David Timm: The Preterist Physical Rapture of All the Living Saints is Necessary (2003)

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Some of the verses are referring to those OT saints who physically died and were currently in Paradise until the resurrection and rapture in 66AD or 67AD


The Preterist Physical Rapture of All the Living Saints is Necessary

By David Timm
2003


Just because the doctrine of the rapture has been twisted by Tim Lahaye and other futurists (by placing it in the future) doesn’t mean its unbiblical. It seems many preterists want to not only throw the baby out with the bath water, but they want to throw the tub out also! Just because futurists are wrong on many doctrines of scripture doesn’t mean they have everything wrong. Many non-rapture preterists bring up the “problem” with the silence surrounding the rapture.

Luke 18:8 “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

When Jesus said He would return He said that there would not be many Christians left (because of falling away or being killed by the Jews and Romans). I don’t think there were many Christians left to be raptured when Christ returned. Most of the Jewish Christians were in the town of Pella (the mountains) when the rapture occured (Matt 24:16) so no one was able to see it occur. As for the rest of the believers, the rapture was not able to be seen, expected, or understood by unbelievers. Jesus taught this and that’s all that matters. Unbelievers cannot understand spiritual things like the rapture. One example of this is Luke 12:46 “the master of that slave will come on a day when he DOES NOT EXPECT HIM and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers”.

If there wasn’t a physical rapture then Paul was not telling the truth when he said (of course Paul didn’t lie)”1 Cor 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all SLEEP (2837), but we will all be changed (Strong’s Greek)”.

Notice, Paul didn’t say “we will not all sleep but some day after Christ returns we will”. There also is a strong possibility that John was being told he would POSSIBLY not see physical death in John 21:21-23. Please read the following verses carefully (from the NASB).

Matthew 27:52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep (2837) were raised;

John 11:11 This He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep (2837); but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.”

Acts 7:60 Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep (2837).

Acts 13:36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep (2837), and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;

1 Cor 11:30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (2837).

1 Cor 15:6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep (2837);

1 Cor 15:18 Then those also who have fallen asleep (2837) in Christ have perished.

1 Thess 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep (2837), so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep (2837) in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep (2837).

2 Peter 3:4 “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep (2837), all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

What does “fell asleep” or “sleep” mean in the Greek (koimao)?

2837 koimao {koy-mah’-o}
from 2749
AV – sleep 10, fall asleep 4, be asleep 2, fall on sleep 1,
be dead 1; 18
1) to cause to sleep, put to sleep
2) metaph.
2a) to still, calm, quiet
2b) to fall asleep, to sleep
2c) to die

Did Paul mean that they would not all take a nap before Christ came? Of course not! All these verses refer to physical death. True, some of the verses are referring to those OT saints who physically died and were currently in Paradise until the resurrection and rapture in 66AD or 67AD (1 Cor 15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who ARE asleep.) So how do we know that “sleep” doesn’t mean the actual act of going to Paradise but only physically dying? Look at the references above of the NT saints (after Christ’s resurrection) going to sleep.

Let’s look at some verses.

1 Thess 4:15 “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and REMAIN until the coming of the Lord, will not precede (meet the Lord before) those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

Cor 15:51 “Behold, I tell you a mystery; WE will NOT ALL SLEEP, but we will all be changed”

Was Paul saying that some of these NT saints would go to Paradise to wait until the resurrection? No, the NT makes it very clear what happens to the NT saint (after Christ’s resurrection) when they die.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies

2 Cor 5:6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord– 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight– 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Revelation 6:9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar (in heaven) the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained

Rev 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand (this all is during the transition period, 30-70AD); and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead (OT saints) did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.

Paul was clearly teaching that some of his believing audience would never physically die. This is because they were physically raptured in 66AD or 67AD. If any of my fellow Christians see any problems with what I have just shared please let we know. I don’t see any other possible view other then a physical rapture because of what I have shared with the Greek.



Dave, thank you for this excellent (and, I believe, Biblically sound) article. I am in agreement with you, as you know. You might find “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” interesting, as a further amplification on the period immediately following the events of 70 AD.


