I have asked this question of many people who have held titles and have been called teachers of Christ. The reason I ask is simple. I fell away from the church as a teenager, and then later took it upon myself to try to enlighten myself. Most often I have been given an answer that does not coincide with what I read in the Bible. Even when I've been given versus to read. It's almost as if the bulk of the teachers are blindfolded. I ask the question because what I read differs from the common teachings of today. My question: When is the "rapture"/"resurrection" to take place...before or after the tribulation? Eric
Wow, what a set up! Though you left the church it seems that the church hasn't left you, as it appears that you are still struggling against it's influence. Technical questions, such as those dealing with the when and how of Christ's return, always seem to miss the reality of the life expressed in the corresponding Biblical statements.
If the bulk of the teachers are blindfolded (and I'm not disagreeing with your suggestion) it has less to do with their diverse answers regarding the end times and more to do with their inability to see past the words on the page by which they demand their technically correct structures by which they make their calculations. How is it that we are intrigued about questions regarding Christ's return that have very little to do with Christ?
Probably not the answer you were looking for, but the only real answer I can give you. :)
Thank you Jim. Your answer is very well written and received. My only point for bringing it up, is that the common teaching of today, gives a suggestion that once people see many people disappear, then they have a second chance to redevelop a relationship with Jesus. I committed to pointing out that the resurrection is post-tribulation, in my endeavor to show the truth, and allow each person to make a more educated decision to believe. But, you are correct, this point is of less concern than the teachings of Jesus and his disciples on how to live righteously. Thank you again. Eric
Hello again, Eric,
I was schooled in the theology of the pre-trib rapture from the early 70s and well-remember all the hype surrounding it. Of course there were "Biblical" answers for most objections (aren't there always?). The truth is that as I began to see more and more of this miraculous life in Christ my attention was simply drawn away from so many teachings I had once thought so important.
Funny thing is that as I began reading the Bible, specifically the NT writings, not as a textbook or a study guide or even as a theological treatise but instead following the writings in the form of the letters they were ... something happened. As I would come across those earlier "Biblical proof-texts" I was surprised to discover how out of line most of them were to the ongoing communication of the particular writing. In fact, many of the points made one way or the other are rather obtrusive to the overall theme of the writing.
I also used to hold big-time to what you call an "educated decision to believe", and I endeavored to make the gospel make sense to those I spoke to. The main trouble with this is that the gospel doesn't make sense but instead is backward to man's reasoning. Truth is that when we believed in Christ, it was a miracle. We heard that which did not make sense - right down to our very basic beliefs - and somehow we believed despite the bulk of our objections.
And most of those objections had very little to do with an intellectual reasoning but were gut-level issues, issues that most believers still struggle with to this day. This is the stuff of our worries and our senses of inferiority and inadequacy and guilt and shame ... and the like. But the truth of Christ touches us exactly here! :)
Our objections to Christ are not intellectual, as we have often claimed, but come from the conflicts within our very beings. As people, we have objected to ourselves and to our own hypocrisy. The old logic by which our very perceptions were formed forces us into a constant state in which we try to justify what we are and what we do according to the same standards by which the whole world is at odds with itself. The intellectual basis of our objections is entirely bogus.
The reality of Christ has everything to do with everything we are and everything we do. We need a miracle if we are ever to find completion as people ... and Christ is that miracle. He is life itself, and this life frees us to live.
I guess you can see that I have very little use for the whole battleground of end-times interpretations, huh? :)