1. Failure to understand dispensational distinctions has caused certain theological heresies and departure from Scriptural teaching. No one can accurately interpret the Word of God if dispensational distinctions are not understood.
2. The issue in this doctrine is the termination of the Church.
3. Legalism is the hazard for those who fail to recognize the following:
a. How the Church began with the baptism of the Spirit.
b. The doctrine of the uniqueness of the Church Age.
c. How the Church Age will terminate with the resurrection of the Church.
d. How the Church Age differs in modus operandi from Israel.
4. For those who fail to recognize the difference between Israel and the royal family of God, there is the occupational hazard of believing in a mid or post-tribulational rapture.
a. This blurs the dispensational distinctions and results in obscuring the role of the royal family both in history and in the angelic conflict.
b. Furthermore, it results in failure to appreciate the true strategic victory of Christ and His unique royalty.
1) The royalty of Christ:
a) divine royalty.
b) Jewish royalty
c) battlefield royalty.
2) Because of this third category of royalty, the Jewish Age was interrupted to provide the Lord Jesus Christ with a bride.
5. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the alert signal that the Jewish Age was halted and that the Church Age had begun.
6. Once begun, the Church Age will be completed before the Jewish Age continues. This completion is accomplished by the Rapture.
B. The Distinction between the Rapture and the Second Advent.
1. The Rapture terminates the Church Age.
2. The Second Advent terminates the Jewish Age.
RAPTURE SECOND ADVENT
Private, Acts 1:11 Public, Rev. 1:7
Occurs in the air, 1 Thes. 4:17 Occurs on earth, Zech. 14:4
Church goes to heaven, Jn. 14:3 Church returns with Christ, 1 Thes. 3:13
Judgment of believer’s works, 2 Cor. 5:10 Baptism of fire, Mt. 25:31-46
Removal of ministry of Spirit as a restrainer, 2 Thes. 2:6 Removal of Satan, Rev. 20:1-3
Change in believer’s body Phil. 3:21, Rom. 8:19-22 Change in the earth, Zech. 14:9
Christ appears as the Groom Christ appears as the Messiah
End of Church Age End of Jewish age
Israel still under fifth cycle of discipline Fifth cycle of discipline ended for Israel
Believer taken from the earth, 1 Thes. 4:16-18 Unbeliever taken from the earth, Mat. 24:37-43
Source of comfort, 1 Thes. 4:18 Source of terror, Rev. 6:15-17
C. The Principle of Daniel’s 70th Week, Dan. 9:2 cf. Dan. 9:24-25.
1. This refers to the 490 year prophecy for the continuation of the Jews from the time of Daniel.
2. Seven years still remain unfulfilled.
D. Rev. 3:10 teaches that Christ will keep the Church out of the Tribulation and guard it from the Tribulation.
E. The Imminency of the Rapture.
1. There is no prophecy left unfulfilled before the Rapture occurs: Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 1:7; 2 Thes. 2:1; Tit. 2:13.
2. The Rapture can take place at any time because all prophecy has been fulfilled.
3. This is not true of the Tribulation or Second Advent.
4. All of the events in their proper sequence must occur in the Tribulation before the Second Advent can occur.
5. Therefore, the Rapture and Second Advent are not coterminous, and neither can they occur at anytime during the Tribulation.
F. The activity of the Church in heaven demands its removal from the earth prior to its return.
1. The Church must be evaluated and receive her bridal garments, 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; Rev. 19:6-8.
2. It takes seven years for all the Church to be evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
G. The Rapture of the Church is for believers only.
1. Those “in Christ” in 1 Thes. 4:16-18 refers to all Church Age believers. The comfort described in verse 18 could not exist if the Church went through any part of the Tribulation.
2. In 2 Thes. 2:2, “the day of the Lord” refers to the Second Advent. In Phil. 2:16, “the day of Christ” refers to the Rapture.
a. False teachers had forged a letter saying that Paul was teaching that they were already in the Tribulation.
b. The correct translation indicates that it is impossible for the Rapture to occur in the Tribulation.
3. In 2 Thes. 2:6-7, the removal of the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit is impossible without the removal of the royal family at the same time. The events in this passage refer to the Tribulation.
H. The Remnant of the Tribulation.
1. When Jesus Christ returns to earth at the Second Advent, He is going to be accompanied by the royal family, 1 Thes. 3:13; Zech. 14:5; Jude 4.
2. Since this is true, it means that if Jesus Christ is going to deliver believers in Jerusalem and Church Age believers are coming back with Him, there must be a distinction between the two categories of believers.
3. Therefore, the believers accompanying Him have to have been removed earlier.
I. Under the law of hermeneutics, the Bible is a closed book unless you distinguish between Israel and the Church.