The "Rapture" : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

2004 promises to be an interesting year. The Summer Olympics, the U.S. Presidential Election, and more countries (10 I believe) joining the E.C.

According to some theologians, 2004 marks the begining of the 7th millennium (since creation in 4004 B.C.). Since 1000 years is as a day to the Lord, they have taken 2004 to be the 7th day (on which the Lord blows the 2nd SILVER trumpet).

According to some psychics and some Native American shamans, the U.S. will undergo geological upheaval in 2012. 2012 - 7 is...2005... So.......regarding the Rapture....

Do you believe in a Rapture? If so,

Do you believe that the Church will be taken up before the Tribulation, in the middle of the Tribulation, or at the end of the Tribulation?

Do you believe that God will leave SOME of the faithful behind to teach those who didn't get it?

How disappointed would you be if the trumpet sounds for the Rapture and you got left behind (knowing you had to stay and teach during the Tribulation)?

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004


I love hypothetical questions.

Yes, I believe in the Rapture.

I've heard good arguments for pre, mid, and post Trib Rapture, so I'm not sure. I believe in "pre-wrath". God has never poured out His wrath on His children. We're persecuted and suffer trials, but as far as His wrath is concerned it appears He provides a warning to get out of town as Jesus did, or gives some means of escape as with Noah.

Whether the anti-Christ will have been revealed, whether we'll escape his persecution, or how much suffering will have started when we leave, who knows? I believe I'll miss the wrath that come from God.

I've never heard the idea of some faithful being purposefully left behind, and it makes no sense to me. What will be left behind are plenty of teaching material, people who know the Truth but were away from God when the Rapture occured, as well as people like the 144,000 and two witnesses described in Revelation. There will be opportunity to learn the Truth. But what a price they'll pay in suffering!

Would I be dissappointed? Yes, of course. First in knowing my spiritual condition was wrong at the time of the Rapture, and second in knowing I face being hunted and likely killed at some point in the next 7 years. Even if I did survive that time on earth will be horrible, and while I'm going through it I'd know the joy that I'm missing in Heaven. I'd know I should have been there.

Good thing this is a hypothetical question. If the Rapture comes during my lifetime I plan to be in it. I just hope I have time to grab my best buddy (my dog) as I'm headed up! :-)

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004

I believe that the Rapture will come without moment's notice, and that all believers will be caught up in the twinkling of an eye. I want to go home with my Jesus because I have to go and just look at Him and revere Him. I want to be there when they place the royal diadem on His sweet head, which is going to cause me to simg, jump and shout for joy. I've even told the Lord that I want to be in the heavenly choir and possibly sing a solo, since He chose not to give me an earthly voice. When I finish my solo the angels in heaven will be envious.

Like RP, I never heard tell of Christians being left behind to teach those who didn't get it. Personally, I DO NOT WANT TO BE LEFT BEHIND. Also, my cats Be De Be De Bom Bah and Uber-guh-Duber have to make it to heaven on their own. If cuteness and personality count in pet world, they're in.

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004

Reverend Harper,

In one word, my answer to you is NO, I do not.

My reason for not believing in the Rapture is this. Methodist Theology and what Methodists believe is written in our hymns. Each one of them is Scripturally sound. This is why we ought never "forsake the singing of the hymn".

As Lay Director of my Presiding Elder District Lay, I did a Thanksgiving workshop. One of the hymns we used was "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come"--AMEC Hymn #574. This hymn is based on Matthew 13:24­-30, popularly known as the "Parable of the Wheat and Tares". I compared this to the book and the popular notion of "Those Left Behind".

Verse three of this hymn reads thus:

"For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home; From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away, Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast; But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore".

In the words of this hymn and in Jesus' own words to his Church, the wheat and the tares shall remain together until the FINAL HARVEST when He shall come again. The Scriptures tell us He shall flash like lightening from East to West. Every eye shall see Him. No one will need to ask what is going on. There will not be any doubt about what is taking place.

Jesus said not even the angels know when this will occur so we cannot place it at 2004, today, tomorrow, 2050 or 3610. Thus, we should be always ready for Him.

Saint Paul also gives up the timing of it. He said, "In a moment, In the twinkling of an eye, at the LAST TRUMPET". In cyber language the time it takes for the twinkling of an eye is know as a nanosecond. You won't even have time to say, " Whew! I'm gone."

