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What is the general consensus on the rapture here?

struggling

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I have grown up around churches teaching either supporting a pre tribulation rapture, or if they don’t, they say nothing at all about it. Recently I attended what seemed to be a solid Bible believing church in every aspect. But then I asked the pastor if he believed in a literal 1000 yr reign with Christ. And he didn’t. He didn’t think the rapture was biblical. I was taken back. I was afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want him to sway me from what I believed. We decided to find a different church. We really miss the general teaching but I don’t know what to think about end time stuff anymore. It kind of deflated our balloon that says pre trib. I have no idea what to believe. I can understand there could be parallels that I am missing. I don’t want to miss out on the Kingdom of God at work now. But flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. There must be a point when our bodies are changed.
 

Free

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I have grown up around churches teaching either supporting a pre tribulation rapture, or if they don’t, they say nothing at all about it. Recently I attended what seemed to be a solid Bible believing church in every aspect. But then I asked the pastor if he believed in a literal 1000 yr reign with Christ. And he didn’t. He didn’t think the rapture was biblical. I was taken back. I was afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want him to sway me from what I believed. We decided to find a different church. We really miss the general teaching but I don’t know what to think about end time stuff anymore. It kind of deflated our balloon that says pre trib. I have no idea what to believe. I can understand there could be parallels that I am missing. I don’t want to miss out on the Kingdom of God at work now. But flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. There must be a point when our bodies are changed.
I don't believe the rapture is biblical either and that the 1000 year reign is just metaphorical for a period of time and could be what we're in right now. The important things are that Jesus has yet to return, at which point our bodies will be changed (still will be flesh and blood), and that we are to be doing his kingdom work until he returns. Apart from that, I don't let any of it bother me--just keep doing what I'm supposed to be doing. What will happen is what will happen.
 

OzSpen

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I have grown up around churches teaching either supporting a pre tribulation rapture, or if they don’t, they say nothing at all about it. Recently I attended what seemed to be a solid Bible believing church in every aspect. But then I asked the pastor if he believed in a literal 1000 yr reign with Christ. And he didn’t. He didn’t think the rapture was biblical. I was taken back. I was afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want him to sway me from what I believed. We decided to find a different church. We really miss the general teaching but I don’t know what to think about end time stuff anymore. It kind of deflated our balloon that says pre trib. I have no idea what to believe. I can understand there could be parallels that I am missing. I don’t want to miss out on the Kingdom of God at work now. But flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. There must be a point when our bodies are changed.

struggling,

This is the verse that seems to cause most controversy when discussing the Rapture:

Exegesis of 1 Thess 4:17​


The contentious verse 17 in the Greek can be read at SBLNT.

The key word causing controversy against the Rapture doctrine is harpagesometha. I need to get a little technical to parse this word and seek its meaning in lexicons and word studies. It is first person plural (i.e. ‘we’), future, passive, indicative of harpazw (will be caught up).

Harpazw means ‘I snatch or take away … in such a way that no resistance is offered’. Paul was ‘caught up to the third heaven’ (2 Cor 12:2). First Thess 4:17 is associated with this meaning of being snatched away with no way to resist (Bauer, Arndt & Gingrich 1957:108).

The church being ‘caught up’ or raptured was taught long before J N Darby (1800-1882). Darby was the founder of the Plymouth Brethren denomination in the UK who promoted his dispensational theories, beginning in the Anglican church but he found no satisfaction there (see Graves 2007).

Some want to associate the Rapture doctrine as a late invention (19th century) by J N Darby. My research in the early church fathers found that not to be the case. See my research in The Rapture in the early church fathers.

In his word study of harpazw, Foerster (1964:472) gave the meaning as ‘to take something forcefully (firmly, quickly, or rapaciously)’. It can mean ‘to steal’ (Josephus) and in the NT is is ‘used in parables to speak of conflict between the kingdom of God and that of Satan… It occurs at 2 Cor:12:2, 4 (vision); 1 Thess 4:17; Rev 12:5 (“to catch up or away”); Acts 8:39 – always expressing a mighty operation of God’.

A T Robertson’s assessment was that harpazw was an ‘old verb to seize, to carry off like Latin rapio…. This rapture of the saints (both risen and changed) is a glorious climax to Paul’s argument of consolation’ (Robertson 1931:32). Vincent’s word studies (1887/1946:43) gives the meaning of ‘shall be caught up’ to include ‘by a swift, resistless, divine energy’ (cf. 2 Cor 12:2, 4; Acts 8:39).

Therefore, the meaning of ‘caught up’ in 1 Thess 4:17 is to be caught up or taken away forcefully by a mighty operation of God, called the Rapture.

The message of the Rapture in 1 Thess 4:17 harmonizes with Jesus’ statements about his Second Coming in Matthew 24:36-44 (NLT):

36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
40 “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.
42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

Christians don’t know the time of the Second Coming of Jesus and the Rapture of the church. Only God the Father knows that. However, those who love the Lord live in glorious expectation of meeting our Master and Saviour.

