For almost two millennia, multiplied millions of Believers in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) have eagerly anticipated His return. Many theories, doctrines, and creeds have been produced concerning the Second Coming, as well as an entire score of books. In today’s world, many Christians think that the Messiah can return at any moment in an event called the “pre-tribulation rapture.” Even among those who do not believe in this imminent rapture, are those who still think that the final days of humanity are upon us. Are they? Is absolutely everything in place for the Messiah to return quite soon? Or, are there some things that might be overlooked, regarding the Messiah’s return?
Before Yeshua was taken up into Heaven, the Apostles asked Him, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). The Apostles were eagerly awaiting the Messiah to restore Israel, but much work still had to be accomplished, as Yeshua commissioned them to go out into the greater world, and make disciples among all nations. In our era, much more has notably happened, most especially with the salvation of many Jewish people coming to Yeshua, but also with many non-Jewish Believers entering into the Messianic movement, embracing God’s Torah and their Hebraic Roots in a very tangible way. Something unique has undeniably started.
A major challenge is that far too many non-Jewish Believers in Yeshua do not understand who the Lord is actually returning for. They will often consider themselves part of a separate “Church,” with really no connection to Israel. Because of this, it is concluded that the Messiah can imminently come for “the Church,” to leave Israel behind to face the Tribulation period and the antichrist. Is this a valid teaching? Are Israel and “the Church” separate entities? If they are not, how would this change our perception of various aspects of the end-times?
When Will the Messiah Return? is a unique book addressing the end-times from a Messianic perspective. The Messiah stated plainly that He would gather the saints “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29). Discussed are common false understandings as they relate to “the Church” being taken to Heaven for the duration of the Tribulation period, and instead how all Believers in Messiah Yeshua get to participate in restoration of Israel’s Kingdom via His return. Some overlooked elements regarding what has been prophesied in Scripture, may hold some of the insight for today’s Believers evaluating why the Messiah has yet to return to Planet Earth.
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The pre-tribulation rapture is an extremely popular doctrine, which advocates that Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) can unexpectedly come at any moment for the saints, gathering them into Heaven before the Tribulation period or Seventieth Week of Israel. Pre-tribulationism has sold many books, spawned numerous fiction series and movies, and has created a large financial market for prophecy materials. But in spite of its popularity in much of today’s evangelical Christianity, few question it. When presented with alternative points of view such as post-tribulationism, adherents of the popular pre-tribulational position can sometimes take strong offense, and they can be found to outright ignore Biblical passages that appear to contradict their position.
This report is an expanded edition of one of our most controversial articles. It answers the top reasons why people believe in the pre-tribulation rapture from a Messianic post-tribulational perspective. It considers whether or not various pre-tribulationists have employed tactics of fear and faithlessness, and whether or not their ideology of escapism can be supported by a fair reading of the Holy Scriptures. Are God’s people able to be protected by Him–or not–during the end-times? Specifically considered and responded to are fifty reasons given in support of the pre-tribulation rapture by former Dallas Theological Seminary chancellor John F. Walvoord. Above all, a fairness that is not always given to post-tribulationists is demonstrated to pre-tribulationists.
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It is very easy for today’s Messianic Believers to overlook the content of the Pauline Epistles, due to their complexities about issues pertaining to the Torah, First Century Judaism, and the inclusion of the nations in God’s plan of salvation. Among all of the Pauline letters, though, 1&2 Thessalonians get almost totally ignored by contemporary Messianic readers. Yet, 1&2 Thessalonians were some of the earliest of Paul’s letters written, depicting some of the early conflicts that the Body of Messiah experienced, as the good news was being proclaimed in the Mediterranean world. 1&2 Thessalonians are quoted in bits and pieces for their teachings on the end-times, the Second Coming, and they are surely employed in debates over a pre– or post-tribulational gathering of the saints. 1&2 Thessalonians includes much more to be examined for certain, as the First Century Believers were caught in the middle of often being rejected by the Jewish Synagogue, and they were treated with great suspicion and hostility by Greeks and Romans.
What are some of the important spiritual and theological issues to be explored in 1&2 Thessalonians, that can no longer go overlooked for today’s Messianic Believers? Is the Apostle Paul anti-Semitic in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15? What kind of a religious and/or political clash was occurring between the early Messianic movement, and the Roman establishment’s veneration of Caesar? How has 1&2 Thessalonians been interpreted among many contemporary Christians accurately, and not so accurately, as it concerns the return of the Messiah? What about the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection, especially for the early non-Jewish Believers, who were still likely struggling with issues of their pagan upbringing? What were some of the challenges that the widely non-Jewish Believers of Thessalonica faced, as they turned to the Messiah of Israel for salvation, and had to decisively be removed from any of the social or religious spheres in which they had once lived?
What important lessons are there for contemporary Messianic Believers to learn from 1&2 Thessalonians? How much have we left these two letters outside of our purview of Bible reading? What key insights and admonitions need to be incorporated into our spirituality, given some of the issues and difficulties that we currently face—presumably as we live in some of the final decades before the actual return of Yeshua (Jesus) to Planet Earth? Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee elaborates on these, and various other key subjects, in the commentary 1&2 Thessalonians for the Practical Messianic.
Also included in this commentary is an exposition on Acts 17:1-15: Paul’s visit to Thessalonica.
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