The Big Question: When Will The Rapture Happen
The timing of the rapture in relation to the tribulation is one of the most controversial issues in the church today…and it has always been so.
While no one knows the exact time of Jesus return for His followers, the Bible does give us some insights as to when it might occur. There are three basic options.
The first interpretation is called pre-tribulation. This position declares that the rapture of the church will occur before the seven years of tribulation begin. I suppose that most Christians hold this view, which guarantees that Christians will avoid all of the suffering and trauma that will occur during the seven-year tribulation.
Historians tell us that the early Christians topped every hill looking for Jesus. They were constantly looking for His return. They expected Him to be right around the corner.
Its important to note that no prophetic events remain that must be fulfilled before the rapture can occur. None! His return is imminent. Jesus could come for you and me at any moment.
According to this viewpoint, we are not looking for the second coming of Christ or for the signing of a peace treaty between the Antichrist and Israel. We are looking for the rapture.
It will happen in the twinkling of an eye.
So, in that order of events, the rapture happens, the peace treaty is broken, and all hell breaks loose as the seals, trumpets, and bowls of Gods wrath are unreleased.
4. The rapture will be secret and instant . The second coming will be visible to all .
What Does The Bible Say About The Rapture
I want to look at three major texts that are often used to point to the rapture in the Bible. There are a few others, but these are the primary sources that are considered the clearest explains of the rapture in the Bible. Lets look at these verses and see if the rapture is Biblical.
What does the Bible say about the rapture:
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. Revelation 4:1
Some say this is the clearest description of the rapture in the Bible.
This view holds that the voice is Jesus speaking to the Church saying come up to heaven. The problem is for this interpretation to work you have to ignore the context of this verse.
Go back to the beginning of the verse After this I looked. Whos the I thats being referred to in this verse. Its John, the one whos receiving this revelation. To then insist that the next sentence is about the church being raptured is totally ignoring the pronoun that started off this verse.
When you ignore the context in which the Bible is written you can quite literally make it say whatever you want. In context this passage has nothing to do with the rapture, rather its a continuation of the vision that John is receiving. Its not addressing the Church and its certainly not talking about the rapture.
Sure sounds like the rapture doesnt it?
What Will Happen After The Rapture
After the rapture, Christians will stand before the throne of God to receive their rewards. White robes will be given to clothe them, and they will praise God.
Revelation 7:9-10: 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 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
The Bible teaches we will remain with Christ before the throne, until He returns again for the battle of Armageddon and to set up His millennial Kingdom.
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What Does Rapture Means In The Bible
To be Raptured into a Theophany at the Coming of the Lord!
2nd Corinthians 5
5:1 For we know that IF OUR EARTHLY HOUSE of THIS TABERNACLE were DISSOLVED, we HAVE a BUILDING of God, AN HOUSE not made with hands, ETERNAL in the HEAVENS.
5:2 For in this we GROAN, EARNESTLY DESIRING to be CLOTHED upon with our HOUSE which is FROM HEAVEN:
5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the EARNEST of the Spirit.
5:6 Therefore we are ALWAYS CONFIDENT, knowing that, WHILST we are AT HOME IN THE BODY, we are ABSENT from the Lord:
5:8 We are CONFIDENT, I say, and WILLING RATHER to be ABSENT FROM THE BODY, and to be PRESENT with the Lord.
5:10 For WE MUST ALL APPEAR before the JUDGMENT SEAT of Christ that EVERY ONE may RECEIVE the THINGS DONE IN his BODY, according to that he hath done, whether it be GOOD or BAD.
what does rapture means in the bible?
1st Thessalonians 4
4:15 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.
4:16 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:
4:17 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.
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Even Jesus Wouldn’t Buy ‘the Rapture’
Jay PariniSTORY HIGHLIGHTS
- Jay Parini: New HBO series takes off on novel based on Christian idea of ‘the rapture’
- He says it’s a fun TV idea, but the rapture concept is rubbish made up by theologian in 1800s
- The idea is that Jesus will come back, collect “saved” people before tribulation time begins
- Parini: Bible doesn’t mention rapture. It’s proponents distort apostles’ metaphors to cook it up
Editor’s note:Jay Parini, a poet and novelist, teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont. He has just published “Jesus: The Human Face of God,” a biography of Jesus. . The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
— HBO has just launched a new TV series based on a novel by Tom Perrotta called “The Leftovers,” which in turn is based on the fundamentalist Christian idea of the rapture. Apart from the title, which suggests a refrigerator full of stale food, the series looks promising.
It’s a terrific premise: Jesus returns and calls to heaven 140 million people, leaving behind billions of stupefied, confused, and grief-stricken others. In the show, a mother loses her baby, who disappears. A boy’s father seems to have vanished as he pushes a shopping cart. Cars collide as drivers go missing. Chaos strikes in the fictional Mapleton, New York — and throughout the world. How to cope?
But what about the theology behind this industry?
At least he won’t have to watch “The Leftovers” on TV.
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Will The Rapture Be Partial Or Full
Some have suggested that the rapture spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:1617 and 1 Corinthians 15:5152 will only be a partial rapture, not a rapture of all who believe. Advocates reason that participation in the rapture is not based upon ones salvation, but is instead conditional, dependent upon ones deserving conduct.
This theory rests on NT passages that stress obedient watching and waiting . If this interpretation is correct, the result would be that only part of the church would be raptured, and those who are not raptured would endure a portion of or the entire seventieth week of Daniel. However, these biblical texts which supposedly teach a partial rapture are better understood as differentiating between true believers who are raptured and merely professing, yet false believers who remain behind. Texts that refer to the final aspect of Christs second coming are often used mistakenly to support the partial-rapture theory.
View : The Rapture And Return Of Christ Occur Simultaneously At The End Of The Tribulation
Another view maintains that there is only one return of Christ and at his return believers, both those who have already died and those that are still alive, will rise to meet him in the air as he descends. It is called the post-tribulation view because it locates the rapture at end of the tribulation. Those who affirm this view reject the notion of a two-stage return or a separate secret return of Christ for his church prior to the tribulation. Instead it maintains that Christ only returns once and prefer to identify the rapture, as the resurrection of the saints, as a public event. Until the rise of premillennial dispensationalism, this has been the traditional understanding of the church and some form of it is typically affirmed in amillennial, post-millennial, and historical premillennial eschatological readings of Scripture.
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Different Theories Regarding Tribulation And The Rapture
For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short .
While many in the religious world believe in the concept of the rapture as we have just discussed, there are variations on the theory as it relates to tribulation. The tribulation refers to the period of intense hardship and turmoil immediately before the return of Christ.
There are three variations within the theory of Premillennialism regarding how this tribulation fits in with the rapture:
- Pre-tribulation Premillennialism Most in the religious world believe in this variation of the theory of Premillennialism. As they believe the period of tribulation will occur before the reign of Christ, they place the rapture before the tribulation.
- Mid-tribulation Premillennialism This variation has the rapture occurring during the tribulation, which means the faithful will have to endure part of the tribulation before being caught up.
- Post-tribulation Premillennialism This variation has the rapture occurring after the period of tribulation.
Again, all of these variations have the rapture occurring before the millennium .
Does Not Matthew 2: 3742 Where People Are Taken Out Of The World Teach A Posttribulational Rapture
In fact, Matthew 24:3742 teaches just the opposite. First, the historical illustration of Noah teaches that Noah and his family were left alive while the whole world was taken away in death and judgment. This is exactly the sequence to be expected at Christs second coming as taught in the parable of the wheat and tares , the parable of the dragnet , and the sheep-goat nation judgment . In all of these cases, at the final event in Christs second coming, unbelievers are taken away in judgment and righteous believers remain. Thus no, this passage does not teach about the rapture.
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How Rapture Theology Was Popularized
Arguably, the time when the rapture really started getting its roots was in 1830. This concept was brought about by a woman named Margaret MacDonald in the United Kingdom.
John Darby took the vision that Margaret MacDonald had and put some theological study, some weight, behind it. What level he was influenced by MacDonald is debatable, but there seems to be at least some level of influence. Darby traveled from the U.K. to the U.S. and taught this new theology in many lectures. His work left such a legacy that eventually C. I. Scofield was influenced.
Maybe that name sounds familiar. Scofield published the first-ever reference Bible towards the end of the 1800s. It quickly became the best selling Bible. People loved it.
