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Monday, July 6, 2009

The Rapture Fact Or Fiction

Yesterday I was browsing through Facebook and ran across a Christian friend's status. In the status he said that he does not "Buy into the whole Rapture thing" - immediately several friends including a couple of pastors made their comments known. Two pastors basically asked what is there to buy into? It's in the Bible... in 1 Thess. 4:13-18... I even put my two cents in - that yes the Rapture is in the Bible.... I also used 1 Thess 4:17. I also took it one step further - talking about the Greek word harpazo which means to be "snatched away violently." The Latin equivalent of harpazo is the verb, "to take away by force" In the Latin Vulgate, one of the oldest Bibles in existence, the appropriate tense of rapio appears in verse 17. Raptus is the past participle of rapio. Our English words "rapt" and "rapture" stem from this past participle. Although "rapture" is not in the King James Bible, the basic word does appear in the Latin Vulgate

What really surprised me was that after two pastors with their degree in theology explaining that yes The Rapture is in the Bible... my friend basically came back with comments - like I'll stick to my beliefs... or the rapture is a theory from the 1800's... or my favorite was the comment that he was going to stick to the idea that the Rapture is a theory because the "Majority" of Bible Scholars think it is... The truth is about 85 percent of Christian theologians and Christians who have studied the Bible (as opposed to just reading) believe in the Rapture and the Tribulation.

My friend used the theory presented by theologian J.N.Darby around 1830 and is based on the alleged prophetic vision of a 15 year old Scottish girl named Margaret Macdonald... my friend also claimed that the Rapture was not taught before the 1800's... again with all due respect to my friend... that is completely untrue... It has been discovered by several Bibical scholars not only was the rapture taught and spoken about before the 1800 - it was written about before 700 A.D. by a Greek Orthodox theologian name Ephraem.... and as a side note the vision of the little girl named Margaret was about Post-tribulation Rapture - stating that the Holy Spirit would protect the Church... I personally agree with the Post-Tribulation... she was basing her thoughts and visions on the rapture that was already in the Bible.. on the big question that is still going on today... Will Jesus snatch up (rapture) His Church before or after the Tribuation? And to finalize this idea - No biblical scholars or Christian theologians rely on Macdonald's vision to support any view of the Rapture...

What is The Rapture?

The Rapture is when Jesus Christ snatches (harpazo, rapio, raptus) His Church out of this world.. The rapture and the second coming are two completely different things.... During The Rapture, Jesus is taking His people - the true believers and saints up to Heaven....

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Paul said, "Behold, I show you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." You won't even realize it's happened until it's all over. Suddenly, you are in the presence of Jesus with all His church.... Suddenly aka snatched.... something happening so fast...

When Will the Rapture Happen?
Jesus does say that no man knows the day or hour... but He also says that when it happens you should not be surprised... the signs that have been foretold. Since Jesus ascended to Heaven - there have been many groups that believed the Rapture was coming soon.. some have placed dates... some have gone into the wilderness waiting.. Of course, every prediction has been wrong... but that has not stopped others from making their predictions... Matthew 24:36 However, no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in Heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows...

I believe that the Rapture is a fact - not a theory from someone in the 1800's. I believe that one day - I will be before Jesus in a blink of an eye.... what a day that will be!


SAHMinIL said...

The % that you gave is every interesting. 85% of theologians say that the Rapture and Tribulation is in the Bible.

It strike me as interesting, because it's been my understanding that Catholics and Orthodox make up majority of the world's Christians. And Catholic and Orthodox Christian's don't belief in the rapture, despite the fact term does come from the Latin Vulgate, as you pointed out.

Catholics (and to my knowledge Orthodox) believe in what has been historically known as the amillennialism view of the end times.

More can be read here:

Kelly's Ideas said...

Thank you for your comment and your link. I received my information from a few different sites - one site said 85%. I did go onto Catholic site and this is what I got from one. "Catholics
certainly believe that "we will be caught up in the air" (1 Thess 4:17) when the trumpet sounds. So Catholics do believe in the "Rapture" if one is talking about the third option - Post Tribulation Rapture (although they understand the 1000 years to mean "a long time" Rev. 20:2-3; 7). The term "rapture" is derived from the text of the Catholic Latin Vulgate that was written in 390 A.D. It comes from 1 Thess. 4:17-"we will be caught up," [Latin: rapiemur]).

As I mentioned in my blog - I believe in pre-trib but there are is no hard proof for that and the Catholic site stated catholics believe in post trib..

SAHMinIL said...

Well having a view of solely "post-trib" is much different then having a view of "pre-trib" AND "post-trib". :) Thanks for sharing your thought and allowing me to share mine.

