
    the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]

    30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d]

    31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

    Matthew 24 clearly states that Jesus will not return for His church until after the tribulation.

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    1. The elect are those that come to faith during the tribulation (after the rapture).

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    2. Hi Chrisq,

      Yes, that's the elect. The elect are also those who came to salvation before the rapture. Christian APologetics and Research Ministry defines elect thus:

      "The elect are those called by God to salvation. This calling occurs before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) and is according to God's will not man's (Rom. 8:29-30; 9:6-23) because God is sovereign (Rom. 9:11-16)."

      GotQuestions puts it this way
      Simply put, the “elect of God” are those whom God has predestined to salvation. They are called the “elect” because that word denotes the concept of choosing.

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  9. Matthew, you have made the classic mistake of mixing up the Second Coming with the rapture. These are two separate events. The Second Coming is the event described in Mt 24.

    The second coming must be distinguished from the rapture of the church prior to the seven-year tribulation. At the rapture, Christ comes for His saints (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). At the second coming, He comes with them. At the rapture, Christ meets His saints in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) to take them to heaven (John 14:2-3). At the second coming, He descends with them from heaven to the earth. (Zechariah 14:4).”

    There is not a hint of judgment in passages describing the rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, but judgment plays a prominent role in the second coming (Revelation 19:11; Revelation 15, Revelation 17-21.) The dramatic signs accompanying the second coming, such as the darkening of the sun and the moon, and the disruption of the “powers of the heavens” (Matthew 24: 29-30), are not mentioned in the passages describing the rapture. In its description of the second coming, Revelation 19 does not mention a rapture of living believers (1 Corinthians 15:51-52), or a resurrection of dead believers (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

    by JMacArthur.

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  10. but I thought Jesus was supposed to come back only once...

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    1. Twice. The first time halfway to collect His bride and bring us to where He is. John 14:3

      The second time to finish His wrath upon the earth.

      More info here
      http://www.gotquestions.org/second-coming-Jesus-Christ.html

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  11. Would you mind answering a few questions. I have yet to find anyone who can give a logical, Biblical answer to these.
    1) Why is it taught that the rapture will come like a thief to us, when clearly in 1 Thess. 5:4 is says that we are not in darkness and it should not overtake us like a thief. In other words, we should know it is about to occur.
    2) In Matt. 24 it is said that there is no mention of the rapture, only the Second Coming. Why then is it taught that no one knows the day or hour of the rapture, when clearly that verse refers back to the antecedent in the previous verses, which is the Second Coming. Nowhere does it say that the day and hour verse refers to the rapture. It says that nobody knows the day or hour of the Second Coming, does it not?
    3) If NO Christian is appointed to God's wrath, and the seals of Rev. are God's wrath, then why is the 5th seal aimed ONLY at Christians? Why are these Christians being punished with the wrath of God and the unbelievers not punished at all, in that seal? Is it not a lie to say that Christians are not appointed to God's wrath when anyone saved during those seven years would be experiencing it? Are they not Christians too?
    4) If the rapture initiates the Day of the Lord, how can it be imminent as we are told in Malachi 4:5 that Elijah will come BEFORE the Day of the Lord commences. Should he (and the other witness) not be seen preaching before the rapture occurs, as he must be on the scene BEFORE the Day of the Lord can occur?
    5) How can anyone become a Christian during this time if the Holy Spirit is removed? Is He not the one who convicts and reveals Christ to the sinner, and seals them to the day of redemption?
    6) If Christ is supposed to sit at the right hand of God UNTIL ALL His foes are made His footstool (Acts 2) then how is it He can leave heaven before antichrist's reign is over and Satan's authority over earth is ended to come collect His people? And again in Acts 3 it says that Christ must remain in heaven until the restitution of all things has occurred.
    Do you consider the restitution of all things to be complete at the beginning of Daniel's 70th week?
    7) What do you consider to be the "last day?" Jesus said the resurrection would occur on the last day. We are told we must endure to "the end." What do you consider to be "the end?"
    There are many more questions like this, but if you could answer these for starters, I would appreciate it.

