Thursday, February 28, 2013

THE RAPTURE (Pre-Tribulation View)

The Rapture, (from the word "Rapturo" in Latin) is a common English name for the "Harpazo" event (Greek word)  mentioned and modeled throughout the Bible.  The Apostle Paul describes it as the supernatural removal of Christians from the Earth, via physical or spiritual ascension, to unite with Jesus in the heavens. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52)

This event is prophesied to happen sometime before Jesus' 1,000 year reign on Earth.

Those who allegorize the Bible tend to believe this event won't happen, or will happen after the last 7 years of the Ant-Christ's rule on Earth (The '70th week' of Daniel's prophecy... see Daniel 9).  Since this positions the Rapture to take place after the 'Great Tribulation' dealt out by the Anti-Christ, this view is referred to as Post-Tribulationist.

However, those that take the Bible more literally, or seriously, tend to believe the Rapture will happen before the beginning of the Anti-Christ's rule.  This view is referred to as Pre-Tribulationist.

I am convinced that the Pre-Tribulationist view is correct.  Here's why:

1. The Church is called and referred to in the New Testament as "The Bride Of Christ" (See Revelation 19:7, Rev. 21:2, 9-10)

Jesus also calls Himself "The Bridegroom", which implies His bride (See Mark 2:19)

One of the most revealing infereferences to the Bride of Christ is in Matthew 25:1-13.  This is Jesus' parable of the 10 virgins taking their lamps to meet the Bridegroom.  Five were wise and carried extra oil on their journey and five were foolish and didn't have enough oil to light their way to meet the Bridegroom at the marriage feast.
Jesus (The Bridegroom) ends the parable with the words "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."  - Speaking of the moment that Jesus will come to unite with His bride (the Church)

It is evident from this parable and many other verses in the Bible that Christians are to prepare and expect Jesus' return at any moment. (Matthew 24:44, Titus 2:11-12, Hebrews 9:28, 1 Thessalonians 1:10)

Here is probably the biggest problem with the Post-Tribulationist view:  If the Rapture were going to happen after the "Great Tribulation", we could schedule the exact day of His return.  We would know that Jesus would rapture Christians exactly 7 years after the Anti-Christ is elected to power (Daniel 9:27)  This would contradict Jesus' words in Matt 25 (you know neither the day or the hour)

2. The whole purpose of Jesus' 2nd coming is to punish those who have followed the Anti-Christ and then set up His 1,000 year reign on the Earth.
Both Jesus and Paul have told us that the true Christians will escape the Tribulation and wrath of God.
1 Thess 5:9 - For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Matthew 16:18 - And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  In Revelation, the Anti-Christ prevails against the Church.
Romans 5:9 - Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

3. The Anti-Christ can not present himself until "The Restrainer" (mentioned in 2 Thess 2:9-10) is taken out of the way.  Many believe this to be the Holy Spirit as He indwells the Church, since the Holy Spirit is the only real barrier to sin running unchecked over the Earth.

4. God often uses 'Similitudes' (Hosea 12:10) to teach us.  I believe that He models the Rapture in these other Biblical timelines.  Enoch was removed (raptured) just prior to the judgement of Noah's flood.  Also Daniel is missing from the Fiery Furnace judgement (Daniel 3:23) with his 3 friends.

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