Monday, December 21, 2009

An open tribulation Theory Blog

Over at Vox Popoli, SugarPi posted:
OK, Starbuck and DrTorch, you're tempting me beyond what Markku's admonition is able to restrain me. I'm dying to ask a sincere question that no end times, post-trib scholar I've read has been able to illuminate satisfactorily.

Comments are unmoderated. Ask and talk away.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

What do you make of 2 Thessolonisans 2:6 in context of verses 1-12? It seems to be referring to the Holy Spirit's "holding him (ie Anti-Christ) back." Since every believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit,every Christian would have to be removed (raptured) for the Anti-Christ to be revealed.

MarkkuKoponen said...

Or, the Holy Spirit could simply stop restraining because the time appointed by the Father has come.

Question:
2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him,
(...)
2Th 2:3 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;


OUR gathering? This must primarily mean the gathering of Paul and the Thessalonians, since they were the recipients of that letter. They would have been expected to be the ones to go in a pre-tribulation rapture, if the chosen time had been in their lifetimes. Why, then, does Paul say to these people that the Man of Sin would be revealed BEFORE they would gather together?

Kentucky Packrat said...

I thought I had a post up on my own theories of millennialism and the Rapture, but it looks like I don't. So a two-sentence disclosure: I used to be a post-tribulation "Rapture" pre-millenialist, and I still have great sympathy for the position. I am now a pre-tribulation Rapture believer, primarily on the strength of David Reagan's arguments.

I went Googling, and I found a decent argument at www.posttribulationrapture.com that I would have agreed with before (and in part agree with now). They are basically saying that the Holy Spirit is restraining Satan, and that the lack of that restraint would allow Satan to begin his part of the seven years. However, they decouple the Holy Spirit's restraint from the Church's presence; God has his timing, and when He's ready the seven years start.

As a pre-trib guy, I've held 2 Thessolonisans 2:6 as an interesting "piece of the puzzle", but it's certainly not the proof. The chapter certainly makes clear that the Spirit restrains Satan, but it doesn't make clear that the presence of the Church is the focal point of the Spirit (i.e. remove the Church, you remove the Spirit).

I don't recall ever seeing the Church referred to as "he", but instead always as she. It isn't the Church that restrains Satan here.

Anonymous said...

Markku, is it possible "our" (2 Th 2:1)is a more general term?

MarkkuKoponen said...

Imagine yourself in the congregation when Paul's new letter is being read to you.

Would you think that a reasonable interpretation, when you hear "our", is "This letter will be written in a book in a few decades, and Paul means those people who are reading the book, even though the letter was addressed to us"?

Probably not. And a reasonable interpretation for us, in my opinion, would be that all people, who are in the same situation with regards to God as the recipients were, can apply this to themselves. That would mean that we should expect a falling away, the Man of Sin being revealed, and then gathering together.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Markku. Your explanation is quite reasonable, as usual.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kpr, for the references. I'll take some time to read them before I pose another question.
The @&%$ clock has run out on me for now.

80's music said...

I just want to post a link to this page so some Christians can read it and think it over, the post trib reasoning at VD's blog was not very convincing especially extrapolating the trumpet in Thessalonians with the trumpets in Revelation when you can see they are not the same.

pre-trib

Athor Pel said...

2 Thessolonisans 2 does not mention the Holy Spirit explicitly as the restrainer. To assume those verses are referring to the Holy Spirit as the restrainer is not a wise thing to do.

We have no explicit idea what the restrainer is.

But we do have some strong evidence that it might be something that is mentioned explicitly. At least it has symmetry, meaning that the falling away happens immediately before the man of sin/lawlessness is mentioned, that is verse 3. Then in verse 7 it talks of a mystery of lawlessness as being integral to the restrainer being taken away.

It's obviously a process. A process begun even within the lifetime of the writer of these verses. The epistles are filled with warnings against the spirit of anti-christ.

Verse 3 is key. It mentions the falling away or "apostasia" in the greek, or apostasy in english. The apostasy happens before the man of sin/lawlessness is revealed.

