This review appeared in the Jan-Mar 2011 vol. 168 no. 1 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
The Greatness of the Rapture: The Pre-Day of the Day of the LordTyndale Seminary Press, Fort Worth, TX January 18, 2013
On the opening two pages of his first chapter Olander, professor of biblical languages, Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute, Fort Worth, Texas, writes, “Scripture teaches the ‘imminent’ rapture of the church. Imminent or imminency means impending, likely to occur at any moment, and not ‘soon.’ Scripture does not speak of the soon coming of the Lord. Imminency is built into the rapture passages as there are no signs, miracles, wonders, i.e. any specific event that must precede the rapture. The ‘any moment’ rapture of the church will happen in the twinkling of an eye. The entire body of Christ . . . will meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air in His glorified state, and this is the blessed hope” (pp. 11–12).
Olander points up many differences between the rapture and the Lord’s second coming. In a chapter on the day of the Lord the author notes that many passages in Scripture mention this latter event, which includes God’s wrath. Believers will not enter the day of the Lord, for the church is spared from God’s wrath (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9). He writes, “No end time events concerning the day of the Lord can possibly occur until the rapture of the church has taken place. The rapture is an imminent hope and blessing (Titus 2:13), the day of the Lord is coming with wrath, judgments, and complete destruction (1 Thess. 5:2–3; 2 Thess. 2:7–9). . . . The day of the Lord begins with His wrath, and the church is raptured prior to the beginning of the day of the Lord and His wrath” (p. 108).
Olander notes that the day of the Lord will not begin until after the apostasy occurs (apparently an extensive, worldwide rejection of God’s truth) and the man of lawlessness (the Antichrist) is revealed (2 Thess. 2:1-3). Olander then discusses the role of the Antichrist as the little horn of Daniel 7, who will rule over the revived Roman Empire and the entire world. In the Tribulation “he will gain power and prominence rather quickly” (p. 136). In the middle of the Tribulation he will break the covenant he made with Israel at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week and set himself up in the temple to be worshipped as God (2 Thess. 2:4).
Spirit baptism, the subject of another chapter, is a distinguishing mark of the church. Being baptized by the Spirit, that is, being identified with Christ at the moment of salvation, “defines those in the church of this dispensation. For all (every believer) has been Spirit baptized in the body of Christ” (p. 163).
In another chapter Olander discusses signs, miracles, and wonders in the Scriptures, primarily to show that in the Tribulation the Antichrist will perform miracles that will deceive many. These miracles, however, will be false, that is, deceptive.
The final chapter discusses a number of differences between the rapture and the second advent of Christ.
This book stands as a strong defense of the pretribulational rapture, an emphasis needed today when many voices are opposing this biblical teaching.
—Roy B. Zuck