Posted by: celticanglican | June 18, 2007

No One Ever Said He WOULDN’T Come

No One Ever Said He WOULDN’T Come

Please note-This is not intended to belittle the beliefs of those who accept this doctrine, but to explain why many Christians feel that a “rapture” apart from Christ’s Glorious Appearing is unscriptural.

Concern over whether we’re living in the end times is nothing new. In light of recent world events, it’s easy to understand why people are concerned that the time is at hand, and the need to repent. However, some fail to see the difference between believing in Christ’s Second Coming, and believing in extra-Scriptural beliefs concerning this event. Even worse, many Christians condemn those who don’t accept these beliefs and accuse them of “believing in lies.”

One of these beliefs is called the “rapture”, in which Christians will be taken into heaven without dying, while the lost are left. This event is usually understood to happen BEFORE Christ returns. The beliefs concerning this event are as diverse as the people who accept it. Some believe that a public confession of Jesus as Lord and Saviour are enough for one to be taken, others believe that baptism and certain works are also required. There is some dispute as to when this is to occur. Some believe it occurs before a tribulation period lasting about 6-7 years (pre-trib), while others say it occurs afterward (post-trib). Some pre-tribs believe that those left behind will have a second chance during the tribulation, others say that if you’re left behind, you’re eternally lost. What is a seeker of the truth to make of all this?

Confusion over questionable doctrine is why Christians should be firmly grounded in Scripture, as well as historical information on how doctrine developed. The beliefs concerning the rapture have their origins more in the the teachings of John Nelson Darby and Cyrus I. Schofield than the Scriptures themselves. (please feel free to contact me for links addressing dispensationalism & related issues in more depth)

Much rapture theology is based on First Thessalonians, so my focus for this article will be on this passage. “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [or precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (4:13-1 KJV)

Here’s some historical background that’s helpful in interpreting this passage: The earliest Christians, who knew of Jesus firsthand, had anticipated the Second Coming occuring within their lifetimes. Some had died in between Jesus’ death and resurrection and the writing of the letter to the Thessalonians. There seemed to be much concern over whether those who had died before the Second Coming could enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul reaffirmed that Christ will raise all from the dead, just as He was raised. Regrdless of one’s beliefs, this passage should not be used to tear down those with a different understanding. Denial of the rapture is not a denial of the Second Coming. We don’t know exactly when He’ll come again, but it will happen. Instead of quarelling over end-times doctrine, let’s be prepared for His arrival.

I like the way this passage is expressed in Eugene Peterson’s The Message, a contemporary paraphrase: “When the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind. In actual fact, they’ll be ahead of us. The Master Himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise-they’ll go first. Then the rest of us who are alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master.” (Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group).

The reality is this: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Comment from the old blog:

Anonymous said…
I found an indepth Google item titled “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” that you might enjoy perusing since it covers, in outline form, the historical development of the pretribulation rapture theory. Good read! J.E.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. I did quite a bit off unbiased Scriptural research on the rapture, or lack of one. Keeping everything in context was key. Please check it out and let me know oyur thoughts.
    http://justinlessard.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/will-there-be-a-rapture/
    Thanks!

  2. Thanks, Justin.
    This was one of the most thorough studies of this doctrine I’ve seen. I think you did a great job and provided plenty of evidence supporting your position.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: