Rapture?

 

Will There Be a Rapture? 

Yes and no! Yes, Christ is coming back and we will meet Him and it will be spectacular and no words or speculations could ever describe it effectively, especially not in the way most books and TV preachers have sensationalized it. 

Rapture: Friend or Foe? 

After a lot of careful, biblical, exegetical digging and research, I found out the scary story. The Rapture had gone from a campy hook used by evangelists to grab people’s attention to the Gospel to it perhaps becoming a threat to the Church. 

What About the Rapture? 

Where does this all come from? Look at the text! 

What I had always thought was not backed up with facts—only presumptions. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 has been the principle passage for this theory. It is interesting to note that none of the Church Fathers nor any of the Reformers or anyone in Church History taught this “theory” until the 1830’s when heretical groups ignoring the context of the passage, Greek word meaning, and the meaning of the metaphors in question, as what they meant to a first century Jew or Greek. 

THE WICKED ARE RAPTURED FIRST

You’ve probably heard the stories. A bus is heading down the highway when the bus driver and several passengers suddenly disappear causing the bus to veer off the road in a horrific explosion of broken glass and twisting metal. One of the pilots of a jet airliner disappears forcing the other pilot to take over the controls just in time to keep from crashing. It dawns on everyone that millions have vanished from the earth in an instant, leaving all those remaining with a sick feeling of dread.

Is this really what the Bible teaches will happen at the end of time?

What the Parable of the Tares Teaches us About the Rapture? 

Remember that the word “rapture” means “to be gathered up.” The only ones “gathered up” in the Parable of the Tares are the wicked. More importantly, they are gathered up BEFORE the believers are gathered into the Lord’s barn.

The History of the Rapture 

This doctrine is new; it was never taught or even discussed prior to the 1830’s. 

The history of a rapture started out as a prophetic vision inspired by the emotional breakdown of a cultist, that then was picked up by emotional zealots and more cultists unconcerned for biblical truth. Furthermore, it was used as a hook by a prideful preacher who only wanted to give out his nonsensical theorems, then by other evangelists not concerned or trained in the Word. Afterwards, it creeps into the first study Bible, then popular books, and now is it is in the landscape of popular Christian thought. 

The Rapture Question? 

The word rapture itself is not a good word to use for this event. That is why it was never used in church history by the greatest thinkers and expositors. Perhaps of the words used by Scripture, to be caught up is best; if you must have a term, “quickening” from the Old Irish seems best. Keep in mind that if you insist this is a true doctrine, this term came from false teachers who held a callous disregard to solid biblical doctrine and the rules of biblical interpretation. 

Why so much rebuttal to a nonessential, theological concept? 

You may be as upset over this as I was; sorry. I do not want to be a party-pooper on end times. Yes, there will be a rapture of sort, but not the one from TV preachers; rather, it will be one far, far more magnificent!!!  

Did the early Church Fathers teach a rapture or a particular position of it? 

This has been a common source to prove one’s position regarding end-time scenarios. See what the early church taught and assume it must be fact since they were closer to the original source, Christ, and were not convoluted by centuries of theology. This is actually a good way to see what a theological position is and how it can be measured. The problem is, many do not actually read the early writings, and when one does, he/she does not always understand the language and word meanings and thus may make assumptions that are not there. 

The Purpose of the Rapture? 

Yes, there will be a rapture, as in “caught up together to meet the Lord” as the Scriptures tell us. But for us to argue its sequence and manner is just silly and misses the point. One where Jesus Christ is truly glorified as He is coming back and we will be caught up in whatever way He sees fit. I firmly believe this will be far, far more impacting and spectacular than any wild, speculative theory that usually misses the main point. The main question is this: are you ready for His return?  

Farewell to the Rapture?

Little did Paul know how his colorful metaphors for Jesus’ second coming would be misunderstood two millennia later. 

What on earth (or in heaven) did Paul mean? 

Rapture References

 

63 responses

12 05 2010
Ronnie Safreed

The rapture teaching has led me down a useless rabbit trail in my life. I beleive in a resurrection soon but if you really look at things closely-(not everyone is going in the rapture). There has to be people who need to survive the tribulation into the Millenium. God knows who these people are and they will be given the grace to go through this tribulation period, to replenish the earth in that time. I beleive that many if not the great majority of Christians will be martyred in these last days. This has not started to happen, but I do beleive in a great revival will sweep the earth and cause the evil tares to attack the Christians. I also beleive that the “Innocence” that man had in the Garden before he fell into sin which is the same Innocence that Christ had is coming back on the earth. This is to me an unfinished work of the cross of Christ. This has to happen in the lives of men before the lion lays down with the lamb, for God deals with man first. Then the Innocent history of man will play out like it was suppose to be if man did not fall into sin and depravity.

9 07 2010
Roy Page

The pre-tribulation rapture certainly won’t happen. The very scripture they use, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), to say that he comes and stays in the clouds actually proves that he comes down to earth. Examine the prepositions “ek” and “apo” when they are translated “from” heaven, and see how often they end up on earth. You can see an analysis here:
http://www.logosapostolic.org/bible_study/RP355-3RaptureFirstResurrection.htm#3.3
The word “apo” used in this scripture means “away from” and proves that Jesus does not stay in the clouds. God bless you.

14 08 2010
Kenneth Sarver

The pre-tribulation rapture is based upon dispensationalism. I do not hold to this theory for many reasons, but one of the most important ones is that the church age and the gospel of the kingdom of God is a parenthetical period. Alva McClain “The Greatness of His Kingdom” argues that the church age began when ethnic Israel rejected Christ’s offering of a political? kingdom to them–this is the opening of the parenthesis (also related to how the 69th seven/week and 70th seven/week of Daniel 9 is interpreted by dispensationalist, e.g. Walvoord, Darby, and Scofield). The closing of this parenthesis is the “pre-tribulational rapture”.
The need for a “rapture” of this sort is that there is two peoples of God, Israel and the Church. Scripture is clear that there is only one people of Christ, i.e. the body of Christ made up of believing Jews and believing Gentiles. Following Sam Storms on http://www.enjoyingGodministries.org, I believe the promises made to Abraham, David, etc. were never intended to be for unbelievers and therefore was not to include Jews just because they are of the physical seed of Abraham. Thus, I contend for an inclusion/expansion theory of God’s people — the Gentiles were included and the land promise was expanded to include the whole earth Romans 4:13. As for David’s throne being the heavenly throne consider Acts 2 and notice what was on David’s mind as he prophesied of Christ’s resurrection and ascension, and NOT his Second Coming.
In any case, back to the task at hand. The technical use of the Greek word for meet (ἀπάντησις) in 1Thessalonians 4:17 is enough to persuade me the dispensational understanding of the rapture is incorrect. “The word ἀπάντησις (also ὑπάντησις, DG) is to be understood as a tech. term for a civic custom of antiquity whereby a public welcome was accorded by a city to important visitors.” TDNT, Vol. 1, 380.
In Acts 28:15, certain individuals went out of Rome to meet Paul when he was on his way to Rome. They all returned to Rome. Likewise, when the all believers (the resurrected dead and the living ones at his return) will go to meet Christ in the air as he is descending to earth, and then return to earth with Christ to inherit the regenerated, purified, released completely from the curse of sin earth, i.e. the New Heavens and New Earth. Matt. 13:39-43 with 28:18-20 indicate that sin will cease to exist on earth when Christ returns at the end of the present age. Why else would gospel and discipleship exist until the end of this age.

Grace and Peace from our Lord Jesus Christ.

3 07 2011
Lawrence Zucker

Dear Kenneth Sarver,

it took me many years to understand that the dispensationalist system is actually imposed on the Bible instead of found in the texts. The eschatology outlined by you actually makes sense with a close reading of the New Testament.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
(…) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”

19 09 2012
Fran Lerro

Eshatology is a doctrine that can be misused and abused. The future with its unknowns sometimes encompasses people to the point that they give way too much attention to it. But a sizeable portion of scripture is given to prophecy, some say as much as 25 percent. Apparently the Lord wants us to have some idea of what is going to happen. While there are arguments on both sides of the aisle on the rapture I think the more important thing is the literal fulfillment of the new covenant mentioned in Jeremiah 31 and mentioned again in Hebrews 8:11-13. This would point to a literal restoration of Israel and the salvation on a national level as depicted in Acts 1, 3, 15, Romans 11 and Hebrews 8. This also lends itself to a consistent interpretation of scripture as well as a magnificent display of God’s grace and covenant keeping promises. I know the Jews today are largely unsaved but the fact that they exist in Israel is an awesome display of God’s sovereignty and unconditional love.

14 08 2013
john vilven

There is so much scripture that pertains to a literal restoration of Israel that it is hard to understand how it could be ignored. Some of God’s promises are in process of being fulfilled literally in our life time. That can not be ignored either.

18 11 2010
Essie Anderson

I’m slightly confused with this last paragraph. Mid sentence, [when the all believers [the resurrected dead and the living ones at his return] will go to meet Christ in the air as he is descending to earth, and then return to earth with Christ to inherit the regenerated????”

In the whole of the scripture, God has one plan for the Jewish Nation and Gentile Nations of people. That is, regardless of all the positions taken from scripture, God has one plan from the beginning, that man would acknowledge who He is and what His plan is for mankind, Jew and Gentile alike. That is to bring humanity back to it original state, before the fall of man. After the fall He will return [descend] 1 Thes 4. 17 -16; Then give Israel her oportunity to turn to Him [which is wat the scripture is about to the end of time, except], Christ came to free all who believed in Him since Isreal rejected Him. [2nd Cor 15:51 -55] And yes, there will be some who will procreate in the Thousand year reign, all will not be killed in the Armagaddon. Israel has her second chance to acknowledge her Messiah in the 1000 year reign. If she doesn’t, [all] who deny the Savior of the world [John 3:16] plus Satan the great deceiver of the world [who started this whole problem will be sent ot the lake of fire]. Either we believe the Word of God or we don’t. Everybody has their position, only God is right.

14 12 2010
Kenneth Sarver

I should begin by saying that differences of opinion of the Millennium is not something Christians should lose fellowship over. We can believe in pre-, a-, or post- and all be within the Historic Orthodox beliefs of the Church. Although amill is the most prominent of the 3 major views.

What I was attempting to indicate is that as Christ descends to the earth believers meet him in the air. After the meeting in the air Christ does not change direction, he continues to descend to the earth. I personally believe at Christ’s coming the earth will be changed, i.e. the New Earth and the New Heavens (Romans 8).

Question about “all will not be killed in Armageddon”. How does that fit with how it is described in Revelation 19:19-21 cf. Rev. 15:1? Rev. 15:1 tells us that the last seven plagues fill “up the wrath of God”. Notice that this includes the vials of God’s wrath (Rev. 16:2). Armageddon is part of the last vial. Hence, God’s wrath is filled up after Armageddon. How can there be wrath of God taking place after it has been filled up?

Who procreates during the Millennium? Show me NT passage in favor of this idea. I ask for NT because it is the completion and clarification of what was taught in the OT in shadows and types.

From what I’ve read: Yes God has always had one plan for one people of God. This is why when you start to pay attention to the details of the OT and the NT you will notice that it was always believing people who were the true Israel of God. Sam Storms and Covenant Theologians support this idea. It seems that you are either not familiar with Covenant Theology based upon the system that runs through the above statements. It seems Dispensational Theology holds a firm grip in the way you understand Scripture. Personally, I’m sifting through the different theological systems and the only one that lacks Orthodoxy is Dispensationalism which started in 1830 by John Nelson Darby. As my school says “If something is new, it probably ain’t true”. However, I will admit there is some truth to be found in all the different theologies. There are also fallacy in each. I personally stir clear of Dispensational presumptions, including the primarily one behind its Eschatology which opposes the Reformed Theological presumption that “the New Testament should be used to interpret the Old Testament”. For example, Isaiah 65:17ff should be interpreted by Revelation 21:4.

