Rapture

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The Rapture (from the Greek word έκσταση, ekstasi) is a term used to describe the physical resurrection of the Church which many expect to take place in the Last Days. As described in 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, this resurrection will include Christians who have not yet died physically. According to Revelation 20:4-5 the "first resurrection" mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 takes place after the Tribulation of Revelation 6–19.

Meaning of the term

The word rapture is not found in the Bible, but taken from the Latin word "rapio" which in turn was taken from the Greek word "harpazo" (pronounced har-pad'-zo). The term is found 13 times in the New Testament (including Revelation 12:5 which addresses Jesus' ascent described in the Book of Acts). According to Strong's Greek Dictionary, "Harpazo" means "to seize (in various applications): - catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force)." To this effect, most modern Christian ministries[Citation Needed] imply that "rapture" means "harpazo," which specifically points to being "caught up" in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Others have derived the concept of the rapture from the Greek word έκσταση, which is translated as ekstasi.

Controversy Surrounding Rapture

The Rapture is a controversial topic primarily due to disagreements over when it will occur in relationship to other end time events such as before, during, near the end (pre-wrath) or after the seven year tribulation period. (The seven year tribulation was first specified in the Bible in Daniel 9:24-27 as the last week or final seven-year period of Jewish time.) There are also disagreements as to whether all members of the church or some members will be resurrected in the rapture. A related controversial topic is dispensationalism which is typically promoted by those who believe the rapture will occur prior to the seven year tribulation. Briefly, dispensationalism holds that God deals with people differently during different time periods or ages on the Earth. Those who promote a pre-tribulation rapture insist that there must be a clean break between the Church age and the final seven years of Jewish time which they believe to be in the future. This difference explains why those who do not believe in dispensations believe the last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is in reference to the last trumpet in Revelation 11:15 while those who believe in dispensations and the pre-tribulation rapture interpret this verse to be the last trumpet or gathering together of the church which is found in Revelation 4:1, where John is speaking of himself being caught up.

Origin

There are several theories on the origin of the rapture.[1] Most of these are dated from the late 18th century onwards. Those who believe in a pre-tribulation view will either say there is sufficient explanation in the Bible, or point out that Saint Ephrem The Syrian wrote about the concept of the rapture, if not in the same terminology of using the word "rapture", but that the concept was most popularly clarified and explained by John Nelson Darby. Those who do not accept the pre-tribulation view of the rapture like to point out that the pretribulational rapture was first introduced and explained by a mid-19th century preacher, John Nelson Darby.

Some justifications supporting the Pre-Tribulation view

The concept of the rapture is described as a mystery or something which was not revealed in the Old Testament. However, the disciples would have been familiar with the resurrection mentioned in the Old Testament which describes believers being resurrected to the Earth and then God’s Messiah setting up God’s physical kingdom on the Earth. Based on the perceptions of the physical kingdom of Jesus on the Earth, there was a consensus among the people when Jesus was on the Earth that God’s Kingdom would be established on the Earth as opposed to starting out in Heaven: Matthew 21:8-9; Acts 1:6; John 21:23.

Old Testament and Tribulation Saints who died are resurrected to the Earth

Jude 14 Describes a freshly resurrected Enoch on the ground admiring the return of Jesus with His Saints returning from Heaven with Him

Daniel 12:2 Describes saints who are sleeping (meaning they are dead) who are resurrected to the Earth (not to Heaven) at the end of the age. The resurrection which occurs at the return of Jesus Christ will include believers from Adam until the resurrection of Jesus Christ and also those who became born again after the rapture of the church but then died before the end.

Tribulation Believers Alive at the Return of Jesus Will Be Rescued, Not Resurrected

Daniel 12:1 Describes believers alive on the Earth who are physically rescued by angels and then left alive on the Earth without a resurrection.

Joel 2:32 Describes believers alive on the ground who manage to escape or endure the trials of the last of the last days who will be spared or saved with no mention of a resurrection.

Zechariah 14:5 Describes saints alive on the ground who are greeted by the Lord's return who is accompanied by a multitude of His Holy Ones (who are the previously resurrected Church).

Matthew 24:31 is a repeat of Daniel 12:1 where angels physically rescue believers who endured to the end. Angels are incapable of resurrecting people and do not escort people who have angelic bodies.

