Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Last Of The series

[Just a touch up that finishes the lesson on dispensational premillennialism. I'll be moving on to historic premillennialism.]

Absence of the word "church" in Revelation 4-22.

The absence of the word "church" in the chapters from Revelation, from chapters 4-19, chapters that dispensationalists say describe the tribulation, is another reason that they claim the church must be raptured. Mathison argues that by the same reasoning the church must not be in heaven, because the word "church" does not appear in Rev. 20-22 when heaven is being described. Also, Israel must be raptured during the tribulation, for the word Israel does not appear after Rev. 7:4 through the end of tribulation discussion.

Coming with his saints, coming for his saints

Dispensationalists argue that a separation between the rapture and the second coming is required because scripture talks about Christ coming for His saints (the rapture) and with His saints (the Second Coming).

In reality, however, this poses no problem. Looking at the "rapture" passage:
14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Th. 4:14-17)

The "with" and the "for", according to non-dispensationalists, do indeed happen at the same time. In v. 14, we read that Christ will come with those saints (their spirits) who have fallen asleep (died). In v. 16 these dead saints have their bodies resurrected. And in v. 17, He comes for those who are alive and remain. It is indeed the rapture, but it occurs at the visible Second Coming.

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