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Beginning Apologetics – The End Times Class 5 – The Rapture II

October 18, 2009

Thought I’d go ahead and post this week’s efforts.  The audio file is posted here; the notes file is here, and the PowerPoint is here.

An interesting question, actually, a few of them, came up during the class and after.  The first (which I disparaged a bit before taking it seriously — Sorry, Gail) was from the review of the problems with the Dispensationalist view of the church, which we discussed on 10/4.  I was asked for the Scripture references that name the Church as the New Jerusalem.  The citations are listed in the text; but to review briefly, here they are:

Rev 21:2 – “I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  Connect that to the moniker of the Church as the Bride of Christ; If the Holy City is adorned as the Bride, and the Church is the Bride, then the Holy City is the Church.

Rev 21:9-14 – 

9 One of the seven angels who held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come here. I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, (the names) of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. 13 There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

The Holy City has gates named after the 12 patriarchs; that’s the way into the city.  The foundation of the city is the Twelve Apostles…now, what else has as its foundation the Twelve?  That’s right, class…The Church!

Eph 2:19-22 – 

19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. 21 Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; 22 in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Another description of the “household of God (The Church) as equivalent to the Holy City that descended from heaven in John’s vision, built upon the Twelve Apostles.  I know it’s convoluted a little bit, but this is how we interpret Scripture.  These all add up to the Church being referred to as The New Jerusalem!

A second question was brought up again after class by a very attractive member of the class (at least to me); she asked how we could explain to a Rapturist/Dispensationalist that their view of Israel , namely, their fixation on the new Jewish secular state of Israel, was misplaced.  After all, she pointed out, God gave them that land as their eternal home, For ever and ever!  I briefly covered this when Emma Conroy brought it up, but to reiterate:  The Covenant between god and Israel was not made in the Promised Land.  Israel became the Covenant people of God when, at Mount Sinai, Moses received the law, and the People of Israel agreed to abide by it in exchange for their covenant relationship with God. 

God gave them The law.  Following its commandments made one a part of Israel.  Complaining about how big the folks in the Promised land appeared was what made an Israelite wander in the desert for forty years, till everyone in that generation was dead!  And god took the People of Israel out of the land on several occasions (as Susie Lovato pointed out – seven).  The Babylonians came and dragged them off to captivity for 80-odd years; the Assyrians had a turn at them, and several others brushed Israel from the land.  But at no time did the Jews stop being a Covenant people!  It’s kind of like our roles as parents.  Our children are our children; we have a covenant with them to care for them and provide for their needs, as long as they obey the rules.  But nothing is implied in that relationship that says they won’t be punished for wrong-doing.  A mild infraction of the Covenant might warrant a time-out., or loss of privileges, or even a spanking; a more serious one, maybe involving civil law enforcement, might mean forcible separation from the family and imprisonment.  that child does no tstop being a part of the covenant just because s/he is in jail;s/he does, however, forfeit for a time the privileges of membership in the family covenant.

Finally, Ann Marie asked me to go over again the question of who’s left behind at the time of the Second Coming.  This refers to the passages from Matthew 24: 38-41 and Luke 17:22-37.  Many of our Dispensationalist separated brethren will refer to these passages as support for their interpretation of 1 Thess 4:17 as referring to a secret rapture. The problem comes in looking at who is taken, and who is left behind in each of the examples cited.  These passages refer to God’s judgment on sin!  Sodom was destroyed because there were no righteous people in it except Lot and his family (who were told to leave).  After Judgment, those left behind were…the righteous!  the same thing applies to Noah and his family at the time of the flood.  God judged the world wicked except for Noah and his offspring; therefore God cleansed teh face of the earth of the unrighteous, and left behindwait for it…the righteous!

So much for wuestions this week.  Please let me kno wif there are others; I will do my best to answer them!

From → Apologetics

One Comment
  1. Debbie permalink

    Just wanted to comment on today’s lesson. We were discussing the fact that God does not protect Believers from suffering and you mentioned some verses. Just wanted to share this one. Not only are we not protected from suffering, we should rejoice in our suffering.
    Romans 5
    1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


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