Monday, May 18, 2009

Riddlebarger on the Age to Come

Riddlebarger's discussion of the "secret rapture" is very helpful. He wrote,
The pretribulational rapture is not, contrary to the Dispensationalist claim, inductively developed from the biblical text. It is based upon a selective and a priori-laden use of the biblical data. And, if fundamental assumptions are false, it is highly likely that any conclusions reached based upon them are also false.
One of his major arguments against the Dispensational view is that,
It is clearly prophesied in the Old Testament that God's redemptive purposes include Gentiles (Gen 12:3, 22:18; Isa 49:6). Therefore, the church is not a "mystery" during this age because the mystical body of Jesus Christ, the church, is the fulfillment of God's eternal purposes.
Riddlebarger further argues that the Apostle Paul was not awaiting some new dispensation where physical Jews get some special kingdom other than the one promised to the church, but instead something totally different.
According to Paul, creation will be liberated from its bondage when the sons of God are revealed, demonstrating that Jesus Christ will not only deliver His people from eschatological wrath but also will deliver the created order as well.
Riddlebarger is right.
Paul was not postmillenial. He was not a preterist. Nor was he a dispensationalist or a premillenarian. Paul looked for one climactic future event, the return of Jesus Christ, the blessed hope.
This is so obvious throughout the New Testament, I am surprised how we all miss it. This shows the power of traditions and their ability to blind us. Perhaps listening to our forebears in the faith would be wise. All of the ancient and reformational confessions speak about the second coming. It is quick, and final. As the Nicene Creeds states,
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Jesus is coming to judge the "quick and the dead". This coming will bring eternal life and the eternal age to come.
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

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