Skip to comments.Christís Second Coming (1)
Posted on 04/07/2005 8:31:12 AM PDT by TheTruthess
Doug Focht, Jr.
On the freeway, hundreds of cars are going in all directions without drivers; in the middle of a football gamezap!suddenly, the quarterback disappears; the UN is in turmoil; millions of people have vanished from the earth with no trace, no warning!1 Thus Hal Lindsay, in his book, The Late, Great Planet Earth, describes an event called the rapture in which millions of people will be taken from earth and transported to heaven. Maybe you've heard talk of this and wonder what it's all about.
Although there are some variations within the premillenial theology of Christ's return, the current popular theory among many fundamental evangelicals regarding Christ's second coming goes something like this:
Before Christ's actual visible coming, He will remove His faithful from the earth. The faithful dead will also be raised to meet them in the air. This is the event which they call the rapture, the event covered in chapter 11 of Lindsay's book. A 7-year period of tribulation follows.
With the removal of the faithful, the world will be free to do it's own thing. Sin will abound. Some believe that thousands of Jews will be converted to Christ during this period and begin to evangelize the world144,000 Jewish Billy Grahams, as Mr. Lindsay refers to them in his sequel, There's a New World Coming.
A world leader will emerge who will promise peace, and at first seem to deliver. After 3 ½ years, though, all hell will break loose, literally, with Satan having his way on the earth by way of the Anti-Christ now ruling the globe. This second 3 ½ - year period is called the Great Tribulation. Some refer to the entire 7-year period as the tribulation.
The armies of the earth will array themselves against the nation of Israel in the northern plain of Megiddo. This is known as the battle of Armegeddon. Most believe this will be a nuclear battle and that many cities of the earth will also be destroyed during this time.
At the end of this period, Christ will return to Israel, set His foot on the mount of Olives, and begin to force His rule on the earth. Satan will be bound for 1,000 years during the period of Christ's reign on the earth (Rev. 20:16). Those righteous people martyred during the Great Tribulation will be raised and His faithful will rule the earth with Him from Jerusalem in a new temple, presumably rebuilt sometime before or during the 7-year tribulation period.
After Christ's 1,000-year reign is over, Satan will be released from his prison and go forth to gather his forces for the final battle. Before this battle can get started, Christ will end it with a bang. The entire earth as we know will be destroyed by fire. God will create a new heaven and a new earth.
This popular view is known as premillenialism, because Christ's return precedes (hence, pre) the 1,000-year reign (a millenium=1,000 years). A few folks believe that the church ushers in a 1,000-year period of peace after which Christ returns to claim His kingdom already set up by the church. That position is called postmillenialism. The third position poses that the 1,000-year reign is not a literal, fixed period of time, nor is it on earth, but it is symbolic of Christ's complete reign from heaven. This is the amillennial position.
Premillenialism is a rather involved theology and it requires much reading and studying to understand. Its complexity on the one hand and the attractive appeal of its signs and predictions on the other draw many Bible-believers into it. The reason for bringing this up here is to demonstrate some basic principles of Bible interpretation. Those of our readers who may be new to or unfamiliar with Scripture, will doubtless ask the question: Where do these ideas come from?
You will notice that except for the passage cited in Rev. 20, I have not listed any of the passages that premillenialists use to support their theory. The reason for this is that they tend to interpret visionary Scriptures literally and literal Scriptures figuratively. To list all of their reasons would go beyond the scope of our short articles. But a few examples here and in our next article should suffice to demonstrate a common-sense approach to biblical interpretation.
Most of the premillenial theology is based upon the prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and most significantly, the book of Revelation. Most of the prophecies in these books are visionary and apocalyptic in nature. That is, they use symbols and visions to predict calamities inflicted by God against the unrighteous, while offering steadfast hope to the faithful that no matter how bad things get, God and His kingdom will be victorious. Visions include horses of different colors, multi-headed beasts with horns on their heads, bowls of wrath, trumpets, scorpions, animals that are part bull, part man, part eagle, part bear, and so forth. They all mean something, but what? How are they to be interpreted?
Most of Scripture, including prophecies, are not visionary at all, but are plainly and simply stated. When both a plain-spoken passage and a visionary passage deal with the same subject, common sense would dictate that the visionary passage be interpreted in the light of the plain-spoken passage. For example, when Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, He said, The days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down (Luke 21:6). A few verses later, He gave an indication of what to look for prior to that time when He said, When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand (vs 20). As a matter of history, Jerusalem was indeed destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., some 40 years after Jesus predicted it. In this same discourse as it is recorded in Matt. 24, Jesus also referred to a passage in the book of Daniel that has a bearing on His prediction. He referred to something Daniel called the abomination of desolation. Modern premillenialists interpret this passage in Daniel to apply to some world-ruler in the 20th or early 21st century. Some refer to him as the Anti-Christ. But if you take the time to compare Luke 21:2021 with Matthew 24:1516, you will see that the abomination of desolation spoken of in the book of Daniel is associated with the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem. Notice:
When you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains etc.
When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her destruction is at hand. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains etc.
Putting these two plain-spoken accounts together, we have a concrete interpretation from Jesus Himself of the abomination of desolation mentioned by the prophet Daniel. It was the destruction of the Jewish temple by the hated Roman Gentiles. Jesus says nothing of an anti-Christ or world-ruler, yet many ignore simple statements like this and prefer to interpret Daniel in a way that goes far beyond Jesus' own interpretation.
It stands to reason that people can be easily misled by using visionary prophecy as the basis for a theology. Yet the theology of premillenialism depends upon reverse interpretation; that is, the plain-spoken is interpreted in the light of the visionary rather than vice-versa.
