So Shall We Ever Be
"A little girl was asked by a scoffer of the Second Coming of Christ,
'How can you enjoy heaven? Christ is supposed to come down to earth!' The
scoffer's question bothered her only a moment before she replied, 'It really
doesn't matter, because wherever he goes I'll go with him!'"
(Tim LaHaye, 'The Beginning of the End,' p. 29).
This clever little girl has placed her finger on the spot where it unravels.
Biblically, after the rapture, believers are ever and always with the Lord:
"And thus we shall always be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians
4:17). Yet in this complex and difficult system, that's an awkward spot.
The promise is clear; they reiterate it themselves: "The Lord then
promises that together with our loved ones we will be with the Lord Jesus
wherever He goes--forever." (Hal Lindsey, 'The Terminal Generation,' p. 179). Dispensationalists
place Jesus on earth in the millenium, ruling from the throne of David
out of Jerusalem. Is that where they place the church also?
Let's go that route: "At the end of the seven years when Jesus Christ
returns, Revelation 19 speaks of His coming with clouds of his saints ---
and that's us. We will come back with Him and be co-rulers with Him on
the earth which He will set up." (Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation,
p. 177). Thus we have immortal, perfected human beings socializing with
mortal sinners -- as their rulers, of course. These mortal sinners are
the survivors of the dispensationalists' "holocaust:" "Men
who have studied events that were to occur shortly before the great holocaust known as Armageddon are amazed
as they see them happening before their eyes." (Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth, p. 34). But this
same situation is supposed to represent Israel's national glory: "For
God unconditionally promised Abraham's descendants a literal world-wide
kingdom over which they would rule through their Messiah who would reign
upon King David's throne." (Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth,
p. 165). In the racialist perspective of dispensationalism, "Abraham's
descendants" are solely those of Jewish ethnicity, Galatians 3:7 to
the contrary notwithstanding. So how can the Jews of the millenium simultaneously
be second-class citizens in their own homeland, ruled over in an apartheid
regime by immortal Christians, and also rulers?
Or we can go the 'mother ship' route. But then how can this little girl
be ever with Jesus, as the Bible promises?
When challenged to produce a scripture verse which reports more than one
of their seven judgment days, or both of their two second comings, the
dispensationalists are not silent. Thus Dr. LaHaye offers Titus 2:13 as
proof of two separate and distinct second comings:
"Titus 2:13 speaks of Christians at the Second Coming of Christ 'looking
for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and
our Savior Jesus Christ.' The blessed hope is a reference to the Rapture
of the Church -- the cause for great rejoicing by the Church. The Glorious
Appearing, however, refers to the public coming of Christ in his majesty
and power to rule the earth. They both refer to the Second Coming but to
different stages of that coming." (Tim LaHaye, 'The Beginning of the
the End,' p. 24).
It's interesting that Titus 2:13 comes up in discussions of the deity of
Jesus Christ, because of the phrase "the great God and our Savior
Jesus Christ." Granville Sharp's rule, which applies to two nouns
"of personal description" (Sharp's rule, quoted, p. 271, Greek
Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel B. Wallace), requires the reader, according
to some interpreters, to identify rather than distinguish "the great
God" and "our Savior Jesus Christ," because the first carries
the definite article, but not the second. Since Granville Sharp's rule
pertains only to nouns "of personal description," it does not
address the earlier case in the same verse, namely "that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing" [την μακαριαν
ελπιδα και επιφανειαν
της δοξης]. The first element
carries the article, not the second; but "hope" and "appearing"
are not personal nouns. However, it should be apparent that "and"
[kai] in Greek does not always intend to differentiate the two items it joins
together; sometimes it can identify them! There is no proof from his phraseology
that Paul intends to distinguish two events, rather than identify just one.
As should be evident, the arrival of the Judge is cause for rejoicing to
those who may expect to be exonerated, but only despair to those who may
The most dramatic feature of the dispensational system is the second chance it affords those 'left behind.' According to
this theory, those not caught up with the Lord when He returns are not necessarily lost, but get a second chance to decide for
Christ, becoming 'tribulation saints:'
"Scripture teaches that a fantastically large number of those 'many'
Jesus came to ransom are what we call 'Tribulation saints.' Yes, the Tribulation
is a time of fury and wrath and terrifying judgments, but it is also a
time of long-suffering grace and mercy." (Tim LaHaye, 'Are We Living
in the End Times?,' p. 158)
"Some interpreters have a hard time believing that the Tribulation
could usher in such an enormous soul harvest, but we are convinced this
text shows that more men and women will be won to Christ in this period
than at any time in history. (Tim LaHaye, 'Are We Living in the End Times?,'
No doubt this promise attracts those with unsaved friends and family. Fortunately
this feature is, not only the basis of a lucrative genre of the publishing
industry, but a testable prediction made by this theory.
"'Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to
you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second
watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house
had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also
be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. . .But if that servant says in his heart, "My master
is delaying his coming," and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master
of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two
and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.'" (Luke 12:37-46).
Notice that the disobedient servant does not get a second chance as the theory requires. Thus the theory is disconfirmed.
What is the acid test for finding Israel?: race, as the Christian Zionists
claim, or faith, as Paul teaches? One good way of determining this question
is to ask, what becomes of apostates? Those who renounce their ancestral
faith, or are believed to do so, still carry the same genes as when they
learned that faith on their mother's knee. Are the 'Jews for Jesus' still
Jews, or are they not? To the Jewish racial supremacist it is "blood"
which makes a Jew: "With the blood of King David flowing in their veins, these pioneers came back once again to
banish the local Goliaths." (John Hagee, 'Final Dawn over Jerusalem, p. 10). Once a Jew has found Jesus,
does he still have the "blood of David" coursing in his veins, or not?
Some answer, 'no:'
"At a protest fast at the Wailing Wall, the J.D.L.'s rabble-rousing Rabbi Meir Kahane announced, 'If you lose
a Jew in Auschwitz or through conversion, it's still a soul
lost.'" (Time Magazine,
'Unwelcome Immigrants,' Monday, March 26, 1973).
The idea that converts to Christianity cannot remain part of God's congregation
is deeply rooted in Judaism. The Judaism of the present day defined itself,
at Jamnia, with eighteen benedictions. What Christians are accused of is
what their founder was accused of: