These are unfinished notes, and most references have not been double-checked since this is a sketch.
For further introductory reference see Greg Beale’s New Testament Biblical Theology, Ridderbos’ Coming of the Kingdom, Anthony Hoekema’s Bible and the Future, and Vos’ Pauline Eschatology, which reading is not for the faint of heart!
Rapture Debate Notes:
All the Promises of God are in Him, Yea and Amen!-2Cor 1:20
Topic: The Rapture:
- A physical transference and resurrection of the church to heaven prior to a seven year tribulation, followed by the visible return, final judgment and millennial kingdom on earth.
- Dealing with the OT Expectations.
- Peter/Dispy: Kingdom delay/parenthesis.
- Ben/Cov: Kingdom inaugurated/presence of future
Based on Two Assumptions:
- The Definition of the Church and Israel as Distinct Peoples of God with Distinct Plans and Promises. There will be a rapture of the gentile-church because God will continue his work with the Jews in the future.
- Thus there will be multiple “Comings” of Jesus in the future, 1) in the rapture, 2) in the final judgment.
Purpose: to persuade that there is a single, visible, return of the Lord Jesus at the end of the age
- The Church is the Fulfillment/Continuation of Israel
- The NT Authors Hoped in the Second Coming as a Single Visible Event
- Inaugurated Eschatology Accounts for the NT’s Use of the OT
THE CHURCH AS THE CONTINUATION OF ISRAEL
The belief in the pre-tribulational rapture depends upon the assumption of the distinction between the Church and Israel. I believe the Church is the legitimate continuation of the true Israel. The church may be made up of non-ethnic Jews, yet we are told in the NT that the Gentiles are grafted into Israel.
Children of the Promise are the True Israel (Rom 9:6-8)
The Gentiles were Ingrafted into Israel Through Faith (Rom 11:17, by faith, v. 20)
Gentile join the commonwealth/nation of Israel by Jesus’ Blood (Eph 2:11-14)
Israel was not just an ethinic group, but as Covenant community that always allowed for conversion and covenanting (cf Ruth, 1:16-17). Ethnic Israel joining church is joining true Israel (Rom 11:16).
The Blessings of Abraham are the Gentiles’ by faith (Gal 3:6-9)
THE SINGLE SECOND COMING
The reason I expect a single visible second coming of the Lord Jesus is because this was the hope of the NT authors.
In this section I intend to prove that the NT does not support a doctrine of pre-tribulation rapture. First, I will show evidence from the NT that the return of the Lord Jesus will be a visible physical return followed by the resurrection and judgment. In contrast to the evidence, the belief in a pre-trib rapture
|The Second Coming is Imminent:||
|The Return of Jesus is Visible- Not secret!||Rev 1:7, 2Thess 1:10, 1John 3:2, 1Peter 5:2, 2Tim 4:7 (appearing)|
|The Return of Jesus is the Consummation of Salvation and Judgment:||Heb 9:28, 2Thess 1:7-8, Rev 22:12, Phil 3:20-21, Col 3:3,|
Does the Rapture in 1Thess 4:17 precede a tribulation?
The context does not support it… It supports a future ascent but at the last day!
1Thess 4:13-15, “He will bring with him the sleepers,” which means it refers to a coming with the saints, not for the saints, resurrected and ascended
V.16 recapitulates that this act will be visible (trumpet, the shout of archangel, and the physical descent are all public events).
V.17 describes the experience of the living saints who will resurrect and ascend to meet the Lord as He is descending in the clouds.
“[Meeting] the Lord in the air” does not imply that they meet him in some ethereal realm, but rather in the physical atmosphere as believers in union with Christ they participate in his ascension for this brief moment with Christ while he is descending in “the air.”
Further, Scripture interprets Scripture, and we should let it.
Acts 1:10-11 speaks of one single return, which will be “in just the same way” as the disciples just saw. That is, the return will be a singular public event where Jesus will return visible and finally, not secretly and penultimately (John 14:1-4 return for disciples, )
INAUGURATED ESCHATOLOGY (IE)
I find the best offense to be a strong defense. Inaugurated eschatology better accounts for the way the NT looks at the relation of the NT to OT. The mystery of the OT Prophets is fulfilled in the NT reality.