4 12 2010
vicky sanchez

Amen. Essie Anderson!!!

23 12 2010
Thomas

I think the rapture is the weakest point in the pre-mill view.
The past few days I have been wondering. Many prophecies in the Old Testament were for filled partially and then again fully in Christ. Every text has one meaning but prophecies seem to be able to be for filled more than once.
So can it be that the prophecies in Revelation can be for filled again in the future?
The rapture as the pre-mill guys understands it doesn’t hold any water but, maybe there is some merit in how they see the rest unfolding. I’m not saying a physical kingdom on earth kind of thing but, tribulation for believers and such

28 12 2010
Roy

Regarding;
I’m slightly confused with this last paragraph. Mid sentence, [when the all believers [the resurrected dead and the living ones at his return] will go to meet Christ in the air as he is descending to earth, and then return to earth with Christ to inherit the regenerated????”

Don’t be confused Essie, believers will still be on the earth when Jesus puts his foot on the mount of olives. They will flee to the valley that he creates before the rapture (Zechariah 14:1-5). The dead will not rise until after Armageddon (Job 14:12 with 2 Peter 3:10). God bless you.

29 12 2010
Kenneth

Roy,
I think you should consider what Charles Wright has to say about Zechariah 14. It can be located at http://www.archive.org. Just search for Charles Wright and Zechariah. Basically, he understands the prophecy to be of the messianic age, i.e. the age we now live in. Even though he is tentative about saying Zechariah 14:1-5 was fulfilled in Matt. 21-24, I would concur with N.T. Wright that Matt. 24 is fulfillment of portions of Zechariah 14 (see N.T. Wright Jesus and the Victory of God; the section on Matt. 24 approx. page number being 343. The section referred to can be found in its entirety at books.google.com).
I would agree that we should not be worried. Also, I would agree that believers will be on the earth at the time of Christ’s Second Coming. I simply differ at this point that we meet the Lord in the air as he descends to the earth; and that Christ’s coming is not a local event to take place only at Mount Olives, but rather is a universal event with the whole world as its audience (see Wright and consider the NT’s description of his coming). And that the renewal of the earth will be completed by the event of Christ’s Second Coming.

Hermeneutics will determine how you interpret OT passages. May I suggest that the Protestant hermeneutic of ‘interpreting the OT with what the NT has to say about the OT’. For example, Isa. 65:20 should be interpreted by Rev. 21:4.

19 09 2012
Fran Lerro

Kenneth,
There is a lot of weakness in NT Wright’s interprtation of Zachariah 14 with Matthew 21-24. I can understand why he is tentative. Look at Zachariah 14. There is a picture of a restored Jerusalem with water flowing out, with Jesus as the king of the earth and a plain south of Jerusalem. This clearly has not yet happened. In addition, in Matthew 21 through 24 we see a microcosm fulfillment where Jesus rides into the city on a donkey and they are shouting Hosanna in the highest. But a week later they crucufied Him. When the messianic prophecies are fulfilled completely there will be no more defection. After the resurrection of Christ, Jerusalem went steadily downhill until it was destroyed by Titus in 70 AD. Is this how it ends? All through the church age the people of the Lord are mocked ridiculed and their blood washes the streets in many countries. But Jesus said this would happen and this is exactly what is happening. When the prophecy of Zachariah is fulfilled the name of Jesus will be exalted on earth. No more mocking, no more ridicule. Jesus will be exalted to His rightful place on earth and His people will glorify His. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait. But I realize we work hard until that day comes.

4 01 2011
Pastor Bruce Tegg

Will there be a pre-tribulational rapture? YES. One BIG evidence left unaddressed is the question of the location of the church in the book of Revelation. The church is mentioned numerous times until chapter 4. Not once is the church mentioned from chapter 4 until Revelation 22:16 where Jesus says, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Where was the church in all those chapters?

This was no typographical fluke or some conspiratorial oversight on the part of Pre-tribbers. No, the church is not mentioned because the church is no longer present. Where did the church go? Like the type found in Noah, the church went up as the destruction descended. Just as Noah and his family did not have to suffer along with the wicked, just as Lot was removed by force before the destruction of Sodom, so too will the church be removed prior to God’s wrath being poured out.

You often refer to and rely on the teachings of the “early Church Fathers”. You said, “See what the early church taught and assume it must be fact since they were closer to the original source, Christ, and were not convoluted by centuries of theology. This is actually a good way to see what a theological position is and how it can be measured.”

You said, “It is interesting to note that none of the Church Fathers nor any of the Reformers or anyone in Church History taught this “theory” until the 1830’s when heretical groups ignoring the context of the passage, Greek word meaning, and the meaning of the metaphors in question, as what they meant to a first century Jew or Greek.” Of course you are not counting Jesus Christ or the Apostle Paul.

I wonder if you also support infant baptism, non-immersion baptism, praying to the saints and the sacrifice of the mass as they did? Don’t you find it strange you use the “early Church Fathers” as a source with equivalent status as the Scriptures? Are you not following in the traditions of the Roman (Catholic) Church? How foolish.

The “early Church Fathers” were often seriously flawed. Haven’t you ever heard of Pope Stephen VI (896-897) or Pope John XII (955-964) or even the Roman (Catholic) monk Martin Luther? (I am aware Martin Luther was officially declared a heretic on January 3, 1521, by the Bull Decet Romanum pontificem, but Luther never renounced his Roman (Catholic) doctrines of infant baptism, prayer to saints, the presence of Christ in the host, etc.) You seem to employ a selective memory as to the teachings and behavior of your beloved “early Church Fathers”. It would seem you don’t include either Jesus or Paul in the “early Church Fathers” since they obviously taught the rapture.

There are significant errors in your “rightly dividing the Word of Truth”. You said, “The only ones “gathered up” in the Parable of the Tares are the wicked. More importantly, they are gathered up BEFORE the believers are gathered into the Lord’s barn.” The Parable of the Tares does not refer to the rapture of the church as you have said, “1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 has been the principle passage for this theory.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Where is the mention of the “tares” being raised first if the “dead IN CHRIST” are raised first? You are obviously confusing two different events, I will not here try to guess why.

It seems strange too you refer to the teachings of the Pre-trib rapture as coming from “the 1830’s when heretical groups ignoring the context of the passage,” and then one of your supporters says, “We can believe in pre-, a-, or post- and all be within the Historic Orthodox beliefs of the Church.” So are pre-tribbers heretical or orthodox? You can’t have it both ways.

Jesus said in Luke 21:36, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to ESCAPE all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”

4 01 2011
biblicaleschatology

Thank-you for your post!

I firmly, as a “hill to die upon,” believed as you, I was personally discipled by Ray Stedman and Dr. Walter Marten and worked at CRI, but when challenged to prove the rapture, which I set out to do, I could not honestly do so, the evidence, history and exegeses did not pan out. This was very challenging to me and I discovered that it has been a “red herring” to distract us away from perusing a deep spiritual formation with Christ by chasing nonsense and trivialities. Like arguing about the mustered on a hot dog and not paying any attention to the game of real faith and Fruit. So many Christians do that, what a shame…Christ is coming and we are to put our efforts to prepare or faith and make Him known…not prepare our theories….

See the articles for your exegetical questions.

http://biblicaleschatology.org/2008/12/04/what-about-the-rapture/

More here http://www.churchleadership.org/pages.asp?pageid=67280

The Early Church Father’s is discussed because not that they have the right answers or are “pure” but are used as pretext for proponents as with the Parable of the Tares. When you actually read what they said, esp in the Greek, you find out, no, they did not teach a rapture…and that Parable does not teach a rapture either, rather Judgment…

Revelation chapter 4?

http://biblicaleschatology.org/rev-4/

More here:

See the exegesis and the 4 views side by side and see for yourself, if you do not do Eisegesis you will see, “rightly dividing the Word of Truth,” if you read in what you want, you will see what you want, but miss what God has for you…

Paul and Jesus taught a rapture? I so believed that, but where in Scripture?

The main point of eschatology ad what Jesus tells us in Matt 24 and Paul in 1 Thess 4 is to tell us not to be discouraged, but remain faithful and vigilant. We are to live our lives as if Christ would be coming tomorrow, or preparing and planning as if He were coming a thousand years from now. We are no to be preoccupied with the details and trivialities. That is why Jesus did not give them to us. Rather, our faith development and steadfastness are far more impacting and real on ourselves and others around us!

There may be a rapture as depicted by the dispensationalists, there may not be one; probably not, BUT Jesus is coming; He may come in the beginning, or the middle of, or at the end of the tribulation. He is God and He is not confined to our wishful thinking or ideas! I will still buy cars with sunroofs (get out easier) and keep watchful, but this will not consume me as it has others (OK it did for 15+ years). Do not be distracted from that to which Christ has called you! Do not waste your time in the particulars of eschatology; it really is not important. Christ commands us to know Him and make Him known, to grow in Him and help others grow, to worship Him and help others worship Him, too. If we spend our time in the debate of eschatology, we will ignore His more vital calls, such as evangelism, discipleship, and our own growth in Him or for you to effectively pastor your church!

And no one here is Catholic…. And yes Luke 21:36 is the point of it all!

Let us remember this is not essential stuff and to major in the majors and minor in these minors, see Matt 24!

Be blessed! Phil 1:6

6 01 2011
Kenneth Sarver

Saying the church is not present in Revelation after chapter 3 simply because the word “church” does not appear is a weak argument. Silence is not evidence. But lets assume silence is evidence for the sake of argument: If we were to follow this logic then we would have to say God was not working in the book of Esther. Just because God is not mentioned in Esther does not mean he is not working in the midst of his people. Therefore, I would strongly advise leaving any argument in favor of any theology.

Besides the church can easily be shown to be present throughout Revelation. Consider reading G. K. Beale’s commentary on Revelation.
For instance, the woman of Revelation 12 clearly includes the church. The child the woman gave birth to is Christ. Christ is to rule the “nations” not just Israel (most dispensationalists will say the woman is Israel, failing to fully consider Rev. 5-6). Revelation 12:5 speaks of Christ’s ascension, which is the beginning of the 3 1/2 times of prophesied by Daniel. After Christ’s ascension the woman, i.e. God’s people, includes both Jews and Gentiles. While I’m in Revelation 12, I should point out that “the place” in Rev. 12:14 should not be understood as a geographical location, but as the temple. The temple being where ever God’s people are, since we are His temple (cf. Ezk. 11:16 which sheds light on how to understand the eschatological temple described in Ezek. 40-48; also compare Rev. 21:10 with Ezek. 40:2 keeping in mind their respective surrounding contexts).

20 04 2012
Larry

Bruce, don’t hide behind the pastor badge. Your true colors are a blend of legalist and ranter. You are probably a nice guy in person though :-)

24 04 2012
Pastor Bruce Tegg

Thanks Larry, your gentle Christianity shines through. Or should I say, your lack of gentleness. Here’s one for you: 2Timothy 2:24-25, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” Your attempt to rightly divide the truth is sorely lacking too.

20 04 2012
Kenneth

Okay, lets follow your logic. The absence of the word “church” means that the church is not on earth at the time of those “future” events. The term church is also absent from Revelation 20-21, which deals with the millennium and eternity future. Does this mean the church has no part in the millennium or eternity future? (this argument is from http://www.revelationcommentary.org/04_chapter.html). This arthor further writes, “A fundamental point of apocalyptic literature is to use nothing that would allow the unwanted to discern the meaning of the essential message. Leon Morris writes,

There appears to have been times when it would have been politically unwise for them to have done so. They evidently trusted that their friends would be able to discern their essential meaning, and that their enemies would not be able to do so. (Morris, Apocalyptic, 38)

It would have been very unwise for John to so identify the church with the future destruction of the kingdoms of the world that the world could easily discern it from his apocalypse. The Revelation was written to comfort God’s people, not provide ammunition for their destruction. We have seen what the enemies of God will do with a little information detrimental to their future (Matt 2:1-12, 16-23).