To mention an event like this as a sign to watch for means that it will be notable to every person in the church and it will be a falling away from a belief in the saving grace of Jesus. So we are looking for a mass movement within established christianity where a great number if not a majority of believers simply stop believing in Jesus the risen Lord and probably replace that belief and spritual guidance for a false or anti-christian belief and spirit.

What I'm talking about is this. Verse 3 is the shorthand version. The verses following are the further explication of the same dynamic.

It sounds like the spirit of anti-christ finally coopts the church, or at least enough of it to make his way clear to reveal himself without having to face a large active praying christian opposition. If you want a restrainer then there it is and also the mechanism for it being taken out of the way. No rapture required.

Athor Pel said...

If the last trumpet mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15 is not the same trumpet as the seventh and last trumpet in Revelation 11:15 then what trumpet is it exactly?

80's music said...

Arthor Pel 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 7 says "but the one who now holds it back" sure it does not say explicitly the Holy Spirit or Christ or God the Father but the verse goes on to say "till [b]he[/b] is taken out of the way" so the text is emphasizing personhood, not some thing.

80's music said...

Actually that verse could be a good apologetic for the rapture since it says that the anti-Christ will not be revealed until the Holy Spirit has left ie.. not around to restrain the secret power of lawlessness or the Holy Spirit just lets lawlessness run its course without holding it back anymore which is a possibility.

80's music said...

It seems 2 Thessalonians 2:5-11 verses is describing some kind of spiritual displacement. You can see that in the U.K. with all the ufo crap over there as they have become so (not everybody of course)anti-Christian as a society, a spiritual void is being emptied and filled with other "signs."

Kentucky Packrat said...

I'm a big fan of the Jewish theory of PaRDeS interpretation (at least the flavor as expounded by Hebrew professor). It's on my list of Round Tuit activities to expound on this, but the basic idea:
Peshat: the direct, literal meaning (think direct translation from Hebrew)
Remez: The direct interpretation from these words.
Derash: The collective interpretation. Here, you take the Peshat and Remez elsewhere, and put them together. Euphemism is rampant in the Hebrew scriptures; sometimes you can tell at the Remez level, sometimes you need to tell at Derash.
Sod (long o): This is the theological interpretive level. You take everything else, and synthesize theology.

As you go farther up the tree, the further "out on a limb" you go. Sod is clearly much easier to reject than Derash, because it's more clearly based on human reasoning than divine pronouncement.

For example, Jesus seeing himself as divine is Remez; his audience knew that He was equating Himself to God. The Trinity is at the edge of Derash and starts bordering on Sod, because it's the synthesis of so many separate spots in Scripture. Jesus as The Angel of the Lord is clearly Sod: it relies on the theory of the Trinity first, and then adds the concept that The Angel of the Lord is also the Lord. In this example, it's hard to be a Christian while rejecting the Remez of Jesus as divine, but the Sod of Jesus being the Angel of the Lord isn't key to any major Christian concept.

IMHO, the Rapture is Sod; it is the synthesis of the concept of the Church as Bride and the Seven Years and the Millennium as the Wedding Feast and other concepts. It can be logically deduced, but is still a logically derived concept.

I believe that premillennialism is at most Derash, and most of its foundations are Peshat and Remez. Most amillenial theories clearly leap into the territory of Sod to explain away Peshat, the clear meaning of the text. Again, IMHO.

Kentucky Packrat said...

Now that I put that out, back to the 2 Thessalonians quote at hand. The Peshat is that the spirit of lawlessness is restrained. The Remez doesn't add a lot here; IMHO the verse is rather clear-cut below the Derash level.

The Derash is clearly more interesting. If you match this to Revelation, then the spirit of lawlessness is a combination of Satan's influence on the earth now and the anti-Christ literally. It matches the general timeline, and reinforces the Derash (or even Remez) of Revelation 19:11 and on (the sharp sword coming out of the mouth being Jesus killing them with his spoken word).

