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The Bible speaks of Christ's Second Coming eight times more often than of His first coming. The New Testament alone speaks of it 318 times. One of the commonest words of greeting used by the early Christians was "Maranatha!" (1 Cor 16:22). It is an Aramaic word which means, "The Lord is coming!" Yes the early believers lived with the jubilant expectation of the Return of their Lord. While almost all the Christians believe in the Second Coming of Christ, they are widely divided on the timing and nature of His Return. There are broadly three schools of thought— One group believes that there will be Rapture. That is, the Church will be caught up when Christ appears in the mid-air. It will be immediately followed by the Great Tribulation of seven years. At the end of this period Christ will return publicly to the earth and establish His one thousand year reign which will be followed by eternity. The second group maintains a mid-tribulational view which means that Christ will come after a three-and-a-half-year period of tribulation. The third view is post-tribulational which says that the Church will go through the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ will be only after that. Each group can quote a few Scripture verses to support its view. I personally believe in the pretribulational and premillennial Return of Christ. This viewpoint has been held by most of the evangelical scholars and Bible teachers of repute. We are now in the Church Age. This will be terminated suddenly when Christ will appear FOR the saints in the mid-air. "The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thess 4:13-18). This is what we call the Rapture of the Church. This is our most "blessed hope!" (Tit 2:13). Then the world goes through the Great Tribulation under the rule of Antichrist. This seven year period is "the day of God's wrath." At its end Christ will return WITH the saints to the earth to establish His millennial Kingdom here (2 Thess 2:1-8; Rev 20:1-6). Then will follow eternity (Rev 21,22). The Church will not go through the Great Tribulation because "God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess 5:9; 1 Thess 1:10). The Church will be kept away from "the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world" (Rev 3:10). Some argue that the Lord will purify the Church through the Great Tribulation. I wonder why God should be interested in purifying only the last generation of Christians this way! Poor fellows!
There are five different views of the Rapture. The different views lie in when the Raptre rakes place and who gets raptured. The term rapture is an expression for the Greek word harpazo. I believe this perpsective: At the end of this age, Christ will return in the air and take with Him to Heaven every person - both living and dead - who has trusted Christ as Savior. These believers are said to be "caught up (GK. Harpazo) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air". (1 Thess. 4:17. The Rapture will take place "in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52). At this event, the dead believers will rise first, followed in an instant of time by living Christians (1Thess. 4:16-17). In this instant, these individuals will receive resurrection bodies which will be free from "corruption" and death 1Cor. 15:52-54). We know that the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation because the Tribulation will be an unprecedented outpouring of the wrath of God (Rev. 6:17), as if any proof needed to be adduced that there has never been anything like the events of Revelation 6--18, and Jesus "delivers us (I.e., believers) from wrath to come (1Thess. I:10; 5:9). TheThessalonians were extremely upset when they heard a rumor that the Tribulation (the day of the Lord) had already come (2 Thess.2:1-12). They were upset that they hadn't been taken. So Paul reminded them that certain things must happen before the Tribulation begins -- things which hadn't happened yet. Beyond that, the Rapture is obviously different from the Second Coming, which occurs at the end of the Tribulation. Many will ridicule the idea that Christ is coming again, and that a time of judgement and calamity is coming: "Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continues they were from the beginning of creation'."(2Pet. 3:3-4). The Rapture is so staggering in its supernatural victory over the grave; it is a miracle Satan cannot imitate or duplicate. The Rapture is a supernatural testimonial of the real Jesus who won the victory over death, hell, and the grave at Calvary. (JHM). Behold I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52.
A fairy tale; there is nothing in scripture that supports this false teaching that has been imposed upon scripture. The scriptures that most used to support the Like the events following Revelation 4 say that because the church is not present in the book after this point then the church is no longer on the earth. This is not the case in all the book. Many fail to understand several important things about the book of Revelation. 1.) Revelation is the "unveiling of a prophecy that was given several centuries before Christ came; it was given to Daniel and he was told to seal it up. 2.) The book itself is Christ revealing the contents of the prophecy through and angel He sent to John; and John is to write down what the angel says. The introduction of the book clearly states states the book was "signified" to John by the angel. This means that the entire book is told and written down in symbols and they are not to be taken "literally". To understand the symbols you must know the old testament for the symbolic language used is the judgement language used by God and the prophets/writers of the old testament for example "end times" does not mean the far off future as in now the 21st century. It meant the very near time to the "audience" of the prophecy when God would enact imminent judgement. This brings us to the point 3. 3.) The bible was not written to us (born after the 1st century AD but for us (the people born after the first century AD. This means that we today have to understand scripture to the people of the time in which it was written from Moses to the people of the Apostle John's lifetime. This does not make the Bible irrelevant to today. But in the case of the Revelation it was written to the first century church specifically detailing two imminent judgments of God that were to soon take place A. The disfranchisement of the jews as God's chosen people (which was never written in stone and was contingent upon the not falling away from God and keeps His laws). B. The fall and collapse of the western Roman Empire which came about in the 5th century AD. The church was present from the 1st chapter to the 22nd in Revelation. History bears this out. In getting the true understanding of the Revelation it is necessary to have a thorough knowledge of the history of the times in which John "dictated" Christ's unveiling of the prophecy - the history of the times of the western Roman Empire from Augustus Cesar to Romulus Augustus. The is no such event of a rapture nor will there ever be.
There are actually many different theories of the 'rapture of the church,' most dealing with the idea of a 'secret rapture' of believers into the presence of Christ, with Christ only briefly and secretly entering the atmosphere to fetch us, sometime before Christ's public second coming. The two events the Second Coming is split into by this theory are sometimes called 'the parousia' and 'the revelation.' 'Rapture' is not a term used in scripture (http://ebible.com/answers/15309?ori=167400,) but is one found frequently in books and theories about the last days. Before diving into the various theories regarding the 'rapture,' it is worth looking at what scripture says on the rapture theory's main support verse, I Thess 4:16-18: The rapture of the church as described in 1 Thess 4:16-18 is when all believers will join Christ in the clouds as he descends in view of the earth. This is not a rapture into heaven (If it were, the greek 'ouranos' (heaven) would be used. Specifically, the "third heaven" when speaking of God's heaven). Rather, this is meeting Jesus "in the air" - greek 'aer' - the lower atmosphere where living things breath [trees, birds, people, etc]. 'Aer' encompasses the space from the surface of the ground to the lower clouds. The location of the meeting is important to note, as unless the bodies of believers somehow vanish on the way up and Christ renders Himself invisible, a meeting in the 'aer' would be visible to those on Earth below. A straightforward reading of I Thess 4:16-18 describes the second coming of Christ, which all the peoples of the earth will view (Matt 24:31-32, Rev 11:15-18, Rev 1:7, Rev 16:15, Heb 9:28, II Pet 3:10, Acts 1:10-11, John 6:39-40, Matt 16:27, Col 3:4, Acts 17:31, Luke 21:27, Luke 9:26, John 5:28-29, Matt 24:27, Matt 25:31-32, II Thess 1:5-10, Psalm 96:13, II Tim 4:1, and so forth) Rev 20:4-6 and 1 Cor 15:23-26 also seem to imply that the rapture of Thess 4 is the 'first Resurrection' of believers, taking place after the tribulation, but before the millennial reign and last battle. This reign would be on earth, not in heaven, which would make our meeting Christ in the air much like a delegation to welcome an incoming king (the Greek word use also supports this view.) Not everyone reads the passage in this way, however, which is why there are many other theories regarding the rapture and when it will occur. Here are some of the most commonly held views: Pretribulationalism: Christ will secretly return and rapture all believers from the Earth, which will be followed by a seven-year tribulation, which in turn will be followed by Christ's second coming in judgment Partial rapture The same as above, except only 'spiritually mature' believers will be taken Mid-trib After three and a half years of tribulation, Jesus will secretly return to rapture believers. Another three and a half years of tribulation will follow. Pre-wrath The rapture will occur towards the end of the tribulation, but before God starts outpouring His wrath upon the wicked post-trib The rapture is the same as the Ressurection, occuring at the second coming of Jesus Christ following the tribulation and preceding the millennial kingdom. amillenialism Amillenials believe that we are currently living in the millenial kingdom, so hold that the 'rapture' is the same as the future Ressurection at Christ's second coming, which will be followed by God's judgment on the Earth. Partial preterism Believe that the tribulation took place at the siege of Jerusalem, so Christ's return is imminent at any time. The 'rapture' is merely the Ressurection at Christ's second coming. For a neutral evaluation of some of these main views and to see their supports in scripture, I would recommend 'The Rose Guide to End Time prophecy.'