The fact that the term church does not appear in Revelation 4-19 does not mean that the entity itself is not represented in these critical chapters. All would agree that the reference to wife in Revelation 19:7 designates the church. Revelation 20:4 records, “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them.” This group must contain at least a portion of the church given the Lord’s promise in Revelation 2:26b-27 and 3:21 that overcomers will reign with Him during His physical temporal kingdom on earth (Matt 19:27-30).

There are at least nine different references to the church in Revelation 4-19:

1. Every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 5:9c
2. A kingdom and priest, 5:10
3. Fifth seal martyrs, 6:9
4. A multitude, 7:9; 19:5-6
5. Bond-servants, 11:18; 19:2, 5
6. Our brethren, 12:10
7. The rest of her children, 12:17
8. Saints, 13:7, 10; 14:12; 18:20, 24
9. Wife, 19:7

Each of these designations will be defended as we confront them in context. Please see relevant chapter and verse.”

The absence of word “church” does not meant the absence of God’s people.

20 04 2012
Kenneth

Further evidence that the absence of the word church means the church is not present on earth at the time of the events of Revelation (rather or not they take place in the past, present, or future). Revelation is written to the “servants” or bond-servants (doulos) of Christ (Revelation 1:1). These servants are found throughout Revelation in Rev. 1:1; 2:20; 7:3; 10:7; 11:18; 19:2; 19:5; 22:3, 6.

Non-believers are the ones who face the wrath of God as described in Revelation as indicated by key words and phrases that only relate to unbelievers, but believers are on earth while it takes place. Remember Revelation is spoken symbolically in a way only those who have spiritual ears (the regenerated believer) can understand (he who hath an ear let him hear).

14 02 2011
Roy

I must say I agree with Kenneth Sarver that arguing from what the bible does not say is at best very weak, and at worst very dangerous. There is plenty of evidence for the church in Revelation after chapter 3 before Jesus returns. There are saints who are overcome by the antichrist in chapter 13, prophets in chapter 11, those who die ‘in the Lord’ in chapter 14, which is equivalent to ‘in Christ’, and many scriptures that show the persecution of the church. You can see a good study on it here:
http://www.logosapostolic.org/bible_study/RP355-9_Church_in_Revelation.htm

14 02 2011
Pastor Bruce Tegg

@biblicaleschatology
You are welcome for my post, but you still do not get it.

You said, “I was personally discipled by Ray Stedman and Dr. Walter Marten and worked at CRI,”
Wonderful, but so-what? Charles Darwin went to Seminary, this means nothing. I don’t mean to be mean but is this suppose to give you extra points toward credibility? This is the same problem you have with quoting “Early Church Fathers”. It only matters what the Bible says so let’s stick to the scripture. This is a rabbit trail but it kinda “sticks in my craw” the ones shouting “Sola Scriptura” the loudest are the ones who quote the “Early Church Fathers” the most – sounds like a contradiction to me.

You said, “This was very challenging to me and I discovered that it has been a “red herring” to distract us away from perusing a deep spiritual formation with Christ by chasing nonsense and trivialities.”
I believe the Rapture is EXTREMELY important and not trivial at all. Why? 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 teaches once the Holy Spirit is removed (happening when the Rapture occurs) God will cause the ones left, (not all people but the ones who refused salvation according to 2:10-12) to believe the lie of “that Wicked” “that they all might be damned who believed not the truth.” You may think this is as insignificant as “the mustered on a hot dog” but I would say it is vital to cause us to be more diligent and more dedicated about the Father’s business.

You said, “The Early Church Father’s is discussed because not that they have the right answers or are “pure” but are used as pretext for proponents as with the Parable of the Tares. When you actually read what they said, esp in the Greek, you find out, no, they did not teach a rapture…and that Parable does not teach a rapture either, rather Judgment…”
Here we go again. Please refer back to my original statement about the value of the “Early Church Fathers”. The “Early Church Fathers” were not only writers of Greek, there was a WHOLE BUNCH of Latin, and German and even some Italian. My point was they did not teach a rapture because their Mother Church, what they called the “Holy Roman Catholic Church” what they believed to be “the one and only true church” did not believe a rapture. Surely you are not going to fall in line with the Catholics, are you?
Oh, and I agree, the parable of the tares has NOTHING to do with the Rapture of the church.

You said, “See the exegesis and the 4 views side by side and see for yourself, if you do not do Eisegesis you will see, “rightly dividing the Word of Truth,” if you read in what you want, you will see what you want, but miss what God has for you…”
If I am the one with Eisegesis, why are you the one continually referring to what the Early Church Fathers said? You read through a CATHOLIC lens, which “-gesis” is that?

You said, “We are no to be preoccupied with the details and trivialities. That is why Jesus did not give them to us.”
You are kidding right? Please say you are kidding.

You said, “Do not waste your time in the particulars of eschatology; it really is not important. Christ commands us to know Him and make Him known, to grow in Him and help others grow, to worship Him and help others worship Him, too. If we spend our time in the debate of eschatology, we will ignore His more vital calls, such as evangelism, discipleship, and our own growth in Him or for you to effectively pastor your church!”
Again, you are kidding, right? Eschatology is important. It a motivator for us to be diligent and for the unsaved to get saved while there is still time. Wow! Talk about a “vital call”! Understanding the times, discerning the times is exactly what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 16:2-3, “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”

When I stand before Christ and give account for what I have done, I want to be able to say, along with Paul, I have taught the whole counsel of God. I REALLY DO NOT want to be in your shoes calling the teaching of the end times, “trivial” and “minor”.

@Starver
You said, “If we were to follow this logic then we would have to say God was not working in the book of Esther. Just because God is not mentioned in Esther does not mean he is not working in the midst of his people.”
The word, “God” does not appear in the Song of Solomon or in Obadiah either – so what. You are not using biblical logic here. You are failing to “rightly divide the word of truth”. The absence of the term “Church”, or the Greek word “ekklesia”, is so significant in Revelation because in chapters 1 and 2 THAT WORD was used EIGHTEEN TIMES and ONCE MORE in 22:16. This is so drastically different from the use of “God” in Esther.
If, like Esther, the church was never mentioned through the entire book, I would say you have a point, but you don’t. The lack of the term “church” is a significant event and it was carefully and intentionally written to draw our attention to its absence. To ignore the contrast is to miss the truth.

20 04 2012
Kenneth

I do have a point, but perhaps I did not use a good example as is evident from you attack of my example instead of the clear logic of silence or absence of a word does not necessitate the absence of the Church. And YES I am using biblical logic. Just because you do not agree with someone does not give you the right to lie and deface them. Stick the the argument instead of attacking the individuals. The very fact that you are attacking people makes question whether or not you are a true believer striving to enlighten and encourage other believers, or that you are a non-believer who comes on these blogs to attack those who have faith. If you are correct, have patience with those you are attempting to guide to the light of the precious Word of God.

We should study and understand Scripture by the various genres it was written in. What genre is Revelation written in? It is written in apocolyptic language, which means it is written in symbols. In addition to the fact that Revelation is apocolyptic, an exegetical study of Revelation 1:1 (as done by G.K. Beale) will provide all the evidence you need to understand that the Greek “samainw” translated make known indicates that Revelation is revealed to John through symbolic communication. Is Christ literally a Lamb or is that symbollic? Is Satan literally a dragon?

You are missing the point of Revelation when you take away the symbols, and read into it the falsely so-called “literal” interpretation of the futurist and dispensationalist.

Christians are the temple of God correct? The temple of God is mentioned in Revelation 11:1. And please don’t tell me this is a physical temple, because Christ made it clear that the temple would be left desolate not that it would be rebuilt (Matthew 23:38 cf. Daniel 9:26). Besides biblical logic, says there is no need for a physical building to be the temple since it was a symbol of the true temple of God, i.e. Christ and the church.

There is a significance to the absence of the term ekklesia, but it is certainly not that the church is absent in the events of Revelation. Ekklesia is mentioned several times with different city names, while in the portions of Revelation without ekklesia their is but one city name “Babylon”. The point of this is that there were certain messages that were given to certain churches (this is not to say we cannot learn from these messages), but then John was given a symbolic message to the church as a whole.

Regarding Daniel 9:24-27, demonstrate to me the biblical logic you used to place the necessary gap between the 69th and 70th week? This is the crux to your whole teaching of dispensationalsim. From all I have read on this, there is absolutely no justification in that passage for any gap. All the things promised to occur in this prophecy were fulfilled in the time of Christ by Christ, i.e. to finish the transgression of Israel; to put an end to sin; to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet; to anoint a most holy place.

15 02 2011
biblicaleschatology

Hi Pastor Tegg,

Remember, as a pastor I am sure you know this…this great axiom in honest and effectual Bible exposition, context, context and…one more…context, the historical, genre, textual…what does that term mean not just in the original language, but by the context of the language structure, what did it mean to the person who penned it and who originally heard and read it…what does it mean elsewhere in Scripture… and so on…. So what does it mean to “meet in the air” and the “clouds” or ….? I gave the research on this for your examination…

I do not have the time to give you more of an explanation, just read what has been said in the articles…in ….oh yea, in context even what I write… like..

“I was personally discipled” ….. this is just my journey not a point of argumentation… I have no ax to grind or theorem to prove, just searching for Biblical Truth, and point out bad teaching that distracts us from God’s true Truth!

“,,,distract us away from perusing a deep spiritual formation with Christ by chasing nonsense and trivialities… my point is man’s ideas are trivialities not God’s!!!!

“The Early Church Father’s is discussed because…” because it is what many people use to “prove” their points and write their books…when the ECF had nothing to say on it… my focus is always on Scripture… BTW most of them predate the Catholic Church…

“line with the Catholics” Absolutely NOT!

“with the details and trivialities” My point is to focus on what God says not what man says.. we are the triviality when we distract others from Him. He is Sovereign… and look to Matthew 24….not heretical preachers…

“waste your time in the particulars of eschatology; it really is not important” … Again context, man’s ideas are not important, our ideas and theories are mostly non-sense, what God actually has to say is vastly Incredible but rarely read and adhered to…

“Eschatology is important” yes it is, why I spent 20+ years of my life researching and studying it, what is not important is crazy made up theory’s to satisfy ones pride…so we are not growing in the Faith and Fruit instead arguing with one another as the Gospel goes unnoticed…

…if the “Rapture (as most preachers teach it) is EXTREMELY important” ….then why is it not in Scripture, why did Jesus not teach it? And of course we can agree to disagree on this; I gave my research and made my points for your perusal….

Yes indeed it is a prime “motivator,” what the entirety point of 2 Thess, 2 Peter and Revelation is about, along with loyalty to Christ, but let’s get it right and not confuse and distract people…

BTW, we will be looking at Matthew 16:2-3 more on the Tares and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 after we are done with Revelation and if you have any other Scripture you want us to examine, please let us know…

Again thank-you for your contribution and be blessed!

Phil 1:6

15 02 2011
Kenneth Sarver

Thanks Roy for your dedication to seeking the truth as given in Scripture.
May I suggest for your viewing pleasure an excellent DVD that show the beginnings of dispensationalism (the theology that underlies the pre-trib rapture as Mr. Tegg so admantly adheres to). Perhaps, after watching the DVD you can recommend to those who need to hear why dispensationalism in its entirety is a “distraction” from biblical truth. The DVD is title “Late Great Planet Church: the rise of dispensationalism”. Kenneth Gentry does really well in presenting the materials in this DVD. If you have netflix, it is on there as DVD only. The DVD can be purchased from nicenecouncil.com, which has many valuable materials in regards to understanding Scripture as God meant it to be understood.

