These are some of my questions based on a teaching at our 11 O’clock Wednesday Bible Study on The Revelation. But I find these beliefs to be expressed throughout the Dispensationalist system.
Brother Teacher, I don’t know if you have ever considered these scriptures in just this way before but they speak to things about which you teach.
You spoke this morning of deceivers and I know that none of us want to be among them. I agree with you that something is changing in our world. You put the change as an expectation of The Rapture and Christ’s return. I would see it based on these scriptures that I’m about to share, as a move toward Tribulation leading to that event. So why do we view scripture differently, and what does that mean?
Brother Teacher, I’m going to ask you some questions about your statements. Feel free to do the same of me.
Why did Jesus say that The Jews would be the sons of God at the resurrection in Luke 20:36?
Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Luke 20:34-36 NASB
Jesus here is answering a question about resurrection based on Old Testament law, presented to Him by Jewish leaders. The age He was speaking in was the so called by man, “O.T. Age”. I include quotes here because there is no evidence in this or other scripture of this time of which He spoke being a “separate age”. He applies two ages or time periods in this teaching. One before resurrection and one after.
So to continue, If the Jews are resurrected to be sons of God; then one must ask this question of himself, based upon what Paul states concerning the revealing of these sons of God, — is that revealing not a one time event? If so to what is it connected? Listen:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
Romans 8:18-19 NASB
Is not “this present time” in contrast to “Glory revealed” a strong indicator of Tribulation being of this age for those saints under the alter, who will then be revealed in glory? If the O.T. Jews are sons of God and resurrection is their hope, as it is ours; what then does that say about the timing of the Rapture, which scripturally must follow the resurrection of those who are — in Christ? 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Secondly brother teacher, there is the question — will Israel be saved by the same gospel as are we?
You state that “the dead in Christ will rise first” — Is Israel then considered to not be in Christ? You say “there will be Christians or believers in the Tribulation”, are they then not in Christ? This is an offshoot of the same question — can there be believers, but no church? Additionally, If these Christian believers are in Christ but are to be raised later, why does scripture not make clear this distinction between believers who are in Christ? Man attempts to make this distinction by calling these different ages, but that is really not in keeping with the scriptures definition of our age wherein there is marriage and giving in marriage.
You state “We want God to bring Israel back to Him” — I agree for this is what will bring about the consummation of this age (read Peter’s sermon in Acts 3 to the men of Israel), but with their return to Messiah, will not they then be in Christ (sons of God)? If not what is meant by 1 Corinthians 15:22?
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:22 NASB
This is not speaking just to the Church since Christ’s resurrection, but to man since the time of Adam. Does this not mean that Israel must be in Christ in order to be made alive in the coming millennium? It is evident that all must be in Christ in order to make the resurrection, yet the catching up (called rapture) only follows resurrection. Yet it is also obvious that some still in the Tribulation are also in Christ.
-You also state that “some Christians or believers in the Tribulation will die” — will those who die during the Tribulation in Christ be separate from the bride who will rule with Christ? — (read Rev.20), and Paul says that the dead in Christ will be raised, and then after that those alive will be raised? Does this not all taken together make the case for placing the rapture after the Tribulation? We know that during Tribulation there are deaths of those who according to scripture must be in Christ, so it seems that it should be understood that the rapture comes post-Tribulation, following the first resurrection as Paul states it.
In chapter 20 of Revelation the saints from Tribulation will also reign with Christ, a bride promise. Again please do not forget: The bride does not make herself ready until after Tribulation in chapter 19, just before Jesus’ return.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NASB
It would seem that “In Christ” is one key to understanding the Raptures timing.
You also mentioned in your teaching that the Church has not replaced Israel, I certainly agree, but have you considered that the church is joined to Israel’s covenants and her promises. This fact is contained within Paul’s Ephesians chapter 2-4 teaching. Here in Ephesians not only is this stated clearly, but it is understood that we are “one new man” within Israel’s commonwealth (her saints). Also it must be understood that the Olive tree does not do away with all of Israel when Gentiles are added, but only the unbelievers in Israel are cut off, the Remnant of Israel’s believers remain and we are added to them (adopted). Again, one new man seems in view here. Paul never says that Gentiles will be cut off from the Olive tree due to rapture or catching away, but that we can be cut off due to unbelief, just as most in Israel were. Jesus speaks of a falling away from the faith in Matthew 24 “during Tribulation” not of a catching away. We were added to an already existing tree, one into which Israel the nation will be added back.
And finally, Brother Teacher, I heard you state that our redemption draws near and we are to be looking for Christ not the Tribulation. And again I agree but with a different thought. Paul who penned the words telling us of our blessed hope, and at the time he was living amid certain Tribulation says this:
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Philippians 1:18-20 NASB
Our blessed hope is in the resurrection. Death is a certain conclusion for man in this age until that day which Jesus tells us that only the Father knows. Yes attached to the resurrection is the rapture, but we do not know the day and the hour, and even as Paul, who told us to look for Jesus, states here, we may die before that day and hour. He is the one who told us to look for Jesus. Yet, he was obviously aware that death might come to him before. We do know the signs, and we know that persecution is already upon many Christians and Jews worldwide. You have mentioned that.
If you will remember what I presented here on “the day of the Lord” which is the day that Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians 5 to be the time of Christ’s Coming as a thief; then you should remember that this future day will not come until after the Antichrist appears 2Thess 2. Joel tells us that it will come after a darkening caused by sun moon and stars not shining.
May God bless you in your teaching but remember as Paul told Timothy:
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
1 Timothy 4:16 NASB
I know that many of you teachers will not hear this word, because you refuse to believe that one can walk away from truth, and be lost. But these words to Timothy are not my words, nor are they yours to twist. They are God’s words, and only God’s words matter. I make every effort to base everything that I teach on only God’s word. Jesus is the word of God made flesh — abide in Him. You are made clean by the word. You know that Jesus said this to His disciples. So what will He do if the word is twisted. What is it to twist or distort the word? — is it not making the word say what it does not clearly state? If the word is distorted is it still a cleansing force, or is it a destructive force?
But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:13-16 NASB
This is why I write this to you teachers, because I am instructed to do so:
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
James 5:19-20 NASB
The word distorted is truth distorted and equals destruction.