Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Another Question for Covenant Theology Adherents

This is another question from the friend that emailed us last week:

In Acts 1:9-11, Jesus leaves the earth in bodily form and the two men say, "why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

In the Millennium, Jesus Christ comes back to the earth in bodliy form in Revelation 19:11 and following. Some may say, this is a battle in heaven that Jesus Christ fights, but if that were the case, then the two witnesses in Acts 1:9-11 would be lying.

So, when is Acts 1:9-11 fulfilled? To me, it is fulfilled in the 1000 year millinnial reign of Jesus Christ.

I wonder when an Amillennialist believes Acts 1:9-11 is fulfilled?

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11 )

46 Comments:

  • Hi Rose!

    Great question.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 4/14/2008 5:30 PM  

  • Hi Rose!

    As John Lee says, great question. I am a Covenant Theology adherent an hold to Amillennialism. I'll be happy to answer this and any follow on questions.

    Answer: I believe that Acts 1:9-11 is fulfilled at the second coming of Christ, which could happen at any moment.

    I'm sure this raises many questions on what I believe in many other areas, and I usually have a hard time anticipating what those questions are, so feel free to ask.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/14/2008 10:50 PM  

  • What is the second coming of Christ? Is it Jesus Christ upon this earth? Or is it Jesus Christ in the air? Does Jesus Christ come physically back to earth?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/14/2008 10:57 PM  

  • Hi Rose again, and hi Anonymous.

    Being the presumptuous guy I assume that question was directed to me. My thought: this is Christ's visible, bodily return to earth, which all eyes will see. I personally don't subscribe to a "rapture" of the Church. Again, these are my thoughts, I know Rose and John disagree and I respect their position and the reasons for their position.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/14/2008 11:02 PM  

  • Rose, surely you believe that Christ returns before the Millennial reign, dont you?

    I am not sure this text has much bearing on Milllennial views.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/15/2008 3:23 AM  

  • Anonymous is the one who asked the question in the email - our friend. :~)


    DF,
    OK, this is how I see the discussion relating to one's millennial views: Jesus returns as it says in Rev. 19 (part of the question) to make war with the people of the earth and to set up a kingdom on the earth. We see this as the beginning of the Millenium. Obviously, since the Amillenialist does not believe in a Millenium, what does he see it as the beginning of? I suppose that is my question. Am I right to think that they see it as the beginning of the eternal age? If so, is the eternal age inhabitied at the beginning with physical people that are there when Christ returns?


    Hi Jon! Congratulations again on your new son.

    Earl,
    Nice to see you, brother. It is always fun discussing theology with you. Let me paste Revelation 19:11 here too. I should have included the ref. with the post.

    11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. Rev 19:11

    You could see the clarifications to the question up above.

    Hello brother anonymous!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2008 9:57 AM  

  • Good question, and I hope someone gives you an honest answer.

    By Blogger Jim, at 4/15/2008 10:49 AM  

  • I see Revelation 19:11 as the thousand year Reign of Jesus Christ (it clearly says so in 20:16).

    The church is armies of heavenm mentioned in Revelation 19:14.

    This is also the time that Satan is bound for those 1000 years (Revelation 20:2).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/15/2008 2:01 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    My view on this is not popular these days -- it used to be much more popular several hundred years ago.

    I see that Revelation 19 presents several pictures of the end of the millennium -- which, in my opinion, runs from the time of Christ's resurrection/ascension until his second coming. The first part of Revelation 19 is the rejoicing in heaven of the saints at Christ's return. The second half of Revelation 19 is the judgment.

    While many people view Revelation as pretty much a linear timeline, most of it starting sometime in the future, I see it as an expanded cyclic retelling of much of the life of the saints on earth and in heaven between Christ's first advent and his second advent. This cyclic retelling is often referred to as recapitulation.

    Thoughts anyone?

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/15/2008 11:02 PM  

  • ...after hearing the crickets chirp for a while after my comment...

    I do the same thing in real life too. I say something really goofy at a social gathering and people look at their watches and say, boy look at the time. I've embarrassed my family on several occasions this way. (Dad -- why did you have to say that? ...)

    :o)

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/16/2008 11:08 PM  

  • Hey Earl,
    That was funny. John and I really appreciated reading your comment last night - it was a breath of fresh air. You and people like you (reasonable, light hearted and kind) make blogging worth the while.

    Recapitulation, huh? I will have to look that up in my new dictionary of theology that a friend sent me.......

