Friday, July 23, 2021

Thursday, July 22, 2021

After the Tribulation the Great Multitude?

A while ago I expressed some thoughts about the Great Multitude (GM) and the 144,000 of Revelation. In one of these I noted how Covenant Theology tries to morph these groups together when they are plainly distinct. But it drew attention because I questioned the view of how the GM arrives in heaven. I didn't write with the intention of being divisive. Part of my article received attention in a non-pretrib prophecy group, though it wasn't linked to. 

I asked how the (allegedly raptured) GM could be said to be coming out of the Great Tribulation (GT) if the "rapture" at Matt 24:31 occurs after the tribulation and after the cosmic signs etc. Am I being woodenly literal? Predictably, part of the response involved arguing that, because the GM was in the GT at one point, it can somehow be said to have come out of problem. 

I noted that some scholars (e.g., Robertson) consider the grammar to be indicating continuous action. In The Sign, Van Kampen stated that even Robert L Thomas supported a completed action. Van Kampen was wrong about Thomas and for various reasons I don't consider him to have been a careful researcher.  

I'm no Greek geek but, interestingly, the ESV translates it this way:

I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Rev 7:14 

Responses often resort to "context." If context involves asserting the GM must have arrived in a completed action on the assumption of the correctness of a rapture timing view, it ceases to be that. A case in point is sliding the resurrection event of Rev 20:4 back into Rev 7 because it fits the expectation that the GM is the raptured church along with resurrected saints (including GT martyrs). This conveniently places a resurrection in Rev 7 where it isn't mentioned. 

Speaking of the latter, can all resurrected saints be said to have come out of the GT? 

Remember that they (Rev 20:4) are resurrected after the tribulation. Matt 24:31 does not cut the tribulation short. The elder doesn't tell John that some of the GM comes out of the GT. You'd have to divide the group into two sections, which John doesn't do. The resurrection event preceding the rapture (should) include saints from church history who never experience the GT. Think about the order of magnitude. 

I remain unconvinced of this view.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Thoughts on George Ladd's HP & the 144,000

A re-post.
Years ago George Ladd often came up in discussions about rapture timing. His book, The Blessed Hope, has been popular in posttrib-prewrath circles. Like Spurgeon, he was historic premil. If you didn't want to be burdened with dispensational baggage (pretrib rapture etc); you could call yourself historic premil (just like Ladd). Later on, some shifted to progressive dispensationalism for similar reasons.

Ladd also held to Covenant Theology, blurred the distinctions between Israel and the church, and allegorized and re-interpreted the Old Testament based on the New Testament. This was the subject of debate in 2011. See a previous article HERE. And more recently HERE.

I've seen comments that pretribbers hold to the idea that the 144,000 (Rev 7) are evangelists because of alleged pretrib problems associated with the Great Multitude. Many if not most posttribulationists today deny that their role is evangelism. This wasn't always the case.

In fact in The Blessed Hope (p 45), Ladd cites posttribulationist Nathaniel West who believed the 144,000 to be the “Israelitish Church.” He taught that this group is the fulfillment of the promises of Romans 11 – the salvation of literal Israel. Accordingly, their salvation occurs at the start of the 70th week as a result of the missionary work of the Two Witnesses. They are sealed so that they can take the place of the [predominantly Gentile] church!

So this isn't an original pretrib idea crafted out of necessity. In this view the Great Multitude is the church which suffers "near extinction at the hands of the Antichrist in the Great Tribulation." Ladd and West did not view the multitude of Revelation 7 as the raptured church.

Yet (confusingly) Ladd also took the view that the 144,000 are a symbolic expression of the church:
These twelve tribes cannot be literal Israel, because they are not the twelve tribes of OT Israel. The list here appears nowhere else in the Bible. It has three irregularities: it names Judah first, thus ignoring the OT order of the tribes; it omits Dan with no explanation (see Eze. 48:1); it mentions Joseph instead of Ephraim. Perhaps John meant by this irregular listing of the twelve tribes to designate the Israel that is not the literal Israel. . . . The twelve tribes were irregularly listed to show that true Israel is not literal Israel, but the Church. (Cited in Tony Garland's A Testimony of Jesus Christ. Note Garland's response)
For more on Ladd's position re Israel and re-interpretation of the OT see Mike Vlach's blog. Dr. Vlach also addresses some of The Orange Mailman's objections re criticisms of Ladd.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

We'll Convert Your Children

Time to wake up...

Saturday, July 3, 2021

What The Ed Litton Scandal Can Teach Christian Bloggers

Thought this was pretty good. It hits close to home.

You don’t have to belong to the Southern Baptist Convention to have heard that its newly elected president, Ed Litton, preached a sermon almost word for word that outgoing SBC president J.D, Greear had previously preached. A simple Google search will verify this fact. Justin Peters put out a video showing both sermons, which you can view here. And this scandal most assuredly needs much discussion, especially because (in the words of the more liberal element of the SBC) the world is watching...keep reading