‘To Be Raptured, Or Not To Be Raptured’ (2013)

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Whether the Rapture is real or not, one thing I’m sure of–crouching under the pews waiting for it benefits no one but the Enemy.

So many of my friends and family, and fellow servants in Christ’s household, believe in the Rapture. And many do not. Some great theologians accept it. Other great theologians reject it.

To Be Raptured, or Not to be Raptured

I can’t find any support for this doctrine in the Bible. It ought to be there, in both Testaments. But fighting over this with other Christians is hardly a good use of our time on earth. God has richly endowed us with real enemies who want to wipe out the Church everywhere.

“Occupy until I come” (Luke 19:13), as taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, remains the best procedure.

5 comments on “‘To Be Raptured, Or Not To Be Raptured’ (2013)

  1. The word rapture is not in Scripture, but in Revelation the catching away of saints at the Seventh Trumpet is written. We go through a great deal of tribulation before that time, but if we persevere, we escape the time of what is termed God’s Wrath, which is the beginning of the worst part of the tribulation. It is all right there in Scripture.

  2. No, the rapture is not real. It is a misinterpretation of Christ’s warning to His followers not about His Second Coming ~ something that will be very obvious when it happens! ~ but about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Remember, when He says, “Where the body is (the Judaism that rejected Him), there the EAGLES gather.” I had thought that might have been a mistranslation, but it was explained to me that the eagle was the symbol of ROME! The atrocities committed during the destruction of Jerusalem were so bad that even the Roman commander was horrified and said that God (or the gods) must be against this place! Neither will Christ come and establish a thousand year reign of peace on this planet. When He comes again, it will be the time of Judgment and the end of this world.

  3. I have looked into this quite a bit over the years, and so feel compelled to add my two cents worth. The word rapture is not in our English bibles, though you’ll find it in Latin bibles. The translation of that word shows up in our Bible in various forms (caught up, snatched, grabbed, carried off, etc.). In original Greek texts, the word harpazo was used. There are 7 different instances where it references a sudden and “violent” physical event. (Incidentally, the word Trinity is not in the Bible either, though the concept is clearly there right from the beginning of Genesis.)

    In the Old Testament, Enoch and Elijah were both “harpazo’d”. In the New Testament, so was Phillip after he spoke with the Ethiopian eunuch, though instead of being taken to heaven, he was set down again in a completely different place. Paul is caught up from the earth and taken to the third heaven, Jesus is harpazo’d after his death and resurrection. Finally, and this is the most relevant one to this post, the Bride of Christ is caught up into the clouds to meet her Groom (Jesus) in the air. Though these two events are sometimes lumped into one, Christ coming FOR his Church is distinctly separate from the Second Coming, when Jesus will return WITH the Church to finally defeat the antichrist and begin his thousand-year reign.
    The first time Christ returns, he comes “like a thief in the night”. This event can happen at any moment, and it is over “in the twinkling of an eye.” When it does, all believers are taken with him into heaven. There is strong support for the idea that this will happen before the Tribulation (based on passages in Thessalonians and Revelation). In Revelation it says, “I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” The Second Coming, by contrast, happens at a set time, after specific events of the Tribulation have taken place, and there is no secrecy about it. “Every eye will see him, even those who pierced him” and at that time he will bring judgment to all those left on the earth.

    As for the idea that Revelation is speaking about the Romans and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, there is some truth in that, but only to a point. Revelation is prophetic/apocalyptic prose—a lost form of literature we’re not all that familiar with in the present day. It is full of symbolism and images that can be baffling and difficult to understand. Nothing about it is straightforward. However, prophetic biblical texts (including those like the book of Daniel) have multiple layers of meaning and can talk about more than one event at the same time. Revelation refers to the destruction of the Temple (which probably felt like a world-ending event to those who lived through it), but it also talks about what we think of today as the final end times, with the defeat of the antichrist. Satan’s hold on this world will end, but God’s creation will absolutely be restored to its original, sinless glory. This must happen to fulfill God’s promises, including the covenant made with Israel. This is supported not just in Revelation, but in Daniel, Romans, Isaiah, Ezekiel and other passages.
    This post is already too long, but there are plenty of places to look for information about rapture and end times prophecy, including Acts 1 and 8, 2 Corinthians 12, Luke 24, Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, and Revelation 12). There are many reputable theologians, scholars, and pastors who have researched this topic as well, though we should always compare what they say to what is in the bible. We’re blessed to have God’s word directly at our disposal!

    1. Allison, your post is an ornament to my page! Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts.
      I have to confess that I spare very little time for end-times speculations. I have my work in front of me and try to do my best. And I’m convinced the Church in America in the 19th and 20th centuries did tremendous harm to itself by embracing the idea that the world was going to end any day now, so why bother? That was going against the Great Commission–and the void left in public affairs by Christians was soon filled by the ungodly.
      With results that are sickeningly obvious!

    2. You’re welcome! I don’t get obsessive about looking at end time stuff, but after being terrified of what little I knew from Revelation in my younger years, I finally heard a couple of sermons that sparked a shift in my perspective and persuaded me to look deeper. I came to realize that Revelation was part of the bible for a reason, and it was important that I actually figure out what it says, and what it means. It begins by promising a “blessing to those who read aloud the words of this prophecy…and take to heart what is written in it.”

      I agree that a lot of people through time (including the Church here in America) have spent too much energy trying to determine when the end times will begin and sitting on their hands while they wait. That has led some people astray, and has discouraged others from seeking the truth in scripture. Jesus warned us that no one knows but the Father. Though he gave us signs to watch for, our job is to simply be ready. If we’re walking with God like we’re supposed to, being “ready” won’t be a problem or interfere with our everyday lives. Those who think they can do what they please and ask forgiveness at the last moment, however, will be shocked when they discover “the blink of an eye” is hardly enough time to do that!

      In your article, you wondered why the idea of a rapture seems to be a new one. That question has been used by many to discredit the idea entirely. I’m not sure that the concept as new as we think (theologically), but I’d have to research that to be sure. There is also the idea (taken from text in Daniel) that as the end nears, our knowledge will increase, giving us a greater understanding of what these seemingly cryptic prophecies mean. (There’s no reason to know it until you need it sort of thing.) It is also thought that once the end time events begin, there will be a domino effect that moves things increasingly faster, unlike at any other point in our history.

      I have to confess that things prophesied in Revelation that seemed completely impossible to me when I was young, look completely possible now based on how the world is changing–and how fast it is changing. I expect things will get a whole lot worse before Jesus returns, but where I once felt fear and anxiety in biblical end time prophecy, I now find an unexpected hope and comfort. Revelation is, after all, the promise of our happy ending and the defeat of evil for all time.

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