I am glad to see that there is an understanding in the difference in the rapture and the second coming. One is an imminent return of Christ (rapture). The other is a coming that can be predicted (2nd Coming). Now before you think I am a date setter, let me explain. I believe that Christ will return 7 years to the day after the anti-Christ signs a peace treaty with Israel. I don’t believe that Christians alive now will be there to see that. So I can’t set a date for the return of Christ because I don’t know when the first event (the peace treaty) will occur. For those mathematical minds think of it this way:
Christ Return = X + 7, where X = the date of the signing of the peace treaty

Also, I noticed that my presence has been missed. The reason that my brother and I have not been on the form is because we are busy students. I hope ya’ll continue to “run off” other thinking minds. I don’t mean thinking minds to be a pat on the back; rather think of it as an honest assessment.

In His Grip,
Daniel Ice


Hi, Daniel! Are you, by any chance, related to Thomas Ice? Just curious.

Thanks for the “thinking minds” compliment. We do our best (at least, I think that was intended as a compliment).

Any particular, Biblical reason you reject the FP paradigm itself, Daniel? Thanks in advance for the further clarifications.

JM


Hi JM,

I am Thomas Ice’s son.

There are lots of reason I disagree with FP. The foundational reason is that in order to arrive at the FP view you have to believe that the Church has replaced Israel. Romans 11:1 “I say then, God has not reject His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” I know many believe that God is fulfilling His unconditional promises to Israel via the Church. This makes me ask the question what keeps him from reinterpreting or changing the Church out for another party. What prevents God from giving our salvation to another party? Why can’t he reinterpret the terms of our salvation?

These are some questions that bother me with the FP view.

In His grip,
Daniel Ice


Daniel…you are taking Paul’s comments out of context. Paul was addressing both Jews and Gentiles in the church of Rome. The Gentiles were proposing the total rejectiong of Jews by God! Clearly that is wrong! God did NOT reject Israel!! They have the same inheritance in the Messiah as the Gentiles!

I never understand how someone can not see the clear picture that Paul draws of the tree and the grafting process in Romans. How can one read that description and continue to say that Jews that were broken off are still part of the tree?? How can one read “..they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants” and still claim that Jewish genes have a relevance today still!

Don Preston presented so much persuasive evidence against this! The very fact that today’s Israel is attacked by other countries and by terrorists on their most holy days and feasts proves without a doubt they are no longer God’s chosen people!


Virgil,

Thanks for actually addressing an issue that I have raised. I would love it if someone else would address some of the other questions that I have raised, such as what is the point of a preterist rapture?

I don’t believe that I am taking that verse out of context. Paul is clearly talking about national Israel. If you read after the passage about Gentiles being grafted into the tree you see that there is a distinction between Jew and Gentile. Not in the method of salvation, which is what 10:12 is referring to, but in the group of people to be saved. 11:25 says that Israel’s current state is that of a “partial hardening” until the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” The Paul makes a very bold claim. 11:26-27 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it it written, “The Deliverer will come out from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is MY covenant with THEM, when I take away their sins.”

Paul is claiming that ALL of national Israel will be saved. If Israel is the same as the church then you would have to read this as a partial hardening of the church, and that all of the church will be saved. That does not make much sense, since salvation is a requirement to be part of the church.

Paul makes some very bold claims in this chapter. He says the only reason gentiles have been grafted in was to make the Jews jealous for their God (11:11). Also gentiles have “been shown mercy because of their disobedience ” (11:30).

In response to Israel not being God’s chosen people because of the attacks they have suffered this is a very weak argument. This whole passage teaches that God simply chooses Israel. He doesn’t give a reason why He does this. Rather he just simply does. God sent Israel into exile many times in the past. He sent attacks on Holy Days and allowed them to be punished for the fault of 1 individual, such as in the case of Achan (Joshua 7). Israel was not lost then and is not lost now because most of the covenants are not dependent on Israel; rather they are dependent solely on God.

Also this is the questions I want to understand more then anything:What prevents God from giving our salvation to another party? Why can’t he reinterpret the terms of our salvation?

Thanks in advance for you answers.

