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My system and the 'Rapture'

The Case for Historic Premillenialism
It appears there is substantial peer pressure to accept an amillenial position. The view of the early Church fathers up until Augustine was premillenial. Augustine was influenced by the allegorical method of interpretation proposed by Origen and the Alexandrian school. “Historic premillennialism draws its name from the fact that many of the early Church Fathers (i.e. Ireneaus [140-203], who as a disciple of Polycarp, who had been an disciple of the apostle of John, Justin Martyr [100-165], and Papias [80-155]), apparently believed and taught that there would be a visible kingdom of God upon the earth, after the return of Christ. Without question, the best and most influential historic premillennialist was the late George Eldon Ladd. Through the work of Ladd, historic premillennialism gained scholarly respect and popularity among Evangelical and Reformed theologians since he had the right appreciation of the redemptive- historical significance of the first coming of Christ and of the NT age. Other major historic premillennialists include the late Walter Martin, John Warwick Montgomery, J. Barton Payne, Heny Alford (the noted Greek scholar), and Theodore Zahn (the German NT specialist).” (monergism.com) When the reformers broke away from the established Church, they did not deal with the area of eschatology and thus adopted the amillenialism of Augustine and Rome. Not all premillenialists today are dispensationalist. Neither is it necessary to debate whether the thousand years in Revelation chapter 20 is a literal period of time or not. Another red herring if you will is the chain that Satan is bound with. If his dominance of the world is defeated now as the amillenialist would assert then what accounts for the present evils of this age? Equally contravening is the question of the resurrection. The Greek word anastasis in all other NT contexts denotes a bodily resurrection; why spiritualize it for Rev. 20? The expectation of the Jews was a messianic kingdom and many of the prophecies of the OT promised ethnic Israel with the inheritance of the Abrahamic covenant and a Davidic throne. Of particular interest when viewing the millennium are: Isaiah 2:2-4 and 65:17-25. In the NT: Matthew 19:28 and Acts 1:6 both speak of the millennial kingdom. Rev. 20:4 states that the redeemed will ‘live’ and ‘reign’ with Christ for 1000 years. The heart of the matter is just who is governing the earth? This author sees much of the present world as influenced by evil and Satan. The triumph of the cross has not yet been fully worked out in time and the ultimate eradication of sin and death will be realized at Christ’s second coming. Jesus will rule the earth from his throne with a rod of iron, the nations will align with His government and there will be abundant peace and prosperity. This vision of the millennium is consistent with scripture and the testimony of the apostolic era. As I have already stated, I believe the Rapture and the Second Coming are contiguous events and that the Church will experience an intense period of suffering and persecution commonly known as the Tribulation. My support for this general position is an overall reading of the book of Revelation particularly its emphasis on the themes of the persecuting beast and his worldwide program of attacking the Church or God's people. Anticipation of this kind of suffering can be seen in the anti-Christian liberal agenda of our national media, academia and government. It is of course assuring to believe that God is going to rapture me out of all this trouble but I am not counting on that and I am preparing for the worst. Certainly, God can do whatever He wants but I prefer not to be caught unawares. My personal vision is that the Church will be purified in the fires of affliction brought about by the terrible judgments prophesied in the Apocalypse. At the same time however, God will remarkably preserve and protect the Church so that only the wicked and unbelieving will directly experience God's wrath. The way I see things, there will only be one Second Coming, not a separate one to rapture the Church in addition to His being revealed to the whole world.

Tom Groeneman