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The Rapture In 2 Thessalonians : 110
The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:110
Myron J. Houghton, Ph.D.
The ContextIn verses one and two, Paul states: Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Pauls purpose, then, in 2 Thessalonians 2:310 is to show these believers that they were not in the Tribulation. In v. 3, he states that two things must occur before the Tribulation can begin the falling away, and the revelation of the man of sin. For those aware of Daniels prophecy that the prince that shall come will confirm a covenant with many for seven years and then break it in the midst of the week, the lawless man of sin is made known when he confirms the covenant, not when he breaks it. II Thessalonians 2:4 indicates the identity of this man rather than the time of his revelation by relating him to Daniels prophecy.
There are four reasons which, when taken together, seem to indicate that Paul was referring to the rapture when he mentioned this term.
If both the removal of the Restrainer and the falling away refer to the rapture of the Church, then II Thessalonians 2:110 offers two proofs for the rapture occurring before the Tribulation.
Will Christians Go Through The Tribulation
God has not appointed His wrath to be poured out on believers because His wrath has been satisfied for they have placed their trust in Christ and Jesus took the wrath of God for us. As a result, the wrath of God that is to be poured out on the unrepentant and unregenerate world will be unlike anything that the world has ever seen . There are said to be many who will be saved during the tribulation as we read in Revelation 7:14, These are they who have come out of the great tribulation they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Those who will be saved in the tribulation will have to pay with their lives as it says in Revelation 20:4, when the Apostle John saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Most biblical scholars say that Christians will not go through the tribulation but the tribulation will make many martyrs become Christians but they will have to pay the price of their life. Christians are believed to escape this tribulation period by what is called the rapture .
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The end of the world will coincide with war and natural disasters, according to prophetic scripture in the Christian Bible. Before the end times and Second Coming of Jesus Christ, many Christians believe the Antichrist will arive to deceive the world during a seven-year period known as the Tribulation.
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The Events Of The Tribulation Period
Revelation 4:1-2. John, a symbol of the church, is taken up to heaven.
Daniel 9:27. The Antichrist signs a covenant for seven years with the nation of Israel. This is the event that inaugurates the Tribulation period.
Revelation 6:1-2. Christ opens the first of the seven-sealed scroll, and the rider on the white horse appears, using diplomacy and the promise of peace to establish his one-world government.
Revelation 6:3-4. The second seal introduces a great world war.
Revelation 6:5-6. The third seal begins the suffering of famine and inflation .
Revelation 6:7-8. The fourth seal results, as do all wars, in death, but in this case it totals one-fourth of the people and living creatures. By todays population standards, that would amount to one-and-a-half billion people.
Revelation 6:9-11. This passage introduces the martyrdom of those who are converted under the preaching of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses described in chapter 7. An innumerable number of people receive Christ and are martyred by the government leader and harlot , who gets her power from the Antichrist. Note that evangelism during this period is back in the hands of the Jews. Since the church is absent, the 144,000 apostle-Paul-type believers will make powerful evangelists.
Revelation 6:12-17. This sixth seal exhibits the wrath of God poured out in the form of a mighty earthquake, the like of which has never been experienced. It is so severe that people call on the rocks to fall on them.
Is The Rapture Biblical
After His resurrection, Jesus returned to heaven, and the disciples watched as He rose into the sky. The Bible says, While they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven .
Two points stand out in these verses. First, the Jesus who returns to Earth the second time is the very same Jesus who lived here on Earth with us and went back to heaven following His resurrection. And second, He will return to Earth the same wayin like manneras He went back to heaven. How did Jesus go to heaven following His resurrection? Did He go secretly? No. The disciples watched Him rise, literally, bodily, into the air until a cloud hid Him from their sight. So these verses tell us that Jesus will return to earth the same waynot secretly.
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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.
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Key Beliefs Of Dispensational Premillennialism
· Like dispensationalists, historical premillennialists believe the second coming will occur before the literal millennium reign of Christ reign on earth.
· Unlike dispensationalists, however, historical premillennialists believe that the church will experience the tribulation but will find relief when Christ comes again in his power and glory.
· A modern take on historical premillennialism is sometimes called covenant premillennialism, based on its view that God established different covenants throughout human historysuch as works, redemption, and graceas a way of relating to humankind. These are different than the dispensations in dispensational premillennialism, since the covenants assume that Biblical covenants made with Israel equally apply to the Church, while dispensationalism draws a bright line between how God treats the Church and Israel.
· For more information on historic premillennialism, including covenant theology, look for A Case for Historic Premillennialism, edited by Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung.
