Posttribulationism Today Part XI: The Rapture in Relation to Endtime Events -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 134:535 (Jul 1977)
Article: Posttribulationism Today Part XI: The Rapture in Relation to Endtime Events
Author: John F. Walvoord

Posttribulationism Today
Part XI:
The Rapture in Relation to Endtime Events

John F. Walvoord

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

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This series, begun in Bibliotheca Sacra with the January-March, 1975 issue, is published in book form under the title The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976). This article is adapted from chapter 11 in the book. The series will continue through the January-March 1978 issue.]

Probably one of the most difficult problems a posttribulationist faces is to establish a well-defined order of events at the second advent. Posttribulationists tend to avoid this problem. Robert Gundry, more than others, makes an effort to state and solve the order of events. In the process, however, a number of acute problems in posttribulationism surface.

The Contribution of 1 Corinthians 15

Generally speaking, posttribulationists do not dwell at length on 1 Corinthians 15:51–58, one of the major passages on the rapture. The reason is obvious: This passage contributes nothing to the posttribulational argument and, in fact, poses a serious problem.

First Corinthians 15 is one of the great chapters of Scripture and in many respects it is the central chapter of this epistle. Because of the numerous theological and moral problems in the Corinthian church, Paul dwells on correction of these problems in the first fourteen chapters of 1 Corinthians.

When Paul comes to chapter 15, he develops the central aspect of his theology, the gospel with its testimony to the death of Christ for sin and His resurrection. He then makes the practical application of the resurrection of Christ to the believer’s faith and hope. The first fifty verses of 1 Corinthians 15 accordingly deal with the

fundamental truths of the death and resurrection of Christ, and the resurrection of believers who die. Having laid this foundation, Paul then introduces the subject of the rapture of the church presented as “a mystery” in 1 Corinthians 15:51.

In referring to the rapture as a mystery, Paul is reaffirming that this is a New Testament truth not revealed in the Old Testament, a truth which, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:15, he had received by a special word ...

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