My new Christian friends said that they believed the Bible spoke of only one return of our Lord, at the time of the resurrection and the last judgement. I was shocked at first, but then those niggling little doubts grew louder and louder.
Isn’t that what the Scriptures appear to say, after all? “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). Can there be more than one last day?
I searched the gospels to find where Jesus spoke of setting up a literal earthly Jewish kingdom, and couldn’t find it. When the Sanhedrin wanted to condemn him for sedition, they could not find a single witness who had heard Jesus speak of such a kingdom (Matthew 26:59-60). When Jesus identified Himself as the Son of God, the high priest said, “He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses?” (Matthew 26:65).
However, it was not a crime under Roman law to call oneself the Son of God. The Sanhedrin needed to somehow make the trumped-up charge of sedition stick. They stirred up a mob and took Jesus to Pilate with the accusation that He was plotting to overthrow Roman rule and establish a Jewish kingdom. Pilate questioned Him and found Him to be completely innocent of the charge. In a dramatic scene, Pilate “took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it” (Matthew 27:24).
Among the multitudes in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, not one witness could be found to testify that he had heard Jesus promise an earthly kingdom! My confidence in dispensational doctrine crumbled a bit further.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, is the basis of the doctrine of the rapture of the church. All the books that I had read described it as a secret rapture, yet the verses speak of “a shout”, “the voice of the archangel”, and “the trump of God”. How could this be a secret?
The questions kept coming and the answers I saw in the Scriptures were not what I had been taught. Finally, the whole house of cards that Bishop Klassen had so painstakingly erected in my mind came tumbling down. I found that it could not be supported by simply reading the Scriptures, the doctrine needed an external means of support. Now I wanted to find the origin and history of that external means of support.