Very well, then. One post-tribber is just as good as another, I suppose.
Well, we both agree that the gathering of the elect in verse 31 is the rapture, so it's good to see we have some common ground in our views. So the issue here is the second coming.
Technically my position isn't post-trib, the way I see the sequence is more in line with pre-wrath, although I personally don't care for the chosen title. One of the things I find interesting about these events is the wording involved, which seems like a small technicality but as a writer I find the choice of words to be telling. What I'm referring to is the phrase, "Second Coming", this implies during the return to me, not the arrival. We know that the world will see this happen, what we don't know is how much time passes before He actually arrives on the mount of olives.
I don't see any way that we can know how long the wedding supper will last, so I won't even entertain that thought. But just as you see both, the (rapture and second coming), I see it as both, the (rapture and marriage supper of the Lamb).
I agree with you about the time, and I didn't mean to imply any known amount of time this will take, because I see this as a spiritual event and therefore not necessarily bound by time as we know it. I think in actuality we see the rapture and marriage supper in the same manner, and just expressed it with different words.
I believe that Jesus laid it all out so beautifully and completely, that we don't even need to go outside of Matthew 24 to find the answer about the tribulation. I see where many get confused between the tribulation and God's wrath, so I think going into the book of Revelation here will only bring more questions. Therefore, since we already agree about the rapture, it should be noted that Christ said in verse 29 that it would occur immediately after the tribulation of those days. He also said in verse 22 that those days would be shortened for the sake of the elect.
I also agree with you here, Matthew 24 gives the clearest chronological timeline of events. Revelation is not presented in this fashion, but I think when we compare what we see there we can place certain events in sequence using Matthew 24 as a reference. Such as Matthew 24:15 and Matthew 25:29 as examples which are also included in Revelation.
Most rapture theories have the church being raptured at some point or another. But the Lord has given me a new theory that is not yet as well known, but I believe it is revolutionary nonetheless. Almost everyone knows there will be martyrs, but have you ever noticed that many believe the church will escape the hour of trial that will come upon all who dwell upon the earth, while most of the others believe they will be divinely protected until the second coming? This has been debated for as long as I can remember. However, in my theory, both of these come into play, along with the martyrs. But to properly understand it, it's important to understand the three different parts to a biblical harvest, while also realizing that there are three different rewards for believers works (precious stones/gold and silver/wood, hay and stubble).
Yes I've noticed the many rapture theories, for the majority of my life I held a pre-trib position, it's only within the last few years I realized it didn't align with scripture. I'm glad you mentioned the three parts of the biblical harvest, this factors in to my understanding of the parables in Matthew 25. Three parables, with the same emphasis, yet they contain subtle differences which I believe allude to the three harvests, also placed in chronological order.
Anyway, Jesus warned us in His parables that his servants must be ready. It's easy to see that some won't be, yet we are continuously taught that Christ will someday rapture His church, as if every believer will be ready when He appears. But the bride or church is not complete when the rapture occurs. We know this because the martyrs will also join them at the very end of the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4), and they will be returning with Christ as well. God will not avenge their blood until all of the martyrs have been killed, so the bride is not ready until late (Rev. 19). I happen to believe that those who are ready will be raptured and will be attending the marriage supper, while those servants who are not ready will be left and will become martyrs (two in the field, one is taken, the other is left.....). Anyway, that's a long story, but while those who are ready are reclining at the wedding supper, those that were left will become the saints that will be overcome by the beast (Rev. 13:7-8).
There will also be men who will want to die, but death will flee from them. We are told in scripture that many will depart from the faith or fall away and I believe these are the ones that will want to die. I believe these are the sheep that will be here to see the second coming. All of their works are burned up, they are no longer saints that will return to reign with Christ, but God will still protect them. They are still counted among the righteous, not because of their works, but by the precious blood of Christ alone. And since God can not lie, and promises to save everyone who believes on His Son, He must honor His word. He can not allow these to die after the martyrs, because the first resurrection is already completed, and the second resurrection is for unbelievers, so He must keep these men alive through His wrath, and they will be the ones to re-populate the earth, along with the one-third remnant of Jews that will also be protected. I believe these are the sheep. Although they are not members of the Church anymore, they still belong to Christ and Satan will not be able to pluck them from His hand.
You present an interesting and thought provoking possibility. From what I gather it appears you see a long span of time from when the second coming begins and when Jesus actually sets down on the mount of olives? I don't disagree with the thinking on this necessarily, personally I see it as a process as well, in other words, not happening quickly.
I don't see where He is resurrecting the dead here, as in the great white throne judgment that will take place after the millennium. He's gathering the nations, those who are alive during His second coming (Joel 3:2). They will gather to fight against Israel, but will then turn against Christ. These and everyone that takes the mark of the beast will be killed and will await the second resurrection (great white throne). The sheep on the other hand, will be allowed to enter into the millennial kingdom because at some point, they were a blessing to the least of Christ' brothers (martyrs). Of course, I realize this is just a parable so we shouldn't take every detail literal, so it may be that the sheep were church members at one time or at least believers, but we can be certain that they did not take the mark.
Most of Matthew 24 and the parables in chapter 25 were given as an answer to His disciples question in 24:3, about the signs of His coming and the end of this age. At this point, the disciples had no knowledge of the 1000 year reign or the second resurrection and great white throne judgment. This knowledge didn't come until years later, after John penned the Revelation of Christ on the Isle of Patmos near the end of the 1st century. I believe the other disciples were already dead by that time, but John escaped.
I think in many ways we are in agreement, which is why I enjoy these types of discussions. The differences I see we have are very subtle, and may be in how we see the three harvests, and more specifically, how we see the parables in Matthew 25. The day is getting away from me, and I want to think over what you had to say a bit more. In the meantime I want to illustrate my thoughts on the parables and possibly clarify where I'm coming from. This will just be a quick version and I'm only going to touch on what I see as the key points and how I understand them, I look forward to any thoughts others have.The parable of the ten virgins
, or as I see it, the first harvest. To me this points to the rapture of the church, my reasoning is found in these key verses, starting with how the parable concludes.
Matthew 25:13 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Matthew 24:42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."
The verses prior to Matthew 24:42 and those that follow indicate this parable applies to the rapture by my understanding.The parable of the talents
, or as I see it, the second harvest. This one is a bit more tricky, but I see it as a follow up to the parable of the ten virgins, and the servants with the talents representing the unwise virgins. They had another opportunity to take the knowledge they originally had and invest it during the last days of the tribulation. We see that some do this, and some do not. The latter is described as a wicked and lazy servant (Matthew 25:26), instead of letting their light shine, they hid it. Whatever amount of belief they had was not enough to pick up their cross and follow Him, and so He will allow them to give into their wickedness.
Matthew 25:28 "Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
This passage indicates these individuals have no more time to change, they are being discarded into darkness and will not get any more opportunities. The reference to weeping and gnashing of teeth means physical death, or hell, not to be confused with the second death also known as the lake of fire. It places this harvest after the rapture, but not yet at the end of the age.The sheep and the goats
, or the third harvest. This parable points to the end of the age, the conclusion. I alluded to this in my previous post, and believe the keys are found at the beginning and the end.
Matthew 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on the throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations
will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.
34 Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world
Was our inheritance this earth or the millennial kingdom? According to scripture, no.
Revelation 21:6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him that is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this
, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
It's also notable that in the parable Jesus is placed on the throne, but the other key is the conclusion of the parable.
Matthew 25:46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
This verse points to the end of the age, and the ushering in of New Jerusalem. Eternal punishment is the second death, the lake of fire spoken of in Revelation 20:14
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.