Wednesday 16 December 2015

The Rapture: When it will occur?

I had done a video on the rapture in the past but I haven't released the article in written form until now, so now I think is the best time to post regarding the Rapture and when it takes place, with some changes.

Three positions are argued for, pre trib, mid trib and post trib. I will be arguing the a pre trib is not a position that deems to be scripturally tenable.

There is a interesting thing about the 2 letters to the Thessalonians. Let's read chapter 4 of the 1st letter, Then we'll look at chapter 2 of the 2nd letter.
"13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 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. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words."

The rapture of the believers is taking place as well as the resurrection according to The first letter, but it doesn't mention the man of lawlessness, It simply talks about what will happen when Jesus himself comes. But the second letter does the opposite if we look at chapter 2.

"2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 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[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness."

The second letter in this chapter notes what will take place before the coming of the Lord. The man of lawlessness or the Anti-Christ will, like Satan, mislead and decieve many, which includes, unbelievers, heretics and apostates. The second letter only talks about what will transpire before the coming of Christ and what Christ will do with Anti-Christ. Though these are two letters and two different letters, they still allude to the Lord's coming, but from two different angles. One is talking about what Jesus will do with the believers when he comes, the other refers to what Anti-Christ will do and what will happen before Christ returns. There is anothing about a pre trib rature within the context. Keep also in mind that 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 omits the resurrection whereas 1 Thessalonians 4 doesn't.

1 Corinthians 15:52 is often used as a rapture text. Let's see what it says.
"50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[h]"

However, it doesn't speak about the rapture but it's not a detriment to the rapture, it simply mentions the resurrection at the last trumpet, like 1 Thessalonians 4 does.

Now often 1 Thessalonians 5:9 is pointed to as a pretext for the pre trib rapture, but the context doesn't demonstrate an idea.
"5 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

The wrath that is mentioned here IS NOT the tribulation, it is referring to our present status in Christ. In other words if we are in Christ, we are alert and not caught off guard when Jesus comes and that by remaining in Christ, we will not be subject to God's wrath. Jesus will allow his people to go through the tribulation but whether he takes them out during the tribulation or afterwards is another matter.

Another argument put forward is the parable in Luke 17 refers to a rapture of believers, but the text doesn't indicate that implicitly in the context.

"26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” [36] [e]
37 “Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”"

Obviously just a careful reading and not a careless one deomnstrates that some will be destroyed and some will be saved, it is a judgement text, It's quite the opposite of the rapture. The one taken is destroyed but the one who is left remains, similiar to what is said in 2 Peter.

"9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a]
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells."

Notice that it is those who are unclean that are swept away and removed while the holy remain, this is a similar theme that is seen in Jesus parable regarding those taken and left. To know what the events that transpire regarding the day of the Lord, we need to look at the overall context of those particular passages, not just the verses you like. The fact of the matter is, Some texts of scripture omit certain details and mention others whether briefly or in detail.

Revelation 12:6 is also used by pre-tribers and they say "Well the church here is being raptured". Problem, the context shows the believers are still on the earth and the dragon goes after them. The woman isn't the church, but the offspring are and of course the dragon or Satan is thrown out of heaven by Michael and his angels.

"Revelation 12:13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. 15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus."

Here is Revelation 13 in context:
"13 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. 4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling,[a] that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.[b] And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
    to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
    with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence,[c] and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of[d] the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave,[e] to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.[f]"
When you read the context carefully, notice before the Lord's return that those who refuse to take the mark of the beast on their foreheads are killed by the beast's image, whereas those who take the mark of the beast are spared and worship the beast, not to mention those who do worship the beast DO NOT HAVE their names in the Lamb's book of life.

What's the connection here? Well if you have people being killed who refuse to take the beasts mark, How can you say that believers will not go through the tribulation at all? It's makes no sense when sound exegesis is justly done to a biblical text.

You must never do eisegesis, It's always text, context and cotext, but never a pretext, I hear many abuses of scripture, like Jude 1:24 has once saved always saved read into it though the context states otherwise* and of course John 14:28, John 17:3 and other passages from anti-trinitarians, especially JWs and Muslims.

Though you do have a concept of the rapture in scripture, I do not see a pre trib in scripture. Not only after looking at passages for myself, but listening to others input, not to mention a study of Revelation with a kind and godly sister in the Lord.

I hope this has been a help to you and I ask ALL reading this to look at the scriptures for yourselves and to see if what I am saying is right and true doctrine.

*PS. This article was written in a time where I confused once saved always saved and perseverance of the saints with each other and I was anti-Calvinist. I nowadays regard Calvinists as my brothers, I don't consider perseverance of the saints to be heretical even though I differ with the Calvinists on that point. 

A discussion on Jude 1:24 is definitely in order on what it means and I wouldn't mind seeing a discussion on the text in the future. if Jude 1:24 is used by those who believe in perseverance of the saints, that's one thing despite my disagreement, but if OSAS (In the sense of living in sin) is promoted, then we have a problem.

The topic of losing one's salvation can be tackled also in a discussion page. Any other details, you can ask for clarification.

No comments:

Post a Comment