Yes and no! Yes, Christ is coming back and we will meet Him and it will be spectacular and no words or speculations could ever describe it effectively, especially not in the way most books and TV preachers have sensationalized it.
After a lot of careful, biblical, exegetical digging and research, I found out the scary story. The Rapture had gone from a campy hook used by evangelists to grab people’s attention to the Gospel to it perhaps becoming a threat to the Church.
Where does this all come from? Look at the text!
What I had always thought was not backed up with facts—only presumptions. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 has been the principle passage for this theory. It is interesting to note that none of the Church Fathers nor any of the Reformers or anyone in Church History taught this “theory” until the 1830’s when heretical groups ignoring the context of the passage, Greek word meaning, and the meaning of the metaphors in question, as what they meant to a first century Jew or Greek.
You’ve probably heard the stories. A bus is heading down the highway when the bus driver and several passengers suddenly disappear causing the bus to veer off the road in a horrific explosion of broken glass and twisting metal. One of the pilots of a jet airliner disappears forcing the other pilot to take over the controls just in time to keep from crashing. It dawns on everyone that millions have vanished from the earth in an instant, leaving all those remaining with a sick feeling of dread.
Is this really what the Bible teaches will happen at the end of time?
Remember that the word “rapture” means “to be gathered up.” The only ones “gathered up” in the Parable of the Tares are the wicked. More importantly, they are gathered up BEFORE the believers are gathered into the Lord’s barn.
This doctrine is new; it was never taught or even discussed prior to the 1830’s.
The history of a rapture started out as a prophetic vision inspired by the emotional breakdown of a cultist, that then was picked up by emotional zealots and more cultists unconcerned for biblical truth. Furthermore, it was used as a hook by a prideful preacher who only wanted to give out his nonsensical theorems, then by other evangelists not concerned or trained in the Word. Afterwards, it creeps into the first study Bible, then popular books, and now is it is in the landscape of popular Christian thought.
The word rapture itself is not a good word to use for this event. That is why it was never used in church history by the greatest thinkers and expositors. Perhaps of the words used by Scripture, to be caught up is best; if you must have a term, “quickening” from the Old Irish seems best. Keep in mind that if you insist this is a true doctrine, this term came from false teachers who held a callous disregard to solid biblical doctrine and the rules of biblical interpretation.
You may be as upset over this as I was; sorry. I do not want to be a party-pooper on end times. Yes, there will be a rapture of sort, but not the one from TV preachers; rather, it will be one far, far more magnificent!!!
This has been a common source to prove one’s position regarding end-time scenarios. See what the early church taught and assume it must be fact since they were closer to the original source, Christ, and were not convoluted by centuries of theology. This is actually a good way to see what a theological position is and how it can be measured. The problem is, many do not actually read the early writings, and when one does, he/she does not always understand the language and word meanings and thus may make assumptions that are not there.
The Purpose of the Rapture?
Yes, there will be a rapture, as in “caught up together to meet the Lord” as the Scriptures tell us. But for us to argue its sequence and manner is just silly and misses the point. One where Jesus Christ is truly glorified as He is coming back and we will be caught up in whatever way He sees fit. I firmly believe this will be far, far more impacting and spectacular than any wild, speculative theory that usually misses the main point. The main question is this: are you ready for His return?
Little did Paul know how his colorful metaphors for Jesus’ second coming would be misunderstood two millennia later.
What on earth (or in heaven) did Paul mean?