RAPTURE WAS NOT MENTIONED IN FOUR GOSPELS.
You label yourself a Dispensationalist, and I guess you accept that the “dispensation of the grace gospel” was given to Paul by Jesus Christ? And I’m sure you accept that there was no Body of Christ with us as members until Paul? But you reject the argument that the Rapture was also a mystery given only to Paul. So, I guess your label is Dispensationalist while mine is hyper-Dispensationalist. And I will wear that label proudly!
I have found over many years that all the doctrinal disputes that fracture the Body of Christ are caused by a failure to “rightly divide the word of truth,” as Paul admonishes. I have also found that by “rightly dividing” Israel from the Body, Peter from Paul, circumcision from uncircumcision, and law from grace resolves all the doctrinal disputes that divide Christians today. On the Two Gospels thread (toward the end), is a list of these doctrinal disputes. I challenged my opponents to pick one and I would show them that a failure to divide caused the disputes and rightly dividing resolved the dispute. No one took my challenge?
I submit that when you fully embrace Dispensationalist, you will find that all doctrinal disputes vanish. Here I will post all the evidence I can find that shows the Rapture is for the Body of Christ (members who are saved under Paul’s gospel of grace) and no one else.
So, this will be a bit long winded. This can’t be helped. Since you and I agree on much, I want to zero in on the Rapture not being mentioned by Jesus to Israel. If I can convince you of this, then we can discuss other issues. For starters:
The Texas Turkey Vultures
Bone, when I quote Matthew 24:28 and Luke 17:37, most often my opponent will argue that the eagles are not vultures. I was elated that you accepted and admitted the obvious—that Jesus was indeed referring to vultures that eat carrion. I thought that these two verses would cause you to question your position. It did not.
First, you disagreed that Jesus was quoting Job. Unless you can give me some evidence, I must accept your assertion as arbitrary. But before we look deeper, a thorough reading of the four gospels will show that Jesus often quoted passages from the Old Testament. One of the best arguments that Christian apologists have today for the veracity of the New Testament is that Jesus’ constant reference to Old Testament passages. I have heard Christian apologist argue that the Old Testament must be true since Jesus so often referenced it. And the flip side is that the veracity of the New Testament can be based on the Old Testament. So I was not surprised at all that Jesus’ words could be found in the Old Testament, i.e. Job.
Jesus said, “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles (vultures) will be gathered together” (Mat. 24:27). You argue that because Hebrew translation in Job refers to more than one carcass then this can’t be referring to Job. I live in Texas with vultures. When I have a dead cow (carcass), the clean-up crew arrives very quickly. I interpret this through Texas jargon: “When you got something dead, you got vultures.” In Matthew, Jesus could not be clearer. He was telling his apostles that those taken would be eaten by vultures.
Jesus speaking in Luke 17: “…there will be two men in one bed; the one will be taken and the other left” (v. 34). “Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left” (v. 35). “Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left” (v. 36). After Jesus speaking these words, His apostles (v. 37) reasonably asked: “Where [will they be taken], Lord?” And Jesus answered clearly: “Wherever the body (carcass) is, there the eagles [vultures] will be gathered” (v. 37). Bone, with respect, if this is where I am going when Jesus comes to Rapture me, I am going to do my best avoid it: get a job as a coal miner perhaps.
You posted: As I see it, the analogy that Jesus is giving here is that He is the carcass, and we are the eagles (vultures). It is a further explanation of why we should not go running out into the desert to meet Him. The passive voice "be gathered", in particular, stands out to me. The vultures are not gathering, but instead are being gathered by an outside agency. In other words, Jesus is saying "Don't go out in the desert to meet Me because:"
What analogy???????????????????? I refuse to address this scenario that Jesus is the carcass. Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bone, the following are some things for you to consider:
Twelve Signs of the Tribulation
Please see my Post 73. Jesus prophesied twelve signs and conditions of the Tribulation. Full, partial, or expected fulfillment of each of these signs is confirmed in the first eight chapters of Acts. The Twelve were starting into the “time of Jacob’s trouble.”
Israel Is Promised an Earthly Kingdom
Some Christians adamantly refuse to admit that Christ will return to establish an earthly Kingdom. Rather, these believers prefer a weak spiritualization. But the Bible abundantly testifies to this Kingdom during which Christ will rule from Jerusalem on David’s throne. As the following passages show, Israel will not be Raptured up to heaven but will live in an earthly kingdom.
The Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Mat. 6:10
The angel Gabriel said to Mary:
“… the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:32-33
Then add these passages:
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. Isaiah 9:7
“When the Son of Man comes… He will sit on the throne of His glory… Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come… inherit the kingdom…’” Mat. 25:31-34
“… in those days… I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel… Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge… The Lord also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:1-2, 12-16 (See also Joel 3:17-18.)
Honoring His covenant with Abraham, God will give the Jews a huge physical territory, “the land” from the Nile to the Euphrates (Gen. 12:1, 7; 13:14-15, 17; 15:18; 17:8). God promised King David:
“… I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom…. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” 2 Sam. 7:12-12
Just as the seed was literal, physical, and historical, so too is the throne and the Kingdom. Opposition to a literal Kingdom aids those who, like the Gnostics, oppose the literal Seed (see also Isa. 66:20; Ezek. 11:17; 28:25-26; Deut. 32:43; Isa. 11:10-12 and compare Rom. 15:8).
