Monday, January 25, 2010

Differing Views of the Rapture: Part 8 Conclusion

Conclusion

The view one takes concerning the Millennium essentially determines the answer to the question of whether or not one believes the Rapture is scriptural. An Amillennial or Postmillennial view excludes this possibility. There are exceptions to this but by and large is it the case. Both Amillennialism and Postmillennialism take a non-literal view of Scripture preferring instead to use symbolism and allegory as key part of their hermeneutic. While giving respect due to those scholars who support such views, a literal approach, except where literalness is obviously not intended, is preferred by the author.

If Premillennialism is accepted then one must consider the Rapture and the timing of the Parousia in relation to each other. Clearly there is biblical evidence to support such doctrine though the differing views have their own interpretations of many of the same passages of Scripture. Five views have been discussed in the preceding pages here with strengths and weaknesses offered at the conclusion of each view. The partial Rapture view has failed to win support over the years and has failed to be convincing during this study. Posttribulationism fails to answer adequately how the Rapture and Parousia can take place at the same time when elsewhere in Scripture we are told that the church will already be in heaven participating in the marriage of the Lamb to His Bride (Rev. 19:7-9).

The pretribulationist fails to explain how Christ could appear at any moment when there are clear teachings that there are certain events that must take place prior to the Rapture. Further, pretribulationism does not adequately explain how a secret Rapture could take place when such a public display seems to be indicated (1 Thess. 4:16).

The midtribulation view does offer some solutions to problems that exist with both the posttribulationism and pretribulationism. If one uses a hermeneutic approach that is literal except where a passage of Scripture is obviously using symbolism, the view that best harmonizes all of the relevant Scripture appears to be the Pre-Wrath position. While imperfect, the challenges with this view are far fewer when compared to the other views discussed. Ultimately, it is much easier to defend a hermeneutic that prefers a common sense, literal approach to one that prefers subjective interpretations of passages. The amount of subjectivity on the part of the interpreter can never be determined nor can the level of theological bias.

Coming from a denominational background that strongly supports the Pretribulation view, this has been an eye-opening journey. I must admit that I am having a paradigm shift in the process of completing this work. I will continue to study the various views and hope to have a spirit of grace when discussing this with others who disagree on a particular point (as surely we will). A final note: unlike the impression I got in reading the works of the Catholic authors, I do not believe that subscribing to one position over another changes ones standing with the Lord. If one has already determined that the premillennial view is the correct one, then these discussions do not change the underlying fundamentals of the faith. There is much in the Bible that most people will never understand. In fact, scholars who spend their lives studying God’s word can’t even agree on what large parts of it mean!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Thank you for your series. That is encouraging that you see the validity in the prewrath position. Blessings,

Alan K
www.prewrathrapture.com

Chris Sanchez said...

It was my pleasure Alan! For those who hold to a Premillennial point of view, prewrath should be studied and considered. Such a study may not change even an open mind but it is most certainly a valid point of view strongly supported by Scripture.

I appreciate your encouragement!

Laus Deo,

Chris

Anonymous said...

Which part of Rev. is literal and which part is not? How do you know? Explain your "common sense" hermeneutic. How are those who do not use a literal approach not using common sense?

Your explanations presuppose that Rev. is linear. Are there any sections that are parallel?