Oz

Works consulted

Bauer, W (transl, 4th rev, & aug ed), Arndt, W F & Gingrich, F W, 1957, A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament, trans. & adapt. of Bauer, W, The University of Chicago Press (limited edition, Zondervan Publishing House), Chicago.

Foester, W 1964. harpazw, in Kittel, G (ed) Theological dictionary of the New Testament, vol 1, 372-373. Tr and ed by G W Bromiley. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Graves, D 2007. John Darby of the Plymouth Brethren. Christian History (online), April. Available at: https://www.christianity.com/church...-darby-of-the-plymouth-brethren-11630602.html (Accessed 15 November 2021).

Robertson, A T 1931. Word pictures in the New Testament: The epistles of Paul, vol 4. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press.

Vincent, M R 1887/1946. Word Studies in the New Testament, vol 4. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
 

OzSpen

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I don't believe the rapture is biblical either and that the 1000 year reign is just metaphorical for a period of time and could be what we're in right now. The important things are that Jesus has yet to return, at which point our bodies will be changed (still will be flesh and blood), and that we are to be doing his kingdom work until he returns. Apart from that, I don't let any of it bother me--just keep doing what I'm supposed to be doing. What will happen is what will happen.

Free,

I would appreciate your biblical exposition of why there is no Rapture, particularly in light of 1 Thess 4:17 (NIV). As for the Millennium being metaphorical for a period of time, could you please provide exegetical biblical data to support your claim?

If you "don't let any of it bother you," why do you consider it was important to Scripture for 1 Thess 4:17 and the Book of Revelation to be included in the Bible.

If I'm reading you correctly, all eschatological things are of no concern to you except that "what will happen is what will happen."

You seem to be discarding Scripture that speaks of end times as useless to the contemporary Christian.

Oz
 

Free

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Free,

I would appreciate your biblical exposition of why there is no Rapture, particularly in light of 1 Thess 4:17 (NIV).
As I am not a scholar, I will just appeal to my ESV Study Bible notes, which, if I remember correctly, is the same as N. T. Wright's position:

"to meet. The Greek term apantesis is often used of an important dignitary's reception by the inhabitants of a city, who out to greet and welcome their honored guest with fanfare and celebration, then accompany him into the city . . . It may indicate that the subsequent movement of the saints after meeting Christ "in the air" conforms to Christ's direction, thus a downward motion toward the earth. However, some interpreters caution that the vivid symbolism of apocalyptic language must be kept in mind to avoid over-interpretation of the apocalyptic details."

Is the idea of the rapture found anywhere else in Scripture, or is this a case of making a doctrine out of a single verse?

As for the Millennium being metaphorical for a period of time, could you please provide exegetical biblical data to support your claim?
There is little, if anything, to suggest it is literal. This is where the highly symbolic language of apocalyptic literature comes into play, not to mention the often symbolic nature of numbers in the Bible, especially nice round numbers, like 1000.

If you "don't let any of it bother you," why do you consider it was important to Scripture for 1 Thess 4:17 and the Book of Revelation to be included in the Bible.
Revelation because it tells of events from the past and of future events. However, again, the highly symbolic language makes it notoriously difficult to decipher precise meanings, as you know. Some things are clear--Jesus's return and the Judgement, for example--but most things are not. I do find it all fascinating and we need to have an idea of the details so we can determine potential fulfillments of prophecy to understand just how close the Day of the Lord might be.

As for 1 Thess 4:17, clearly there was inadequate teaching regarding the return of Jesus and what happens to those believers who had died already, and this was causing significant issues with at least some believers. There are differing interpretations as to precisely what Paul is saying will occur, but it is clear that Jesus will return to gather all believers, dead and alive, to himself. At the most basic level, this agrees with Revelation.

If I'm reading you correctly, all eschatological things are of no concern to you except that "what will happen is what will happen."

You seem to be discarding Scripture that speaks of end times as useless to the contemporary Christian.

Oz
Not disregarding as useless, just not concerned about the precise interpretation, as there are differing legitimate viewpoints and unncessary division caused by it all. Trying to determine most things in Revelation with precision is like trying to catch the wind. The only certainties are that Jesus will return and justice will be meted out. The future is in God's hands and what happen is what will happen. The most important thing is to be doing what we are supposed to be doing when Jesus returns.
 

crossnote

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If someone forces a figurative/metaphoric interpretation on a biblical text then anything goes.
 

Who Me

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Views are totally irrelevent.

Either we will be dead when Jesus returns and will among those returning with him or we will be alive when he comes and will experience his return as living people.

Our views on what should happen are as relevent and as accurate as the Jews views on the coming of the Messiah.
 

JLB

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I have grown up around churches teaching either supporting a pre tribulation rapture, or if they don’t, they say nothing at all about it. Recently I attended what seemed to be a solid Bible believing church in every aspect. But then I asked the pastor if he believed in a literal 1000 yr reign with Christ. And he didn’t. He didn’t think the rapture was biblical. I was taken back. I was afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want him to sway me from what I believed. We decided to find a different church. We really miss the general teaching but I don’t know what to think about end time stuff anymore. It kind of deflated our balloon that says pre trib. I have no idea what to believe. I can understand there could be parallels that I am missing. I don’t want to miss out on the Kingdom of God at work now. But flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. There must be a point when our bodies are changed.


