Sermons

Summary: An explanation of what the Rapture is, and what the Bible says about when it will occur.

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Each time we observe Communion, we read the passage in 1 CORINTHIANS 11 that tells us to eagerly look forward to the return of Christ. But nobody knows when that will be. Today, we will find out what we are supposed to do with that information.

Let me begin by telling you a story of a man who took his dog on a long road trip. At one stop for gas, he let his dog out of the car and he got the gas, paid for it, and drove off – forgetting the dog was out of the car.

What did the dog do when he saw his owner drive away? He went to the door of the gas station and laid down beside it, to wait for his owner. See, he didn’t understand where his owner had gone, and he had no idea when his owner would return, but he knew for a fact that his owner would return to get him. And that enabled the dog to wait patiently and faithfully for his beloved owner’s return.

This illustration is an excellent picture of our topic this morning, as we talk about End Time prophecies, specifically, the rapture of the church, Some of you are very familiar with these topics, but some of you may not be.

Many people either don’t understand what the Bible says about the Rapture, or are afraid of the things that they have heard. I’m hoping that I will be able to answer some of the questions you may have about what the Bible teaches about what is to come.

1. AN EXPLANATION OF THE RAPTURE

The first question that we are going to tackle this morning is: “What is the rapture?” The “rapture” of the church is probably one of the most compelling prophetic events in the Bible. And yet, some people claim that it is not taught in the Bible because you never actually find the word “rapture” in scripture.

This is a very poor argument, however. There are actually several words not found in the Bible that describe Christian doctrines which no one would argue are not taught in the Bible. For example, the word “Trinity” is never actual found in the text of the Holy Word, but very few people will tell you that the concept of the trinity or the 3-fold Godhead of Father, Son, and Spirit is not taught in the Bible.

The word homosexual is not found in the Bible, but the Bible clearly teaches that a man is forbidden to lie with another man as he lies with a woman. The meaning behind that teaching is pretty clear. In fact the Bible is often made simple enough that even fools can understand it. Just because the words trinity or homosexual don’t appear in the text, doesn’t mean the Bible is silent about these topics.

Likewise, the word rapture is not found in the actual text of the Bible. But that doesn’t mean that Scripture is silent about this subject. It actually describes the future event quite clearly.

It is taught in 1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18, where the apostle Paul provides us with most of the available details. Let’s read this passage:

‘But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [died], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.


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Andrew Zoll

commented on Mar 4, 2017

I think you do a disservice to your congregation to characterize objections to the rapture as being as simple-minded as only that the word "rapture" is not used in the Bible. That's a straw man that is of no benefit to anyone and only serves to give the one who makes the argument a sense of unearned intellectual superiority.

Bruce Ball

commented on Mar 4, 2017

The word "trinity" is also missing from the bible. Is that a straw man, too?

Andrew Zoll

commented on Mar 4, 2017

You failed to understand what I said. The only claim of those who argue against the rapture that you made was that the word "rapture" is not in the Bible. While I agree that the word "rapture" is not in the Bible, I would hardly call that an argument that we make against it. Of course we accept the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. No studied Amillennialist makes this argument. No studied anti-rapturist makes this syllogism: A: Rapturists claim that the church will be raptured out of worldwide suffering. B: The word "rapture" is not found in the Bible. C: Therefore, the rapture cannot be true. Of course it's a ridiculous argument, and again, no one makes it. Because you failed to fully flesh out the position and actual arguments that people make against the rapture, you have created a straw man, or a false argument. A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent. Basically, it is the logical equivalent of a soldier stuffing a suit of armor full of straw, propping it up, and slashing it to pieces with his sword, then claiming he's a great warrior because he destroyed the enemy. If you had done your research, you would have known that amillennialists do not believe that this is a rapture passage because the word πειρασμός (peirasmos) is used nowhere else in Scripture to refer to worldwide suffering of any kind of the Church, and is far more often translated "temptation." Additionally, in the phrase "I will keep you from the hour of trial," Jesus uses the phrase τηρήσω σε ἐκ (tērēsō se ek), and conveniently, the only other time in Scripture that this construction is used is within the same author (John) in John 17:15,. In this passage, Jesus prays, "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one," τηρήσῃς αὐτοὺς ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ (tērēsēs autous ek tou ponērou). This (John 17:15) is a phrase that no scholars take to refer to rapture, and so it makes little sense to force that meaning into this construction in Revelation 3:10. It makes far more sense to agree with the rest of Scripture and it's use of the word πειρασμός (peirasmos) and say that Jesus will deliver us from temptation, unlike those of the world, who give into any temptation, seeking, but never finding, partaking, but never being filled. These are, of course, not the only problems with the rapture as a system, but these are the two common ones that arise out of this passage. My purpose for the original critique was to encourage you to dig deeper and give your people more to chew on than an argument that no one makes as proof of your position. I'm not claiming to have all the answers, but when I disagree with someone on how a passage is interpreted, I go out of my way to do my homework so I don't mischaracterize or create a caricature of their argument.

Andrew Zoll

commented on Mar 4, 2017

I apologize for the huge block of text. I went out of my way to format my response logically and neatly, and this was unfortunately all undone by the comments system. In any case, have a great day! If you feel compelled to respond, I'm always down for a good rapture discussion, but if not, blessings on you! Sola Scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia, Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria -Andrew C. Zoll

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