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THE RAPTURE: Fact or Fiction?
by Kenneth Lewis
01/01/09
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Is the rapture of the church fact or fiction?

The rapture of perhaps millions of Christians around the world is taught in Gods word and will one day be a fact for many who believe in Christ Jesus...There are several scriptures in the Holy Bible that shows an illustration of a rapture of Gods church. The word rapture is not found in Gods word. However, does that mean that there will not be a rapture of Gods Church? Absolutely not!

The word Trinity can not be found in Gods word either. Does that mean there is no God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit? Absolutely not!

The word Trinity simply means any union of three in one. God' perfect word shows us an illustration of the word Trinity by explaining God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as one. All three make up one which clearly shows us an illustration of the word Trinity....

Gods word also shows us a perfect illustration of the word rapture...

The English word "rapture" is derived from the Latin word "rapere", which was a translation of the original Greek word "harpazo."

The translation simply means to be caught up, snatched up, or seized, all three definitions can be applied to the way it was used by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17 and 1 Cor. 15:51-57.

In 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17 we see that there was a lot of confusion surrounding the subject of the dead in Christ Jesus. Paul writes a letter to the Thessalonians explaining what happens to the dead in Christ Jesus before Jesus returns to earth to set up His kingdom.

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

In 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17 the Bible clearly shows us an illustration of what is going to take place when the "Lord himself comes down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

We can clearly see a description in 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17 of Christians being snatched away, caught up, or seized into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

The word rapture which is derived from the Latin word "rapere" best describes this coming event by definition...

What did Paul teach?

Paul never taught that the Church would go through the tribulation period. Paul believed and taught that Jesus could return for His people at any moment...He also taught that Jesus would come as a thief and deliver the Church from Gods wrath, (tribulation period).

Paul clearly taught that the Church would not go through Gods wrath in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 “God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We notice in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 that the rapture has two aspects, salvation and wrath. For the believer the rapture means the consummation of his salvation in heaven. For the unbeliever it will mean a time of Gods wrath on earth.

Paul wrote a verse that really does not get much attention from the ones who believe that the Church will go through the tribulation period.

In 1 Thessalonians 1: 10 Paul explains to the Thessalonians and us today that Jesus will deliver us from the wrath to come. Notice what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1: 10...."and to wait for His Son from Heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus whom He raised from the dead who delivered us from the wrath to come."

Paul clearly explains to the Thessalonians that Jesus who was raised from the dead delivered us from the wrath to come. The tribulation period is the wrath to come..........

Paul Looked for the Lords return in his life time!

Paul looked for the coming of Christ in his day, for he said, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. (KJV)

Many believers who believe the Church will go through the tribulation period use the last trumpet in 1 Corinthians 15:52 to explain that the rapture will take place at the last trumpet mention in the Book of Revelation. This clearly is not the case. The last trumpet found in 1 Corinthians 15:52 does not mean the end of the world or even the last trumpet in the Book of Revelation. "the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound" which is found in this verse refers to the trumpet call of God which will sound when Christ comes into the air for His saints. We can find the trumpet call of God in (1 Thess.4:16). "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

What a tremendous moment that will be, when the earth and the seas will yield up from the dust and the ocean floors all the ones that had surrendered their lives to Christ Jesus through out the centuries and at the same time the ones who are alive who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will also be "caught up" with Jesus in the air for ever more...

What a glorious time that will be!

Further evidence that supports the Church will not go through the tribulation period....

John who Jesus called Beloved also taught about this sudden snatching away of Christians in John 5:28,29.

John 5:28,29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (KJV)

John who wrote down what he saw from God in the Book of Revelation was snatched up to heaven in chapter 4 before the tribulation period began is another perfect illustration of the rapture of the Church.

The Church is absent from Revelation chapters 4 through 18.

The Church is mentioned 17 times in the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, but John who God gave a vision on the Island of Patmos was suddenly snatched up to heaven in his vision, at the beginning of chapter 4. We notice he is suddenly looking down from heaven to the events of the tribulation period, and furthermore the Church is not mentioned or seen again until chapter 19, when she returns to earth with her Bridegroom at Jesus' second coming...

This is another perfect illustration of the rapture of the church before the tribulation period....

Many people who believe the Church will go through the tribulation period have missed a very important promise in the Book of Revelation.

There is a clear promise in Revelation 3:10 that many people have over looked: “Since you have my command and endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live upon the earth ” The word “from”, in Greek, is “out of.”

If we take God for His word this promise alone should be enough proof for any Christian to believe that the Lords Church will not go through the tribulation period since the hour of trial in Gods word is also interpreted as the tribulation period...

An interval of time between the rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ is necessary for two reasons:

Judgment Seat of Christ

Marriage Supper of the Lamb

During the tribulation period on earth the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be taking place in Heaven with the ones found worthy "to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

We notice in Luke 21:36 "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

The case for the rapture has been made... Now you be the judge and decide for yourself...

The Bible is full of scriptures that support a Pre Tribulation view and there are only a few misinterpreted scriptures that attempt to explain a Post Tribulation view.

The Bible clearly teaches a sudden snatching away of Bible believing Christian who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior before the tribulation period.

You can call this snatching away of Christians whatever you like. However, the English word rapture best describes this coming event. We see the earlier Church forefathers in the New Testament taught such a pre tribulation view.

The rapture described in Gods Holy word is not a fiction at all...The sudden snatching away of Christians will one day be a fact for many who believe in the pre - tribulation view of Gods Holy word...

Until then, we are instructed to "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

Verses that support a pre tribulation view

I Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

John 5:28,29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

I Corinthians 15:51-52 "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

Ephesians 5:6b "God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient."

I Thessalonians 1:10b "Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath."

I Thessalonians 4:13 -17 "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

I Thessalonians 5:9 "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."




Kenneth Lewis is the founder of Christian News Today Online and CNTNewswire. Ken was featured on Daystar International Television program called Celebration with Marcus and Joni Lamb and on several Christian radio stations in the USA in regards to Bible prophecy. His Bible prophecy articles have been featured on Christian News Today Online and read by Christians around the world.


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