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.Christians call this event the rapture, which essentially means, "catching up." It isn't a word in the Bible, but one used to represent this. Much controversy has arisen over the timing of the rapture. Eschatalogical (study of last things) books have exploded in the last fifty years. In more recent times, Christian authors have contradicted the pre-tribulational timing of the catching up of the saints. This series will provide mainly a positive defense of a pretribulational rapture. A grammatical-historical interpretation will lead to a pretribulational view.
1. THE DOCTRINE OF IMMINENCE REQUIRES A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTUREI'm saying this is the strongest argument for pre-tribulationalism---the any moment return of Jesus Christ. The New Testament repeatedly exhorts the saints to watch for His return.
2 Timothy 4:8, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
Titus 2:13, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
Romans 8:18-23, " 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
James 5:7-9, "7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door."
1 Peter 4:7, "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
Hebrews 10:24, 25, 37, " 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry."
It's as simple as this. If there are preliminary events to be expected, then we don't need to look or watch or expect. All any believer would need to do is wait for that event to occur and then begin the countdown. This is not how the New Testament reads at all.
I believe the denial of imminence is a very serious issue. For me it is a separating issue. Why? Destroying imminence takes away important motivation for holy living in the New Testament.
1 John 3:3, "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
Romans 13:11-14, " 11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying."
Mark 13:35, 36, "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping."
The New Testament contains so much teaching like this, and there is more than what is listed above, that one is denying the New Testament and contradicting the Lord Jesus Christ when someone denies imminence. I can't stand for it. I can't agree to disagree. I can't associate with that false doctrine. Denying imminence will have a cooling affect on Christians that no one can afford. More than that, it disrespects God and His Word.