I don't think we get Derash on who is restraining the power of lawlessness. Sod would indicate the Holy Spirit, acting through the Church. Now, if this is proof at the Sod level of the Rapture, I don't know. I suspect it leans towards the Rapture side, myself, but that could just be my own biases.

80's music said...

Well that a very interesting framework you use Kentucky Packrat.

80's music said...

Kentucky, just some thoughts but check
Luke 17:26-32 NIV

Notice in verse 27 "up to the day Noah enterd the ark. then"

and verse 29 "But the day Lot left"

Kentucky Packrat said...

Luke 17:20-37 is interesting, but I don't think it's the Rapture; I think it's Jesus' second coming and the events surrounding the splitting of the Mount of Olives. Luke 17 says that the believer shouldn't return to his house for possessions. The Rapture won't involve that; we'll either go or not go.

Even as a Rapture proponent, I think this verse (and its counterpart in Mark 24) talk more about the Sheep and Goats judgement after the Seven Years, not the Rapture. The prepared run to Christ, not even running through the house. The rest are liable to suffer the judgement.

80's music said...

Ok, I was just noting that with each instance of a large scale judgement the believer physically removed himself from a certain vicinity and then the process was started also in Lot's case angels were instrumental in that, though with billions of Christians logistically according to the post-tribbers that could get tricky.

80's music said...

Vox himself moved from the U.S. so you would think he would embrace the concept.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, AP, for your response. I will have to digest some of the posts here and reread the scripture. About 2 years ago I started reading a post-trib scholar's website and it took awhile before I found the sticking points. Until then I found his writings quite convincing.
I'm in a class taught by a very scholarly pre-tribber and I intend to bring up these issues in my truth-seeking quest. I may have to just be prepared to be wrong about the pre-trib rapture, but its current fall from favor makes me almost more likely to believe it.

80's music said...

"but its current fall from favor makes me almost more likely to believe it."

Yeah that's um an interesting observation these days especially when you look at the folks most against it. Though not a way to interpret the truth of the bible but not something you want to discount either.

Anonymous said...

With 57% of self identified Christians in the US saying they believe Jesus is not the only way to Heaven, I think the falling away is here. The Church has been corrupted. It's easy to see how the number of professing Christians will shrink as radical Islam takes over here as it has in Europe and other countries. Only true believers risk their lives as the 1st generation believers did.

Anonymous said...

That comment was a little tongue in cheek. I'm not a go-with-the-flow kind of person.

80's music said...

As for AP's analysis @ 1:27 pm, I beg to differ. I cannot see how he came to that conclusion. These verses and the whole bible testify to God's sovereignty. For example v.6 in 2 Thessalonians 2 says "he(the anti-Christ) maybe revealed at the proper time. This denotes being in complete contol of the process of revealing. Also v.7 "the One who holds it back will continue to do so..." the implication is again that God is in control. Construing verse 3 to mean the church's failings enable the anti-Christ to reveal himself does not coordinate with God's sovereignty and implies the anti-Christ is in charge of end times events which he is not.

DrTorch said...

Thank you Kentucky Packrat, for opening up your blog. VD deleted a couple of my posts, which is his choice, but it seems arbitrary to me so I don't know for sure when I'll offend his sensibilities.

I haven't read all of the posts. BUt I'll start w/ 2 Thess 2:6. Like others I believe it is the Holy Spirit who can restrain the full lawlessness. I think it could also be an angel, similar to the conflict referred to in Daniel (I think that's a legit interpretation, but I'm not very knowledgeable about the original language)

On this passage alone, I could see the support for a pre-trib ratpure.

But, I believe when one interprets scripture in light of other scripture, going back to Matt 24:27, 30-31, we see that the 2nd coming is no secret. People don't get whisked away in some mystery (Like "Thief in the Night" or "Distant Sound of Thunder").

Instead the whole world knows exactly what is going on.

The final thing that VD deleted was that I do try to be aware that it is very tempting to concern ourselves with history (origins/evolution) and with the future (aeschatology) when we're commanded to be concerned with the present. That's what we'll be responsible for. I think CS Lewis alludes to this at the beginning of one chap (Ch 15?) of Screwtape Letters.

Athor Pel said...

Looks like my comment at Vox's got deleted too.

Here are some links to a couple posts at my blog. I wrote about this stuff quite a while ago it looks like.


Rapture


3 Sevens


And just for your information, I used to be a pre-tribber. Mainly because all of the stuff I read up to that time was written by pre-trib rapture theorists. Which all happened to be graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary, a veritable font of pre-trip rapture theorists. Hal Lindsay being prime among them. He argues hard for it and contorts himself in ways a bible teacher should not have to.

I have come to a conclusion over the last few years on my own, guided by scripture and no other human influence. That conclusion is that "the rapture" will not happen at a time when most Christians expect it. Specially American Christians. Very bad things are going to happen before any snatching away occurs.

Read the above linked posts and you'll see where I'm coming from.

Kentucky Packrat said...

Running this thread has ALMOST made me consider cocomment. Blogger's built-in comment tools stink.

Athor Pel:Which all happened to be graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary, a veritable font of pre-trip rapture theorists. Hal Lindsay being prime among them. He argues hard for it and contorts himself in ways a bible teacher should not have to.

I have no respect left for Hal Lindsey. He is a bit like my great uncle R: the Rapture will be here in a couple of years because of X. Then just replace X when X(0) didn't happen.

Mosaic law had a useful way to control people speaking for God: if you say God said it'd happen, and it didn't, you die. Now, I don't want Hal dead, but I wish he'd quit talking like he knows what God's going to make happen. He has no shame for ever being wrong.

I have come to a conclusion over the last few years on my own, guided by scripture and no other human influence. That conclusion is that "the rapture" will not happen at a time when most Christians expect it. Specially American Christians. Very bad things are going to happen before any snatching away occurs.

Even as a "pre-tribber", I agree. Many Joel Olsteen Christians have decided "We're going to have a good life, and then God will Rapture us out before the non-Christians get what they deserve". They are sadly mistaken.

I think we're due some very rough times here in the world, and that God will use that time and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to create a new round of revival upon the world.

Kentucky Packrat said...

Dr. Torch: VD deleted a couple of my posts, which is his choice, but it seems arbitrary to me so I don't know for sure when I'll offend his sensibilities.

Spacebunny has deleted me occasionally when I veer off-topic too. I was going to ask her about it, but I never did find her Email address, and Vox basically shrugged the subject off. That's OK, it's his blog, so it's her's too. :)

The final thing that VD deleted was that I do try to be aware that it is very tempting to concern ourselves with history (origins/evolution) and with the future (aeschatology) when we're commanded to be concerned with the present. That's what we'll be responsible for. I think CS Lewis alludes to this at the beginning of one chap (Ch 15?) of Screwtape Letters.

Now you're making me want to drag out my Screwtape Letters again....

I thought that Clive had very negative things to say about the current round of Progressives who focused on fulfilling earthly needs and left Godly needs for later. That said, I can't remember where he would have said it, so I can't be sure.

There is a balance. Like the bride of the Jewish wedding, we are to make ourselves ready for our bridegroom and long for the day He comes, but we still have things to do here. We must be prepared (lest we be like the maidens without oil for our lamps), but we cannot simply hide our talents either.

God is a God of moderation without being a God of lukewarmness. I pity the non-believer who thinks faith is the easy way out. :)

Anonymous said...

Just some observations...
I lean toward pre-trib, but don't paint me with the broad brush. I am fully aware that Christians are not exempt from persecution and suffering. But I will not make the mistake of focusing on the messenger too much. The truth is the truth no matter who speaks it. I also don't think it's possible to completely answer the question of when the Rapture will occur.
I am grateful for the opportunity to delve into this topic with articulate, informed individuals. God bless you all and have a Merry Christmas!
I'll check back as my scedule permits.

