Friday, April 07, 2006

Dispensationalism and the Pre-Tribulational Rapture

The idea of the pre-trib. rapture is held by many. It is held by theologians in several different camps such as, covenantal, epigenic, and dispensational, but it seems to be a defining trait in dispensationalism. You will rarely find a dispensationalist who would be post-trib. There are a few of course, but they are so few in number it is hardly noticeable.

Why is it that dispensationalism seems to demand a pre-trib. rapture? I understand that the reason most dispensationalist would give for this is because they believe it is Biblical, but why do they all seem to end up there?

The answer seems to be found in the Israel/Church distinction. I’m not sure of progressive dispensationalists on this point, but Lewis Sperry Chafer believed that because of this distinction there was actually more than one Gospel that was, is, or is going to be preached. In fact he believed in four different Gospels. I just want to focus on two. The first one we are familiar with, it is the Gospel of grace. It is being preached now in the church age. The other one is the gospel of the kingdom. Since there are two different people groups to be saved, Israel and the church, there must be at least two gospels. Chafer says this gospel is the proclamation of God setting up the Davidic kingdom. He goes on to say that this Gospel has two preachings. It started with John the Baptist and ended with the Jewish rejection of the king (Jesus). The other preaching of this Gospel is to be preached in the future during the tribulation.

How does this play into the pre-trib rapture? It has to do with the fact that you can’t have two different gospels being preached at the same time, so in order to preach this gospel during the tribulation you must remove the Church. If we had two different preachings going on, one saying just believe and receive Grace, and another that says line up under Israel because their kingdom is going to be established, this would lead to some confusion, because which gospel would the people pledge their allegiance to? In order to avoid this confusion, the rapture is needed to be able to move on to the next stage in God’s work of setting up the earthly kingdom.

I’m not necessarily against the pre-trib. rapture, but Chafer and Scofield’s view seems a bit strange.

God Bless,


P.S. On a personal note I was saved in 1982 after watching the second movie in the Thief in the Night series. In fact I have a copy of all four movies in my library just as a remider. They are hard to sit through by today's movie standards but I owe the people who put those movies together a bit of gratitude because God used them to call me to faith in Him.


At Saturday, April 08, 2006 5:07:00 AM, Blogger Simon said...

This is interesting and something that I've never really thought properly about.
I read an amilleialist book as a teenager which outlined the different millenial positions but not in much detail and then came down for amillenialism, so I accepted that and forgot about the others!

Now one of the missionaries I am working with would call himself progressive dispensationalist so we've had interesting conversations. What is interesting is that we both would consider the other's position as just a bit strange - but we are the same on just about everything else!

What is Wayne Grudem's position on this? I seem to remember he is pre-mill.

You are doing really well on this, I have just dopwnloaded the first 2 of Lewis Johnson on the divine purpose so will probably learn a lot more through that.

God Bless,


At Saturday, April 08, 2006 8:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doug, These studies are great. I do want to say that I do not see the purpose for the Rapture (pretrib) as being for the purpose of the intro of another gospel, but for the purpose of removing the Church in order that Israel may be purified, and come to Christ as the world is judged. The gospel of the kingdom is still the message of grace in Christ, and His establishing His kingdom on earth, and ruling during the thousand years.
In studying the Scriptures for the past 32 years I have come to one conclusion there is only one way of salvation for the world. That is through faith in Christ. The people of the Old Testament were saved by grace through faith in Christ looking forward to the cross. From Christ through the end of time as we know it, it is by grace through faith looking back to the cross.
I know you believe it. God has always only had one way of salvation. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
I believe that is why Jesus must be seen in the Old Testament.
KEEP UP THE GOOD STUDIES. I am learning still. Thanks.

At Saturday, April 08, 2006 4:23:00 PM, Blogger Dave Bussard said...

I've noticed progressive dispensationalism mentioned a few times here. If you haven't found The Last Trumpet web site, I would suggest you check out the short, simple, and direct article there about progressive dispensationalism. I'm not sure if I agree with every detail, but I THINK I do.

At Sunday, April 09, 2006 1:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One writer and researcher found out that when the pre-trib rapture was originated in 1830, it was based not on any clear passage (as was admitted) but rather on UNEXPLAINED SYMBOLS in the book of Revelation, that it took the earliest developers several decades to stretch their pretrib basis forward (jumping from the Rev. 14 "harvest" to the Rev. 12 "man child" rapture to the Rev. 11 "witnesses" rapture and finally to John's "rapture" in Rev. 4 - in order to be exempted from as many of the endtime horrors as possible!), and that Darby (the mis-labeled "father" of dispensationalism) was not original with ANY Biblical prophecy truth (for 30 years his only pretrib basis was the Rev. 12 symbol but he was only plagiarizing Irving who had already been using the same symbol for the same purpose for 8 years!). If interested, look up "Pretrib Rapture Diehards" while searching on Google. Another shockeroo is "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)." Lou

At Sunday, April 09, 2006 2:05:00 PM, Blogger Joshua Ritchie said...

The cover art to the movie is classic. I remember those movies as a child. They scared me and I was already saved!

At Sunday, April 09, 2006 4:40:00 PM, Blogger Dave Bussard said...

Useless but entertaining information: I'm friends with the star of Thief in the Night. Her name is Patty Risinger, and she's the one that got her head cut off in the second one. Anyway, I just had lunch with her husband last Friday. It's a small world. I'll tell her that people are still talking about her movie, but i think she already knows that.


At Sunday, April 09, 2006 4:49:00 PM, Blogger Doug E. said...

Thanks Dave,

Tell her I said thanks for her work. The Lord used it to help save my life, In fact it was that guillotine scene that scared me to life. :-)


At Sunday, April 09, 2006 7:24:00 PM, Blogger bluecollar said...

Thanks Doug


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