Grace and Peace,
Kenneth Sarver

18 02 2011
david

I think there is a point of view that may possible be overlooked. In 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 For the secret power of the lawlessness is already at work (which we know is sin), but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.” And then the lawlessness one will be revealed.

I know that somone may get wrapped up in the wording “he is taken out of the way…” so for clarification purposes. The “he ” I believe is refering to the believe in Jesus Christ ( who was man) which is the modern day church.

In verses 5 and 6 which speaks about the teachings of what is keeping the “lawlessness one” at bay. This is in modern day terms….the church. Its like what Paul talks about regarding “Sin” in Romans. “….I did not know sin until i first knew the law.” The chruch knows the law. The commandments. Which in Psalms 19:7 says is perfect in converting the soul. When the church, which is the spotlight on sin is removed from the picture (rapture) then the lawlessness one can take the stage.

This is futhere backed up in 2 Thesalonians 2:1-3. “which basically states that we not to be concerned with the event of being gathered together with Jesus Christ as already having occured because it has not, but rather that the event will happen as the rebillion occurs (which I believe to be the Tribulation) and then the lawlessness one is revealed once the light on sin is removed (the chruch raptured) Basically we the church iswhat is keeping him at bay.

Now think about this for a moment….If the population of believers which is estimated between 40-60+ % of the world is removed at once, who and what do you think the rest of world is going to look to. This set s the stage for the lawlessness one to be revealed as a figure that knows the way. That can guide the world thru the issue of half the population being taken away.

This will be dude telling everyone that the fish are gone because they were concerend over the other fish relatives dying….(Sorry, I had to make a poke at the fish thing going on lately and some of the stuff being said about it)

But the whole rapture of the church sets the stage for the lawlessness one….we future read in 2 Thessalonians 2:10…”they will perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason Gods sends them a powerful delusion (the sending of the lawlessness one from the beginning) Just being fully revealed now, so that they will believe the lie (the lawlessness one).

All of this has to happen, as there is no way that the entire Christian population of believers would allow the lawlessness one to be called God as we know better, worship, as we know better. Jesus said my sheep know my voice. If the sheep who know his voice are gone, then those that don’t are left to listen to the lawlessness one with open ears.

Food for thought, I have yet to read any thought such as this on your post. Thought I would share.

30 03 2012
JimR

In @ Thes ch 2 “He who restrains” the church is the bride of Christ and therefore a she

20 02 2011
Roy

Response to David on February 18th
“I think there is a point of view that may possible be overlooked. In 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 For the secret power of the lawlessness is already at work (which we know is sin), but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawlessness one will be revealed.”
2 Thessalonians 2:7 “taken out of the way” is really a very bad translation, as there is nothing in the Greek to indicate “taken” or “way”. The Greek is ‘ek mesou genētai’ which literally means ‘ out of the midst he (or it) comes into being’. Absolutely nothing is ‘taken out of the way in this verse. If you would like to see a good scriptural analysis of this passage try this:
http://www.logosapostolic.org/bible_study/RP355-9-2Thessalonians2v7.htm

2 03 2011
biblicaleschatology

References

From the Books

“The Early Church Fathers”
The Shepherd of Hermas, 2; 23:5.(An early Church Father whom many say came up with this theory)
Blackstone, William. Jesus is Coming (1878). Now published by Kregel (1989).
Boyer, Paul. When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1992), page 75.
Benware, Paul. Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), pages 197-198.
Ice, Tommy. “Morgan Edwards: A Pre-Darby Rapturist,” The Conservative Theological Journal, April 1997, pages 4-12.
Denny, Timothy J. and Ice, Thomas D. “The Rapture and an Early Medieval Citation,” Bibliotheca Sacra, July-September 1995
LaHaye, Tim. “Target Number One,” Pre-Trib Perspectives, September 2002, pages 1-3.
Lindsey, Hal, The Rapture, Bantam Books (1983), p. 25
Gundry, Robert, “The Church and The Tribulation”, Zondervan (1973)
Scofield, C. I. The Scofield Study Bible (London: Oxford University Press, 1909).
Larkin, Clarence. Dispensational Truth (Philadelphia, 1920).
Keeley, Robin, Eerdmans’ Handbook to Christian Belief, Wm B Eerdmans Publishing, (1982), p.415
Lindsey, Hal. The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970).
LaHaye Tim and Jenkins, Jerry. The Left Behindbook series.
Chris Nelson. (2002-06-18). “A Brief History of the Apocalypse; 1971 – 1997: Millennial Madness” Retrieved on 2007-06-23.
MacPherson, Dave. The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin (Heart of America Bible Society, 1973).
MacPherson, Dave. The Incredible Cover-Up: Exposing the Origins of the Rapture Theories (Plainfield, NJ: Logos 1975)
Rosenthal, Marv: “The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church: Is It Biblical?”, Regular Baptist Press (1991)
Snobelen, Stephen D., Isaac Newton and Apocalypse Now. 2007
“The World Did Not End Yesterday”, Boston Globe(Associated Press), 1992-10-29.
Walvoord , John, “The Rapture Question, 1957.”
From the Web:

“St. Ephraem”in the Catholic Encyclopedia on the Internet.
Ed Reese, “Henry (Harry) Allan Ironside”
3. http://www.aroundomaha.com/sschool/rapture.html

4. http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/jeffrey.html

5. http://www.khouse.org/articles/1995/39/

6. http://www.bibleprophesy.org/ancient.htm

7. http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/ephraem.html

8. http://us.geocities.com/worldview_3/2tribchurch.html

9. http://bibleprophesy.org/jesuitrapture.htm

10. http://www.raptureready.com/

11. http://www.bibleprophesy.org/

12. http://www.raptureready.coml/

13. http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_4182_rapture.cfm

14. http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/articles/full.asp?id=9%7C21%7C40

15. http://www.gonethefilm.com/

16. http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blrapture.htm(this is here because it is funny and make an excellent sermon illustration to this article)

17. http://www.rapturefund.org/

18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millerites

© 1991, 2008, R. J. Krejcir, The Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development, http://www.truespirituality.org/, http://www.churchleadership.org/

16 06 2011
Gavin

You wrote
“This doctrine is new; it was never taught or even discussed prior to the 1830’s.

The history of a rapture started out as a prophetic vision inspired by the emotional breakdown of a cultist, that then was picked up by emotional zealots and more cultists unconcerned for biblical truth.”

You do realize of course that scholarly research finds much mention of the Rapture teaching throughout church history.
Also – you attribute this “new” teaching to a “vision inspired by the emotional breakdown of a cultist”. Could you please elaborate?
The resurgence of Rapture teaching post-Reformation is mainly attributed to John Nelson Darby. It is true that he is the main figure responsible for the refocus of the church’s attention on this foundational teaching. I do hope you are not referring to him as the “cultist”. Darby is also responsible for the best one-man translation of the whole Bible into English. And French. And German. As well as the New Testament into two further languages. Also responsible for the promotion of the return to New Testament principles for church government – also being promoted by all solid Bible-teaching churches today.

The Rapture has always been the hope of the New Testament church. If it is not yours then I feel for you.

27 07 2011
Kenneth Sarver

The cultist I was referring to was Magaret Macdonald. She is connected to Edward Irving, which some believe influenced J.N. Darby. I no longer believe Darby is connected to Irving.

Yes, the rapture as defined in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5 will occur. I believe a simple reading of that text will clearly show to anyone who does not approach the text with a dispensational mindset would not conceive of the idea of the rapture according to Darby or any type of dispensationalist that has developed since then. Perhaps, the progressive dispensationalist are well on their way to converting back to covenant theology, which I believe has the correct view of the 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5.

Nonetheless, I do not believe historical evidence for Darby’s understanding of the rapture exists. You say there is. Who is your source? Walvoord, Ryrie…?? There are many good names who argue both ways. I say this to say there is not unquestionable historical evidence for such a theory for the documents are debatable as research will show you. Of course, you would need to research the differing types of theologians.

What I was classifying as new is Darby’s or classic dispensational understanding of “the rapture”. This idea is not found explicitly in any earlier christian literature.

You should do more research on Darby and the main dispenser of the dispensational system (C. I. Scofield). First, you should know that Darby was part of a movement that believed they were the continuation of the first century church. Meaning they believed no one between the first century or so until the 19th century understood Scripture. During Darby’s time this type of thinking was also present with Joseph Smith, who wrote the “new” new testament. Basically, since these people believe they were the continuation of the first century believers, they believed they had been given new revelation from God. Another characteristic of that time period was millienalism, i.e. new prophetic future systems developed in mass. Seventh Day Adventism to name another.

I am not saying he did not have great contributions to our faith. I am saying based upon various sources, including the DVD “The Rise of Dispensatonalism” which offers many good sources a part of it that dispensationalism is not one of them. Darby had become prideful in his knowledge and his position in later portion of his life. He even explicitly indicated George Muller was an idiot from the pulpit simple because he was not believing what Darby was teaching. One source tells us (http://www.theologue.org/Darby-WECox.html) that “Darby, throughout his career as a religious leader, was an extremely controversial individualist. Once while debating with Dwight L. Moody, Darby angrily closed his Bible and refused to continue the public debate. He castigated Newton, even though Newton issued a pamphlet apologizing for doctrinal error. When Darby, on the other hand, was told that many or his teachings were looked on as heresy and were causing grief to many, he threatened to leave the fellowship rather than retract the teachings”.

Is the rapture the hope of believers according to the Scripture?
I disagree with that statement as well for Titus 2:13 makes it abundantly clear that the blessed hope of the church is “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the blessed hope of the church not the dispensational rapture. Accordingly, my blessed hope is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, not my avoidance of a seven-year tribulation.

Please understand that no matter what one believes about end events, the main event that every theological viewpoint is Jesus Christ and his Second Coming. As I learned more about dispensationalism, I began to perceive how much that theology focuses on the news and current events as keys to unlocking the mysteries of Scripture. To me this was scary because Jesus Christ is the key to revealing Scripture.

16 06 2011
Gavin

David, you wrote that the population of believers is between 40 and 60% of the world’s population. I don’t know how you arrived at that number. India and China alone account for more than 30% of the world’s population and there are very few believers in that number.

Not even 10% claim to be believers. Of that number there are many cults (who obviously are not believers) and religions using Jesus’ name. Many of these don’t know anything about being “born-again”. Of those who do – many don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
What I am trying to point out is that if we were to establish the criteria of believers as – those who are relying exclusively on Jesus Christ’s work of atonement on the cross as their only and fully sufficient means of salvation from eternity in the Lake of Fire – then the percentage of the world’s population would be very small indeed. If it were as much as 1% I would find that most difficult to believe. Perhaps 1% of 1%. Even then – that’s a lot of people. If it is that number – then many must be clandestine.

Of course – if you mean by “believer” those who believe in something out there in the shape or form of God who will somehow let them into Heaven even though they live lives completely in disregard of Him – well perhaps your number is correct.

27 07 2011
Kenneth Sarver

The cultist I was referring to was Magaret Macdonald. She is connected to Edward Irving, which some believe influenced J.N. Darby. I no longer believe Darby is connected to Irving.

Yes, the rapture as defined in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5 will occur. I believe a simple reading of that text will clearly show to anyone who does not approach the text with a dispensational mindset would not conceive of the idea of the rapture according to Darby or any type of dispensationalist that has developed since then. Perhaps, the progressive dispensationalist are well on their way to converting back to covenant theology, which I believe has the correct view of the 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5.

Nonetheless, I do not believe historical evidence for Darby’s understanding of the rapture exists. You say there is. Who is your source? Walvoord, Ryrie…?? There are many good names who argue both ways. I say this to say there is not unquestionable historical evidence for such a theory for the documents are debatable as research will show you. Of course, you would need to research the differing types of theologians.