Ill: WW2, D and V day
- Matthew 12:25-29, Kingdom near. No its not. If I do this is is!
- Parables: the suprise of Kingdom inauguration, Matt 13:31-32, 33, Mustard Seed, and Leaven
- 1John 2:18-19
- The Cross and D day, the inauguration of the kingdom, new creation, tribulation, Christ, man of lawlessness, antichrist ones, etc…
For Example: present simultaneous realities recapitulating until the final day!
|Man of Lawlessness||1Thess 1:7, Matt 11:12,||The Lawless one is presently inaugurated|
|Anti-christ||Psalm 41:9, betrayer in the church, John 13:18…||1 John 2:18-19||The Antichrist is present reality|
|Tribulation||Duet 4:30, Dan 7:25||Matt 13:21, Matt 24:21, John 16:33, Acts 14:22, Rev 1:9, 2:9-10, 22, 7:14,||The Tribulation is a present NT reality|
|Satan Chained and Plundered||Isaiah 49:24||Rev 20:2, Matthew 12:26-29, 16:16-19, Luke 10:18-20, John 16:11||Satan is presently chained and being plundered|
|Kingdom of God||Psalm 2:2, Dan 2:44, 7:13-14, Isa 9:6-7,||Matt 4:17, 12:28, Rev 11:15, Rom 14:17!||The Kingdom of God is a present reality|
|Messiah the Prince||Psa 2:2, Dan 9:25||John 1:41, 4:25, Acts 5:31, Eph 5:5, Rev1:5, 19:6||Jesus presently reigns on David’s Throne, also as redeemer was king, import to redemption… Ill: Bicycle/Farrari|
|New Creation/Land of Israel||Isa 65:17, 66:20-22,||John 3:5, 1Cor 5:17, Hebrews 11:9-10||The new heavens and earth are future Rev 21:1-5, 2 Peter 3:13, but inaugurated in the regeneration of the believer|
|New Covenant||Isaiah 59:20, Jer 31:31||Heb 7:22, 8:6, 9:15, 10:14, 12:22-24, Luke 21:20, 1Cor 11:25, 2Cor 3:6||Jesus presently mediates the better new covenant, and ministers minister the New Covenant presently!|
|Holy Spirit Poured Out||Ezek 37:14, Isa 32:15, Joel 2:28-29, Zech 12:10||Acts 2:17, John 4:21-24, Rom 8:11, Titus 3:5||Jesus presently sent the Spirit to the church to regenerate and write his law upon their hearts|
|Resurrection (regeneration)||Dan 12:13, Ezek 37:4ff||John 11:25-25, Col 3:1-4,||Resurrection is present in the regeneration of the believer’s inner man, but not yet in the physical body|
|Ascension (Jesus now, us later… 1 thess 4:17)||Dan 7:13-14||John 13:30-32, 14:1-4, Luke 24:26, Acts 1:10-11, 1Thess 4:17,||Jesus ascended into glory, the dead are glorified with him presently, and the living saints at his return will meet him as he is coming in the clouds by ascending to him. –Here the union with Christ is complete.|
The conclusion one should take away from this is…
The Imminent Return: the coming of Christ is imminent. There is a single event at the end of history which concludes the age, that is the appearing of Jesus, his physical descent, and the resurrection, recreation, and final judgment. The second coming is imminent.
The Kingdom is Inaugurated: All expectations are inaugurated, such as the tribulation, man of lawlessness, antichrist, glorification, recreation, kingdom, Holy Spirit, etc.
Perspective of this Life: Tribulation and glory are “the norm.” These are all simultaneous recapitulating themes of this age. The benefits of this are that there is no newspaper story that can scare you into thinking the end is nigh-er than it may be or farther than it may be.
This also frees us from the pessimism and optimism debate because we are both at the same time. We suffer with sin, the flesh, the world, and the devil, yet we conquer in Christ.