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. 1 Thessalonians 4:15


  • that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.


The resurrection and rapture happen at His coming.






JLB
 

OzSpen

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There is little, if anything, to suggest it is literal. This is where the highly symbolic language of apocalyptic literature comes into play, not to mention the often symbolic nature of numbers in the Bible, especially nice round numbers, like 1000.

You did not deal with the biblical material to prove your point. I won't believe your point because of this lack of evidence.

Oz
 

Free

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You did not deal with the biblical material to prove your point. I won't believe your point because of this lack of evidence.

Oz
That's fine, you don't have to believe my point. Do you disagree that apocalyptic language uses much symbolism? Do you disagree that numbers, especially "nice" round numbers, are often used symbolically throughout the Bible?

The phrase "thousand years" appears only three times outside of Revelation 20, twice figuratively--one being eschatological:

Psa_90:4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. (ESV)

2Pe_3:8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (ESV)

Those are clearly figurative but even so, there is at least one person in these forums who believes the second reference to be literal--that one day is a thousand years--and so builds doctrine from it. It is difficult to see why the six times "one thousand years" is used in Rev 20:2-7, an apocalyptic book full of symbolism, it suddenly takes on a literal meaning. At most, we can say we don't know what he intended by it--could be literal, could be a time of perfection. In the ends, it matters not to me.
 

OzSpen

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That's fine, you don't have to believe my point. Do you disagree that apocalyptic language uses much symbolism? Do you disagree that numbers, especially "nice" round numbers, are often used symbolically throughout the Bible?

Free,

Apocalyptic language appears with symbolism in Daniel and the Book of Revelation but I don't see it in Matt 24. As for numbers, they have been a source of contention and speculation. I don't plan on pursuing such matters.

Oz
 
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For me the real question is,
: Does either position change what you did for the Lord today after getting out of bed ?:

I am continually amazed at the obsession over this subject when as Christians the one solid biblical fact we all have no choice but to accept as absolute truth from God is that we are conduct ourselves as if each new day we are granted is a supreme gift from God, and that each new day may also very well be our last.
For me it does not even add up to a distraction.
 

Hidden In Him

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I have grown up around churches teaching either supporting a pre tribulation rapture, or if they don’t, they say nothing at all about it. Recently I attended what seemed to be a solid Bible believing church in every aspect. But then I asked the pastor if he believed in a literal 1000 yr reign with Christ. And he didn’t. He didn’t think the rapture was biblical. I was taken back. I was afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want him to sway me from what I believed. We decided to find a different church. We really miss the general teaching but I don’t know what to think about end time stuff anymore. It kind of deflated our balloon that says pre trib. I have no idea what to believe. I can understand there could be parallels that I am missing. I don’t want to miss out on the Kingdom of God at work now. But flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. There must be a point when our bodies are changed.

Well, as you can see, that just took off into a debate about the very issue causing you confusion, which likely won't help. I was going to say that you are picking a particularly heady topic, and sorting it out may take you quite awhile, depending upon how much time and prayer you give to seeking God about it and studying His word.

About your pastor, all I will say is that you probably did the right thing to leave by the sound of it. if there is one error there were likely others in his teaching. Just relax, and seek God in prayer that the Holy Spirit become your Teacher. If you do that on a regular daily basis, not only will He lead you into all truth like Jesus promised us He will, but He may also lead you to a good church in time.

Trust God, and don't worry that you have to have every answer in order to walk with Him daily.
 

Free

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Free,

Apocalyptic language appears with symbolism in Daniel and the Book of Revelation but I don't see it in Matt 24.
You didn’t ask me about Matt 24. What about it?

As for numbers, they have been a source of contention and speculation. I don't plan on pursuing such matters.

Oz
If you agree about numbers, whichbIbknew you would, as a student of Scripture, then why did you disagree about the figurative use of “one thousand years” in Rev 20?
 

Free

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Well, as you can see, that just took off into a debate about the very issue causing you confusion, which likely won't help.

About your pastor, all I will say is that you probably did the right thing to leave by the sound of it. if there is one error there were likely others in his teaching.
If someone is confused about a doctrine, how do they know what is being taught is error, much less something that is worth leaving a church over?
 

Hidden In Him

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If someone is confused about a doctrine, how do they know what is being taught is error, much less something that is worth leaving a church over?

They get a witness in their spirit that something is wrong. It's in essence the same principle behind, "My sheep know My voice, and another they will not follow."
 

Quantrill

 
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You didn’t ask me about Matt 24. What about it?


If you agree about numbers, whichbIbknew you would, as a student of Scripture, then why did you disagree about the figurative use of “one thousand years” in Rev 20?

Who determined it was figurative? What is the basis of saying the 1000 year Millennium in (Rev. 20) is figurative or symbolic?

Quantrill
 
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