It's not Thursday, and I'm still on vacation. Currently, I'm close the middle of nowhere, and yet I have a satelltie connection to the internet. It's rainy, so I can't fish. My son is napping, so I can't watch the DVD player. I'm forced to think, but since it's vacation I'm not going to think too deeply.
Right now, I'm reading a copy of Kim Riddlebarger's A Case for Amillennnialism: Understanding the End Time. This is like reading patent heresy for a pre-trib, pre-millennial Baptist like me, so don't spread the word too much. So far, I'm enjoying the read. My eschatology could certainly use the tune-up.
Actually, I'm hardly pre-trib and barely premil. I don't even like a pre-trib rapture. It raises too many questions.
Since I'm skipping rocks here, and since you've already promises not to tell everyone what I'm reading, let me tell you my hang-ups on the Pre-trib rapture scheme. (If you asked me if I was a pre-trib, premil guy, I'd say, "Yes, but I'm leaning towards "No.") Here are my present quandries that probably have little hope of being solved in the near future.
1. The 'secret' rapture of the Church before the tribulation is strange. Most people who hold to this believe that people, many people, will be saved after the rapture. My question: So why don't they get to be raptured as they believe? If God always delivers His people from His wrath, why don't these people get delivered from his wrath?
2. If the marriage feast of the Lamb is occuring in heaven while the tribulation is happening on earth, do those who are saved during the tribulation miss the celebration? If they are martyred during the tribulation, do they get to come late to the feast?
These two points may seem nit-picky to some, but to me they are tremendously important. If the Church is not present for the tribulation, then what is being formed during the tribulation when all of those people are being saved? If we say "Church," then part of the Church is absent from the marriage celebration, and that makes no sense at all. If we say, "Israel", then how are these Gentile converts becoming "Israel"? By faith alone? Then why isn't the current Church also a part of Israel?
Also, part of the justification for the "secret" rapture lies in the idea that God always delivers His people from His wrath, like Noah from the flood and Lot from Sodom. So why aren't the saved folks "Left Behind" going to be spared? Because they didn't believe "in time"? That seems preposterous to me. Faith is faith and salvation is salvation. If the faithful are always delivered from the wrath of God, then these folks should surely be taken out as well.
So, you ask, why am I still a Premillennial guy? Frankly Revelation 20 keeps me there. Maybe tomorrow I'll tell you what keeps me from being an Amillenial guy. If it doesn't rain and my son takes a nap. I promise to continue the Hebrews thing when I get back...God willing.
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