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Vendor: Moody Publishers
Publication Date: 2015
Is the rapture still going to happen? And if so, when?
With contributing scholars from schools like Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, and The Masters Theological Seminary, Evidence for the Rapture is a convincing and thoroughly biblical case for the rapture.
This collection of exegetical essays looks at the rapture from a number of biblical angles: the words of Jesus in the Gospels, Pauls teachings in the epistles, and even prophetic and apocalyptic literature. In sound exegetical technique, the authors corroborate Scriptures main teachings on the end times to provide a trustworthy and concise treatment of a multi-faceted issue.
For the last several hundred years, the doctrine of a pretribulation rapture has been a fixture in many churches and institutions. Evidence for the Rapture is a fresh polish upon this long-standing doctrine.
Gary Cangelosi3 Stars Out Of 5They fail to take into consideration Jesuss prophecy concerning Peters martyrdom.April 5, 2018Gary CangelosiQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0The book is a collection of essays by 10 distinguished theologians within the premillennial camp. These essays collectively make the biblical case that although the physical return of Christ at the beginning of the millennium is preceded by many signs and preconditions (such as the seven-year Tribulation), the return of Christ to rapture the saints is an imminent event that can happen at any moment. The rapture is when Christ returns in the clouds like a thief, and the saints, whether asleep in the Lord or still alive, are resurrected and/or transformed into eternal bodies like Christs immortal body and are caught up into the clouds to meet Christ. According to these theologians, the raptured saints then ascend to heaven while the seven-year Tribulation unfolds on the earth. Christ then returns to this earth with the raptured saints at the battle of Armageddon to put an end to Satans regime and to usher in his 1,000-year messianic kingdom. Since the rapture is separate from Christs physical return to this earth, these theologians claim that the rapture could at any moment. It could happen today.
Proper Christian anticipation includes the imminent return of Christ. His coming will be sudden and unexpected, an any-moment possibility. This means that no divinely revealed prophecies remain to be fulfilled before that event (Thomas, p. 31).
The return of Christ could be at any moment; there are no signs or events that make it possible to predict when it will occur (Kreider, p. 82).
Since the rapture is a signless event, no predicted sign must first transpire before the rapture can occur (Woods, p. 195).
Paul believed the rapture was imminent (it could happen at any time). . . . In light of Pauls belief and expectation, . . . it may be fairly concluded that in 1 Thessalonians Paul taught a pretribulation rapture of the church (Zuber, p. 168).
The English word imminence means an event that can occur at any time. . . . Therefore, if pretribulationism is the correct New Testament teaching, it must be demonstrated biblically that the rapture will occur without warning and without signs that necessarily indicate its nearness (Thomas, p. 23).
These theologians agree that 1 Thessalonians 45 is the key text related to the any-moment rapture, and they each systematically work their way through numerous other Scriptures to reinforce their interpretation of Pauls teachings. They are very confident of this doctrine, and they seem to be issuing a challenge to anyone who can find a single prophetic event in the Scriptures that must occur before Christ comes again to rapture the saints.
I am sure these authors would agree with the historical-grammatical method of interpretation, such that in order for the rapture to be an imminent event for Christians today, Paul would have first intended to have taught that it was an imminent event for the Thessalonians to whom the letter was originally addressed. My challenge to their doctrine is a prophecy that they did not analyze or wrestle with in their essays. This omission is surprising given that they explore a wide range of verses relevant to their thesis. This text, however, provides irrefutable evidence of an unfulfilled prophecy at the time Paul wrote his letters to the Thessalonians that would have to be fulfilled before Christ returned to rapture the Thessalonians. The prophecy is described in the gospel of John when Christ was about to ascend to heaven. Christ informed Peter and the other disciples that before he comes again, Peter would live to an old age and would die a martyr:
Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go. (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God). . . . Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, . . . When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, Lord, what about this man? Jesus said to him, If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me! (John 21:1822).
Jesus taught that John could be alive when he comes again, not that he would be. But he informed the disciples that although Peter would live to be an old man, he would certainly die a martyrs death before he returned. John might live to see the day, but Peter would certainly be among the saints who would be asleep when Christ returned.
