Messianic Apologetics

Addressing the Theological and Spiritual Issues of the Broad Messianic Movement

“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac [Exodus 3:6], and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken” (Mark 12:25-27).

“‘But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob [Exodus 3:6]’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.’” When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching” (Matthew 22:31-33).

“‘But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob [Exodus 3:6]. Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.’ Some of the scribes answered and said, ‘Teacher, You have spoken well’” (Luke 20:37-39).

“Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Yeshua. Peter said to Yeshua, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah’” (Mark 9:4-5).

“And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Yeshua, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah’” (Matthew 17:3-4).

“And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Yeshua, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not realizing what he was saying” (Luke 9:30-33).

The reasons we have just provided in the previous chapter are only the common reasons given why pre-tribulationism is supposedly a valid belief. There are, of course, many more reasons that pre-tribulationists will supply. In this chapter, we respond to fifty specific supports given by the late John F. Walvoord (1910-2002) in his book The Rapture Question. While we certainly recognize that we could address many more reasons, Walvoord’s position as former chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary, and his vast influence over many other pre-tribulationists, speaks for itself.

Before one can examine what the death expectations of the Apostolic Scriptures are, it is commonly argued that the Ancient Jews, the Pharisees in particular, picked up the idea of a disembodied afterlife from their interactions with the Greeks and not their reading of the Tanach Scriptures. For many of today’s Messianic Believers, all that needs to be said is “Belief in the afterlife is Greek!” and that is reason enough for many to reject the concept that born again Believers who have died are in the presence of the Lord, awaiting the resurrection (or for that same matter, many other Biblical doctrines). As I have far too frequently encountered, while a hyped-up fear of Hellenism or the Ancient Greeks are invoked by Messianic psychopannychists, I have never witnessed a single Messianic teacher actually quote the classical philosophers and what they believed—much less engage with such philosophers’ opinions!