Kelly's Ideas said...

I love the fact that you did share your side for the fact that we are all sisters in Christ and regardless if we belive in the rapture or not - we will one day be with our Father because we believe in the most important things. Jesus is the Son of God and He died on the cross so that our sins will be forgiven..
Thank you!
Love much.. Kelly

SAHMinIL said...

I also read the site you quoted and to be honest as a Catholic-Christian that doesn't sit right with me. I would think that the site I provided would be a more accurate description of what Catholic's Believe. Mainly because at the end of the article I provided has an Nihil Obstat and Impermatiur which in away is a stamp of approval. :)

From the Heart said...

I really have never questioned what the Bible says. I accept it as God's written word through Holy men of God. It really doesn't matter how or when the time will come when we will meet Jesus in the air.
This reminds me of a song, What a Day That Will Be. It's on You tube at the following site:

As long as we serve our Risen Saviour we need not fear, He will do what He said and will come back for us. I long for that day "when my Jesus I shall see and look upon His face, the one who died for me. What a day that will be."

There's no doubt in my mind that we will be Raptured or taken away and it doesn't matter if it is post or pre because He will take care of me until that time comes.
He said it, I believe it and that settles it for me.
From my heart to yours,

Harmony Wheeler said...

I find it interesting that Christians can put more trust in scholarly theories (and in the wrong ones that don't adhere to the majority at that) than in the source itself: the Bible.

I've always had a hard time with comprehending Revelation, but the other NT books are pretty clear. You seem to be pretty knowledgeable on this and other topics, something I am seeking myself. Where and what have you studied other than your Bible itself?

Brando Littles said...

Briefly, I'll say that if one does not know thoroughly the events of history and the writings written by historical persons--then your Rapture defense sounds logical. However, it is flawed. Here are three brief reasons of logic of why it is erred. One, the word rapture and its "snatching away" concept are scholarly recognized to have been modern conceptions. Google it. Two, Prior to the 1800s NOT ONE Catholic, Protestant, or Lutheran scholar, theologian, or leader has ever wrote an article on a "secret coming" or "secret snatching away" or "rapture". The fact that NO pre-1800 document exist on this teaching is evidence that it was conceived by gullible men and NOT a doctrine taught in Catholic or Protestant circles. Three, if this rapture concept HAD BEEN known and taught by the Apostles, it would have been propagated by their disciples in either oral tradition or written word. The fact that NOT one disciple of the original apostles carried this doctrine forward is evidence that it WAS NOT a teaching based on truth or even mentioned during their time.
Firmly note this: The Rapture WAS NOT believed in, written about, or talked about among any Church leader or within any Church document prior to the 1800s. Any if you wanna get literal not even prior to the 1780s.


Kelly's Ideas said...

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Paul said, "Behold, I show you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." You won't even realize it's happened until it's all over. Suddenly, you are in the presence of Jesus with all His church.... Suddenly aka snatched.... something happening so fast...

Brando Littles said...

Part One

I respect your opinion. If we continue this dialogue then we should base our interpretations according to the self-interpretational standard bound in the Scriptures. (That is to say, Bible translators generally agree that the Holy Scriptures holds to a divine mode set by God to self-interpret themselves so that humans won’t impart their own “conceived interpretations”.)

I don’t think we are in disagreement about the validity of Christ’s return. Now I’m not debating the general definition of “rapture” or that it is present in some English Bible translations. My point is “there will be no secret coming or secret snatching away.” The Second Coming will be a one-time only visible event. Also, what you call the “rapture” or “snatching away” by using 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 IS a visible event that occurs at the time of Jesus’ return.

Points of Consideration

Allow me to break down central elements involving the Second Coming.
1. The Second Coming (SC) will be a one-time only visible event.
2. SC will occur after the Great Tribulation.
3. SC will be tied directly to the first resurrection of the living & dead saints.
4. The mystery Paul preached about involving the SC pertains to the nature of “being resurrected”.

Now for Scriptural evidence.
1a. One Time Only & Visible
a. Revelation 19:11-14 makes it clear that this event happening will be visible and once. “Now I saw heaven OPENED, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True…He judges and makes war” (v.11).
“And the armies in heaven…followed Him on white horses” (v.14).
It doesn’t sound logical for an all-supreme, all-mighty God to be leaving heaven a dozen or more times to MAKE WAR. That is how we know His return will be one time only. The fact that He’s coming to make war against the wicked indicates the warfare will be visible. The fact that He’s bringing an ARMY reasonable concludes this event will be seen to announce His power, glory, and supreme authority. Other evidence of a visible return is in the gospels i.e. “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the clouds.”

