Thursday, January 20, 2011

More on why the rapture will happen pre-tribulation

Christians are being 'turned' by the promotion of the false doctrine that believers will go through all or part of the tribulation break my heart, because their angst is so unnecessary. Here is a short biblical response to that insidious, joy-stealing stance.

Now, some people say that the rapture itself is a made-up doctrine. I deleted a comment yesterday that was dismissive of the rapture, the commenter said "rapture isn't even in the bible." Well, bible isn't in the bible either. And the bible isn't a figment of my imagination, is it? Neither is the rapture. The word comes from the clearest explanation of this soon-event, 1 Corinthians 15:52, and in 1 Thess 4:14-17. The popular English word for the catching-up event is “rapture”, a word derived, as are so many English words, from the Latin language. In fact, when St. Jerome, who lived from approximately 347 to 419 AD, penned the Latin Vulgate translation of scripture, he used the verb rapiemur in I Thessalonians 4:17 as follows: "Deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur [suddenly caught up] cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus. I The 4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up [rapiemur]."

"In the Greek translations of the bible, the verb harpazo is used a total of 17 times in the New Testament in a variety of ways, with several referring to the sudden nonconsensual seizure of human beings. The purpose of the above presentation of both the Greek and Latin translation of this verse is to stress that language should not be a barrier to understanding any concept that is established in scripture. Whether a particular English word is or is not found in the bible is not important. What is important is whether the concept is found. The original language in which the text was written reveals that the concept of the sudden catching up is valid." source

That taken care of, we can move to the bible and ask the people who claim the rapture won't happen before the tribulation several questions. As with any position taken of a biblical doctrine, it is important to ask the person to show scriptures that support their stance. In other words, make them prove it.

The pre-tribulation rapture is the only stance that is consistent with scripture. Believing anything else raises more questions than they answer. Like these:

1. Since the Tribulation is to punish sin (Dan 9:24), but God said that our sins are wiped clean (Acts 3:19), not remembered (Heb 8:12), and we are free from accusation (Col 1:22) why, then are we being punished?

2. The tribulation is a time of His wrath (Rev 6:17), so how do you reconcile that He said the church will not be enduring His wrath? (1 Thess 5:9)

3. If our salvation can be lost in the Tribulation, and it can, (Matt. 24:13 / Rev 14:12) how do you reconcile that God said not even the devil can snatch Church-age believers out of His hand? (John 10:29).

4. In post-rapture time, believers must offer sacrifices to demonstrate their faith, follow His commands, and attend the Feast of Tabernacles. (Rev. 14:12; Ez 40-46; and Zechariah 14:16-19). Since God is not the author of confusion (Jer 29:11; 1 Corinthians 14:33) then do post-rapture believers follow the Old Covenant or the New? Do they sacrifice or do they not sacrifice?

5. If as when the wrath begins with the opening of the seals, and at the 6th seal it's asked "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Rev 6:16) then why are believers told that"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."?

No, the only answer is that the Church age is a unique time in history. The Old Covenant was paused at the ascension of Jesus, not done away with. It was paused with 7 years to go. During that time, God has been building His church, "Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name." (Acts 15:17). And "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in." When that full number is reached and we are out of the way, "just as it is written: ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; "(Acts 15:16). After what? After taking a people for himself. He will return His attention to Israel, their hardening removed and the punishment to begin, then the rebuilding of David

Take comfort in all these things, brethren. It seems with the news of each passing day that we are closer to hearing the trumpet, and soon we will gather at His feet.

10 comments:

  1. Words cannot express how much I loved this entry. Amen!

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  2. Although I was raised in a dispensational church and attended a dispensational Bible college, I was never taught that the Church has not always believed this doctrine, nor when and where dispensational doctrine appeared in Church history, nor that there are differing views within the Church now as to End Times. Dispensationalism is fairly new, being somewhere around 200 years old. Nor did I understand that dispensationalism teaches two ways to be saved - one by grace through faith alone in Christ and his work on the cross, the other by human works - sacrifices in the Temple in the Old Testament, and sacrifices in the Temple during part of the Tribulation period, to which you also refered - and keeping the Law. Yet, no one was ever saved by those works in the Old Testament, but by faith in God and His promised Messiah (see all of Hebrews, especially 11)!

    I encourage you to check out these sites:
    http://www.theologicalstudies.org/dispen.html
    This site gives a good overview of the history of dispensationalism.
    and
    sermons on Revelation, located at http://www.spiritempoweredpreaching.com/sermons.htm (by Dr. Art Azurdia, Westminster Seminary, Portland, OR and The Spurgeon Fellowship) These are extemely comforting to me, even though I differ in my understanding of some of the events
    and
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00303GZHG/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=15RVG7HMG0JVR6Q29W38&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846 The Meaning of the Millenium: Four Views, edited by Robert G. Clouse. A good overview of the 4 main views, which also include the Rapture, not just the millenium.

    No matter which one a Christian believes, Christ WILL return one day. And I, along with you, believe that time is very close.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Colorado Columbine,

    I was not aware that Dispensationalism taught that there were two ways to be saved. If so, that teaching is in error. My understanding is that there have been different dispensations, or ways, God deals with His humans through various methods of reaching them. Conscience, Law, Grace, Millennium, etc.

    People since Adam and Eve in the garden have been saved by faith and not works, no matter what the dispensational period they were in. The Tribulation, however, will be a time of reverting back to finish the last 7 years of the Age of Law, the Old Covenant. People will be saved by faith but will have to demonstrate their faith thru sacrifices, (Rev 14:12) just as they did prior to the pause in time for the age of Grace to begin and then conclude. We in the Church Age, AKA the Age of Grace, have not been required to demonstrate our faith by sacrifices. There is one way to be saved: faith. But the people in the Tribulation will have to show their faith by sacrifices, that is why they rebuild the temple.(Dan 9:25)

    The Millennium is the fulfillment of the promise of God to have the Jews given their Kingdom, located in Israel, ruled over by the Messiah. Gentiles will re-populate the nations. The Millennium Age is a prophetic fulfillment for the Jews. Christians who come to faith in the Church age will not live on earth, but will live in the New Jerusalem which orbits earth. But we can visit earth anytime!