Peter lived to an old age, and he was martyred as Jesus prophesied, sometime around AD 6869 during the persecution initiated by Nero. But Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians around AD 51, about seventeen years before Peter was killed. In fact, Peter was only middle-aged at that time. In other words, Peter was very much alive when Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians. If Christ had returned in AD 51 to rapture the Thessalonian saints, then Peter would have still been living and only middle-aged when he was raptured, and one would have to conclude that Jesus was a false prophet for predicting that Peter would be among the dead when he returned. Of course, Jesus was not a false prophet.
Furthermore, the biblical record indicates that Paul knew that Peter was alive and well when he wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians in AD 51, for they were having regular contact. They were together at the Jerusalem Council around AD 50 when it was decreed that Gentiles who believed in the Jewish Messiah did not have to observe the Mosaic law of the Jews. In his first letter to the Corinthians written around AD 54, Paul referenced Peter as being alive when he includes Peter as one of the names used by the divisive factions in the church (1 Cor. 3:22). A decade later, Peter referenced Paul as a living brother in his second letter (2 Peter 3:1516), which was written while he was in Rome, sometime around AD 6467. In short, Paul knew that Peter was alive and well when he wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians describing the rapture. Until Peter was killed seventeen years later in AD 68, there was no way Christ could return to rapture the Thessalonian Christians.
On the other hand, if Paul had intended to teach that the rapture could occur at any moment with Peter still very much alive and only middle-aged, then he would have been a false teacher, for Christ clearly taught that Peter would be old and among the dead when he returned. Obviously, Paul was not a false teacher. Therefore, since Paul did not intend to teach that the rapture was an imminent event for the Thessalonian Christians to whom the letter was written, then, by extension, it was not intended to be understood as an imminent event by later generations who read his letter. The rapture would have to have been an imminent possibility for the Thessalonians in AD 51 in order for it to be interpreted as an imminent event for us today. Yet, these theologians boldly claim:
His coming will be sudden and unexpected, an any-moment possibility. This means that no divinely revealed prophecies remain to be fulfilled before that event (Thomas, p. 31).
Since the rapture is a signless event, no predicted sign must first transpire before the rapture can occur (Woods, p. 195).
The prophecy by Jesus of Peters death occurring before he returned, however, was a precondition and a divinely revealed prophecy that had to be fulfilled before Christ could come again to rapture the Thessalonians. If pretribulationism is true, then Paul was a false teacher. Based on this biblical data, pretribulationism is an obvious misinterpretation of Pauls teachings and therefore not a viable biblical doctrine.
The authors of this book attempt to examine every reference to the rapture of the saints in the New Testament, but they have overlooked several references in Peters two letters. These citations have typically not been understood as referring to the rapture of the saints when Christ returns. But these passages expose a major flaw with premillennialism itself which claims that Christ returns to this earth with the raptured saints at the beginning of the millennium. Peter never gave up hope for the restoration of Israel in the messianic kingdom, for Jesus had affirmed that one day the Father would restore the nation of Israel (Acts 1:67). It should be noted, however, that the 1,000-year messianic kingdom is a temporal kingdom on this perishable earth. According to Revelation, the eternal kingdom does not begin until after the millennium, when this earth perishes or is purged by fire, and Christ creates the eternal new heavens and new earth for the immortal sons of God.
Christ was the first man to be raised into an eternal body and to ascend to his Fathers eternal kingdom. Peter taught that our hope for an eternal embodied life on an eternal new earth is founded on Christs resurrection and ascension to heaven. We hope for a raptured, eternal body like his resurrected and ascended body when he returns to rapture us and take us to heaven. Peter taught:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead [we hope for a resurrection and ascension of an immortal body like Christs resurrected body], to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by Gods power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time [on the last day]. . . . set your hope [for an eternal body in an eternal kingdom] fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ [the second coming] (1 Peter 1:35, 13).
Peter may have looked forward to Christs earthly kingdom, but his first epistle focused on our eternal inheritance in the Fathers imperishable kingdom of heaven when Christ returns to rapture the saints. According to Peter, because we are born again as children of God by the grace of God, we have a living hope for
the revelation of Jesus Christ at his second coming,
the resurrection and/or rapture of an eternal body like Christs resurrected immortal body, and
the inheritance of the Fathers imperishable kingdom of heaven.
According to Peter, the destiny of the raptured saints is the Fathers eternal kingdomnot the Sons temporal and perishable earthly kingdom during the millennium.