    OK, it wasn't in there. Must be because it was a dictionary of Premillenail Theology. teehee

    I know... I think I will just read that portion of Revelation and think about how you described your view point. Then I will get back to you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2008 11:29 AM  

  • I know I didn't spell "premillennial" right.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2008 11:30 AM  

  • Earl,
    You said that the millennium runs from the time of Christ's resurrection/ascension until his second coming. I take it then that you think "thousand years" is not really a thousand years? (Since we are already well past 1000 yrs since the ascension)

    I think I have seen people use the phrase a 'thousand years' from other parts of the bible where it didn't really mean a 'thousand years' to prove this point. AM I right? Is that your position?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2008 11:36 AM  

  • Earl, having just read through rev 19 with your view in view, I wonder if you think that there is a real antichrist and false prophet? Do you think the "mark of the beast" is a tangible earthly thing?

    This is fascinating. I am sheltered dispensationalist.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2008 11:42 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Thanks for the followup. I've got some things I'm going out of town tonight and won't be back until Monday. If there is wireless access where I'm going I'll respond, otherwise it will have to wait.

    Thanks,

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/17/2008 6:57 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I take it then that you think "thousand years" is not really a thousand years?

    Yes. And it not so much that 1000 years in other places doesn't always mean 1000 literal years, but that the language of Revelation is full of metaphors and symbolic imagery (Christ with a sword in his mouth, a slain lamb, etc.) -- and the numbers, full of twelves, twenty fours, threes, fours, etc. Each of these numbers has associations with other things (e.g., four corners of the earth, representing the realm of earthly creatures, etc.). The two witnesses hearkens to the scriptures speaking of the quorum needed to be a witness, and the witnesses being lampstands, which represent the church and hence how the church is witness against the dwellers of the earth. The imagery is so vast and rich -- it blows my mind and proves that the Holy Spirit is the author of the Revelation.

    I wonder if you think that there is a real antichrist and false prophet?

    Revelation paints an unholy trinity, the dragon, the sea beast, and the earth beast (the false prophet) where Satan wants to mimic God. There are echoes throughout history of each of these. Nero, Domitian , Rome, and others were prototype sea beasts. Aspects of these creatures show up in history, such as oppressive governments, false religions -- even in churches that preach false gospels. I think there will be a final appearance of the sea beast and false prophet which the predecessor types point to. But, I am not sure. It is possible we are living in the time now and our attachment to the world order blinds our eyes temporarily to seeing them.

    Do you think the "mark of the beast" is a tangible earthly thing?

    A prototype of the mark of the beast is what happened during Antiochious Epiphanes in the Maccabean war and the mark put on Jews. But it also points to deeper things than a mark. It echoes with economies. Perhaps those who desire good credit scores and enslave themselves to debt have the mark of the beast (credit score) on them. I don't think it is necessarily any one thing, but can be associated with selling yourself in order to obtain pleasures and gain.

    I think Revelation speaks to the church and to the saints throughout the centuries, addressing real spiritual issues that occur throughout the period from Christ's ascension until his second coming. I think it may take on a more "heavy duty" fulfillment on steroids just before Christ's return -- but it may be going on now more than we realize. I think of so much of the church in persecution these days in Africa, China, the Middle East, while I live in luxury -- possibly right in the lap of the harlot. That thought scares me to be more sober about Revelation.

    I am sheltered dispensationalist.

    So was I. The difference is that you are a whole lot smarter about the topic than I ever was or am now. That might explain why I changed positions, but why you reasonably stayed in the dispensationalist camp. You bring a lot of good stuff to the topic.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/17/2008 11:32 PM  

  • Rose, don't you know the kingdom of God is within you?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/19/2008 7:11 AM  

  • I do not believe that the Kingdom of God dwells in the believer. It is not within the believers heart, but Jesus had come to establish the Kingdom and in that sense, the Kingdom of God was in the midst of the people that He was speaking to.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/19/2008 4:16 PM  

  • In Response to Earl's comment about the book of Revelation as metaphors and symbolic language.

    This goes back to a question that I have asked about why would someone interpret the book of Revelation differantly than the rest of the bible.

    When it comes to Romans, one will interpret in a literal sense, but when it comes to Revelation they won't interpret it literal, but will speak of symbolic and metaphors, that is what seems inconsistent to me. I believe that Rose comented on this as well.