Matthew 24:37-41 The return of Jesus Christ will be just the same as the days of Noah where believers were physically saved and remained on the Earth and unbelievers were killed without a resurrection. Just as in Noah's days, those taken off the Earth as described in Matthew 24:37-41 are all sinners; those who are left behind on the Earth are all believers.

Differences in authority between Church and Believers during Tribulation

Matthew 24:15-28 describes the primary method to endure to the end which is to run away from the anti-Christ. This command to run away from the anti-Christ tells us that these people are not members of the Church whom Jesus gave authority over the gates of hell but rather people who became born again after the rapture of the church. Although believers at this time will not have the same authority as individual believers during the church age, God will be able to perform large scale miracles such as those performed during the Jewish time period by Moses and Elijah as recorded in Revelation 11:6 and Angels will fly through the sky preaching the Gospel to people on the Earth followed by warnings of not believing in God Revelation 14:6-11. Based on the different ways that God works with people on the Earth between the Jewish age and the Church age, there are some who believe the rapture will occur either during or immediately before the war described in Ezekiel 38-39 since God will be able to perform overtly obvious miracles to protect the nation of Israel after the Church has left the Earth. Then these two enormous signs of God's faithfulness to His people (the rapture of the church and His divine protection of Israel) will motivate many to believe in God who, if they can endure to the end, will be among those who are then saved by angels seven years later when Jesus returns to the Earth.

Some justification supporting the Post-Tribulation and Pre-Wrath views

John Nelson Darby interpreted 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 as the occasion on which future believers in Jesus Christ will be suddenly taken away prior to the events of the war of Armageddon and the ushering in of the Millennial Kingdom:

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.' For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV)

Conditions that Could Precede the Rapture

Some Evangelical commentators suggest that the following events need to occur prior to the Rapture taking place:

  • Lawless conditions in the world, as in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:36-41)
  • The rise of a powerful government in Europe with its origins in the Roman Empire (Daniel 9, Revelation 13)
  • The rise of powerful countries to the north, south, and east of Israel (Daniel 11)
  • Israel living in peace with its neighbors (Ezekiel 38)
  • A peace treaty between Israel and the Arabs for seven years (Daniel 9)
  • The commencement of the rebuilding of the Jewish temple on its original site in Jerusalem.

The website 'Rapture Ready' maintains an index of how close the world apparently is to the Rapture.[2]

Relationship with Tribulationism

There is some debate within dispensationalist/tribulationist circles over whether the Rapture will occur before, during or after the reign of the Antichrist. The original reference by St Paul that "we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" (at I Thessalonians 4:17) clearly dates it to the time of the Second Coming, and does not suggest in any way that it will result in Christians being spared in advance the horrors of the Tribulation, as is sometimes proposed. Matthew 24:29-35 seems to favor the pre-wrath position, however:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:29-35 (KJV)

Revelation parallels this:

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭6:12-17‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭7:9-14‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Predictions Concerning Timing

Throughout history, many people have tried to determine when the rapture will happen, mainly by analyzing the Bible and correlating what it says to events that were happening around them. A recent analysis by Harold Camping, a radio evangelist and founder of eBible Fellowship[3] computed May 21, 2011 as the day of the rapture, although he uses a drastically different calendar for dating his events that support his view and states that the tribulation began in 1988.

The practice of date setting has drawn criticism in some circles. Critics have pointed to verses such as Mark 13:32 and Matthew 24:36, which indicate that no one knows the date of the rapture except for God Himself. History knows many examples. Many uneducated persons in the Christian world were gripped with terror as the year 1000 approached. Nothing unusual happened. The followers of William Miller in the 19th century experienced the Great Disappointment[4] when Jesus did not come as Miller predicted, on two separate dates! When one date was not fulfilled, he revised his calculations. Nothing happened. Jesus predicted that "many false prophets will arise and deceive many people" regarding the date of the rapture (Matthew 24:11). Advocates of date setting (such as Harold Camping) have interpreted these verses in ways different to their isolated literal expression. Furthermore, critics of date setting point to Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and Acts 1:7 as proof that those who set the date of the end are by that very fact already proven to be false prophets.

"And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power."

