WHAT ABOUT THE RAPTURE?

Wayne S. Walker

Question:  “Is there anything about the rapture mentioned in the Bible?”

     The simplest answer to the question is, no, there is nothing
mentioned in the Bible about the so-called “rapture” as generally taught
in the religious world today.  In fact, the English word “rapture” is not
even found in the familiar King James Version of the Bible.  But the
question deserves a fuller answer than just “no.”  The rapture is part of
the very popular premillennial doctrine of the second coming of Christ.

     Premillennialists believe that when Jesus comes back, He will return
secretly once FOR His saints, at which time the righteous dead will be
raised to be joined by the living righteous, and then both will be
raptured in the air for some seven years while there will be “the great
tribulation” on earth.  Then after this, He will return again WITH His
saints to win the battle of Armageddon and rule on earth for a thousand
years, after which there will be the resurrection of the wicked dead and
the final judgment.  This makes two or more “second comings” of Jesus,
whereas Hebrews 9.28 says, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins
of many.  To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time
apart form sin for salvation.”  There will be only one second coming!

     The primary passage used in an attempt to give Biblical proof to
this rapture theory is 1 Thessalonians 4.16-17, which tell sus, “For the
Lord Himself will descend from heven with a shout, with the voice of an
archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise
first.  Then we who are alive and remain together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

     The claim is that the dead in Christ will rise first, then after the
rapture, tribulation, and millennium, the unrighteous dead will rise
second for the final judgment.  However, this passage is talking only
about the righteous.  The dead in Christ shall rise first; then second,
the living righteous shall be caught up with them in the air (at which
time a change will take place, according to 1 Corinthians 15.50-53).  And
Paul says that thus, or in the air, they will always be with the Lord.
He says nothing here or anywhere else about their being raptured for
seven years and then coming back to the earth.  Nor will there be a
secretive coming since it will have the loud voice and trumpet.

     There is just no room in the Biblical picture of Christ’s second
coming for this rapture–or for a great tribulation or a thousand year
reign on earth.  Jesus said in John 5.28-29, “Do not marvel at this: for
the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
and come forth–those who have done good to the resurrection of life and
those who have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.”  Jesus says
that all the dead–both good and evil–will be raised at the same hour,
immediately judged at the same time, and sent to their eternal abodes.
The only “rapture” that the Bible might teach would be the eternal
rapture which the righteous will enjoy in heaven.  (From “Search for
Truth,” September, 1997).

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