Hi to my Forum Friends,
It should come as no shock or surprise to all my Forum Friends that I firmly believe the Bible teaches a PreTribulation return of Jesus Christ, in the clouds (I Thess 4:17), to Rapture His church, the full body of believers. The PreTrib Rapture is to remove His church, His people, from the earth before the seven year Tribulation, God's refining of His chosen people, Israel.
We are told in Revelation 3:10 that He will keep us, His church, "from the hour of testing." And, He assures us in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 that God's family, the church, is "not destined for wrath." Therefore, the PreTrib Rapture is to remove all Christian believers from earth before the beginning of the seven year Tribulation.
And, I firmly hold to the teaching of a PreMillennial Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth. Since His Second Coming will be Pre Millennial -- this tells us that there will be a Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth. We read of his Second Coming in Revelation 19.
Then, in Revelation 20 we read that Satan is locked in the abyss for one thousand years. In Revelation 20:5, we read that the martyred believers from the Tribulation will "reign with Christ for a thousand years." Therefore Christ must be going to reign on earth for one thousand years. We call this His Millennial Reign or His Millennial Kingdom -- the perfect theocracy.
The Raptured believers, with the Old Testament saints, and the Tribulation believers will reign, on earth, with Christ for a thousand years.
In Isaiah 9:6 we read, "There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom. . ." Yes, we see that Jesus Christ will rule the world, the perfect theocracy, during His Millennial Reign on earth -- from the throne of David in Jerusalem.
I realize that many of my Christian brothers and sisters do not view the Bible as the inspired, inerrant, literal Written Word of God. And, of course, all the atheists, secularists, and vanilla-flavored non-believers are in the stands, cheering them on, yelling, "You go, girl! You tell them, brother! Don't let those Fundies tell you that God really inspired the writers of the Bible. It is just a book of myths and plagiarized stories! You are better off listening to us!" And, as Sonny and Cher sang, "The beat goes on!"
When I get my monthly snail-mail issue of The Berean Call Newsletter, I turn immediately to the Q&A Section. Here, people ask tough questions and I believe that Dave Hunt and Tom McMahon give strong, solid answers. Do I always agree with them 100%? No. But, even when I might disagree with their position -- I learn a lot from reading The Berean Call Newsletter. If you are not currently subscribed -- I highly recommend it. And, the price is right -- FREE.
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I like the following question from the August 2011 issue, for Dave Hunt is not just giving his opinion -- he is defining his belief in a PreTrib Rapture/PreMillennial Second Coming of Christ and supporting this with Scripture. Regardless of our belief, i.e., theology -- if it cannot be supported 100% from Scripture -- we need to take a second look.
THE BEREAN CALL NEWSLETTER
Q&A Section, August 2011 Issue
Question: Christ said, "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." In view of such scriptures, how can you believe in a Rapture and Resurrection at the beginning of the Great Tribulation? Doesn't Revelation 20:4-5 teach that the "first resurrection" takes place after the Battle of Armageddon?
Response: Beware of teaching that is built on one isolated verse. What do "first resurrection" and "last day" mean? The answer can only be found in the context of all Scripture. In John 5:28-29, Jesus spoke of two resurrections:
"The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of da m nation."
Undoubtedly Revelation 20:4-5 refers to the resurrection of life. That the reference is not to the resurrection of all believers, however, but only those martyred by Antichrist during the Great Tribulation, is clearly stated: "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...."
Then what about Abraham, David, Peter, Paul, Spurgeon, Moody, and Christians who have died more recently, none of whom was slain by Antichrist? When are they resurrected? At the Rapture, as 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 declares, "the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together...to meet the Lord in the air." No mention of that in Revelation 20, so it must have already occurred -- another argument for a PreTrib Rapture.
The only resurrection after Revelation 20:4-5 takes place 1,000 years later and must be what Christ called "the resurrection of da m nation." Those who are raised then are still "dead in trespasses and in sins" (Eph 2:1; Col 2:13): "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened...and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books..." (Rev 20:12). This is the Great White Throne Judgment of the lost.