What I was classifying as new is Darby’s or classic dispensational understanding of “the rapture”. This idea is not found explicitly in any earlier christian literature.

You should do more research on Darby and the main dispenser of the dispensational system (C. I. Scofield). First, you should know that Darby was part of a movement that believed they were the continuation of the first century church. Meaning they believed no one between the first century or so until the 19th century understood Scripture. During Darby’s time this type of thinking was also present with Joseph Smith, who wrote the “new” new testament. Basically, since these people believe they were the continuation of the first century believers, they believed they had been given new revelation from God. Another characteristic of that time period was millienalism, i.e. new prophetic future systems developed in mass. Seventh Day Adventism to name another.

I am not saying he did not have great contributions to our faith. I am saying based upon various sources, including the DVD “The Rise of Dispensatonalism” which offers many good sources a part of it that dispensationalism is not one of them. Darby had become prideful in his knowledge and his position in later portion of his life. He even explicitly indicated George Mulluer was an idiot from the pulpit simple because he was not believing what Darby was teaching.

Is the rapture the hope of believers according to the Scripture?
I disagree with that statement as well for Titus 2:13 makes it abundantly clear that the blessed hope of the church is “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the blessed hope of the church not the dispensational rapture. Accordingly, my blessed hope is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, not my avoidance of a seven-year tribulation.

Please understand that no matter what one believes about end events, the main event that every theological viewpoint is Jesus Christ and his Second Coming. As I learned more about dispensationalism, I began to perceive how much that theology focuses on the news and current events as keys to unlocking the mysteries of Scripture. To me this was scary because Jesus Christ is the key to revealing Scripture.

27 07 2011
Gavin

Was the “Rapture” taught in the church prior to Darby? Yes.
Below is an excerpt from a paper I did recently on this topic for The Master’s College.

Rapture Criticism
Critics of the Rapture doctrine point to the fact that it was only “discovered” in the 1800s and because of this there is a natural wariness of it. It is true that the 1800s marked sudden awareness of it through the work of John Nelson Darby and the rapid formation and spread of the movement later known as the Plymouth Brethren. However, careful study of church history reveals two significant things. Firstly it shows that through the passing of the centuries much sound doctrine was neglected, distorted, polluted, denied and even forgotten. The teaching of the Rapture is only one instance among many of this happening. Secondly, church history does reveal that the teaching of the Rapture was mentioned, even though it did receive less attention than it ought.
The Rapture in Church History
James F. Stitzinger, Associate Professor of Historical Theology at the Master’s Seminary, has traced important mentions of Rapture teaching in church history (153-169). He explains that to trace the history of the Rapture is really to trace the history of Pre-Tribulationism. The following historical overview is from Stitzinger with support from LaHaye and Hindson.
Stitzinger points out that the early church fathers (ca. 100-330) were predominantly Pre-Millennialists, or, chiliasts. He puts forward the writings of Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian, and Lactantius as all demonstrating clear Pre-Millennial belief. He also points out that these same fathers taught that persecution would be ongoing when the return of the Lord takes place, indicating that they saw the Great Tribulation period as distinct from their own terrible persecution. They also believed in the imminent return of Christ, which is a central feature of Pre-Tribulational thought. Other writers clearly seeing Christ’s return as imminent include Clement of Rome (ca. 90-100), Ignatius of Antioch (d. ca. 98-117), The Didache (ca. 100-160), Barnabas (ca. 117-138), and the Shepherd of Hermas (ca. 96-150). Stitzinger admits that these writers do not produce a clear statement of patristic eschatology regarding the rapture. What can be concluded is: 1. They early fathers expected a literal coming of Christ, followed by a literal 1,000-year kingdom. 2. They believed in the imminence of Christ’s return and made occasional Pre-Tribulational comments. 3. The early fathers did not equate their persecution at the hands of the Roman government with the future Tribulational wrath.
Stitzinger cites Crutchfield and Erickson (156) as having rightly concluded from the fathers’ view on imminency and their idea of escaping the time of the Tribulation that, while the Rapture is not specifically stated it is clearly present in seed form at least. They further comment that if Alexandrian (and later Augustinian) allegorism had not brought on a dearth of sound exegesis the whole thing may have been made much more plain a long time ago.
The Medieval period through to the Renaissance was largely dominated by Augustinian spiritualization with the Millennium being merely the reign of Christ in the saints. There are few examples of a literal millennium and Pre-Tribulationism in writings from this period. However, one significant mention is Ephraem of Nisibis (ca. 306-373) . A sermon, “On the Last Times, the Antichrist and the End of the World,” (ca. 373) declares: “All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins” (157). This sermon describes the Rapture. It presents it as imminent and as being followed by three and one half years of Tribulation and the return of Christ to defeat Antichrist.
Further evidence for historical belief in the Rapture comes from the Codex Amiatinus (ca. 690-716). In the title to Psalm 22 (Psalm 23 in the Vulgate), the following appears: “Psalm of David, the voice of the Church after being raptured.” Stitzinger writes, “Though not conclusive and still in need of further study, it appears that Codex Amiatinus presents another example of Pre-Tribulational thought in the Middle Ages” (158).
Another important Pre-Tribulational passage comes from events surrounding a Brother Dolcino (d. 1307) who was leader of the Apostolic Brethren in northern Italy. They suffered tremendous papal persecution. One of the group wrote, “The Antichrist was coming into this world within the bounds of the said three and a half years; and after he had come, then he [Dolcino] and his followers would be transferred into Paradise, in which are Enoch and Elijah. And in this way they will be preserved unharmed from the persecution of Antichrist” (159). Again, the idea of being removed before Tribulation and taken to God is mentioned.
Possibly due to more engaging issues (what to do about Catholicism), the Reformation is marked by a lack of writings on prophecy although some statements coming from Anabaptists, as well as Luther and Calvin, continue to support imminency and chiliasm (159).
Because of the Renaissance there was a general turning back in educational circles to original sources. This drove theologians back to Greek manuscripts, which in turn produced a rebirth in Pre-Millennialism. It also took them to new editions of the early fathers including the distinct Pre-Millennial teaching of Irenaeus. This period also saw the denouncement of the use of allegorical interpretation that had dominated the medieval period. Exegetical exposition returned. As a result, many of the Reformers began to make a clear distinction between Israel and the Church. This led to a more historical eschatology among Reformers and eschatology itself took more prominence in study and thought.
For further evidence Stitzinger cites several Modern Period theologians to show that the Rapture idea was present in eschatological thought before Darby’s time (161). Joseph Mede (1586-1638) who attempted to construct an outline of the Apocalypse based solely upon Scripture and his Pre-Millennial understanding interpretation influenced eschatological interpretation for centuries. Increase Mather (1639-1723), president of Harvard College, wrote, “the saints would be ‘caught up into the air’ beforehand, thereby escaping the final conflagration” (162). Peter Jurieu (1637-1713) in his work, Approaching Deliverance of the Church (1687), taught, “Christ would come in the air to rapture the saints and return to heaven before the battle of Armageddon”. He spoke of a “secret rapture prior to His coming in glory and judgment at Armageddon” (162). John Gill (1697-1771), while having some ambiguity in the timing and sequence of prophetic events, taught that the Lord will descend in the air, that the saints will be raptured in the air to meet Him, that Christ will preserve the saints with Him until the general conflagration and burning of the world is over, and that the saints will reign with Christ for a thousand years.
Further Pre-Tribulational views can be found in commentaries by Philip Doddridge (1702-1751), James MacKnight (1721-1800), and Thomas Scott (1747-1821). For final evidence Stitzinger mentions Morgan Edwards (1722-1795) who founded Rhode Island College (Brown University). He taught that 1,003.5 years will transpire between resurrections. He also associated the first resurrection with the rapture of 1Thess 4:17, occurring at least 3.5 years before the start of the millennium. He associated the meeting of believers with Christ in the air with John 14:2. He also saw believers disappearing during the time of the tribulation.
The conclusion of this brief overview of history is that Pre-Tribulationism was taught in the early church and throughout the intermediate period between then and the arrival of Darby in the 1800s. It also shows that at different points the Rapture doctrine was clearly stated, though not elaborated on, by prominent believers.
At the conclusion of this section it needs be stated that the mention, or lack thereof, in church history of any doctrine, past or presently taught, does neither validate nor invalidate that teaching as biblical. Such validation can only come from Scripture itself. The purpose of looking into church history is merely to see whether Darby was the first to mention the Rapture doctrine. The evidence mentioned supports the idea that it did not originate with him.
Since Darby (1800-1882), the Rapture position spread through evangelical Christianity by influence of the Plymouth Brethren and by a renewed interest in Bible prophecy. The Scofield Reference Bible (1909) played a significant role in popularizing the Rapture teaching. Much has been written since and many respected theologians are associated with the Pre-Tribulationist position. Just a few of these are; Arno C. Gaebelein, R. A. Torrey, Harry Ironside, John F. Strombeck, Lewis Sperry Chafer, J. Dwight Pentecost, John F. Walvoord, and Charles Ryrie. Dispensational Pre-Tribulationalism was expounded in almost every North American Bible institute, Bible College, and evangelical seminary during the 20th Century. It can easily be seen that it was a widely held position by rational and careful students of the Bible.

27 07 2011
Kenneth Sarver

Also you should be aware of what Charles Spurgeon says regarding Darby Bretherenism as found at http://nicenecouncil.com/media/display.pl?media_file=45.

An except from this source in support of Darby’s spiritual pride rubbing off onto his followers, “No one ever saw a Darbyite at any of our Bible, or Missionary, or other Evangelical Society meetings. The Brethren look upon all other denominations, however evangelical in sentiment, and however high their standard of personal religion, as so largely infected with error in doctrine, as well as wrong in relation to church government, that they believe it would be sinful to associate with them for the promotion of religious ends. And this conviction, which is never absent from their minds, naturally has the effect of puffing them up with spiritual pride. Believing that they alone of all religious bodies have attained to the knowledge of the truth, it could hardly be otherwise than that they should look down on every other Christian sect with supreme pity, mingled, even according to the admission of some of their own number, with contempt.”

When you read what Spurgeon has to say, you understand that Darby had fatal errors in his preaching including error related to the atonement of Christ.

Furthermore, the spiritual pride present in Darby’s day persist today in modern day dispensationalist. For example, Harold Camping (the man with the May 21st rapture date). Granted he has many errors unique to his teachings. Nonetheless, many of his errors are based upon dispensational thought.

9 04 2012
Gavin

Spurgeon was a tremendously gifted preacher and a great blessing in many ways. But as a theologian…

9 04 2012
Gavin

So the perceived “pride” of “Darby-ism” somehow refutes the teaching on the Rapture. I don’t follow.

9 04 2012
Kenneth

Of course pride of someone does not refute a teaching, but it should be a strong warning against following his teachings without testing the spirit of his teaching; for only an exegetical studies of scripture led by the Spirit can do that. Does scriptural truth make one humble rather than prideful?

In general, a man’s pride gets in the way of many theologians from honestly testing their own belief systems. Ignorance breeds pride and pride breeds further ignorance. In my on case, my ignorance about what the rapture teaching really involved caused me to be mislead for most of my chrisitan life on that issue and many others. I thought I knew the Bible, and thus had no need to test this system or any other teaching that I was brought up in (my pride). Once, I finally listened to the Spirit, which was telling me to question the rapture, I began to study Scripture passionately and thus understand not just the fallacies with that theology, but the great truths of scripture on this matter and many others. I was humbled by what I learned, because I didn’t know how wrong I was.

Please give specifics about the issues you have with Spurgeon’s theology. And how did you test his theology against scripture?

27 07 2011
Kenneth Sarver

Yes. I agree that Pre-millenialism did exist. Today it exists in two forms dispensational premillenialism and historic premillenialism. There are major differences between these.