2a. After the Tribulation
a. Matthew 24:29 & Mark 13:24 place the SC directly AFTER the time period of the tribulation.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Mt.) The underline words are descriptions used in Revelation 6:12, 8:12, & 9:2. They pertain to the same time period “the tail end of the tribulation before Jesus returns.”

Brando Littles said...

Part Two

b. These occurrences happen at the end of the tribulation until Christ returns. “Immediately after the tribulation…the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven…all…the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming…with power and great glory” (Mt. 24:29-30).

3a. Tied Directly to the Resurrection of the Dead & Living Saints
a. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, & other verses make clear that the SC involves a resurrection of dead & living Christians. It’s fairly easy to understand. “…We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…the dead will be raised incorruptible…” (Cor.). “…we who are alive…until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout…and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive…shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (Thess.). Here we see 1.) Not all Christians will be dead at the SC; 2.) Christians [we] will be “changed” {it says the people will be changed, not teleported to Heaven}; 3.) Dead Christians will be “raised” from their graves “incorruptible” {meaning: without sinful nature & with immortality}; 4.) Christians who are to receive this “change” will be alive to SEE the Second Coming and will SEE dead Christians resurrected and “changed” first before SEEING themselves “changed”; and 5.) (For the sake of argument esp. for those who use 1 Cor. & 1 Thess. as scriptural support) this so-called rapture or snatching away IS NOT a teleportation or transportation TO HEAVEN. 1 Thess. 4:17 makes it clear where this so-called snatching will take the “changed” Christians…to meet the Lord IN THE AIR! That is, the earth’s sky.

{This is not an attack. But according to you, Kelly, “[We] won't even realize it's happened until it's all over.” The Bible begs to differ: “We shall not all sleep…at the last TRUMPET” (1 Cor. 15:51 & 52). “…the seventh angel SOUNDED [the seventh and last trumpet]: And there were LOUD VOICES in heaven” (Rev. 11:15). “For the [seventh] trumpet will SOUND, and the dead will be RAISED incorruptible, and [then] we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:52). “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a SHOUT, with the VOICE of an archangel, and with the TRUMPET of God” (1 Thess. 14:16). The Bible says we will visibly & audibly realize what great event is happening.}

4a. The “Mystery”
a. From Romans 11:25 to 1 Timothy 3:16 Paul wrote the word “mystery” more than 15 times. Not all of these usages pertain to the same “mystery”. Read them and you will see. All those that pertain to the one in 1 Cor. 15:51 are a total of 11 (which include only the verses with the word “mystery”). What is this mystery? Let’s use 1 Cor. 15:51 as our starting point.

1 Corinthians 15:51
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…” The mystery involves a.) NOT ALL Christians dying or being dead (at the SC) and b.) ALL Christians being “changed”.

Brando Littles said...

Part Three

Romans 16:25
“Him who is able to establish you...according to…the mystery kept secret since the world began…” Only God can cause this mystery to be completed in Christians and it was a well-kept secret since the dawn of humanity.
Ephesians 1:9
“…having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself…” Christ made this mystery known to his disciples and it “purposed in Himself” was first completed by Jesus.
Ephesians 3:3
“…by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already…)” Christ revealed this mystery to Paul in depth and Paul had expounded on it in earlier writings to the Church.

At this point let’s bypass the tying together of the other “mystery” related verses to 1 Cor. 15:51 and find in the Scriptures where Paul earlier explained to the Church what the “mystery” is.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:53: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Here he explains that human nature of sin (corruptible) must become sinless (incorruption). He explains further that to do that our mortality (capacity to sin and die) must become immortality (incapacity to sin or die). In verse 54, Paul further explains the mystery as “when…this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Revelation 2:11 & 20:6 tell us that every Christian partaking in the first resurrection at Christ’s return shall not be recipients of physical or eternal death.

So the mystery of 1 Corinthians 15:51 is NOT being “snatched” or “raptured” into Heaven. It is the resurrection process of dead Christians being raised from death and then—with living Christians—being instantaneously “changed” from sinful mortals to sinless immortals all the while making a glorified ascension into the air to unite with Christ as He is making His glorified descent from the clouds to the earth.

I close with these two verses.

Ephesians 5:32
“This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ AND THE Church.”
1 Timothy 3:16
“And without controversy GREAT is the mystery of godliness:
God was [born] in the flesh, {both Jesus & the saints}
Justified in the Spirit, {both Jesus & the saints}
Seen by angels, {both Jesus & the saints}
Preached among the Gentiles, {both Jesus & the saints}
Believed on in the world, {both Jesus & the saints}
Received up in glory. {both Jesus & the saints}


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