Ask the Pastor 130
Is there such a thing as a rapture of the Church?
There are arguments, of course, concerning the rapture as to whether there is one and if there is, when does it take place, before the tribulation, at the middle, or at the end of the tribulation? I will answer the question from the perspective of the dispensationalist eschatology. If you would like to read more about it, an excellent book on eschatology is Things to Come by J.D. Pentecost. In that book he discussed all the different views and then showed how this is the correct view from the Scriptures, in a very well documented and researched volume. The Scriptures are clear on this subject, first there will be a rapture as we read, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” The words caught up can just as easily be translated raptured as it is a word which means to convey away suddenly, to transport hastily. We know that it will occur prior to the great tribulation due to the nature of the Church and the nature of the tribulation. The tribulation marks the time in which the Lord God will return to dealing with Israel as His earthly people and is a time of wrath against both Israel and of this rebellious humanity. The nature of the Church begins with the fact that the Church is seen as the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-32) and as being in Christ will not suffer the wrath of God (I John 4:17-19). The tribulation is known as a time of darkness and the Church is of the light and not of the darkness (I Thess. 5:4-5) and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble which is Israel and not the Church (Jeremiah 30:7). The entire 7 years of tribulation are seen as a time of the wrath of God (Revelation 6:17) and as of chapter 4 of the Revelation, the Church is seen in heaven (as per the 24 elders vs 10). To be sure that you are not a part of the tribulation, you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
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