Friday, September 3, 2010

Worst time ever...

In This Study, Dr Alan Cole discusses the pre-wrath (and post-trib) view of the day of the Lord in Joel 2&3. One point of interest to me is the evaluation of Dr Charles Cooper’s challenge to Renald Showers’ view on the proof of the overlapping between the great tribulation and the day of the Lord based on Joel 2:1.

Dr Showers contends that the phrase “there has never been anything like it” refers to the day of the Lord. He then uses other references such as Matt 24:21 to argue that, because there can’t be two uniquely worst days in history, the two periods must be referring to the same timeframe or at least overlap.

Dr Cooper counters that the phrase “there has never been anything like it” refers to the people and not to the day of the Lord.

He makes a valid point.

But what he doesn’t do is refute Dr Showers’ over-all contention. Here’s the problem as I see it – Matt 24:21 asserts that the Great Tribulation is the worst time in history and that no other time will be as harsh:

…for at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will be. (Mat 24:21 NASB)

That time will be so bad that:

And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short. (Mat 24:22 NASB)

Both pre-wrath and post-trib proponents divide the great tribulation and the day of the Lord into two periods which don’t overlap. The obvious problem then is that any period following the great tribulation cannot be as severe.

It is suggested that Matt 24 is speaking of Satan’s wrath. By implication, then, these are two different subjects which consequently allows for two unparalleled periods. But is that really the case or is it circular reasoning?

No distinction is ever made between the great tribulation and God’s wrath nor is the tribulation ever scripturally restricted to Satan’s persecution – it is an assumption used to support an expectation. Pretribbers hold that Satan’s wrath, and various other calamities are extensions of God’s wrath and judgments (Ezekiel 14:21; Revelation 6:8). Furthermore, the phrase “since the beginning of the world” incorporates Noah’s flood.

The fact that the GT is shortened - otherwise no life would be saved - indicates an all-inclusive global condition which also embraces unbelievers. Christ states that all lives would be lost if there was no intervention to shorten that period. The question then is - if the day of the Lord occurs after those days have been shortened then what happens to life on earth?

The Great Tribulation Period is cut short for the sake of the elect (the Church).

The reason given by the Lord for this shortening cannot be logically used in reference to the church’s rapture and/or resurrection. If every last Christian was martyred they’d still be raised up. Nor can it be used to argue for a GT lasting less than the consistently prophesied three-and-a-half years.

We know the Antichrist has been given authority to act for 42 months (Rev 13:5); that he gathers the armies at Rev 16 and martyred saints are raised after the beast has been bound (Rev 20:4). We also know that the Antichrist is destroyed (not hand cuffed) at Christ’s coming (2 Thess 2:8; Rev 19:20).

At the time the Antichrist has gathered the armies he is still within his 42 months because he is using his authority to accomplish that at the 6th bowl. His time expires at Rev 19 which is post trumpets and bowls. Hence the trumpets and bowls are contained within the GT period.

Therefore, while Dr Showers’ argument in the Joel 2 case may be questioned, his over-all premise is on solid foundations.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Persistent efforts to explain “the Israel of God” in Gal 6:16 as a reference to the church defy overwhelming grammatical, exegetical, and theological evidence that the expression refers to ethnic Israel. Among contemporary interpreters, three views of the phrase’s meaning emerge: (1) “The Israel of God” is the church; (2) “The Israel of God” is the remnant of Israelites in the church; and (3) “The Israel of God” is the future redeemed nation. View 1 suffers from the grammatical and syntactical weakness of endorsing the meaning of the Greek particle kai as “namely,” a rare usage of that word. Exegetically, View 1 is also weak in choosing to define “Israel” as the church, a usage that appears nowhere else in biblical literature. View 1 also is lacking theologically because the name “Israel” is not applied to the church at any time in history until A.D. 160. Views 2 and 3 coincide grammatically and syntactically, exegetically, and theologically in positive support for those views by taking kai in its frequent continuative or copulative sense and by understanding “Israel” as a reference to ethnic Israel. View 3 shows its exegetical superiority to View 2 through the six points of Peter Richardson, which develop the ethnic nature of “Israel,” an d by recalling Paul’s eschatological outlook for ethnic Israel in Rom 11:26. Theologically, View 3 jibes with Paul’s teaching about two kinds of Israelites, the believing ones and the unbelieving ones. Those who persist in advocating View 1 present a classic case in tendentious exegesis...keep reading