Okay, Lets look at what some of these people you quote as pre-tribulational rapturists as understood in the Darby and Ryrie groups of dispensationalism.

Joseph Mede, although he is a premillenialist, he certainly would not agree with the Darby’s brand of premillenialism. Charles H. H. Wright quotes Mede in his book Daniel and His Prophecies as saying The great Joseph Mede long ago remarked that ” the Jews expected Christ to come when He did come, and
yet knew Him not when He was come, because they
fancied the manner and quality of His coming like some
temporal monarch with armed power to subdue the earth
before Him. So the Christians, God’s second Israel,
looked [expected that] the coming of Antichrist should
be at that time when he came indeed, and yet they knew
him not when he was come ; because they had fancied
his coming as of some barbarous Tyrant who should with
armed power not only persecute and destroy the Church
of Christ, but almost the world ; that is, they looked for
such an Antichrist as the Jews looked for a Christ”
(Mede’s Works, p. 647); (Wright, p. 16). Mede believed Antichrist had already come during his time, this is not consistent with Darby’s views. At least you would have to remove him from your list of historical evidence of Darby’s view of the rapture.

As for the other individuals named, I’ll need more time to look at my past research. But for now it will suffice to say that many who are claimed by dispensationalist as historical evidence of their view do not meet the criteria to be classified as a dispensationalist. Ryrie makes it clear in several of his books that in order to be classified as a dispensationalist you must believe their is a distinct division between the church (spiritual Israel) and physical Israel. If you can demonstrate that these men before Darby believed this, then your case may be valid.

13 05 2012
Rod Otico

Hi Gavin,

I maybe a Johnny come lately here but would like to have my take on the historical claims of Dispensational Premillennianism.

My purpose:
In the continuing discussion over the controversial issue of eschatology, I would like to input & share some info that I happened to bumped into while googling & net searching and hoping you will all find interesting.

The following write up is based on the interaction of two theologians regarding the historical authencity of Dispensational Premillennianism as claimed and taught by Professor Charles Ryrie in the classroom of Dallas Theological Seminary.

The Background:
“Dallas Seminary has usually been thought of as the world center for dispensationalism. In 1977, Canadian Alan Patrick Boyd wrote a ThM thesis for the Historical Theology Department called “A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death of Justin Martyr). 1977 was also the year I(Tommy Ice) entered Dallas Seminary, where I too majored in Historical Theology under Dr. Edwin C. Deibler and Dr. John D. Hannah, who were the graders of Boyd’s thesis.” (The Thomas Ice Collection: “Allan P. Boyd, Premillennialism, and the Post Apostolic Fathers” {Dispensational Distinctives,Vol. II, No.3; May-June 199}

Using Alllan Patrick Boyd’s 1977 ThM thesis for the Historical Theology Department , entitled: “A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death of Justin Martyr)” (with heavy reference to the ancient sources in the original Greek and Latin) , the two authors/theologians, Tommy Ice (Dispensational Premil) & Ken Gentry(Postmil & Reformed) traded ideas and compared notes.

The Purpose of Boyd’s thesis:
As for the purpose of the Thesis of Alan Patrick Boyd, Kenneth Gentry writes:
“The first words of the actual text of Boyd’s thesis opens with an offending citation drawn from Ryrie’s The Basis of the Premillennial Faith (1953): ‘Premillennialism is the historic faith of the Church’ (p. 1). Boyd comments: ‘The purpose of this thesis is to determine the historical validity of this statement within the context of the patristic writings spanning the post-apostolic era until the death of Justin Martyr. In other words, the purpose of this thesis is to determine whether Dr. Ryrie’s ‘premillennialism’ is similar to, or dissimilar to, the premillennialism exhibited in some of the patristic writings under consideration (pp. 1-2).’ “

Further,Boyd notes that “it is very evident that a vital aspect of Dr. Ryrie’s millennial apologetic is based upon patristic eschatological thought. . . . The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether the reputed historical foundation for his premillennialism really exists” (p. 1, n1). {Kenneth GentryDispensationalism in Transition:1992, vol. Vol.8 }

Findings & Conclusion of Alan Patrick Boyd’s thesis as delved into & communicated by Tommy Ice & Ken Gentry:

A) Re: The early church Father’s eschatological position
#1) Ken Gentry writes: “In his conclusion,….. APB declares….: ‘It is the conclusion of this thesis that Dr. Ryrie’s statement is historically invalid within the chronological framework of this thesis’ (p. 89). All that lies between these two statements is carefully presented, tightly-argued truth, based on the writings of Clement of Rome, the author of 2 Clement, Barnabas, Didache, Ignatius, Hermas, Polycarp, Aristides, and Justin Martyr. He even includes the writing of the Gnostic heretic Cerinthus ‘since he was an early premillennialist’ (p. 14), and ‘indisputably’ so (p. 41).” {Kenneth GentryDispensationalism in Transition:1992, vol. Vol.8 }
#2) After his phone conversation w/ Allan Patrick Boyd, Tommy Ice relayed to Kenneth Gentry: “Boyd is not saying that the early church was not Chiliastic or premillennial, instead the thrust of his thesis was to say that they were not like the modern or dispensational premillennialists; but that while still Chiliastic, the seeds of, not dispensationalism, but amillennialism are found in the fathers.” (Tommy Ice, The Thomas Ice Collection)
Commenting further on APB’s conclusion, Tommy Ice writes:“On the Preface of his book, Boyd wrote:’It is the present conviction of this writer that there was a rapid departure from New Testament eschatological truth in the early patristic period. Therefore, it warrants the writer little concern that there are no roots of dispensational premillennialism in that period, but instead the roots of both post-tribulationism and amillennialism….. it warrants little concern that there is evident post-tribulationism and seminal amillennialism in these patristic writings…’ “ (The Thomas Ice Collection: “Allan P. Boyd, Premillennialism, and the Post Apostolic Fathers” {Dispensational Distinctives,Vol. II, No.3; May-June 1992})
#3) Ending his concluding remarks, Tommy Ice writes: “Boyd’s historical evaluation that the premillennialism of the early church contained ‘the roots of both post-tribulationism and amillennialism’ (Preface) support Walvoord. I would contend that because the premillennialism of the early church was not dispensational;…” “ (The Thomas Ice Collection: Dispensational Distinctives,Vol. II, No.3; May-June 1992)

B) Re: The early church Father’s position on Prophetic hermeneutics:
#1) “Unfortunately for the historical argument, a key concept – a sine qua non – of dispensationalism is the literal interpretation of prophecy….This is unfortunate because, according to Boyd, ‘there is not a great deal of evidence in this period as to how these writers/writings interpreted prophecy’ (P. 145). This fundamental principle of dispensational theology, upon which the weight of the whole complex system rests, lacks evidence from history.”

“Specifically, Boyd notes that 1 Clement, who is not a premillennialist, though claimed so by many Dallas dispensationalists, “did not apply consistently literal interpretation to Old Testament prophecies” (p. 46).
#2) “In the case of Barnabas, Boyd writes that ‘he interprets prophecy allegorically (e.g., 6:1-19; 9:8; 10:1 -112; 16:1 -10)” (p. 46).’in fact, he specifically designates the Church to be the heir of the covenantal promises made to Israel (4:6-7; 13:1-6; 14:4-5)” (p. 47).”
#3) As noted by Ken Gentry, Boyd writes: “a consistently applied literal interpretation and a distinction between Israel and the Church are missing” and “there is no concept of dispensations . . .at all” (p. 49). What is worse, “as far as being premillennialist, the best that can be said is that Cerinthus was one”(P. 50). “Nor can 1 Clement, 2 Clement, Barnabas, nor Ignatius be claimed as chiliasts/premillennarians. . . .“ (p.50, nl ). Thus, he concludes, “it is quite evident that traces of modern pre-tribulational, dispensational premillennialism simply did not exist in the immediate post-apostolic period”(p. 5 0 ) . ” SHERLOCK HOLMES’ DOG THAT DIDN’T BARK’’(Part 2 of a series on Boyd’s DTS Thesis)1992

C) Re: the early church Father’s position on Israel and the Church
As for the early church Father’s position on Israel and the Church, Ken Gentry writes: “Uh, oh! Now we run into serious trouble. Not only is diifficult to discover the fundamental/ tenet of Iiteralism held among the Apostolic Fathers, but the second most important dogma of dispensationalism is also absent. This should be most distressing for dispensational apologists, for according to Ryrie: ‘A dispensationalist keeps Israel and the Church distinct. . . . This is probably the most basic theological test of whether or not a man is a dispensationalist, and it is undoubtedly the most practical and conclusive.’13 Yet according to Boyd, ‘the majority of writers/writings in this period completely identify Israel with the Church ‘(p. 47). First, Clement ‘finds the fulfillment of prophecy concerning Israel (Deut. 32:5) in the Church’ (1 Clement 3:1) (p. 47). Second, Clement is guilty of ‘completely merging the identity of the two (2:1; cf. 2:2-3; 3:5)’ (p. 47). ‘Barnabas identifies Israel with the Church by emphatically asserting that the Church has taken Israel’s place in God’s program (2:4-6, 9; 3:6; 4:6-7, 8; 5:2; 6:13-15; 7:5; 13:1, 3,5-6; 14:4-5)’ (pp. 47-48). Indeed, ‘the promise made to the patriarchs is fulfilled in the Church, not in their descendants’ (p. 48, nl ). The Didache also is guilty of ‘merging the identity of Israel and the Church (cf. 14:2,3)’ (p. 46). “SHERLOCK HOLMES’ DOG THAT DIDN’T BARK’’(Part 2 of a series on Boyd’s DTS Thesis)1992

Summary of APB’s findings:

1) Charles Ryrie’s claim that the historical eschatological position held by the early church fathers was “Premillennialism” (of Dispensational variety) was found not to be true at all. Not even roots nor seeds of Dispensationalism were to be found by Boyd. Rather, the Premillennialism of the early church contained “the roots of both post-tribulationism and amillennialism”-which hardly resemble the Premillennianism of Ryrie. (Preface) .(Ken Gentry’s Dispensationalism in Transition:1992, vol. Vol.8/ The Thomas Ice Collection: Dispensational Distinctives,Vol. II, No.3; May-June 1992)

2) The Ancient Premillennialism of the early church has no similarities with the modern Dispensational Premillennialism. The ancient one is a form of Premillennialism with the roots both of postribulationism and amillennialism. Chilliastic yes, but not dispensational.It is in this context that the unqualified claim of Ryrie about the historical authenticity of his modern Premillennialism was found to be without strong historical foundation & veracity. ( Ken Gentry’s Dispensationalism in Transition:1992, vol. Vol.8 / The Thomas Ice Collection: Dispensational Distinctives,Vol. II, No.3; May-June 1992)

3) The Early church Fathers do not employ consistent literalism as their hermeneutics.

4) As it appeared to be historically, most of the early church Fathers were supersessionist. A case in point are the findings of Boyd as relayed by Ken Gentry: “…. Clement is guilty of ‘completely merging the identity of the two (2:1; cf. 2:2-3; 3:5)’ (p. 47). ‘Barnabas identifies Israel with the Church by emphatically asserting that the Church has taken Israel’s place in God’s program (2:4-6, 9; 3:6; 4:6-7, 8; 5:2; 6:13-15; 7:5; 13:1, 3,5-6; 14:4-5)’ (pp. 47-48). Indeed, ‘the promise made to the patriarchs is fulfilled in the Church, not in their descendants’ (p. 48, nl ). The Didache also is guilty of ‘merging the identity of Israel and the Church’ (cf. 14:2,3)” (p. 46). “SHERLOCK HOLMES’ DOG THAT DIDN’T BARK’’(Part 2 of a series on Boyd’s DTS Thesis)1992

The Challenge for Alan Patrick Boyd and how he respond to it

APB entered the Dallas Theological Seminary as a converted student of Pre-Trib Dispy Premil. After he was handed over an A grade by Dr. John A. Hannah for his 1977 ThM thesis for the Historical Theology Department called “A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death of Justin Martyr), he got converted to post-trib, non-dispensational Premillennialism.