80's music said...

Gee guys Join the club, I got deleted by VD too, that's why I came over here. Gotta love VD's Christmas spirit.

80's music said...

The only people I know who are attempting to keep the pre-trib rapture a secret are its critics. Pre-wrath and post-trib folks have the national media and the liberal churches as their allies in their ongoing effort to silence all knowledge of the "blessed hope."

Anonymous said...

A quick way to shoot down the notion that the first resurrection is tied to a specific date, as opposed to a more general time frame, is to take note of the tribulation rapture of the two witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists. At the mid-point of the tribulation, the two witnesses are killed by the Antichrist, resurrected by God, and then caught up into heaven (Rev 11:3-12).

Revelation chapter 7 describes the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists just before the Beast issues his mark. Sometime during the latter half of the tribulation, Revelation chapter 14 indicates they will be "redeemed from the earth," standing before the throne of God.

DrTorch said...

Good stuff from all of you.

Athor, I liked your column. Made good sense to me. Especially the part about the crisis of faith when things don't work like we've been taught. That's a concern of mine.

Going beyond the rapture (if that's ok) I'll throw out some of my own speculation. Before things get bad, I think they're going to be good. Really good. Like prosperity, long lives, good health. We'll see biotech increase lifespans and let people have flawless babies, who grow into near superhumans.

And we'll see some amazing things, perhaps "discover" life on another planet. (And a non-theistic origin of life will be "proved")

I think all of this will lead to the "falling away" that is discussed. Because people fall away when things are good, and they think they're in control of their world.

Then the dam is gonna break, and those 7s discussed in the Revelation are going to come forth. People will be very angry that their lives are disrupted, and Christians will be easy targets for their wrath. The persecution will be tremendous.

I could be wrong about all of that, but it's gonna be a shock to Christians if the rapture doesn't come and life is brutal.

80's music said...

Some Christmas cheer :-)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Brothers!

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify...
Anonymous is SugarPi, except for the 9:14 am post.

SugarPi said...

KP, I'm sharing this blog with a friend of mine who reads Vox Day's blog.
BTW, any of you ever come across abrahamic-faith.com?

80's music said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Brothers and Sisters :-)

Richard said...

My position: pre-trib.
Paul says: "wherefore comfort one another with these words." I Thes 4:18; the prospect of having to go through the Tribulation is not very comforting, and makes no sense here.
That's not to say the we won't ever get uncomfortable: if we let evil prosper, then we get the results of our inactivity. [Political or otherwise] But the massive badness predicted is not for us. The perceived level of badness that we encounter in our daily lives
Now. We all believe what we believe, and what actually happens to us in real life may not fit our plan or our limited, human world-view. Then what? Job said: "though he slay me, yet will I trust him"; we all must be ready to accept whatever comes from the hand of our Maker. He promises to give us grace to endure what comes.
The Jews had to endure the Holocaust. Early Christians had to endure the Coliseum, lions, crosses; Medieval believers and those who translated the Word to the vernacular in more recent centuries, the rack, the stake; believers in Iran, Russia or China their own individual hellish situation.
We endure... what: embarrassment? Discomfort, boredom?
I do think some misuse and oversimplify this eschatology, but this does not prove it wrong. I Thes 4 and 5 are powerful passages, and IMHO require more violent contortions to take as other than a pre-trib scenario.

SugarPi said...

Good points, Richard. They coincide with my sentiments. I think we're in for a rough time in the US. The ascending nature of our society carries with it challenges that are sure to grieve believers. But I think the factors are in place for the final days, and yes, that includes the beginning of the Great Tribulation. We'll know soon.

SugarPi said...

oops, I typed ascending...should be descending.

Anonymous said...

I invite you all to Google "Pretrib Expert John Walvoord Melts Ice" which is found on Joe Ortiz's blog "The End Times Passover." It would appear that Dr. Walvoord is wrong and some new kids on the block are right when it comes to "apostasia" in II Thess. 2:3! Stanley