Most important, in his second letter, Peter links Christs return and the rapture of the saints to Judgment Day, when the Genesis creation is destroyed or purged by fire. This is the Omega, or last day of this Genesis creation, when the glorified saints inherit the imperishable new heavens and new earth. Peter taught:
Scoffers will come in the last days . . . They will say, Where is the promise of his coming? . . . But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved [the Omega], and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed [when the books are opened on Judgment Day]. . . . But according to his promise [of an eternal body in an eternal kingdom] we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:313).
If we combined these teachings in Peters two letters, they could be outlined as follows:
The revelation of Jesus Christ or The promise of his coming . . . like a thief
+ The living hope and promise of a raptured eternal body like Christs resurrected and ascended body
+ The end of this Genesis creation: the heavens will pass away
+ Judgment Day: the works that are done on it will be exposed
+ The scoffers face Gods wrath on Judgment Day
= The raptured saints inherit the Fathers imperishable new heavens and a new earth
Peter creates an inseparable link between the second coming, the rapture, Judgment Day, and the end of the world. Since the Genesis earth is destroyed when Christ returns to rapture the saints, then, obviously, he cannot return to this earth with the raptured saints at the beginning of the millennium if the earth no longer exists. In short, when Christ comes again and the earth is destroyed, the saints are raptured and taken to heavennot to the restored earth for another thousand years.
According to the sequence of events laid out in Revelation, this would put Christs second coming and the rapture of the saints after the millennium at the final resurrection on Judgment Day when this Genesis creation perishes and the sons of God inherit the imperishable kingdom of heaven. This is when the books are opened and the goats (unbelievers) are resurrected from hades, judged for their bad deeds, and sent to the lake of fire, and the sheep (believers) are raptured, rewarded for their good deeds, and inherit the Fathers imperishable kingdom of heaven or the new heavens and new earth. As Christ taught:
Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me [rewards and punishments on Judgment Day], to repay each one [the believer and unbeliever] for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end [of this creation] (Rev. 22:1213).
The second coming of Christ to rapture the saints and reward them with eternal embodied life on the eternal new earth is at the Omega of this creationnot at the beginning of the millennium.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul taught this same fundamental doctrine:
But our citizenship is in heaven [the new heavens and new earth]. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ [his second coming], who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body [the rapture] (Phil. 3:2021 NIV).
Paul is certainly referring to the second coming of Christ from heaven:
we eagerly await a Savior from there
And like Peter, he is also referring to the rapture:
will transform our lowly bodies to be like Christs resurrected, glorified body
And like Peter, he also teaches that the destiny of the raptured saints when Christ returns is the imperishable kingdom of heaven, not the restored millennial earth:
our citizenship in heaven
This does not mean that there is no millennial reign of Christ over this earth before the eternal kingdom, as claimed by amillennialists. Premillennialists assume that the appearance of Christ on his white horse in the celestial realm at the battle of Armageddon is the second coming of Christ to this earth (Revelation 19 and 20). But nowhere does John describe Christ on his white horse leaving the celestial realm and descending to this earth to destroy the Antichrist. Rather, while remaining in the celestial realm, Christ merely says the word and the armies of the Antichrist are destroyed, and the Antichrist and false prophet are sent to the lake of fire. He then sends an angel to remove Satan from this world for the next one thousand years so his reign over this world can begin. A close reading of the text reveals that John is not depicting the second coming of Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation.
When being interrogated by the high priest, Jesus said that after his resurrection and ascension, from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God [the Father] (Luke 22:69). Jesus seems to be saying that after he ascends to heaven, his modus operandi in relation to this world will from then on be from his celestial throne in heaven. Therefore, to establish his messianic kingdom, Christ simply removes the curse from this earth, restores the earth to its Edenic condition, binds Satan, and then rules the world from his throne in heaven. As the human son of David, one would expect Christ to rule the world from this earth. But as the Son of God, one would expect Christ to rule this world from his throne in heaven.
Since the appearance of Christ on his white horse in the celestial realm is not the second coming of Christ, then the first resurrection cannot be the rapture of the saints, for the rapture is inseparably linked to his second coming. So what is the nature of this resurrection? The ante-Nicene millennialists, such as Justin, Irenaeus, and Lactantius, taught that the first resurrection will be of the natural bodies of the departed saintsnatural bodies for a restored natural earth. They understood that the messianic kingdom is described by the prophets as an age of righteous humanity with men and women experiencing marriage and reproduction on a restored Edenic earth. Therefore, one would expect the first resurrection to be of the natural bodies of the departed men and women of God as described by Ezekiel 37, known as the valley of dry bones.
