A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Benjamin J. Montoya
About the Authors
Stanley N. Gundry (editor) is executive vice president and editor-in-chief for the Zondervan Corporation. He has been an influential figure in the Evangelical Theological Society, serving as president of ETS and on its executive committee, and is adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of seven books and has written many articles appearing in popular and academic periodicals.
Alan Hultberg is associate professor of Bible Exposition and New Testament at Talbot School of Theology. His specialization is in the area of eschatology as it relates to the Old and New Testaments. In addition, Dr. Hultberg holds academic memberships in the Society of Biblical Literature, Institute for Biblical Research, and the Evangelical Theological Society.
Craig Blaising is Executive Vice President and Provost and Professor of Theology at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is author of numerous books and a contributor to Zondervan’s Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (1999) and Three Views on the Rapture (2010).
Douglas Moo (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is the Blanchard Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College. His work centers on understanding the text of the New Testament and its application today. He has written extensively in several commentary series, including the NIV Application Commentary, Pillar Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentary, and the New International Commentary on the New Testament.
The focus of this book is on the timing of the rapture. The rapture refers to when Christ will return and “catch up” believers in the sky. None of the contributors of this book debate that there will be a rapture of some kind. They, however, cannot agree on when it will happen. Their question of timing concerns the seven-year period of tribulation. Although none of these contributors ends up swaying the other, such a book remains important to reveal both the complexity of God’s Word and the importance of learning from others on this important eschatological topic. Consider our summary to learn these various viewpoints that have surfaced throughout Church History.
Table of Contents
Introduction by Alan Hultberg
Chapter 1 A Case for the Pretribulation Rapture by Craig Blaising
Chapter 2 A Case for the Prewrath Rapture by Alan Hultberg
Chapter 3 A Case for the Posttribulation Rapture by Douglas Moo
A Comparison of the Authors’ Interpretations of Passages in the Debate
Chapter 1: A Case for the Pretribulation Rapture by Craig Blaising
The case for the pretribulation view of the rapture is one that is made on the basis of seeing sequential time indicators in the texts related to this topic that leads to the conclusion that the rapture, the sudden catching up of believers, will happen prior to the tribulation period prophesized about in Daniel and described in more detail in the book of Revelation.
The beginning of this position is to focus on Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians in 4—5. Paul writes,
We who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thess. 4:15—17).
For this position, Blaising focuses on the steps in the process that he sees Paul laying out. He then goes back to the book of Daniel to highlight the background of this entire teaching as well as ties in the Olivet discourse, noting how these sections of Scripture are tied together and describe some of the same exact events. Each time, significance is granted to the order of these events. This interpretation also heavily depends on the seventieth week of the book of Daniel overlaying as the Day of the Lord in the Olivet discourse.
Blaising does consider common objections to his position throughout this chapter, noting where there is silence regarding some important issues related to the question of timing whereas other pretribulationists had proposed more certainly, e.g., how Paul is not addressing the timing of the rapture per se but trying to comfort his readers that the Day of the Lord had not happened yet.
Blaising recognizes that the teaching of the rapture is nowhere to be found in the book of Revelation. Although he notes its absence, he considers places that it is typically found and points his readers to other sections of Scripture that point to the teaching itself. This is not something that is commonly held by pretribulationists, especially since the position is typically argued by dispensationalists. They typically point to places in Revelation where they see it referenced.
The position of pretribulation rapture is one that people can hold while also still holding views other than classic dispensationalism. It may be thought that these views were twins or sort, but this is not the case. Interpreters can very well hold to other positions and still argue for pretribulation rapture.
The goal of this chapter is to encourage its readers to pursue the Scriptures further to grow in Christ as they study this topic. Although the subsequent chapters will present different views, all the authors can agree on this topic.
As a side note, this chapter as well as the others contains responses from the other contributors as well as a rejoinder from the author of this chapter. Although occasionally they point out agreement in some arguments, most of it contains reassertations of their own positions. As such, this summary will not include many details from these sections, although some of it has been incorporated throughout. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
Buy the books
THREE VIEWS ON THE RAPTURE: PRETRIBULATION, PREWRATH, OR POSTTRIBULATION, by Stanley N. Gundry, Craig Blaising, Alan Hultberg, and Douglas J. Moo