The Arrival

After the sermon today someone asked me when the doctrine of the rapture began. The person who developed the teachings that today are called The Rapture was John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), a British preacher and founder of the Plymouth Brethren. While Christians have always taught that Jesus would return to earth, Darby taught that Jesus would come twice! Darby invented a grand timetable for world events that included a series of seven dispensations (or ages). He popularized his system in the Scofield Reference Bible which was first published in 1909.

The best refutation I have read of the doctrine known as The Rapture is found in The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation by Barbara R. Rossing. Dr. Rossing, who teachings New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, wrote the book to answer the popular Left Behind series of books (and movies). In her words, “…, I have underscored the central image of Jesus as the nonviolent Lamb, who triumphs not by killing people but by giving his life in love…. Love and healing–not Armagedoon and war–are the messages people of faith must keep lifting up as God’s vision for our world. The message of the biblical book of Revelation is not of despair or war, but of transformation and justice.”

The message of Jesus’ return is of central importance to the writers of the New Testament. We must strive to avoid all sensationalism and seek to understand what those writers had in mind when they wrote about The Arrival (or Parousia). May we all remain viligant as we contantly remind ourselves that The King is Coming!

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

Comments

3 Responses to “The Arrival”

  1. avatar Cindy says:

    I’ve got to say Byron, I wish I could be there for this series. It sounds amazing! Keep on preaching!!! :)

  2. avatar Tommytwotoez says:

    It was very interesting to be reminded on how the early Christians thought process. To them the “Rapture” could have been the very next day.
    I think your right on the money with our developmental process of waiting. In the span of 1973 years or so, the Christian mind has formed into a “he’s not coming in my life time” mentality.
    I also think it is extremely important to be reminded that the King is coming, and that we should live our life’s accordingly.
    I’ll have some questions on the complacency of this issue for you, but I know and trust that you’ll always have an answer!

  3. avatar Jeremy says:

    I just finished listening to this one online. You beat me to the punch though. I was thinking to myself…hmm…if he brings the dead with him and they arise…d’oh! You read my mind!

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