In the footnotes of this Bible Scofield explained what rapture theology was. And as the Bible sold and grow in popularity so did this belief of a rapture. What we should take note of is this theology grew because of what was in the footnotes of the Word of God, not the Word itself.
From there famous evangelists bought into this theology and started spreading it further and further. Maybe the two most famous being D.L Moody and Billy Graham, although Graham later recanted his belief in the rapture in the Bible.
All this paved the way for the book The Late, Great Planet Earth in the 1970s. Which outsold the Bible for much of the decade. And then the infamous Left Behind Series that solidified rapture theology as mainstream in the western Church.
The First Resurrection Happens Right Before The Thousand Year Reign Of Christ Not Before The Tribulation
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.Revelation 20:4-6.
During the tribulation, people will be saved, but people will also die for Christthose who refuse to worship the beast and receive his mark. The Pre-Trib view holds that those who are killed are the people saved during the tribulation because the church is raptured. But if the church has already been raptured, the Holy Spirit will also be removed with the Church. How, then, can new believers be saved without the Holy Spirit on earth?
The people who die and didnt worship the beast or take his mark, will rise again and reign with Christ for 1000 years. This is the first resurrection. If there is a resurrection happening with the rapture 7 years before that when we are changed, and the dead will rise, then which resurrection is that?
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Christs Return Will Be Visible
The return of Christ will be visible universally, not invisible or secretive, known only by a few.
In Matthew 24:15-22 Jesus described the conditions to be associated with the destruction of Jerusalem. In connection therewith, he warns that if anyone claims, Lo, here is the Christ, it was not to be believed:
As those early disciples beheld Christs departure , so in like manner would He come again.
The coming of the Lord will involve a revelation” of His being .
At his coming, Christ will be manifested . When this term is used in the passive voice, as in 1 John 2:28, it means to show or reveal oneself, be revealed, appear to someone .
As Jesus was visible during his first appearing on earth , so will He be visible when He appears at His second coming .
At his coming, it is said that Christ “shall appear a SECOND time” .
If Lindsey and his dispensational kin are correct, Christ will not appear until his THIRD coming!
First Thessalonians : 1318 Demands A Pretribulational Rapture
Suppose, hypothetically, that some other rapture timing besides pretribulational is true. What would one expect to find in 1 Thessalonians 4? How does this compare with what is actually observed?
First, one would expect the Thessalonians to be joyous over the fact that loved ones are home with the Lord and will not have to endure the horrors of the tribulation. But the Thessalonians are actually grieving because they fear their loved ones have missed the rapture. Only a pretribulational rapture accounts for this grief.
Second, one would expect the Thessalonians to be grieving over their own impending trial rather than grieving over loved ones. Furthermore, they would be inquisitive about their own future doom. But the Thessalonians have no fears or questions about the coming tribulation.
Third, one would expect Paul, even in the absence of interest or questions by the Thessalonians, to have provided instructions and exhortation for such a supreme test, which would make their present tribulation seem microscopic in comparison. But not one indication of any impending tribulation of this sort appears in the text.
First Thessalonians 4 fits only the model of a pretribulational rapture. It is incompatible with any other time for the rapture.
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When Is The Rapture
When will this second coming of Christ and our being gathered to him occur? The best answer we can give with any certainty is that it will be at the end of this age. In Matthew 24:3 Jesus disciples ask about Jesus coming and the end of the age. Jesus response to their question culminates with the passage mentioned above with Jesus return and our being gathered to him.
But exactly when the end of the age will be is a big unknown. In Matthew 24:36, Jesus tells his disciples that no one, other than the Father, knows when that end will occur. Not even the angels in heaven, or even the Son. And, in Acts 1:7, in response to his disciples question about the establishment of the kingdom, Jesus says that it is not for them to know the when. The end will come in the Fathers time, and he has not chosen to share that with us.
Another passage that deals with the when of the rapture is 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4. In this passage Paul cautions the Thessalonian believers not to become concerned that the Lords return and our being gathered had already occurred. He assured them that it will not come before a great apostasy first takes place and the antichrist is revealed.
But, while we may not know when the rapture will occur, it should not take us by surprise. In Matthew 24:42-51 Jesus tells us to keep prepared for his coming. While we do not know the when of the event, we should expect it at any time.