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: Greco-Roman meaning of Parousia

Author John Switzer includes an explanation of "caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 as the Second Coming according to the Greek meaning of a Parousia, a joyful going out (up) to meet him as the escort accompanying him on his glorious descent to the earth on the Last Day "and so shall we ever be with the Lord".

—"In the Greco-Roman world, a parousia was a celebration of the arrival of someone of distinction. It could be a person of political or military status or a god represented by an idol and accompanied by priests. [] At the appointed time, those being visited by the arriving dignity or deity would go out of the city gate as a sign of welcome and respect. The townsfolk would then process back into the city with the honored visitor, along with devotions or merriment. [] [W]hen Paul spoke of being carried off to meet Christ in the clouds, it was not for the purpose of flying away to heaven but to welcome the Lord and return with him in glory. This moment represents the culmination of God’s plan, the great Eschaton, for which all Christians pray when they cry out, ‘Thy kingdom come.’" [5]

Parousia and the Rapture

Author Allison Low asserts the Catholic doctrine that the Rapture and the Second Coming are simultaneous, on the Last Day [6]. She cites 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 as a highly visible public return of Christ, and the fact that the Latin text of this passage has the word translated as "rapture".

"Another key element in this passage is that when the rapture event is described, there is nothing secret or silent about it! Paul's describes Jesus' second coming in a very visible manner, obvious to all."

This last statement corresponds to Revelation 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him."

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 "the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air". According to Revelation 20:5-6 "This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." This first resurrection of the dead takes place only after the end of the period of the great tribulation in Revelation 6–16, only after the opening of the seven seals (6:1–8:5), the sounding of the seven trumpets (8:6–11:19), and the pouring out of the seven vials/bowls of the wrath of God (15:5–16:21), only after, not before.

Critics of the secret Rapture doctrine point to a multitude of passages in the New Testament as consistently teaching only one Parousia, one Second Coming of the Lord, not two Second Comings:

(1) a secret second coming and (2), a glorious second coming.

Paul speaks consistently of The Coming of the Lord, not of A Coming of the Lord occurring on one occasion as distinct from other kinds of Comings of the Lord (plural) to occur on other occasions. [7]

Matthew 24:39-41 - "took them"..."taken"..."taken"

According to the majority of biblical exegetes these verses in Matthew refer to "those who did not know" as referring to the wicked who perished and the wicked who will perish.

The grammar of the text in Greek and the parallel structure of the three passages 39, 40, 41, textually demonstrate that those who were taken and those who will be taken were evil. The text itself clearly indicates by its grammatical structure that these are the wicked. As the wicked were taken away by the flood after Noah entered the ark, so those who will be taken when the Son of man comes are the wicked, and the righteous will be left.

“As the days of Noah were, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in those days which were before the flood [...] and they did not know until the flood came, and took ἦρεν them all away, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken παραλαμβάνεται and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken παραλαμβάνεται and one will be left. Watch therefore, for you do not know in what hour your Lord comes. [...] the lord of that [wicked] servant will come in a day when he does not expect it, and in an hour when he does not know it, and will cut him in pieces, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. That is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.” Matthew 24:37-51.
“Then the soldiers of the governor took παραλαβόντες Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.” Matthew 27:27-31.
“Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took παραλαβόν Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.” John 19:16-18

The Greek terms ἦρεν eren "take away" and παραλαμβάνεται paralambanetai "taken, taken from" have a broad range and variety of meanings and shades of meaning, depending on the context. In accordance with the parallel context of the flood which "took them all away" in this passage (Matthew 24:37-51) the Greek term παραλαμβάνεται paralambanetai "taken, taken from" is legitimately understood and interpreted as referring to the wicked as those who are "taken" [away] "from" the earth (removed) to be condemned.

The same term is used in Matthew 27:27 and John 19:16 when Jesus was "taken" and they "took" him to be judged and condemned, and "took" him out and crucified him.
παραλαβόντες paralabontes "having taken with [them]" Matthew 27:27
παραλαβόν paralabon "they took" John 19:16
These Greek terms παραλαμβάνεται, παραλαμβάνεται, παραλαβόν, are keyed to Strong's number 3880 παραλαμβάνω paralambano—aggressively taken, forcefully taken.
The Greek term in Matthew 24:39 ἦρεν eren "took, take away" is keyed to Strong's number 142 αἴρω airo—put away, remove, take (away).