Christ’s Olivet Discourse also nails down the plain meaning of the above “expectancy” passages. That “there are some standing here who shall not” die till they see Christ “coming in the kingdom” requires either that His Coming was a significant amount of time removed from the date of that utterance (though short enough that some would survive), or that the intervening time would be especially dangerous.
Members of the Body of Christ Will Live in Heaven
In stark contrast to Israel’s earthly kingdom, Paul clearly shows that members of the Body of Christ have a heavenly hope and will not live in Israel’s earthly kingdom. Please see Phil. 2:10; 3:20; Eph. 1:10; 3:15; Col. 1:5, 20; 3:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:1; 2 Tim. 4:18.
The Wrath to Come (to Israel)
Before God establishes His Kingdom, Israel will be purged Zech. 13:8-9; Mal. 3:2-3) by wrath (Mat. 3:7) so that only those worthy (Luke 21:36; 20:35; Mat. 10:11, 13, 37-38; 22:8) to inherit the Kingdom shall enter in (Mat. 25:34-36). Again we see a stark contrast between Israel and the Body: God did appoint Israel to wrath; but He did not appoint the Body to wrath (see verses in following paragraph).
John the Baptist knew about the coming wrath as shown by his rebuke of the Pharisees:
“Brood of vipers! Who has warned you to flee from the wrath that is to come?” (Mat. 3:7-8).
Also see Mat. 3:9-12; Dan. 7:25, 27.
The Body Is Not Appointed to Wrath
Paul is clear in his writings that his converts (members of the Body) will not endure the coming wrath for Israel. Rather, they will escape (Raptured).
“…and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thes. 1:10).
“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 [members of His Body] will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain [members of His Body] shall be caught up together with them in the clouds [both groups Raptured] to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (l Thes. 4:16-17)
“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 5:9).
Also see Rom. 5:9; Col. 3:6; Eph. 5:6.
Righteous Saints Worthy of the Kingdom Are Resurrected, Not Raptured
Jesus, for the most part, kept His resurrection a puzzle—“no sign but the sign of Jonah” (Mat. 12:39-40). A few days before He was crucified, He told his disciples that He would be crucified and would rise. But it was a mystery to them. They did not understand it (Luke 18:31-34). He also spoke of a resurrection of the dead after the Tribulation.
“For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will” (John 5:20-21).
“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other” (Mat. 24:31).
“Most assuredly, I say to you the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live” (John 5:25).
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29).
“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from [wheat from the tares] the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Mat. 24:31). Note: In Mat. 24:29, Jesus establishes that this is “immediately after the Tribulation.” Also, in Mat. 13:37, parable of the sower, Jesus shows that the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom.
End of Tribulation and First Resurrection
At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will return and send His angels to separate the wheat from the tares—the righteous from the unrighteous. The Jews who have been killed during the Tribulation (“beheaded for their witness to Jesus”) will be resurrected to eternal life and will “reign with Jesus for a thousand years.”
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:1-5).
The “Day of the Lord”
Many Christians mistakenly teach that the biblical phrase, “the Day of the Lord” only refers to Christ’s Second Coming, which adds confusion. But the Tribulation itself is call the Day of the Lord. Actually, the Lord’s Second Coming is called “the great and notable day of the Lord (Acts 2:20) because it is the culmination of the Tribulation, the most noteworthy, terrible, and dreadful part of that day. Joes calls Christ’s return “the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31). Malachi calls His return, which is the climax of the Last Days, “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:5).
Many Christians stubbornly resist calling the whole Tribulation “the Day of the Lord.” But God’s wrath, from which the Body is spared, is spread throughout the entire Tribulation, because it is His day. Ezekiel establishes this clearly saying that “the day of the Lord is… the time of the Gentiles” (Ezek. 30:3). Jesus calls that same time “the days of vengeance… For there will be great distress in the land and wrath” when “Jerusalem is trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:22-24). Notice too, according to Ezekiel, “the day of the Lord” is not the brief period of Christ’s return, but is “the time of the Gentiles,” the very term Jesus used to describe the Tribulation in Mat. 24.
No amount of reinterpretation of scripture can apply “the time of the Gentiles” to the Second Coming. Hence, it is seen that God uses the term “the day of the Lord” generally to refer to the Tribulation itself.
Joel’s prophecy also shows that the Day of the Lord is not limited to Christ’s return, but refers to events of lengthy duration requiring passage of years (Joel 1:15-20). See also Obad. 4:12-16; Zeph. 1:7-18).
In light of the above contrasts between the Body and Israel, I pray we can agree that the Rapture is for the Body of Christ only. As our citizenship is in heaven, then logically, we must be taken out before the “great and terrible day of the Lord.” Israel is destined to live in an earthly kingdom, and thus will not be Raptured bodily into heaven (out of the kingdom). For the Jews in the kingdom, taking them out of the kingdom could not be reward, as only those worthy will enter into it. Thus, those “taken” are taken out of the kingdom.
And, yes, as the Body of Christ was a mystery, so too the plans for the Body were a mystery. Paul laid the foundation for the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 3:10). The establishment of the Body of Christ was contingent on whether Israel would accept their risen Messiah. It was future and a mystery not prophesied. So Jesus could not have been referring to the Rapture in the gospels.
I pray we can agree on this one point?