Eschatology

Preaching on the Rapture

Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted by permission from Warren Vanhetloo’s Cogitations.

“In the last days scoffers will say, Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet. 3:3-4).

Years ago, we heard a great deal of preaching about the possibility of the rapture occurring in our lifetime. As I remember, 1980 was about as long as we expected to have to wait. World affairs were such that, to our eyes, the tribulation following the rapture would soon come about. And then the world situation changed. Things settled down, and new disruptions arose. And for the last three decades, there has been little preaching on the imminent any-moment return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the air for church saints. Men’s predictions and analyses failed. God’s plan was not adjusted a bit. He didn’t change as the world changed. So many had been so wrong; it was best to keep quiet.

We cannot today predict any more accurately than those of the last century. We can be more cautious of the conclusions we reach. The one thing we ought to avoid is that of neglecting to preach of the coming rapture just because some have overstated some things about it in the past. If it is in the Word of God, it is a part of what we are to proclaim as the whole counsel of God. From our human point of view, it is just as possible of occurring any moment now as three decades ago. We know no more of God’s schedule than did our fathers or their fathers. We do have the same Scripture they had.

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The Mosaic Law and National Reconstruction

Note: This article is reprinted from The Faith Pulpit (January/February 1990), a publication of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (Ankeny, IA).

by Ralph G. Turk, D.Min.
MosesThere is a movement today identified as Reconstructionism or Dominion Theology that has its roots in postmillennialism. It advocates establishing a theocratic kingdom in America based on the judicial laws of Moses. In fact, by its reasoning, the Christian is under a divine mandate to accomplish this end.

It has been popularized in recent years by Rousas J. Rushdoony in “The Institutes of Biblical Law” and Greg Bahnsen in “Theonomy in Christian Ethics.” Out of this has come the Chalcedon school which is a foundation that identifies itself as an independent Christian educational organization. Its viewpoint represents an exact opposite to the Biblical, dispensational position of fundamental Baptists. In essence, Reconstructionists argue the continuing and universal obligation of Old Testament Law.

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Missing the Point of Prophecy

Without a doubt, prophecy is one of the most popular genres of Scripture. An announcement that the pastor will begin a Futureseries through 1 Chronicles may incite some yawns, but the attendance might swell if he decides to preach through Revelation.

While prophecy is an important part of Scripture, its study can become an end in itself. It can become all about detailed charts, a haughty denouncing of others’ perspectives on the Millennium, and dogmatic—yet unwarranted—speculation. To avoid these errors, we must keep in mind the purpose of prophecy.

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Eschatology and Cultural Engagement

In The Nick of Time
One of the most frequent complaints against premillennialists is that they lack a social conscience. The opponents of premillennialism charge that it is a pessimistic eschatology. It is supposed to bias its advocates against activities that aim to improve the world.

Often premillennialists have acted in ways that confirm this accusation. Most premillennialists believe that the world will become much worse before Jesus returns. Some have drawn the inference that social and cultural erosion is both necessary and irreversible. To work for the betterment of a social order is at best futile. At worst it is to pit one’s self against God’s plan. As one wag asked, “Why polish the brass on a sinking ship?”

Why indeed? One answer might be simply that the ship’s captain wishes his vessel to go down with its brass gleaming. On the Titanic, the band played even when the musicians knew that the ship was irretrievably damaged. Their music was not meant to reverse the situation, but to remind people of something outside the doomed vessel. So might a premillennialist minister in a sinking world.

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Book Review: Future Israel

Horner, Barry E. Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged. NAC Studies in Bible & Theology. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2007. Jacketed Hardcover, xxii + 394 pages. $19.99.

(Review copies courtesy of B&H Academic.)
Future IsraelPurchase: B&H | Amazon | CBD

ISBNs: 0805446273 / 9780805446272

Note: This is volume 3 in the NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY STUDIES IN BIBLE AND THEOLOGY.

Features: Footnotes; 5 Appendices including an Annotated Bibliography of Jewish-Christian Relations in Church History; Author, Subject, and Scripture Indexes

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Could Christ Return in 2007?

by John C. Whitcomb, Th.D

The Biblical answer to this burning question is—yes and no! Yes, He could return from heaven at any moment now to meet His true church—His body and bride—in the air. And, therefore, no—He will not come down to the earth during the next 12 months. His return to the earth will occur seven years after the church has been caught up to heaven.

Why does the Bible make this distinction? Because the second coming of our Lord, just like His first coming, is a complex series of events covering a number of years. Think for a moment of the first coming. It began with the miraculous conception of the God/man in the womb of a Jewish woman about 4 B.C. Then came His birth, growth, public ministry, death, burial, resurrection and ascension back to heaven—requiring more than a third of a century.

So also, the second coming of Christ will cover a number of years, beginning with the resurrection of dead Christians and the rapture of living Christians (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Then, for the church, there will be a period of examination by her Bridegroom to determine gain or loss of rewards (1 Cor. 3:5-15), culminating in “the marriage of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7-9, KJV).

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