It takes roughly 45-90 minutes to write articles on how to do sermons, so those who’ve been interested in the series, my apologies – but I’ve been so busy that lately I’ve only been able to keep up because I can write seven articles quickly on a weekend.
To mention the Rapture in modern Christianity is like pulling a knife and darking people to fight you! I can think of few topics that engender such arguments and name caling as… this topic.
To those who do not agree… you have the absolute right to be wrong. I’ll tell you you’re wrong. I’ve described the issue of the Rapture as being the canary that coal miners in Wales used to detect deadly gas in the mines. If the birds collapsed, everyone knew to get out as fast as possible.
SAme here. When your eschatology (doctrines of the end times) begins to wander, it’s a sign EVERYTHING is beginning to wander. Am I saying the myriads of Independent, Fundamentalist Baptist preachers who have adopted an unScriptural Mid-Trib position are losing a pure doctrinal stance?
Why… yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. You have not kept your doctrine without spot. You’ve listened to vain and foolish tales, and adopted the vain philosohpy of this world, instead of a reliance upon pure Scripture.
I’ve mentioned before the explanation of a man who had the right viewpoint of the Rapture. He was asked by his nephew if he was SURE the Rapture was before the Tribulation. His response was classic, and one that those who hold incorrect Eschatologies always miss…
“What is the point of the Tribulation?”
For many Christians, they’ll suddenly go quiet, and all you’ll hear is, “Uhhhh……”
The way I’ve described it is this. I’ve pointed to a church congregation (nicely split down the middle thanks to the aisle…) That… God spoke and dealt with this side over here, for 2,000 years. But that means THAT side isn’t being dealt with. Okay, God’s temporarily turning to THAT side. But the book of Revelation (not Revelations) shows that suddenly God’s focus is back on THIS group again, and THAT group suddenly seems to be missing.
Why is THAT group missing? Because God’s now returning to THIS group, who’s been somewhat rebellious. So, to reach them, He’s going to give the only thing they respond to…
Okay, when you substitute the words “Gentiles” and “Jews” for THAT and THIS, it makes perfect sense. God dealt with the Jews for 2,000 years. Then the Lord came ,and the Jews are temporarily put away.
Note the word temporary.
“Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:12–15, KJV)
Read verse 15 and verse 12 again. How much more their fulness? What shall the receiving of them be?
God is not “Through with the Jew.”
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25, KJV)
What does this mean? spiritually, it means… blindness is happening in part to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
If anyone wants to argue, here we go with Greek! πλήρωμα Pleroma means fulness, completeness. When the complete number of those Gentiles who will accept Christ is reached before the Tribulation, then the Lord will come. What’s that number? Clearly, we see from other passages of Scripture that the number is… I don’t know.
Does this argue in favor of Calvinism? No it argues in favor of Baptist doctrine (there’s no such thing as a Calvinist Baptist – it’s like saying a Carpenterish plumber) – God predestines according to foreknowledge. God knows in advance who will accept the Gospel and who will not.
Can you imagine being in the Millennium, and attending the Temple, and you’re talking about “I wonder who the last Gentile was to make the Fulness complete?” and at that moment the Lord is standing with you and He says… “Why… it was you.”
We should all feel that way. Well, I can’t, because I’m not a Gentile. But there. You Gentiles should all feel that way – you personally are the one the Lord was waiting eagerly for.
Where am I going with this? God turns His attention from the Jewish people to the Gentiles, then He will return His attention back to Israel during the Tribulation. So… where did the Gentiles go?
It’s a well attested fact – often completely ignored by Mid and Post Tribulationists – that the word church and churches is used 21 times in Revelation 1-3, and then not again until the very end of the book.
The rules of Hermaneuticsc demand we pay attention to that. It tells us something.
“Aha! But Holy omes and Saints can be found!”
Sure. That’s the Jews and all the Gentiles who get saved in the Tribulation. But the fact remains, the word church is missing for most of the book, until after the Lord returns.
There’s two open doors in Revelation – immediately after the final mention of the churches, and then not again until the Lord and His armies begin to travel back to the earth.
And then after that, it’s Israel, and Tribe… the 144,000 are from the tribes of Israel. They are those who “keep the commandments”.
You’re not understanding Matthew 24. Read it again. You’ll spot that the Lord gatheres His elect from the four corners of HEAVEN. They’re already in Heaven at that point.
The bottom line is this – if you believe in mid trib, post trib, pre-wrath, no-trib… you do not distinguish between the Gentile and the Jew. You confuse the words churches and Israel. Yet an honest reading of Romans differentiates between the two. If the Bible differentiates between Israel and the churches… so should we.
NOW, with that understanding, go read all of Revelation 7 times in a row. Won’t take long. Only 22 chapters. By the time you’re done, here’s your study questions…
Where are the churches?
Who is Israel?
Who is Revelation speaking of and to, mostly?
What is God’s method in the Tribulation?
Does it resemble the manner in which God dealt with Israel in the Old Testament? Or how God communicates with the churches in the New?
If you agree it resembles how God dealt with Israel in the Old Testament when they were Rebellious… what then does this lead you to conclude? Who is Revelation speaking to?
It’s speaking to my people. We’re a little stubborn. And trust me, it’s going to take the seas turning to blood to get most of Israel to admit that the Rabbi’s are wrong, and Jesus is the Messiah.
It’s going to take demonic attacks that leave people in agony for months.
It’s going to take hail that sets fires.
Start comparing Revelation to Exodus.
If you honestly study Revelation (for which there are blessings promised)… you will come to only one conclusion. It’s speaking of the Jewish people.
And the Gentile churches have… vanished.