Same here, I do enjoy the discussion. Although, I think we've strayed from the topic. To continue, perhaps it should be moved to its own thread or debate forum. I don't like derailing a thread and splitting into to topics. It makes things hard to follow. I once read a book from Zondervan's Counterpoints series called The Rapture: Pretribulation, Prewrath, or Posttribulation that was a fascinating reading. Each author gives arguments for their position and are responded to by the other two in turn. The issue is such that there is a lot of wiggle room in interpretation, and I think that's probably intentional. Prophecy is always much clearer looking back on its fulfillment than it is trying to discern it beforehand. I imagine when it happens we'll all look back with amazement at how we missed the obvious. For my part, the only one I've completely ruled out is the post-trib position as indicated in the paper I sent you a while back. I haven't seen enough to completely rule out pre-wrath, though I do still strongly lean pre-trib because it makes so much more sense to me in the grand scheme of things.
Could be as little as a few months or as many as 50 years depending on how long it stays submerged in water and the mineral content. But if a teddy bear and hat can be calcified (i.e. made into fossils) in our lifetime, I'm sure your goat is a great candidate to stump evolutionists soon. http://creation.com/the-amazing-stone-bears-of-yorkshire http://creation.com/fossil-hat
Something they like to omit from the narrative is that fossilization, especially in a marine environment, requires rapid burial. I never see anyone try to explain how a whale was buried at all, much less rapidly, since they float upon death, without something like a catastrophic flood. It's laughable how many facts have to be ignored to make the evolution story work.
Mike, First, thanks for the thoughtful and engaging response. After considering your argument and double-checking your facts in multiple linguistic sources, I have to recant the conclusion of my previous post and agree that there are two harvests/reapings in view here (yes, I am capable of accepting instructive correction after all ). Thanks for bringing that nugget to my attention. However, I still do not see this passage as a clear and unequivocal description of the Rapture. There are 3 objections/problems I see... 1) There is nothing in the passage (that I currently see) to demand that the wheat being harvested is made up of pre-raptured believers as opposed to those saved in the Tribulation if there was a pre-tribulation Rapture. 2) I am not entirely convinced that the "one like unto the Son of man" in v. 14 is a specific reference to Jesus. This is partially because he takes direction to reap from an angel out of the temple (v.15), but Jesus takes command and direction from no one except God the Father. I understand that the same wording is used in Rev 1:13 to reference Jesus, but there it is accompanied by descriptive delimiters that echo Daniel's descript of God (Dan 7:9-10). Additionally, while "Son of man" is a title given to Jesus, it is one that is intended to emphasize His humanity and is a title also given to prophets (Dan 8:17 and most of Ezekiel) as well to reference human lineage in general, often with a sense of limitation (Isa 51:12; Jer 49:18, 33, 50:40, 51:43; Heb 2:6). While the "Son of man" on a cloud may echo what we see in the Rapture as depicted 1 Thess 4, it also the common imagery used for the final Second Coming (Dan 7:13; Matt 24:30, 26:64; Mark 13:26, 14:62). Given that it is not unquestionably Jesus on the cloud and that if it was there is nothing to distinguish it from the Second Coming, I cannot yet view this as a definitive reference to the Rapture. 3) The imagery used here for harvesting wheat is dissimilar from the imagery used in the 1 Thess 4 description of the Rapture. In Rev 14:14-16, the wheat is cut down wholesale and gathered. Perhaps there is a separation of wheat from tares at this point (which is not specified and so must be read in), but the harvesting of wheat implies some type of death (cf. John 12:24 on the death of the harvested wheat). In contrast 1 Thess 4:13-18 depicts not death, but resurrection and immediate translation from one life into the next. The believers of the Rapture are not cut down and gathered, they are simply called up by Jesus to meet Him in the air. Given these three reasons, I remain unconvinced that Rev 14:14-20 describes the Rapture.
