Wednesday, August 9, 2017

When Does the "Rapture" Happen?

I wrote this as an email with a friend who holds the pre-tribulation rapture view. Up until a couple of years ago I didn't hold a rapture view. I was "pan" in my view. I believed that everything would pan out in the end. Two years ago my men's group study went through Revelation. I was fascinated that there was no mention of the rapture there. So I began to study more and came to the conclusion that the "rapture," or the "catching up" of the saints, should not be a separated event from Jesus' second, and final, coming.

Today I finished Daniel. I know that some people read the pre-tribulation rapture into Daniel. Here is the email unedited (except for some personal stuff).

Daniel 11:2-35 pretty obviously presents historical events from Daniel's time up until Antiochus IV Epiphanes (and I believe Nebuchadnezzar's dream in chapter 2 and Daniel's visions in chapters 7-10 all speak of this same period). History matches with what is revealed in all of these chapters. However, at the end of Daniel 11 verse 36 there seems to be a switch that takes place. The Angel goes from speaking about Antiochus IV Epiphanes to some unknown king. So I would agree with scholars that 11:36-12:4 is concerning the endtimes and Revelation certainly fills in the gaps there.

Okay, so here is where I see support of the rapture happening when Jesus comes back for the last and final time. Chapter 12 is the end of history and the beginning of eternity. It is recorded "There will be a time of distress such as had not happened from the beginning of nations until then." Obviously the great tribulation. "But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered." I see a lot of people on the web claiming that this refers to Christians. However, Daniel is very concerned about HIS people. God reveals what he does in chapters 11 and 12 because of Daniels concern. And then you have this statement in 12:1 "But at that time YOUR people...will be delivered." So I can't buy that that verse 1c is a reference to Christians being delivered. However, verses 2 and 3 would seem to imply that the resurrection being spoken of here will be the final resurrection which of course includes Christians. The implication. Final deliverance for Israel comes at the same time as the resurrection for all God's people.

Some can make an argument about the phrase "But at that time" saying that it implies at the beginning of the "time of distress." However, I see a problem with this interpretation and it is based on translation. This phrase is a translation of one Hebrew word. The word is hiy and is a pronoun. Depending on context it can be translated that, him/her, same, this, he/she, which, who, etc... What this means is the word "that" cannot be used as an preposition (As in English. Actually, in English "that" can be used as an article, conjunction, pronoun, adverb, preposition...) It does not act as preposition to show a fixed position (first, during, after) in time. It simply means "that time" similar to the phrase "his book" or "which rock."

So in order to find the fixed position in time one must line what is revealed in Daniel up with other scriptures such as 2 Thessalonians 2.

Paul is of course is speaking to the concern of Christians about the being gathered to him (which many take as meaning rapture because the concern seems to stem from Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians where of course he speaks about being "caught up"*). Paul clearly explains in verse 3 "Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship..." (which seems to be a reference to Daniel 11:36-39). Paul further explains " in verse 8 "And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of HIS COMING." ("His coming" is the English translation of the Greek word parousia and means "presence" referring to a royal visit. It is used earlier of Jesus in verses 1 and 8 and therefore cannot refer to the lawless one).

Paul says all of this must happen before the gathering of God's people can occur.

It seems pretty clear to me that the deliverance of Israel in Daniel, and the resurrection of God's people, which includes we Christians, will occur at the same time which is at the end of time when evil is defeated once and for all. God's people will be resurrected and we will be gathered together and caught up in the air to meet our Lord and Savior. At the same time, he will not even need to set foot on the earth to defeat Satan. His mere appearance (epiphaneia "brightness," "radiance," "splendor," "glory") will vanquish the enemy.

* What did Paul reveal in his first letter to the Thessalonians? In summary, the way the passage reads cannot refer to a secret rapture but refers to the final coming of Jesus. "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first (Resurrection in Daniel 12). Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." (1 Thess 4:16-17).

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