Everyone would like to have insight into the future. This explains why in an educated and civilized society so-called fortune tellers and psychics have their followers, and why every large newspaper prints the astrology charts. Why? Because people would like to know the future. But what if a man takes the Bible and claims he has found prophecies which are soon to be fulfilled? He will have an even greater popularity, for many who would doubt astrology charts can be easily persuaded if the claims are supposedly founded upon scripture.
Many modern preachers have taken advantage of this innate desire of mankind. The doctrine of premillennialism has become popularly taught mainly because it claims the Bible has foretold both current world events as well as those soon to occur. Although there is general indifference toward God, the Bible, and the church in our society, many preachers have discovered that a theme of this nature will arouse interest. People need to be stirred up for the Lord and urged to prepare for His second coming, but to do so by playing Biblical hopscotch will ultimately result in far more harm than good.
1. This doctrine affirms we are now living in a period before the 1,000 year reign of Christ. The basic claims of this theory are as follows:
a. Christ originally came to establish His kingdom;
b. However, the world was too wicked, thus He was crucified;
c. The church was established as a parenthesis till He comes again;
d. A rapture of the saints will occur at His coming;
e. Seven years of tribulation on earth will be caused by the Anti-Christ;
f. The battle of Armageddon will be the time Christ puts down all evil;
g. He will then establish His kingdom and reign for 1,000 years;
h. Finally, there will be judgment which is followed by heaven and hell.
2. The fact that there is much disagreement among advocates of this theory is evidence in itself the Bible does not deal plainly with these topics. For example, some disagree as to when the rapture will occur, whether it will be post- mid-pre/tribulation. Others disagree about where Christ will return to reign, because the Mormons say it will be in Independence, Mo., yet the majority say it will be in Jerusalem. But in the above outline are the basic tenets of all premillennialists.
1. This lesson was almost titled, “What Does The Bible Say About The Rapture?” However, if it had been, nothing else would follow. The word is not even found in the Bible!
2. However, the “rapture” is a vital link in premillennial thought. If the rapture is not supported by the scriptures, other suppositions involved are at least suspect.
3. It is often referred to as though it is a clear Bible subject. “In case of rapture somebody grab the wheel.” “In case of rapture this car will be unmanned.” Such statements are often seen on car bumpers. What does it mean?
4. Actually premillennialists use the word “rapture” to describe a secret catching away of the church, both resurrected and living saints, who are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Some use the term “translation” of the saints. They suggest that the doctrine is found in 1 Thess. 4:16-17: “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.”
II. Does 1 Thess. 4:16-17 Support The Rapture Theory? If So Then
A. It Is Not Silent!
1. Though 1 Thess. 4:17 uses the expression “caught up” (HARPAZO), it talks about a time when the Lord shall come “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God ...” (v. 16).
2. 1 Cor. 15:52 describes the second coming as “at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound ....”
3. 2 Peter 3:10 “... with a great noise”
B. It Is Not Secret!
1. 2 Thess. 1:7-9 He shall come “with His mighty angels, in flaming fire ....”
2. Rev. 1:7 “He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see Him ...”
C. It Will Not Be Only For Seven Years!
1. 1 Thess. 4:17 “So shall we ever be with the Lord.”
2. John 6:39,40,44 The resurrection will occur at the “last day.”
a. Heb. 1:1-3 We are now living in the “last days” (a contrast of our time with earlier dispensations). But if there is yet to be a 1,000 year reign, should it be called “last-er days”?
b. John 12:48 Judgment will be in the “last day.”
3. 1 Cor. 15:23-26 “... at His coming. Then cometh the end ....”
D. There Will Not Be Two Comings Of Christ!
1. In order to get a “secret” coming, premillennialists emphasize two Greek words: PAROUSIA, 1 Thess. 4:15 and EPIPHANIA, 1 Tim. 6:14, saying these are two different events.
2. However, 2 Thess. 2:8 uses both words to speak of the same occasion as it describes “the brightness (EPIPHANIA) of His coming (PAROUSIA).”
E. There Will Not Be Two (Nor Three) Resurrections!
1. This theory demands one at the rapture, another at the end of the tribulation, and another at the end of the 1,000 year reign.
2. John 5:28-29 describes both the wicked and righteous being raised at the same time.
3. 2 Thess. 1:7-9 blessing and punishment both occur at His coming.
4. Acts 24:14-15 judgment will be both of the just and the unjust.
5. Matt. 25:31-32 the sheep and the goats will then be divided.
III. Undesirable Consequences Of Premillennialist
A. The Kingdom Prophecies Are Made Void.
1. Dan. 2:31-45 described the kingdom would be established during the Roman Empire.
2. Isa.2:2-4 predicted the “mountain of the Lord’s house” (God’s rule) would be established in the “last days.” Peter said he was in that time period, Acts 2:16-17. Are the scriptures dependable? If so, the kingdom is established!
B. God’s Power Is Limited.
1. Premillennialists contend the reason the kingdom wasn’t established is because the world was not ready for it. What will keep that from happening at the second coming of Christ? Jesus said, “the time is fulfilled,” Mark 1:14-15.
2. Jesus said the kingdom would come with power in the lifetime of some then living, Mark 9:1. Power would come with the Holy Ghost, Acts 1:8. Therefore when the Holy Ghost came on Pentecost, power came, and with it the kingdom was established, Acts 2:4.
C. Christ Is Dethroned.
1. Zech. 6:12-13 prophesied Christ would sit and rule as king and priest. But if He is not yet king, neither could He be our priest!
2. Acts 2:29-36; Eph. 1:20-23; Heb. 8:1 all declare He is now ruling!
D. A Material Kingdom Is Sought.
1. Premillennialists make the same mistake the Jews made in expecting an earthly kingdom. Jesus said it was not “with observation,” Luke 17:20-21.
2. John 18:36-38 He reigns in a kingdom that is not of this world, but spiritual.
E. The Church Is Made A Substitute.
1. Premillennialists believe the church is a “parenthesis” of God until the kingdom can finally be established. It makes the church an afterthought of God.
2. Eph. 3:10-11 declares the church was in God’s eternal plan.
3. In Matt. 16:16-18 Jesus speaks of the church and the kingdom in the same breath as though they are one and the same.
F. The New Testament Writers Are Made To Sound Confused.
1. If the kingdom is not already established the apostles did not know it, for the brethren at Colosse were described as being in the kingdom, Col. 1:13.
2. The apostle John thought he was in the kingdom, Rev. 1:9.
3. John furthermore described those purchased by the blood of Christ as being made a “kingdom and priesthood” (ASV), Rev. 1:5-6;5:9-10.
G. The Plan And Purpose Of Christ’s Death Is Ignored.
1. One cannot teach it both ways! When talking about salvation, most premillennialists describe the plan of God as foretold by the prophets, Isa. 53; Psalms 22. The death of Christ was not because Satan was stronger than God, but rather it was by “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” Acts 2:23. Had He not died, we could not have hope of the resurrection, 1 Cor. 15:17-22.
2. But premillennialists want to teach it both ways, for when talking about the kingdom, they say He was crucified because the world was not ready to receive Him as king yet. Which is it? Was He crucified by God’s predetermined plan or by one made up as an after-thought?
The theory of premillennialism has too many contradictions with plain and simple passages of the Bible. Not only must the rapture theory be rejected because it is unsupported by the Bible, but also the doctrine with which it is associated.