Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rapture New? Get a Clue!

Nathan JonesPDFBy

"I wish I could believe there is a Rapture in the Bible, because that would be something really great to look forward to. Sadly, the rapture theory was first spoken of by a sickly woman in 1830 and the ministers at that time just ran with it as prophecy." – Mariano, New York

If I were to receive a dollar for every time somebody told me there is no mention of a rapture in the Bible and that the concept is a fairly modern day invention, I'd have enough money to pound a considerable dent into the federal deficit (depending on the Administration, that is).

Can the Rapture, separate and apart from the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, be found anywhere in the Bible? How does looking forward to the Rapture bring us hope? And, is the Rapture as a whole too new of an idea to be true? Get ready to give me that dollar, Mariano!


Rapture in the Bible

The Bible does indeed teach about the Rapture of the Church. First Thessalonians 4:17 in particular speaks of an event called "the Rapture," derived from the Latin word rapio which was translated from the original Greek word harpazo. Rapio means "to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out," and that's how it's often written out, as in that verse which reads, "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

Other references on the Rapture are found in Isaiah 26:19-21; Malachi 3:17; John 14:1-4; I Corinthians 15:51-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.


Encouragement to the Believer

The Apostle Paul states that the Rapture is meant to encourage believers during this age (1 Thessalonians 4:18). And yet, what encouragement could the Rapture bring to any believer who thinks they will have to endure all the horrors of the coming 7-year Tribulation? What would be the point of the Rapture then? It wouldn't really be as Mariano has stated, "something really great to look forward to."

True encouragement and hope comes from the Bible's teaching of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. We know that the Rapture will happen before the Tribulation because according to the Bible the Church isn't destined to endure God's judgment on the world. God has promised the Church a rescue beforehand. For example in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 we are told "to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come." (See also 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:4 and Revelation 3:10).

Evidences of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture also come from Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 who comforted the Church of Thessalonica when he wrote, "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come." The church there was concerned that they had missed the Rapture and were living in the Tribulation. Paul assures them in verse 3, "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." In other words, they'd know if they were living in the Tribulation.

The only hope that could comfort the Church Age Saint staring into the face of the horrors of the Tribulation is that they will not have to endure it. These words from Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:18 provide that very encouragement and hope of the Lord rapturing the Church beforehand.


An Ancient Concept

Those who argue that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is just "too new" to be considered viable point to John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) as its originator, and they claim he took the idea from a 15 year old girl named Margaret MacDonald. But, is that assessment historically accurate? Indeed, it is not.

The Early Church fathers' such as Barnabas (ca.100-105), Papias (ca. 60-130), Justin Martyr (110-195), Irenaeus (120-202), Tertullian (145-220), Hippolytus (ca. 185-236), Cyprian (200-250), and Lactantius (260-330) wrote on the imminent return of Jesus Christ, the central argument for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view.

When Augustine (354-430) began spiritualizing the Bible, his view of a non-literal interpretation took hold of the Church until the Renaissance, obliterating the Premillennial and Pre-Tribulation Rapture views in favor of Amillennialism. But, some Medieval writers such as Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373), Abbot Ceolfrid (c. 642-716), and Brother Dolcino (d. 1307) wrote statements that distinguished the Rapture from the Second Coming.

When the chains of allegorical interpretation began to fall off, beginning with the Reformation in the 1400's and 1500's, writers such as Joseph Mede (1586-1638), Increase Mather (1639-1723), Peter Jurieu (1637-1713), Philip Doddridge (1702- 1751), John Gill (1697-1771), James Macknight (1721-1800), Thomas Scott (1747-1821) and Morgan Edwards (1722-1795) all wrote concerning the Rapture occurring separate from the Second Coming. Even in the more modern church, those like William Witherby, who wrote about the Rapture in 1818, were precursors to John Darby in support of the Rapture.

The Rapture is indeed then not only biblical, but supported throughout Church history. And, Mariano is absolutely right in one respect, for the Rapture sure is "something really great to look forward to." It's our "blessed hope" (Titus. 2:13).

13 comments:

Sean_M said...

I agree with everything except the notion of the rapture being pre-'trib'. The Day of the Lord is distinct from the tribulation. The tribulation is defined as lasting 7 years in Daniel, but the Day of the Lord is the 2nd half, 1260 days, commencing when the Antichrist is indwelt by Satan and commits the abomination of desolation. For the first half of the tribulation, the Antichrist is in power, but not imbued with supernatural power. We know to recognize him as a charismatic political figure to whom a 'crown' is given. The crown pictured is a laurel crown awarded to victors in ancient games, from which is derived the term Nobel 'Laureate'. Prior to this is the falling away (great apostasy). On October 6-8 2009 the ecumenical leaders across a broad demonational spectrum met to formulate the Response to a Common Word Between Us and You (research this if not familiar). This document was signed by notables such as Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, etc. The following day, October 9, 2009, Pres. Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize. 1260 days later, Obama will be arriving in Israel (Jerusalem), the same day according to the Hebrew calendar that Jesus entered Jerusalem at his triumphal entry. Every reference to the rapture in the Bible is in the context of the Day of the Lord. We are in the tribulation. The mid-point is rapidly approaching. Look up brother, for our redemption draws nigh. Maranatha!

maytum said...

So, Sean M., are you saying that Obama is the AC? Is the Pope to be the FP? My understanding is that Obama is visiting universities and will not be visiting - at least openly - the Temple Mount. If we're already in Tribulation, what happened to Psalm 83 where Israel has had victory over her neighbors and lives securely in the middle of the land? The bear of the North - generally believed to be Russia - has not come against her yet. Have we as American Christians faced real persecution for our faith yet? Just think there may be some gaps in your theory. Still you made me research a few things I hadn't before = :)

Anonymous said...