As a pre-tribber, though probably not an expert, I'll address it... When you look at Rev 14:14-20, there are two possibilities: 1) The reaping in v. 16 is different from the reaping in v. 19. - If this is the case, you might be correct that it refers to the Rapture, though you would be hard-pressed to exegetically support a hard distinction between subject and purpose of the two reapings in context because nothing is ever done with whatever is reaped in v. 16. 2) The passage describes only one reaping - If this is the case, it most certainly cannot describe the Rapture of true believers because they who are reaped are thrown into the winepress of God's wrath (v. 19). This would conflict with 1 Thess 5:9, which I believe we agree says that Christians will not partake of God's wrath. I lean towards option 2 because it fits the natural flow of thought better. The reaping in v. 16 does not specify anything beyond harvesting the vine. Indeed, the word it's translated from (therizo) can be taken to include gathering of what is harvested and storing it, but it is not a necessary component of the word. Rather, it is specific to mean cutting down of the vine/tree/branch. Even the English word "reap" is definitely a cutting down and non-gathering activity when applied to an agricultural context. In contrast, the "gathering" in v. 19 speaks of no reaping, but rather of gathering the crop and transporting it to the winepress. Additionally, the angel with the sharp sickle is merely cutting the grapes off the vine and not cutting down the vine. What I believe we see here is Jesus cutting down the vine (reaping) and the angel gathering the grapes from the vine for the wrath of the winepress. Finally, there is nothing contextually to demand that believers are in view for vv. 14-20. It is a distinct and separate segment of thought from the believers in vv. 12-13. Based on all of that, I do not view Rev 14:14-20 as a description of the Rapture.
Again, on what basis are you making this claim? If you figuratively interpret "body" in Eph 4, then in order to be consistent you must also interpret "Spirit", "hope", "Lord", "faith", "baptism", "God", and "Father" in a non-literal way. You cannot read the understanding of congregation or assembly (ekklesia) into the meaning of body (soma) because it does not fit within the semantic range and is never used in that sense. We may use "body "to describe an assembly in modern English, but 1st century Greek-speakers did not. This word refers to a physical mass and almost always associated with the corporeal tissue of a human, animal, or plant. In the rare instances it does reference a non-physical body, it is always used to reference a heavenly body, thereby rendering an earthly congregation/assembly invalid. This is what I meant in my earlier post by anachronism. Yes, Ephesians is about unity, but there is no reason to restrict its meaning and applicability to a single local body. Additionally, if your interpretation is correct, it conflicts with Rom 12:4-5: "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Since, at this point, Paul had never been to Rome and was certainly not a part of the church there (he was baptized in Damascus if you recall), he cannot be including himself in anything but a universal body. As mentioned above, you cannot make this assumption based on the text. You have to bring in outside pre-understandings to make that work.
Oh my, look at all these worms you just spilled It'd be easier to recommend a book. In short, what we call "Baptist" today has a lot of original influences but is largely an organic movement apart from the various denominations that sprang out of the Reformation. Historically, most strands can be traced back through England and the Netherlands and associated with various separatist movements. There have always been Baptists on both sides of the Calvinism line. The early Baptists in England were divided between the General Baptists (mostly Arminian view, but not completely) and Particular Baptists (wholesale Calvinism) over the issue of general vs. particular/limited atonement. More generally speaking, with some investigation you'll find that there have always been groups of people/churches that have held to what we know as Baptist distinctives, though maybe not all of them at once.
You're reading your understanding into the text (an error known as eisegesis). There is no linguistic or textual evidence to assert that the singular usages of "church" are meant to taken as plural. The Greek language does not typically work this way and you will find multiple examples each of "the church at", "the churches at", and "the church" which nullifies your claim. You have to show from the context of the passage why each of those occurrences should be understood to be plural Additionally, you're also reading a modern usage of western English into the way 1st century Greek was used (an error known as an anachronism). I know of no instance in biblical Greek (or classical and ancient for that matter) where the singular stands for the plural the way you're asserting. If you find one, please show me because I don't want to be wrong. EDIT: You might be able to make a case for Matt 6:19-20 where Jesus uses moth and rust in a general sense that could refer to a plural; however, it lacks the definite article that is present in every instance of "the church..." that we're talking about, which makes a numerical designator irrelevant and even nonsensical. On what Scriptural basis do you come up with and apply the term "Family of God" in contrast to the church? Additionally, why is there never a reference to the body of Christ at a particular location, but always used in a universal sense? Can there be multiple bodies of Christ or does He have but one body?
I've started listening to it and unfortunately at 15 minutes in he's still not on to making his first point...I'll comb through my resources sometime this week (particularly the one's he says he's using as resources) and have a look though. However, I have to go with UM's statement that just because they were alive in the 2nd century does not necessarily make them more right. Start with the Bible and if what they say doesn't match, then they're wrong no matter who they knew during their lifetime. The pastor(s) of the church at Corinth knew Paul personally too and look what happened there...
Not necessarily. An Independent Baptist church is merely one who does not submit itself to a larger denominational body like the Southern Baptist Convention or American Baptist Association and refuse any authority over the local congregation other than Jesus Christ. However, a great many will still associate with other like-minded churches for various joint efforts or merely as an acknowledgment of the professed truth that binds them such as with the Baptist Bible Fellowship International. In most cases "independent" merely means that the local congregation is completely autonomous and needs no higher structure. The existence of a local church as the body of Christ does not negate the existence of a universal body of Christ. That is to say, universal as in comprising all true believers of all ages and not anyone who calls themselves a Christian (i.e. ecumenism, unitarianism, or universalism). When you examine the biblical evidence, there is indeed overwhelming evidence to support the autonomy and importance of the local church, just as you stated. However, you also cannot escape the concept of a universal body of believers, particularly in the Second Coming in which the entire body of believers from all ages returns to reign with Christ (which you alluded to). You also have to contend with passages such as Jesus' declaration of the truth on which He will build His church (Matt 16:18). If there only the local church is the body of Christ, then only the Church which was in Jerusalem is the valid body of Christ. Additionally, there is Paul's statements in Gal 1:13 and Phil 3:5 in which he says he persecuted the church of God (not churches), and we know he travelled outside of Jerusalem to do this. All 9 references to the church in Ephesians, Col 1:18, and Heb 12:23 all indicate that an individual local church is not what is in mind in these passages. All of that is to say I believe there is ample biblical evidence to support both the church as a local body of believers and the Church as the sum total of believers.
Actually, it reads: the heaven and the earth shall be passing the yet words of me not no may be passing The problem is the KJV wasn't written in modern English, it was written in Elizabethan English (which was changed constantly in the last 400 years) of which there is no dictionary (Webster 1828 is close, but there was a lot of change between 1611 and 1828). I refuse to get sucked into this conversation again, so I'll just go ahead and say "Agree to disagree."
I've never read Darby, so I can't really comment on what he does/doesn't teach. I'm just taking the passage for what it says. I'll give you that it does not specifically say that there is an ascent back to heaven, but it is certainly not excluded as a possibility. What IS excluded as a possibility (using your own logic of non-mention) is His feet touching the earth since we meet Him in the clouds/air. Therefore, we either remain there in the clouds forever or we will return to heaven for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:7-9), which specifically takes places in heaven, and then join Him for the Second Coming (Rev 19:11-15).
I think you're conflating two passages that don't necessarily reference the same thing. Your first reference out of 1 Thess 4 specifically says that He will descend from Heaven to the clouds (not the earth) where we will meet him. He never steps foot on the earth in that event. Acts 1:9 says He will descend from the clouds to the earth the same way that he went up. You're right that He ascended to the clouds once and that He will descend from them once, but for the rapture He does not descend from the clouds, but rather descends to them. These two passages are actually make my point more clearly than I did earlier.