A Case for the Pretribulation Rapture by Craig Blaising

The first view presented in Three Views on the Rapture is the Pretrib view.  Many know Craig Blaising from his work within Progressive Dispensationalism.  I must say that Blaising presents a better case for the pretrib view than I have ever read.  If, when I was studying the scriptures in search of the pretrib rapture, I had come across this presentation, I may have been persuaded that the view was at least plausible.  Instead, the pretribbers I talked to and notes that I read simply did not make a good case.

Blaising realizes, like most scholars now, that the battle is being fought over the nature and timing of the Day of the LORD.  He starts out recognizing the link between the rapture as described in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and the term “Day of the LORD” in I Thessalonians 5:2.  Already you can see that Blaising is not inserting a false dichotomy in the chronology of the passage.  Now Blaising has a case to prove concerning the nature of Daniel’s 70th week.  He asserts that the entire seven year period is the Day of the LORD which includes the great tribulation.  He goes back to Daniel to lay the foundation which he states makes the Day of the LORD to be an extended period of time (or complex event) which includes a future antichrist, tribulation, and God’s wrath.  Here is what he writes:

The picture of the “time of the end” in Daniel is built up and reinforced by repetition and overlapping elements placed into a common structure that has an identifiable chronology and basic narrative sequence. Generally, it is the time of the end, the time of wrath (8:17, 19; 11:36, 40; 12:7, 9). Specifically, it is “one seven” – a seven-year period, with special attention on the time from the middle of this seven-year period to the end (9:27), a duration also specified as “time, times and half a time” (7:25; 12:7), 1,290 days (12:11), and “later in the time of wrath” (8:19).

Blaising will build on this foundation as he turns to the Olivet Discourse and the Thessalonians epistles.  He points out the overall similarity in the language in the Olivet Discourse noting tribulation, wrath (which he gets from Luke 21:23), and even language suggesting there may be an antichrist in the phrase the abomination of desolation.  He makes a point to highlight Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 which most pretribbers do.  Since no man knows the day of the hour, this means that this seven year complex event known as the Day of the LORD will begin sometime in the future.  The conclusion is that the rapture will begin that seven year period.

Instead of dividing the Thessalonian epistles from the Olivet Discourse, Blaising embraces the idea that they are talking about the same coming of Christ.  This is new territory for pretribbers, as far as I know.  Blaising carries over the idea of a complex event to the Thessalonian epistles, still holding that the rapture is what begins this entire period.  He even goes to far as to say that “our being gathered together unto Him” in II Thessalonians 2:1 is the rapture.  He addresses the chronology of II Thessalonians 2, specifically the language which states that the coming and gathering will not occur until the man of sin is revealed.  Here Blaising’s argument gets weak.  He points to a questionable interpretation of the passage, and suggests that Paul is really pointing back to an earlier oral tradition or the first letter.  In this case, Blaising is assuming that they already knew about a pretrib rapture.  After all, he has just explained it from Daniel and the Olivet Discourse.

In moving to the book of Revelation, Blaising starts with the seals noting their similarity to the birth pangs as described in the Olivet Discourse.  For Blaising, this is further proof that the Day of the LORD is a complex event which includes many things.  When we arrive at the sixth seal, the Day of the LORD has already come because the living creatures have summoned these events at seals one through four commanding “Come”.  So the Day of the LORD is not portended at the sixth seal, but is acknowledged as what has come to be.  The conclusion is that the rapture must have occurred before any of these events since it occurs before the Day of the LORD.

An argument from silence, Revelation 3:10 (I will keep you from the hour of testing),  and dispensationalism (the distinction between Israel and the church) all are mentioned in somewhat abbreviated terms.  These issues are not foundational for Blaising’s position, which is sort of refreshing.  He does explain how these issues give pretrib credence and an overall coherence.  I will give high marks to how he interacts with preterism as he delves into the Olivet Discourse.  I feel he did a better job than the other two presenters in that aspect.  I was curious as to why he was making an issue out of how to dissect the passages that speak of events that were fulfilled in 70AD.  When I read Moo’s perspectives I realized why.

Summing up, I will say that this has been the most credible presentation of the pretrib position that I have ever read.  However, as the critiques will show, there is much to be desired as it stacks up against other views.  I wasn’t the only one who noticed the weakness in II Thessalonians 2.  I will post the critiques in another post.  Kudos to Blaising for presenting pretrib in such a way that it could be debated on a level playing field with Prewrath and Posttrib.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

This entry was posted in Eschatology, Pretribulationalism. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Case for the Pretribulation Rapture by Craig Blaising

  1. Ruth says:

    How can the “day of the Lord” start when the tribulation starts? Several OT and NT passages declare that the sun and moon are darkened BEFORE that “day” can even begin. Even Darby and Scofield never dared to stretch this “day” forward and make it coincide with the start of the trib. Blaising etc. know that the rapture is tied to the start of the day of the Lord, so they feel they are forced to stretch forward this “day” and tie it with their rapture which was stretched forward in the 1800s by early dispensationalists in Britain. (Before 1830 the rapture had always been just as aspect of the final advent to earth.) Readers might enjoy Googling “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts” and “Edward Irving is Unnerving” to see some background on all this. Ruth

