Premillennialism and the Tribulation Part VII: Posttribulationism (continued) -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 113:449 (Jan 1956)
Article: Premillennialism and the Tribulation Part VII: Posttribulationism (continued)
Author: John F. Walvoord


Premillennialism and the Tribulation
Part VII:
Posttribulationism (continued)

John F. Walvoord

Denial of imminency of the return of Christ. The teaching that Christ could come for His church at any moment is a doctrine of pretribulationism often singled out for attack by posttribulationists. Obviously, if the church must go through the tribulation, the imminent translation is a vain hope. Posttribulationists therefore labor either to deny imminency or to invest the word with a different meaning which does not require immediacy. Their denial of imminence is a major aspect of their argument against pretribulationism.

Posttribulationists are wont to give considerable space to this argument—more than can be allowed in rebuttal. (Cf. Robert Cameron, Scriptural Truth about the Lords Return, pp. 21-69.) The following arguments are usually included in the posttribulational statement: (1) the promise of Christ to Peter that he would die in old age (John 21:18–19); (2) various parables which teach a long interval between the time the Lord leaves and the time He returns (Matt 25:14–30); (3) intimations that the program for the present age is extensive (Matt 13:1–50; 28:19–20; Luke 19:11–27; Acts 1:5–8); (4) Paul’s long-distance plans for missionary journeys and his knowledge of his approaching death, a tacit denial that he believed in the imminent return of Christ; (5) the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, preceding the second advent (Luke 21:20–24); (6) the specific signs of the second advent

given to the disciples (Matt 24:125:30). The problem is further complicated for the pretribulationist in that nineteen hundred years have elapsed, indicating that it was, after all, the purpose of God to have an extensive period before the coming of the Lord. How then can these objections be answered?

At the outset it must be observed that most of the hindrances to the coming of the Lord at any moment in the first century no longer exist. A long period has elapsed; Peter and Paul have gone home to the Lord; only the specific signs of Matthew 2425 remain to be fulfilled. Most of the difficulties to an imminent return hav...

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