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ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM LECTURE 2 BEN WITHERINGTON.

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Presentation on theme: "ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM LECTURE 2 BEN WITHERINGTON."— Presentation transcript:

1 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM LECTURE 2 BEN WITHERINGTON

2 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM Certain texts are key to the Dispensational hermeneutic Rev. 4.1After this I looked and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. And at once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne…. This is not a description of a magic carpet ride to heaven taken by John of Patmos. It is a description of a visionary experience, as is true of the whole rest of the book of Revelation. John in the Spirit is enabled to see into heaven, and to see into the future. Certain texts are key to the Dispensational hermeneutic Rev. 4.1After this I looked and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. And at once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne…. This is not a description of a magic carpet ride to heaven taken by John of Patmos. It is a description of a visionary experience, as is true of the whole rest of the book of Revelation. John in the Spirit is enabled to see into heaven, and to see into the future.

3 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM Compare for example Rev. 17.3the angel carried me away in the Spirit into the desert. Compare for example Rev. 17.3the angel carried me away in the Spirit into the desert. The failure to reckonize the character of apocalyptic literature as visionary leads to misreadings The failure to reckonize the character of apocalyptic literature as visionary leads to misreadings

4 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM Mt The context of the discussion is in fact the events that surround the coming of the Son of Man from heaven which will include cosmic signs of distress (vs. 29) which makes the idea of this coming being secret or clandestine far fetched. Mt The context of the discussion is in fact the events that surround the coming of the Son of Man from heaven which will include cosmic signs of distress (vs. 29) which makes the idea of this coming being secret or clandestine far fetched. Once the sign of the Son of Man appears in the heavens all the nations of the earth will see it and mourn (vs. 30). He will come on the clouds with power, glory, and angels (vs. 31). Vs. 37 makes perfectly clear that the very same second coming is in view in vss The material in vss refers to the same event described in vss Once the sign of the Son of Man appears in the heavens all the nations of the earth will see it and mourn (vs. 30). He will come on the clouds with power, glory, and angels (vs. 31). Vs. 37 makes perfectly clear that the very same second coming is in view in vss The material in vss refers to the same event described in vss

5 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM An analogy is drawn in Mt. 24 between the days of Noah and the days of the end. The issue has to do with what is meant by one is taken, and the other left. An analogy is drawn in Mt. 24 between the days of Noah and the days of the end. The issue has to do with what is meant by one is taken, and the other left. Those who are taken away in the days of Noah are swept away by the flood, and so are judged. Those who are taken away in the days of Noah are swept away by the flood, and so are judged. In terms of the oppressive situation during Jesus own day when someone is taken they are indeed being taken away by the authorities for judgment. It is the ones left behind who are fortunate. And this is in fact what vss means in its original context. Being taken whether in Noahs day or in Jesus was not a favorable outcomeit meant judgment. Notice as well that there is no reference to the person taken being taken up or being taken to heaven. This text has nothing to do with such an idea. In terms of the oppressive situation during Jesus own day when someone is taken they are indeed being taken away by the authorities for judgment. It is the ones left behind who are fortunate. And this is in fact what vss means in its original context. Being taken whether in Noahs day or in Jesus was not a favorable outcomeit meant judgment. Notice as well that there is no reference to the person taken being taken up or being taken to heaven. This text has nothing to do with such an idea.

6 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM The key text is of course 1 Thess The key text is of course 1 Thess For this I say to you in/on the word of the Lord that we the living, those who are left around until the parousia of the Lord will not forestall those who have fallen asleep, for the Lord himself with a summons, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God will come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we the living, those left around, together with them shall be caught up in the clouds unto the public welcoming of the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. So console one another with these words. But concerning the times and seasons brothers, you have no need for me to write to you, for you yourselves know accurately that the day of the Lord as a thief in the night, thus it shall come. For this I say to you in/on the word of the Lord that we the living, those who are left around until the parousia of the Lord will not forestall those who have fallen asleep, for the Lord himself with a summons, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God will come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we the living, those left around, together with them shall be caught up in the clouds unto the public welcoming of the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. So console one another with these words. But concerning the times and seasons brothers, you have no need for me to write to you, for you yourselves know accurately that the day of the Lord as a thief in the night, thus it shall come.

7 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM To understand this text one must realize that the parousia is not something different from the second coming or the coming of the thief in the night or the glorious appearing of Christ. These are all alternate ways of describing the same public and dramatic event. To understand this text one must realize that the parousia is not something different from the second coming or the coming of the thief in the night or the glorious appearing of Christ. These are all alternate ways of describing the same public and dramatic event.

8 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM The public nature of the event is stressed The public nature of the event is stressed It involves a public herald and a trumpet blast announcing to all and sundry Christ is coming It involves a public herald and a trumpet blast announcing to all and sundry Christ is coming An analogy is drawn with the appearing of a king before a walled city– cf. Ps. 24 An analogy is drawn with the appearing of a king before a walled city– cf. Ps. 24

9 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM The text says that the dead in Christ will go to meet Christ in the air, and will be joined by the living in Christ The text says that the dead in Christ will go to meet Christ in the air, and will be joined by the living in Christ The location of this rendezvous is not heaven but the earths atmosphere The location of this rendezvous is not heaven but the earths atmosphere More importantly, the place where the gathering goes thereafter is down to earth to reign, not up to heaven to escape a Tribulation More importantly, the place where the gathering goes thereafter is down to earth to reign, not up to heaven to escape a Tribulation

10 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM The analogy with a king being met by the greeting committee and then returning to the committees city is apt and would be well understood by the Thessalonians The analogy with a king being met by the greeting committee and then returning to the committees city is apt and would be well understood by the Thessalonians In other words, there is no concept of the rapture in the NT, if by rapture one means something more than a meeting of Christ in the air at the Second Coming In other words, there is no concept of the rapture in the NT, if by rapture one means something more than a meeting of Christ in the air at the Second Coming

11 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM Implications– without the doctrine of the rapture, and without a two track model of prophecy fulfillment for two peoples of God, the Dispensational system collapses Implications– without the doctrine of the rapture, and without a two track model of prophecy fulfillment for two peoples of God, the Dispensational system collapses Why would we expect, after generations of martyrs, that the final generation of Christians would be exempt from bearing the cross or dying for their faith in the final tribulation? Why would we expect, after generations of martyrs, that the final generation of Christians would be exempt from bearing the cross or dying for their faith in the final tribulation? This is escapist theology that is not well grounded in the Bible, especially not in Revelation which was written to steel the audience for the possibility of martyrdom. This is escapist theology that is not well grounded in the Bible, especially not in Revelation which was written to steel the audience for the possibility of martyrdom.

12 ON DISPENSING WITH DISPENSATIONALISM The return of Jews to Israel in 1948 is not a sign of the end of the endtimes or a basis for calculations. The return of Jews to Israel in 1948 is not a sign of the end of the endtimes or a basis for calculations. As even orthodox Jews in Israel stress, the modern secular Zionist government is not Biblical Israel As even orthodox Jews in Israel stress, the modern secular Zionist government is not Biblical Israel Rom makes clear that Biblical Israel will not show up until Jesus returns and all Israel is saved Rom makes clear that Biblical Israel will not show up until Jesus returns and all Israel is saved


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