What can you tell me about the Doctrine of the Rapture? ( Part 5 of 6 )

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Answers to Bible Questions

(Q)   What can you tell me about the Doctrine of the Rapture? ( Part 5 of 6 )

 

Written by Robert C. Brock 

(A)  2 THESSALONIANS

The next passage of Scripture on prophecy contains 12 verses, but only 5
verses are related to the Rapture. The number will be put with each verse.

2 Thess. 2:1-3,6,7, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ
and our gathering together to Him, we ask you [2] not to be soon
shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if
from us, as though the day of Christ had come. [ 3] Let no one deceive you
by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first,
and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,  [6] And now you
know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. [7] For
the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains
will do so until He is taken out of the way.”

This section of Scripture is the longest prophetic portion in Paul’s letters
to the Body of Christ. It concerns the Rapture and those events which will
take place AFTERWARD on earth in relation to the Nation of Israel. There is a
tremendous amount of confusion among Biblical scholars in regards to the events
of this passage of Scripture, viewpoints that go from one extreme to the other.
There is information here about the Tribulation Period that is found nowhere
else in the Bible. But the 5 verses pertaining to the Rapture is what concerns
us now.

(50) Verse 1. This verse begins with the Rapture of the Church, the Body of
 Christ. The Greek word for ‘coming’ is PAROUSIA, which is also used in
1 Thess.2:19; 3:13; 4:15, and in 5:23. These two letters to the Thessalon-
ians are the only letters of Paul where PAROUSIA is used for the Rapture –
five times in all.

However, PAROUSIA is also used of the Second Corning of Christ in this
chapter, in verse 8, ”  the brightness of His coming,” and is also used
of the antichrist in verse 9, “the coming of the lawless one.” So then,
there are three different ‘comings’ in this passage: (1) the Rapture in
verse 1; (2) the Second Coming in verse 8; ( 3) the coming of antichrist
in verse 9.

The Rapture is expressed by the two phrases ‘the coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ’ and ‘our gathering together to Him. ‘ The gathering together
of the Body of Christ is described in 1 Thess.4:16-17, a gathering that
He has called by His shout and the trumpet. This gathering or meeting
will take place in the air, somewhere in space, far away from earth, out
of the way of man-made space craft and other man-made objects floating
around in our atmosphere.

(51) Verse 2. We read about the believers in Thessalonica having become very
 agitated over the truth of the coming of their Lord. They were hearing
 two different things about His coming.

After Paul had to leave them (Acts 17:1-10), others had emphasized a
contradictory teaching about the Lord’s coming, making Paul look like a
false teacher. They were teaching that the Day of the Lord had already
come, and because of all the persecutions and tribulations and trials the
Thessalonian believers were going through, they were told that they were
actually going through the Tribulation Period. (The early church did
indeed endure much suffering and hardship during the first century). There
is even an allusion to another letter by Paul teaching that same truth,
which of course was a false accusation.

Some Greek manuscripts have ‘the Day of Christ’ while other Greek
manuscripts have ‘the Day of the Lord.’ The wording of verse 3 and the
context of the whole passage indicates that the Day of the Lord is what we
are to understand, seeing how it is linked with Old Testament prophecy
through the prophet Daniel.

Both letters to the Thessalonian believers deal with the Rapture and the
Day of the Lord. There is an important sequence of events in both letters:
the truth of the Rapture comes BEFORE the truth of the Day of the Lord:
(1 Thess.4:13-17 – Rapture; 1 Thess.5:2 – Day of the Lord)
(2 Thess.2:1 – Rapture; 2 Thess.2:2 – Day of the Lord).
There is no need to confuse these two subjects which are so different from
each other.

(52) Verse 3. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians in not following the teachings
 of others; to not being totally deceived by the false teaching that became
 prominent after he left them. Doctrine is not based on feelings; doctrine
 is based on facts. Their sufferings were no proof that they were in the
 Tribulation Period.

‘Falling away’ is from the Greek noun APOSTASIA, ‘a defection, revolt,
departure. ‘ It is used twice in the New Testament (Acts 21:21; 2 Thess.
2: 3). This noun is usually transliterated into English as ‘apostasy’ by
the opponents of the rapture truth. This ·is disturbing because translit-
eration is not the way to find out what a word means. The meaning of
‘departure’ best fits the context. The verb form APHISTEMI means ‘to lead
away, desert, depart, fall away.’ Of the 15 times it is used in the New
Testament, the KJV translated it ‘depart’ 11 times. It is only logical
that the noun be translated like the verb – depart, departure. Besides
this, there is no idea in 2 Thess”2:3 of a ‘revolt’ or a ‘defection’ from
those in authority, which meanings non-rapturists used to try to refute
the teaching of the Rapture.