As for Christians, they have already "appear[ed] before the judgment seat of Christ" (Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10) right after the Rapture. In Revelation 19:7-9, we read of "the marriage supper of the Lamb" involving, of course, His bride, the church (Eph 5:23-32).
When and how did she get to heaven? Obviously, at the PreTrib Rapture! She is clothed in fine linen, white and clean (v. 8). Next, Christ descends with "the armies which were in heaven...[also] clothed in fine linen, white and clean" (v. 14) to confront and destroy Antichrist at Armageddon. Surely the church comprises that army.
Enoch prophesied that Christ would return to this earth "with ten thousands [i.e., an innumerable company] of his saints, to execute judgment" upon Antichrist and his followers (Jude 14-15). Zechariah 14:4-5 states that when Christ comes to earth to rescue Israel and "His feet stand in that day upon the mount of Olives -- all the saints" come with Him. Surely these are not disembodied spirits waiting to be resurrected! The saints who accompany Christ from heaven (Rev 19) to reign on earth must be in their glorified bodies -- and they must have been taken to heaven previously in order to descend from there with Him at Armageddon.
That this resurrection in Revelation 20 involves only "the souls of them" who were martyred by Antichrist is a clear indication that all other saints have been previously resurrected. Then why wait until after Armageddon for these martyrs to be raised?
We are told why. Some of these same souls are seen earlier:
"I saw under the altar the souls of them ...slain for the word of God...and it was said unto them, that they should rest...until their fellow servants also...that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled" (Rev 6:9-11).
Since all Great Tribulation martyrs are resurrected together -- and Antichrist kills believers to the very end -- their resurrection must await the end of Armageddon. If the resurrection of believers who lived and died prior to the Tribulation took place seven years previously, why is the resurrection in Revelation 20 of those slain by Antichrist called "the first resurrection"?
Clearly, it is in order to show that these martyrs are part of that company which has already been resurrected, the church. It specifically says that they "reign with him [Christ] a thousand years" (Rev 20:6) as do the saints of all ages.
What about Christ raising all believers "at the last day"? This "last day" is surely not the 24-hour period in which these martyrs are raised, for there are many more days that follow. The "last day" is a lengthy period of time called "the day of the Lord [God]" (Isa 2:12; Jer 46:10; Eze 30:3; Joel 1:15, etc.) or "the day of Christ" (1 Cor 1:8; Phil 1:10; 2 Thess 2:2).
It "comes like a thief in the night" when men are saying "peace and safety" (1 Thess 5:2-3) and do not expect Christ to return or God's judgment to fall -- but boast that "all things continue as they were from the beginning" (2 Pet 3:3-4,10).
Clearly this day (the day of the Lord) cannot begin with the Millennium, for it involves God's wrath upon mankind prior thereto. Nor can it begin "as a thief" in the midst of the Tribulation, for by Revelation 6 the world is in ruins and men are crying out to the rocks to hide them from God's wrath.
It (the day of the Lord) can only start at the beginning of the Tribulation with the Rapture and resurrection. It must also last until the end of the Millennium and the destruction of the old universe, for Peter says, "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away...the day of God, wherein the heavens...shall be dissolved...we...look for new heavens and a new earth" (2 Pet 3:10-13).
Bold, italic, underline, and some parenthetical emphasis in the article above is mine.
In closing, I cannot see how any eschatological view can withstand full Scriptural scrutiny except the PreTrib/PreMillennial position.
However, the good news is -- our salvation is not based upon our End Time (eschatological) View. There is no doubt in my mind that, when the Rapture occurs, we will see Christians of all flavors -- Premillennialists, Amillennialists, Postmillennialists, Liberals, Conservatives, Legalists, even old dyed-in-the-wool Fundamentalists -- all going up together.
Of course, all but the PreTrib/PreMillennial believers (including Fundamentalists) will be surprised -- astonished at their early ascension.
Just a quick reminder: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Saved by the grace of God, through sincere faith in Jesus Christ -- PLUS nothing else.
So, if you hold an End Times view other than PreTrib/PreMillennial -- don't blame me when you are astonished by your Rapture.
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,