Premillennialism and the Tribulation Part III: Pretribulationism (continued) -- By: John F. Walvoord
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Premillennialism and the Tribulation
Argument from imminency of the return of Christ. One of the precious promises left as a heritage to His disciples was the announcement of Christ in the Upper Room, “I come again.” The literalness of this passage, though often assailed, is obvious. Christ said: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). Just as literally as Christ went to heaven, so He will come again to receive His disciples to Himself and to take them to the Father’s house.
It is rather strange that the literal interpretation of this passage should be even questioned. It is perfectly obvious that that Christ’s departure from earth to heaven represented in the expression, “if I go,” was a literal departure. He went bodily from earth to heaven. By the same token, “I come again” should be taken as a literal and bodily return. While the present tense is used in the expression, “I come again,” its meaning is an emphatic future. The Authorized Version accordingly translates it, “I will come again.” A. T. Robertson describes it, “Futuristic present middle, definite promise of the second coming of Christ.”1 As in English, a present tense is sometimes used in the Greek of a certain future event pictured as if already coming to pass. A similar
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instance is the word of Christ to Mary in John 20:17, “I ascend unto my, Father and your Father, and my God and your God.” The present is used for an emphatic future action.
The revelation given in John 14 is to the point that the departure of Christ from earth to heaven is required in order to prepare a place for them in the Father’s house, used here as an expression equivalent to heaven. The promise to come again is connected with the return of Christ to heaven with the disciples. Christ is promising to take His disciples to the Father’s house when He comes again.
It should be carefully determined just what takes place at the time of the event here described: Christ returns to the earthly scene to take the disciples from earth to heaven. This is in absolute contrast to what takes place when Christ returns to establish His kingdom on earth. On that occasion, no one goes from earth to heaven. The saints in the millennial kingdom are on earth with Christ. The only interpretation that fits the statements of You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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