In His Grip,
Daniel


Daniel,

I see no use for a “preterist rapture”. I disagree with this idea, and I see it as pandering to the futurist camp, however, unlike the dispensationalism camp, I encourage debate. The truth should be able to stand alone – coming from Cedarville, you know full well what I am talking about. Debate on theological matters is a foreign concept to some of the folks… I do give your dad a lot of credit for participating in debates though!

With that said, you brought up Romans 11:26. Again, I want to point out the context of that verse. Yes, Paul said “ALL Israel will be saved”, but he just finished a long dissertation on what this “Israel” is all about. Also, this “Israel” that Paul talks about would be hardened until “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” – I personally see this in the context of wild branches (gentiles) being grafted into the root of the tree after the natural branches (Jews) were broken off for their unbelief.

Paul is going to great lengths to demonstrate that natural branches that were once broken off would be much more productive when grafted into the tree from which they were broken off. Yes, Jews would have had (and maybe even today continue to have) an easier time accepting Christ as the Messiah. Has Israel been cast away completely? No…definitely not!

If you are suggesting that the only reason for Gentiles being grafted into the tree was to make Israel jealous, I think you are skating on thin ice! The promise for salvation was made by God to all mankind way before God chose Israel…and even if you disagree with my identifying of this “tree” that we have been talking about, you will agree that with grafting comes salvation and life.

You asked the question “what prevents God from giving our salvation to another party?” I am not sure why are you asking me this. God never promised an exclusive spiritual salvation to Israel only…in fact, I am challenging you to produce some evidence to show when and where God gave the promise of life only to Israel. The Ressurection from the Dead was the climax of the Jewish Law, and Jesus said several times that he came to fulfill the Law. If you are operating consistently under your paradigm, then you will have to reject the idea that you will eventually receive life from God, because you simply are not a Jew, therefore YOU ARE NOT(AND WILL NEVER BE) SAVED! These are some of the consequences of your theology. If Christ was indeed thwarted to fulfill his salvation plan by Israel, then He never fulfilled the Law, thus we continue to operate under the Law at this very moment!

You also mentioned God sending Israel into exile when disobedient. Every instance of restoration to the land was only when Israel obeyed God. Based on your contention that today’s Israel is the Israel of the Old Testament, you must be suggesting that they are in a covenantal relationship with God, obeying the Law as commanded?

I realize this conversation is no longer related to the article, so if you want to move this to the Forum, that would be fine.


Romans 11 is one of the most misunderstood chapters in the Scriptures, Daniel, and your interpretation of its meaning is a prime example of the reason for the widespread confusion. You’ve ignored the context. The chapter begins with a reference to Spiritual Israel. THEY were the TRUE “Nation of Israel” in God’s eyes – NOT those who were Israelites by virtue of physical birth alone.

The “branches who were grafted out of the vine” weren’t just the average Jews of those days. Rather, this is a reference to THE “ELECT” who are the subject of this passage. Some of THEM had been “grafted out of the vine” (temporarily), and Gentiles had been grafted in in their place, in order to PROMPT them to respond in faith and repentance to the Truth as they were predestined to do. When all of THESE “elect” saints were finally converted from Old Covenant Judaism to the Truth (Christianity), and had joined the Church, THEN Rom. 11:26 would be fulfilled. All of SPIRITUAL Israel would be saved at that time. This actually occurred shortly before AD 70. The last of the “elect” of THOSE days was saved and the “end” came.

Spiritual Israel ushered in the New Covenant Kingdom of Heaven. The final generation of the Old Covenant saints (the NT Church) was also the initial, founding generation of the New Covenant “world” and Kingdom. The Scriptures are very, very clear on these things, Daniel. I have addressed your father’s comments on these things in the past, and would be most happy to evaluate his views publicly at any time in the future, again.

God can’t “reinterpret the terms of our salvation” or “give our salvation to another”, Daniel, because He remains true to His Covenants (including that made with us, His New Covenant People). God didn’t reinterpret His Covenant with His Old Covenant People either. In Deut. 28:15-68, God carefully and clearly enunciated the final curses and eternal destruction He would ultimately bring upon His Old Covenant People for rejecting Him. These curses were brought to bear upon them in 70 AD – TO THE LETTER. Notice at the end of the chapter that there is NO mention of “restoration” at any point after these curses were brought upon them. That is because they were TERMINAL. Final. Eternal.