A strictly literalist reading which rigidly restricts the meaning of this term solely to the meaning of "received [to myself]" (as valuable, not necessarily money)—not its only meaning—without taking account of its broader usage and meaning in Greek within the context of this passage and its parallel construction, does violence to the literal sense of scripture which accords with the speaker's intent, the spirit of its actual meaning. It is not legitimate. It "takes away from the words" of "this Book" of the Bible (Revelation 22:18-19; 2 Peter 2:20; 3:15-18).

See the variety of meanings of παραλαμβάνεται paralambanetai according to Strong's number 3880 especially "taken", "taken from", "taken up"—"I take with me [to judgment, to hell]"—"taken [entirely, gone, found no more]"—"taken up [before the court, for judgment, condemnation].

A knowledgeable exegete and translator is responsible for choosing an interpretive reading of the Greek which most clearly expresses the meaning in accordance with the context of the whole of the passage, and the intention of the author (see Hermeneutics). The uninformed literalist who reads the Greek word according to its most limited and restricted mechanical literal meaning in isolation apart from the fuller range of its legitimate usage and not in harmony with the context of the whole of the passage is not reading its literal meaning and is in danger of violating the Word of God and distorting scripture to his or her own destruction (2 Peter 1:20; 3:15-18; 1 Timothy 4:1-2). "For the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life" (2 Corinthians 3:6c KJV).

John Nelson Darby

Beginning in 1824 with the preaching of John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, Matthew chapter 24 verses 40 and 41 have been more widely read by many Christians as referring instead to the rapture of the righteous who will be taken when the Son of Man returns. The passage states clearly that wicked were taken in the flood, and the righteous were left (alive, in the ark). But, in a stunning reversal of grammatical meaning, when the Son of Man appears the righteous who have been saved will be taken, and the wicked will be left.

The grammatical structure of the text does not support this reading: in both instances, in "parallel construction", it is the wicked who were taken and the wicked who will be taken; the righteous were left, alive (when the waters receded), and the righteous will be left, alive, with the Lord, "when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-8. The wicked will be taken away by himπαραλαμβάνεται paralambanetai emphasizes the meaning of "received [to Himself]—the wicked will be taken away by him to judgment and condemnation and "found no more" anywhere on earth, and "marched off to the king of terrors" [death] (Job 18:14).

"The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 13:41-42.
"I passed by again, and he could not be found."—compare Psalm 37. "But the wicked perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures, they vanish—like smoke they vanish away" (Psalm 37:20 RSVCE boldface emphasis added). See also Malachi 4:1-3; Matthew 13:40-43. The righteous will be left.

Consistent biblical pattern

Every single example in the Bible of the wrath and judgment of God follows the exact same pattern.

The world is warned.
The wicked are destroyed.
The righteous are preserved, and are left AFTER the ENTIRE TIME OF JUDGMENT has passed. "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" 1 Thessalonians 5:9 KJV

The Bible consistently shows multiple examples of those who are left alive after the wicked are taken away and destroyed. “Left” (remaining) is a condition after the fact – it is a condition after the actual judgment.

