The Rapture

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  • The Rapture

    “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God” (1 Thess. 4:16a). 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 Orthodox Christian teaching has always asserted that Jesus will one day visibly return as Judge and King of creation. The ecumenical creeds of the early church all affirm that Jesus will “come again to judge the living and the dead,” and the Reformed confessions that have followed them also endorse this understanding.

    Though there has been unanimity among believers that Jesus will personally and physically return, there has been some debate about the precise timing of this event. Questions of the nature of the millennial reign of Christ continue to be debated among faithful Christians. The idenity of the antichrist is another topic over which there has been much disagreement.

    In the past one-hundred and fifty years or so, some Christians have argued that there will actually be two comings of Christ. Believers from the dispensational tradition have said that there will be a “secret rapture” of Christ a few years before His visible return. While even those who confess a secret rapture disagree about its timing, the idea basically says that at some point, the church will be removed from the world by Jesus in order that it might escape an ensuing tribulation. Jesus will then make His physical return some time later, usually three and one-half to seven years after the rapture.

    The problem with this idea is that there are no passages of Scripture that clearly teach this view. In fact, the idea that believers are guaranteed a safe haven is hard to find in the pages of Scripture. From the faithful remnant that went into exile with the nation of Israel to Jesus’ promise that the days of suffering will be shortened for the sake of the elect (Matt. 24:22), Scripture makes it clear that believers can and will face tribulation.

    Though passages like the one for today’s study are sometimes appealed to as proof of a secret rapture, the Bible is quite clear that there is but one return of Jesus and that all will see it. On that glorious day, as Paul tells us, the dead in Christ will rise and the faithful still living will join them “in the air” to meet the Savior as He returns to earth to bring His kingdom to consummation (1 Thess. 4:16–17).

    Coram Deo

    Our hope in the return of Christ is not a hope that we will escape great persecution and suffering. Rather, it is a hope that on the glorious day of Jesus’ return all of our suffering will be reversed and that we will be vindicated as the people of God. We will meet Christ in the air and share visibly in His triumphal reign over all. As you face the great trials in your life, remember that the One who will one day give you victory over them is also present with you now as you face them.

  • #2
    (My previous post on the Rapture was apparently lost, so here’s a re-do)

    Concerning 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14:

    Paul starts by addressing the Thessalonians, telling them not to grieve over those who have died, and then he tells them why not. Paul then refers to what will happen to “we” (linguistically meaning Paul and the Thessalonians). The passage ends with Paul telling the Thessalonians to encourage one another with what he has just explained. Each of these points shows that Paul’s comment applies to the first century Thessalonians. A yet future Rapture has no application to first century Thessalonians, therefore Paul isn’t talking about the Rapture.

    Paul explains to the Thessalonians why they shouldn’t grieve when people die. A future Rapture is completely irrelevant to that point. It does nothing to address my grieving over the dead that I might be Raptured, therefore Paul isn’t talking about the Rapture.

    Rapturists distort that clear meaning of this passage and present the Rapture as the hope we won’t die. But, God’s word tells us that each man is appointed to die. The Rapture is already a proven false hope for the Thessalonians and 2000 years of generations of Christians afterward who have all died. A false hope is a lie. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to hope for something that won’t happen, and this passage is no exception, therefore Paul isn’t talking about the Rapture.

    The Rapturists whole argument comes from v17a, “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” A common and serious error for some Christians (especially Dispensationalists) is to yank something out of context, apply a crass literalism to it, and then distort context to make it fit their interpretation of what they’ve taken out of context. We already know from the context that Paul is NOT talking about the Rapture.

    We all will die, Paul just doesn’t mention that fact in v17. It’s wrong to assume that because it’s not mentioned that Paul is implying it won’t happen. Paul refers to those “still alive” to distinguish the people he’s talking to from the people already dead. Our hope is that in the Lord, after we die, will be risen up and meet Jesus “in the clouds”, exactly as Paul explains concerning those who have already died and have gone ahead of us.