    BTW: Anonymous is Chad Prz, I just don't know how to set up a blog name.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/19/2008 4:21 PM  

  • Hi Chad,

    I'm sitting in a hotel room wi-fiing in. I'm going to be on the road again and might not get back to any response for a while.

    Let me discuss this comment: When it comes to Romans, one will interpret in a literal sense, but when it comes to Revelation they won't interpret it literal...

    I will claim that you and everyone else that believes in the literal inspiration of the Bible (and I put myself there too), we all treat some passages in a "non-literal" way. Let me give you an example, Psalm 36:7 (ESV):

    How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
    The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.


    If we read this passage literally, we would see that God is physical (can cast a shadow) and that he has wings. Those who hold to orthodox theology know that God does not have wings. This is a symbolic metaphor that paints a picture of how God loves his children and protects them, like a mother hen protects her chicks.

    The key to interpretation is a phrase Martin Luther used when he broke from medieval Roman Catholic interpretation tendencies -- the literal sense of interpretation. When we say we read Scripture literally, we usually mean we read it in the literal sense -- which means we understand the literary form of the passage, such as: historical narration, proverbial maxims, poetic, didactic, and apocalyptic. Each of these kind of passages have rules of interpreting them in the literal sense.

    I am going to make a big claim -- and I could be very wrong on this. My claim is that Revelation is a different form of scripture, apocalyptic, from Romans, which is primarily didactic. In my claim, Premillennial "literalists" use rules on interpreting Revelation passages that are a little different from Paul's didactic teaching in Romans. I am not proving the claim here, it involves looking at lots of passages and seeing what is not literally not taken literally. When I recently taught a class on Revelation at my church, we had a mix of dispensational Premillennialists, Amillennialists, and others in the class. Conversations I had with Premillennialists in the class we got to the point where we realized that no one takes Revelation completely literally. We all strive to read Revelation in the literal sense. The question is who gets the closest to doing that.... and I cannot demonstrate who does so here. But, I think it is safe to say there are many Premillennialists who strive to find the literal sense of Revelation and think they have found it, and there are many Amillennialists who strive to find the literal sense of Revelation and think they have found it. How we view the approach in the other camp (as Premillennialists look at Amillennialists, or vise versa) is going to look like the other side is remarkably interpreting Revelation in a non-literal sense. I'd expect that, otherwise you have no business holding your point of view of Revelation.

    So, coming back to your comment, This goes back to a question that I have asked about why would someone interpret the book of Revelation differantly than the rest of the bible?

    I think I am not treating Revelation differently when using the overarching rules of interpreting the Bible in the literal sense. I think if you and I sit down every afternoon at Starbucks over a period of a month, we're going to discover we each interpret Revelation in some strictly non-literal ways. We also will discover we have some different rules for interpreting the literal sense -- not only Revelation, but also other parts of the Bible. Some of our rules will be very close, some subtly different that results in some markedly different interpretations.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/19/2008 11:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    This is a good discussion which I am passively enjoying.

    Re: being "anonymous" - some bloggers head for this choice under the comments box solely because they do not have a blog name. However, it is still possible to avail of the convenient "anonymous" facility and yet sign your name or a psuedo name at the bottom of your comments.

    It is always nice to have a name when you comment.

    P/s There has been no sign of "Missy" for a while on these blogs.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/20/2008 11:52 AM  

  • [P/s There has been no sign of "Missy" for a while on these blogs.]

    Hi Colin,
    Missy changed her name to "Another Voice". She asked a question to Lou and Rose not long ago on the discussion about whether dispensationalists teach two ways of salvation.

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at 4/20/2008 5:15 PM  

  • Missy (Another Voice) also left a comment on my newest post - about the tailor, which NEITHER of you commented on (feigned indignity). ;~)

    I have no time to say anything intelligent at the moment.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/20/2008 5:37 PM  

  • Chad,
    You can also click on the option that says "Name/URL" and just enter your name "Chad" there - no strings attached. When I started commenting on blogs (on Dave Mullins' blog - would you believe it - 3 years ago) I used that option to enter my name, before I ever became an official blogger.

    I am using it this time so you can see how it looks.

    By Anonymous Rosie, at 4/20/2008 5:40 PM  

  • Good evening, Rose!

    Here I am, Colin. How sweet to be missed. :) I wrapped up tax season last week and I just had to get out into the sun. Plus, I have no more room in my head for words like "amillenialism" and "premillenial." I'm still working on the recommended readings regarding "dispensational."