This ‘departure’ of the Body of Christ from earth is to take place first,
and then God’s Kingdom program of unfulfilled prophecy
centered in Israel
will take center stage.

It is important to know that the man of sin, the son of perdition, will
not be revealed until AFI’ER the Rapture. This man is none other than the
antichrist. It is difficult to say that he is alive now. Since he is going
to pretend to be the real Messiah, he might be revealed at the age of 30
years (compare Luke 3:23). If the Rapture occurs in the next few years,
then antichrist might be on earth now. But this is only guessing, and not
to be taken seriously. After all, the Rapture might not happen for 100
years. (‘disappearance’ is another meaning of APOSTASIA – Liddell & Scott’s Greek Lexicon).

(53) Verses 6 and 7.  During his stay in Thessalonica, he had told the saints
(54) about a restraining power that now keeps the antichrist from being publicly
 manifested. This is something NEW, that God is keeping Old Testament
 prophecy from being fulfilled during this Dispensation of grace. OUr
 Father God is hindering and restraining Satanic forces until the Body of
 Christ is made complete by the preaching of the Gospel of the grace of God.

What is God using as the restrainer? There have been many opinions about
what is hindering the revealing of the antichrist. Some have thought that
it was the Roman Empire, various popes of the Roman catholic Church, Satan,
human government, the Holy Spirit, the Body of Christ, and the new message
of the Mystery revealed to the Apostle Paul.           

There is one advantage the Thessalonians had over us – they were taught
by the Apostle and they KNEW who or what the restrainer is. We do not
know exactly, but try to understand the Greek text of verses 6 and 7, in
order to come to a Scriptural conclusion.

In verse 6 the word ‘restraining’ is a neuter participle with the
neuter article, translated ‘the one restraining.’ In verse 7 this SAME
GREEK WORD is a masculine participle with the masculine article, trans-
lated the same way, ‘the one restraining.’ The’ he’ who is taken out of
the way (verse 7) is 3rd person singular of the Greek verb GINOMAI, to
be,’ translated ‘he be’ or ‘it be,’ depending on whether it is a person
or a thing. The NKJV has the pronoun ‘he’ capitalized, making it refer
to Deity, which in this case is the Holy Spirit (The New Scofield Study
Bible, New King James Version, page 1460, note on 2:3; 1989 Edition).
What is all this supposed to tell us?

Because of the use of both the neuter and masculine gender for ‘the
one restraining,’ the two together can refer to the Holy Spirit AND the
Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit resides in the Body of Christ.
Our
bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.6:19). The Greek word
PNEUMA, ‘spirit,’ is a neuter noun. Verse 6 then, can refer to the Holy
Spirit as the One Who is restraining. In addition, the Body of Christ is
viewed as a ‘one new man’ in Eph. 2:15, a masculine designation. Verse 7
then, can refer to the Body of Christ. The TWO TOGETHER, along with the
message that members of the Body of Christ are to preach to the lost, form
the restraining power that keeps the man of sin – the antichrist – from
being made known to mankind before his time.

Now, after the hindering work of restraint is finished, the restrainer
will be taken out from the earth at the Rapture. The only party that
qualifies for this is the Body of Christ (1 Thess. 4:17). The Holy Spirit
is left on earth to continue His work under Israel’s Kingdom program.

After this lengthy study, two definite conclusions can be made from the
evidence presented here. There are two separate acts in verses 6 and 7:

1.RESTRAINT on the part of the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ using
the God-given message revealed to the Apostle Paul by the RISEN Christ
– the Revelation of the Mystery (Rom. 16:25);

2.being TAKEN our, referring to the Body of Christ and the Divine message
it is to preach and teach. The Holy Spirit remains behind on earth for
His ministry to the Nation of Israel under God’s Kingdom program for
Israel and the world according to the Abraharnic Covenant.

1 TIMOTHY

(55) 1 Timothy 6:14-15, “that you keep this commandment without spot, blame-
(56) less until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, [15] which He will manifest
 in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of
 kings and Lord of lords.”

 This portion of Scripture deals with the Rapture of the Body of Christ.
 The last half of verse 14 can also be translated ‘until the glorious
 manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

 The Greek noun for ‘glorious manifestation’ is EPIPHANEIA, ‘appearing,
 appearance, manifestation, glorious manifestation;’ used 6 times in the New
 Testament (2 Thess. 2:8-the brightness of His coming; 1 Tim. 6:14-until the
appearing of our Lord; 2 Tim.1:10-by the appearing of our Saviour; 2 Tim.4:1-
at His appearing; 2 Tim.4:8-also that love His appearing; Titus 2:13-the
glorious appearing of the great God).

