My background is in Dispensational-Pre-Tribulational-Rapture-Premillennial theology. My alma mater (Multnomah Bible College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary) find their heritage squarely ensconced within this orbit; indeed, so much so, that Multnomah has at points been called ‘mini-Dallas’ (Theological Seminary)—in fact Multnomah’s origins are inimically tied into Dallas, by way of its founder[s], and its faculty (which is largely changing nowadays!). Anyway, I thought I would post something that is related to the kind of theology that both Multnomah and Dallas have helped to promulgate over the years through their sending of pastors, missionaries, teachers, evangelists etc.; and in particular what I am going to broach is the fine (and even idiosyncratic–for some) point that has to do with the theory of the Pre-Tribulational rapture. If you are unfamiliar with it, then just think of the story told in the popular Left Behind series; except in the rendition I will share here, we will experience the more academic side of what stands behind ‘Left Behind’ rapture theology.
Daniel B. Wallace has written one of the standard New Testament Greek Grammars, and it served as the basis of much of my advanced Greek education in both Bible College and Seminary. At the end of his chapter on Articles, he provides an example of how a proper understanding of the Greek grammar can actually support the Pre-Tribulational rapture theory—which foists an idea that there is a distinction between the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (which happens Post-Tribulation). Here is what Wallace writes:
2 Thess 2:1 ‘Ἐρωτῶμεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡμῶν ἐπισυναγωγῆς ἐπ’ αὐτόν,
Now we ask you, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together with him
This text impacts the discussion in some American evangelical circles over the time of the rapture. Many postribulationalists/non-dispensationalists have considered the two to have the same referent precisely because of their misunderstanding of Sharp’s rule and its specific requirements.
Since the TSKS construction involves impersonal substantives, the highest degree of doubt is cast upon the probability of the terms referring to the same event. This is especially the case since the terms look to concrete temporal referents (the parousia and the gathering of the saints), for the identical category is unattested for concrete impersonals in the NT.
This is not to say that one could not see a postribulational rapture in the text, for even if the words do not have an identical referent, they could have simultaneous ones. Our only point is that because of the misuse of syntax by some scholars, certain approaches to the theology of the NT have often been jettisoned without a fair hearing. [Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes, 290.]
So even if you fully repudiate Pre-Tribulational rapture theology (as I now do—I am Post-Tribulational, and some days Covenantal/Historic-Premil and other days Amillennial 😉 ), at least you will realize that so called rather disparagingly Left Behind rapture theology actually has some Greek and academic rigor behind it. That said, even as Wallace notes, in the end, the referent of ‘the coming’ and ‘gathering together’ could be synonymous. The only way we can really conclude which way to go with this is not the Greek Grammar (even though it helps lay out the critical options), but by situating the grammar within its larger theological-canonical place in regard to understanding the overall movement of God as given reference in the first coming of Jesus Christ.
I am out of time for this edition, there is always more to be written, but never enough time to write it!