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Featured Four Unities Prove 1st Century Rapture: Good News for all Christians

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, May 6, 2021.

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  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    (This is is an article I wrote last January in my own Preterist group. I thought it would be worth posting here as well. The position I have taken here has made me persona non grata in some Preterists groups but I believe it is biblically sound. I think that both futurists and "mainstream" preterism have overlooked these four unities, resulting in unscriptural eschatologies in both camps.

    A part of my reason for posting this here is to show that there are preterists like myself who believe in visible coming of Christ as well as a literal experiential rapture, not a mere covenantal or positional change, as Don Preston teaches. Moreover I believe that after this rapture c. AD 70 there were, for a short period, no Christians on Earth.)

    1 Thess. 4:13 – 18

    13, 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.
    14, For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
    15, 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.
    16, 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:
    17, 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.


    18, Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

    I think Aristotle wrote also about unities in his Poetics, but I am referring to four different unities altogether, much more important, having to do with the Rapture and the union of living believers with those who had died in Christ. Studying this as we see it in Thessalonians is very important because it shows clearly the nature of the Rapture.

    It also shows why both the modern futurist view of the rapture and the Max King variant of Preterism overlook (and I am being kind) key points of doctrine found in this chapter.

    By making a big deal out of “unity” I am just underscoring that this is one single, tremendous event, that happens to both groups of believers: The dead in Christ, waiting in Hades and the living saints. The more we dwell on this point the clearer the picture becomes.

    It is not something that happened in an (ethnically and geographically) limited way in AD 70 but with the Main Event still in the future (as some futurists and Partial-Preterists believe).

    Neither can this profound event have happened and yet having the surviving saints of the time still physically on the Earth, unchanged and still un-rescued from ongoing tribulation. Aside from proofs that I will get to below that this is impossible we have the express words of Jesus (Matt. 24:22) that “ unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved“. The “cutting short” is the Rapture.

    Neither is it a mere positional change for living believers from that time onward (per Max King Preterists). A careful study of these unities show that is a Scriptural and logical impossibility.

    Unity of Time: One event.

    “the dead in Christ shall rise first: , Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them”

    Although there are technically two stages of the event here they must necessarily have happened almost simultaneously.

    Unity of Action

    Same passage: “rise first“, “caught up together

    What happened to the dead is what happened to the living. However different the two groups started from the same event brings them together.

    Problem for the futurist: The dead in Christ must still be in the ground, or in Hades, if their scenario is to be believed. Yet Scripture foretold that this event would happen in that first-century generation.

    Unity of Essence (And for this one I need to go to other passages)

    Although the two groups were quite different prior to the Rapture, only the living saints being still physical, both groups are now made fit for eternity.

    “Flesh and blood cannot enter into the Kingdom of God“, I Cor. 15:50

    “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Matt. 22:30

    “We shall be like Him” 1st John 3:2


    And how shall we be like Him: As He was “in the days of His flesh” (Heb. 5:7) or as He prayed to return to in John 17:5?

    Now, if we believe the Max King version of Preterism, we have two groups who are quite different, however they might concede this change on those who were in Hades the King Preterists have believers who are still quite physical. So they are forced to make the change here of the surviving Christians merely positional. Or they emphasize the ongoing nature of the change, as Christians die they are translated into their new life and presence with Christ. Well, that is true, but these passages are not speaking of Christians throughout the ages. They are speaking of – and to – Christians of that time.

    Unity of Place – in the clouds, with Christ forever – NOT on Earth.

    We have the two groups both in one place. They are first in the clouds. Note: This is very important. The saints on the Earth are in the clouds. No longer making footprints on the Earth. A mere positional in the living saints just does not satisfy the text here.

    They are with Christ forever. And we will join them when we die. The proof for that is in plenty of other passages.

    I welcome any comments and feedback on this post. I do not pretend to have all the answers on this. Experience has taught me that hastily stated dogmatic positions can quickly be regretted. The Internet is really good for reality checking. But also for iron sharpening iron, which is what I hope this is.

    Comforting Truth

    When I first wrote the earlier post I was annoyed to see that verse 18 was bolded and in a much larger font. I do not know how that happened but I am glad now that it did. I left it as it is. What better emphasis than that last verse!?

    This passage, rightly understood, has plenty of comfort.

    For first century Christians it proved that their faith in those numerous and specific promises of relief and reward from Christ and His Apostles was well-placed.