    Oh, and I don't have Daniel's (OT) gift at interpreting dreams, so I don't speculate on Revelations. It feels too much like gambling to me. I've enjoyed the conversations, though.

    Missy

    By Blogger Another Voice, at 4/20/2008 9:44 PM  

  • I see I should have proof read my previous reply. Sorry for all the pain I inflicted on those who read my complete reply.

    For those who'd like to read Revelation in an "amillennial" approach, I recommend The Returning King by Vern Poythress. It is only about 200 pages and is the most approachable commentary on the book of Revelation.

    To add more confusion, I have some millennial charts on the various views of end times here.

    The charts cover:
    (1) Amillennialism (a bad name because this group believes there is a "millennial" period between Christ's ascension and second coming). This was possibly the majority view from Augustine of Hippo to the 1800s.
    (2) Postmillennial -- this views that right after Christ's ascension there was the period of the tribulation, which then gave way to the millennial age, which will end at Christ's second coming.
    (3) Historic Premillennialism -- Of any expressed view of the early church fathers, this was the most popular view then. There is no "rapture" in this view.
    (4) Dispensational Premillennial -- this view was developed around the time of and popularized by Darby (who lived from 1800 - 1882).
    (5) Preterist -- this view believes that Jesus' second coming happened in 70AD with the fall of the Temple. This is a weird view. There are some watered down approaches on this held by Hank Hanegraaff (Bible Answer Man) and R.C. Sproul Sr.

    Among the conservative Reformed, Amillennialism is the most popular, Postmillennialism to a lesser degree (often combined with partial preterism), and even a lesser degree, Historical Premillennialism. In a special category of Calvinist/Reformed of John MacArthur, Dispensational Premillennialism is popular with them.

    Conservative Lutherans seem to choose either Historic Premillinialism or Amillennialism, with Luther holding to yet another view, Historical (not shown on the charts because it is not popular today, oh yes, it looks like Calvin took this view too).

    The most popular view by far today are the various forms of Dispensational Premillennialism. An examples of this view is the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

    Full Preterism is weird and outright heretical.

    By the way, there is a good commentary on Revelation published recently that I recommend, Revelation Four Views by Steve Gregg. This presents the major views: Historicist, Preterist, Furturist (Historical Premillennial and Dispensational Premillennial, Idealist (Amillennial). None of the particular approaches are the best commentary for that approach, but this is the best one source book to give you an idea of what each of these different perspectives think. I've seen Dispensationalists, Reformed Amillennialists, and others recommend this book.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/20/2008 10:53 PM  

  • I came across this quote from David T. Wayne (the JollyBlogger in his review of Revelation Four Views on Amazon): maybe God gave us Revelation in the form it is in to help us understand His greatness and our smallness. Maybe the book of Revelation has received so many different interpretations because God doesn't want us to figure it out or become experts, He wants to humble us and reduce us to awe and wonder at His power which is so richly displayed in the book of Revelation.

    Poythress also expressed a similar idea in his commentary on Revelation. I think it is very apt.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/20/2008 11:12 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Earl,

    Earl writes of the Historic Pre-Mill position: There is no "rapture" in this view.

    I understand the "rapture" to be the event of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and therefore every Evangelical Christian believes it, of whatever school. Maybe it is more accurate to say that Historic Pre-Mills do not believe in the "secret" Rapture.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/21/2008 10:00 AM  

  • Hi Goodnightsafehome,

    You're right, I should have said secret rapture -- but then I was told by a Dispensational Premillennialist that was the wrong term to use for his view.

    I do want to use the correct terms and will be happy to learn what those terms are.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/21/2008 10:46 AM  

  • Earl, Prophecy is a big subject :o)

    I am surprised to hear that of your Dispensationalist friend. I can only suggest that maybe they have a better term rather than an outright denial of this term? Some of us tend to believe that the rapture event of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is the same event of Matthew 24:30 which is as open and non secretive as you can get.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/21/2008 11:21 AM  

  • Goodnightshome,

    I was surprised too. I forget who this was, but it was in the last year.

    I'm with you, that the the rapture event of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is the same event of Matthew 24:30 which is as open and non secretive as you can get. Further, I would specify that this is also the establishment of the eternal kingdom on both the new heaven and new earth at the end of the millennium period. Qualifying all these things can make talking with each other rather confusing at times.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/21/2008 1:25 PM  

  • I would say that 'secret' is an interetsing word to start using. How secret is going to be when tons of people just dissappear and vanish?