Now, according to the hymn I mentioned above and according to Jesus' own description of it in the "Parable of the Wheat and Tares", the angels will first be allowed to gather the tares and then, at last, the fruitful ears.

"For, He who made all nations is not willing One souls should perish, lost in shades of night" (AMEC Hymn # 566).

So, don't count on a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, you will be right here with the tares, until the FINAL HARVEST when Jesus comes again. And since the tares will be taken first, guess what?

I am gong to be one of those "Left Behind" to be gathered in "His garner evermore."

Somebody ought to say Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!!!

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004

Parson Harper -

Your important questions require all to reassess their thinking about that important branch of theology called eschatology. The term "rapture" is not used per se in the Holy Writ but it is infered from the passage found in I Thessalonians 4:16-18. In this remarkable teaching Paul is unambiguous that the Rapture or Parousia (Second Coming of Christ) will culminate in saved believers being "caught up" with Jesus and spending eternity in Heaven. This is the hope for all Christians. Folks who are "left behind" will be subject to the trials and torment of the Tribulation era. Personally, I pray God grants me a waiver from THAT experience. While I'm not one to take too much stock in apocalyptic musings about the end of the world (this event has been regularly predicted since the 1st Century), I think the words of Jesus will suffice - "You must be ready, because the Son of Man comes at an hour when you do not expect Him" (Dr. Luke 12:40) QED

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004

I recall in 1987, on either the PTL network or a nascent TBN, there was an evangelist touting a book "88 reasons why the rapture will occur in 1988". By september of that year some of he saints took to calling around periodically for a "rapture check."

In the early 1990s, Harold Camping, major contriitutor to "Family Radio", assertied that the rapture would come (it may have been in 1994).

Thew Watchtower Soceity has predicted the Last Day several times - 1914, 1931, 1975, and the more recent that I simply don't keep up with.

I have all 11 books of the :Left Behind" series, a set of novels that are based on re- Trib rapture theology.

Perhaps the best treatise I have seen ont he subject (which I have studied since 1971), is by Hilton Sutton - "The Revelation".

Bottom line - live each day as if the Rapture is tomorrow, but also as if it's 1000 years from now. For we all have missioons to execute, charges to keep, etc.

Scriptures for consideration: Matthew 24:3-25:46 I Corinthians 15:46-51 I Thessalonians 4:16-17 II Thessalonians 2:2-11 Daniel 7-12 Zechariah 14 The Book of Revelation

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004

I watched a Jack Van Impe video in 1994 where he made a great case the Rapture was coming "in or around" 2000. I wonder when we'll be far enough away from "around" 2000 to say that was wrong?

Well, it's 2004 now.

BTW, those cats have long names Mary. Do you have short versions? Our cat Dutchess sends greetings. I know the wife and kids will make it out in the Rapture, so my wife will grab her cat while I grab B-boy. That'll be an extra 70 pounds of fur, tongue, and slobber for me to carry into the next life.

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004


There are two stages or phases within the process of the Second Coming of Christ - The Rapture and the Revelation- and these are separated by a seven year period of time. The Rapture is the next occurrence on God’s calendar and is the literal, visible, and bodily return of Christ in the sky or heavenlies. He shall return as He left (Acts 1:9-11). One can easily know how He departed by studying Luke 24:39. He had a new resurrected body of flesh and bones - a body that could be seen, touched, and fed (vss. 41-43). When Christ return in the heavenlies, ALL believers, dead and living, will also be taken bodily to meet Him in the clouds. We shall be changed as this mortal body puts on immortality and is transformed into a glorious and heavenly body (Corinthians 15:51-54; Psalm 17:15; 1 John 3:2) This happens in a moment in the twinkling of an eye.”

This event ends the Church Age (Church age began at Pentecost and will end at the Rapture) and ushers in the 7 year Tribulation period. The Rapture of the Church involves the resurrection of the Christian dead as well as the exit from earth of all believers living at that time (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) Regarding the Christian dead, the Bible teaches that the body is asleep in one place (the grave) whereas the spirit is alive in another place (Heaven). To be “absent from the body” is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). When Jesus Christ returns at the rapture, He brings those that sleep (dead) with Him. (1 Thessalonians 4:14). How can He bring the dead with Him and still come for the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The dead are in two places! The spirits are with the Lord, but their bodies are in the grave. Hence Christ brings the dead (spirits) with Him so they may reunited with their bodies. That is why the dead in Christ rise first.

The return of Christ for His Church is a signless and always imminent event. Even the New Testament writers expected the Lord return at any moment (Philippians 3:20) All signs of the Lord’s return have to do with His coming on the Earth to set up His kingdom after the 7 year tribulation period ends. Remember, the Rapture must precede the Tribulation period. The church is not to be the recipient of God’s wrath on the earth (Revelation 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

During the Tribulation period left behind people will still have a chance to be saved through the evangelism ministry of the two witness (Revelation 11) and the 144,000 Jewish Witnesses (Revelation 7) During the Tribulation Period, the raptured Christians have an appointment with Jesus Christ at the Judgement Seat of Christ ( 2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 14:10,12).

The word rapture does not appear in the Word of God. It is coined from the Latin rapio or rapere to portray the experience of being snatched away.” REMEMBER the word trinity is not mentioned in the Bible, but we believe in it. This is what is going happen one day soon as the people of God disappear from the earth and immediately meet Christ to stand before the Judgement Seat.


SCRIPTURES TO PROVE THAT THERE WILL BE A RAPTURE!!!!!! John 14:1-3, Romans 8:19, 1 Corinthians 1:7-8, 15:51-53, 16:22; Philippians 3:20-21, Colossians 3:4, 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19; 4:13- 18; 5:9, 23; 1 John 2:28-3:2, Jude, 1:21, Revelation 2:25, 1 Peter 5:4, James 5:7-9, and Hebrews 9:28.

A college's kid's belief and opinion

-- Anonymous, January 03, 2004

As I stated above, in the words of Jesus, the fruitful ears will be the last to go. When I read through Scripture in the context it was written, I cannot find any indication of Rapture nor any real support for it. I think we have mixed the Destruction of the Temple and the "Pax Romana" with future prophesies.

The Revelation of John also indicates that ALL will remain even through the worst of times to the very end.

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands". - Revelation 7:9.

"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of GREAT TRIBULATION, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb". - Revelation 7:13-14.

So, it not important to me to be spared anything, as I do not believe I shall. I just want to be in that number "When the Saints Go Marching In."

-- Anonymous, January 03, 2004

January 5, 2003


The word rapture come from a fourth century Latin vulgate translation of the Greek word harpadzo (occurring in 1 Thessalonians 4:17) and has been picked up by many as the best single word to express the event it describes. THE WORD TRINITY IS NOT MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE, BUT WE BELIEVE THAT IT IS TAUGHT IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.

SCRIPTURES TO PROVE THAT THERE WILL BE A RAPTURE!!!!!! THE DESCRIBES THIS EVENT IN DETAIL!!!! John 14:1-3, Romans 8:19, 1 Corinthians 1:7-8, 15:51-53, 16:22; Philippians 3:20-21, Colossians 3:4, 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19; 4:13- 18; 5:9, 23; 1 John 2:28-3:2, Jude, 1:21, Revelation 2:25, 1 Peter 5:4, James 5:7-9, and Hebrews 9:28.

The first clear mention of the Rapture in Scripture is found in the words of Jesus recorded in John 14:1-4. Jesus said, “I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

The most detailed revelation of the actual events related to the Rapture is given by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. He says that when Jesus appears, the dead in Christ (Church age saints) will be resurrected and caught up first. Then, those of us who are alive in Christ will be translated “to meet the Lord in the air.” Paul then exhorts us to “comfort one another with these words.” Paul mentions the Rapture again in 1 Corinthians 15 - his famous chapter on the resurrection of the dead: “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” (verses 51 and 52)

Paul’s reference here to being changed is an allusion to the fact that the saints will receive glorified bodies that will be perfected, imperishable and immortal (1 Cor. 15:42-44, and 50-55).

The Timing The most controversial aspect of the Rapture is its timing. Some place it at the end of the Tribulation, making it one and the same event as the Second Coming. Others place it in the middle of the Tribulation. Still others believe that it will occur at the beginning of the Tribulation.

The reason for these differing viewpoints is that the exact time of the Rapture is not precisely revealed in scripture. It is only inferred. There is, therefore, room for honest differences of opinion, and lines of fellowship should certainly not be drawn over differences regarding this point, even though it is an important point.