My opinion (it is only my opinion) is that their is no universal rapture of believers or of the church. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians at a time when they were suffering persecution for holding fast to the faith. When Paul wrote 1 Thess 4:17, he didn't use the word "church" or "assembly;" he used the word "we" as if he were talking only to the Thessalonians. These words were said so as to comfort the Thessalonians specifically (1 Thess 4:18). In 1 Cor 15:51-52 Paul again uses "we" rather than a more inclusive word. I interpret this to mean that only those who have suffered as much as they can bear may expect to be raptured. So, generally speaking, those suffering enough that they are unable to perform useful functions in the church or society are most likely to be raptured. However, to be a Christian means to suffer, so it is unclear where the line will be drawn. Believers who are unlikely to be raptured are in several categories, such as those below: 1) Those who have important duties or responsibilities which will would leave believers in disarray if they were raptured. 2) Those able-bodied believers who can engage in physical activities (supporting the church) because they possess healthy bodies. 3) Those who are lukewarm or have unrepented and unforgiven sins. We can safely say that God is not the author of confusion - the number raptured will not be great enough to cause serious dislocations in the church or society. Horror stories such as an airplane pilot being raptured, leaving the passengers to their fate can be rejected and forgotten. The rapture need not be envisioned as occurring only at a particular point in time. It actually could take place during a number of days, weeks, or even months to cover the entire planet. Whenever it takes place, it won't interfere with functions critical to the church or humanity, generally speaking.
There are many Christians who believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ will be in two phases. FIRST, He will come for believers, both living and dead, in the “rapture” (read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). In this view, the rapture—which is the transformation and catching up of all Christians, dead or alive, to meet Christ in the air—will be secret, for it will be unknown to the world of unbelievers at the time of its happening. The effect of this removal, in the absence of multitudes of people, will, of course, be evident on earth. Then, SECOND, after a period of seven years of tribulation on earth, Christ will return to the earth with His church, the saints who were raptured (Matthew 24:30, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 1:7). He will be victorious over His enemies and will reign on the earth for 1,000 years (the millennium) with His saints, the church. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is the principal passage the rapture theorists base their theory on. The rapture theorist John F. Walvoord speaking about this passage in his article The Rapture, states: "Paul describes the scene as the Lord coming bodily from heaven to the air above the earth, and issuing a trumpet call that will be the signal for Christians who have died to be resurrected. A moment later, Christians still living will also be raptured with those who have been resurrected to meet the Lord in the air". The theory supposes that Christ is coming to earth "for His own", to remove the church from the world. The one single purpose of this rapture is to remove the believer from the world so as not to experience the seven years of tribulation (Daniel's seventieth week) that they claim will envelop the world after the "catching up" of the church; which is said to be an "imminent event", one that can occur at any moment. The rapture theorist Walvoord, in his article also states; "The rapture is never mentioned in the Old Testament", and continues with: "and was first revealed by Christ to His disciples on the last night before His crucifixion (John 14:1-3)" Here is another quote by John F. Walvoord from his article The Rapture. "The imminent nature of the Rapture not only confronts individuals with the challenge to receive Christ before it is too late; it also challenges Christians to live with eternal values in view. Since the Rapture can occur at any moment and believers' lives on earth will thus be cut short, we need to maximize our commitment to Christ, doing all we can for the Lord in upright living and service to Him and others". I personally believe in the pretribulational rapture as Singapore Moses and Tony Flores said they do. The reason I do is because of Revelation 3:10 which my seminary professor @ DTS, Dr. Charles Ryrie in the back of his Ryrie Study Bible teaches, page 1845, "the promise to be kept out of the hour of trouble." Challenges to the Christian in the light of this rapture include: to go to church always (Heb. 10:25), to do Communion with the Rapture in mind (1 Cor. 11:26), to be patient (Jas. 5:8), to be pure (1 Joh. 3:2-3), to abstain from judging others (1 Cor. 4:5), to preach the Bible (2 Tim. 4:1-2), to console the bereaved (1 Thess. 4:16, 18), to win souls (Jude 1:21-23), and to concern ourselves with heaven (Col. 3:4).
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