The rapture, unmanned cars, and absurd scenarios
I am reading through Craig Blomberg’s commentary on Matthew, with varying degrees of enjoyment and profit.
Commenting on Matthew 24:40-41, he said this:
Some have seen a “secret rapture” in view here (in which believers mysteriously disappear from earth, leaving everyone else to wonder what happened), which often leads to absurd scenarios (e.g., the modern-day notion of cars suddenly without drivers). But the only coming of the Son of Man described so far has been the climactic universal return of Christ in v. 27. The imagery of vv. 38–41 does not suggest anything different.
[Craig Blomberg, Matthew, vol. 22, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 366.]
When the scare-quotes are used for “secret rapture,” you know you’re reading a detractor of the doctrine.
But what really catches my eye is his snorting at “absurd scenarios,” like “cars suddenly without drivers.” I pair that with brothers I hear sneering that they “don’t believe in the rapture.”
You don’t? Then you’re almost assuredly not a Christian.
Note: I did not say pre-tribulation rapture, or mid-tribulation rapture, or any other particular position on the timing of the rapture. Yet that’s what I hear, again and again: “I don’t believe in the rapture.”
But if you’re a Christian, you do believe in the rapture.
What is “the rapture”? It’s the resurrection of believers, which involves raising the dead and glorifying those who are alive at that time (see 1 Cor 15:51-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Non-pretrib theologian Wayne Grudem defines it thus:
rapture: The “taking up” or snatching up (from Latin rapio, “seize, snatch, carry away”) of believers to be with Christ….
[Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 1253. Grudem concludes the sentence “when he returns to the earth,” which is the point of contention.]
All Christians believe in this. This is not a point of division.
When does this happen, in relation to the Tribulation? Ah, that is where we part company.
But back to sneering Dr. Blomberg. If in conversation, I’d ask him: when Jesus comes and living believers are caught up to meet Him in the air… do cars exist? And, if they do, is it possible that some Christians will be driving cars? And if they are, and the Lord catches them away to meet him in the air…?
Well, if Dr. Blomberg thinks that an unmanned car is an “absurd scenario,” then one can only assume that he thinks some sort of notice will be given in advance. Perhaps something like, “The rapture will occur in five minutes. Will genuine regenerate Christians please pull over to the side, park, and get out of their cars?”
Tell me: which one is the absurd scenario, again?
Posted by DJP at 12:15 PM 5 comments
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014