A common argument against the doctrine of the rapture is that it is a new teaching and, so the argument goes, because it is new, it cannot be true (cf. Ladd 1956:31). Du Rand (2007:317) writes that teaching about the rapture only gained momentum after 1830 when the dreams of a certain Margaret MacDonald were revealed. But is teaching about the rapture new, or is it rather old? Is something true or false because it is old or new?
The rapture is neither a secret nor something mysterious, but rather a New Testament mystery that God revealed almost 2000 years ago. South African theologians such as Snyman (1940:83-87), Oosthuizen (1963) and Malan (2014:251-266) did not think that the rapture was a secret. However, if people think that the Church is Israel or some other group of Old Testament saints, then teaching about the rapture may remain, ironically, a mysterious secret to them.
Augustine, the father of amillennialism, was influenced by the philosophy of Plato. What did Plato teach? How does this Greek philosophy compare with God’s Word, specifically regarding the doctrine of the kingdom? Is the kingdom of God only spiritual?
Will believers one day float on a cloud, play the harp and basically be bored? This secular depiction of the “kingdom” is popular, but of course, it is utterly false. This is not the kingdom that Christ says we must seek first (cf. Mat 6:33). Teaching about the doctrine of the kingdom is important; it was the central theme of Christ’s ministry during his first coming (cf. Mat 4:17, 23; 9:35; 10:5-7). Jesus did not refer to an abstract, over-spiritualized kingdom. So important is the doctrine of the kingdom, that Jesus again taught his apostles ‘about the things of the kingdom of God’ during the 40 days before his ascension (Acts 1:3). How can the kingdom of God be understood, and to which kingdom did Jesus refer to in the Gospels?
In Luke’s second book, the apostles asked the Lord when He will restore the kingdom to Israel, thereby implying that the kingdom had not yet been restored to Israel at that time (cf. Acts 1:6). Jesus answered his apostles, saying it is ‘not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority’ (Acts 1:7; NASB). In Luke’s first book, the Pharisees asked Jesus something quite similar, namely when the kingdom of God was coming. Jesus answered the Pharisees, saying that the ‘kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luk 17:20-21; NASB; cf. HCSB, ESV). How can Luke 17:20-21 be understood?