    If you want to use the word “Rapture”, we are all Raptured, every Christian who has ever lived. But, the Rapture is after we die, not before. And, we will find our loved ones in Christ waiting for us.
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    • #3
      I don't adhere to the pre-trib rapture doctrine(s).

      But that 1 Thess.4:16-17 Scripture Paul declares is not about an event that happens when we each die in the flesh.

      One has to include that idea with an understanding of various other Bible Scripture involving our physical and spiritual makeup that God created us with, along with the prophecies to occur on the last day of this world when our Lord Jesus returns.

      1 Thess 4:15
      15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
      KJV


      Paul's subject there definitely includes the event of Christ's second coming, which will occur on the last day of this present world. That happens to be one of seven signs Jesus gave about the end to His disciples (and us) while upon the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24 and Mark 13.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by davy View Post
        1 Thess 4:15
        15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
        KJV


        Paul's subject there definitely includes the event of Christ's second coming, which will occur on the last day of this present world. That happens to be one of seven signs Jesus gave about the end to His disciples (and us) while upon the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24 and Mark 13.
        Matthew 24 and Mark 13 is the prediction of the destruction of the Temple. That's not a future event, but happened in the lives of the first century Thessalonians.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cornelius View Post

          Matthew 24 and Mark 13 is the prediction of the destruction of the Temple. That's not a future event, but happened in the lives of the first century Thessalonians.

          That's not correct, though I know some circles have that wrong view.

          One cannot claim Matt.24 and Mark 13 was fulfilled historically when it proclaims prophetic events that only occur at the end of this present world, like Christ's second coming and gathering of His saints. The signs Jesus gave in those chapters actually are the seals of Revelation 6, which again the seals involve events slated to occur only in the last days prior to Christ's second coming.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by davy View Post


            That's not correct, though I know some circles have that wrong view.

            One cannot claim Matt.24 and Mark 13 was fulfilled historically when it proclaims prophetic events that only occur at the end of this present world, like Christ's second coming and gathering of His saints. The signs Jesus gave in those chapters actually are the seals of Revelation 6, which again the seals involve events slated to occur only in the last days prior to Christ's second coming.

            The Temple in fact was destroyed in the past as Jesus foretold in those chapters. Matt 24 calls it an end of an age, not the end of the world. That would be the end of the Old Covenant age.
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            • #7
              The rapture, or "catching up"... cannot be denied, sure as Cain slew Abel. The Lord's second coming to the earth is at the end of the tribulation of 7 years. The rapture is when believers, first the dead then those still living, go to the Lord in the air. Why is this so hard to understand? Too much false doctrine from teachers telling us what the Bible says and not trusting the Holy Spirit to be our teacher as the Bible tells us to do.

              Look at history: In God's character, God removed His righteous before inflicting His wrath on the unrighteous. Examples: Lot and his wife before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; Israel moved to the land of Goshen while Egypt was being plagued; the parting of the Red sea to save Israel then killing Pharaoh's army; Noah and his family before the great flood; The night of the first Passover; and now the worst tribulation the world has ever known coming and you want to believe that God will not remove us from it before it hits?
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Cornelius View Post


                The Temple in fact was destroyed in the past as Jesus foretold in those chapters. Matt 24 calls it an end of an age, not the end of the world. That would be the end of the Old Covenant age.

                I have to strongly disagree with you. The destruction at the temple mount area is still not yet complete; the Wailing Wall stones are still standing. Remember Jesus said not one stone would be on top of another in that area of the temple buildings. His disciples were not talking of just the temple only, but all the structures on the temple mount.

                And since Bible prophecy about the coming false one to Jerusalem for the end requires another temple, that's when that prophecy will apply for the end of this world. Today the orthodox Jews in Jerusalem already have the materials ready to build another temple there. The Sanhedrin has formed up again, and they have the temple articles ready, and have done DNA studies to determine Levitical priests in prep for temple service.

                So what that serves as is a dual prophecy, just like the coming antichrist prophecy serves, because Antiochus IV around 170 B.C. came to Jerusalem, sacrificed swine upon the temple altar, spread its broth inside the temple desolating it, and then setup an idol to Zeus in the temple (per Jewish historian Josephus), and that is actually what the "abomination of desolation" prophecy is about.

                Yet our Lord Jesus warned about the coming "abomination of desolation" in the temple around 200 years after... Antiochus IV had done that.

                And since the Apostle's question in Matt.24:3 included the event of Christ's future second coming with that "end of the world" phrase, that sets the timing that phrase was meant for also, which is the very end of this present world.

                Matt 24:3
                3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
                KJV

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                  The rapture, or "catching up"... cannot be denied, sure as Cain slew Abel. The Lord's second coming to the earth is at the end of the tribulation of 7 years. The rapture is when believers, first the dead then those still living, go to the Lord in the air. Why is this so hard to understand? Too much false doctrine from teachers telling us what the Bible says and not trusting the Holy Spirit to be our teacher as the Bible tells us to do.

                  Look at history: In God's character, God removed His righteous before inflicting His wrath on the unrighteous. Examples: Lot and his wife before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; Israel moved to the land of Goshen while Egypt was being plagued; the parting of the Red sea to save Israel then killing Pharaoh's army; Noah and his family before the great flood; The night of the first Passover; and now the worst tribulation the world has ever known coming and you want to believe that God will not remove us from it before it hits?

                  I agree with the "caught up" idea Apostle Paul taught when our Lord Jesus comes the 2nd time. But I cannot agree with how men's doctrines have interpreted it. What Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 15 MUST... go with that 1 Thess.4:16-17 idea.

                  As for Bible examples of God's protection of His servants, the strongest example still is His covering over the children of Israel while they were in Egypt, their being told to go into their houses and not come out, and spread the passover lamb's blood upon the door posts to mark their protection. For us who have believed on Jesus Christ, He now is our Passover Lamb sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). He does not have to remove us out of this world in order to protect us from the "great tribulation" He forewarned of, nor His destruction upon the earth that is coming on the last day. Even the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego cast into the hot firey furnace heated seven times hotter than necessary is an example of how He is able to protect us without removing us (Dan.3).

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                  • #10
                    Yes, but in the Daniel example, nobody suffered in the furnace. Clearly, the Lord makes it so we don't physically suffer the physical wrath of God which He will inflict on the unrighteous.

                    The description of the rapture and that of the second coming don't match. Plus, in the rapture, we go to Him. In the second coming, we come with Him to the earth. During the tribulation, everybody will be killed and or suffer greater than ever before. It is out of character of God, who keeps His righteous out of harm's way, except to chastise them to cause repentance, which is clearly not the purpose of the tribulation. The purposes of the tribulation are to fulfill the last 7 years of brining Israel to the covenant land per that made with Abraham, and to punish the wicked. The purpose of the second coming is to set up Jesus' rule on earth and to establish the land of Israel promised to Abraham by covenant. Neither of those has yet happened.

                    The tribulation is far worse than anything in history including now. The 1000 year reign is quite obviously literal and not happening now either. We are entering the age of apostasy. Look how the churches are splitting and turning from the truth. Even the Presbyterian Church with its creeds and catechisms is busted up into four denominations., not that the creeds are at fault, but because of the times, in spite of righteous men of old and their writings. Especially in spite of the Bible, which is being proved out due to the times. In fact, more proof of apostasy is the fact that there are so many bibles published making it all the harder to read the one most reliable. Arguments ensue as to which one that is. Good being called evil, and evil being called good. This is not the age of Christ's rule, neither the age of the tribulation which has a definite time limit of 7 years. The beast will make himself known during that period, yet do we know who he is? No. So, where are we? Before the rapture at the end of the apostolic church age.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by davy View Post
                      I have to strongly disagree with you. The destruction at the temple mount area is still not yet complete; the Wailing Wall stones are still standing.
                      The wailing wall, that pagan object of worship, was never part of the Temple. Construction of it started only 19 BC and a large portion of was built after the Temple was destroyed. Israeli archeologists found Roman coins minted AD under the foundation of the wall. Jesus' prophecy of the destruction of the Temple and the end of the age was fulfilled in 70 AD.

                      The Temple was adorned with gold. In 70 AD, Roman troops set fire to the temple, melting the gold. Every stone was then removed by people trying to retrieve the melted gold. Not one stone was left upon another, just as Jesus foretold.

                      Go look at the Bible and see which Temple Jesus is talking about. Jesus couldn't be anymore clear.

                      And since Bible prophecy about the coming false one to Jerusalem for the end requires another temple, that's when that prophecy will apply for the end of this world. Today the orthodox Jews in Jerusalem already have the materials ready to build another temple there. The Sanhedrin has formed up again, and they have the temple articles ready, and have done DNA studies to determine Levitical priests in prep for temple service.
                      They don't know the DNA of Levitical priests,not even close. Even if they knew the DNA of Levite, DNA is not an accurate enough tool to determine who qualifies for the priesthood. Only a genealogy record can do that, and those no longer exist. And, a priest can only be ordained by a priest, but there are no priests do ordain new priests.

                      There won't be another Temple. All prophecies concerning the Temple necessarily apply to the time the past Temple stood. Even if someone built something and called it a Temple, it wouldn't be the Temple. You can't make something a Temple of God by calling it a Temple. And, it fore sure isn't of God when it is built by people who deny Christ. And, no one who accepts Christ would deny Christ by building a Temple.

                      Other than a small class of anachronistic jews, there's no interest in Israel to rebuild the Temple. The Temple has no role in what is now called the Jewish religion. They have no religious reason to rebuild the Temple. And, neither do Christians.

                      Matt 24:3
                      And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the eon [Greek]?

                      An eon is nothing other than a long, indefinite period of time, an age. When Jesus told the disciples that the specifically identified second temple would be destroyed, they asked when that would be. They also recognized that the destruction wouldn't just mean the end of a building, but an end of an era. And, in fact it was, the end of the Temple marked the completion of the transition from the Temple age to the Church age.
                      Last edited by Cornelius; 08-28-2015, 06:40 PM.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                        The rapture, or "catching up"... cannot be denied, sure as Cain slew Abel. The Lord's second coming to the earth is at the end of the tribulation of 7 years. The rapture is when believers, first the dead then those still living, go to the Lord in the air. Why is this so hard to understand? Too much false doctrine from teachers telling us what the Bible says and not trusting the Holy Spirit to be our teacher as the Bible tells us to do.

                        Look at history: In God's character, God removed His righteous before inflicting His wrath on the unrighteous. Examples: Lot and his wife before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; Israel moved to the land of Goshen while Egypt was being plagued; the parting of the Red sea to save Israel then killing Pharaoh's army; Noah and his family before the great flood; The night of the first Passover; and now the worst tribulation the world has ever known coming and you want to believe that God will not remove us from it before it hits?
                        Yes, look at history: Pella: A Window on Survival - Biblical Archaeology Society

                        1 Thessalonians 4, the famous Rapture passage, it actually doesn't talk about the Rapture, for reasons I have already given. But, even if you believe it does talk about the Rapture, there's not the slightest hint, not the slightest clue in this passage, that the "catching [up]" has anything to do with escaping judgement or tribulation.

                        There is nothing in the Bible to link the "rapture" to anything Jesus said in Matthew 24, Mark 15, or Luke 21, aside from some grossly misinterpreted verses.

                        Luke 21:38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left... 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

                        In the days of Noah, it was the wicked taken away, not the righteous, as Jesus points out. Likewise, in the tribulation upon Jerusalem (not the world), it's the wicked taken away, and put in the place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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                        • #13
                          You better study up on the description of the tribulation: It's global. The meteor that poisons the water, turning it bitter, called Wormwood, many people dying, not specifying Jews only. In the days of Noah, his righteous family, like Lot, etc., were SPARED. Sure the wicked were removed, but not wickedness. That picked up where it left off after each wrathful event, because of how depraved man is. If you don't see the rapture (catching up) in 1 Thess. 4:16-17, it is because you don't want to see it.