    I don't see how Matthew 24:30 describes an event where people who are alive and remain are caught up into the clouds. You can associate those two passages as the exact same event if you want to. :~) It is nice to see the two of you sharing some non-dispensational fellowship - you do it so nicely.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/21/2008 2:06 PM  

  • Earl,
    I do thank you for your great comment, full of information. I will have to take a look at our church library to see if it is in there. Do you think there is anything in Revelation that can be taken to mean what it says in a plain way?

    Matthew,
    Thanks for your interesting question. I agree with Chad's retort to you, but then I think you were only kidding, unless you are progressing in your dispensationalism, which I am not aware of. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/21/2008 2:11 PM  

  • Yeah, I was 'kidding.'

    I love the way people treat that verse as if it was the main teaching on the kingdom in the Bible.

    Have you thought about posting that excerpt of McClain that Ryrie quotes in Dispensationalism?

    The one about the fat preacher.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 4/21/2008 2:47 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I would say that 'secret' is an interesting word to start using. How secret is going to be when tons of people just disappear and vanish

    That's what one Dispensationalist said to me. What word or adjective would you use to distinguish the "rapture" from the very visible second coming? Goodnightsafehome uses rapture with second coming, but I would think you'd want to distinguish between the two.

    It is nice to see the two of you sharing some non-dispensational fellowship - you do it so nicely.

    Thanks. This is your blog, your home, and I am a guest at your home. I want to follow the rules posted, Be challenging! Be charitable! Be nice! I don't always follow that, but I try...

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/21/2008 8:50 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Do you think there is anything in Revelation that can be taken to mean what it says in a plain way?

    This is a topic we could spend hours on. You'd probably find me very exasperating and I'd hate to put you through it.

    I think there are many things spoken in Revelation that are plain that give us clues to the vision -- which in turn leads us to the plain or literal sense of the book. For instance,

    Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,... (Rev 1:12, ESV)

    A little later: ...the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (Rev 1:20b, ESV)

    John gives an interpretation of the vision. The lampstands in the vision are seven churches. It gives us a clue in other parts of Revelation, such as:

    And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. (Rev 11:3, ESV)

    which is explained in the next verse:

    These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. (Rev 11:4, ESV)

    Which is the imagery describing the seven churches. In other words, the two witnesses symbolically represent the church in its roles as a witness of the evil.

    In other words, there is a lot in Revelation that is "didactically" explained in rather plain and direct language that guides our interpretation of the rest of the book.

    Now "plain way" is in the eye of the beholder. I suspect you and most others reading this don't see this as plain at all, that it rather confuses things. I would urge you to keep to your own approach that you in good conscience could not abandon. I likewise could not abandon my approach because of my conscience. But I do want to try to see things from your vantage point.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/21/2008 9:09 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Earl:

    When I moved in dispensational circles, [no dig intended :0)] the idea was that the rapture was secret was taken (partly) from the very private departure of Christ from the earth in Acts 1:11 with the promise that in like manner He would return to the earth i.e. privately or secretly. But as you say, how can the disappearance of millions of people be secret?

    BTW: There is an enactment (I hope!) of the Rapture on YouTube:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kLltWtM9iCk

    The discussion here is good.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/22/2008 5:43 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I will have to take a look at our church library to see if it is in there.

    You'll find the Revelation Four Views book very interesting. It helps me understanding other views. For instance, I keep forgetting where in Revelation Dispensationalists think the rapture occurs, this reference told me and why. You'll find similar answers to what most Amillennialists think.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/22/2008 6:36 PM  

  • What word or adjective would you use to distinguish the "rapture" from the very visible second coming?

    That is such a funny question to me because it reminds me of my past ignornace. When I was first a Chriatian I learned about the rapture... and then the second coming happening 7 years later. I read it in the Bible and it made sense to me that way. I just figured everyone saw it that way too - everyone except the ones that didn't really believe the Book and liberalized it away. Then, I would hear Bible believers refer to the rapture as the "second coming" and I would wonder why they would call it the second coming. They were two different things. What I never knew was that there were other schools of thought that did equate the two. Hahahaha I just would think that people were being careless in the way they spoke of it.

    Now I know better. There are Bible believers that equate the two and that is probably why I would hear it that way. But back to your question:

    What word or adjective would you use to distinguish the "rapture" from the very visible second coming?

    They are like apples and oranges. One is the church being taken away from the earth and the other is the Lord coming TO the earth. So it is not fitting to ask me what adjective I would use to distinguish the two. I need a whole different noun. :~)

    Maybe if you can give me a noun that would fit both events then I could come up with the adjective you ask about. :~)

    Thanks for the discussion!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/23/2008 10:41 AM  

  • Matthew,
    That would be a fun quote to post. I think I will post it on UoG. Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/23/2008 10:43 AM  

  • Hi rose,

    You write: They are like apples and oranges. One is the church being taken away from the earth and the other is the Lord coming TO the earth. So it is not fitting to ask me what adjective I would use to distinguish the two. I need a whole different noun. :~)

    Both are actually the Lord leaving heaven to return to this world - in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to the clouds to meet His rising (literally) saints in the air.

    Again in my dispensational days, we were told that there was one event, but in two stages...which sounded a bit dodgey to me in that 7 years separated the two events and a return to Heaven etc. I thought I could even hear the creaks of the explanation on that one.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/23/2008 3:34 PM  

  • Rose and Goodnightsafehome,

    This is interesting. It seems to me that the common usage of "rapture" is from the Dispensational Premillennial view of Christ coming for the church prior to his "second coming" at the end of the tribulation period. When I originally wrote using the term "rapture" in the comments, that was how I understood the term, just as Rose implied in her understanding.

    So, I think I'll reserve my use of the word "rapture" to designate the conventional Dispensational understanding of the word. The word "rapture" is not used in Amillennial, Postmillennial, and Historic Premillennial scholarly works, but it is used in Dispenational scholarly works.

    By Blogger Earl, at 4/23/2008 6:31 PM  

  • Good thinking, Earl. :~) You are so reasonable.

    G'night,
    So I need to find a distinguishing adjective for "The Lord leaving heaven."

    Hmmm...

    Maybe an adjective is not what we need to distinguish my understanding of these things. Maybe we need to speak of the Lord's differing purpose.

    In the rapture, the Lord is leaving heaven to meet the saints in the air. We will sup with Him and we will rejoice and be glad and give him glory.

    In the second coming to the earth, the Lord is leaving heaven to make war with the nations of the earth.

    Two different things. One is marriage the other is judgement.

    G'day G'night. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/25/2008 11:07 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    With answering you on your new posting on CHS at the same time, this is like a game of tennis!

    Are you saying that the Lord Jesus will leave Heaven once to come to the world (i.e. the air) and then return to Heaven, only to leave it the third time (which you call the Second Coming) to come to the world again i.e. to the earth?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/25/2008 11:29 AM  

  • Yeah, and then I could go back to that other post where you said "you can't keep a good woman down" and try to carry on a discussion there with you too. (Thanks for that comment, BTW - that was very nice).

    OK, I want to answer your question with a couple o' me own questions.

    How long does a marriage supper last?
    What is the difference between "heaven" and "the air"? Does Christ have a limit on how long he is allowed to be in one place and not another?
    In your view - after the second coming - is Christ going to return "to heaven"?

    You are the one who said "tennis". teehee

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/25/2008 11:44 AM  

  • OK, I want to answer your question with a couple o' me own questions.

    How long does a marriage supper last?

    The last one I was at, a few hours. I've never been to a seven year one yet :0)

    What is the difference between "heaven" and "the air"?

    One is spiritual (unless it has the plural attached to it i.e. heavens)while the other is physical. I've been in the air (upwards of 30,000 feet) but not in Heaven.

    Does Christ have a limit on how long he is allowed to be in one place and not another?

    Christ cannot be physically in both places at once. He must physically leave the one to go the other. Which still leaves your Second Coming into this world technically a Third Coming. (1+1+1 =2?)

    In your view - after the second coming - is Christ going to return "to heaven"?

    As said earlier, (whether on this post or another) my prophetic views are not settled. I tend to run with the idea that when he comes to the air (as in 1 Thessalonians 4:17) then there is the Judgement Day and we are in the glorified state where Heaven and Earth all merge into one. If I am wrong here, I can only say that I will not in the least be disappointed with the actual arrangement that God has in mind. The important thing is to be watching and waiting and busy as we do so.

    Take your time over your replies if you want/need to. I'm ahead of myself because the weather is very wet here and I couldn't get out today. I'm currently preparing a sermon on 1 Timothy 1:5-11 but I don't mind diverting attention for a few minutes at a time. Multi-tasking, I think is the word for it.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 4/25/2008 12:02 PM  

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