“17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deut. 30:17-19)

The Old Covenant Jews did NOT “choose life”. They chose idolatry, Law-olatry and death – for them AND their descendants.

“43 So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. 44 The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” (Joshua 21:43-45).

So you see, Daniel, God DID fulfill His Covenant with His Old Covenant People. THEY, however, violated their Covenant with Him repeatedly, bringing about their inevitable, eternal destruction.

The Scriptures are exceedingly clear. There is no room for equivocation on these things.


Tim King and the transmillennialists (who are preterists) have presented some info in their webcasts supporting a destinction between “All Israel” and the Jew/Gentile church of the 1st century.

Clearly, Daniel in such an instance preterism can still stand wiithin the bounds of the Church vs. Israel issue of Romans 11. This shouldn’t be your major obstacle with preterism.


I would certainly agree with this. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Paul’s illustration could be only applied to the first century….i haven’t made up my mind on that just yet. Certainly, “the fullness of the gentiles” falls well in that time frame.


G’day Dave

The following is my reply [with one or two variations] to your response to me from John’s article ‘The Ten Virgins’ which I posted a number of days back. Since much of what you’ve put in the above article is the same in content or sentiment I thought I might cut n’ paste my response here accordingly – as you asked for feedback.

In relation to 1Cor 15:51-53 you said:

preteristdave: Paul here clearly states that not all the believers he is speaking to would experience physical death. If they would have died anytime after the last trumpet was sounded then Paul’s statement “we will not all sleep (physically die)” would not be accurate. The non-rapture preterists has to either ignore these words or say that “we will not all sleep” is referring to only the actual event which occurs when the last trumpet is sound. But nowhere can this be supported by the text, it has to be forced upon it.

How can you say it is not supported by the text – the whole issue is what happens at the Parousia, the Last Trump. Paul is clearly saying that in regards to the Parousia – that not all will die before it occurs. He is not talking about issues past it, but specific to it, so to say that non-rapture preterists ignore the text is wrong.

Clearly from Scripture some firstfruit saints would live through the “Resurrection” – note I said resurrection, not rapture, a non-biblical term.

So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Lk 18:29-30

The “present time” was that soon to end Old Covenant age, the “age to come” was not that of the heaven when you die eternal life of futurism, but that of the consummated New Covenant age. Something some saints would live into i.e., post Parousia.

that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us [audience relevance] in Christ Jesus. Eph 2:7

It was not a necessity that the pre Parousia saints die to experience the “the ages to come”.

preteristdave: There is no reason to believe that Paul’s language is non-literal in this passage. Every preterist I’ve read believes that the “dead will be raised” and will “meet the Lord in the air” in this verses is speaking of the literal snatching away of the dead OT saints from Paradise to heaven.

Literal yes, but physical no.

Re Jn 21:22-24 you said:

preteristdave: “If I want him to remain UNTIL I come” can mean that John would possibly live until Christ’s Parousia and in addition it could mean that John would not be living on earth after the last trumpet sounded. Jesus’ language makes it sound like there is a possibility that John would not be on earth anymore after He came.

This is mere speculation. Surely you’ve read the arguments re UNTIL and the Lord’s Supper – UNTIL does not necessitate a terminus. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1Tim 4:13. UNTIL/TILL is a time referent.

preteristdave: Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus here makes it clear that not only the disciples who died before Christ’s Parousia would sit on thrones in heaven but all twelve of the disciples would. This requires a physical rapture before the judging of the tribes.

It only requires a physical rapture because your assumptions demand so. There is nothing clear here saying anything about “Heaven” with regards to thrones etc – we already know in Christ they were ruling and reigning in life, in the heavenlies [Eph 1:20; 2:6; Rom 5:17], but the judging of the 12 Tribes of Israel was indicative of their [the apostles] spiritual authority from Pentecost to Parousia in the age of the Regeneration AD30-70, culminating in the Restitution of all things i.e., the Presence of God to humanity [Act 3:21; Heb 9:10]

preteristdave: At the moment of the rapture and resurrection those in sheol went into the Holy of Holies, the living believers were raptured and went into the Holy of Holies, and the believers in heaven under the altar (Rev 6:9) went into the Holy of Holies where the Father is. This event did cause a changed stance before God. At this event all the believers also received their heavenly dwellings (bodies) (1 Cor 15:35-58). This is why Paul said they would put off their mortal bodies and put on immortal bodies while they were going to meet the Lord in the air.

