Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Church Is Not In Rev. 4-18?

One of the arguments the pre-trib theory presents is that the word Church is not used in Revelation chapters 4–18 because we aren't there, but are raptured beforehand. I addressed this issue in my book on pages 21-22, but I just read a response to this argument that has more detail, and a few points I had overlooked. Check it out. It’s great and fairly short.


Dennis said...

Bondservant... a very convicting noun. How can we claim to be bondservants when we (as John Bunyan said) love the comfort of religion that "walks in silk slippers". Having just watched two movies about Jim Eliot and Nate Saint... "Through Gates of Splendor" and "End of a Spear", I wonder if I even have what it takes to endure persecution as a true bondservant of the Lord of Glory.

H. L. Nigro said...

Poor Samuel Tregelles. He made this argument 150 years ago, when the pretrib view was first taking hold. Too bad more people didn't listen. Here's what he wrote in "The Hope of Christ's Second Coming," by Samuel Tregelles in 1864:

Differences of names and designations do not prove differences of classes; and this is especially the case when there is some figurative expression used, or some collective term for a corporate body. Thus, in Eph. 1:22,23, the Church is Christ’s “body,” and, in the same epistle (Eph. 5:25–32), it is His spouse, the bride for whom He gave Himself, “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to himself a glorious Church.” The same epistle speaks of believers as “saints” and “faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1), and yet the children of God may be equally truly reminded that they are servants of a Master in heaven (Eph. 6:8). It is from the assumption that different terms or different figures must denote different bodies of persons, instead of different relations of the same persons, that the opinion has been framed of the Church’s exclusion from various Scriptures.

Thus, when the Revelation is said to be given “to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass,” it has been said that the term “servants” shows that it is not intended for us, who are not servants, but sons of God, and brethren of Christ. This argument has been used by those who would evade the testimony of this book. But have such never read how the apostles of the Lord use and claim the term servant as pertaining to themselves?

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle” (Rom. 1:1).

“James, a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1).

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ” (Jude 1).

And Christ sent the Revelation itself “unto His servant John” (1:1); who also is addressed by the angel, “I am thy fellow servant” (Rev. 22:9).

Whoever, then, thinks of taking some essentially higher standing than that of those who in privilege are sons, but who can rejoice in being also servants, shows that his thoughts on this subject have not been formed from the teaching of the Word of God.