Monthly Archives: February 2011
Dispensational Thought #5 (part 3) : The Rapture of the church is not mentioned by name in the Bible, so why do many people believe in it?
Please read parts 1 & 2 prior to this piece so that you will be up to speed on what we have discussed thus far. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Let’s dwell a bit upon the Church and her whereabouts during the tribulation. First off, yes, I believe there will be a literal 7-year tribulation period. Why else would God communicate all of the information to John if He were not serious about it? To spiritualize the book of the Revelation to the point of rendering it meaningless is a grave and dangerous error. And another thing, the events of the tribulation period have not occurred before upon this earth. Please do not get caught up in spiritual mystery novels & religious science fiction. The Bible is to be taken literally unless it is obviously speaking in hyperbole or metaphor.
God mentions protecting the Church (Philadelphia) from the ‘hour of trial’ that will come upon the entire earth. Many believe the letters to the churches represent not only literal churches that actually existed but also types of ages that the Church will go through. Some may argue against this tack but, even if this method is not the correct way to deal with the material concerning the letters to the churches, there remains throughout the Bible adequate reason to support the rapture of God’s Church prior to the tribulation period.
So where is the Church? In chapter4, John gets translated into Heaven to watch the events of the end unfold. Some have claimed that this represents the rapture but it does not. The act of John getting translated into Heaven was exactly that. He gets taken into Heaven to see the events that will unfold before him. Last time, I mentioned that when he gets there, he sees a great multitude dressed in white robes and is told that these were taken out of great tribulation (Rev 7). Similar Greek wording for ‘taken out’ is used for how these people get to Heaven as compared to the wording for the church of Philadelphia’s being kept from the hour of great trial back in chapter 3. The people in chapter 7 are most likely people who are saved and martyred during the tribulation period. These people made a transition from living on earth to living in Heaven. The similar wording with chapter 3 would suggest that the chapter 3 people made a transition as well.
Notice in chapters 4 & 5 when John goes into Heaven, he sees 24 elders worshipping God. When the Lamb of God (Jesus) appears to open the title deed to God’s Creation, the elders worship Him and sing a song of redemption to Him. Notice in chapter 5 how they sing that Jesus has redeemed them with His blood. Exactly whom has Jesus redeemed with His blood. ONLY THOSE WHO ARE SAVED a.k.a. the Church. No one can sing a song of personal redemption except those who are personally redeemed. This represents the Church being in Heaven at the time that John arrives to witness the events of the end.
This group cannot be redeemed Israel since the nation is not yet redeemed. The tribulation saints are yet to be mentioned (chapter 7). Since there is no mention of the Church anywhere else in Revelation during the tribulation period, the 24 elders must represent the complete body of the redeemed that were taken into Heaven prior to the beginning of the tribulation period.
So, this area of scripture tells us about the Church’s location during the tribulation. Chapter 7 talks about the sealing of 144,000 of the tribes of the children of Israel in order for them to be able to do God’s work during the tribulation period. Next, the tribulation martyrs are mentioned. So, if the church is still on earth, where is she mentioned? Nowhere. There is no reason at all to believe that the Church will ride out the tribulation on earth. The church will be otherwise occupied singing redemption’s song before the throne of God!
The entire Bible is a book about redemption. God has redeemed those who are saved via grace through faith in Christ. To think that God would allow His Church, the body of Christ, to ride out the tribulation period on earth with no mention of any type of protection mechanism or discussion of her duties or transition into Heaven is absurd. I am sorry but that is the truth. Please do not get caught up into fantasy stories about how this group is really another group and this time is really another time and this filter has to be used here and that filter has to be used there and so on… Just read the Bible and understand it as it was written! Praise God for his word!
Join me next time for more discussion.
Dispensational Thought #5 (part 2) : The Rapture of the church is not mentioned by name in the Bible, so why do many people believe in it?
There is no mention by name that the rapture will occur and no direct details on how or when it will occur in precision form. So what? There is also no mention of the law of gravity nor is there an explanation of how gravity works but does that mean there is no gravity on earth? Of course not.
The Truthinator believes in the Rapture for several reasons and I will begin with this one. I believe the Bible implies that God will keep His Church safe during the tribulation by removing her as opposed to keeping her safe in the midst of it. I see God keeping His remnant safe during such trials as the flood, lop-sided wars, lion’s dens, furnaces and so forth under the old covenant. He indeed preserved His people through many horrific events.
When Christ died (gave up His spirit) on the cross, the temple veil was torn through from top to bottom. Everything would change. God would now deal with a Church (Body of Christ) that would be composed of recipients of grace under a new covenant. Jews, Gentiles, slave, free, rich, poor, fat, slim, and you get the picture. Christ rose, appeared to many, ascended, and sat down at the right hand of the Father sending the Holy Spirit to indwell believers!
This is a totally new way of interacting with His people. Now, when we look at Revelation 3:10 where God promises to keep the church of Philadelphia ( a real church and a type of church) out of the hour of trial that is due to come upon the entire world, the Greek word Ek is used for “out” . Ek has several forms and each form connotes action resulting in removal from a place of origin or movement from a beginning point. God did not promise to keep them through the world-wide trial that was coming. A possible word for keeping them safe throughout the great trial could have been ‘di’ or ‘dia’ among others. He could have said that He would keep them safe during or throughout the trial but He did not. He promised to keep them out of the coming world-wide trial.
Also look at Rev 7. God seals 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes of Israel. What did He do for the Church? Nothing because the Church is no longer on earth (IMHO). Look at verses that follow. John sees a multitude of every nation and type arrayed in white robes. The angel later tells John that these are the ones who came out of the great constriction or trial. The Greek word, Ek, is used again. Also notice that John gets translated into Heaven and the Church is already there… and they were taken out of the great trial that would be world-wide. Pretribulation rapture!
Ok, that is enough for today. What I have told you thus far is not an exhaustive treatment of the issue. I will continue next time with more of my thoughts on the issue. Am I dogmatic on this issue? Well, yes & no. I thoroughly believe what I have told you but I concede to you that there is room for discussion. More tomorrow…
Thanks for your viewership thus far, the numbers for these posts have been huge! Please respond if you wish.
Dispensational Thought #5 (part 1) : The Rapture of the church is not mentioned in the Bible, so why do many people believe in it?
This is part one of probably several posts that will talk about the rapture. First of all, there are no verses or chapters that tell us about the rapture directly. As a matter of fact, I do not believe any verses directly address the rapture. Many Dispensationalists will disagree with me on this but that is OK. I just do not see where there is a lesson on the rapture in scripture of a direct nature. So, why do I believe there will be a rapture? Great question.
Let me digress for a moment and I will begin to answer the question in the 2nd part of this post series. It is critical to retain proper thinking when interpreting scripture. You can NEVER pull a verse and use it out of context with the chapter and book in which it is found. I will give you an example. Matthew 18:20 is often quoted prior to congregational prayer; however, the verse is in a section of a chapter that deals exclusively with church discipline! To say that God hears our prayers whenever two or more are gathered together misleads people into believing that God does not hear individual prayers and that prayers offered by groups are always superior to individual prayers which is never mentioned nor implied anywhere in scripture.
Another point to be made here is that the Bible often corroborates itself by reinforcing principles in more than one place within the body of scripture. Be careful of points of interest that seem to stand alone. Many think the rapture is such a point. They do not see it mentioned and do not see a corroboration anywhere else in scripture. Then why would I believe in such a concept as the rapture? Tune in next time for the beginning of my explanation.