Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Curious Case for a Pre-Trib Rapture

The first Christians had no Bible but the Old Testament, and perhaps the use of some of the non-canonical texts like the Book of Enoch. Mostly they relied on the wisdom and teaching of the church Fathers, who had the exact same Bible. It's more prudent of us to search for the truths and prophecies of end-times things in the Old Testament, because the New Testament was written with knowledge coming from the Old Testament (through revelation, I presume).

Having been a scoffer of pre-tribulation rapture ideas for quite some time, I've had to bite the bullet a bit and take a look at prophetic types in the ancient texts, because it seems there is some hint at a God-lover exit before the final ka-boom takes place. Jesus said the end will be like the days of Noah and like the days of sodom and Gomorrah (which can refer to more than one aspect), so let's take a look at what these might be "saying" to us in the here/now.

Noah

Lots of people think the genetic free-for-all leading up to the ark was the cause for the flood, and it makes a lot of sense when you consider the effect that angels producing offspring with human women could have - an almost irretrievably fallen "race" (literally, in this sense) if it was allowed to continue. It got so bad, and so widespread (the Book of Enoch says there were 180 some odd thousand of these hybrids wreaking havoc on the earth), that God found only Noah to be "perfect" in his generation.

There is much to be said here about genetic toggles in our day, and about the "beast" (which is flesh without spirit) being some sort of human clone who can be indwelled by Lucifer without any opposition by the flesh's owner (being absent). However, Noah prophesies a rapture for the beloved, and those who've chosen Him. Noah and his family were taken into the ark to "escape" (Gen 7:7) the wrath of the flood, were taken up by the waters and sat overtop the soak until it had accomplished all it was sent for. Then they came back down with the receding water, and exited the ark. Noah and his family would, of course, represent the chosen of God (I have to dread the day of "disappearing" if it comes and many who think they're in are in fact "left behind"; I've done a lot of writing in this blog about what it means to be saved, and perhaps what Jesus meant when he said "many are called, but few are chosen", or "narrow is the path... and only a few find it"; I suspect the "rapture" will be the most devastating day in history). It seems this is some sort of prophetic type, which can not be confirmed if it wasn't part of a couple (or some assortment of similar types).

Sodom & Gomorrah

Later in Genesis, we come to a 1-year span absolutely jam-packed with events, starting with a vist by God to Abraham. Here's a quick summary: God visits and tells Abraham, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son" (18:10). Sarah laughs (an unbelieving end-times Israel?). God tells Abraham what he's down for, which is to check out S&G, to see if it really deserves punishment, as He has heard. Abraham pleads for S&G. God's two companions arrive at Sodom (seems God went home), and meet Abraham's cousin Lot, who insists they stay with him (knowing the brutality of the town's inhabitants). The townsmen come for them and demand to have sex with the visitors (perhaps they knew angels were in town and wanted to become "men of renown" like the days of Noah when angels slept with humans?). The two angels (perhaps a prophecy of the Two Witnesses in Rev 11) then make their decision and tell Lot and all his family to immediately leave the city to escape the judgment, and they did. And with the rising of the sun (another prophetic type, in 19:23), the burning sulfur began to rain down on the cities and they were completely and utterly destroyed. Later, Lot's 2 daughters sleep with him while he is sleeping (not sure what this could typify), Abraham has another encounter with a King where he pretends his wife is his sister (which happened before), and finally Isaac is born (perhaps a prophecy of the coming of Christ).

There's so much in there, but my main point is on the prophetic parallel to an escape from judgment by the faithful - in the end, a rapture. There has been no contest, really, that there will be one, it's just a matter of when. And by reading Revelation, we can certainly see that the final judgment will only be the culmination of a series of horrible events. The question, then, is if the escape is from the final event or from the series of events?

Interesting to note also that the very bizarre occurences of Genesis in particular, and the bizarre moral choices of the "elect" and "righteous" begin to make some sense when we consider the stories a prophetic type (Example: Lot offered his 2 virgin daughters to the townsmen in place of the 2 strangers who had come to visit. What the...?).