APB is in Canada now where he resides & practices his pastoral calling. (Ken Gentry’s Dispensationalism in Transition:1992, vol. Vol.8 / The Thomas Ice Collection: Dispensational Distinctives,Vol. II, No.3; May-June 1992).

END

27 07 2011
Kenneth Sarver

Yes. I agree that Pre-millenialism did exist. Today it exists in two forms dispensational premillenialism and historic premillenialism. There are major differences between these.

Okay, Lets look at what some of these people you quote as pre-tribulational rapturists as understood in the Darby and Ryrie groups of dispensationalism.

Joseph Mede, although he is a premillenialist, he certainly would not agree with the Darby’s brand of premillenialism. Charles H. H. Wright quotes Mede in his book Daniel and His Prophecies as saying The great Joseph Mede long ago remarked that ” the Jews expected Christ to come when He did come, and
yet knew Him not when He was come, because they
fancied the manner and quality of His coming like some
temporal monarch with armed power to subdue the earth
before Him. So the Christians, God’s second Israel,
looked [expected that] the coming of Antichrist should
be at that time when he came indeed, and yet they knew
him not when he was come ; because they had fancied
his coming as of some barbarous Tyrant who should with
armed power not only persecute and destroy the Church
of Christ, but almost the world ; that is, they looked for
such an Antichrist as the Jews looked for a Christ”
(Mede’s Works, p. 647); (Wright, p. 16). Mede believed Antichrist had already come during his time, this is not consistent with Darby’s views. At least you would have to remove him from your list of historical evidence of Darby’s view of the rapture.

As for the other individuals named, I’ll need more time to look at my past research. But for now it will suffice to say that many who are claimed by dispensationalist as historical evidence of their view do not meet the criteria to be classified as a dispensationalist. Ryrie makes it clear in several of his books that in order to be classified as a dispensationalist you must believe their is a distinct division between the church (spiritual Israel) and physical Israel. If you can demonstrate that these men before Darby believed this, then your case may be valid.

28 07 2011
Kenneth Sarver

Regarding Morgan Edwards as evidence for pre-trib rapture as Darby teaches, this is debated by Dave Macpherson. His argument indicates that Morgan Edwards was actually held to historicism (like most of the reformers) not futurism (like Darby). Consistent with this view is his identifying the Turkish or Ottoman empire as the beast coming from the earth and his identification of the antichrist as the papacy. Macpherson is quoting from Thomas McKibbens and Kenneth Smith “The Life and Works of Morgan Edwards” pages 14, 20 (http://www.moresureword.com/MacPherson.htm).

If the Turkish empire was the beast coming from the earth, then the tribulation described in Revelation began centuries ago according to Edwards (not a pure futurist as dispensationalism requires).

John L. Bray has some interesting observations about the book Morgan’s supposed support of the pre-trib view comes from located at http://www.theologue.org/PTR-JLBray.html.

Of course, I will need to view the original sources to verify these observations as well as to verify the men you quote. Original sourcing is the only way I know to avoid authors who may be misquoted.

16 08 2011
Bruce McKerras

I read the above posts with interest. Very good comments
In my Bible study, putting side all preconceived notions and Church teachings, it is clear that there is no ‘rapture’ as promoted by pre, mid or post tribbers.
There may be a spiritual rising to meet Jesus as He comes down to earth. The people who have survived the Great Trib. are those who say “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord”.
You may be interested in a Bible study that I have prepared on our times.
It is LOGOS TELOS – The Word About the End Times. Available FREE at;
http://www.logostelos.info
Enjoy!

30 12 2011
John Doe

rapture is one of the greatest deceptions satan has ever conjured. we know that Jesus Christ foretold us all things so 1. where did Christ teach rapture?
2. Jesus can’t lie so when He says the tares are gathered first in Matt 13 He was telling us the truth. 3. we meet Christ in the air/spirit just as paul wrote a WHOLE chapter about in I cor 15. some pass over the fact paul said we ALL change..when? at the LAST trump…now let’s see when is the last trump? 7th trump. 4. the deadly part of the rapture being confused with the 1st gathering of tares is when satan is cast out of heaven he will transform/disguise himself and his ministers into angels of light/false Christs
( I cor 11)who will come with great signs and lying wonders (II Thess 2). both Jesus Christ in matt 24 luke 21 and mark 13 and paul in I thess 4 II thess 2 and I cor 11 and 15, daniel, etc say the exact thing…..antiChrist comes first as false spurious Messiah and will sit in the temple proclaiming to be God (abomination of desolation) and many will fall away and take the mark of the beast by belief into their foreheads and do his work (mark in the hand)

this is the great falling away of those fooled by the false cheap disguise of satan when Christ tells us He comes after the tribulation. satan as antiChrist will come at the 6th trump 6th seal 6th viol True and Just comes at the last trump – after the trib, after the antiChrist, and we all change into spiritual bodies.

the dead rise first why of course they do, when the saved die we resurrect to Christ (as lazarus went to the place of the righteous dead) we that are alive and remain can’t precede them because they are already there for Christ brings them back with Him. (I thess 4 13-18) these are the saints we see in heaven in revelations, they have not raptured but died and resurrected.(paul says we must believe in the resurrection of the dead if we believe in Christ’s resurrection…and we’d better!)

those who take the mark of beast/belief think the false Messiah is really Christ, so they will betray their own families and friends to satan…when true Christ comes to reveal satan as spurious messiah and destroy the office of antiChrist and false prophet with the brightness of His coming at the last trump (I cor 15:30-54) after the tribulation (matt 24:28-31)He will send His angels to “gather together the elect” <–this is what we must wait for or perish with the tares gathered first by the first harvester coming in the clouds with great lying signs.

preachers who teach rapture should read Eze 13 where Father says He is against those who teach His children to fly to save their souls and

I thess 5

2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

John 17:15
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Christ returns I thess 4:16 Matt 24:30
from heaven 4:16 24.30
with a shout 4:16 24:30 (in power)
with angels 4:16 24:31
w/sound of God's trumpet 4:16 24:31
believers gathered 4:17 24:31, 40-41
in the clouds 4:17 24:30 matt 25:1,6
(we change into spiritual bodies at the last trump I Cor 15)
unknown day or hour I thess 5:1-2 matt 24:36
as a thief I thess 5:2-4 24:43
unbelievers unaware 5:3 24:4-5,25
woman in travail 5:3 24:8
believers are to watch (for last trump) 5:6 24:42,25
warning against drunkenness 5:7 matt 24:49

Matthew Revelations
warning to the elect 24:4 22:19
1st seal 24:5 6:1-2
2nd seal 24:6 6:3-4
3rd seal 24:7 6:5-6
4th seal 24:9,21 6:7-8
5th seal 24:9,22 6:9-11
apostasy— II thess 2/false Christs/antiChrist leads many astray as false Messiah

6th seal 24:9 6:12-17

Christ returns and the Gathering Together Matt 24:29-31 rev 7:9-14
zec 14, I thess 4, II thess 2 (after antiChrist/after falling away)

I hope those who scoff will take the time to realize how could satan come and gather the tares easily as himself? not many would gather to him knowingly. so he transforms himself and comes as a lying indian summer wind, as a warm time in winter tricks some fruit into letting go early. (pray your flight be not in winter…out of season) how worse it will be for those who lead people to satan and the Wrath of God. they will endure 1000 yrs of torment worse than hell.
Wrath rev 8:1-7

God bless those who have eyes to see and ears to hear your truth and take this oil of truth into their lamps that they may shine when the darkness comes.

30 12 2011
John Doe

to those who say the church isn’t mentioned after a rev 3, they should note the 2 candlesticks (Smyrna and Philadelphia) = rev 1:12-13,20 2:1 11:4
church= 1:4,11,20 2:1,7,8,11,12,17,18,23,29 3:1,6,7,13,14,22 22:16
saints= 5:8 8:3-4,11:18,13:7,13:10 14:12 15:3 16:6 17:6 18:24 19:8 20:9
brethren= rev 6:11 12:10 19:10 22:9
bride=rev 18:23 21:2, 9 22:17
fellowservants =6:11

the saints in heaven are obviously the resurrected saints who have and will die, who return with Christ (I thess 4:13-18), we that are alive and remain will also change and join them in the spirit/air/breath (all that are alive and remain..including the unsaved) the unsaved in the graves will come out of the graves also. we will all be in the spiritual body at the return of true Christ. when satan comes before this in a false return we will not all change. this is a indicator of the false one as apostate messiah/antiChrist

all corruption=flesh must put on incorruption=spirit however not all mortals=able to die souls (still able to die spiritually/final death) will have put on immortality=Jesus Christ. the dead(spiritually) will remain dead (spiritually) until the 1000yrs of Wrath is over and satan is loosened to gather them one last time for final destruction unless they make it in the second resurrection. (the reason satan isn’t just destroyed with his offices of antiChrist and false prophet when Christ returns after the tribulation and we are gathered at the last 7th trump.

it’s a very interesting and important study that leads one to know the truth that satan has entered the church and twisted the gospel and has people looking for his coming as if he were Christ (instead of Christ/antiChrist)
that’s the separation of tares who believe the first apostate from the sheep/good virgins/bride/elect/saints who wait for the Last trump and for the abomination of desolation to occur. pastors please study this and seek the Spirit’s guidance as ultimately your responsible for your flocks and how silly it would be to put belief in pauls words above Jesus Christ.

13 03 2012
chuck

To believe the Rapture, I believe you have to read it into the text. One of the main text that christians use to explain the belief of the rapture is Matthew 24. My question is, how do christians that believe in the teaching of the rapture, jump from the topic of the destruction of the temple, to the future return of christ more than 2 thousand years and counting. The fulfillment of Matthew 24 was completed in 70 AD. It’s helpful to read, “The Jewish War by josephus” The letter of Revelations was to real churches, to explain what was going to happen when the roman would destroy the temple, which was God’s sign of the end of age of the Law, and the punishment towards national Israel (No temple, no sacrifices, no works salvation) Revelations, is kinda Gods divorce letter, for not being faithful, based on Deuteronomy 29-30 Revelations describes the curse on national Israel based on 28-29.There are a few people that teach and helped me understand this. The important part is the dating of the letter of Revelations. Kenneth Gentry who is an excellent teacher has an online series on this. http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?SpeakerOnly=true&currSection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev.%5EKen%5EGentry Check it out. Jesus told the disciples, that “this generation will not pass away until these things take place. (the topic he’s talking about is the temples destruction, during the life time of some of the disciples, not the end of the world) Keep an open mind, it took me a min also.

9 04 2012
Kenneth

Thanks Chuck for the link to Gentry’s sermons, he has very insightful things to say and has helped me as well. I would like to recommend Dr. C. Sam Storms, C.J. Mahaney, and G. K. Beale, who have helped me greatly as well, to you. A good website is http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/. Storms has a sermon about his pilgrimage from dispensationalism http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=22105145713.

Grace and peace to you. May the Spirit lead you to understanding preterism and biblical truth more and more as you grow in Christ.

9 04 2012
Gavin

Hi Chuck,
just a point to note – the Bible never teaches nor permits salvation by works to anyone. It’s always by grace through faith. This was true also for Israel in the age of the Law. The purpose of the law was to show them their need of salvation by grace through faith.

9 04 2012
Kenneth

Gavin,
If you would, I would like to hear your exegitical study of Matthew 24 and
1 Thessalonians 4 and 5. What justification is there exegitically for placing a GAP between th 69th and 70th week of Daniel? How many dispensations are there and what scripture teaches that there are said number of dispensations?