FOUR of these verses relate to His appearing in the AIR for the Body of Christ
(1 Thess.4:17). One verse, 2 Thess. 2: 8, refers to the Second Coming of Christ
to earth to take care of the antichrist, and 2 Tim.1:10 involves the Lord’s
appearing to Paul in order to give him Divine revelation.

Covenant Theology, which doesn’t believe in the Rapture, places all six verses
with either the First or Second Coming of Christ. They have no other choices.

Verse 15 furnishes us with the ‘time’ situation that has puzzled so many of
God’s Bible teachers in these last days. The word ‘which’ in verse 15 refers
back to ‘glorious manifestation’ or ‘appearing’ of verse 14. This’ appearing’
will happen in ‘HIS OWN TIMES,’ referring to God’s own times, indicating that
believers can not know the exact time or year when the Rapture will take place.
Further information given here shows that the POWER of the Lord Jesus will be
revealed at this time.

In the Greek ‘in His own times’ is KAIROIS IDIOIS, a masculine dative plural
form; used only 3 times in the New Testament (1 Tim.2:6; 6:15; Titus 1: 3).
This phrase is used exclusively of this Age of grace. Titus 1:3 refers to the
Mystery revealed to Paul at God’s proper time; 1 Tim. 2:6 is similar to Titus
1:3, in that our Lord is seen as a mediator between God and men and .as a ransom
for all, which Paul proclaimed at God’s proper time; and 1 Tim. 6:15 indicating
that the TIME of the Rapture will take place AT God’s proper time and place,
not according to our own foolish predictions.

However, we need to be happy with the thought that ONLY THE GODHEAD KNOWS
 WHEN THE RAPTURE WILL HAPPEN! When the Body of Christ is completed, THEN the
 Rapture will occur, and only our Father God knows the time of that event.

There are no ‘signs’ preceding the Rapture; NO Old Testament prophecies
need to be fulfilled first. There is no doubt that Paul taught the FACT of the
Rapture, but the very exact time as indicated by day, month, and year was not
revealed to him or to anyone else. The phrase ‘the last days’ of 2 Timothy 3:1
and the phrase ‘the latter times’ of 1 Timothy 4:1 are all that we can go by,
and this should be enough. This should keep believers from setting ‘dates’ as
to when our Lord comes, and from putting the Rapture into the book of Revelation.

The word ‘Potentate’ when used of the Lord, refers to His sovereign authority
and power over creation and time. It is used 3 times in the New Testament (Luke
1:52-mighty; Acts 8:27-of great authority; 1 Tim. 6:15-Potentate).

First Timothy is the only letter by Paul which mentions the Kingship of Christ,
twice (1 Tim.1:17; 6:15). He recognized the authority of Christ as the King of
kings and Lord of lords. This is a definite FACT of Scripture. He
did not
state that Christ Jesus is the King of the Church or that Christ Jesus is my

King, which is so prevalent today. That is false teaching which has found its
way into Christianity through Judaism. To use this false concept as a practical
application for Christian living is totally unscriptural.

2 TIMOTHY

(57) 2 Tim. 4:1, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom.”

The choice of words makes this a difficult verse to understand. The key
words are ‘judge,’ ‘kingdom,’ and ‘appearing.’ Most interpretations have this
verse referring to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, but I believe
there is a better way to understand what Paul wrote here. For this verse is
related only to the Body of Christ. Let’s take the three words in a logical
sequence:

1.His appearing is a glorious manifestation (same Greek word as in #55
above) of the Lord when He comes for His Church, the Body of Christ. This
is the Rapture. This takes place first.

2.The judging by the Lord Jesus will be done at the Judgment Seat of Christ,
which is only for the Body of Christ. The ‘living’ and the ‘dead’ is a
repeat of 1 Thess.4:16-17, ‘the dead in Christ will rise first, the
living ones will be caught away. In view of this coming of Christ,
Timothy was commanded to preach the Word at all times. This is also
addressed to us because we belong to the same church Paul and Timothy
belong to, the Body of Christ.

3.‘His Kingdom’ is a reference to the DOMAIN or abode of God that has always
been in existence. ‘Kingdom’ is not the best word to use when referring
to the spiritual realm of the Fourth Dimension. In the following verses
where ‘kingdom’ is used, the meaning of ‘Domain’ fits in very well –
2 Tim.4:18-heavenly Domain; Eph.5:5-the Domain of Christ and of God,
are two examples of this. Colossians 1:13, 4:11, Rom.14:17, and 1 Thess.
2:12 are also teaching this truth concerning this spiritual realm.

( END OF PART 5 OF 6 )

John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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