Posttribulationism Today: Part IV: Futurist Posttribulational Interpretation -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 132:528 (Oct 1975)
Article: Posttribulationism Today: Part IV: Futurist Posttribulational Interpretation
Author: John F. Walvoord


Posttribulationism Today:
Part IV:
Futurist Posttribulational Interpretation

John F. Walvoord

[John F. Walvoord, President and Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary, Editor, Bibliotheca Sacra.]

With the emergence of premillennialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a relatively new view of posttribulationism was advanced which can be called the futurist view. In contrast to posttribulationism which characterized amillennialism and the Protestant Reformers who considered themselves already in the tribulation, the new view contended that the last seven years of Daniel’s prophecy of Israel’s program revealed in Daniel 9:24–27 should be considered as still future. In harmony with this position, it was often also contended that Revelation 4–18 describes a future rather than an historic situation. The leading twentieth-century exponent of the futurist view is George E. Ladd who sets forth his position in his work The Blessed Hope, published in 1956.

The Premises of Futurist Posttribulationism

As illustrated in Ladd, futurist posttribulationism is built on the premise of premillenialism. He states, “One thing should be emphasized: the author would affirm his belief in the personal, premillennial second advent of Jesus Christ. He is looking for His coming; it is his Blessed Hope.”1

In adopting premillennialism, Ladd also holds to a futurist view of the Book of Revelation. Although he deviates in some minor respects from the futurist view of that book, in general he follows the concept that there is yet ahead a seven-year period climaxing in a great tribulation which will fulfill literally the prophecies of the

Old and New Testaments that describe this time of trouble immediately preceding the second coming of Christ. In taking this interpretation, Ladd assumes the authority and accuracy of prophecy and usually interprets it literally, although there are some notable exceptions to this rule.

The premises of Ladd’s position, accordingly, require him to turn away from historic amillennialism as held by Augustine and later embraced by the Protestant Reformers. Ladd offers a relatively new view of posttribulationism which differs in major aspects from that held by the early church as well as by the Reformed theology. His major point of agreement with them, however, is that he places the rapture as occurring at the second coming of Christ after the time of tribulation.

In rejecting pretribulationism, Ladd...

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