Posttribulationism Today Part VII: Do the Gospels Reveal a Posttribulational Rapture? -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 133:531 (Jul 1976)
Article: Posttribulationism Today Part VII: Do the Gospels Reveal a Posttribulational Rapture?
Author: John F. Walvoord

Posttribulationism Today
Part VII:
Do the Gospels Reveal a Posttribulational Rapture?

John F. Walvoord

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

The Rapture in Relation to Matthew 13

The major weaknesses of dispensational posttribulationism are found in the exegesis which is advanced to support this new doctrine. It is in this aspect that dispensational posttribulationism fails to persuade either pretribulationists or the more traditional posttribulationists. While the treatment of various passages on the surface seems to be scriptural because of the numerous arguments and scriptural citations included, two pervading weaknesses can be noted in the exegesis: (1) the argument is selective, ignoring contradictory evidence in the passage itself; (2) the argument frequently either misstates or ignores the main thrust of the passage. These are weighty and important objections even if they are made against what seems on the surface to be a scholarly argument. These objections against dispensational posttribulationism are also often valid against other forms of posttribulationism.

Undoubtedly an important aspect of posttribulationism, regardless of which school of posttribulational interpretation is followed,1 is the question of the doctrine of the rapture in the Gospel of Matthew. For the most part, Mark and Luke do not contribute to the argument, and the Gospel of John falls in a different category. In the Gospel of Matthew, the principal chapters pertaining to the

tribulation question are Matthew 13 and Matthew 24–25, two of the four major discourses of Christ.

Matthew 13 comes at an important juncture in the Gospel of Matthew where Christ has been rejected by the Jews as their Messiah, and in turn Christ pronounces severe judgment on them for their unbelief. In keeping with the main thrust of the whole Gospel of Matthew, which is to explain why the predicted Old Testament kingdom was not fulfilled in Christ’s first coming, Matthew 13 has as its dominant subject a sweeping revelation of the general characteristics of the period between the first coming and the second coming of Christ, a subject which is almost completely ignored in the Old Testament. Accordingly, in seven parables our Lord describes the various aspects of the period between the first and second comings of Christ.2

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