Purpose of this Session
In this session we will consider the question of the rapture. The doctrine of the rapture is one that many have questioned and some even consider it to be a complete fabrication. The nature and timing of the rapture is also a matter of heated debate. This lesson does not seek to push a particular view on you, but rather show the various viewpoints and refer to Scripture, allowing you to come to your own conclusions.
Various examples of ‘raptures’ have taken place throughout history. These are considered by many to be a picture of the rapture that will take place at the end of the age.
Both Enoch (Gen 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1) were taken to be with the Lord without death.
As illustrated overleaf there are various theories concerning the timing of the rapture.
· Pre-Tribulation – the rapture will happen before the tribulation period
· Mid-Tribulation – the rapture will happen half way through the seven year tribulation
· Post-Tribulation – the rapture will happen at the end of seven years of tribulation
· Partial Rapture – spiritual Christians will be raptured before the 7 year tribulation begins
· Post-Tribulation Rapture (alternative interpretation) – the rapture will happen at the end of three and a half years of tribulation
Why so many Rapture theories?
The main reason there are so many different theories is that there are no definitive interpretations of Scripture that cannot be justifiably argued against. Many of the arguments and timings are based upon prophecies in the book of Daniel (particularly what is known as the 70 week prophecy in Dan 9:24-27), and of course the somewhat enigmatic book of Revelation.
It is certainly possible to comprehend what is written in these books, and the Holy Spirit said that the words therein were sealed until the days in which we now live (Daniel 12:9). This is one of the reasons there is so much interest in these areas right now, but absolutely definitive interpretations simply are not possible because the premise of our understanding are words speaking of future events, the timing of which belong to the Father alone.
Application of healthy principles of Hermeneutics can help us reach solid interpretations of these Scriptures however, which do not seek to force pre-conceived frameworks upon the text.