Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I'm Out of My Head

Things are about to get loopy around here, and what I'm about to tell you, I'd wager you've never heard anywhere else. No doubt, some of you will think I'm out of my head! So before we get on with the zaniness, while we're all still sane, let's define an important term: RAPTURE. As I've said before, rapture is not a biblical term, but does it do justice to biblical thought? According to (see definitions 3 and 5), I suppose it does. For the sake of accurate communication, let me define rapture in this way: an event in which God translates the body of a believer not only from its earthly location to a heavenly one, but also from its earthly form to its eternal one. It includes both the living and the dead. The fullest treatment of this event is found in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57.

If you've been a Christian for a minimum of 5 minutes, you've probably been assaulted by the arguments as to the timing of this event. The ultimate eschatological question is, "when?" There are pre-, mid-, and post-tribulationists. There are even pan-tribulationists, those cheeky monkeys who care less, figuring it will all pan out in the end. All that I can say in regard to this question is that they are all right (of course if one is an a- or a post-millenialist, he or she is way out on the rough)!

But haven't I said that the Gentile church was raptured out at the beginning of the 70th week? Shouldn't I pick a side and stick to it? Let me say, each of the viewpoints (pre, mid and post) can cite solid scriptural references to back up their viewpoints. Unfortunately for each, the other views can shoot holes in their arguments. Why? They all right, they just don't realize it. The Bible teaches that the rapture has a pre-, mid-, and post-tribulational component! What!!! Yep, all three premillenial rapture theories are correct. I've already laid out the pretribulational rapture of the Gentile church, so let me lay out the rest for you.

We are introduced to 144,000 Jews who believed in Christ at the beginning of the 70th week in Revelation 7. They are sealed and protected from the wrathful events falling upon earth for three and a half years. Their time on earth during the 70th week runs concurrently with the two prophetic witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11. Those witnesses are killed at the midpoint of the tribulation and left unburied on the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days. At that point, God calls for them from heaven, they rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. That, most certainly, is a rapture! The next time we see the 144,000 (in Revelation 14), their location can no longer be said to be clearly on earth. They're with the Lamb, singing a special song before the throne and the elders. How did they get there? They were raptured, as far as I can tell, with the two witnesses.

What about the last component? That's found in Revelation 20. There we discover that those (they will be Jews) who were executed in the last three and a half years of the 70th week, rather than buy into THE lie and take the mark of the beast, will be raised from the dead and join the ranks of those ruling and reigning with Christ. That is a rapture! And there we have it, the completion of the first resurrection, which is in actuality, the three components of the rapture. Perhaps at this juncture, the lesson I should take from this last group of saints is that it may well turn out just fine, in the end, if I'm out of my head.


preacherman said...

You post is great.
Like Nancy very interesting indeed. I want you to know I have been blessed to have come across your blog. Keep up the great work and may God's richest blessing fall up on every aspect of your life.
I would love it if you and your readers could stop by my blog and pray for a family who is suffering. It would make a difference for this family. Please.
Again, wonderful pot.
In Him,
Kinney Mabry,
Preacherman! :-)

SLW said...

Welcome to the Sound and thanks for the blessing! I will be praying for that family and I'm sure others who read this will as well. Whereever two or three agree...

Anonymous said...

How I wish there were more Arminian, Trinitarian Pentecostals who took your view! I'm afraid my denomination (a rather large one that will remain nameless) has picked the pre-trib hill to die on. Scholars have so poked holes in ths theory that it is losing ground in academic Evangelicalism. This will influence ministers who will in turn influence congregants. Requiring ministers to uphold such a highly speculative young teaching will eventually hurt us to the point that, should the Lord tarry, another organization will rise up to embrace all views of the rapture that fall within the bounds of orthodoxy. I appreciate your candor.

SLW said...

Welcome to Sounds.

Thanks for the sentiment, although the pre-trib hill isn't entirely a bad one to make a stand on. For Gentile Christians it is the biblical way to see things. Only Christian Jews will be part of the mid and post-tribulational raptures.