Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006


I wanted to share with you an observation I think you will find fascinating. (I am indebted to William Arnold for this observation)

The debate over the timing of the rapture in relationship to the second coming of Christ presupposes that the rapture and the second coming are both events, and then seeks to determine when each event will take place in relationship to the other. Is that a valid presupposition? Is it justified by Scripture? Does the Bible describe the rapture as an event?

The only clear passage in Scripture that describes a rapturing of the church is I Thessalonians 4:14-17. Paul wrote:

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (NKJV)

The first thing we should notice is that the word “rapture” does not appear in this passage. In fact the word “rapture” is not found anywhere in Scripture (we get it from the Latin Vulgate). The Greek word translated “caught up” in verse 17 is harpadzo. While the word accurately describes a rapturing of the church, it is a verb, not a noun. The importance of this grammatical fact cannot be overstated. As a verb it describes an action, not an event. The only event Paul is discussing in this passage is the coming of the Lord (“coming” is from the Greek word parousia, which is a noun). The action of being caught up will take place at the event of the coming, but it is not an event in itself capable of being separated from the coming. That’s why William Arnold wrote:

When we realize that Scripture does not speak of the rapture but rather says that at the coming of the Lord we will be raptured (caught up), it sheds new light on the discussion. It is misleading to speak of the rapture and then to ask when the rapture will take place. The Bible only mentions the coming of the Lord and says that when he comes we will be caught up together to meet him. But pre-tribulationists start by talking about the rapture and the second coming as if they were two separate events and then claim that post-tribulationists confuse the two. The fact is, however, that the Bible does not make this distinction. Instead, it uses the word “coming” (parousia) when we would expect to see the word “rapture” if indeed this were a different event.

 

Since Scripture never speaks of our being raptured as an event it is absolutely meaningless to ask when the rapture (action) will take place in relationship to the Coming (event), because there is no “the rapture”—only a “be raptured.” I do not oppose the use of the word “rapture” to describe what will happen at the Coming-event, but I do oppose the use of “rapture” as a noun. It is not an event, but a description of what we will be doing at the Coming-event.

I think this little tidbit of knowledge recasts the whole rapture question and makes the post-trib position all the more clear in Scripture. We are looking for the second coming of the Lord—not the rapture—and there can only be one second coming…not two!

Check out William Arnold’s online book The Post-Tribulation Rapture at www.therapture.org for further reading.

Evolutionist, Peter Ward, from Washington University, and Intelligent Design theorist, Stephen Meyer, of the Discovery Institute squared off in debate at Town Hall in Seattle on the topic of intelligent design. You can listen to the audio here. It reveals just how much the theory of evolution relies on dogma rather than empirical evidence. It was Meyer, not Ward who was willing to talk about the empirical science of it all. Check it out.

Quote of the day:

Thomas Jefferson said, “When the people fear government, that’s tyranny; when the government fears the people, that’s liberty.”