Though I am reformed and hold to the historical-redemptive method of interpreting the Scriptures (ie the unfolding drama from Genesis to Revelation of God’s revealing of redemption and His glory, brought to fruition in Christ), I have not adopted the amillennial view of the end times (though I have not studied in depth on it at this point either and have not ruled it out).
But I would also like to make clear too, that after studying and reading on the subject, I have come to reject the pre-trib rapture as well, seeing that there is no real solid scriptural basis for this position. I do believe in the Second Coming of Christ, obviously, as stated in the Scriptures. People holding to this position though (pre-trib rapture) use the pillar text Revelation 3:10 as “proving” their point. But this verse is stating nothing of the sort concerning the rapture. First of all, what’s the context? Jesus, through John, is speaking to the church in Philadelphia first of all. This sets the context for where this verse comes into play. It says, “10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” This verse, when put in its proper setting, is not at all conclusive to state that all the church will be raptured before the great tribulation. In fact to say that is the case is absolutely poor exegesis on behalf of many dispensational scholars. In order for this verse to mean that, you must come with a presupposition that the church will in fact be raptured before the tribulation, and then read that into the verse. Read it again in context. You’ll see that Christ is speaking to the church in Philadelphia, at a time when the young church was being severely persecuted, which we later find out would ramp up before Constantine would take power and establish Christianity as a kingdom-wide religion (which had its own upsides and downsides, another point though).
If you read even a little bit of early church history you will see how much the early church suffered. And Christ is speaking to this particular church in stating that because they have been faithful to Him, He will keep them from trying times coming upon the world (ie persecution of the church). You absolutely must read into this verse a presupposition that simply is not there to make it say what you want it to say. Just the fact that this position even puts forward this verse as a pillar text for their position gives me very little reason to believe that it is in fact the case. I’m not saying I know whether or not Christ comes back before or after the tribulation, I’m just stating merely that this verse cannot be used to prove a pre-trib rapture.
Also, within the idea of the pre-trib rapture is the idea that Christ will “secretly” return a second time, and then later return to judge the world (i.e. a third time). Scripture knows of no such thing. And you can check me on that. Over and over again, Scripture speaks of Christ returning only one more time, not two more times. It speaks of Christ returning once more to judge the living and the dead, and of the second coming. All the events relating to Christ’s return, judgment, etc, are all speaking of the same event, not two separate events. This seems to be very clear to me in the scriptures. But I’m not the final word obviously. Just from what I’ve read and seen at this point, I find no evidence of two separate returns. This obviously changes the view of the rapture for me.
In addition to this, the whole concept of the pre-trib rapture wasn’t even a thought in the church until the early 1800’s. There was a good 1800 years before this idea even came into the thinking of the church. That right there makes me take heed and review what the Scriptures actually say concerning the second coming of Christ. In my opinion overall, focusing primarily on eschatology is not as fruitful as knowing the rest of Scripture. Theologians and writers from church history make this clear by the amount upon which they focused on eschatology. Calvin didn’t even write commentary on Revelation. Matthew Henry wrote briefly on it. These men and others exposited primarily on the rest of Scripture that reveals the glory of God in the Gospel, not upon things that are speculative. It seems to me to be of much more importance to focus on the things that reveal the glory of Christ, in order that we may know Him more, be like Him more, and conform to Him in every way. That’s not to say that Revelation shouldn’t be read, I mena it is in fact Scripture, but I do believe there are things there which are simply mysterious and that we should get to know the things of God that have been revealed to us.
Also, I think a big misunderstanding of Revelation is that it is simply revealing the things of the end of the world. That is there obviously. But Revelations primary goal is to show Christ, reveal Christ, give us Christ, how Christ will reign, how mighty Christ is in all of His risen glory. This to me is the point of Revelation, revealing the glory of God in the face of Christ in order that we may love and know Him more.
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