When you take this approach to Genesis, and even the rest of the Pentateuch, you'll actually see the repition of it all, which could lead to further confirmation. An excellent example of this is found in Judges 19-20, which is a heart-breaking, stomach-churning account of a Levite and his concubine. They enter a town as visistor/travellers, and the townsmen surround the house like they did in Sodom, and said: "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him" (Jd 19:22). This leads to a civil war between Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, where they are almost completely wiped out. This is not a story told, but I'd strongly encourage you to read it. It comes shortly after the death of Samson, whose story can prophetically speak of the the time and ministry of the Two Witnesses again (IMO).

Very interesting, this Bible of ours.

3 comments:

mary said...

Wondering if anyone has read "Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts" or "America's Pretrib Rapture Traffickers" on Google. If so, I'd like some reactions. Mary

Wild Bill said...

I'm a confirmed pre-trib rapture believer. The confusion regarding pre-trib vs. post-trib comes from 2000 years of the enemy blinding believers to the distinctions between the Gospel of the Kingdom (law) and the Gospel of Grace (grace). Jesus came to the jews; not to gentiles. Before you get upset, I acknowledge that He came for all but He did not come to all. All scripture is for us but it is not all "to" us. The Gospels of Matthew through John are the account of Jesus coming to the jews to fulfill all those promises in the old testament and He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel who were still under law after the ascension. The word church does not always necessarily refer to the body and bride of Christ. Jesus did not in His earthly ministry found that group of believers. That was later delegated to Paul. He also did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfil it! He sent Paul to the gentiles with the Gospel of Grace. Paul tells us that we are not under law but grace. I know that raises the religious hackles on a lot of folks but what good did religion do Israel? They couldn't live up to the Law. God's plan for man from the beginning and as revealed from the beginning ( in Genesis )was that man should be made in the image of God and after His Likeness. It is also implied from Genesis that God didn't complete man as He did the lower life forms because He never said "and it was so" regarding the creation of man. God is spirit and God's children (jew or gentile) are to be spiritual as well. That is why Paul tells us that all men have been given the seed of faith ( and stresses that it is not of yourself; it is the gift of God (and has to be because faith is spirit and spirit is supernatural and not flesh)). And it is the growth of that spirit man within you that is to be conformed to the image of the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ) And that seed of faith is the talent that Jesus teaches about as well. Remember the one servant who hid his talent in the earth? If we don't hide our talent then we still have it and if you have faith as a mustard seed you shall say to this mountain.....and it shall be done for you of your Father in Heaven. God is the Father of spirit and not of flesh. So since the gospels are to the jews but in general only for us the prophecies of Jesus in the gospels pertaining to the end times are strictly to jews living in Israel. The church is already out of here when that final scenario goes down. And why not; we're not saved by works but by grace. And grace works as that seed of faith( that Jesus was crucified, dead, buried, and resurrected for us) grows within us by the watering of the Word(as we abide in the logos Word and the rhema Word abides in us we know the truth and the truth sets us free - this is a process not a one time event). Remember the wedding feast at Cana; He took 6 clay jars (that's us: 6 - the number of man, clay - the stuff he formed Adam out of), had the servants fill them with water - the Word of God, and it changed to wine - spirit; and without any hocus-pocus whatsoever. "God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" We, who are under Grace are to be saved from the inside out(Word>Faith>Godliness>more Word>more Faith>more Godliness),etc. and not from the outside in (Works do not grow faith; at best, works only certify Faith).

Kenneth said...

In all the above examples, the people were kept from wrath, but how? Not by taking them off the earth, and neither shall the Church be taken off the earth, but preserved through the tribulation, and finally gathered together at His coming, when He deals out wrath in the day of wrath (the Day of the Lord, the Second Coming).

I recommend www.answersinrevelation.org as the pre-eminent teacher of the Historic PreMillennial position (i.e. post-tribulational pre-millennial).

Tim Warner is a fine scholar in his own right.