Thy Kingdom Come -The Sovereignty Of The Rapture – Part 3 – Biases
A. A bias is a tendency, inclination, or prejudice toward or against something or someone. Some biases are positive and helpful—like choosing to only eat foods that are considered healthy or staying away from someone who has knowingly caused harm. But biases are often based on stereotypes, rather than actual knowledge of an individual or circumstance. Whether positive or negative, such cognitive shortcuts can result in prejudgments that lead to rash decisions or discriminatory practices. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bias
1. Pedophilia is an ongoing sexual attraction to pre-pubertal children. It is a paraphilia, a condition in which a person’s sexual arousal and gratification depends on objects, activities, or even situations that are considered atypical. Pedophilia is defined as recurrent and intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children—generally age 13 years or younger—over a period of at least six months. Pedophiles are more often men and can be attracted to either or both sexes. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/pedophilia
2. A healthy, or positive, bias can be stated as, “pedophilia is despicable and should never be condoned.”
3. An unhealthy, or negative, bias can be stated as, “pedophilia should be considered positively before drawing any conclusions on the subject.”
II. Healthy Biases and the Rapture.
A. There are very positive and healthy biases on the subject of the Rapture that will be discussed in this article.
B. Scripture-based healthy biases. The following verses show the teaching of the catching up of the saints: rapio (Latin), herpazo (Greek), rapture (English). Because the details of each passage are provided in prior articles, they will not be repeated here. 1. Genesis 5:24, Enoch. the seventh from Adam (4004 B.C.). 2. 2 Kings 2:11, Elijah. 896 B.C. 3. Isaiah 6:1, Isaiah. 758 B.C. 4. John 14:2-3. 33 A.D. 5. 1 Thes 4:16-17. 54 A.D. 6. 1 Cor 15:51-53. 59 A.D. 7. 2 Cor 12:2-4. 60 A.D. 8. Titus 2:13. 65 A.D. There is an additional passage that states the truth of the rapture, but due to an unhealthy bias on that passage, a separate discussion will be provided later. (Thes = Thessalonians. Cor = Corinthians.)
C. Healthy Bias On The Rapture. When was the pre-tribulation rapture first taught? The following writers show a healthy bias toward the subject of the rapture.
D. Concerning writers in history, greater detail can be provided on each writer, but will not be included in this article due to the overall size of each writer’s contributions.
1. MORGAN EDWARDS (1722-1795)
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture was taught by prominent Baptist leader Morgan Edwards. His Two Academical Exercises on the Subjects Bearing the Following Titles; Millennium and Last-Novelties was published in 1744 in Philadelphia.
Morgan Edwards was one of the most prominent Baptist leaders of his day. He was the pastor of the Baptist church in Philadelphia and the founder of Brown University, the first Baptist college in America. A summary of life was featured in the Baptist Encyclopedia. He was one of the first Baptist historians of repute, his Materials Toward A History of the Baptists (1770) providing a foundation for all subsequent works.
2. EPHRAEM THE SYRIAN (AD c. 303-373)
We now go back to two centuries after the apostles. Ephraem is venerated as a “saint” by the Catholic and Orthodox churches, but they would not allow him to teach his doctrine of prophecy today. Ephraem is called “the Syrian” because he lived in that region. He was a voluminous writer. Many of his sermons and psalms are included in the 16-volume Post-Nicene Library. (The Council of Nicea was held in AD 325, and historians divide the “fathers” into Ante-Nicene, before 325, and Post-Nicene, after 325). Some of Ephraem’s sermons and hymns are used in the liturgy of Orthodox churches.
3. THE APOSTLES
When it comes to sound doctrine, the bottom line is not what anyone has or has not taught in church history. It is “what saith the Lord?” Period. The Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice. It is not one authority among many, and it is not the authority only as confirmed by “church fathers” and “theologians.”
The bottom line is that the apostles and early Christians interpreted prophecy literally.
They believed in an imminent return of Christ.
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thes 1:9-10).
The apostles and prophets taught that the Lord’s return is “at hand” (Ro 13:12; Phip 4:5; 1 Pet 4:7; Rev 1:3).