    I'm sorry if I wrote something that indicated to you that salvation is in anything but faith.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with Colorado. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to all who believe, Rom 10:4. The New Testament is nothing if not emphatic about this. The Old Covenant cannot be reverted back to, because the New Covenant has replaced the Old Covenant, Heb 8:13. By calling this one new the first one has been made obsolete.

    Whatever the 70th week of Daniel is trying to complete it is not the "Old Covenant". That would be impossible and is the reverse of everything the New Testament teaches.

    I thought the rest of your teaching on the rapture was right on though. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous,

    You said, "Whatever the 70th week of Daniel is trying to complete it is not the "Old Covenant"." You need to show me scripture that supports your opinion, and it needs to be more solid and less vague than "whatever".

    Because actually Daniel 9:24-27 explains EXACTLY what the Tribulation is completing, AND how long it will take.

    Christians of the Church age will be raptured, and then the last 7 years of the uncompleted Old Covenant will resume, sacrifices and all, in the rebuilt Temple. The Old Testament and the New Testament are clear on this, with verses stating such. (Acts 15:14-17, for starters)

    Making statements about doctrine always must be supported by scripture. Otherwise they are just man's flawed opinion

    ReplyDelete
  6. I thought I had given scripture to support my position? How about the following then.
    The old covenant was flawed. Heb 8:7 “For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another” Because it was flawed, it’s sacrifices had to be repeated endlessly, and still couldn’t bring perfection (Heb10:1). Why would God make something flawed? He did it to show us that we are incapable of saving ourselves (Gal 3:24) and by this to lead us to Christ. The old covenant was only a shadow of what would come. Colossians 2:17 “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”. Hebrews 10:1, “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” The old covenant was fulfilled completely through the life of Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:17-18, “"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Luke 24:44, “He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." The new covenant has replaced the old covenant. The old covenant was abolished. Eph 2:15, “by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,”. Christ is the end of the law, (Romans 10:4). The law was the “ministration of death” and has been done way with (2 Cor 3:7). Jesus took away the first that he might establish the second. (Hebrews 10:5-9). The Law was nailed to the cross, (Col 2:14-16). Those who had been under it were delivered from it, (Romans 7:6) and are dead to it (Romans 7:4). It is obsolete. Hebrews 8:10,13 “ This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord” “By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear”.

    Joel

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you! I appreciate that.

    Let's make a distinction between old covenant Jews, new covenant church age Christians, and Tribulation believers. Here is an explanation from Jack Kelley, since my attempts to being light to the truth are not reaching you.
    "Before the cross, man looked forward in faith that this would one day happen, but obedience to the provisions of what we call the Old Covenant was required as evidence of this faith. During the Church Age we look back in faith that it did happen, and obedience to the provisions of the Old Covenant is no longer required."

    "After the Church is gone man will again be required to give evidence of His faith by maintaining certain behavioral standards. Rev. 14:12 says salvation for Tribulation believers will require obedience to the commandments as well as remaining faithful to Jesus. And even after Israel receives the New Covenant they will still have to offer sacrifices in the Temple, maintain a Levitical priesthood, and keep certain Holy Days (Ezekiel 40-46). And Zechariah 14:16-19 tells us that even Gentiles will be held accountable to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Clearly the post church provisions of the New Covenant will be different from those during the Church Age."

    So that's the distinction. Now to the comment:

    The Old Covenant was not flawed. That is like saying God is flawed, He made an "oops." The system of sacrifices was set up to show outward obedience to a heart condition: faith. This was done as believers waited for their Messiah. The sin covering of the animal blood was only good for a day, and needed to be repeated. However the old covenant was not done away with, because, there's still 7 years left to go. Jesus didn't come to do away with the old covenant, but change the relationship of it with Church Age believers. Think of it as the church having a unique relationship with Jesus and then after the rapture, reverting to the last 7 years of demonstrated faith thru sacrifices.

    And the rapture will happen before all of that, because Law and Grace do not co-exist. Nothing you have quoted satisfies the fact that God set aside 7 years to finish dealing with the Jews.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The problem with dogmatically standing on a Pre-Tribulation rapture theory is the fact it is but a mere theory -- not a fact born out by conclusive Scripture verses. I would love to hold to a rapture that sees the Church lifted up and away from the trials of the Tribulation. But because the history of the Church has been marked by continual persecution and martyrdom from the very beginning, why should we now suppose that there will be an escape with the advent of the final tribulation?
    The problem I see with the Dispensational view of the end times (Pre-Tribulation rapture) is confusing the two separate end-time events 1. the Tribulation and 2. the Day of the Lord. The wrath that is about to be poured out on the earth is the Day of the Lord (cf. Joel 2:31, ; 3:14-16 ; Zeph. 1:14,15 ; 2:2,3) . In order for the Day of the Lord (His wrath) to fall, the Tribulation must first occur, then the celestial phenomena, then the Second Coming (cf. Matt. 24:21,29,31) with the Rapture of the saints (His elect). The scriptural order of these four events is thus made irrefutable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By your definition, since there are no conclusive verses on the subject, the Trinity is a theory also.

      The Tribulation and the Day of the Lord is the same event. So is the Time of Jacob's Trouble, and The Day. They all refer to the same event, more here
      http://www.gotquestions.org/day-of-the-Lord.html

      Delete

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