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    1. 1) It seems that there is a contradiction because you are equating two verses which have nothing to do with each other. Matthew 24:43 has nothing to do with the rapture described in 1 Thess 4. Matthew 24:43 says: “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. It refers to the Second Coming. The rapture is referred to in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

      They are separate events.

      2) That is my interpretation; no one knows the day nor hour of the Second Coming. The rapture will happen before the Tribulation. And by the way, no one knows the day nor hour of that event, either.

      3) Because the Christians who believe during the church age are raptured to heaven prior to the Tribulation's beginning. We in the church age are not appointed to wrath. That is why it is called the Age of Grace. There will be many people who convert *after* the rapture, and it is these late-bloomers, so to speak, who are martyred for the faith as it says in Rev 5 and in Rev 20:4.

      4) From John MacArthur: "The meaning of Elijah being sent “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (4:5) has been debated. Was this fulfilled in John the Baptist or is it yet future? Will Elijah be reincarnated? It seems best to view Malachi’s prophecy as a reference to John the Baptist and not to a literally-returned Elijah. Not only did the angel announce that John the Baptist would “go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17), but John the Baptist himself said he was not Elijah (John 1:21). Thus John was like Elijah, internally in “spirit and power” and externally in rugged independence and nonconformity. If the Jews would receive the Messiah, then he would be the Elijah spoken of (cf. Matt. 11:14; 17:9–13); if they refused the King, then another Elijah-like prophet would be sent in the future, perhaps as one of the two witnesses (cf. Rev. 11:1–19).

      5) The Holy Spirit is not removed. His ministry of restraining sin is removed, but you're right, if the Spirit is not on earth to draw men to Jesus, no one would be saved. Jesus sends 144.000 evangelists, Two Witnesses, and angels flying at mid-heaven to share the Gospel. The spirit does open men's hearts to believe, and many do. They are the ones martyred for their faith.

      This removal of the restraint happened once before, at the Flood. Gen 6:3 says "My spirit will not strive with man forever"

      6) Here are three essays which discuss the three verses which refer to making enemies a footstool.
      http://www.gty.org/resources/print/bible-qna/BQ72210
      http://www.gty.org/resources/print/sermons/41-64
      http://www.gty.org/resources/print/daily-devotion/DN718

      7) No. I consider the restitution of all things to occur at Revelation 21:1. The beginning of Daniel’s 70th week is the time that sin will come its full measure. Nothing is restored, the Tribulation is a time of UNcreation, a taking down. I personally consider the restitution of all things to be concluded when satan/sin death and hades are thrown into the lake of fire. As long as sin is still around, it’s not a restitution, is it? The Garden was without sin, until satan came. So restitution means revert to sinless perfection. That’s my take.

      7) As far as the "last day” resurrection?, which resurrection are you talking about? There are a few.
      http://www.gotquestions.org/resurrection-first-second.html
      http://www.gotquestions.org/when-resurrection.html

      Now a question for you: are you looking to exalt Christ or looking to poke holes?

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  12. " He is the only preacher I can find who has preached the entire New Testament verse by verse. "

    Maybe you already know this but pretty much every Calvary Chapel teacher does this too. Recommended ones "Joe Focht, Chuck Smith, Chris Swansen". Chris Swansen is my pastor and I agree, I love the verse by verse, you get the whole Bible and really can rightly divide like this.

    God bless!

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  13. I'm sure I'm way older than most here on these posts. One book that has stood the test of time, "The Bible" and "Things to Come" by J.Dwight Pentecost. Read both and then post. I'm sure John MacArthur has read both.

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    1. Thank you for those suggestions! I looked up 'Things To Come" and it got a stupendous review. I'm sure "The Bible" is the same. Thanks again.

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17 minutes of continual sin

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