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture I believe the best inference of Scripture is that the Rapture will occur at the beginning of the Tribulation. The most important reason I believe this has to do with the issue of imminence. Over and over in Scripture we are told to watch for the appearing of the Lord. We are told “to be ready” (Matt. 24:44), “to be on the alert” (Matt. 24:42), “to be dressed in readiness” (Luke 12:35), and to “keep your lamps alight” (Luke 12:35). The clear force of these persistent warnings is that Jesus can appear at any moment. Only the pre-Tribulation concept of the Rapture allows for the imminence of the Lord’s appearing for His Church. When the Rapture is placed at any other point in time, the imminence of the Lord’s appearing is destroyed because other prophetic events must happen first.

For example, if the Rapture is going to occur in mid-Tribulation, then why should I live looking for the Lord’s appear­ing at any moment? I would be looking instead for an Israeli peace treaty, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the revelation of the Antichrist. Then and only then could the Lord appear.

Focus This raises the issue of what we are to be looking for. Nowhere are believers told to watch for the appearance of the Antichrist. On the contrary, we are told to watch for Jesus Christ. In Titus 2:13 Paul says we are to live “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Likewise, Peter urges us to “fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). John completes the apostolic chorus by similarly urging us to “fix our hope on Him” at His appearing (1 John 3:2-3). Only Matthew speaks of watching for the Antichrist (Matt. 24:15), but he is speaking to the Jews living in Israel in the middle of the Tribulation when the Antichrist desecrates the rebuilt Temple.

Wrath Another argument in behalf of a pre-Tribulation Rapture has to do with the promises of God to protect the Church from His wrath. As has already been demonstrated, the book of Revelation shows that the wrath of God will be poured out during the entire period of the Tribulation.

The Word promises over and over that the Church will be delivered from God’s wrath. Romans 5:9 says that “we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him [Jesus].” 1 Thessalonians 1:10 states that we are waiting “for His Son from heaven . . . who will deliver us from the wrath to come.” The promise is repeated in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 - “God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The church is absent in Revelation 4-18. The church is mentioned seventeen times in the first three chapter of Revelation, but after John is called up to heaven in chapter 4, he looks down on the events of the Tribulation and the church is not mentioned or seen again until chapter 19, when she returns to the earth with Christ at the His glorious return to the planet earth.

Deliverance Some argue that God could supernaturally protect the Church during the Tribulation. Yes, He could. In fact, He promises to do just that for the 144,000 Jews who will be sealed as bond-servants at the beginning of the Tribulation (Rev. 7:1-8). But God’s promise to the Church during the Tribulation is not one of protection but one of deliverance. Jesus said we would “escape” the horrors of the Tribulation (Luke 21:3­6). Paul says Jesus is coming to “deliver” us from God’s wrath (1 Thess. 1:10).

Symbolism There are several prophetic types that seem to affirm the concept of deliverance from Tribulation. Take Enoch for example. He was a prophet to the Gen­tiles who was raptured out of the world before God poured out His wrath in the great flood of Noah’s time. Enoch ap­pears to be a type of the Gentile Church that will be taken out of the world before God pours out His wrath again. If so, then Noah and his family are a type of the Jewish rem­nant that will be protected through the Tribulation.

Another Old Testament symbolic type which points toward a pre- Tribulation Rapture is the experience of Lot and his family. They were delivered out of Sodom and Gomorrah before those cities were destroyed.

The Apostle Peter alludes to both of these examples in his second epistle. He states that if God spared Noah and Lot, then He surely “knows how to rescue the godly from trial and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 4-9). Another beautiful prophetic type is to be found in the Jewish wedding traditions of Jesus’s time. After the betrothal, the groom would return to his father’s house to prepare a wedding chamber for his bride. He would return for his bride at an unexpected moment, so the bride had to be ready constantly. When he returned, he would take his bride back to his father’s house to the chamber he had prepared. He and his bride would then be sealed in the chamber for seven days. When they emerged, a great wed­ding feast would be celebrated. Likewise, Jesus has returned to Heaven to prepare a place for His bride, the Church. When He returns for His bride, He will take her to His Father’s heavenly home. There He will remain with His bride for seven years (the duration of the Tribulation). The period will end with “the marriage supper of the Lamb” described in Revela­tion 19. Thus the seven days in the wedding cham­ber point prophetically to the seven years that Jesus and His bride will remain in Heaven during the Tribulation.