After Christ rules the restored earth from his throne in heaven for a thousand years, he returns on the last day of this Genesis creation (the Omega) to rapture the saints at the final resurrection and usher in his Fathers eternal kingdom of heaven for the glorified saintsan eternal body for an eternal kingdom. Since the transformed sons of God are destined for the Fathers imperishable kingdom of heaven when Christ returns, one would expect the final resurrection to be of the immortal, glorified body. This eschatology and view of Gods endgame is appropriately named postrestorationalism: Christ returns after a literal 1,000-year restoration of this Genesis creation. An online video series of lectures called godsendgame explores this eschatology.
The authors of the book made a concerted effort to make a biblical case for pretribulation-premillennialism. They fail to take into consideration, however, Jesuss prophecy concerning Peters martyrdom. They also fail to consider Peters teachings that the rapture of the saints occurs at the end of the world when the glorified saints inherit the new heavens and new earth.
SnickerdoodleSarahGender: female3 Stars Out Of 5Intriguing but not not convincingJuly 24, 2017SnickerdoodleSarahGender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 3Evidence For the Rapture: A Biblical Case For Pretribulationism - General Editor John Hart is a compilation of several essays by several men in defense of the pretrib rapture.
I wanted to read this book primarily because it is a topic that our church is examining at the moment (we're in Matthew 24). We've been wrestling with the concept of the rapture and are actually leaning strongly in a Post-tribulational direction. My dad, a pastor has held a pretrib rapture stance for all of his life, until recently, and he wants to make sure that there is no compelling exegetical argument that he has not heard defending a pretrib rapture (and he's heard many arguments for it). I saw that this book was available for me to choose in the reviewing program I'm a part of and so I snatched it up.
Each chapter of the book deals with various arguments for a pretrib rapture, dealing with texts like 1 and 2nd Thessalonians, Matthew 24, and Revelation, and topics like the Day of the Lord and the separation of the church and Israel. Having read the arguments in this book I haven't been convinced that we need to stop heading in the direction of a posttrib rapture. I'll give some of my reasonings below:
One of the first arguments given is the "imminence" of the return of Christ. We are told in God's Word that no one knows the day or the hour, not even the Son, but only the Father. (Mat 24:36) We are told that His coming will be like a thief in the night (Matt 24:43-44). The author of this particular chapter, dealing with Matthew 24, Robert L. Thomas, argues that verses like these (and others) indicate that this particular coming of Christ will be without any warning. As to the verses in Matthew 24 that seem to indicate that there will be signs to be looked for that will be indicators of His returning to the earth in a short time (Matt24:33), Thomas explains that he believes that certain parts of Matthew 24 (like 24:4-28) are dealing with the time WITHIN Daniel's 70th week, and are speaking of one being able to realize the nearness of His return to earth (parable of the fig tree "then ye see all these things, know ye that he is nigh") in the 2nd Coming. Other parts (after vs. 36) are dealing with the BEGINNING of the 70th week of Daniel, which in Thomas' view, also includes Christ's return to gather up His church in the rapture, has NO signs, could begin at any moment, and is inaugurated by the snatching away of the church from the earth. "the beginning of the week will catch everyone by surprise."
But I am not seeing, in the text, how one can, all while keeping the context intact, separate the coming of the Son of Man into two comings or two "phases" of one coming, as one of the writers put it. And I don't see any warrant for seeing one of the 'comings' as only a partial return to earth. The text of Matthew 24 seems to indicate that Christ is speaking about one coming of Christ, and that this coming of Christ will be a return to the earth. It also indicates there will be certain signs that "He is near" and yet we do not "know the day or the hour". When you think about it, even at the time when the signs of His nearness are seen we will still not necessarily know the day or the hour of His return. Yes the Abomination of Desolation marks the middle of the week, but we are given two countdowns at the end of Daniel, both of which seem to count down from the time the abomination of desolation is set up (Daniel 12:11-12). If we say that Christ is returning immediately at the end of the three and a half years, do we count down from the very hour and minute that the Abomination is set up? Or are we counting days in general? Perhaps Christ will come at midnight at the beginning of the day immediately following 3 1/2 years. Or perhaps he will come at noon on that day. And what time are we using? If we are in America at the time that this happens then Israel is in a different time zone than we are. So, do we calculate from the time it is set up in our time? What calendar are we using? Jewish, Gregorian, babylonian?(assuming there will be such a thing at the time).
