Those who believe the Rapture is taught in Sacred Scripture cannot point to it in any particular passage or any one book of the Bible. Typically, these passages are lifted from their context and shuffled together in order to create a teaching about a Rapture. Its use of bizarre, symbolic language was intended to hide a powerful message from outsiders who might be in league with their oppressors. For this reason, apocalyptic literature is often written as if dealing with another time, whether the past or the future. The hidden, secret message encourages those enduring persecution to hold fast to their faith and to face their circumstances with hope.
The message of judgment in biblical apocalyptic literature is a promise that oppressors will be ultimately dealt with in a thorough and decisive manner. It is also a warning to the believing community to stay true to the end, lest they also suffer terrible consequences.
Those who find the Rapture in the Bible read many of its diverse apocalyptic passages together without recognizing the different circumstances of the believers to whom each was addressed.
Instead, what should be understood as separate apocalyptic books are seen as a single work of prophecy in which future events are clearly and specifically predicted. When we read apocalyptic passages, the challenge is to try to understand the often bizarre language of these works in the context of both the time in which they were written and within the apocalyptic style of literature to which they belong. Even as the inspired word of God we are not free to treat these passages from the book of Revelation or the book of Daniel as if the human author wrote without any intention of delivering a message to the people of his own time.
While Revelation was written to address the needs of a specific people at a specific time the struggling Christian communities of Asia Minor near the end of the first century, A. But it is not meant to be a literal prophecy of future events.
Rapture and the Bible
The opening section of Revelation is of critical importance to its interpretation. In it, John, the human author, has a vision of Christ who dictates to him seven letters, each one addressed to a specific Christian community in Asia Minor. Scholars have noted that all of the letters to the seven churches contain historical details that are specific to the location to which the letter is addressed. Only a historian or the people of the time and place addressed in the letters would be familiar with those details.
What is the rapture?
Those who believe in the Rapture often maintain that the churches addressed in these letters represent specific time periods in the history of Christianity. The letter addressed to the Church in Philadelphia in Asia Minor is read as though it were addressed to those future Christians who will participate in the Rapture. Those who now see in it a Rapture before a period known as the Great Tribulation do so by applying a unique method to reading the Scriptures. They read selected parts of Daniel, First Thessalonians, and Revelation almost as a single piece that explicitly maps out end-time events.
Dispensationalism is the belief that God has divided human history into several distinct segments, each governed by a unique set of rules instituted by God. While the basic rules of morality do not change from dispensation to dispensation, how God deals with humanity is believed to change, as well as how humans are to seek and obtain favor from God. The time of the Church represents yet another dispensation, and there are more to follow after the Rapture. In contrast, most traditional Christian teaching has stressed that the grace offered through Christ is the ultimate communication of the divine will for humanity and that it will not be replaced in a new dispensation during human history.
According to the teachings of dispensationalism, however, a new dispensation is expected to follow the disappearance, or Rapture, of the true Church. Those who teach the Rapture insist that both the book of Revelation and the book of Daniel prophesy that all humanity living on earth must endure the wrath of God during these last seven years.
At the same time, according to their beliefs, it is inconceivable that the Church would be subject to the wrath of God. Is God waiting to punish the Earth? More than just Catholic theologians are also troubled by the literal acceptance of a seven-year period at the end of history, known as the Great Tribulation. Belief in the Great Tribulation assumes that at the end of time God will unreservedly punish all the inhabitants of earth with war, disease, pestilence, earthquakes, and various other natural disasters.
This is an extremely literal interpretation of biblical apocalyptic literature which are passages written in some of the most symbolic language found in all of Sacred Scripture. We live in an age when mass communication makes us increasingly aware of the terrible suffering of much of humanity at any given time and in many places on our planet. It is, in the first place, the assurance that God recognizes their suffering and, secondly, that God opposes the injustice that is responsible and will bring an end to it.
Asking God to turn the hearts of persecutors and to bless our enemies Matthew 5: What would have become of Paul if God chose violence as a response to persecution? Christians and non-Christians alike suffer from many maladies and oppressive circumstances in the world.
It is the first known example of a letter of Christian encouragement from the apostle Paul. Not only is it Sacred Scripture, First Thessalonians is a great treasure for anyone interested in early Christianity. It was probably written around 50 A. Either way, it is the very earliest document found in the New Testament, and the very first written account anywhere of faith in Jesus Christ and the importance of his death and resurrection.
It had evidently never occurred to Paul until the writing of this letter that he needed to teach them about death and what it meant for a follower of Jesus. Today, a long life and a peaceful death are the hope of most Christians. We also know that we live in a world fraught with natural disasters, wars, terrorism and even the possibility of nuclear holocaust. But we do not need a Rapture to face the future with faith. Scripture study, with the right aids and done in the context of faith, can be a wonderful source of joy and renewal in the faith.
But does this mean that He will come secretly and snatch away the saved, leaving the wicked behind? This very text that says Jesus will come like a thief in the night, also says that the heavens will pass away with a great noise. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
The rapture: What the Bible says and what you need to know.
It will come upon them like a thief in the night. But His people—who are not of the night nor of darkness—will be looking for Him. They will be aware of the signs of His coming and will know that it is near. This completely changes the meaning of the verse. It will be very obvious when Jesus comes again!
For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away , so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Then two men will be in the field: Two women will be grinding at the mill: Matthew says that when Jesus comes it will be like it was in the time of Noah—some people will be saved left and other people will be destroyed taken. You can think of it like this, imagine a flood swept through your town.
Those who escaped, were left behind by the waters of the flood, while those who lost their lives were taken away by the water. Additionally, in the parallel passage of Luke Therefore, we can see that the Bible does not support the idea of the secret rapture for the saved. Those who hold to the idea of a secret rapture also believe that there will be seven years of tribulation following the rapture and that during this time individuals who were left on earth will have another opportunity to accept Jesus and be saved.
Is there any Bible evidence for this belief? There is no seven-year period to reconsider our lives and change our destiny. Jesus pictured the separation that will take place at His coming between the righteous and the wicked—the saved and the lost—in these words: All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
That is not to say there will not be a tribulation. However, does Scripture support the interpretation that Christian believers will be raptured, and taken away from the tribulation, leaving only the wicked? And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: Similarly, right before Christ returns, the faithfulness of the elect will cause them to be the target of the ungodly, bringing about a time of persecution and great tribulation.
However, just as throughout all of Biblical history, God preserves His elect. When the last day judgments are poured out on the world, God will shield those who follow Him with all their heart and mind. Historically, the belief in the secret rapture is relatively new. Of course, the truth of a teaching is not dependent upon who believes it, but whether or not it is in line with all of the Scriptures. Thus, as we have seen, the teaching of the secret rapture is not found in line with what the Bible teaches about the Second Coming of Jesus.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 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. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
Two men will be in the field: And 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.
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And thus we shall always be with the Lord. For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand? And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns.
He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.