They believed in a Rapture of New Testament saints.
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thes 4:13-18).
They believed that the New Testament saints would be saved from the Tribulation to come.
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes 5:3-9).
They believed in a literal Antichrist.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Th 2:3-4).
They believed in a literal return of Christ and a literal fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).
They believed in a literal fulfillment of Israel’s covenants following the church age.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Rom 11:25-27).
Irenaeus (AD 130 – 202)
The Apostle John mentored Polycarp. Polycarp mentored Irenaeus. This is a direct line of teaching from Jesus to John, to Polycarp, to Irenaeus.
“Those nations however, who did not of themselves raise up their eyes unto heaven, nor returned thanks to their Maker, nor wished to behold the light of truth, but who were like blind mice concealed in the depths of ignorance, the word justly reckons “as waste water from a sink, and as the turning-weight of a balance — in fact, as nothing;”(1) so far useful and serviceable to the just, as stubble conduces towards the growth of the wheat, and its straw, by means of combustion, serves for working gold. And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.”(2) For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which, when they overcome they are crowned with incorruption.”
– Against Heresies, Book 5, 5. 29
Cyprian (AD 200-258)
“We who see that terrible things have begun, and know that still more terrible things are imminent, may regard it as the greatest advantage to depart from it as quickly as possible. Do you not give God thanks, do you not congratulate yourself, that by an early departure you are taken away, and delivered from the shipwrecks and disasters that are imminent? Let us greet the day which assigns each of us to his own home, which snatches us hence, and sets us free from the snares of the world and restores us to paradise and the kingdom.”
– Treatises of Cyprian
Victorinus (AD 240-303)
“And the heaven withdrew as a scroll that is rolled up.” For the heaven to be rolled away, that is, that the Church shall be taken away. “And every mountain and the islands removed from their places intimate that in the last persecution all men departed from their places; that is, that the good will be removed, seeking to avoid persecution.”
– Commentary on the Apocalypse
Thomas Vincent (1634-1678)
“the righteous … suddenly caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; which sight will be fearful and amazing to them, when they perceive themselves to be left behind. … O the fear and trouble which will be upon the spirits of those unbelieving Christ-less, grace-less sinners … some of them linked in the nearest relations to them, when their believing relations shall be caught away from them, and carried up into the air, with the rest of the glorious train of Saints, when themselves shall remain below upon the earth ... Friends will be together at that day as at other times, not expecting Christ’s coming … Suppose that the heavens should just now open and you should hear the sound of the last Trumpet, and Jesus Christ should descend. … all you that are impenitent and unbelievers, would be left behind: and think what terror would fall upon you…
– Christ’s Certain and sudden Appearance to Judgment (London,1667), 53-54.
Joseph Mede (1586-1639)
“After this, our gathering together unto Christ at His coming…The saints being translated into the air … and they may be preserved during the conflagration of the earth, and the works thereof: 2 Pet 3:10. that as Noah and his family were preserved from the deluge by being lifted up above the waters in the ark, so should the saints at the conflagration be lifted up in the clouds, unto their ark, Christ, to be preserved there from the deluge of fire, wherein the wicked shall be consumed.”
– Mede, Works, III, 611 [cited in H. Orton Wiley; Christian Theology)
Jeremiah Burroughs (1600-1646)
“The first thing that shall be done in this great day of Jezreel, shall be the deliverance of the Churches from wofull affliction which they shall be found to be in a little before, For so the Scripture tells us, Dan 12:1, that before this day there shall be a time of trouble such as never was…and at that time thy people shall be delivered...it is therefore called a great day, because of Gods appearing so gloriously in the deliverance of his Church at that day. … It is a going up, it is a rising… search into these truths of God, that so they may be the better prepared to meet Christ their Bride-groom when he commeth.”
– An Exposition of The Prophesie of Hosea (London, 1643), 187, 195.