Genesis 7:21-23 Only Noah and his family and the animals in the ark were left.
Genesis 19:27-29 Only Lot and his daughters were left.
Exodus 8–12 The people of Israel was not removed before the ten plagues fell on Egypt. Only Israel was left unharmed.
Exodus 14:28-30 Only the people of Israel was left.
Numbers 14:2-12, 21-24, 36-38; 26:64-65 Only Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun were left.
Numbers 21:6-9 Only those bitten by the serpents who obediently looked at the bronze serpent were left.
Deuteronomy 1:35-39; 2:14-15 Only the children of the entire generation of the rebellious men of war who had departed with Moses out of Egypt were left.
Joshua 6:21-25 Only Rahab the harlot and all who belonged to her were left.
Joshua 11:19-20 Only the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon who made peace, were left.
1 Samuel 30:11-17 Only the young man of Egypt and the four hundred young men on camels who fled were left.
2 Samuel 8:1-2 Only one third of David's defeated Moab captive survivors were left.
1 Kings 19:18 Only 7,000 in Israel were left.
2 Kings 17:17-18 Only the tribe of Judah was left.
2 Kings 19:4 Only a remnant of those within the city was left.
2 Kings 19:30-31 Only the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall be left.
2 Kings 25:2-12 Only a remnant remained alive to be exiled, and some of the poorest of the land were left.
2 Chronicles 30:6 Only the remnant of those still living within Israel and Judah who had escaped the hand of the kings of Assyria were left.
2 Chronicles 34:9 Only Manasseh and Ephraim and the remnant of Israel and all Judah and Benjamin and the inhabitants of Jerusalem were left.
Ezra 3:8 Only Zerubbabel and Jeshua with the remnant of their brethren, the priests, and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity were left.
Ezra 9:8, 13-15 Only a remnant was left.
Nehemiah 1:2-3 Only the survivors in the province of Judah who had avoided being exiled were left.
Job 1:13-19 Only the three messengers who came to Job were left.
Job 22:19-20 Only the wicked are cut off while the righteous are left.
The books of the Psalms and the Proverbs and Wisdom repeatedly declare that the wicked are destroyed while the righteous in the very midst of those being destroyed are left.
Psalm 91:7 The righteous are preserved in the midst of pestilence and destruction all around. Only they are left.
Isaiah 1:9; 10:20-22; 11:11; 37:4, 31-32; 46:3; Jeremiah 23:3-8; 31:7; 39:9-10;
Ezekiel 6:8-10; chapter 9; 14:21-23;
Daniel 12:1-3; Amos 5:3; 9:8-12; Micah 7:18; Haggai 1:12-14; Malachi 4:1-3 / Malachi 3:19-21 —Only those who fear God's name will be left.
Romans 9:27-29 Only a remnant will be saved.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 Only those who are alive, who are left.
1 Peter 4:17 Only those who survive the judgment that begins with the household of God will be left.
Revelation 11:13 Only those who were not killed, and were terrified, and gave glory to God, were left.
Revelation 12:7-17 Only those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus were left—and the dragon made war on them.
Revelation 14:9-20 Only those who endure, and keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will be left.
John 17:15 "I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one."
“Left” (remaining) is a condition after the fact – it is a condition after the actual judgment.

Tribulation: Greek θλίψις thlipsis

According to the Gospel preached by Saint Paul and Barnabas we must through great Tribulation enter the kingdom of God. The term in Acts 14:22 is the same in Revelation 7:14 and in Matthew 24:21. Compare multiple commentaries on John 17:15; and Acts 14:22, keyed to Strong's number 2347 θλίψις thlipsis. See also the interlinear texts of Revelation 7:14 θλίψεως; Acts 14:22 θλίψεων; Matthew 13:21 θλίψεως; 24:21 θλῖψις and 29 θλῖψιν; Mark 13:24 θλῖψιν; John 16:33 θλῖψιν; Romans 2:9 θλῖψις; 5:3 θλίψεσιν; 8:35 θλῖψις; 12:12 θλίψει; 2 Corinthians 1:4 θλίψει; 7:4 θλίψει; 1 Thessalonians 3:4 θλίβεσθαι; 2 Thessalonians 1:6 θλῖψιν; Revelation 1:9 θλίψει; 2:9 θλῖψιν, 10 θλῖψιν, 22 θλῖψιν; and Revelation 7:14 θλίψεως.

The people of Israel was not removed before the Tribulation of the ten plagues fell on Egypt.

In Revelation 7:14 those clothed in white robes are not those who have "escaped" the Great Tribulation. They are those "coming out from among / coming out of the midst of" the Great Tribulation. The phrase ἐρχόμενοι ἐκ erchomenoi ek "coming out of [the midst of]" does not mean "escaped from". The Greek present tense is used: "These are those coming out of / from ἐκ the midst of the great tribulation". The Greek ἐρχόμενοι ἐκ is a present tense "continuous, on-going" activity, not a past tense, single, sudden event. The interpretive reading "escaped from the great tribulation" is false, having utterly no linguistic basis or textual justification in any extant manuscript of the Greek text, including the Textus Receptus. No forms of the New Testament Greek words for "escape", "escaped from", are used in Revelation 7:14.
Compare Strong's numbers 575, 668, 1295, 1545, 1628, 1831, 5343.
See Greek and English versions of Revelation 7:14 ἐρχόμενοι ἐκ and ἐρχόμαι ἐκ (biblehub.com).

