You are hereA Fresh Look at I Thessalonians 4

A Fresh Look at I Thessalonians 4

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By Sam - Posted on 21 December 2006

by Samuel Frost
This paper was originally written in debate form as a response to Ed Stevens' rapture theory. That debate has been canceled for reasons made known in another article on this site. This paper has been edited, but the body of the material is the same. Stevens' view is representative and, therefore, is the one targeted the most in this paper. Of course, Stevens is a brother of mine in Christ and my attack on his view means nothing of the sort towards the man himself. I trust the readers understand that. Be that as it is, I do consider the rapture theory to be an erratic teaching that leads to an undermining of preterist soteriology.This paper was originally written in debate form as a response to Ed Stevens' rapture theory. That debate has been canceled for reasons made known in another article on this site. This paper has been edited, but the body of the material is the same. Stevens' view is representative and, therefore, is the one targeted the most in this paper. Of course, Stevens is a brother of mine in Christ and my attack on his view means nothing of the sort towards the man himself. I trust the readers understand that. Be that as it is, I do consider the rapture theory to be an erratic teaching that leads to an undermining of preterist soteriology.I. Historical Considerations

Before we get into this, it must be noted that some preterists, like Ed Stevens, do believe in the flying around of Christians in mid-air. He explicitly states that these Christians disappeared off the face of planet earth. It was not just a few Christians, either, but a whole host. In his book (Expectations Demands a Rapture), he briefly mentions Rev. 7 where the saints that "come out of the Great Tribulation" are now seen "in heaven before God". However, this number is "numberless" (7.9). One can almost feel Stevens squirm at this point when reading pages 17-18 with 52-53. Stevens wrote that the number of Christians raptured "might have been less than we think", but then writes, "there was a sizable multitude of Gentiles included in the rapture" (Stevens, 53 Expectations). He does not attempt to solve this problem. Walt Hibbard, an ardent supporter of Stevens' position, argued that there would not have been that many Christians around at that time. Rev. 7 says that there was "a number in which no one could count" and Stevens is aware of this, too. You cannot have it both ways: there was either a little, or a lot, and if there was a lot (in which no one could count, to speak biblically), then you would have to explain another "silence": the silence of the people who witnessed a "sizable multitude" of their population disappear!

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ChristyGrl's picture

Samuel,

I think Walt has a different opinion now. I called him out on the "literal rapture" theory chiefly because poor old John was left behind. As anyone with half a brain can see, the rapture was spiritual or John would have been taken with the rest of them. There also would have been none left (Christians) to spread the gospel afterwards.

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