Bible Questions and Answers

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When does the Rapture happen?

The Rapture is not a doctrine found in the Bible.

The rapture theory really began with John Nelson Darby, an Anglican Clergyman, ordained in 1884 in Calary, Ireland. He subsequently became (acc. to Encyclopedia Britannica) “one of the earliest leaders of the Plymouth Brethren (a British free church movement emphasizing biblical prophecy and the Second Coming of Christ), introduced a very different theological perspective, called dispensationalism. First taught to the Brethren in the mid-19th century, dispensationalism maintained that history is divided into distinct periods, or “dispensations,” during which God acts in different ways toward his chosen people. The present period, according to dispensationalism, was one of expectant waiting for the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Dispensationalists believed in an apocalyptic millennialism that foretold the Rapture (the bodily rescue of the chosen by God) and the subsequent cataclysmic events of the Last Days, such as the persecutions by the Antichrist and the Battle of Armageddon.”

“Darby taught that Jesus would effectively return in two stages. First, He would come secretly to “rapture” the church. Millions of believers would suddenly disappear. And then, at some point in the future after that, Jesus Christ would return again in visible glory to judge the living and the dead”. (from the "Simply Put" podcast)

The doctrine arises from Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

And the words of Jesus recorded by Matthew and Luke: Matthew 24:40; Luke 17:34-36

We understand from these scriptures that when Christ returns, he will raise from the dead those who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ and they will be taken, together with those in Christ who are living, to meet him in the air – the atmosphere.

To fill in some background.

Christ at his return will save Israel from the northern invader and establish the kingdom of Israel as the kingdom of God upon the earth.

A new sanctuary and temple will be built and mortal Israel resettled in the land as described Ezekiel 40-48.

Christ will rule over the mortal population of the earth from Jerusalem for 1000 years. Luke 1:32,33

The 1000-year reign is just the beginning. At the end of this time there will be a second resurrection and a final judgment. After this all who live on will possess the divine nature. God will be 'all in all' and will live in and with them forever. 1 Corinthians 15:28

The faithful will reign with Christ for the millennium and beyond. Revelation 20:4; Daniel 7:18; Revelation 11:15

Just prior to the return of Christ there will be great tribulation centred on Jerusalem. Matthew 24:21; Zechariah 14:2-5 Christ with his glorified saints, arrives at Jerusalem.

The tribulation is the third and final overturning of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 21:27

This latter day invasion of Israel is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and Joel 3.

From the above we can say:

  • At the time of the end the saints are to be collected and gathered to Jesus in the atmosphere.
  • Jerusalem will be overrun by a confederacy of nations.
  • Jesus and his glorified saints will save Israel and establish the kingdom of God.

So we might ask will the saints be collected:

  • before the invasion of Israel?
  • during the invasion of Israel?
  • after the invasion of Israel?

The only clue I think that we have to this is given in Revelation 16:13-16

From this we see that the warning of the coming of Christ as a thief is given in the middle of the gathering of the nations to Armageddon. Armageddon would seem to relate to the gathering of the nations against Israel as described in the prophecies I have referred to above. I believe that this means that we will see the beginning of the gathering of the nations against Israel before Christ returns to gather the faithful.

Before that happens the ten kings of western Europe must give their power to a resurrected beast. Revelation 17:12-14

Before an unclean spirit can escape his lips the beast must be reconstructed on his old stamping grounds. This is a work in progress with the EU.

Those who advocate the rapture believe that the faithful are taken to heaven. But the Bible teaches that no man other than Jesus will ascend to heaven. John 3:13

The kingdom of God is to be established on the earth.

God created the earth to be inhabited. Isaiah 45:18

He plans to fill the earth with his glory Numbers 14:21

God’s glory will be in the form of men and women, created originally in his image, glorified with his nature to inhabit the earth forever. 2 Peter 1:4

We see from scripture that there is no need for the faithful to be taken a long time before the final invasion of Israel takes place.

The other false teaching is that of the antichrist being still to come. The antichrist is the Roman Catholic Church that has persecuted the faithful for centuries. The mark of the beast on the forehead and in the right hand signifies assent to the false doctrines of the State-backed Church required during the 1000 years of the 'Holy Roman Empire' in order to buy and sell – whether we view it as preaching or trading. We are not still waiting for the antichrist or the mark of the beast.

I hope you find this helpful.

God bless,