What can you tell me about the Doctrine of the Rapture? ( Part 1 of 6 )

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Answers to Bible Questions

(Q) What can you tell me about the Doctrine of the Rapture? ( Part 1 of 6 )

(A) The answer to this question is going to be a 6 part series written by
Robert C. Brock the author of the “Journal of Pauline Dispensationalism.
”This will be a thorough presentation about the Rapture.

Introduction

The doctrine of the Rapture is a wonderful truth of Christianity. It is

vitally related to our future. It brings comfort and joy to our hearts when

we contemplate this exciting truth. This doctrine was revealed ONLY to the

Apostle Paul, THE Apostle to and for the Gentiles (Rom.11:13). It is a

major doctrine of Christianity.

Jesus did not teach about the Rapture during His earthly ministry that is

recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Instead, He revealed the truth of

the Rapture to His Apostle through His heavenly ministry to him, as He

appeared to Paul many times over a period of about 35 years (2 Cor.12:1;

Gal.1:12).

The Rapture is a future event, a special resurrection (Phil.3:11) that

begins the heavenly existence of the Body of Christ in the Fourth Dimension

where our Father God lives. Individual believers, the ones who have died,

are there now, but they are waiting for the Rapture to take place. There is

nothing in Paul’s writings indicating that those who have died and are with

Christ, are doing anything up there. If we can take literally what Peter

wrote in 2 Peter 3:8, “ that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years,

and a thousand years as one day” (Psalm 90:4), then those who are with our

Lord have not been with Him very long. They haven’t had time to do anything.

Besides, believers can’t do anything for the Lord until AFI’ER the Judgment

Seat of Christ takes place. There is also going to be a Presentation cere-

mony of some kind for the Body of Christ (Eph.5:27). Then our Father God

will unveil His plans for the Body of Christ in the eternal state of the

Fourth Dimension.

Unfortunately, the subject of the Rapture is not believed by the majority

of believers who have been saved by the risen Lord Jesus Christ (Acts

16:30-31). I feel sorry for them. It is only a small minority of believers

over the past 2,000 years who have accepted this Biblical truth. Belief in

the Rapture is not necessary for salvation, but it is an indication that

one has gone further into Bible study in his/her Christian experience.

Many, many Bible scholars reject the teaching of the Rapture because of

their theology. Most believers are taught that all the references to the

‘comings’ of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible refer to either His first

coming or to His second coming. And since the Apostle Paul is no different

from the 12 Apostles, the verses for the Rapture are to be understood as

referring to His Second coming to earth. This is the main reason why the

Rapture is regarded as being an unnecessary doctrine and why most believers

don’t accept it. What we are really to look for is the Second coming of

Christ.

This type of theology specializes in spiritualizing the prophetical parts

of the Bible. This spiritualizing method of interpretation has produced at

least two false views concerning the future ‘comings’ of Christ. They are:

1. The Peterist View – that the Rapture AND the Second Coming took place in

70 AD when Jerusalem and its Temple were destroyed by the Roman General, Titus.

2. The Modernist View – that the Second Coming takes place when a person
accepts Christ into his/her life.

(Both views are heresies of the first magnitude).

In the study of Paul’s 13 letters, 60 verses were found that touch on or

describe some aspect of the Rapture. These verses are sprinkled around 12 of

his letters, the short letter to Philemon not having any verses for the

Rapture. You don’t have to agree with me on how many verses there are for

this truth; you might find more verses or less verses in your private study.

The focus is on special words that convey something about our future, words

such as ‘hope’ ‘waiting’ ‘,glory,’ for example. The vocabulary is important.

The Greek text is examined, when necessary.

The Rapture is not based on or associated with Old Testament prophecy.

That is, no Old Testament prophetic passages are being fulfilled today during

this Dispensation of the grace of God. God is not working under Old Testament

guidelines.

The workings of God today are found in Paul’s letters to the Body of

Christ. The Rapture is a part of The Mystery revealed to Paul by the risen

Christ (Rom.16:25; 1 Cor.15:51). God’s activity today is centered on

individuals rather than on nations like it was in the Old Testament. He is

giving the Gentiles another chance to believe His message of salvation – the

Gospel of the grace of God, and be saved (Acts 20:24; 1 Cor.15:1-4). The

three members of the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – are very busy

working in the human race, even though it might not look like it.

This study will begin in Romans and go through Paul’s letters in the order

that we have them in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul preached and taught

the Rapture all through his Christian ministry. He was looking for it to

happen during his lifetime, and we should have the same attitude. I am sure

of one thing: some believers in the Body of Christ will be on earth when the

Rapture does happen. They will be changed instantly (1 Cor.15:51-52) as

they go to meet their Saviour and Head of the Body of Christ in the air

(1 Thess.4:17). I hope that I will be one of them and I know you do, also.

I pray that this study will be a blessing to you and will comfort and

strengthen you in the faith in these last days.