Author and apologist Richard Kendrick offers an excellent example of Pre-Tribulation Rapture reasoning in "Matthew 24 and the Rapture" [8]. While reading, bear in mind 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 "the dead in Christ will rise first" and "This is the first resurrection" in Revelation 20:5-6. Only after the completion of the whole Tribulation Period of Revelation 6–19 comes Revelation 20:5-6 "This is the first resurrection", the same resurrection mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 "and the dead in Christ will rise first".

Richard Kendrick warns

"that those who deny the pre-trib rapture are actually in danger of perishing", unless they change their minds and hearts and accept the pre-trib rapture that God has clearly revealed and ordained in the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments.

His literal exegesis of the Greek term παραλαμβάνεται paralambanetai emphasizes the meaning of "received [to Himself]", those whom Jesus comes to "take up / receive" to Himself, those He has saved from the wrath which comes on all those disbelievers in the pre-tribulation rapture who are left behind.

Author John Henry in "Pre-Tribulation Rapture Proofs" [9] also offers an outstanding example of Pre-Tribulation Rapture reasoning. John Henry declares that the whole physical devastation of the Great Tribulation on earth is the Wrath of God (Revelation 6–16), which the saved will escape, citing 1 Thessalonians 5:9, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ". The intelligence of his reasoning is disclosed in the following representative statement,

"1 Corinthians 15:51-52 indicates that the Rapture will take place 'at the last trump'. The question is, which last trump?"

He then says there are two. Citing "1 Thess. 4:14; cf. Rom. 4:25, 5:1, 9", he says

"The prerequisite for one to go in the rapture is faith in Jesus Christ's death for his sins and resurrection for his justification. This prerequisite is found at the beginning of the 1 Thessalonians 4 rapture passage where it says: ‘For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him’."

This "prerequisite necessity" of a consciously aware and understanding faith clearly excludes newborns, babies, children in arms who cannot talk or walk, who have died before they are able to understand anything, the mentally incompetent, and the ignorant, all who do not believe simply because they have never heard the Gospel nor were they capable of understanding it. Author John Henry does not represent the Wrath of God as being expressed in the final condemnation of the cursed human followers of the Devil and his angels (and of death and even hell itself). He takes no notice of the fact that in Revelation 20:11-15 the Wrath of God is clearly evident in their total and irrevocable condemnation to the Second Death of eternal torment in the lake of fire on the Last Day, but instead he restricts the Wrath of God to the Great Tribulation of Revelation 6–16, ending with chapter 16, the Wrath of God which the saved will escape.

Moreover, this strongly contrasts with the fact that in the midst of the Wrath of God in the Tribulation, in Revelation 7:2-8 and 9:4, those with the seal of God upon their foreheads were not harmed, evidently because God hath not appointed them unto wrath, but to obtain salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:9): as Psalm 91 says, "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee."

Jesus in Matthew 24:21-22 clearly says that for the sake of the elect (whom God has chosen) the days of the great tribulation will be shortened that they might be saved. If they are not on earth at the time of the great tribulatin, but are raptured before the great tribulation, there would be no reason to shorten the days for their sake.

"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

Author John Henry's citation of Revelation 4:1 as the Rapture of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 before the Great Tribulation clearly contradicts and violates the whole entire biblical sequential context of the position of Revelation 20:6 "And the dead in Christ will rise first", "This is the first resurrection", which follows the Great Tribulation of Revelation 6–16. "For the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

The New Testament repeatedly warns believers whose names are written in heaven that their names can be blotted out of the book of life. See KJV Luke 10:20; Exodus 32:33; Revelation 3:5; Philippians 4:3; Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 25:41-46; Romans 1:18; 2:3-11; 5:9; Ephesians 2:3; 5:3-6; Colossians 3:3-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelation 20:10-15; 22:14-15. See Eternal security (salvation).

Compare author Benjamin L. Merkle's excellent article, "Who will be left behind? Rethinking the meaning of Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-35" [10]. He presents parallels with Old Testament judgment texts, together with critical grammatical exegesis of the Greek terms ἦρεν eren "take away" and παραλαμβάνεται paralambanetai "taken, taken from", and emphatically concludes,

"Although many assume that those taken in Matt 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-35 are taken to be with Jesus and those left behind are left for judgment, this interpretation should be rejected. Throughout the context of these passages Jesus uses judgment language reminiscent of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of its inhabitants. Those who were taken away were the ones judged by God whereas those left behind were the remnant who received grace."