The essay writers point out that Christ uses the example of a thief breaking into a house, and that He also says that it will be as in the days of Noah. But It seems that those illustrations are more for demonstrating what it will be like for the unbelievers, those who are not watching. We know that believers (whom we presume will be watching) will not necessarily be overtaken by that day as a thief (1st Thess 5:4), though it will overtake the unbelievers like one. As to the days of Noah, yes unbelievers were ignorant of the day and the hour of the flood and were in the midst of daily activity when it came but a friend recently pointed out to me that Noah ended up knowing the day of the flood before hand. He was told when it would happen seven days before (Gen 7:4). He did not necessarily know the hour, but he knew the day and was told what to do before that day (go in to the ark).
One of the most recurring arguments pretribulatonists use, included in the arguments in this book, is that the church must not experience the wrath of God. One of the verses used for this position is 1 Th 5:9: "For God appointed us not unto wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ". One of the essay writers, Kevin D. Zuber, uses 1 Thessolonians 5 to argue that since we are not appointed to wrath and since we are not of the "realm of darkness" that unbelievers are in and are children of the light(see 1 Th 5:4-5), therefore we will be raptured out of the world before the wrath of the Lord is dealt out upon the earth. Here are some of his statements: "Since the rapture will take all living saints to be with the Lord at the same time that the day of the Lord commences, no believer need fear that he will be found in the day of the Lord." "...neither they nor any saint will enter the day of the Lord". "Since believers are nonparticipants in the realm of darkness, they have 'the promise of non-participation in "the day of the Lord"".
I do not see that that is what Paul was getting at. Paul tells the Thessalonians ""For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape. "(1Th 5:2-3) This sudden destruction comes upon UNBELIEVERS (those of the darkness) as a thief in the night. "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief: for ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober."(1Th 5:4-6) It doesn't even look as though Paul is even hinting that they would not go through the tribulation. He tells them that they are not in darkness, and that therefore the day shouldn't come as a surprise to the believers, but it doesn't say that God will remove them from the earth at that time. Believers will not be those saying, "peace and safety", and they will have things to watch for, such as the Abomination of desolation, and must be very careful not to apostatize from the faith (at that time there will be many extremely good deceivers leading people astray - Matt 24:23-24).
When Paul tells the Thessalonians that they are not destined for wrath but for salvation through Christ, we know that this is talking about our soul's salvation from the eternal wrath of God, not the temporary wrath that He will pour out upon the earth at the end. Zuber argues that Christians will not be on the earth during the temporary wrath of God upon the world. But we know that this is not the case. It looks as though perhaps millions (or more) of believers (apparently not just Jewish Christians) will be on the earth during that time (Rev 7:9-14, Rev 6:9-11,Rev 12:17, Dan 7:21-27). There will be Christian martyrs during the tribulation, but this does not mean that those martyred are experiencing God's wrath, but rather the wrath of Satan. If one holds to the view that only those who are in darkness are the ones that live through the tribulation then they would need to believe that those who become believers once the tribulation begins are among those who are "appointed unto wrath"! Are the so-called "tribulation saints" living in darkness rather than the light? Are the 144,000 Jewish believers "appointed unto wrath" and "living in darkness"? I do not see how one can biblically hold that view.
Another of the arguments given in this book is that," Paul routinely described the church ,or the body of Christ, as consisting of all people from all nations on equal footing as join heirs in one new man or spiritual organism.(quotes Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female. " and Eph 2:14) "Thus national barriers or boundaries no longer positionally divide believers from one another in the church age. Today, the preeminent servant of God is no longer national, ethnic Israel but rather the church, or the body of Christ, consisting of believers in Jesus from all nations." the argument goes on making the case that the book of Revelation tells of "a time when national barriers will once again be erected as God will again use national Israel as His special instrument to bless the worldthe Pauline concept of the church as a body with no national barriers is also absent from this time period."