The Bible that is quoted is the New King James Version. This study was a

part of a bigger study on “Unfulfilled Prophecy in Paul’s Letters” that was

published in the Journal of Pauline Dispensationalism, issues 24-35 (1995-

1997).

Again, we will be looking at 60 verses in 12 of Pauls letters.

ROMANS

(1)  Romans 5:2, “through whom also we have access by faith into this grace

in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

This is the first verse in Romans that pertains to the Rapture. It is

the word ‘hope.’ The first two times ‘hope’ is used in Romans has to do

with Abraham (Rom.4:18). The third time it is used is in Rom.5:2 here,

‘in hope of the glory of God.’

Rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God looks to the future when we

will see our Lord and Saviour face to face. He will manifest His body of

glory and we will receive our body of glory at that time. This will take

place at the Rapture of the Body of Christ. God’s glory will be greatly

manifested at that time. This is why the Rapture will take place in the

air, far away from planet earth. The glory of God that is the character-

istic of the spiritual realm of the Fourth Dimension, would be too strong

for our earth and the people living on it (1 Tim.6:16 – (Christ) ‘dwell-

ing in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see’).

We are to be joyful in this hope. This makes for a positive attitude.

Our Lord is called ‘the blessed hope’ in Titus 2:13. Other verses in

Romans that are involved with this theme are Romans 8:17-18;23,25.

(2)  Romans 8:17-18, “and if [since] children, then heirs, heirs of God and

(3)  joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also

be glorified together. (18) For I consider that the sufferings of this

present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be

revealed in us.”

There are two subjects in this passage, one in each verse.

Verse 17 speaks of a special glorification for those who suffer when

ministering the Word of God. Timothy had to be reminded of the ‘sufferings

for the gospel’ that he could experience for the Lord (2 Tim.1:8). Not

many believers will be in this group, but the Apostle Paul will definitely

be in this class. His sufferings for the Lord are found in 2 Corinthians

11:23-28; 12:7-10. This relates to the future after the Rapture. It might

be a part of the Judgment Seat of Christ for the Body of Christ.

Verse 18 speaks of a manifestation of glory that far exceeds all the

sufferings we might go through, even suffering that is not caused by

Christian service. 2 Cor. 4:17 says, “For our light affliction, which is

but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight

of glory.” This is a very comforting verse. This glory will be revealed to us
and in us in God’s domain sometime after the Rapture. TheGreek
preposition EIS can mean both ‘to’ and ‘in.’

(4)  Romans 8:23, “Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the

Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for

the adoption, the redemption of our body.”

This looks forward to the Rapture, when we will receive our new spirit-

ual bodies of glory (Phil.3:21) that will be just like our Lord’s body

that He has now. This can be viewed as the final phase of our salvation in

Christ. This is based on ‘adoption,’ which refers to our placing as a son

in the Body of Christ, a benefit of salvation. I am rejoicing because our

Father God has included our bodies in the plan of salvation (1 Thess.

5: 23). We will have a spiritual body fitted for the spiritual realm.
We will not be ‘bodyless’ (2 Cor.5:1).

(5)  Romans 8:25, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for

it with perseverance.”

This refers back to verse 23, the final phase of our redemption in Christ

at the Rapture. We see here that our ‘hope’ is something tangible, some-

thing that we will definitely experience. We eagerly anticipate this

wonderful event with endurance, with perseverance.

However, as I said earlier in the introduction, most believers in the

Body of Christ do not believe in the Rapture. I have read books by authors

who had believed in the Rapture but eventually rejected it because these

verses are supposed to relate to the Second Coming. It is a shame that they

did not have the same attitude as the Apostle Paul.

(The Rapture completes the ‘earth aspect’ of our salvation).

(6)  Romans 11:25, “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant

of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blind-

ness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles

has come in.”

The latter part of this verse – the fullness of the Gentiles has come in

– refers to the completion of the Body of Christ. Because of the use of the

Greek genitive case for the article, this phrase can also read ‘the fullness

FROM the Gentiles has come in.’ The’ Gentiles’ per se are not the ‘fullness;’

Eph.1:23 states that the Body of Christ IS the fullness. When this full-

ness takes place, that is, when the last person chosen by God to be saved

completes the Body of Christ, then the Rapture will happen, and then God’s

time clock for Israel will begin to count time, as seen in the following

verses, verses 26-27. There is a gap of some years between verses 25 and 26.

In the Greek of verse 25, the verb ‘has come in’ is in the subjunctive mood
of possibility, and can be translated ‘may come in’ or ‘should come in.’

The Rapture was a distinct possibility in Paul’s day. The subjunctive mood

speaks of imminency that is, it can take place at any time. This is true

now as it was then. The subjunctive mood is also used of the Rapture in

1 Cor.11:26 and in Gal.1:4. It is also used in the indicative mood, but

more on that when we come to it.