Nathaniel Homes (1599-1678)
“all mankind shall rise in their order, Christ the first fruits…afterwards, they that are Christs at his coming…notes a distance of time of above a thousand and a halfe of yeers…the rapture of the Saints into the clouds, to be their present translation into heaven…this our gathering together unto Christ at his coming (so the Apostle calls this rapture, 2 Thes 2:1) we shall from henceforth never lose his presence, but always enjoy it, partly on earth, during his reign of the thousand yeers, and partly in heaven, when wee shall be translated thither. [Why] this rapture of the Saints on high to meet the Lord in the clouds, rather then to wait his coming to the earth. What if it bee, that they may be preserved during the conflagration of the earth, and the works thereof, 2 Pet 3:10. That as Noah, and his family were preserved from the deluge, by being lift up above the waters in the Ark, so should the Saints at the conflagration bee lift up in the clouds unto their Ark, Christ, to be preserved there from the Deluge of fire, wherein the wicked shall be consumed?”
– The Resurrection Revealed (London,1653), 492,494.
William Aspinwall (1605-1662)
“If God by some voice from heaven, I mean out of his Churches, say Come up hither, Rev 11:12-13. Follow his call, and fear not enemies; though you see them, & they see you ascend up to heaven, you shall be safe. Some commotion or earthquake will ensue, but no detriment to you that obey the voice from heaven, The detriment will be to the enemies themselves…”
– A Brief Description of the Fifth Monarchy, or Kingdome, That shortly is to come (London, 1653), 9-10
John Browne (1582-1659)
“the hundred forty and four thousand, who are called Virgins, cannot be said to be the Virgins that attend the Spouse, the Lamb’s Wife, seeing that they are upon the Earth after the said Spouse is taken up. …then will follow the calling of the two Tribes of Judah and Benjamin to Jerusalem…and then the City is built, which bringing back of the ten Tribes will not be completed till after the Saints are taken up, when as before that time both Jerusalem and the Temple will be built, and Sacrifice offered…”
– Events of Last Times (London,1654), 7, 12-13
William Hook (1600-1677)
“There are several Resurrections mentioned in the Scriptures. But great troubles will follow this Resurrection [pre-Trib rapture] after a short time…which will shake the power of the Beast…till it come to Armageddon… The Beast lives in Hell upon Earth [tribulation], the Saints in Heaven…when they ascended up to Heaven in a cloud, their Enemies beheld them. They rise up from Antichrist and his Pollutions, and all his earthly and hellish waies…and at last, they shall come with Christ to judge the world. …
“Until then they are protected, somewhat like as when the Egyptians pursued the Israelites into the Red Sea…”
– Short Discourse of the Nature and Extent of the Gospel-Day (London,1673) 13, 18, 20-23.
Anonymous Tract (1699)
“those saints that are then alive shall not prevent the rising of the Saints that were dead at the coming of Christ…for the dead in Christ shall be raised first; then the Saints alive in the Body, in this mortal state, shall be changed…in the twinkling of an eye, less than a moment, raise all the dead Saints, and change all the Saints then alive into an incorruptible immortal state… They shall be caught up in the Clouds to meet the Lord in the Air…in this appearing of Christ…but here it’s another sight of Christ, viz. as their Judge: for so he will be to the Sinner and ungodly, when he shall come the second time in the Clouds of Heaven…coming to enter upon his Kingdom here on Earth, with all his Saints in a glorified State, after having received their gloried bodies, and after meeting their Lord in the air, prepared for this great Assize and Judgment of the World.”
– Anon, A Short Survey of the Kingdom of Christ here on Earth with his Saints (London,1699, 9-11, 14-15.
Oliver Heywood (1630-1702)
“the Souls of the glorified Saints shall descend and be united to their own Bodies, and then ascend to meet the Lord in the Air, and the wicked are left behind on their dunghill the earth…the dead shall rise, before the living are rapt up… These congregated Saints shall be admitted into one place, and state of Glory: They are before the throne of God…there is room enough in heaven for all the saints, In my Father’s house, saith Christ, are many mansions.”
– The General Assembly: or, a Discourse of the Gathering of all Saints to Christ (London,1700), 15-16,19-20.