Again you are importing your notion of “rapture and resurrection” – there was no such thing, only resurrection. And what occurred with the Resurrection?

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 1Tim 4:1

There was judgment passed on both the dead and the living when He appeared in the consummated kingdom. And the judgment was “not guilty – forgiven!” This was the change in stance before God. There was no 3rd group of true believers, that is a fabrication.

preteristdave: We as preterists both have the same problem but with your view of the “rapture” event you need have an explanation for the problem of silence after the Parousia. With the physical rapture the silence of the Parousia is not the problem but the silence of the rapture itself is the problem.

No, my view does not have the problem as does yours, as I do not promote a rapture. You must be ignoring the calamity of Jerusalem’s destruction if you think there is silence, for this was the temporal manifestation of what 1Tim 4:1 et al was all about.

preteristdave: Luke 18:8 “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

When Jesus said He would return He said that there would not be many Christians left (because of falling away or being killed by the Jews and Romans). I don’t think there were many Christians left to be raptured when Christ returned. Most of the Jewish Christians were in the town of Pella (the mountains) when the rapture occured (Matt 24:16) so no one was able to see it occur.

Jesus said nothing of the sort. I think your view is causing you to take many liberties with the text that simply are not there, speculating where it suites. Verse 5 of Lk 18 shows that perseverance was the key thought in this passage – persistence as in “faithfulness” i.e., when Son of Man comes, will He find faithfulness in the land?”. It is the same word as found in Rom 3:3 talking about God’s faithfulness. The issue was, would persecution pip perseverance at the post? Or as Jesus said elsewhere: “but he who endures to the end shall be saved” i.e., delivered.

preteristdave: As for the rest of the believers, the rapture was not able to be seen, expected, or understood by unbelievers. Unbelievers cannot understand spiritual things like the rapture.

C’mon, spiritual eyes would not be needed to see what you are advocating – a physical rapture. Why should it not also be expected that a physical Coming on physical clouds be advocated as well? – in keeping with consistency.

davo

And from your article above:

preteristdave: Notice, Paul didn’t say “we will not all sleep but some day after Christ returns we will”. There also is a strong possibility that John was being told he would POSSIBLY not see physical death in John 21:21-23. Please read the following verses carefully (from the NASB).

Well of course he didn’t, as that wasn’t his focus – the changing of the covenants was the major tenet Paul’s teaching, not some physical whisking away. That was what Paul meant by “but we shall be changed-” from the Old to the New, that’s what the putting on of immortality and incorruption was all about – the putting on in finality of that which was promised, of that which they awaiting. Thus being fully clothed.

preteristdave: Paul was clearly teaching that some of his believing audience would never physically die. This is because they were physically raptured in 66AD or 67AD. If any of my fellow Christians see any problems with what I have just shared please let we know. I don’t see any other possible view other then a physical rapture because of what I have shared with the Greek.

Again, neither Paul nor Jesus taught any such thing. There focus was the ‘Day of the Lord’ and what that would mean for those remaining up to that time – that they would not precede in resurrection those who had previously died. I think if a little Greek can be a little dangerous then stick with English. 🙂

These are just my thoughts anyway.

davo


Davo, thank you for your response. You have listed some good arguments and I plan on responding to them the best I can in an article which will also include my response to John Noe’s article which Virgil recently posted. I plan on posting this article a little over a week from now. I’m a student of the Word just like you and I definitely don’t have all the answers. I regret using such strong language with this article “is necessary”, “any other possible view”, etc. I would definitely accept the common preterist view of this text before going back to dispensationalism or partial preterism because I believe that only the full preterist view of the scriptures is biblical. Preterists need to study for ourselves and learn from one another to what effects the full preterist view has on the rest of the scriptures.

David


Dear David,and Davo,THANKS for doing such a great job of elucidating your points. This will be tremendously helpful for many to begin to see the truth.I’m still studying and praying to find what I believe…but you both make excellent points.Thanks again,dave

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