Almost 9 in 10 pastors see at least some current events matching those Jesus said would occur shortly before he returns to Earth, according to a new survey focused on Christian eschatology, or the study of end times.
In Matthew 24, Jesus’ disciples asked him about signs of his coming, and he responded by speaking of “birth pains” that would precede his return.
Darrell Bock, New Testament studies professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, noted that the Bible has several lists of potential signs of Jesus’ return, like the Olivet Discourse passages of Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21, and some include concepts of global sicknesses. Read More …
Opinion: How can the return of Jesus Christ be discussed without first discussing Jesus’ return for His church? One event follows the other.
The discussion of the second coming of the Savior in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) can be confusing to new believers. Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience that would experience 21 judgments as found in the Book of the Revelation. He was not speaking to the church.
Three verses verify:
Mathew 24:9 “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” is clearly found in Zechariah 12:10 and relates to redeeming the Jews upon His return.
Mathew 24:15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place”, the 3rd temple will be in Jerusalem
Matthew 24:16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains”, clearly points to Jews fleeing Antichrist and not the church fleeing Antichrist.
It is the time of trouble for Jacob (Jer. 30:7) but not for the redeemed church.
A clearer understanding of Christ’s rapture and return are found in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. Paul devoted 1 Thessalonians to the rapture and 2 Thessalonians to the second coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thess. 2:3-4 NIV
Paul was consoling his followers.
Because of intense persecution, the early Jewish believers thought they had missed the rapture and were in the Day of the Lord or the 7 year tribulation.In 1 Thess. 1:10 Paul had already taught them “wait for his Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from (Greek ek, ‘out of’) the coming wrath.”
And he described exactly how it would happen in 1 Thess. 4:16-17“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
It is a conundrum then that only a little over 1/3 of Protestant pastors believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church source and 98% avoid teaching it.See more on Doctrines that Divide Christians in Bible Prophecy 101 here.