Increase Mather (1639-1723)
“The Living Saints at Christ’s coming shall be caught up into the Air, that they may escape that Deluge of Fire which will be the Perdition of ungodly Men. … But before this Rapture of the living, the dead Saints shall be raised. … They, as to their Bodies, shall not be with Christ before the Bodies of Saints asleep in the Grave shall be with him … As when the Flood came, there was a Difference make between Noah’s family and the rest of Mankind: Thus when the World shall perish by Fire, no Saint shall be hurt by that Fire, but Sinners shall. …we may not determine how long the Conflagration shall last. Noah’s Flood continued for many Days and Months, he was a whole Year in the Ark. The Weapons of Ezekiel’s Gog are Seven Years in burning, Ezek 39:9.”
– Dissertation Concerning the Future Conversion of the Jewish Nation (1709).
III. Unhealthy Biases and the Rapture.
A. It has long been alleged by those who interpret prophecy allegorically that the pre-tribulation Rapture is a new doctrine and cannot, therefore, be true.
B. Gary DeMar, President American Vision, says: “A majority of prophecy writers and speakers teach that the church will be raptured before a future tribulational period. But did you know that prior to about 1830 no such doctrine existed. No one in all of church history ever taught pretribulational rapture” (cited from “Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation,” Ourdailybreadbyjoeortiz).
C. When Demar says the pre-tribulation Rapture did not exist prior to 1830, he is referring to the The Morning Watch prophecy journal and the writings of John Darby which popularized dispensational theology in the 1800s. Though this claim continues to be made, it is patently false.
IV. The subject of dispensations can be read in the prior articles of this series. The attack on the rapture has also been an attack on dispensations and other areas of eschatology, such as the Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ, the literal Kingdom age of the Millennium, and the significance of Israel in God’s plan of redemption for all mankind. When C.I. Scofield published his study Bible in 1909, it was highly criticized by liberal elements of “the church,” because of the key areas that Darby made known from Scripture in his writings, especially because of the facts of Scripture that he exposed about Israel. Neither Darby, nor Scofield, made up anything about Scripture; but it was due to their deep study of Scripture that Darby and Scofield, came to the conclusions that they did in their writings. The things of the teachings of Darby and Scofield have also influenced the understanding of Scripture of such DTS leaders as Chafer, Walvoord, Pentecost, Ryrie, and many others at DTS, and other dispensational seminaries. Unhealthy biased attacks on Darby have come from all corners of Christendom. Consider the following article on John Nelson Darby.
V. In support of Darby. The following comments relate to a book that was written in support of John Nelson Darby by William C. Watson. Each of these comments come from theologians, with whom I have great respect. The details of paragraph II of this article link closely to the details of William Watson’s book. The book that Drs. Hindson (Deceased), Stallard, and Ice use as reference for their comments is:
Dispensationalism before Darby:
William C. Watson
A. “William Watson plows new ground in researching the history of eschatological thought prior to the nineteenth century. He has uncovered previously undiscovered sources from the English Reformation who were wrestling with the same issues which John Nelson Darby later formulated into classical dispensationalism. His research resets the discussion of eschatology in its proper historical context. To put it simply, Darby did not invent the pre-tribulational rapture idea.”
Ed Hindson, D.Min., D.Phil.
Dean & Distinguished Professor of Religion
School of Religion, Liberty University
B. “William Watson’s comprehensive research in Dispensationalism before Darby demonstrates the historical fallacy in the frequent claim that elements of dispensational theology, such as a pretribulational rapture, only came into existence in the early 1800s. Dealing with the Reformation and post-Reformation era, particularly English sources from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Watson marshals a large amount of information in the original writings to give historical perspective to the debate. Within twenty years, the argument that dispensationalism is a “Johnny-come-lately” theology may completely vanish in light of the growing research of which Watson’s work is a part. In this way, the methodological and theological issues will be resolved where they need to be resolved —in the exegesis of the Bible itself. Watson’s work is well worth the read.”