  2. Trudy says:

    It is obvious that Dr. Blaising and other slavish pretrib rapture defenders do NOT want anyone to know how much deliberate dishonesty has riddled the Johnny-come-lately (no, not a reference to John Darby) pre-tribulation rapture “comfort” view. They do not want anyone to read, or even know about, a bombshell and thoroughly documented article found on Google entitled “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty.” The Powered by Christ Ministries site even has a colorful version of it which shows portraits of leading pretrib teachers from Darby, Irving, and Scofield down to Van Impe, Ice, and Jeffrey among others! I realize that Blaising, Ice, Jeremiah and others are greatly indebted to Dallas Seminary and Dr. Walvoord – but has anyone noticed “Walvoord’s Posttrib Varieties – Plus” and “The Unoriginal John Darby” on Google? Just my two bits.

    • hpmat@q.com says:

      MacPherson’s bashing of the pre-trib position in “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” are excerpts from his books that are riddled with errors and heresy. Several scholars (including those who are not pre-trib) have found his research outlandish and sometimes completely wrong. Having studied eschatology extensively myself, including the positions on the rapture, I find no other conclusion but a pre-tribulational rapture to be Biblically sound. While that’s my direct statement, pointing fingers at Walvoord or Jeffrey or LaHaye doesn’t make the pre-tribulational view any less viable than me pointing out the many flaws in the writings of MacPherson or Hank Hannegraff or Irvin Baxter or David Chilton or Gary DeMar with their post-tribulational views. The whole “Johnny come lately” idea is so laughable that it shows a deep misunderstanding of Biblical history and the history of the church PRIOR to the Catholics taking charge and killing anyone who would dare speak of an imminent return of Christ.

  3. Mel says:

    Here’s another MacPherson “goodie” that I found on Google: “Pretrib Rapture Scholar Wannabes.” Tranquilizers, anyone?

  4. Irv says:

    [Just found this rapture shortie on the informative web. Enjoy.]

    Morgan Edwards’ Rapture View

    by George Wilson

    In 1995, in a 24-page booklet on 18th century pastor Morgan Edwards, evangelist John Bray claimed that Edwards taught a pretrib rapture in his 1788 book titled “Two Academical Exercises….”
    Those echoing Bray include Thomas Ice who wrote “Morgan Edwards: Another Pre-Darby Rapturist.” Edwards’ 1788 work can be found on the internet.
    In order to claim that Edwards held to pretrib, candidates for the I-can-find-pretrib-earlier-in-church-history-than-you-can medal – including Bray, Ice, LaHaye, Frank Marotta etc. – have intentionally covered up Edwards’ “historicism,” his belief that the tribulation had already been going on for hundreds of years. (How can anyone in the tribulation go back in time and look for a pretrib rapture?)
    Here’s proof of Edwards’ historicism and its companion “day-year” theory which can view the 1260 tribulation “days” as “years.”
    On p. 14 Edwards described the Ottoman Empire (which was then already 400 years old) as the Rev. 13:11 “beast.” On p. 20 he defined “Antichrist” as the already 1000-year-old “popery” and the “succession of persons” known as “Popes” – his other Rev. 13 “beast.” He necessarily viewed Rev. 13’s 1260-day period as 1260 literal years in order to provide enough time for his two “beasts.”
    On p. 19, while discussing “the ministry of the witnesses” of Rev. 11, he allotted “about 204 years” for their “years to perform” – years impossible to fit into a 3.5-year period!
    What about Edwards’ rapture? On pp. 21-23 he wrote about “the appearing of the son of man in the clouds, coming to raise the dead saints and change the living, and to catch them up to himself….The signs of Christ’s appearing in the clouds will be extraordinary ‘wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines,’ &. (Matth. xxiv. 6-8.)….The signs of his coming, in the heavens will be ‘the trump of God [I Thess. 4:16], vapor and smoke, which will darken the sun and moon [Matt. 24:29],’…and also cause those meteors called ‘falling stars’….
    Right after his combined rapture/advent (!), Edwards said: “And therefore, now, Antichrist…will…counterfeit the preceding wonders in heaven…causing ‘fire to come down from heaven’….And that godhead he will now assume, after killing the two witnesses….Now the great persecution of the Jews will begin…for time, times, and half a time….”
    Thomas Ice’s article on Edwards (listed at start) quoted only the first 27 words in the above quotation which end with “to himself” – and you can see why pretrib defender Ice stopped quoting there! (For an Ice-covered piece, Google “Pretrib Rapture Pride.”)
    Not only had most of Edwards’ historicist tribulation occurred before his combined rapture/advent, but incredibly his Antichrist kept raging for 3.5 years even after the Matt. 24 signs! No wonder his tutor advised him to correct his thesis!
    To read Edwards’ complete work, Google “[PDF] Two Academical Exercises…www.breadoflifebiblestudy.com.”
    For more info on Edwards, Google “McPherson Page (thebibletruth.org).” Also Google “Deceiving and Being Deceived” by historian Dave MacPherson.

  5. Pingback: Three Views on the Rapture ~ Links | The Orange Mailman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s