Showing posts with label Rapture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rapture. Show all posts

Friday, May 03, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: The Rapture and the Wrath of God

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Not too long ago a major news and commentary website complained about “evangelicals’ toxic obsession with the end times”. That sort of thing is to be expected from unbelievers. But more and more, I am seeing the same kind of dismissive language used by Christians.

Tom: “Rapture” is not a term we find in the Bible, but it may be reasonably applied to the events to which the apostle Paul refers in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Matthew Henry, whose eschatology was neither Pre-Millennial nor Pre-Tribulation, used the word “rapture” in his commentary on Thessalonians back in the early 1700s, long before J.N. Darby or others who articulated the Pre-Trib position in their own generations. For most critics of Pre-Tribulationism, the argument is not so much about whether the church will be “snatched up”, but when.

But whatever we may call it, Immanuel Can, it’s my sense that the teaching about a return of Christ for the church prior to the Great Tribulation has never been in greater disrepute among God’s people. Does that seem a fair statement?

Sunday, April 21, 2024

False Beliefs About the Rapture

I grew up believing in the rapture because people around me did. I won’t apologize for that, because it’s entirely normal, and there’s no other way it could have happened. The vast majority of Christians raised in any given denominational or theological tradition do exactly the same thing. It can’t be helped. You trust the people who first taught you the truths that blessed you, and that’s as it should be … at least at first.

But I don’t believe in the rapture because my dad believed in it. Not anymore. That ship sailed years ago.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Snatched Up

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: So we did the Millennium, IC. Care to walk me through the ‘Rapture’?

Immanuel Can: I thought that was the same as the Second Coming. Next you’re going to tell me that Israel still exists and that I wasn’t predestined to election before the foundation of the world.

Tom: Do I need to put a </sarc> at the end there? Never mind. Sometimes you open a can and the worms just go everywhere ...

IC: Well, one way to manage the worms is to focus on making the distinction between the Second Coming and the Rapture.

Tom: Okay, then.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Glory Unassailable

“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

A friend and older brother in Christ who has been a role model going on thirty years never fails to distinguish between the sloppy, euphemistic way evangelicals use the word “glory” (as in “We’re going home to glory” and other such expressions) and the more precise way the writers of the Bible use it. Glory, he says, is not a synonym for heaven. Rather, glory is a state of being.

I used to wonder why he made such a point of this. Now I get it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Implications of the Divine Council Worldview

The “divine council worldview” is a way of looking at scripture that recognizes the supernatural elements that shaped the devout Israelite mindset well into the first century. The late Michael Heiser, writer of The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, used the phrase extensively. I’ve had occasion recently to re-read Heiser’s magnum opus, and have been particularly interested in the implications the divine council worldview has for the rest of scripture.

It answers more than a few questions, major and minor, and reinforces a boatload of important truths and principles we find in our Bibles.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Anonymous Asks (241)

“What happens if I miss the rapture?”

Last week was sort of a mini-rapturefest at the blog. I am involved in a home church gathering on Tuesday nights these days, and the rapture loomed large in last week’s study and became the subject of a couple posts here, as often happens with Bible passages I am wrestling my way through with friends.

In one of those posts I made reference to an ex-evangelical named Joshua Rivera who now writes for Slate.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Evidence for the Rapture in Revelation [2]

People who haven’t read the Bible tend to think the doctrine of the rapture is based on the prophetic visions of John in Revelation. This is not actually the case; the rapture as an event is taught explicitly only in 1 Thessalonians, while the mechanics of the believers’ translation into glorified bodies during that same event are discussed in 1 Corinthians. In fact, we don’t find the rapture taught in Revelation at all; its truth is simply assumed.

However, what we do find in Revelation is very much consistent with Paul’s teaching in 1 Thessalonians which, if we believe in the inspiration of scripture, should not surprise us in the least. Since even Christians increasingly reject the Bible’s teaching about the rapture, I thought it might be a good time to have a look at the evidence we find in Revelation for the rapture of the church, some of which even points to a pre-tribulation rapture.

There is plenty of that, as we began to discover in Sunday’s post. You may find it useful to read that one first if you haven’t already.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Evidence for the Rapture in Revelation [1]

Oddly, as we approach the end of our present age, the Bible’s teaching about the rapture of the church is increasingly falling into disrepute among believers. Some call it false teaching, others ridicule it as a scare tactic, still others claim Paul never taught a “rapture” at all. Some reject it because it clashes with their established eschatological beliefs, others because they are ignorant of the scriptures that teach it, still others because they dislike the idea of Christians getting to view the end of the world from the press box instead of from down on the playing field where (they believe) we belong.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

He Who Now Restrains

“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.”

That day, Paul says, shall not come unless there be a falling away first. A “falling away” is a departure from what has always been held, from what has traditionally been known and believed. And this falling away, as we shall see, is on the part of those who profess to be obedient to the teaching of the gospel.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

The Rapture and the Imprecatory Psalms

All true Christians are believers, but not all believers are Christians.

That is in the Bible. Abraham wasn’t a Christian. Christianity belongs to the time following the ministry of the Lord Jesus, the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the inauguration of the church. That’s when the disciples became Christians. You don’t read the word “Christian” in the Old Testament, nor is a Christian described. What you have is godly or ungodly Israelites; those who believed God and those who didn’t; the wicked and the righteous in Israel — and of course some Gentiles saved as well.

