Sunday, January 24, 2010

How many second comings?

I’m indulging in a little axe grinding again. Pretribbers are often accused of “traditionally” believing in a two-stage Second Advent for scripturally unsound reasons.

Here’s a sample Q & A which appears HERE:

Q: Can you point to a direct scriptural reference that states that Jesus' return will be a two-stage event — a “spiritual” or “visible” (but not bodily) return at the rapture for the Church and then a “bodily” or “physical” coming at Armageddon?

Answer: No such scripture exists. When the return of Christ is mentioned in scripture it is always mentioned as a singular event

Another sample HERE:

Pre-Tribulation Theory incorrectly teaches two separate Comings of Christ, one when He comes "for His Church" and the second when He comes "with His Church" without one verse of explanation. There is but one Return of our Lord taught throughout the Old & New Testament, and is never referred to in the plural.


The term is always stated in the singular, not Comings. There is only one Second Coming (Parousia). Further, it is reading one's tradition in this term when it is suggested that there are "two stages of Comings." It is common to hear that Christ will come first for his Church secretly, then return seven years later with his Church. This notion is foreign to any Parousia text. There is only one future Coming (Parousia), in which God will fulfill certain Divine purposes.

In his book "The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church" on pp 222-223 and 294, Marvin Rosenthal asserts that there is only one “coming and a continuous presence to accomplish a number of divine purposes”.

I don’t intend this post to be an in-depth apologetic for the pretribulational belief that the rapture and second coming are two distinct events separated by a period of time. Despite assertions, there is no Scripture that invalidates that view. Furthermore, Rabbis reading Moses and the Prophets would be hard pressed to be convinced of two comings of Messiah, yet we know that that is the case. Jesus’ reading of Isaiah 61:1,2 in Luke 4:17-20 illustrates my point.

What confused me when I initially began to study Mr Rosenthal’s system is that in Rev 7:9 the “raptured” great multitude is standing before the throne and the Lamb in heaven. As I dug a little deeper I discovered that the above statements are made by people who subscribe to an eschatology that teaches multiple future comings.

Following Marvin Rosenthal’s book, Robert Van Kampen’s “The Sign” was published. Ironically, between pages 304 to 423 of that book, Mr Van Kampen identified FOUR separate future comings.

Dr Charles Cooper’s article “The Parousia of Jesus Christ” which can be read HERE also ends with a most interesting final paragraph that lists a number of Christ’s movements between heaven and earth, post rapture and prior to the Millennium.

Finally, Dr Elbert Charpie provides the following justification for his belief in a multi-stage Second Advent:

Jesus does come back and rapture His saints and He does deal with them in Heaven, but at the same time He deals with the Jewish remnant here on earth. It is no problem for Him to travel back and forth. Furthermore, He is God and as God shares the attributes of God including omnipresence (the ability to be everywhere at the same time). As far as the Jews are concerned, they are not raptured. The Jewish remnant will enter the millennial kingdom in their earthly bodies and will have charge along with a multitude of Gentiles that survive the 70th Week to re-populate the earth….Read it HERE

Now, whether the Lord can be physically omnipresent is a whole new subject and the questionable necessity for a single/technical parousia is also another matter. However, one cannot legitimately declare that all biblical references point to a single second coming and then assert there are other comings following that one. In light of the attention John Darby has received, perhaps a legitimate question to ask is; were all these comings taught by the early Church fathers or is this tenet a recent development?

In conclusion, and given the above statements and admissions, it is somewhat inconsistent of these people to accuse pretribulationists of incorrectly teaching a two-phase Second Advent.

Further reading:

New Testament Words for the Lord’s Coming

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Rapture and the Timing of the Two Witnesses

I hardly ever visit the RaptureReady site but the other day I popped in to check out some of the articles. The one about the Two Witnesses caught my eye. Now I wouldn't get too excited about finding a proof for pre-trib there but I think Paul makes a few interesting points. Also keep in mind that some people postulate the Two Witnesses' ministry may begin half way through the first half of the 70th week. I very much doubt that theory, but I am convinced that they are agents of God's wrath on the world.

More proof that the Rapture is Pre-Trib is hidden in the timing of the Two Witnesses. The evidence for this becomes clear as we investigate the question of when the Two Witnesses’ ministry begins—during the first half of the Tribulation, or during the second...The Rapture and the Timing of the Two Witnesses


Bill Salus has commented on the above article HERE.

Monday, January 18, 2010

False Prophets

When I first embarked on a study of eschatology I learned that some people were preterists; some were amillennialists and some were premillennialists etc. At that time I also came across the term dispensationalism. I slowly learned that those who weren’t premillennial or dispensational considered those who were, to be false prophets.

In those days I considered myself mostly post-trib. What excited me was that I might be living in the last days and I strongly doubted that I would be whisked away prior to the proverbial manure hitting the fan. My focus was on premillennialism and I simply skipped over any chapters dealing with the rapture.

My interest in the rapture was first piqued when I visited a certain prophecy website that claimed prophecy was being fulfilled now. On the one hand I was excited that perhaps we really were on the verge of entering into the 70th week of Daniel and that the anti-Christ was about to be revealed - that meant the Lord would be on His way! On the other hand I was a little perturbed by the comments on that site towards pretribulationalists I had been reading. The website owner believed the Church would be here to experience the anti-Christ. I began looking into his rapture view.

As I researched, I discovered a depth of condescension towards pretribulationism and pretribulationists that surprised me. Hal Lindsey was and is one of the favorite whipping boys but Thomas Ice and Tim LaHaye hold honorary places of mention in the pantheon. One layman even wrote a small book that was really a letter to LaHaye. Other than the fact that LaHaye was involved in the Left Behind books, I’m not sure why he got the brunt of that book given there are so many other capable pretribulational/dispensational scholars out there that could have been engaged.

Hal apparently gets special mention as false prophet on the pretext that he allegedly predicted the rapture/second coming would occur in the eighties. While commenting on Lindsey, one person even mentioned that false prophets were stoned in the OT! But what Lindsey actually did was postulate the possibility of everything coming together within that timeframe based on, then, current events and his understanding of Israel and the fig tree. He was wrong - simple as that. On observation, however, I suspect he’s been branded a false prophet for his pre-trib view rather than his failed chronology.

When I started my first blog, I compared Hal with those who fervently believed and practically taught that the signing of the ENP began the seven year Tribulation in Jan 2007, along with identifying the person who could be the AC. We now have less than six months to mid-point and it becomes increasingly unlikely that sacrifices will be established for an anti-Christ to put a stop to, or a Temple built in time for him to defile. Will these people be branded false prophets? I doubt it, and furthermore they shouldn’t be.

Modres has more to say about this false prophet phenomenon HERE

Another thing that intrigues me is that I often read where someone claims the Holy Spirit showed them that the pre-trib rapture is wrong and the rapture view they’ve come to adopt is correct. Here’s the dilemma; I’ve heard that claim from pre-trib, mid-trib, pre-wrath and post-trib believers. Can you see an issue there? Is the Holy Spirit fickle?

Here’s Modres again:

The Holy Spirit Taught Me…