Note: I do believe there are dispensations in the Bible, but I do not believe dispensationalism. I believe there are two dispensations or ages. The Old Tesatment Age (age of symbols and types) and the New Testament Age (age of prophecy fulfillment, some in inaugurated form now and some in finalized form already). Dispensation comes form the Greek word for economy. From my studies economy basically comes down to organization of one’s household. So all a dispenstion is is how God organizes or arranges his household. I’ll expand more later.

10 04 2012
Kenneth

I think it would be prudent for you, my fellow Christians, to ask yourselves something the Spirit convicted me with while I was debating Calvinism with a good friend, i.e. Are you studying to prove your point (theology) or are you studying to be approved by God?

16 07 2012
Rapture ready? « Biblical Eschatology Blog

[...] Rapture? [...]

24 07 2012
jermaine

so every one who does not believe in a pre trib rapture is a legalist ??. that has nothing to do with legalism

24 08 2012
Rudy Brinkman

I have been reading trough this article and discussion with interest. I myself am a “modest” dispensationalist (i hold some ‘calvinist’ and ‘remonstrant’ views too,.. i won’t let myself be limited to a theological system!) and aware of the fact that there’s a lot of discussion about the rapture.

First: does it matter if someone believes in the rapture or not? My answer would be: No, not at all. It’s all about the future things. If it’s true, as i believe it is, everyone -even those that don’t believe it- will be taken up with Jesus as soon as He returns to gather his harvest. If it’s not true, .. well, we’ll see what happens than. As long as we know the Lord Jesus to be our Saviour, we are saved and save!

Second: the article has the facts wrong. When you wrote “The history of a rapture started out as a prophetic vision inspired by the emotional breakdown of a cultist, that then was picked up by emotional zealots and more cultists unconcerned for biblical truth” it’s obvious you’ve listened to people like Dave MacPherson. And his story is false. Look it up on Wikipedia or any other source; the whole Margaret McDonald story is incorrect. She didn’t even believe in a rapture herself, didn’t know about it and never talked about it. Another fact is, Darby wrote about the rapture in 1827. That was three years before Margaret McDonald’s “prophecy”. Her prophecy talked about “fiery trial which is to try us”. Not about the rapture. As someone wrote: “If MacDonald was the founder of the pretribulation rapture, as most anti-rapture proponents say, then someone needs to explain why rapturists have failed to give her credit.” – furthermore in an essay published in 1788 in Philadelphia by the Baptist Morgan Edwards he articulated the concept of a pre-tribulation rapture (see Wikipedia). That’s a long time before McDonald, Darby or even Irving talked about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapture

Third http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse_of_Pseudo-Ephraem this of course is said to be ‘no proof’ since the later text (in Latin) only supports the rapture, but it does show the teaching to be known in the late 7th century.

Finally.. not only do 1 Thess 4:13-18, 1 Cor 15:51-53 and John 14:3 support a rapture theory, there’s also Rev. 14:12-16 (ASV)
Here is the patience of the saints, they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard the voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them. And I saw, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud I saw one sitting like unto a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the temple, crying with a great voice to him that sat on the cloud, Send forth thy sickle, and reap: for the hour to reap is come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud cast his sickle upon the earth; and the earth was reaped.

This is the First Harvest. After that, we read about the 2nd Harvest; the harvest to be cast “into the winepress, the great winepress, of the wrath of God”.

So it’s obvious to me, that there certainly will be a ‘rapture’. The Lord Himself will gather the harvest. And that harvest will be all the Saints.

PS. i noticed several people here claiming that later in Revelation we see the Church. We don’t see it, it’s what you make out of it (symbolism). I assume you can’t read Dutch but the verses are noted. Here’s an outline of Revelation that has cost me months of study to create:
http://bijbelcollege.nl/downloads/ibc_download/schema_openbaringen.pdf
http://bijbelcollege.nl/downloads/ibc_download/schema_openbaringen2.pdf

24 08 2012
biblicaleschatology

Hi Rudy, thank-you for your honest seeking for real ‘true Truth.’

The point is that Jesus is coming back! The ‘means’ He does is not the point, it is that He is, and it will be more incredible than anyone could ever imagine. He comes to restore, heal, judge, renew not to vacate us… 2 Pet. 3

First, I to do not fit a theological pigeon hole, although I am a Reformed pastor, I try to only to look to Scripture and site the best reliable and truthful rescores for further investigation. We site these people because this is what other uses to site their proof… Bottom-line what does the Bible actually teach, context, actual word meanings inductive analyses, esp what did that term(s) mean to a 1st century Jew and Roman, not what I want it to mean for me today, then draw appropriate and effectual applications from the Text of God’s most holy Word.…..

Yes this does not matter! You are very right. However, too many people spend too much passionate time on meaningless trivialities and borders on false teaching and distracts people away from true Truth… also it is like arguing about which kind of mustard to put on the hot dog, while missing the world series. With end times we need to focus on Christ not nonsense and what He says in Matt 24…

“the facts wrong” No, we are very careful with our facts, they are correct to the best of our scholarly sources, see our references and citations or go to any quality seminary library…

I am not familiar with “Dave MacPherson” would not waste my time…we only site real scholarly vetted resources…

“Margaret McDonald” has been well documented but not important to the argument… she is just a “red herring” why she is sited…

“Darby wrote about the rapture in 1827” no proof, citations are from second hand sources, even if it were true, it could be, he has proven himself as a false teacher and a very sloppy exegete, not to mention a prideful megalomaniac, and see how God feels about that by looking up pride…

Yes there are other people who alluded to a rapture by mistaking Hebrew and Roman military language such as Morgan Edwards, all were discredited and shamed by their poor scholarship.

wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapture This site gets a lot wrong because anyone can contribute and many of those sources are false or 2nd and 3rd hand information not real scholarship, it would get and F in any grad school class….

“Ephraem” is dealing with Christ’s second coming and God’s judgment, if one reads in context and understands Latin “cloud” and “sickle” meant judgment not flying up in the air …

I hope I do not sound harsh, I am not, I appreciate your time to commit, I would suggest you read the rest of the articles or go here for more support.

http://www.churchleadership.org/pages.asp?pageid=67280 also a critique on Dating of the Book of Revelation that is unbiased…

Also the passage you site most we covered, 1 Cor 15:51-53 and John 14:3 we are in process of exegeting these….

There will be a second coming where we will meet Christ and judgment and a new earth….

Be blessed!

Phil 1:6

10 07 2013
John

I’m a new kid on the block and have read very interesting views on the rapture
John

10 07 2013
John

I like to make some personal views on the rapture, do I believe in it, yes.
I like to start with the early Church fathers as it is mentioned above.
That they not mentioned the rapture, is not an indication that the rapture is not going to happen.
I like to go even earlier in time, before the Church fathers.
In Revelation 2 and 3, the seven Churches, six of them who get a slap on the wrist from our Lord and only one, The Lord was pleased with, the Philadelphia church.
Don’t say, as I have heard before, ” it were the Churches of that time”.

The Church in Ephesus – The loveless Church
The Church in Smyrna – The persecuted Church
The Church in Pergamum – The compromising Church
The Church in Thyatira – The corrupt Church
The Church in Sardis – The dead Church
The Church in Laodicea – The lukewarm Church
The Church in Philadelphia – The faithful Church, The Lord was pleased with.

I’m sure that in this time those same Churches exist, it is easy to put Churches of this time in one of them mentioned above.

The Lord promised the Philadelphia a great thing, mentioned in Rev. 3: 10
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently , I will keep you from the hour of trail that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

Which ” trail ” ? The seven years of tribulation.

A time of distress, never happened before.

Mark 13 : 19 , because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now and never to be equaled again.

Revelation 9:6,
During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

Zephaniah 1:15,
That day will be a day of wrath,
A day of distress and anguish,
A day of trouble and ruin,
A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and blackness.

Besides other Bible verses who are pointing to the rapture, I believe the rapture is going to happen.
As The Lord said to the Philadelphia Church, ” I will keep you from it “, not ” I will get you through it “

10 07 2013
John

Why is my post removed ???
John

28 12 2013
biblicaleschatology

If it was it was a mistake, sorry, repost, thank-you…. be blessed

10 07 2013
Bruce McKerras

I agree that there is no pretrib rapture, just a ‘meeting in the clouds’, when Jesus Returns. Those who cling to the pretentious notion of being ‘whisked away’ when the trouble starts, because they are church members, will be in for a nasty shock. The verse in Luke 21:36 are often translated as ‘escape all these things’ and is used to prove a rapture. Sadly, this is a mis-translation; the correct rendering is ‘pass safely through what is to come’. Anyway to previous verse totally refutes a removal of anyone; ‘ that Day will come upon everyone, the whole world over’.
Bruce at logostelos.info

11 07 2013
John

To bad you don’t understand what The Lord is saying to the Philadelphia Church. Of course being a member of a Church don’t keep you from the hour of wrath. To keep His commands and endure patiently that is the key.
To say that there are mistranslations in the Bible, I think that is a loose statement. Bible translators will be doomed,
Revelation 22: 19, And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God wil take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

You stop short of Luke 21: 36,
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.

What a wonderful promise our Lord gives us. He is not a Lord of confusen.

20 08 2013
Bruce McKerras

Belief in false teaching, leading to a fixed mindset of wrong ideas:
The prime example of a false teaching is the pre-tribulation rapture. This idea denies many Scriptures that say; all will be tested, 1 Peter 4:12, Luke 21:35. This leads to a careless attitude toward prophecy. If you believe you are good enough and sufficiently holy to be taken directly to heaven, in the same way as Enoch and Elijah, then you will be judged for judging yourself. Humility and trust in the Lord’s saving grace, Isaiah 30:15, must be our attitude, not a comfortable belief of removal from the earth to avoid any perceived difficulties. Note: John 17:15 Jesus asks for protection, not removal.
2 Peter 2:1-3 In the past, there were false prophets among the people, just as now you will have false teachers. They will promote their theories and speculations, twisting Scripture to suit their fanciful notions. Many will follow their sheer fabrications and credulous people will make them rich and famous, but judgement waits for them: a long prepared destruction will fall upon their heads.
Jeremiah 23:16-17 The Lord says: Do not listen to your false prophets, who give you false hope and voice their own fancies, it is not the Lord’s Words they speak. They say: ‘prosperity will be yours’ and to all who follow their devious beliefs: ‘No harm will befall you’.
Isaiah 29:9-12 The Lord says: I will place My spirit of mis-understanding upon all those who are ‘drunk, but not with wine’ [that is: who allow themselves to be fooled by false teachings], so it becomes impossible for them to see the truth. Isaiah 8:16

21 08 2013
Neonblack50@hotmail.com

Revelation is just a divorce letter to the Jewish nation, for being an unfaithful wife, based on Deuteronomy 28-30 it’s the curses because of breaking the covenant agree. John vision, is telling them of the coming judgement, which was fulfilled in 70ad of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, which Jesus predicted in Matt 24.

24 11 2013
Paul

For the sake of many who read this thread all we who believe in the name of Jesus Christ will be saved. We spend way to much time pointing out others who believe this or that and not enough time doing the research as in reading the bible. I am not an educated man in a college sense but have degree of common sense when it comes to scripture. When it says “It is written” that is Gods truth. Paul wrote of a resurrection of Christ and a resurrection of believers in 1 Cor: 15. Christ is the only being ever to have a physical bodily resurrection, and we are going to have a Spiritual Bodily resurrection. Corruptible vs Incorruptible is the statement and fact here in scripture. Corruptible cannot inherit Incorruptible, therefore our body cannot be in the presence of God in any state except it be changed and made Incorruptible through Christ alone. That cannot happen until this body dies and we face God in Judgment with Christ as our advocate. Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

We all will die first before Christ returns to us and then we will meet him in the air, our resurrection of a spiritual body, Incorruptible, to be in the presence of God almighty for eternity.

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