                          As with the 1000-year reign of Christ, it is obvious and literal. I read the Bible through these without people telling me what they mean first, but confirming I understood the Bible correctly when I told them what it means. That was the sequence of how I learned this. Many do it backwards and end up misinterpreting scripture instead of scripture being interpreted by the Holy Ghost. I do not mean to sound crass. Please do not take what I am saying in that light. The Bible says we are to learn from the Holy Ghost and that's what I do (I know I still have much to learn).But on this topic, I assure you, I am not spreading false doctrine.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                            You better study up on the description of the tribulation: It's global. The meteor that poisons the water, turning it bitter, called Wormwood, many people dying, not specifying Jews only. In the days of Noah, his righteous family, like Lot, etc., were SPARED. Sure the wicked were removed, but not wickedness. That picked up where it left off after each wrathful event, because of how depraved man is. If you don't see the rapture (catching up) in 1 Thess. 4:16-17, it is because you don't want to see it.

                            As with the 1000-year reign of Christ, it is obvious and literal. I read the Bible through these without people telling me what they mean first, but confirming I understood the Bible correctly when I told them what it means. That was the sequence of how I learned this. Many do it backwards and end up misinterpreting scripture instead of scripture being interpreted by the Holy Ghost. I do not mean to sound crass. Please do not take what I am saying in that light. The Bible says we are to learn from the Holy Ghost and that's what I do (I know I still have much to learn).But on this topic, I assure you, I am not spreading false doctrine.
                            As I said, any rapture in 1 Thess 4 is after we die, not before. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in 1 Thess 4 to link the "rapture" to any other part of your eschatology. The passage says nothing about Tribulation, etc. It's not a warning in the slightest, as you've tried to sell it as. See Matt 24 for what a warning looks like. Or, any of the examples from the OT you've already given. Paul's only intent is to comfort use by telling us that when we die we'll meet Jesus and others who have died in Christ.

                            In Matt 24, only Judea is identified (Matt 24:15) as the object of tribulation, not the world. It's that second temple Jesus was talking about, and if you don't see that, it's because you don't want to see it. Anyway, Jesus warned his people, just as God had done before, as you've pointed out. And the Christians followed that warning when the time came. As the early Church father and historian, Eusebius, records:

                            But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. And when those that believed in Christ had come there from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation of impious men.
                            Revelation is a vision, not to be taken literally. Aside from the content being glaringly symbolic, Revelation never treats the vision as literal. When content of the visions in Revelation are explained in the book of Revelation itself, it's never explained as literal -- so why do you think otherwise? You should strive to take content outside of visions more literally. "Judea" doesn't meant the world. "Eon" doesn't mean the world (in spite of the out-dated language of the KJV). "Soon" doesn't mean far later. "You see that Temple" doesn't mean another temple they don't see. "Left alive" doesn't mean won't die.




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                            • #15
                              What's this about being a vision? Read again: Revelation 1:9-11 - "9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto tthe seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea."

                              Not a vision. He was in the spirit on the Lord's Day. The great voice was as a trumpet, not a literal trumpet, for example. What he experienced is to be taken literally as he described what he heard and saw. That part is literal. What it is he saw may be symbolic, but HE SAW THEM! He heard them!

                              As for your interpretations, Jesus doesn't mean Jesus. Gospel doesn't mean Gospel. I could go on with this faulty logic, but you made my point for me. You simply don't believe what the Bible says. You pick and choose what you think is credible, and toss the rest into a wastebasket - that's a figurative wastebasket. It means you don't believe those parts of scripture because they are visions or just figurative. This is not just you, Cornelius, but any amillennialist. That makes me unpopular here, but facts are the Revelation is quite real as foretold in Daniel and your favorite, Matthew 24. Yes, he saw beasts with horns, which all stand for something literal, though they are representative of what they stand for, and that is what the Lord showed John.

                              Tis a prophecy: "19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;"

                              "3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."
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