Here is another example from Revelation 20, the keystone of premillenial theology. There is no question that a thousand-year reign is mentioned here, but is it a literal thousand years? Premillenialists will accuse a critter like me of not taking the Bible literally because I don't believe this to be a literal 1,000 years. Well, let's see now: In verses 12, does the angel bind Satan with a literal chain? Is Satan actually a dragon? Are Gog and Magog in verse 8 actual nations that will arise to be called by that literal name? If all these things are to be interpreted figuratively why should someone bristle if the thousand years are also figurative? Besides, we have biblical precedent for this in plain-spoken passages:
It is said in Deut. 7:9 that God keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him Does this mean He quits in the 1001st generation?
Psalm 50:10 says Every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. Does this mean that God owns only the cattle on 1,000 hills?
Here's something else: if Revelation 20 is to be taken literally then,
Only souls come alive and reign with Christ (vs 4). The text doesn't say dead people were raised, it says souls came to life.
Only those souls who had been martyred for Christ reign with Him, not all the faithful (vs 4), and if the point be pressed to its fullest, only those who had been beheaded reign with Him.
Besides these things, there is no specific verse that says this particular reign is upon the earth. So important is this missing link to the premillenial view that Hal Lindsay, in his book, There's A New World Coming actually inserts the words on earth in his quotation of Rev. 20:4. He quotes, and they lived and reigned on earth with Christ a thousand years.2 The title page of Lindsay's book indicates he uses the Living Bible, but the words on earth are not in the copy of the Living Bible that I read, nor have I been able to find any English Bible that has them. More importantly, no ancient Greek text has these words added to them. I wonder if Mr. Lindsay has taken to heart the words of Revelation 22:18: I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book
It is not sufficient to point out deficiencies and inconsistencies in another's position without offering an alternative point of view. In our next article, we will look at the non-visionary Scriptures that deal with Christ's second coming and will see that if you interpret the symbolic passages using the plain-spoken passages, the theology of premillenialism will not stand. There will be no world-ruler; there will be no 7-year tribulation, there will be no literal battle of Armageddon fought in the northern plains of Israel, and there will be no literal reign of Christ on the earth. For as we shall see in succeeding articles, Christ is a king now; he rules the earth now from His throne in heaven, and for those who may be wondering: His kingdom has already come and now is!
Lindsay, Hal. The Late Great Planet Earth, (paper back) Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan: 1970.
Lindsay, Hal. There's a New World Coming: A Prophetic Odyssey, Vision House Publishers (paper back). Santa Ana, CA:1973. The quote is from page 272
From Growing in Grace Vol. 1 #15, October 26, 1996
Christ's Kingdom and His church are the same. There is no need for an earthly kingdom since His kingdom has already been established.
I gotta add my AMEN to that too.
But I do find it interesting that there is no mention of a 'rapture' or pre-millenialism in christian writings until around the year 1830 when John Darby popularized the teaching of Margaret Macdonald on the two-fold nature of Christ's return. It's difficult to think that the apostles wouldn't have taught more on this subject or that early writers would have picked up on it.
You ignored the Scripture passage that jkl1122 was referencing. In order to have a kingdom on this earth, the referenced Bible passage must be a lie. You can see the referenced passage for yourself. Hebrews 8:4.
In the service of the Lord,
Sorry, 1st century writing by Erasmus was discovered a few years ago ... makes reference to the rapture.
Sorry, maybe it wasnt 1st century ... I have the reference at home though ... might be 2nd or 3rd century
Do you have a source for that? I'll do some searches but I'd like to see what you have on this.
Christs kingdom exists today in the sense that the king has already come and he has subjects in the form of believers in him. But His physical Earthly kingdom, which is the future fulfillment of the Davidic kingdom (an earthly kingdom), will not take place until his 2nd coming.
Yes, I would be happy to share that ... I will look it up as soon as I have occasion. It is at home in the vast array of notes and articles I have in my files. In the mean time, perhaps a google search might produce some fruit.
It might be Psuedo-Ephraim ... or something like that ... Im pretty sure Erasmus is wrong now that I ponder it.
I found a secondary source ...
Seems that Dr. Robert Gundry has written a critique of the source and supposedly "dismantled" the pretrib use of this early source. The source is dated in the 4th century.
Guntry has a book called "First The Antichrist" that will have this source listed.
I should point out that Gundry is a hard-core POST-tribulationist so his analysis should be carefully analyzed (unless youre a post-tribber yourself ... lol)
Your interpretation of Hebrews 8:4 is wrong. It clearly indicates that the things which are on this earth are merely shadows of the real things. Christ cannot possibly be a priest by administring to the shadowy things. If he was on earth, he could not be our High Priest.
In the service of the Lord,
Christ reigns over everything today. His kingdom is heaven and Earth, it is everything.
Now, there will come a day when everyone will KNOW it is his kingdom, but he is executing his reign right now; some just don't know it since he is not here in front of us.
Erasmus lived in the middle ages....unless you are speaking of a different one.
And, I don't take him very seriously on doctrinal matters.
Whoever mentioned it was probably a heretic anyway.
The rapture was never an orthodox teaching.
Be Strong in the Lord -- Ephesians 6:10-20.
"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
Remember "Psalm 2"
Yes, He is our priest. However, Hebrews 8:4 is clear that His kingdom is not of this earth.
Yes, I was mistaken, it is Ephraim ... Erasmus' contributions were in the Greek NT text he compiled.
I stand corrected.