Revelation Speaking of Revelation, the structure of that book also implies a pre- Tribulation Rapture in a sym­bolic sense. The first three chapters focus on the Church. Chapter 4 begins with the door of Heaven opening and John being raptured from the isle of Patmos to the throne of God in Heaven. The Church is not mentioned thereafter until Revelation 19:7-9 when it is portrayed as the “bride of Christ” in Heaven with Jesus celebrating the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” At Revelation 19:11 the door of Heaven opens again, and Jesus emerges riding a white horse on His way to earth, followed by His Church (Rev. 19:14). The rapture of the Apostle John in Revelation 4 appears to be a symbolic type of the Rapture of the Church. Note that it is initiated by the cry of a voice that sounds like the blowing of a trumpet (Rev. 4:1). Since the Tribulation does not begin until Revelation 6, the rapture of John in Revelation 4 appears to be a symbolic type that points to a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. Some counter this argument by pointing out that although the Church is not mentioned in Revelation during that book’s description of the Tribulation, there is constant men­tion of “saints” (for ex­ample, Rev. 13:7). But that term is not used in the Bible exclusively to refer to members of the Church. Daniel uses it to refer to Old Testament believers who lived long before the Church was established (Dan. 7:18). The saints referred to in the book of Revelation are most likely those people who will be saved during the Tribulation, after the Church has been taken out of the world.

Paul’s Assurance An interesting argument in behalf of the pre-Tribulation timing of the Rapture can be found in 2 Thessalonians. The church at Thessalonica was in a turmoil because someone had written them a letter under Paul’s name stating that they had missed the “gathering to the Lord” and were, in fact, living in “the day of the Lord” (2 Thess. 2:1-2).

Paul attempted to calm them down by reminding them of his teaching that the day of the Lord would not come until after the Antichrist is revealed. He then stated that the Antichrist would not be revealed until a restraining force “is taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:3-7). There has been much speculation as to the identify of this restraining force that Paul refers to. Some have identified it as the Holy Spirit. But it cannot be the Holy Spirit because there will be people saved during the Tribulation, and no one can be saved apart from the testimony of the Spirit (John 16:8-11 and 1 John 5:7). Others have identified the restrainer as human government. It is true that government was ordained by God to restrain evil (Romans 13:1-4). But the governments of the world are in rebellion against God and His Son (Psalm 2), and they are therefore a contributor to the evil that characterizes the world. Furthermore, the Tribulation will not be characterized by a lack of government. Rather, it will feature the first true worldwide government (Rev. 13:7).

In my opinion that leaves only one other candidate for Paul’s restrainer - and that is the Church. It is the Church that serves as the primary restrainer of evil in the world today as it proclaims the Gospel and stands for righteousness. When the Church fails in this mission, evil multiplies, as Paul graphically points out in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Paul says that society in the end times will be characterized by chaos and despair because “men will hold to a form of religion but will deny its power.” When the Church is removed from the world, all hell will literally break loose.

Escapism? The pre-Tribulation concept of the Rapture has often been condemned as “escapism.” I think this criticism is unjustified. The Bible itself says that Christians are to “comfort one another” with the thought of the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:18). Is it a comfort to think of the Rapture occurring at the end of the world’s worst period of war instead of at the beginning?

Regardless of when the Rapture actually occurs, we need to keep in mind that the Bible teaches that societal conditions are going to grow increasingly worse the closer we get to the Lord’s return. That means Christians will suffer tribulation whether or not they go into the Great Tribulation. And that means all of us had better be preparing our­selves for unprecedented suffering and spiritual warfare. If you are a Christian, you can do that on a daily basis by putting on “the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:13), praying at all times in the Spirit that you will be able to stand firm against the attacks of Satan (Eph. 6:14-18).

If you are not a Christian, your only hope is to reach out in faith and receive the free gift of God’s salvation which He has provided through His Son, Jesus (John 3:16).

-- Anonymous, January 05, 2004

Having read the arguments for and against the Rapture, I have to conclude that no one really knows. The arguments for and against the Rapture are equally valid but not definitive. I'm ready if it comes and also ready if not since the rapture is not essential to salvation.

-- Anonymous, January 05, 2004

I know I'm probably one of a few on this BB who appreciates quartet music singing, but I have a question germane to this thread. What was the name of the legendary male Gospel Quartet group who sang the 1970s song called, 'See You in the Rapture'? I can't seem to recall. QED

-- Anonymous, January 06, 2004

I submit it was the Dixied Echoes.

-- Anonymous, January 06, 2004

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