    For us it is also an assurance of our reward and relief. The faith is the same. So is the Object.

    “All the promises of God are Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus.” 2 Cor. 1:20
     
    #1 asterisktom, May 6, 2021
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
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  2. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    OK Tom of that time I agree but to get the ball rolling and cut to the chase, would you mind addressing a question that will no likely come up that I will address now and you probably know where I'm going?... Brother Glen:)

    2 Timothy 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

    2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

    2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
     
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  3. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Fair enough. Off the top of my head I can think of two points. First, the error was in the timing. The Resurrection had not happened yet. By their saying that it had implied that they missed the whole thing. We have to assume that Timothy's people had received the same teaching that Paul taught in Thessalonians, the rapture of the living saints and the resurrection of those in Hades happens together. So this would then mean that they missed the boat (the Ark of salvation!) entirely.

    Secondly, the error was also in the nature of the coming of Christ itself. Just like Jesus forewarned years earlier His coming would be quick and unmistakable, like lightning flashing from the East to the West. And there are plenty of historical records that prove this was indeed the case. But, since, the Canon was closed before the start of the Parousia all of these historical records are from uninspired sources, Josephus, Hegesippus, Tacitus, Yosippon, et al.

    BTW, that second point is something I did not use to believe. I used to insist that His coming was invisible but, studying it further I have had to change my view.
     
    #3 asterisktom, May 6, 2021
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  4. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    2 Thessalonians: Release and Rapture of all Saints


    This is an elaboration of this topic of the four unities (for want of a better word) of this astounding event.

    16, 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:
    17, 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.


    There are two unities here that need careful consideration, unity of time and of action.

    This is one event. Not two events separated by millennia. We have two groups in these passages:

    1. Those who have died in Christ and are, at the time of this epistle, still in Hades.
    2. Christians who, also at the time of this epistle, alive on the Earth.
    What happens to Group 1 also (after the slightest of lapses) happens to Group 2. This is an essential point of doctrine that is overlooked by many Preterists. And, conversely, on this point at least, the futurists are correct. They understand that the release from Hades and the Rapture from the Earth happen almost instantaneously.

    It is not logical that the groups would be separated in time, because the first group (those released from Hades) would not be just waiting millennia for Group 2 since both groups are “caught up together” to “meet the Lord”. Do you see the problem? To imagine that this is not one event is to also insist, nonsensically, that those released from Hades have yet to meet with the Lord!
     
    #4 asterisktom, May 6, 2021
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  5. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Reunion of Saints and Meeting Christ at the Rapture: 2 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.

    This is a continuation of our study of the four unities of 2 Thessalonians 4. By looking closer at these four we can see that the commonly accepted eschatologies of both futurists and the majority of Preterists, respectively, are in error. This was brought up in the previous articles.

    The four unities are:
    Unity of Time
    Unity of Action
    Unity of Essence
    Unity of Place.

    The previous article examined more thoroughly the first two unities, time and action. This article will look more closely at the unities of essence and place. All of these studies are to show that that what happened in AD70 involved both general classes of believers, living and deceased believers in Christ, in a single, unique event. It is an event that is largely misunderstood because of the heavy, obscurant influence of tradition over the Biblical record.

    1 Thess. 4:13 – 18

    13, 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.
    14, For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
    15, 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.
    16, 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:
    17, 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. 18, Wherefore comfort one another with these words.


    Unity of Essence (And for this one I need to go to other passages)

    The two groups, those who have died in faith and those still living, were essentially different in AD70. We can probably agree on this. The first group no longer had physical bodies, those still in the world did. Two different essences, physical and spiritual (and non-physical). But these two groups undergo a change. The ones who have died are released from Hades. The ones on Earth will undergo a change in their bodies. Before the events of that day of the Rapture they will have had the same essential bodies as those who were in Hades.

    I Corinthians 15:50-53:

    50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

    51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

    52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

    53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality


    This is what I mean by unity of essence. The disembodied and the still-living will both be fitted for Heaven. That means, obviously, a change from the physical since “flesh and blood cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”.

    And this is where many Preterist err seriously. They may conclude that the dead in Christ go to be with Him, but they insist (many of them) that those living on the Earth go on living, with only a positional change. But this is contrary to the text!

    Unity of Place – in the clouds, with Christ forever – NOT on Earth.

    We have the two groups both in one place. They are first in the clouds. Note: This is very important. The saints on the Earth are in the clouds. No longer making footprints on the Earth. A mere positional change in the living saints just does not satisfy the text here.