Mike Stallard, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Systematic Teology
Baptist Bible Seminary
Moderator, Council on Dispensationalism
C. “William Watson has done the spadework, researching post-Reformation eschatology beliefs in the English-speaking world. He reveals their wide-spread belief in premillennialism and developing views of the rapture. Anyone interested in such issues will need to read Watson’s groundbreaking work.”
Tomas D. Ice, Ph.D.
Pre-Trib Research Center
VI. The Dark Ages Of The Church. There was a 1000 year time period that the Bible was not being read, therefore, there was no serious study of subjects, such as dispensations, rapture, and further eschatology. Consider the following explanation for such a darkness of Christendom during that those dark times.
Church Dark Ages Bible was banned: See why Romans burned Bibles along with their owners.
Many people are unaware of the fact that there was a long period of time, when the Church of Christendom – forbid the reading of the Bible. Not only did she forbid the reading of the Bible, but she also forbid having posession of a Bible in one’s own home.
These were called the “Dark Ages” for obvious reasons. The Apostate Church of Christendom was at the peak of her power, and was afraid that if her subjects owned and read Bibles, that they might question some of the Church’s actions and teachings.
“During the Dark Ages (A.D. 500-1500),
Rome burned Bibles along with their owners. This was a time, when not only was the Bible banned, but literacy in general was prohibited and frowned upon. Very few people during this time knew how to read or write. Again, the Apostate Church was determined that the less knowledge that people had, the more easy it would be to rule them. “Only ten percent of people in the Roman Empire could read… and those were generally in the wealthy (upper classes.)
The Church admits this in her own Laws :
“Canon 14. We prohibit also that the laity should not be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books
VI. About This Series Of Articles.
This study is one of Bible Exposition, which extends from the first verse of Genesis through the last verse of Revelation. The key focus of the study relates to Matthew 6:10, where Jesus tells the Jews to pray for the Kingdom to Come; there was never such a prayer that was addressed to Gentiles. The kingdom did not come during the time that Jesus was on this earth, and has not come since He ascended to Heaven. The Kingdom does not enter people; people will enter the Kingdom, and will be physically here on earth, which will be a prophecy that fulfills 2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16-17. The Kingdom is unconditional, and applies only to Israel; Gentiles will benefit from God’s unconditional gift of the Davidic Kingdom to Israel (Genesis 12:1-3).
VII. Article References.
Lewis Sperry Chafer, Th. D. (1871-1952). J. Vernon McGee, Th. D. (1904-1988). Merrill F. Unger, Ph. D. (1909-1980). Charles L. Feinberg, Ph. D. (1909-1995). John F. Walvoord, Th. D. (1910-2002). J. Dwight Pentecost, Th. D. (1915-2014). Charles C. Ryrie, Ph. D. (1925-2016). Robert L. Thomas, Th. D. (1928-2017). Stanley D. Toussaint, Th. D. (1928-2017). Robert P. Lightner, Th. D. (1931-2018). Harold W. Hoehner, Ph. D. (1935-2009). Thomas S. McCall, Th. D. (1936-2021). Edward E. Hindson, Ph. D. (1944-2022).
A. One of the most difficult and most important factors of writing an article is related to sources of information. A writer must ensure that such sources have a high degree of knowledge on the subjects that are being written, and also must have a high degree of respect from other writers. A second factor that must be considered relates to how to lawfully use material of other writers. In this web site, copyright statutes are not violated. Also, “public domain,” is to be considered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain
B. In this article, I have chosen theologians whom have proven themselves to be highly respected by others in the Biblical doctrine of eschatology (the study of what Scripture teaches about the end times), and other doctrines of scripture. All of the references in this article have a connection with Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) as graduate or instructor. Other source of information in this article: Henry C. Thiessen.
C. For education and other supporting data for each source of information in this article, please refer to my Page, “About My References.” The following links show information about Dallas Theological Seminary; I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Seminary. It is important to understand that DTS is not a denominational seminary, and is totally independent of such.
D. About Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).
1. General Info. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Theological_Seminary
2. Doctrinal Statement. https://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinal-statement/
a. Mark Yarbrough. Th. M., Ph. D.
b. Professor of Bible Exposition. Author. Church Pastor/Elder.