I will continue to look into the signs of the times teaching, but I want to focus a fair bit on the pre-trib rapture firstly as the teaching that there is no pretribulation rapture or premillennial Kingdom is gaining ground, from the post millennial and partial preterist viewpoint!” I spoke a little while back on how the above named groups try to pull the pre-trib rapture apart by saying that this teaching is relatively new. Yet I clearly showed it was the position the early Church took! So why did it become so popular in the 1800s up till the last few years when partial preterism has taken off? Ok, firstly we need to ask why did the imminent expectation of Christ’s return fade and almost die especially as it was so poplar in the first century that Paul’s very first letter which was to the Church at Thesallonica was penned and was dominated by the rapture event, the Christian’s comfort and hope! Well I see a few things.
- Despite its popularity, nevertheless the Lord didn’t return but persecution heated up and many 100s even 1000s of Christians died. So in the words of Paul who said, ‘don’t get weary of doing good for in the right time you will receive a reward!’ It looks like many did give up on the imminent return of Christ.
- This is especially noticeable in 2 Peter 3:4! They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” Well everything isn’t going on as per usual now as we shall see in the next few posts I write.
- Even the Ante Nicene fathers disagreed on the subject. Tertullian and Origen both disagreed on this issue, even the Nicene creed only gave a brief look into this subject.
- The didache [which is an apocryphal book] seems to imply a post millennial view point, however as the didache is not in the cannon of scripture it can’t be used as evidence to establish a post tribulation rapture or post millennial Kingdom.
- From the Nicene creed onwards there have been 3 predominant view points. Pre millennial/pretrib rapturist view points. Post millennial and Amillennial views.
So why did the pretrib rapture become popular again in the 1800s? What triggered this teaching that many say is a ‘NEW’ teaching? Well the answer for me is “Zionism!” The Jews and their desire to return to their God given land! Zionism as an organized movement is generally considered to have been founded by Theodor Herzl in 1897. However, the history of Zionism began earlier and is related to Judaism and Jewish history. After the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 the Jews were scattered throughout the earth until in 1917 when they began to get their land back. However this began years before and Zionism was on the rise before AD 1897 as Jahweh began to put in His people’s hearts a desire to return home. So it is reasonably possible to deduce that in AD 1830 when the Zionist movement was already in active preparation and John Nelson Darby would be aware of this stirring in the hearts of God’s chosen people that he then began to dig into God’s prophetic word and rediscovered God’s time table for the Jews according to Daniels 70 years and Paul’s re-grafting of the true branch back into the Olive tree and then started to delve into all the prophetic teachings on the Lord’s return. He obviously noted a dispensation of God’s work at hand. The dispensation of the Law and the time of Jewish dominance in the Kingdom. Then when Messiah was cut off at the cross and the Jews were cut off for rejecting their Messiah, according to Daniel, the time clock of God’s Kingdom stopped for the Jews at the 69th week of years. The wild olive branch [the Gentiles] began to be grafted in after Pentecost and the Church age of the dispensation of grace began which would continue till the point when the stop watch of God’s kingdom needed to be restarted for the Jews and they would then have to enter into the 70th week of years! The tribulation period!.
Obviously from this it is easy to see that the true olive branch [the Jews] cannot be re-grafted into the olive tree whilst the wild branch predominantly Gentiles] is still attached! The Jews owe Jahweh a week of years [7 years, the time of Jacob’s trouble] ‘For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and against nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much easier will it be to graft these who are the natural branches back into [the original parent stock of] their own olive tree?’ Romans 11:24 [You will need to read all of Romans 11 to get to grips with Paul’s doctrine of the return of the Jews to their original mission.]
Well that’s a lot to think about. So I’ll stop here and pick this thread up another day. So until then, good hunting and GO FISH for yourselves also.