When Does The Great Tribulation Begin
3. In the past, what was our understanding of the timing of the great tribulation?
3 For a number of years, we thought that the great tribulation began in 1914 with World War I and that those days were cut short by Jehovah in 1918 when the war ended so that the remnant would have the opportunity to preach the good news to all nations. After the completion of that preaching work, Satans empire would be destroyed. Thus, the great tribulation was thought to have three phases: There would be a beginning , the tribulation would be interrupted , and it would conclude at Armageddon.
4. What insight led to a clearer understanding of Jesus prophecy about the last days?
4 Upon further examination of Jesus prophecy, however, we perceived that a part of Jesus prophecy about the last days has two fulfillments. There was an initial fulfillment in Judea in the first century C.E., and there would be a worldwide fulfillment in our day. That insight led to several clarifications. *
5. What difficult period began in 1914? That period of distress corresponds to what time period in the first century C.E.?
6. What will signal the beginning of the great tribulation?
7. How was flesh saved in the first century? What can we expect will happen in the future?
8. What events will take place after the initial part of the great tribulation has passed? At what point, apparently, will the last member of the 144,000 receive his heavenly reward?
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View : The Rapture And The Return Of Christ Are Separate And Distinct Eschatological Events
The dispensational teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture fits within an end times series of events in which Christ will return for his church in two distinct stages. First, Christ will return in the clouds to rapture all true believers. It is commonly understood as Christs secret return for the church and will happen imminently like a thief in the night so that believers will suddenly vanish without any warning and those left behind will not know what happened to them. The rapture will mark the beginning of a seven-year Great Tribulation centered around the nation of Israel and will feature a number of devastating judgments. After the Tribulation, Christ will return visibly to earth to establish his millennial kingdom. This second stage of Christs return is the second coming, although he already returned once for his saints. Both stages of Christ return are often grouped together under the heading of the second coming.
The Rapture In Church History
The point that Im trying to make is about Church history. Rapture theology has only been popular for 180 years. It is largely a new theology, a new concept. While some will argue there are instances in the early church that support a pre-tribulational rapture in the Bible, but I have yet to see any clear proof. Theres certainly not enough proof to say it was a commonly held belief.
All this doesnt make it false, but it should make us pause.
If belief in the pre-tribulational rapture has only been popular, commonplace, since 1830 that means it wasnt talked extensively about by the very people who laid the theological foundation for the Church. Again, that doesnt mean its not true. Be it should be a red flag whenever a new theology is brought into the picture. It should cause us to dig a little deeper.
So, what does the Bible say about the Rapture? Is the rapture in the Bible?
Dr Tim And Mrs Noreen Muehlhoff
Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution. Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biolas Center for Marriage and Relationships where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast.
Some Clarification About The Rapture In The Bible
If you are unfamiliar with what the rapture in the Bible is let me give you a very brief definition.
The Rapture, as commonly viewed today, is the belief that Jesus will remove the church before the great tribulation. This will be suddenly and without warning. One moment Christians will be going about their business and the next, gone. They will be taken to heaven while the rest of the world is plunged into a terrible tribulation. Following the great tribulation is the Second Coming of Jesus in which He will return to earth in a triumph entry defeating His enemies.
There are some that view the rapture differently than this description. But for the sake of clarity this is how I will use it through this article.
This is a touchy subject for some, because this belief is held tightly. I know that because whenever I mention something that has to do with ends times I get a slew of emails, comments, name calling, and plenty of accusations about my intentions. Few topics bring as much heat and opposition as this one.
So, before we go any further let me clarify a few things that typically come up.
First, I firmly believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. And I strive to uphold it and help people understand it.
Second, I believe in the Second Coming of Jesus. However, this article is not about that. Its about questioning whether the pre-tribulational rapture is Biblical.
And finally, I want to show my cards early on. I do NOT believe in the rapture. Okay, deep breath
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When Does Jesus Judge The Sheep And The Goats
10. In the past, what was our understanding of the timing of the judgment of the sheep and the goats?
10 Consider now the timing of another part of Jesus prophecythe parable of the judgment of the sheep and the goats. Previously, we thought that the judging of people as sheep or goats would take place during the entire period of the last days from 1914 onward. We concluded that those who rejected the Kingdom message and who died before the start of the great tribulation would die as goatswithout the hope of a resurrection.
11. Why could the judgment of people as sheep or goats not have started in 1914?
11 In the mid-1990s, The Watchtower reexamined Matthew 25:31, which states: When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. It was noted that Jesus became King of Gods Kingdom in 1914, but he did not sit down on his glorious throne as Judge of all the nations. However, the parable of the sheep and the goats describes Jesus primarily as Judge. Since Jesus was not yet active as Judge of all nations in 1914, his judgment of people as sheep or goats could not have started in that year. * When, then, will Jesus judgment begin?
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