    Audience relevance, that precious tool of Preterists is conveniently forgotten when it comes to 1 Thess. 4:13ff. Read the passage following passage with Thessalonian eyes. Put yourself in their sandals – especially those who have lost, say, a beloved husband or wife (verse 13). What is the comfort Paul is giving them? The implication is that they are going to be together when all saints, the living and previously dead, go up to meet Christ.

    More importantly than this even, both groups are with Christ forever. And we, all Christians throughout the centuries, will also join them when we die. The proof for that is in plenty of other passages.

    This passage, rightly understood, has plenty of comfort. It did for the Thessalonians, Romans, and all saints throughout the Roman Empire of the first century. And it does for Christians of all countries and times – especially if properly understood.
     
  6. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Revelation 21:1, ". . . a new earth . . . the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. . . ."
    Revelation 21:10, ". . . the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, . . ."
     
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  7. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Do you think your verses somehow negate my post?
     
  8. timtofly

    timtofly Well-Known Member

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    Except that the OT last day resurrection happened on the Cross. The voice of God, Himself like a Trumpet sound, shouted out, "It is finished"! All the OT church members experienced the Resurrection and the Life of Jesus Christ, Himself. God came down that day, not some 40 years later.

    Literally the only dead in Christ are us walking around in Adam's dead corruptible flesh. All the rest of the church are alive in Paradise walking around in permanent incorruptible physical bodies.


    The Lord God came down at the same time the Son was killed, rent the veil of the Temple and handed over the responsibility of the vinyard to the NT church. The passing of the guard saw all the OT leave Abraham's bosom and enter Paradise, the Jews were literally abandoned, and a NT church was born. The thief on the Cross was the first member to enter Paradise, Stephen was the second.

    In fact the thief was the first to enter Paradise after Enoch and Moses. The OT had a bodily ascension on Sunday with Christ, between Jesus meeting Mary in the Garden, and the two on the road, later that same day. Jesus then appeared to all later that afternoon.


    The Second Coming of both God on the throne, and the Lamb is still future, but really sooner than ever before. Paul was telling them in Thessalonians that they did not miss that Resurrection. It was not for them. The resurrection of the church is an ongoing phenomenon. The resurrection of living dead bodies is what happens at the Second Coming.
     
  9. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Only refutes "with Christ forever – NOT on Earth. . . ." Now if you disagee please explain how and why with Christ forever would not be on the new earth.
     
  10. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    You miss my point. Please read it again.
     
  11. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Is false.
     
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  12. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    If Christ returned and there were no saints after 70CE, did the heavens pass away and be burned as well?

    2 Peter 3:10-13
    But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
     
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  13. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    What I wrote was unclear, I admit. I do not mean that we will be in the clouds forever. We will be with Christ forever.

    But you would still disagree because I do not believe we will be on the Earth forever.
     
  14. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    First, who said there would be no saints after 70 AD? Not me.
     
  15. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    asterisktom, I don't generally follow the eschatological discussions, though I notice them from time to time. In regard to your Preterist view, a question came to mind. Do you think all the New Testament books, including the Revelation given to John, were written before AD 70?

    Also, what particularly about your view makes you a persona non grata in some Preterists groups?

    Thanks.
     
  16. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    The "mainstream" view, which I disagree with strongly, believes that the rapture was just a positional change of the redeemed. After the "coming" the living saints went on living on Earth - as if nothing happened. My view is that it was a real rapture. For a very short while there were no Christians on Earth. My sharing this view has caused me problems on a couple FB groups. To this day I cannot share my blog articles on FB because I have been deemed "offensive" by FB.

    Yes, I believe all of the Bible was completed by the mid or late 60s.
     
  17. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    Ditto.
     
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  18. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    Yes. Rolled up as a scroll. His saints are now new creatures in the new heaven and new earth of the new covenant where 'neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature'. [add] To the disobedient Jews who thought the old was good:
    19 And I will break the pride of your power: and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass; Lev 26
    23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. Dt 28

    Did John the Baptist raise valleys, level mountains, straighten crooked roads, smooth rough places? Answer that one and I've many others for you.
     
    #18 kyredneck, May 7, 2021
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  19. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    With Christ forever was not the point of disagreement.
    Then what is the point of the new Earth?
     
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  20. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    the physical resurrection still a future event, as there was NO Second Coming yet!
     
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