Rapture: A Background for Consideration (Compiled by CM)
I have taken the liberty to compile the points to give contexts to the subject at hand aiding the conversation. This way we won't be going in circles-talking pass one another. The concept of the rapture is popular in evangelical circles. Supporters and promoters of this view understand Christ’s coming as a secret to rapture the church, after which the earth undergoes a seven-year tribulation period followed by Christ returning with the church in glory and judgment.
- Premillennial dispensationalism was popularized by John Nelson Darby, and in the early years of his ministry (late 1870’s), he and others went to great lengths to distinguish dispensationalism from the historicist prophecies of the Second Great Awakening (See Weber in Sources below).
- Darby was the famous organizer and promoter of the Plymouth Brethren Movement. He never claimed to have originated the pretribulation rapture theory. According to MacPherson, modern pretribulation rapture theory was originated from a private revelation of Margaret MacDonald, a young Scottish woman (15 yrs old), in the early part of 1830.
- The distinguishing FEATURES OF DISPENSATIONALISM, as compared to other forms of evangelism are:
-- "A literal interpretation of Biblical prophecy".
-- A theological "separation of the conceptual categories of the Church and Israel".
- a. The Church signifies Christians (or “heavenly people”).
- b. Israel refers to Jews (or “earthly people”).
- By separating Israel from the Church, dispensationalists claimed that during the end times God would take His Church people bodily to heaven so that He might focus all his attention on His earthly people who had previously rejected His son and His salvation.
In the 20th century, this became one of the most widely recognized theologies of dispensationalism: that of the Rapture by emphasizing biblical literalism and infallibility of Scriptures.
According to premillennial dispensationalist belief, the Rapture, when true Christians will be “caught up” (see 1 Thess. 4:17) and taken to Heaven, will be the first sign that the Second Coming has begun. Let's be clear the word “Rapture” is not found in the King James translation. The modern expression “Rapture” has been invented to explain the overall teaching and the term suits the subject well. The basic tenets of the doctrine are simple. It purports that Christ will come back to this earth in two phases:
- He will first return secretly to rapture His church away from this world so that they might escape the Great Tribulation to occur at the end of the age.
- Christ then returns in a visible advent to dispense His wrath on the world’s nations. This is the general teaching of the doctrine of the Rapture.
Some think the time lapse between the two phases will be 3 ½ years, others say 7 years. Some feel that the Rapture of the ekklesia (Church) occurs before the Tribulation, others about mid-way through. Many suggest that the saints of God will be taken to heaven for protection, while others suggest a geographical area on this earth. This is completely contrary to biblical teachings. I don't agree with the dispensationalist belief of the Rapture. What have you to say about this? CM
-- Weber, Timothy, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming: American Premillennialism, 1875-1925. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 1979.
-- Gibson, The Meaning and Chronology of the Trumpets of Revelation 2:3-4
-- John F. Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies: 37 Crucial Prophecies That Affect You Today (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991).
-- MacPherson, Dave. The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin: The Recent Discovery of a Well-Known Theory's Beginning-and Its Incredible Cover-up! Kansas City, Mo.: Heart of America Bible Society, 1973. pg 101.
--- . The Great Rapture Hoax (Fletcher, NC: New Puritan Library, 1983), 47-53.
-- See Dr. Martin’s articles “The Place of Safety” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p971116.htm and “Personal Safety During End-Time Prophecy” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p991123.htm. DWS