The position from which a godly Jewish believer would look at things and the stance of an equally godly Christian looking at things are quite different.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Onward and Upward

“Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

There are more than 600 million blogs out there in the web, two million of which post daily. Something like 77% of internet users still read them. You may have heard that blog readership overall is dropping precipitously, but quantifying that is next to impossible since Google has a vested interest in promoting the hobby / business / passion. In 2021 in the U.S. alone, 31.7 million bloggers published roughly 7 million posts per day, 97% of whom used social media to boost their results. We are in the 3% that didn’t: I like social media just slightly less than being boiled in oil.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Post-COVID Christianity

Well, the COVID crisis has sure taught us all some lessons, provided we’re conscious enough to think them over. And the purpose of this post is to help us do that; first, by listing some very obvious things we all cannot help but realize, and then by talking a little bit about how Christians should be feeling about all of it.

Because it’s really not the same for us as it is for everyone else.

Hang on. You’ll see.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Escapism in a Time of Trouble

Christians are sometimes accused of escapism, primarily with respect to the doctrine of the “rapture” (or parousia) taught in the New Testament.

After all, why should a bunch of Gentile believers expect to get a free pass on the judgment of the world? Doesn’t that seem just a little unfair?

Not all those who dislike the idea of Jesus Christ making a special trip to this planet specifically to carry away his people to be forever with him object to the notion for exactly the same reasons. Some feel believing in a parousia is elitist. Others see it as baseless and wishful. Still others, like Kurt Willems, are troubled by the idea that Christians with a psychological safety net like the “rapture” will give up trying to make society a better place — or worse, will mislead others about what Willems believes are God’s plans for this world. He says, “Our world’s future is hopeful. Let’s tell that story and not the escapist narratives that many of us grew up with.”

Nice idea. Tough to see where he gets that “hopeful” bit from these days though.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Monday, September 02, 2019

Anonymous Asks (56)

“Will we have a second chance to go to heaven?”

There are at least three different reasons a question like this gets asked. One is very Catholic, a second very Protestant, and the third ... well ... universal.

The Catholic might best have his question paraphrased as something like “Is there a purgatory, and do we get to go to heaven at the end of it?” The Protestant is really asking “Is this ‘rapture’ thing I’ve heard about really in the Bible, and if I get left behind, do I get another shot?” The universalist is asking some version of “Surely hell cannot last forever, can it?”

But if you’re looking for an excuse to put off becoming a Christian so you can do it at a more convenient time, the answer to the question is going to be the same no matter what theological presuppositions underlie it.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Snatched Up

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Recommend-a-blog (23)

What political theology are you?

I’m a ‘Radical Anabaptist’, or at least so says Mere Orthodoxy’s political theology quiz.

Not sure quite what to think about that. I guess I’m glad to be a radical something. These days I think I’d be more insulted to be called a moderate. And while I dislike the implicit nod to infant baptism in the “Anabaptist” label, I am indeed a firm believer in baptizing believers only, as readers of my baptism series (left sidebar) will confirm, and glad to take a stand on that.

It seems a funny point of theology to fixate on, but I’ll take it ... I guess.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The 1830 Principle

“Sorry, you’re just not old enough ...”
I’ve read this statement or something quite like it maybe ten times in the last year:

“Rapture doctrine did not exist before John Darby invented it in 1830 AD. Before it ‘popped into John Darby’s head’ no one had ever heard of a secret rapture doctrine.”

It’s even been picked up by Wikipedia, which I guess makes it a “thing”. They won’t go quite so far as to say Darby invented it, but they concede that he certainly popularized the teaching.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Giant Reset Button

Photo: Flattop341
Baruch Davidson notes that the Jubilee year is not observed or commemorated in modern Israel.

Before the Assyrian conquest of the northern portion of the divided kingdom in the sixth century BC, Davidson says, the Jubilee was regularly celebrated. But a dispute over the interpretation of the words “all who live on it” in Leviticus 25:10 has led many Jews to conclude that the festive year of freedom may only be celebrated when all twelve tribes are living in the Promised Land. So until the return of the ten “lost” tribes, the Jubilee is on hold.

That may not seem a big deal today. It would have been a huge deal to an Israelite in the years before the Assyrian captivity.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Inbox: Truth Leaves the Stage Entirely

A friend from up north forwards a few thoughts from 1 Timothy 3 well worth considering.

The apostle Paul, he says, is concerned that Timothy would know how to conduct himself in the church:

“In encouraging Timothy in this regard, Paul has three phrases to describe the church that bear consideration:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I See Dead People

I saw one today, in fact. Propped in a coffin, fully and expertly made up and ready for viewing. She had passed away in her nineties and, while she certainly looked ‘peaceful’, as we say, no amount of makeup could disguise the ravages of nine decades.

And no amount of makeup could conceal that she was dead.

Dead people don’t look like living people. They don’t even look like the wax sculptures in Madame Tussaud’s. In life, there is always motion: the twitch of an eyebrow or the corner of a mouth; the alertness of the gaze, or the finger drumming absently on a tabletop. The person in cardiac arrest in the emergency room is thrumming with life by comparison. Even the most naturally calm person cannot for a second imitate the profound absence of vigor of a body in which the blood has stopped flowing, the synapses have stopped firing and every natural process that maintains life has irrevocably and eternally shut down.

Especially a week after the fact. They just look over, done, kaput. The End.

Except it isn’t.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Faithful Have Vanished

“The faithful have vanished”, David wrote.

Not that the faithful have been exterminated and evil has finally won the day.
Not that the faithful have apostacized or lost their salt.

They’ve vanished. Elvis has left the building, folks.

This is not simply David’s personal experience here. No way, not without at least some exaggeration or hyperbole. Matthew Henry says, “It is supposed that David penned this psalm, in the latter part of Saul’s reign, when there was a general decay of honesty and piety, when religion, truth, and righteousness, seemed ready to expire, and every kind of wickedness was without control.”

Yeah, I suppose. Maybe.