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What does the Bible say about the future?
The Rapture

The Rapture is understood as an event when Jesus takes his Church to be with him.  Dead Christians will be resurrected and those who are alive will also be transformed into immortality.  Jesus will suddenly snatch his bride away to be with him eternally.

I remember as a kid in the 80’s, watching “A Thief in the Night”.  End times teaching was oriented around Jesus snatching away all the true Christians to be with him, leaving casual “Christians” to endure holocaustic persecution through the horrors of the seven-year global apocalypse.  Often when I was unexpectedly home alone, I worried that I’d missed the Rapture.  Such trauma evokes strong emotions against end-times teaching, particularly the Rapture.  On the other hand, when our inherited doctrine is questioned our heresy-alarms evoke a strong reaction, which inhibits objectivity.

It’s difficult to have a civil conversation over the Rapture, particularly with its timing relative to the Tribulation, when Satan rules the Earth for seven-years.  Conflicting understandings are “defended passionately”.  Each perspective includes some great practical teaching.  It’s felt that other perspectives are completely in opposition to these good teachings.  There’s also many “unhelpful” arguments, which are based on debunked assertions or emotional demonizing of opponents.  I pray that I may minimize my biases to present something useful and palatable to a broader audience.

I apologize in advance if I don’t offend you ;-).  I tolerate some alternate ideas and find others offensive.  It is important that we recognize such offense; but submit this under the recognition that we are all quite different parts of Christ’s body, created to reach very different groups of people and collectively to reach all people.

Ears don’t see in the same way that eyes hear.

In presenting theories, I disagree with, and have never understood, I may inadvertently misrepresent them.  In such case, I would appreciate a better explanation of that theory. However, I’m highly allergic and react adversely to teachings full of emotional arguments and misinformation as to why my understanding is wrong.  I also struggle to wade through a lengthy presentation on something I’m prejudiced to believe is wrong.  If you can present me a filtered coherent summary of your theory with supporting scripture, I might be able to consider this for inclusion in future teachings.

What’s the Rapture?

1 Thessalonians 4:13 Brothers and sisters, I don’t want you to be ignorant about those who are asleep [in death], that you’re not overcome with grief like those who have no hope.  14If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, God will bring with him those who are asleep in Jesus.  15According to the Lord’s word, we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord won’t precede those who are asleep.  16The Lord himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the sounding of God’s trumpet.  The dead in Christ will rise first.  17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.  And so, we’ll always be with the Lord.  18Therefore comfort each other with these words.

I suspect these events will occur in rapid succession.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Look, I’ll tell you a mystery: We won’t all sleep [in death], but we’ll all be changed – 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we’ll be changed.

The term Rapture is derived from, the Latin word rapiemur:

1 ad Thessalonicenses 4:17 Deinde nos, qui vivimus, qui relinquimur, simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Christo in aëra, et sic semper cum Domino erimus.

The original Greek word harpazō means “to seize (in various applications): - catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force)”.  Some describe this as violently yanking a kid out of speeding traffic by their hair.  Among the 13 uses of this word, I find particularly interesting that Philip was raptured dozens of miles away.

Acts 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, who disappeared from the eunuch, who went on his way rejoicing.  40But Philip was found at Azotus.  He preached in all the cities he passed through until he reached Caesarea.

There are other raptures in the Bible:

Genesis 5:24 Enoch walked with God, then disappeared because God took him.

2 Kings 2:11 As they continued along and talked, amazingly, a chariot of fire appeared, and horses of fire, which separated them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Heaven.

2 Corinthians 12:2 I knew a man in Christ over fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I can’t tell; or whether out of the body, I can’t tell: God knows) this guy was caught up to the third Heaven.

Revelation 12:5 She gave birth to a boy who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron.  Her child was caught up to God, and to his throne.

See also