Friday, June 3, 2011

Some Preterists Denying a "Rapture" Took Place

I recently received a post from a Yahoo Preterist Group, of which I am a member, where it appears as though the members of the Group are close to being unanimous in believing no "rapture" took place.

Most, if not all,  of the members of this Group are Calvinists. (I am not a Calvinist)

Many, if not most, Calvinist Preterists believe that a "spiritual" "Rapture" took place and not a physical one.  I am in total disagreement with this belief.

I have spoken to other Calvinists who believe that a physical Rapture did indeed occur.  I commend them for that.  I disagree, however, with their timing regarding the 'thousand years' and 'The Day of the Lord'.

The majority of Preterists have concluded that the 'thousand years' of Rev 20 began in AD30 and ended 40 years later in AD70 making the 'millenium' a timespan of 40 years.  I disagree with this conclusion. I believe they are focusing too much on the amount of time involved in the phrase 'thousand years'. It seems logical to conclude that a 'thousand years' represents not necessarily a literal 1,000 years (like all Futurists believe) but probably represents "a long time".  Thus, a 40-year long period is relatively a "long time". It's natural to come to these conclusions when one sees "years" in the phrase and then especially when there is "thousand" preceding the word years.

There are even some Preterists who believe and are teaching "Bimillenialism"- that there are two milleniums".  This I cannot accept.

I believe the 'thousand years' began when the 'two witnesses' of Rev 11 were killed by the (image of) 'the beast from the sea' of Rev 13, which I believe was 'the abomination of desolation' which stood in the holy place (the temple) of which Jesus spoke of in Matt 24 and was also the 'man of sin' Paul spoke of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. When the 'image of the beast', the 'abomination of desolation', the 'man of sin' stood in the temple, the Tribulation Period began and that's when the 'two witnesses' began their prophecying in Jerusalem. Since they prophecied for a literal 3 1/2 years leading up to their death, the Tribulation Period began in AD66 and ended when they were killed in AD70. (The 'image' was the beast from the sea, who I believe was Nero Caesar and I learned that from J.S. Russell in his book The Parousia.)

I believe the 'thousand years' lasted for the 3 1/2 days that their bodies lay in the streets of Jerusalem.

At the end of the 'thousand years', the 3 1/2 days, Jesus Christ returned.
Simultaneously these events occured after the 'thousand years':

Revelation 20:7  And when the thousand years are expired, (1) Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 (2) And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to (3) gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and (4) compassed the camp of the saints about, (5) and the beloved city*: and (6) fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (This is when the ('image of) the beast from the sea' (Nero) and the 'false prophet' (high priest Ananias?) were cast alive into the lake of fire.
*(the "beloved city" of Jerusalem where the "camp of the saints", i.e., the Christian Church in Jerusalem is; as opposed to "Babylon" the Harlot city of Jerusalem where unBiblical and antiChristian Judaism is practiced in the temple there which is about to be destroyed)
10  And (7) the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
The 'first resurrection' of Rev 20 took place at the very beginning of the 'thousand years' (Revelation 20:4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.)

(8)The resurrection of "the rest of the dead" (and subsequently the Rapture of the living) took place after "the thousand years were finished."- (Rev 20: 5)

Revelation 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 (9) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works*.

* The judgment (the wrath of God) on "Babylon" and all the unbelievers therein had began and the judgment of the dead believers took place.
13  (10) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works*.
* The judgment of the dead unbelievers took place.
14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death*.
* The final enemy, death, is destroyed by casting it, along with hell (Hades) into the lake of fire.  The 'second death' means that there is no escape from the lake of fire. Once there, always there. And with that, eternal torment.
15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

The Grand Finale:

Revelation 21:1 (11) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth*: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2  And I John saw (11) the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven*, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, (11) the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God*.
4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death (no more grave for those awaiting to be released because now, when a believer, who has "overcome" this world by his/her belief and faith in Jesus Christ, dies physically, their soul immediately inherits New Jerusalem, Heaven, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God and does not have to wait in the grave any longer) , neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6  And he said unto me, (11) It is done**. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

*Thy Kingdom had come
** The "Mystery of God" (Revelation 10:7  But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.) is finished.

All has been fulfilled.   Jesus said:
Matthew 24:13  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Mark 13:13  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

The end He is speaking of is the His Day, the day of His return. Those Christians had to endure the Great Tribulation. If they weakened and lost their faith during that time period, they lost their salvation also. They did not, however, have to endure the Wrath of God that befell upon Babylon Jerusalem and the temple because those who endured to the end were Raptured.  

Some preterists believe the "rapture" could not occur because:

"...a rapture of the Church in its entirety would render the world without the body of Christ to be a light. Christ said of the Church, "You are the light of the world," and "You are a city set up on a hill. Let your light so shine before men *that they may see* your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." So this conveys the idea of an existing organism that communicates the living waters, healing leaves, Gospel, rain, showers of blessing, word of truth etc. In other words, "How shall they hear without a preacher?" Paul says. If the Church is raptured, then we have a Churchless world. Not to mention, there is absolutely nothing in the O.T. which indicates that the world would ever be without God's people. So, a complete rapture (disappearance) of the Church doesn't make sense. It leaves us with a destitute humanity which will seem to continue ad infinitum with reprobates who either all suffer eternal torment or all suffer eternal annihilation. This seems odd, considering the large numbers of people who claim to worship Jesus Christ and who claim to be loved by Him.

"However, that said, I have considered the possibility of a strictly Jewish-Christian rapture. But this again begs the question: Where is the documentation? There is plenty of documentation about the destruction of the Temple. But none about a rapture. It's much easier to see a bunch of first century people who expected a physical rapture and who were discouraged with a "great disappointment" who simply never wrote about it, or a late first century Church who did a little Camping style backpedaling with a twist to commence the doctrine of futurism after their hopes of a physical resurrection were dashed, than to believe in a rapture at all. And if they were raptured, and John's supposed disciple, Polycarp, knew this, then why didn't he write about it? Personally, I tend to think Polycarp either made up his relationship to John or others made it up about him anyway.

"The long and short of it: God came to "set His tabernacle among men," and make "His will be done on earth as it is in heaven..." not, bring them up and keep the earth void of Christ and Him crucified. And finally, Jesus prayed, "I prayed that you do not take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil (the leaven of self-righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees)."..."

I believe the 'Rapture' took place and not one believer was left on earth immediately after the events of AD70.

Why?  Because Jesus and the Apostles said that there was to be a "gathering", a "rapture":

Matthew 24:31  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

1 Corinthians 15:52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Revelation 10:7  But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

The "Rapture" was promised by Jesus and the Apostles and happened just before the Wrath of God befell Jerusalem.

There were no Christians left.

However, as was promised by God Himself, His Word remained after those events of AD70 as they remain to this very day and will remain for ever and forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment