Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spurgeon on the Rapture

Charles Spurgeon rarely laid out his eschatological beliefs. He was more concerned with "Where are YOU going to spend eternity" than "when and how is eternity coming."

let me know what you think:

" If thou art now broken in pieces by a little adversity, what will become of thee in the day when all the tempests of God shall be let loose on your soul? If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, what wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan? If thou canst not endure the open grave, how canst thou endure the trump of the archangel, and the terrific thunders of the last great day? If thy burning house is too much for thee, what wilt thou do in a burning world? If thunder and lightning alarm thee, what wilt thou do when the world is in a blaze, and when all the thunders of God leave their hiding-place, and rush pealing through the world? If mere trial distress thee and grieve thee, oh, what wilt thou do when all the hurricanes of divine vengeance shall sweep across the earth and shake its very pillars, till they reel and reel again? Yes, friends, I would have you, as often as you are tried and troubled, see how you bear it—whether your faith then stance and whether you could see God's right hand, even when it is wrapped in clouds, whether you can discover the silver lining to the black clouds of tribulation. God help you to come out of the scales, for many are weighed in them and have been found wanting."


Here, it SEEMS that old Charlie Spurge believes that Christians will be present on Earth during the (or at the very least a) great Tribulation.

He references a "burning world," "the trump of the archangel, and the terrific thunders of the last great day."

He's definately not referring to the final judgment here (he does that on the next page).

Problem: it's a little ambiguous as to whether or not he is specifically referring to Christians, the unregenerate, or merely anyone who hears him (i lean to the third option-so far in my reading i find that to typically be the way he preaches [he preaches to everyone, or else he spells out a certain group])

The subpoint in which this quote is found in "the scales of providence" so i assume he's talking to everybody.

THEREFORE, if my interpretation of the sermon is correct, it appears that Spurgeon believed i a post-tribulational rapture.

(The quote was taken from "The Scales of Judgment" NPSP vol. 5, page 261)

(and yes, i wrongfully referred to that as MTP vol. 5 in one of my other comments)

Not that this will help anybody, i just thought it was neat,
--Elijah

20 comments:

Emory said...

While I see your point, I would lean more toward Charles speaking to the population as a whole. Meaning, If his listeners could not take the "small" troubles and distresses of their day, how would they plan to go through the judgements. Similar to Egypt in Exodus, each judgement will get worse and worse, so he is petitioning his listeners to understand that fact.

Revelation 4:1 states, "After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

John writing about the Tribulation, is taken into heaven to watch the events unfold. That is also my belief.

I could be wrong, but that is the way I read his quote.

Lloyd said...

Frolijah,

Here are two more Spurgeon quotes for you that seem to support your claim:

"Tomorrow Christ may be on this earth, "for in sucah and hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh" (Matt. 24:44). Tomorrow all the glories of the millennial splendor may be revealed."

"Some think that this descent of the Lord will be postmillennial-that is, after the thousand years of his reign. I cannot think so. I conceive that the advent will be premillennial-that he will come first, and then will come the millennium as the result of his personal reign upon earth."

This not an area that I have given much study time to so I am very shaky in this area. My biggest problem with the post-trib view is that it seems to take away from the imminent return of Christ. If he will come "when ye expect not..." How could he come at the end of a 7 year tribulation? Would it not be very much expected that he was coming soon?

Grace and peace,
Jeremy

Haze said...

It's not often I get to air out my amillennial views before my fellow Southern Baptists, so I owe Elijah a special thanks for using Spurgeon, the patron saint of Baptists, to bring some post-trib talk to the blog.

First off, I'm not yet clear on if there will be an exact seven-year period of tribulation. I understand the idea to be derived from the passages dealing with end times from Daniel, but I've not seen or understood with enough clarity to lean toward either way regarding an exact number of years. However, I am certain that the church has been experiencing tribulation since the "last days" began (1 John 2:18). The phrase "last days" refers to the period between Christ's ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father and His return to judge the world.

I don't mean to be hard on Ralton, but I find Revelation 4:1 to be one of the worst verses taken out of context by pre-trib proponents.

One of the first resources that alerted me to the sketchy origins of the pre-tribulation rapture view was an article at The Nicene Council, which back then was known as Apologetics Group. The article is titled "Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical?"

Here are some excerpts on why both they and myself disagree with the dispensationalist/pre-trib interpretation of the verse:

Does Revelation 4:1 and the fact that the word church (ekklesia) is not mentioned in chapters 4 through 18 prove or support the pretribulation rapture theory? There are a number of reasons why this argument in favor of Pretribulationism should be rejected. First, this argument is an argument from silence in which the idea of the pretribulation rapture is presupposed and then imposed upon this section of Scripture. In the immediate context (Revelation 4:2) it says that John the apostle is transported to the throne room of heaven. Not one word is uttered that suggests that John represents the church or that the people of God as a whole are taken to heaven. Also, there is not any mention or any indication whatsoever of a descent by Christ or a resurrection of the saints. In Revelation 4:1 there is mention of a trumpet but this is not the trumpet blast announcing the rapture. It is a voice that has a sound of a trumpet just like the voice of authority that John heard in Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet.” What occurred in Revelation 4:1 with John was no different than the transportation and throne room scenes experienced by other prophets (e.g., Ezek. 1:1, 22-28; 8:3-4 [Ezekiel is apparently below the crystal sea looking up to the throne room]; Isa. 6:1 ff.; 2 Cor. 12:1-4).

The author continues in his critique of the pre-trib argument for silence.

Second, the argument from silence is arbitrarily applied to Revelation and could be used to prove many heretical doctrines if applied to other theological topics. The argument from silence consistently applied would not prove the rapture of the saints but the annihilation of the saints, for not only is the word church (ekklesia) not used of the saints on earth in chapters 4 through 18, it also is never used of the saints in heaven. Does this mean that all the saints have vacated heaven and moved to Limbo or some other place during these chapters? No. Of course not! This argument, if consistently applied, leads to an incredibly absurd conclusion. The word church (ekklesia) does not even occur in the book of Revelation until Revelation 22:16. Does this mean the church is not involved in the second coming, the resurrection or white throne judgment? No. Obviously not! An argument that proves too much is worthless.

Further, the reasoning that Pretribulationists use to make Revelation 4:1 a proof text for the rapture could also be used to prove many dangerous and heretical doctrines. In the book of Esther the words for God and Jehovah do not occur even once. Does this fact mean that God does not exist, or that God is a deistic absentee landlord of the universe? No. It certainly does not. It should be clear to everyone from this example that arguments from silence are useless.

I don't mean to stand behind someone else's arguments, but the refutation was articulated much more clearly and concisely than I could have hoped to at this hour.

Now in response to Lloyd's hesitancy toward an eschatology that doesn't hold to a pre-tribulation rapture, I will post another excerpt from the same article.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-10—“...it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed....”

For the apostle Paul, the punishment of the wicked and the reward of the righteous are to occur simultaneously, immediately following the second coming of Christ. There is nothing here teaching separate comings. There is nothing about a secret rapture. There is no 7 year, 1,000 year or 1,007 year gap between the glorification of the saints and the destruction of the wicked. According to Paul they occur the same day (“that Day”), the day Christ returns. Further, note that Christ comes from heaven to crush His enemies and judge the world. Jesus does not crush the wicked from His earthly throne in Jerusalem, as Premillennialists assert. Note also that there are no wicked people left to populate the earth during the millennium, and the saints will all have glorified bodies.

Furthermore:

What about the argument that at the rapture no judgment takes place but at the second coming there is a judgment? As noted above there is no biblical reason to take events such as the rapture, second coming and judgment that all are to occur the same day and insert several years between them. What is particularly devastating to the Pretribulationist is the fact that when Paul discuss the second coming and gives us the most explicit passage in the New Testament on the rapture he connects Christ’s descent with both the rapture and the judgment of the wicked. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.... For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Th. 4:13-17; 5:2-4). Note that Paul connects the second coming, the rapture and the destruction of the wicked all together. He presents them as coterminous and not separated by seven years. Everything will take place on that “Day” (5:4)—the day of the Lord. Furthermore, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 explicitly teaches that the rapture is a public event, not secret: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.”

John Piper is not an amillennialist like myself, but he does hold to classical premillennialism, which means he believes in a post-trib rapture preceding Christ's 1,000-year reign.

Piper has written on why he doesn't think Paul believed in a pre-tribulation rapture in his "Definitions and Observations Concerning the Second Coming of Christ."

If Paul were a pre-tribulationist why did he not simply say in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that the Christians don't need to worry that the day of the Lord is here because all the Christians are still here? Instead he talks just the way you would expect a post-tribulational person to do. He tells them that they should not think that the day of the Lord is here because the apostasy and the man of lawlessness have not appeared.

Finally, here's Piper's response to Lloyd's objection to the return of Christ not being able to come unexpectedly in a post-tribulation reality.

The commands to "watch" do not lose their meaning if the second coming is not an any-moment one. See Matt. 25:1-13 where all ten maidens are asleep when the Lord returns. Yet the lesson at the end of the parable is, "Watch!" The point is that watching is not gazing up for an any-moment-return of the Lord; it is the moral vigilance that keeps you ready at all times doing your duty—the wise maidens had full lanterns! They were watchful!

Nor does the teaching that the second coming will be unexpected lose its force if post-tribulationism is true. See Luke 12:46 where the point is that if a servant gets drunk thinking that his master is delayed and will not catch him-that very servant will be surprised and taken off guard. But as 1 Thess. 5:1-5 says, "You (believers) are not in darkness for that day to surprise you like a thief." We still teach that great moral vigilance and watchfulness is necessary lest we be lulled asleep and fall prey to the deceits of the last days and be overtaken in the judgment.

As the conversation continues on this subject, I plan to post more concerning the Day of the Lord and how all the end times events leading up to the consummation of the new heavens and new earth happen in a sequence over the course of one day or one stage. By that, I mean that the Second Coming, the resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous, the final judgment, and Christ's kingdom coming into full visibility and fullness at the dawn of the new heavens and new earth will all come to pass on "that Day," as the New Testament consistently teaches. There's no room for a 1,000-year or 1,007-year separation between any of the events.

Is that enough pot stirring to last through the weekend?

Elijah said...

John Gill, (and possibly Spurgeon, but i don't have time to look that one up right now) would say that the last week of Daniel was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

One of the two even said it was the amazing grace of God that gave the Jews an extra 30 years to repent between Jesus and the start of this final 7 years.

Emory said...

Let me expound a little on my statements for using Revelation 4:1. I should have stated it this way, look at the structure of the entire book of Revelation. The church appears in chapters 2 - 3 while they are still on earth. From chapters 4 - 6 the church is in heaven. The church is not mentioned again to be on earth until the end of the book when Christ sets up the new heaven and new earth.

That's reason number 1.

Secondly, if the rapture happens post tribulation it makes , 2 Thessalonians 4:17, "We who are alive and remain shall be caught up...to meet the Lord in the air.", pointless. Why would the rapture need to happen (us going up) when Christ was coming back at the end of the tribulation to set up His kingdom?

Third, Jesus says in John 14:3, "If I go prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." Why would that place in heaven need to be built if we were not going to be with Christ during the tribulation before the 1000 year reign after it? Why go to that trouble?

Fourth, the symbolism of the Hebrew wedding. The church is the bride of Christ. In traditional Jewish weddings, the "honeymoon" took place for 7 days after the formal ceremony. This was out of sight to the rest of the world, of course. The significance of that is seen in the 7 years of tribulation while the church is out of sight to the world.

Fifthly, (and I will have to directly quote John MacArthur on this point): The promise to spare Christians from future wrath.

God addresses believers in Revelation 3:10, saying, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." The phrase "keep from" (Gk., tereo ek) can be translated "outside." God was saying that He will keep the saints outside of "the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world." I believe that's a promise to all Christians that they will be rescued from the tribulation. The phrase tereo ek literally means, "a state of continued existence outside." Thus the church won't be raptured in the middle of the tribulation, as some say. Nor will it be kept within the tribulation. Tereo en means to exist within, but Revelation 3:10 uses tereo ek, meaning we will exist outside the hour of temptation.

So, basically, there is my beliefs in a nutshell and the reasoning behind it. I also agree with Jeremy about the fact that the rapture will happen like a thief. If the church lives through the tribulation, that cannot happen. Everyone would know it is coming.

Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to clarify my point. Haze, pick on me as much as you would like, my man. I'm a big boy and can take open dialog.

Haze said...

Good questions, Ralton.

Even though you don't hold to the same view, I do appreciate that you can at least cite why you interpret Scripture to teach a pre-tribulation rapture.

I find most people in modern evangelicalism hold to pre-trib millennialism not because they have studied it for themselve, but instead, because that's merely what they've been taught their entire lives.

While the pre-trib view is the predominate position of the modern evangelical church in America, it has not been in the least the majority view of the church historically. Rather, amillennialism and postmillennialism have been, which are inherently post-tribulation. Classical pre-millennialism came into fruition around the seventh century, but it was also naturally post-tribulation.

Moving onto your objections, I don't feel you answered the refutations against the pre-trib interpretation of Rev 4:10 adequately. You seemed to merely restate why you held to it, which were the exact problems listed in the excerpts from the article.

To paraphrase Elijah, if I were to take arguments from silence when examining an issue by Scripture, I'd be planning on attending Covenant Seminary (Presbyterian-PCA) in St. Louis. Paedobaptists use arguments from silence to justify infant baptism, reasoning that it's nowhere prohibitive in the New Testament.

As the article stated, the church not being mentioned is no reason to think that it's absent from the earth. Also, how does Rev 4:1 ever equate John with the church in his being called to heaven? Because of the trumphet? In Rev 1:10, John writes that he heard "a loud voice like a trumphet." No one suggests that passage pertains to the rapture of the church.

Then, in Rev 3:10, a classic verse used by pre-trib dispensationalists to pull out a pre-trib rapture, the text is dealing with a specific church in the late first century, the Philadelphian church. Would it not be natural to read the text as applying to them? Nowhere in the text nor in the surrounding passages does John indicate that this applies to the church in the latter days approaching the seven-year tribulation.

What's more, the promise to deliver them from the "hour of trial that is coming on the whole world." If that is to be taken as the tribulation that would take place 2,000 or so years later, what kind of encouragement to the church amidst heavy persecution circa A.D. 90 is that?

Also, dispensationalists have long interpreted the letters to the seven churches to be speaking to different churches in successive eras of church history. Again, where does the text indicate this? Wouldn't it be more natural to interpret them as applying to the actual local churches the letters were written to? Furthermore, if Rev 3:10 refers to God's spatial deliverance of the church, why is the promise given to the sixth church addressed rather than the last one, the church of Laodicea? If these churches represent successive church periods, wouldn't the rapture apply to the last church?

While I'm on a roll on traditional dispensational interpretation, it's quite inconsistent that pre-trib proponents accuse amillennialists of having a "figurative" interpretation of the book of Revelation. With their interpretations of the passages mentioned above, I see way more of that going in how dispensationalists deal with Rev 2 and 3. It seems taking the letters to the churches to be commendations and reprimandations to those particular local churches would be the more natural reading. Sure the principles can apply to various situations in churches throughout the past 2,000 years, but first, we must establish the immediate context.

In reference to your comment about 1 Thess 4:17, I don't think you have a clear understanding of the amillennial understand of the sequence of events. First, we don't hold to a literal 1,000-year kingdom in between a seven-year tribulation period and the new heavens and the new earth. We hold that Christ's kingdom is spritual and is present on earth and has been since the gospel has been going out to the nations. Henceforth, both John the Baptist and Jesus preached "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" upon the Messiah's first coming. His kingdom will come in fullness upon the consummation of the new heavens and new earth.

In explaining 1 Thess 4:17 saying we "will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air," Paul is explaining that the saints will rise to greet Christ as He begins His triumphant reign in its full visibility. We then escort Him down to earth as He begins His reign. It is my understanding that the greeting and escorting dynamic was common to wedding ceremonies in those days. Elijah, care to elaborate on that? You're always much better than me in explaining this.

The saints aren't merely be raptured to escape the earth. Rather, we are the ones "left behind" to inherit it. The church left behind--oh yes! In Matthew 13, the parable of the weeds is explained in verses 36-43. Jesus states in verse 39 that "ther harvest is the close of the age." When Jesus told the parable earlier, He said in verse 30 for the servants to gather the weeds first and burn them, then gather the wheat, which will be the "righteous [who] will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father" as correlated in verse 43.

This gets at the pre-trib assumption that for the church to be protected from judgment or tribulation, it must be removed physically or locationally. Were the Israelites removed from Egypt when the plagues came upon them? How about when Gal 1:4 says Jesus "deliver[ed] us from the present evil age? Christians still remain here on earth during the age.

And even more fitting to the notion of God's people being the ones "left behind" is Noah. Who was left behind to inherit the earth there? God protected him and his family by placing them within the ark, which was symbolic of Christ, to spare them from judgment without physical removement.

Finally, the exhortations to be ready because Christ is "coming at an hour you do not expect" aren't emphasizing that we don't know when He is coming but that He is coming. That's we should strive to have constant vigilance. It's when we neglect the fact that Jesus return is coming to the judge the world that we neglect our duty. If we're faithful to the Lord in the task of evangelism and preparing the church for Him to be received in purity, the Second Coming won't catch us off guard.

If there is in fact a seven-year tribulation to precede the rapture, that doesn't necessitate that His coming won't catch others off guard. I could well envision somewhat neglecting vigilance during the tribulation due to the onslaught of temptations and judgments brought on during that period. Remember, as sinners we don't always keep in mind such things when sin draws our attention away from Christ.

As Paul wrote in 1 Thess 5:1-5, "... concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief."

For Paul, believers won't be caught off guard by Jesus' coming following the tribulation since they know that would indicate He would be coming. Unbelievers, however, would be surprised.

Outside of the southern United States, it's not common knowledge that a seven-year tribulation (if that's the case) is to come upon the earth. And if it is to occur in an unprecendented way, I could easily foresee biblical knowledge being scarce in those days as rebellion increases and the man of lawlessness comes forth (2 Thess 2:3).

Here are a few of my forefront objections to a pre-tribulation rapture:

1) The division of the Second Coming into two parts, one to secretly snatch the church from the earth and another for ushering the kingdom and judgind the world, had never been taught until the 1830s.

2) Premillennialism has been the minority view of the church in its 2,000-year history, which would mean pre-trib premillennialism is even less popular historically.

3) The dispensationalist eschatology of the pre-tribulation view does not come from a natural reading of the New Testament. Rather, one must impose this convuluted system onto passages dealing with the Second Coming after having already assumed the idea to be true. Who can here can honestly say that they don't believe because this is what was taught to them in the Baptist church growing up with no credence or even awareness of the other views held by orthodox Christians throughout the centuries?

4) This view comes from really sketchy origins in that J.N. Darby, leader of the Plymouth Brethren, adopted from the visions of Margaret Macdonald, a Catholic Apostolic prophetess from Scotland. Her vision was of only a partial rapture, but Darby adopted to a full rapture and would spread the teaching into America. You may have heard of one of his students--C.I. Scofield, publisher of the Scofield Study Bible.

This infamous study Bible is revered by many in fundamentalist circles, which explains why the pre-trib view is so popular among independent Baptists and the like. Darby had a heavy influence upon Scofield and his influence can be seen in the notes of the study Bible.

I apologize for the length, but it seemed necessary to do a sufficient job in explaining the issues at stake and answering the objections Ralton had, as well as the hesitations some of the rest of you might have toward abandoning the pre-trib view.

I look to present a more positive affirmation of my amillennial views as opposed to a defense in the coming days. I know you guys can't wait! Kidding.

BigDog said...

I hope this will be of some help.
Daniel Chapter 9 is God’s outline and blueprint of the Holy land.

What is Prophecy?
Prophecy is history prewritten.
And is one of the most mighty irrefutable proofs of the inspiration and inerrancy of the scriptures.
To understand prophecy we must understand the Jew.
The Jew is God’s yardstick.
They are the people of prophecy and of destiny

Dan 9:24
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (KJB)

The Period
“Seventy weeks” (weeks=years; Gen29:27; Lev 25:8)
The words literally mean “seventy weeks”, or seventy groups of seven. That means 490 years.

The People
“thy people”
This is a prophecy that deals with the Jews.

The Place
“thy holy city”
Jerusalem is going to be the international hot spot in the last days.(Zech 12)
One day it will be the capital city of the entire world.

The Purpose
Six Wonderful Blessings

1 “finish the transgression”
Israel will continue to reject her Messiah until these 490 years have come to an end.

2 “make an end of sins”
Until you stop the rejection of the Messiah there is no remission of sin.

3 “make reconciliation for iniquity”
There can be no reconciliation until the sin is dealt with.

4 “bring in everlasting righteousness”
After there has been reconciliation God will bring in everlasting righteousness.

5 “seal up the vision and prophecy”
God is going to complete history.

6 “anoint the most Holy”
Jesus Himself will be anointed as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

The Program
God has a program for making all this happen and He will make it clear when the 490 years would begin.

Dan 9:25
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (KJB)

The Commencement of the Count
The count commences with a commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. That command was given on March 14, 445 B.C., by King Artaxerxes.(Nehemiah 2)

The Construction of the City
From the time the command went out it would take 490 years to rebuild Jerusalem. History records that it took 49 years to rebuild the walls and the city.

The Coming of the Christ
Daniel was told that the King would arrive in threescore and two weeks, or 62 weeks. 62 weeks of years makes 483 years. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem exactly 483 years later.
483 years x 360 days = 173,880 days

Luke 3 tells us Jesus started His public ministry in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. And we know precisely when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, because it was three Passovers later. And that is April 6th, 32 AD., exactly 173,880 days after King Artaxerxes issued his command to restore Jerusalem.

The Crucifixion of the Christ
Daniel was told that the Messiah would be cut off.
(Isa 53:8)

Dan 9:26
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (KJB)

The Collapse of the City
Titus, the Roman General laid siege to the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and destroyed it. Thinking there were treasures in hidden passages, the soldiers used pry bars to dig through every stone of that temple, leaving it in total ruin thus fulfilling Luke 21.

The Completion of the Count
Daniel was told of a time 490 years long. It took 483 years from the time of the command to rebuild the city to the time of the Messiah entering the city. That leaves another 7 years-one last week.

Dan 9:27
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (KJB)

This is the missing week. This period is called the Great Tribulation (Dan 12:1) and is part of God’s covenant with Israel.
In the first half of this seven year period Israel will re-introduce temple worship. But the last 3 1/2 years temple worship will stop, and there will be abominations until the end of that time.

II Th 2:3-4
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (KJB)

Kent

BigDog said...

Sorry this is so long but I am trying to keep up with HazeDawg for length.

The Christian’s duty is not to look for prophetic signs. We are never told to look for the fulfillment of Israel’s prophecies. Our work is to carry the Gospel to all people.

Mark 16:15
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.(KJB)

Christians are to be ready at all times to be caught away from this world (1 Thes 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:51-58).

Christians can know the general seasons, but we cannot know the exact time of Christ’s return. I do not believe we can know the year or even the decade. It is wise to know that the hour is late, but the fact is that the hour has been late for 2000 years.

James 5:7
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.(KJB)

2 Pet 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.(KJB)

We will not see the Antichrist make his covenant with Israel. We will not see the Antichrist stand in the temple and announce himself as God. We will not see the mark of the Beast forced upon the world. We will not see the great judgments poured out. We will not see the northern power of Ezekiel 38-39 descend upon Israel and be destroyed by God. We will not see the armies of the world congregate in the middle east to stand against Christ at Armageddon. Those events belong to Daniel’s 70th week, which has to do with Israel.

It is not wrong to study prophecy but we should not go beyond written prophecy and begin to speculate publicly whether or not certain events are the fulfillment of prophecy. We cannot determine the time of the Rapture by observing world events. The Rapture will be a surprise and will not be preceded by specific signs. Nothing should detract us from the Great Commission.


I. "The Things Which Thou Hast Seen:"
The Patmos Vision (Revelation 1)

II. "The Things Which Are:"
The Seven Churches (Revelation 2 and 3)
“Corresponds to now, the present day of Grace, which has been in effect since Pentecost and will conclude with the rapture…” Karl W. Carlson

III. "The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter:”
(Revelation 4-22) “Clearly identified by use of the same phrase in Revelation 4:1 to be those events described from Revelation 4 onward—the Ages of Judgment and the Kingdom and the New Earth. Since at least three of these church exhortations include specific references to the second coming of Christ (Rev 2:25; 3:3, 11), there is strong indication that the third division relates to events taking place after the initial phases, at least, of the second coming.” Dr. Henry M. Morris

The throne-room set in the heavens (Revelation 4).
The Lamb and the scroll (Revelation 5).
The seal judgments on earth (Revelation 6).
The saved in the great tribulation (Revelation 7).
The trumpet judgments on earth (Revelation 8-10).
The two witnesses (Revelation 11).
The conflict of the two seeds (Revelation 12).
The kingdom of the beast (Revelation 13).
The everlasting gospel (Revelation 14).
The bowl judgments on earth (Revelation 15-16).
Babylon the great (Revelation 17-18).
The glorious appearing of Christ (Revelation 19).
The millennium and the last judgment (Revelation 20).
The new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21-22).


CHRONOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK OF REVELATION
Chapters 1- 3 Church Age- Unknown Duration

Chapters 4-19 Period of Judgment- Seven Years

Chapter 20 Kingdom Age- One Thousand Years

Chapters 21, 22 Eternal Age- Endless Years

Basis for Framework

>Destruction of millennial earth prior to renewed earth (Rev 20:11; 21:1).
>Judgment of Beast prior to millennium (Rev 19:20; 20:2).
>Three and a half year reign of Beast (Rev 13:5)
>Death of two witnesses prior to reign of Beast (Rev 11:7)
>Three and a half year testimony and judgmental power of two witnesses (Rev 11:3, 6, 10)
>Assembly of all saved in heaven prior to judgments on earth (Rev 4:1, 4; 5:9)
>Persistence of churches to coming of Christ (Rev 2:25; 3:3; 3:11; 3:20)


Rev 4:1
These words begin a new vision, which constitutes the second grand section of the Apocalypse. It occupies two chapters. It relates not to things on earth, but to things in heaven, and to things subsequent to the period covered by the seven churches. As the first vision embraces the entire earthly career of the Church on earth, from its organization under the apostles to the coming of Christ, this gives us the state of things intervening between the removal or rapture of the saints, and the letting forth of judgment upon apostate Christendom. In other words, it is the Apocalypse of Christ in relation to His elect in heaven, after they have been "taken"-"caught up"-miraculously removed from the world to the pavilion cloud-and previous to the going forth of His visitations upon those not "accounted worthy to escape all these things" (Luke 21:36), and "left."
(from Seiss’s The Apocalypse: Exposition of the Book of Revelation)


Rev 4:1
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

“After this” - Refers back to the outline given in Rev 1:19.

Rev 1:19
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

“…the first voice…heard is the same voice John heard in 1:10, i.e., the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ; this voice, when heard, is to be obeyed—John 11:43, 1 Th 4:16. sound of the trumpet refers to the vibrant, authoritative qualities of the voice of Christ—1 Cor 15:52, 1 Thess 4:16.” Karl W. Carlson

Luke 17:26
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. (KJB)

Many of the characteristics of the days of Noah and Lot are indeed recurring today, indicating that the return of Christ may be soon. These include the following:

1. Physical appetites (Luke 17:27)
2. Secularism (Luke 17:28)
3. Disregard of marriage (Matthew 24:38)
4. Uniformitarianism (Hebrews 11:7)
5. Disobedience (I Peter 3:20)
6. Ungodliness (Jude 15)
7. Unbelief (II Peter 2:5)
8. Blasphemy (Jude 15)
9. Population increase (Genesis 6:1, 11)
10. Hedonism (Genesis 4:21)
11. Technology (Genesis 4:22)
12. Violence (Genesis 6:11, 13)
13. Corruption (Genesis 6:12)
14. Sexual Promiscuity (Genesis 4:19; 6:2)
15. Homosexuality (Genesis 19:4,5)
16. Organized Satanic activity (Genesis 6:1-4)

A little more on Noah- God did keep Noah from His judgment of destroying all flesh with the earth. And again before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah He removed the righteous. We as God’s children are not meant for His wrath.

1 Thess 1:10
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (KJB)

Kent

Elijah said...

Kent, AMEN to the first part of your last post. It is our job, not to figure out when the Lord is coming, but to spread the Gospel to all.

That is, in fact, why i made the original post.

Spurgeon so strongly held this view that it's almost impossible to figure out what his views on the rapture were.

Some people go so far as to assign doubt to his views on the millenium, but that's nonsense. There is no doubt, Spurgeon was a premillenialist.

Spurgeon almost never spoke on eschatology. His main thrust was always "where are YOU going to spend eternity when Jesus comes back?"

I posted it just because i thought it neat to see hints of his views on the rapture, because they are so rare in his preaching. Spurgeon worried about preaching the gospel, not unravelling the mysteries of eschatological prophecy.

Here's another one:

"A man says to me, "Can you explain the seven trumpets of the Revelation?" No, but I can blow one in your ear, and warn you to escape from the wrath to come. "
--CHS


--elijah

Haze said...

Kent, I appreciate the layout on Daniel 9 in explaining the seven years. You presented it with great clarity and simplicity. I still need to look more closely at the issue. As for the overview of Revelation, I feel it restated the same pre-trib claims Ralton made rather than refute my critiques of the dispensationalist interpretation of Rev 2 and 3.

The New Testament speaks in general terms of what's to take place in concern with the Second Coming, which is why I favor amillennialism since it's very open and flexible. This allows for the possibility of an intense seven-year period upon Christ's return and doesn't hinge on as many debatable and less conclusive hermeneutical issues.

As Kent pointed out and Elijah commended, it's not our job to figure out when the Second Coming will take place. I thought the risen Jesus made that clear when appeared to the disciples just before His ascension.

"So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying 'Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?' He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority" (Acts 1:6-7 NASB).

Jesus goes on to say that our focus should be in spreading the gospel to the nations.

Acts 1:8, "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

However, God still wants us to have somewhat of a concern in studying eschatology since He did reveal information about it to us. It doesn't take priority over other doctrines more crucial to the faith, but non-essentiality does not negate importance.

As long as proper attention is given to our other responsibilites, I see nothing wrong in the discussion. There's intrinsic value in studying and discussing God's revealed word to humanity.

BigDog said...

Elijah,

Your post on Spurgeon reminded me of a sermon of his I read a few weeks ago when I was researching the Limited Atonement issue.

In his sermon entitled: Glorious Predestination—Rom 8:28, he states:
“Those teachings which are commonly called Calvinistic doctrines are usually most beloved and best received by those who have had much conflict of soul, and so have learned the strength of corruption and the necessity of grace.”

Towards the end of his introduction he states:
“Those whom the Lord looked upon with favour as He foresaw them, He has predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. They are, as Paul puts it in his letter to the Ephesians, "predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will" Eph 1:11.”

Then he quickly moves on:
“I am anxious not to tarry over controverted matters, but to reach the subject of my sermon this morning.”

I would agree with you that we must not be consumed on nothing but trying to figure out what the ‘three woes’ are but keep the main thing the main thing and that is the lost.

But still continue to study all the ‘hard stuff’ of God’s Word. Like Spurgeon we cannot answer everything,(like what kind of lights did Noah use on the Ark) and some things we would just have to give the answer of ‘I don’t know the answer.’

And I agree with Josh. We need to 'study to show ourselves approved'.

I believe these discussions sharpen us and bring us closer to the Lord in learning about Him and His Doctrines.

Kent

David said...

And of course another good reason to study it: Rev 1:3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

Here are some questions I have, some of which I believe have been asked, but I bring them back up because I don't remember seeing an answer.

1 Thess. 5:1-3
1Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

What is the pre-mill/pre-trib definition of The Day of the Lord?
Is it the day of the rapture? Is it the day of judgment? How can it be the day of the rapture if it is supposed to catch everyone off guard yet the very verses that are used to prove the rapture, 1 Thess. 4:16-17, state that God will come with a shout from the archangel and a cry from the trumpet of God? It can't be a secret if God does it so publicly and loudly. I don't see any other explanation that fits here except that the day of the Lord is the day of the rapture (the day those that remain meet him in the air then return with him) and is also the day of judgment. Otherwise, wouldn't there need to be "days" of the Lord?

What is the purpose of having the 144,000 Jewish converts that are amazing evangelists?
According to pre-trib/pre-millenial views 2 Thess. 2 refers to the removal of the holy spirit during the "end times." I believe that what is believed is that the holy spirit is removed on the same day as the rapture. When we began the discussion of 5 point calvinism a while back I mentioned that it is not possible to really only discuss and work out parts of the Bible without bringing in your entire view of the Bible as a whole. The removal of the Holy Spirit causes a big problem with that. How can you believe that the lost are prompted to come to the Lord through the Holy Spirit and then say that people will be saved during the great tribulation although the Holy Spirit is no longer on the earth? You must also then believe that there is another way the lost can come to God, then you have major problems because then you are attributing to man the roll of the Holy Spirit, which diminishes the gift of salvation. So how can anyone be saved during the tribulation when the Holy Spirit is gone? What is the purpose of the 144,000 jewish converts? How are they converted without the spirit?

A question that was brought up by Haze I would like to know the answer to (quoting Haze from an earlier post):

Furthermore, if Rev 3:10 refers to God's spatial deliverance of the church, why is the promise given to the sixth church addressed rather than the last one, the church of Laodicea? If these churches represent successive church periods, wouldn't the rapture apply to the last church?
I don't understand this either but I would love to ;)

Kent, that was an excellent description of Daniel, thanks for laying all that out. I'm not quite sure though I understand why the missing week refers to a great tribulation before the world ends? Hasn't Israel had many great tribulations already? It seems that I would have to already think that there is a great tribulation before the world ends to get that conclusion. Did I miss something in the post? (it's late and I'm tired, so I may have just missed it completely).

I also have a question on these days being like the days of Noah:
Why are these days any more like them than any other period of time in the past? It seems like all of those things apply to every period of time...which really only enforces the fact that the "last days" started when Jesus ascended.

2 Peter 2:9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials
The context talks about rescuing Noah and his family and Lot. Isn't this an excellent argument as to how there may be a period of great tribulation but God will protect his people? It doesn't seem to be a good argument for the rapture. Noah and Lot still remained on earth despite the judgment. Christians being present during a great tribulation seems to be the only way some of the events in Revelation (if they truly occur and are not figurative or already in the past) could happen since the Holy Spirit is no longer present. For example, God placing a mark on all Christians so that they will not be attacked by the "demon locusts." (sorry, can't find the reference)

I believe that I had many more questions, but I'm tired and cannot remember them. If I think of those, I will post them as well.

BigDog said...

(David)
So how can anyone be saved during the tribulation when the Holy Spirit is gone?

(Kent)
Short answer: The same way those got saved in the Old Testament.

(David)
What is the purpose of the 144,000 jewish converts?

(Kent)
To answer we must start in the Old Testament.

Ex 19:3-6
3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

God promised the Jews that he had set them aside as God’s servants.
And that He chose them as His representatives to the people of the world. They were to be a kingdom of priests.
In the Old Testament God chose the Jew to be His light unto the Gentile world. But Israel went away from God and the light went out.

Then God called Isaiah who started to preach a message of the coming judgment.

Isa 60:1-2
1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Isaiah promised another light amidst the darkness because the Jews let their light go out.

Another light would come to bring light to the Gentiles.

That is revealed to us in John.

John 1:1-5
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Jesus Christ is the true light of the world that shines in the darkness.

In Romans 9-11 God has spiritually blinded the nation of Israel.

Now the N.T. church is given the job of telling the world the gospel because we “are the light of the world.”

Then at the end of the Church age the N.T. church will be raptured.

The rapture of the church will remove the light. With the church gone there will be no one to win souls during the 7 year tribulation period.

Let me shift gears a little.

There are approximately 2600 people groups on earth today, totaling between 1.8 and 4 billion people who have not heard a clear presentation of the Gospel and/or the name of Jesus.

I viewed a couple of youth videos the other day meant as teaching aids. They were interviewing random students on a secular college campus somewhere in the States. They asked some questions like- Who is God?, Who is Jesus? To my amazement more than a few had not even heard the name Jesus.

You would think in the United States everybody would at least have heard of the name above all names, Jesus.

Anyway-

We know millions will be saved during the tribulation.

With the church (light) gone, God will again turn to the Nation of Israel and He will seal 144,000 preachers.

Rev 7:3-4
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

God needs someone to spread the Gospel so He seals His people and the blinders on Israel will be removed.

Israel, during the tribulation period, will be His light.

(David)
Furthermore, if Rev 3:10 refers to God's spatial deliverance of the church, why is the promise given to the sixth church addressed rather than the last one, the church of Laodicea? If these churches represent successive church periods, wouldn't the rapture apply to the last church?
I don't understand this either but I would love to ;)

(Kent)

I am sure everyone is familiar with the significance on numbers in the Bible.

Seven is the combination of the divine number three and the earth’s number four. Seven is the perfect number.

Gen 2:2
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. (KJB)

Rev 3:1
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (KJB)

7 Groups of 7

Chapters:
1-3 = 7 Churches
4-6 = 7 Seals
8-11 = 7 Trumpets
12-14 = 7 Persons
15-16 = 7 Viles or Bowls
17-20 = 7 Judgments
21-22 = 7 New Things

The seven churches—the perfect number representing all churches.
They were all real churches but they were all also chosen as representatives churches and they still represent our churches today. Christ’s exhortations to them apply to us today.

However, I have read that history has shown some parallel between church history and the seven church epistles of Revelation 2 and 3.

The problem with this interpretation is that there is no suggestion in the Scriptures that the intention of these letters was to outline seven church periods. So this could have only been either a secondary purpose or coincidental. We are not dealing with prophecy, but with exhortation.

Then Rev 4:1 which begins: “After this” which means “after all that was revealed concerning the church age” as represented by the seven church epistles.

In Rev 4-22, the Lord shows us the ‘things which must be hereafter’ –that is, after the church age.

The ‘things which are’ is not discussed after Rev 3. I wonder why?

Sorry I have not had time to answer all your quesions but I will work on it in all my spare time.

Kent

David said...

Big Dog,
That's okay that you haven't gotten to everything yet...in fact I'm glad you still have more you want to answer, because I have some other questions know from your previous post ;)

Am I mistaken in that even in old testament times the Holy Spirit was present on the Earth? Matthew 1:20 20But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Mark 12:36
36David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,
"'The Lord said to my Lord,Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemie under your feet.'


So if the Holy Spirit is what prompts us to follow God today, since we cannot do that of our own accord, why would it have been any different in the Old Testament? According to popular belief, the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth to allow the antichrist to come to power (there is a reference in my previous comment), so again, I do not see how it is possible for anyone to be saved during the tribulation unless there is an explanation as to how you become saved without the Holy Spirit.

You make really good connections with Israel being the light, but since I still hold that no one can be saved without the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is gone, I still do not see a purpose for the 144,000 Jewish Christians.

Also, where is the reference to millions being saved during the tribulation? I've really only seen that through the Jenkins books...does anyone know of a biblical reference to help me out?
2 Thess. 2:9
9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
I would think that according to the above verse, there wouldn't be too many saved.

I also know that there is an argument (I believe Bigdog referenced it in his previous post) that only those who have never heard the gospel would be spared...but how does that jive with Romans 1:18-32? So we're saying that the people who die before the tribulation and never heard about Christ will go to hell because even though they never heard they were without excuse, but if you do happen to survive until the tribulation you will be given the opportunity to be saved because you haven't heard? I cannot justify that.

I do understand the significance of numbers in the bible...but I really have a hard time breaking Revelation down into that. That sounds a little too omega-codeish, and I would think that the text is the only thing that holds relevance...not the order of the text. Besides, verses and chapters did not exist in early manuscripts, right?

You may just have not had the opportunity to address it yet, but I still don't understand why it is the 6th church and not the 7th for the end times. Maybe it is like you said...maybe assuming the churches represent different periods is reading too much into the text...I definitely believe that they were most likely just written to those churches.

Couldn't "after this" just mean that John is transitioning from one part of his vision to another?

I look forward to hearing the rest of the analysis and the answers to my new questions. This is always a fun discussion :)!!

Haze said...

My concern in writing in response to the last two posts is not so much to do with eschatology but with the doctrine of salvation, particularly faith and regeneration.

First, it is not my belief that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth in a future period. I'm not clear how even dispensationalists reconcile that with His omnipresence. I understand if you say the Holy Spirit removes His blessing or intimacy with those upon the earth, but the earth itself would be thrown into chaos should that happen. God through His Spirit governs the events of time and space through the Spirit's presence.

Second, there is a sense in which the ministry of the Holy Spirit was distinct in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, it was still present and active in the personal salvation of God’s people. Though in the present-day church, the Holy Spirit is given to everyone who comes to faith in Christ and brought into the invisible church (Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 12:13).

Everyone who becomes a member of the New Covenant through faith in Christ is imparted with certain gifts to serve the Body of Christ. However, since God’s ethnic people of Israel did not all participate in the realities of the New Covenant, not all individuals were given gifts administered by the Holy Spirit.

Old Testament Israel had mediators to serve in going between God and His people. The Holy Spirit gave these mediators and leaders special gifts for them to govern and guide the people of Israel. Moses was first given this anointing followed by the 70 elders with whom he shared it (Num 11:17-25). Joshua (Deut 34:9), the judges (Jdg 3:10, 6:34) and the kings of united Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were given this gift of the Holy Spirit as well. We even see this played out in the gifted artisans the LORD raised up to construct the Tabernacle (Exo 31:1-11).

When Scripture speaks of Saul receiving “another heart” (1 Sam 10:6-10), it’s not referring to his regeneration but to his being anointed as Israel’s king. The Spirit was said to leave him later to make way for David (1 Sam 16:1-14). What’s more, in Psalm 51:11 when David prayed to the LORD, “do not take Your Holy Spirit from me,” he was not requesting that God not take away his salvation.

In some sense, the Spirit did play a different role in relation to God’s people during the Old Testament. However, that does not imply or necessitate that it was not needed for salvation.

Third, if one is consistent with Scripture's teaching of God's sovereign role in salvation and the spiritual condition of man, the Holy Spirit must be present for conversion to take place, either New or Old Testament.

Surely, we would all agree saving faith is the gift of God (Eph 2:8-9; Phil 1:29). No person could conjure up faith on his own doing and respond to the gospel (John 6:44,65). And all of us being actual conservative Protestants would have to agree that justification takes place through faith alone, i.e. "sola fide" as on the top of the blog.

Through faith, Abraham was declared righteous before God, and it's that way for the rest of us. The apostle Paul appealed to the Old Testament to demonstrate the reality of justification by faith alone. Romans 4:3 reads:

"For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.'"

Paul goes to conclude all are justified the same way in Romans 4:11.

"... The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well."

Furthermore, from the Old Testament one could learn that salvation comes through faith alone in Jesus alone. Again, Paul makes this point in 2 Tim 3:15. He writes:

“…how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

In his epistles to Timothy, Paul commends Timothy’s mother and grandmother for raising him in the Jewish faith. It’s clear in verse 15 that the “sacred writings” refer to the Old Testament, especially since Paul goes on in verses 16 and 17 to declare that “all Scripture” is God-breathed. At that point, the New Testament canon had yet to be completed, so even though the principle of inspiration applies to the Bible as a whole, Paul is specifically referring to the Old Testament.

Therefore, if the Old Testament teaches that we were saved by faith alone in Christ alone, and the New Testament explicitly states faith to be the gift of God, we can safely deduct that faith was given as a gift in the Old Testament. Thus, salvation came about the same way it does in the New Testament. Although OT saints may not have known as explicit information about or even the name of Jesus Christ, they still trusted in the promises of God and given the same righteousness, such as with Abraham believing God’s promises to him and having Christ’s righteousness imputed to him.

Apart from the Holy Spirit, man cannot conjure up saving faith on his own. Jesus told Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Furthermore, Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee who no doubt believed and knew the OT very well, that he must be born again (John 3:7). “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Until we can perceive, that is to “see,” the kingdom of God, we cannot believe in it. The Spirit must impart to us this ability. Why? Because we’re born “dead in trespasses and sins” from our first birth (Eph 2:1). We’re just flesh, and the flesh profits nothing.

That why it’s essential for the Holy Spirit to act upon our dead souls in order for us to be saved. Regeneration must take place for faith to be present. It’s from the miracle of regeneration that we become spiritually alive and consequently justified by grace through faith. Paul explains this in Titus 3:5-7 (emphasis mine).

“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

The Old Testament gives the same declaration of man’s spiritual deadness as the New Testament, which means man was in the same desperate need for the Spirit’s work of regeneration. The doctrine of total depravity or inability is made clear in the Old Testament. The Scripture declares:

Genesis 6:5, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Genesis 8:21, “… for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth…”

1 Kings 8:46, “... for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them…”

Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

Psalm 58:3, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.”

Jeremiah 13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.”

Since Jews were born with original sin, being descended from Adam like us Gentiles, they have the same sinful, unbelieving nature. The Holy Spirit’s presence is not debatable for salvation; it’s absolutely necessary if anyone were saved in the Old Testament or during the Tribulation.

In ancient Israel, people weren’t saved by exercising a mechanical, fleshly faith or simply making a decision (as some believe happens in the dispensation of Southern Baptist Vacation Bible School). Faith came by regeneration given by the Holy Spirit. For saving faith to be present in a sinner, regeneration must have occurred. Again, that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that of the Spirit is spirit.

Regeneration by the Spirit was not explicitly shown in the Old Testament, but with the eyes of the New Testament, we can with the utmost certainty conclude this. Since this truth is made explicit in the NT, it can be deducted by good and necessary consequence in the OT.

Lastly, if one is to hold to the Calvinist doctrines of total depravity and effectual calling (irresistible grace), one cannot consistently believe salvation to take place at any period apart from the sovereign and initiating work of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart. In laboring toward a comprehensive biblical systematic theology, one must measure the implications of each doctrine he believes. If the implications of any two doctrines conflict, one must refine his system accordingly and according to Scripture.

BigDog said...

The restrainer is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in us, and when we leave here, the Holy Spirit will leave with us. The only thing that holds this world together is the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, who lives in the hearts and lives of every single believer. The day of Tribulation cannot begin until the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way. That’s going to happen when the Rapture occurs.

Some people have a hard time believing that the tribulation could usher in such an enormous soul harvest. But we have some examples in the Old Testament.

Jonah 3:4-10
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

Scripture says the Ninevite Assyrians heard Jonah and:

5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

And how did God respond:

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Apparently everyone in the entire city turned to God which could have had as many as 500,000 people. (Which is confirmed by Jesus in Matt 12:41). This has to be the greatest ‘revival’ in history.

Another example is in:

Joel 2:28-32
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

This great promise of the Holy Spirit was partially fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-21). The remaining parts of the prophecy (2:30-31) will be fulfilled with the 144,000 where-

Rev 7:9
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude , which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

There will so many saved no one will be able to number them.

Some amillennialists think the church is part of the 144,000. Then we must ask the question, “Which Tribe?” the Bible is very clear that these are the tribes of Israel.

Now, why would God select 144,000 out of the Jewish people?

Back to numbers again. We do not lose site of over emphasizing the use of numbers but we do not dismiss it out of hand either.

Three numbers make up the figure 144,000. They are three, four, and ten. Four is the earth number, three is the divine number, and ten is completeness.

Three times four is twelve.
Twelve time twelve is 144.
Ten times ten times ten gives us 1,000.
Added together we get 144,000. (Adrian Rogers)

There is no secret code in the Bible but in the book of Revelation there are signs and symbols that we need to understand in order to understand Revelation.

(There is still much to reference concerning the tribulation in the Olivet Discourse in Matt 24 and 25.)

The Bible even has its own built in dictionary and is a lexicon in its own right. God’s Word being perfect and infallible we would expect great and amazing things to be revealed in His Word as we read and study and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us.

We could say that the Old Testament saints received salvation on the credit of Jesus’ blood and the New Testament saints receive salvation on the interest of the blood of Jesus.

(Simple and quick version without much scripture backup but I figure you already know the verses I am referencing.)

People that have not believed on the name of Jesus are condemned.(John 3) Once the church is snatched away(Rev 4) everyone on the earth is unsaved. God will seal 144,000 preachers to spread the Gospel. Many, most probably millions will be saved as referenced in the above scripture verse.(Rev 7) If any on the earth have heard the Gospel and rejected it they will be sent strong delusion (2 Thess 2) and believe a lie and will not believe the preaching of the 144,000. But the billions who have never heard the Gospel will be saved. Obviously and most probably not all but a great number.

(A little more on people who have never heard the gospel since you seem a little perplexed.)

Will those who have not heard the gospel go to hell?

The answer of course is yes.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

You may say this is unfair. What about those people who are ignorant and have not heard the Gospel? Since they are ignorant they should go to Heaven. It would be unfair for God to send them to Hell forever and ever and ever.

But God says:
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

But what about those who do not believe in God?

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. Rom 1:19

In the entire bible there is only half a verse for an atheist.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Psalm 14:1

God has put enough evidence in his creation that he exists, that those who do not believe will be ‘without excuse’ at the day of judgment.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Rom 1:20

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1

God has put knowledge of himself in everyone’s conscience as well.

Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; Rom 2:15

The letters were written to those churches because they did actually exist, but as I stated in my last post the seven churches were all real churches but they were all also chosen as representative churches and they still represent our churches today. Christ’s exhortations to them apply to us today.
So it does not matter what order they are in it all applies to us.

Kent

Haze said...

Kent,

Thanks for responding so promptly and diligently to those of us who challenge your explanations. You truly contribute to the dialogue.

Nevertheless, I have the following quelms:

First, I don't know if you were attempting to respond to my objections to people coming to faith apart from the Holy Spirit in the OT, but neither the Jonah example nor the Joel prophecy demonstrate that people came to faith without the miracle of regeneration.

Rather, the norm in Scripture is that the Spirit's conviction and call are implied when people respond in repentance from preaching.

The Joel 2 prophecy refers to when the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon Gentiles, that is "all flesh" or "all mankind" (Joel 2:28-32; cf. Acts 2:17-21). It happens in the "last days," (Acts 2:17), which refers to the time from when Jesus ascended to the Father up till His second coming (1 John 2:18).

Still, the Holy Spirit performed certain ministries during the OT as I mentioned in my previous post.

Second, how can the 144,000 refer to only Jews from specific tribes since they have now intermingled with other ethnic groups and thus a pure bloodline no longer remains?

Also, only those "who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads" (Rev 9:4) can be harmed by the locusts of the fifth trumphet. Are we to take this to mean God will not protect Gentile believers from the locusts, "the great multitude from every nation" mentioned in Rev 7:9?

Matthew Henry has a more amillennial intrepretation of Revelation and takes the locusts to be symbolic of heresies that crept into the church. Those who believed the heresies were thus "tormented" by them for a period. Those with the "seal" are the elect and are kept from harm, i.e. deception (Mark 13:22).

Henry sees Revelation as a cyclical narrative of the spiritual realities going on around the church throughout her history.

Third, could not "the restrainer" in 2 Thes 2 refer to God's common grace or some supernatural means rather than the Holy Spirit? The Spirit does manifest Himself in the hearts of every believer, but He exists apart from there. Being fully God, He is omnipresent.

Fourth, I don't think Feaker or anyone else on the blog thinks sinners become exempt from hell by not hearing the gospel. We're guilty from birth and God condemns persons to eternal perdition on account of sin, unbelief included.

Of course, it would be fair to leave all of us in our sins and consequently enter into eternal torment. Those who never hear only experience the reality we all deserve; it's as if they lived in a world without a Savior.

I don't bring up this point to scold or rebuke, but to make sure you don't have the wrong impression from us. Every one of us on the blog holds pretty tightly to historic Christian orthodoxy, particulary the Reformed tradition.

I don't think anyone here is soft enough to think it's unfair that a person doesn't hear of Christ. We're Calvinists for crying out loud.

David said...

I definitely did not mean to imply that it is unfair that people that do not hear the gospel go to Hell. In fact, you made stronger exactly the point that I was trying to make with the added scripture. What I wanted to discuss is why would those that survive until the tribulation that have not yet heard the gospel be given that extra chance to hear it and accept (because God will not send them strong delusions)when all those that died before them were not given that same chance. My point was only that it doesn't seem to make much sense that they would be given special treatment just because they happened to be living when the tribulation started.

I also would like to know the answers to all that Haze posted above. Especially to how it pertains to the Holy Spirit's presence and a sinner being saved. I don't see how it's possible to make the dispensational and calvnist views mesh.

I'm not perplexed on the people that have not heard the gospel going to hell, that is why I posted the verse that I did. What I am perplexed about is why those living during the tribulation would be given special treatment.

Sorry to lay such a burden on you to answer so many objections Bigdog, but I know that Haze and I share similar views on eschatology (I'm uncertain of everyone else) and I know your belief as well, so you're the only one I know for certain that I can pose these questions to :).

Elijah said...

just a few quick comments:

1. Feaker, for the record, I lean to historic premillenialism. like you i agree that Calvinisn seems to clash with Dispensationalism. If God's elect are those who are assuredly bought by the blood of Christ, then why will there be a partial rapture, where only part of God's elect are called up, while the rest are left on earth?

2. Kent and Haze, one question/comment about the 144,000: Haze made a good point about the intermingling, but there is something very interesting in the text of Revelation of which we should take note: They aren't the same tribes that are repeatedly listed in the OT.

In the OT land distribution (and consequently the listings of the "12 tribes of Israel) Levi is left out. Levi was the tribe of preists and was given no land, and was never listed with the 12 tribes. Instead of listing 11 tribes, Joseph became two tribes, for his sons: Ephraim and Manassah.

Now, in Revelation 7, The tribe of Levi is mentioned. Dan is not. Ephraim is not mentioned, while Mannasah is, however, i find it curious that Joseph is also.

Manassah came from Joseph, so why are both mentioned?

I think you do have to jump through a couple hoops to say that the 144,000 listed here give an exact correspondance to the OT tribes of the Israeli nation, because there are significant differences in the listing.

3. Because i am an equal opportunity critic and way too particular about my historical references: Although it is in the "Matthew Henry Commentary," Matthew Henry himself did not write commentary on the book of Revelation. Henry died before he could finish the Bible, and thus only completed Genesis-Acts. The Matthew Henry commentary on Revelation was written by "Mr. William Tong, according to "J.B. Williams" in the preface to vol. 6 of the whole bible commentary. Sorry to be picky, but credit to whom credit is due.

--elijah

BigDog said...

(Josh)
“I don't know if you were attempting to respond to my objections to people coming to faith apart from the Holy Spirit in the OT”
No I was not. I did not read your post before I posted mine.

The main reason I believe the 144,000 refer only to Jews is:

Rev 7:4
And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

The Jews are the only nation that has not been assimilated in some way by other nations. I am not sure we can dogmatically say that all the Jews have “intermingled with other ethnic groups and thus a pure bloodline no longer remains?” I am unable at this point to back this up, but I would contend there is a pure bloodline, and that God knows which Jewish families.

If you study the nation of Israel a little you can see how even today they are a miracle nation.

There is also a reference in:

Ps 102:13
13 Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.

God has kept up with the genealogical records and will be able to identify all the tribes once again.

As far as the locusts go the typical amillennial interpretation is to spiritualize things.

We read of something that darkened the sun and was given power like a scorpion. Then a time frame was given of 5 months. These were most probably not literal locusts but it is interesting that the life span of a locust is 5 months.

(Josh)
“I don't think Feaker or anyone else on the blog thinks sinners become exempt from hell by not hearing the gospel.”
Sorry I was not clear. I do not think any of you believe that way but that was more of a reference made to David’s post concerning those unsaved in the tribulation.


(David)
“…why would those that survive until the tribulation that have not yet heard the gospel be given that extra chance to hear it and accept”

I do not see it as an extra chance or special treatment. They have never heard the Gospel yet. Going through the tribulation would not be special treatment.

I don’t see a partial rapture. God’s elect that are not saved yet go through all kinds of earthly trials. The unsaved elect that are left behind are just left behind unsaved elect.

The 12 tribes listed are very interesting. There does not seem to be an obvious reason for the order given. As Elijah mentioned the tribes are repeatedly mentioned in the O.T. I believe almost 30 times and the order they are listed is different almost every time.

An explanation of all the tribes is too lengthy and most probably boring.

One reason Dan is probably not listed is because it was the first tribe to lapse into idolatry.


BigDog