Will There Be a Rapture?

HomeChristianity and the BibleWill There Be a Rapture?

Thanks to Michael for asking the question. I’m biased on this subject, and I could be wrong. A lot of people believe in the rapture, and not all of them are uneducated Left Behind readers. There are scholars who believe it’s found in Scripture. I’m not really a scholar, but I do disagree with the idea. Most of the verses in question either seem to be unclear, or interpreted backwards. What follows are my opinions. It’s important to remember that this is not an essential teaching of the Christian faith.

First, what IS the rapture? It’s generally taught be the event where Jesus comes to take His Bride – the church, which is all believers – to Heaven with Him. Some believe this will happen before the Great Tribulation, some believe it will be in the middle, and some at the end. All of these views consider the rapture to be a separate event from Jesus’ second coming.

However: for virtually all of church history, Christians have considered the two to be actually ONE event. In the rapture, Jesus comes back… but not all the way. He comes back most of the way, but doesn’t touch the earth with His foot. He then pulls all believers into the air with Him, taking us to Heaven. Then, at some point later, He comes all the way back.

I don’t see that in Scripture. I believe the historical, traditional view that the rapture and second coming are one event. Here are a few reasons why I believe this:

For these reasons, and a few more, I consider myself – somewhat loosely – a Partial Preterist. That is, I believe that some of the prophesied end-time events happened in the first and second centuries. Full Preterism – the idea that it’s all past – is a heresy. We’re definitely not yet living in the New Jerusalem, so there are still many events to come… but it does seem that the most responsible handling of Scripture may lead us to believe that the persecution – the tribulation – has already occurred, and that Jesus and John were warning those alive at that time about its coming. There may be another, even greater tribulation, but I believe this one is in the past.

Finally, we have John’s description of himself in Revelation 1:9. Depending on which version you read, this is what he called himself: 

I hope that answers your question. Keep in mind that much of this is speculation, and that we may not fully understand what’s to come. I’m okay with that. We should cling tightly to the gospel, and hold more loosely those things about which we’re unsure. This is certainly one of those unsure things.

What are your thoughts?

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2 responses to “Will There Be a Rapture?”

  1. Brian says:

    Rapture “theology” is only about 200 years old and comes from John Darby. Until then, scholars believed what you (and I) believe. I have always considered the belief in the Rapture to be ” the easy way out.” We like the easy way out. My struggle with that is “what about those who are being martyred for their faith now?” In other words if we will be “raptured” before or in the middle of the Great Tribulation, why are there those who are in a great tribulation now, due to their faith?

    • Tony says:

      There are a number of questions that undermine the Rapture idea. One that everybody seems to overlook is Revelation 1:9:

      I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

      The word “suffering” the same word used for “tribulation” elsewhere in the New Testament… including when Jesus refers to the coming judgment. If the “Great Tribulation” is in the future, how could John be their ‘brother and companion’ in the tribulation so long ago?

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