(7)  Romans 12:12, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing

steadfastly in prayer.”

This is a repeat of Rom.5:2, ‘rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’

This ‘hope’ is the soon return of our ‘Blessed Hope’ corning in the air for

His church, the Body of Christ. Believers are to be rejoicing in this

prophetic event that is exclusively for them.

(8)  Romans 13:11-12, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time

(9)  to awake out of sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we first

believed, [12] The night is far spent, the Day is at hand. Therefore let

us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

‘The Day’ is a reference to the Rapture. It is at hand. ‘At hand’ means

has drawn near. It is the same Greek word used of the Kingdom as being

‘at hand’ (Matt.3:2; 4:17, etc.), with this major difference – Israel HAD TO REPENT
before the Kingdom could be set up by Christ. The Kingdom was only’near to
them, but since Israel did not repent, the offer was withdrawn by God at
Acts 28:26-27 (Isaiah 6:9-10). With us, members of the Body of Christ,
the Rapture is ‘near’ until the Body is completed with the salvation of all
whom God has chosen to be in the Body (Eph. 1:4). In the meantime, we are
to follow the instructions and commands found in the letters of the Apostle Paul.

1 CORINTHIANS

This letter is the first inspired letter Paul wrote to the Corinthian

believers. In it we find that the subject of the Rapture is used as a

deterrent against worldly living. The Corinthian assembly had many, many

problems. The believers acted as carnal, fleshly believers, babes in Christ

instead of mature believers (1 Cor.3:1). Prophecy can cure some of that

attitude.

The chapter with the most information about the Rapture is 1 Cor.15.

Chapter one contains two verses about the Rapture.

(10)  1 Cor.1:7-8, “so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the

(11)  revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, [8] who will also confirm you to the

end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Apostle brings in the subject of the Rapture in order to comfort and

to strengthen the believers in this Assembly and in the Body of Christ

collectively. Remember, the Corinthians were guilty of doing despicable

things after being saved by the Lord. I can well imagine that many would think

that they had lost their salvation because of their gross sins.

Instead of the word ‘revelation’ in verse 7 of the NKJV, I prefer the

meaning of ‘appearance’ (the KJV has ‘ coming’ ). There are three Greek words

used in reference to the Rapture in Paul’s letters concerning the Person

of Christ:

1. APOKALUPSIS, used here, emphasizing the visibility of the Lord’s

return. He will be visible only to the Body of Christ. This is the

only time it is used of the Rapture. It is the principal word used by

Paul when speaking of the ‘appearance’ of the Lord in order to reveal

doctrine for today – in Gal. 1:12; 2 Cor.12:1,7; Eph.3:3; Rom.16:25;

1 Cor.14:6,26 – translated ‘revelation.’

2. PAROUSIA, emphasizing personal presence of an individual, in this

instance, Christ. Used of the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13;

4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess.2:1 – translated ‘coming’ in each verse.

3. EPIPHANEIA, emphasizing glorious manifestation; used of the Rapture in

1 Tim.6:14; 2 Tim.4:1,8; Titus 2:13.

In taking these three Greek words together when describing this coming of

our Lord, we find out that at the Rapture the Person of the risen Lord, Christ

Jesus, will be visible to His own at the glorious manifestation of His

personal presence somewhere in the heavens of our third Dimension. The glory

of God will be visible at this meeting in the air.

A most comforting truth for believers is the doctrine of eternal security.

This is taught in 1 Cor.1:8, ‘who also will make you secure until (the) end’

(literal translation). I like the meaning of ‘secure’ much better than

‘confirm’ of the KJV and NKJV. It is also used this way in 2 Cor.1:21 and in

Col.2:7. We are SECURE in Christ. Nothing can take us out of Christ.

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:39). The phrase
‘to the end’ refers to the end of our life on earth. At death we immediately
cross over into the spiritual realm where our Father God lives (2 Cor.5:8).
The truth of eternal security is not needed in the spiritual realm; it is only
beneficial to us in our life on earth before death.

In verse 8 the phrase Day of our Lord Jesus Christ is a reference to

the Rapture. Verse 7 refers to His appearance and verse 8 tells us when

that will take place, in the DAY of our wonderful Saviour.

It is His Day because then He will be united with the complete Body of

Christ as its Head. The Body is not complete now in a physical sense, for

part of it is in heaven with Him and part of it is on earth, living in

physical bodies, waiting for this event to happen.

The Day of the Lord Jesus is mentioned a number of times in Paul’s letters.

It is found in 1 Cor.1:8; 5:5; 2 Cor.1:14; Phil.1:6,10; 2:16. The Day of

Christ used in 2 Thess.2:2 is better translated as the Day of the Lord,

which is related to Old Testament prophecy for the Nation of Israel. The

Rapture is found in 2 Thess.2:1 instead.

( END OF PART 1 of 6 )

John

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