Thursday, January 22, 2009

Give ’em Hope

If you’re my age or a little older and grew up in an evangelical home, chances are you had the bejeezus scared out of you by end times films like A Thief in the Night and Hal Lindsay’s book The Late Great Planet Earth. The younger generation has the Left Behind series to give them nightmarish visions of the future. Yet when the Apostle Paul speaks of Jesus’ coming and our being caught up to meet him, he says, “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thes. 4:18). Where’s the disconnect?

Barbara Rossing’s book The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation (Westview Press, 2004) shows the many errors and contradictions in dispensationalist teaching which lie behind popular end times books and movies. She accuses dispensationalists of selective literalism, poor exegesis, and down right fabrication. Instead of predicting the future, she sees the Book of Revelation, which never mentions the rapture, as a source of hope.

Here’s a small sample of Rossing’s book: “Like the visionary journeys in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Revelation’s vision of seals, trumpets, bowls, and other manifestations are meant to be a wake-up call. . . . The journeys are not intended as literal predictions of events that must happen; they are nightmarish warnings of what may happen—if we do not follow God’s nonviolent Lamb” (91).

Although an engaging and thought-provoking book, The Rapture Exposed goes so far to avoid the mistakes of dispensational literalism that it may to take too much of Revelation symbolically. I was left wondering whether the author even believes in Jesus’ Second Coming in any real sense. Read it with caution, but read it.

1 comment:

  1. Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts

    How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He is now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. Since Jesus must personally participate in the rapture, and since He can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends, the rapture therefore cannot take place before the end of the trib! Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) (which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening - Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who would be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of “death” (15:54)! (Will death be ended before or during the trib?) If anyone wonders how long pretrib rapturism has been taught, he or she can Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards.” Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 it was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen - the height of desperation!). Other Google articles throwing light on long-covered-up facts about the 178-year-old pretrib rapture view include “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “X-Raying Margaret,” “Revisers of Pretrib Rapture History,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Desperados” and “Deceiving and Being Deceived” - all by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” which is available at Armageddon Books online. Just my two cents’ worth.

    (Spotted the above web stuff. Reactions? Irv)