There are those who believe in more than one personal and visible coming of the Lord Jesus Christ before the end of the world. Both Premillennialism and Dispensationalism teach multiple comings of Christ contrary to the clear testimony of Scripture (we will be explaining these views in more detail in other issues).
Premillennialism teaches a coming of Christ prior to the establishment of His millennial kingdom, that is, some thousand years before the end of the world" - thus the name "Premillennialism," - "before the thousand years." This coming is referred to as the "rapture." That premillennial coming is followed a thousand years later by another personal and visible coming of Christ for judgment and to create the new heavens and earth.
Dispensationalism not only believes in a rapture, but holds to a third personal and visible coming of Christ called the "revelation." This coming, according to them, is "with His saints" (I Thess. 3:13; Jude 14), and follows the rapture by several years.
We believe that Scripture teaches only ONE personal and visible coming of Christ after His incarnation and before the end of the world. The passages used to prove a premillennial rapture and a "revelation" do not speak of anything but the coming of Christ at the very end of the world, therefore.
Jude, 14, 15, a passage that speaks of a coming of Christ with his saints, in fact is speaking of the coming of Christ for judgment at the very end of the world. We read there that "the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all." That this judgment is the final judgment of all creatures is clear from the previous verses, for Jude in verses 6 and 7 speaks both of "the judgment of the great day" and of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire, a picture of the end of all things (cf. II Pet. 2:3-7).
I Thess. 3:13, the other passage that speaks of Christ coming with His saints, and I Thess. 4:15-18, the main Scripture reference to the rapture, are also very clearly speaking of the end of all things. The coming of the Lord described in these passages is accompanied by the sound of a trumpet, elsewhere referred to as the LAST trump (I Cor. 15:52). It is not followed by a thousand years of history and then a another trumpet summoning men to judgment and announcing the resurrection.
So too, I Thess. 3 and 4, in speaking of the coming of the Lord, makes it clear that this is followed by the eternal glory of the saints with Christ: "and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (4:18; cf. also Rev. 21: 3; 22:4). His coming in I Thess. 3, 4 is not followed by a thousand years of rule on earth and only then the eternal heavenly bliss of the saints.
Finally, there are a number of passages that link the "rapture" with the final judgment and not with events a thousand years prior to the final judgment. We refer especially to Luke 17:28-37 (note the references to Sodom and compare Jude, 7, which makes it clear that Sodom is a type of the final judgment, i.e., of "eternal fire") and Matthew 24:37-41 (compare II Pet. 3:3-7, which teaches that the flood is a picture of the final judgment). Only ONE coming, for judgment and for salvation!
- Volume: 7
- Issue: 14
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
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