I think that Obama is too stupid to be anything... although I do believe that him and all his (gangsters) are in league with the devil.. I also think that a lot of the Dems and MSM that lie and tell half truths just for him,, has made a pact with the devil too... I hadn't heard anything about the rapture until about 5 years ago..so I started researching it.. and now believe there will be a pre rap..
As some have said, Why would the people that accepted Jesus as their savior have to be punished too.. I have also read through the Bible and found so many verses that apply..

Zep 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.

sa 26:20 ¶ Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

If you read the verses before
Isa 26:20 it states the dead shall rise etc.. there are lots more,verses in the Bible but I can't remember all of them...

Even if it isn't a pre rapture,, God will take care of us.

Sean_M said...

Psalm 83 is consistent with the invasion of Israel that takes place during the Day of the Lord. Daniel 9:27 is a parallel passage. It is my belief that it doesn't refer to a peace treaty with Israel, but a coalition with her enemies to destroy her.

Sean_M said...

Also, Christians are viciously persecuted around the world. It's easy to fall into a myopic westernized view because things don't seem as bad here, and yet the spiritual hostility towards the authority of God's word is palpable here as well. The real persecution does not begin until the Day of the Lord. As described in Revelation 13, a remnant of Israel is delivered from the invasion, so the Beast turns his violence on believers.

I do not necessarily believe the Pope will be the false prophet (I doubt it) but I am certain upon reviewing Revelation 17 that the Catholic Church is the Harlot.

Nathan Jones said...

Sean, justlook out the window and see if you see the world experiencing two planet-wide earthquakes that level the mountains, a one-world ruler, a one-world religious system, oceans turning to blood, demonic locusts, people walking around with the Antichrist's name tattooed on their right hand or forehead, or any of the other plagues described in the prophets. No, no matter how bad it is now, we are certainly not living in the "time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:9).

Cross Reference said...

Rapture in the Bible

The Bible does indeed teach about the Rapture of the Church. First Thessalonians 4:17 in particular speaks of an event called "the Rapture," derived from the Latin word rapio which was translated from the original Greek word harpazo. Rapio means "to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out," and that's how it's often written out, as in that verse which reads, "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Other references on the Rapture are found in Isaiah 26:19-21; Malachi 3:17; John 14:1-4; I Corinthians 15:51-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18."


There is only one rapture in the Bible that the above passages are not violated by:

"And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was [immediatedly] caught up unto God, and to his throne." Revelation 12:5 (KJV)

This is the body of born again believers who were overcomers not unlike those mentioned in Rev. chptr 2 and 3. All of Rev 12 and 13 spell out quite clearly what and how things will be summed up before the return of Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

"...wrote on the imminent return of Jesus Christ, the central argument for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view." That is quite different from those people saying the rapture happens before the tribulation.

Anonymous said...

The discussion at hand in 2 Thess. 2 concerns the rapture:

"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him." 2:1

The rapture cannot occur until the antichrist is revealed:

2:3 "... for that day shall not come , except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.


According to the book of Daniel, the ressurection/rapture will occur at at time when the antichrist has made his residence upon the temple mount.

11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Nathan Jones said...

It's a common misconception that the Antichrist will be revealed at the mid-point of the Tribulation when he desecrates the Temple, thereby "activating" the Tribulation. The Antichrist we are told earlier in Daniel 9:26-27 will be revealed when he makes a peace covenant with Israel, thereby starting the 7-year countdown. Conclusion: the Rapture happens before the Tribulation, not during.

Anonymous said...

Paul describes the rapture in 2 Thess. 2:1

"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him."

Then 2 verses later, he says this about that day:

2:3 "... for that day shall not come , except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

Anonymous said...

NATHAN - In your statement about pre-Darby pre-trib writers, you referred to "When the chains of allegorical interpretation began to fall off, beginning with the Reformation in the 1400's and 1500's, writers such as Joseph Mede (1586-1638), Increase Mather (1639-1723), Peter Jurieu (1637-1713), Philip Doddridge (1702- 1751), John Gill (1697-1771), James Macknight (1721-1800), Thomas Scott (1747-1821) and Morgan Edwards (1722-1795) all wrote concerning the Rapture occurring separate from the Second Coming. Even in the more modern church, those like William Witherby, who wrote about the Rapture in 1818, were precursors to John Darby in support of the Rapture." Please tell me where I can find these writings. Thanks. Dave Russell sevena-at-yahoo.com

amc said...

If the criterion for pretribulationism to be accepted is whether someone mentioned it before Darby, then, to be consistent, one must apply the same for Covenant Theology, prewrath and some versions of posttrib rapturism, reformed theology, postmillennialism and preterism. Have I left anything out? Fact is that over the eschatology was dominated bt amillennialism and historicism. And both views applied a liberal sprinkling of allegorization and replacement theology.

No, 2 Thess 2 does not say the Antichrist comes before the rapture. Paul says that the day of the Lord is not "present" because the apostasy hasn't occurred and the Antichrist revealed. It has nothing to do with the rapture. Furthermore, the Antichrist is revealed when the Restrainer ceases the restraining. The Antichrist is revealed at the first seal when he rides out and conquers and confirms the covenant. Paul is not saying that the Antichrist is revealed at the midpoint. Verse 4 is an appositional term that describes what he does.

Try this 2 Thess 2:1-8