When I look at those passages I do not see that it says that God broke down ethnicities, but rather that He included Gentiles, as Gentiles, in the people of God, thus making salvation by grace through faith and available to all people, breaking the wall of hostility between the Jews, who had the God-given law and ordinances to set them apart from the nations/Gentiles. This fits with passages like Acts 15, where the Apostle Peter is dealing with Jews who insist that Gentiles must keep the law of Moses in order to be saved, "And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." (Act 15:7-11)
Yes, in Christ there is no Jew, Greek, male or female, but this apparently does not mean that there are no Jews, Greeks, Males or females in the church, nor does it mean that they cannot have distinct roles. If this is what being in the church means then females would be allowed to be pastors and to hold authority over men because gender barriers would be broken down, as well as ethnic barriers. If gender has no relevance in the church then passages like 1 Tim 2:11-15 and Eph 5:22 contradict Galatians 3:28.
It would seem then that the Gentiles and Jews have been brought together in one body, all while staying Jews and Gentiles in the process. The Jews are saved as Jews and the Gentiles as Gentiles. This fits with what the Scripture tells us of the church, (see Eph 2:13-22; Eph 3:6)
Israel appears to exist even during the "times of the Gentiles", and the so-called church age. Paul speaks about how "he is a Jew who is one inwardly" (Romans 2:29), not merely with the outward qualifications but with the inward "circumcision" of the heart(but still with those outward qualifications). If there are no Jews in the church then why did Paul use the term? Yes we have verses like "For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel" (Rom 9:6), but, and I know most pretrib folks would agree with me in this, members of Israel to whom God has chosen to show mercy, they are Israel (Romans 11:7). God did not cast off all of Israel, Paul himself pointed out that he himself was an Israelite and that there was, even at that time, a remnant of Israel who believed (Romans 11:5). The believing remnant of Israel, then and now, is the "the Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16, and, here is where I differ from pretrib rapture people, the "Israel of God" is apparently a part of the church. God is the God of both Jews and Gentiles, not by taking away their ethnic identity but by saving both by faith, thus making it possible to save Jews and Gentiles as Jews and Gentiles. The church is not a body of indistinguishable parts, but a body made up of many parts with different functions (1Cor 12:14-21).
And this fits the picture of the bride of the Lamb, in Revelation 21, This city has twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the wall of the city has 12 foundations with the names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb (see vs. 12-14).
I do not see that it is biblical to believe that God will set up the "wall of enmity" between Jews and Gentiles again in the future, nor to think that that believing Gentiles of that time will be made "strangers and aliens" yet again. Rather it appears more biblical to believe that any believing Gentile at that time will still have "access in one Spirit", with the Jews, to "the Father"(Eph 2:13-22). They will still be reconciled to God together, as Jews and Gentiles, "in one body through the cross(vs 16)". This body will still be "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone"(Eph 2:20). I repeat: that fits with the picture of the bride of the Lamb pictured in Revelation 21: 9-14 which includes the twelve sons of Israel.
I am still a premilennialist who has strong dispensational leanings, I still believe that God has a plan for Israel, that they will repent when Christ comes again and that He will give them the promised earthly land of Israel in the future and that Christ will reign over them for a thousand years on this earth. But I think that it is biblical to believe that even that this saved Israel of the future will be a part of Christ's body, the church. The Israel of God is a separate entity from Gentiles who are chosen of God, but they are 'separate' and yet in one body, the church. In other words, I believe that it is biblically consistent to think that the church will be on the earth during the tribulation, and that living believers will be gathered up/raptured with the resurrected saints when Christ comes again to the earth at the end of the tribulation.
I thought that the writers of this book did a good job at defending their points, they made sense, they just didn't make enough biblical sense to me, for reasons like the ones given above. I just wasn't convinced. But It was a very interesting and intriguing read, I would recommend it to anyone wanting to study the pre-trib rapture position.
Many thanks to the folks at MoodyNewsroom for sending me a free review copy of this book!
Radio985 Stars Out Of 5Great LessonOctober 6, 2015Radio98Quality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0This book brings the questions about the rapture up to date. Having gone to an Amillennialist OPC church my family kept encountering ridicule for believing "fantasy" and "rapture nonsense" from our Pastor. This helped assure me that it was not us that is misunderstanding God's word. So good I bought copies for friends.
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