The Future Work of Christ Part I: The Coming of Christ for His Church -- By: John F. Walvoord
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The Future Work of Christ
The Coming of Christ for His Church
Many Scriptures testify to the fact that the present age will culminate in the coming of the Lord for His church. According to 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, this event will close the age with the resurrection of the dead in Christ, and living saints will be “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air and thereafter “be with the Lord.” In view of the extensive consideration of Biblical truth relating to this subject in a previous publication by the author,1 the present discussion will be limited to the important aspects of the doctrine. Three lines of truth relating to the coming of the Lord for His church will be considered: (1) the rapture of the church, i.e., the coming of Christ for His church; (2) Christ in relation to the church in heaven; (3) the second coming to the earth.
Four Views of the Rapture
Four major interpretations have been advanced by those accepting the inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures. These views are concerned not only with the character and events related to the second coming, but primarily deal with the question of the relation of these events to the predicted time of tribulation or trouble which will sweep all the world and especially the nation Israel. The four views relate the coming of Christ for His church and His second coming to the earth in relation to this time of tribulation as follows: (1) the posttribulation view, that Christ will come for His church as a phase of His return to the earth and that it will occur after the tribulation; (2) the midtribulation view, which holds that Christ will come in the middle of the seven-year period
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predicted by Daniel, but before the great tribulation of the last three and a half years preceding Christ’s return to earth; (3) the partial-rapture view, that Christ will catch out of the world those who are spiritually qualified before the tribulation, and as others become qualified, will catch them up to Himself throughout the tribulation period; (4) the pretribulation view, which holds that Christ will come for His church before the seventieth week of Daniel, the seven-year period preceding Christ’s coming to the earth to establish His millennial kingdom.
Of the four views it may be said that an insignificant fraction of expositors follow the partial-rapture view, and it has never attained the status of orthodoxy within evangelicalism. The midtribulation view has experienced some popularity in the present generation, but has practically no literature and is held by no specific group or denominatio...
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