Author Benjamin L. Merkle cites Isaiah 4:2-4; Zephaniah 3:11-13; Zechariah 13:8; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.

Author Shawn Brasseaux in his outstanding article "Is the Rapture in Matthew 20:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36?" [11] firmly states,

"Who was taken in the Great Flood? Friend, if you know your Bible, you understand it was certainly the unbelievers taken away in the Flood. No believers perished. Remember, the believers were safe in the Ark that Noah built according to God’s instructions. Jesus Christ’s Second Coming will likewise take away the unsaved/lost people, leaving only the believing remnant (Israel and her Gentile blessers) on Earth."

Two opposing doctrines of Parousia and Rapture. Two opposing doctrines of salvation.

There are two mutually exclusive doctrines about a Pre-Tribulation Rapture:

either
  • Pre-Tribulation Rapture is false and must be rejected as opposed to the Gospel of salvation.
or
  • Pre-Tribulation Rapture is true and must be believed to be saved.

There are two mutually exclusive doctrines about what is required for salvation:

either to (A)—
  • Be brought helpless to the laver of salvation [12], regenerated by Baptism by water and the Spirit (or by blood, being killed because of Christ, or by an unconscious inner hidden desire to do the whole will of God which would include being baptized as ordained by God for salvation if they knew of its necessity).
—No one is excluded from Baptism unto salvation, including newborns, babies, children in arms who cannot talk or walk, who die before they understand anything, the mentally incompetent, and the ignorant who are unaware of the necessity of being baptised (no one is self-baptized).
—(if able) Believe in the Resurrection of the dead.
—(if able) As far as possible learn to do good works pleasing to the Father with faith in Christ.
—(if able) Believe that God will reward every one according to their works.
"For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury." Romans 2:6-8
Compare Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed.
or to (B)—
  • Personally decide to hear the Gospel, understand, acknowledge sin, repent, accept Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and publicly profess Him as personal Lord and Savior.
–Good works are not required to be saved by faith alone.
–All who do not believe because they have never heard or accepted the Gospel, newborns, babies, children in arms who cannot talk or walk, who die before they understand anything, the mentally incompetent, and the ignorant, are not saved if they do not believe with faith and publicly confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is risen and accept him as their personal Lord and Savior.
Compare Traditionalism.


References

  1. Sanders, E.F. The Origin of the Pretribulational Rapture Theory (n.d.)
  2. Rapture Ready
  3. Bible Fellowship
  4. Miller claimed the Second Coming of Christ imminent (wikipedia.org)
  5. Do Catholics Believe in the Rapture? by John Switzer - U.S.Catholic (usacatholic.org)
  6. Advent and the End Times: Refuting the Rapture Doctrine, By Allison Low (catholicstand.com)
  7. Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:3, 27, 30, 37; Mark 13:20, 24-27, 34-36; Luke 21:25-28; John 5:25-29; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2:8; James 5:7-9; 1 John 2:28.
  8. "Matthew 24 and the Rapture" Richard Kendrick (tribulationrisingcom.fatcow.com)
  9. "Pre-Tribulation Rapture Proofs", by John Henry (landmarkbiblebaptist.net)
  10. "Who will be left behind? Rethinking the meaning of Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-35" Benjamin L. Merkle, WTJ 72(2010): 169-79 pdf
  11. "For What Saith the Scriptures? Is the Rapture in Matthew 20:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36?", by Shawn Brasseaux (Berean Assembly)
  12. Romans 5:6; Titus 3:5.

See also

External Links

Sources

  • Armstrong, K., The Battle for God (Harper Perennial, 2000)
  • Cruden, A., Complete Concordance to the Old and New Testaments (Lutterworth, 1930)
  • The Holy Bible (King James Version)
  • The New English Bible (Oxford & Cambridge University Presses, 1970)
  • The New Jerusalem Bible (Darton, Longman & Todd, 1990)
  • Peake, A.S., Commentary on the Bible (Nelson, 1962)
  • Young, R., Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible (Lutterworth, 1939)