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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Summer 1990, Winter 1992

The Bible Rapture

     Many good folk are confused about the rapture of the Church these days, though the Bible itself is very clear. Jesus said that both the resurrection of life and the resurrection of damnation (Jn. 5:29, cf. with Acts 24:15) would occur together "at the last day" (Jn. 6:39-40, 44, 54;11:24). Since there is no measurable period of time beyond the last day, Jesus statement can only mean that the rapture will take place at the consummation in the end of this world, and not 1,007 years, 1003 & 1/2, or even 1,000 years before the end of time.
   
    Paul says the same thing in I Cor. 15:51-52, 54, where he locates the destruction of the final enemy, death, at the "last trump," which, according to vss. 25-26, marks the end of Christ's mediatorial reign at the consummation of this world. Such agrees with the seventh, or last, "trumpet" in the book of Revelation, also ushering in the time of physical resurrection and universal judgment: "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and should destroy them that destroy the earth" (Rev. 11:18).

    Here, clearly, is the consummation predicated in Matthew 25:31-46 and-Revelation 20:11-15. It is the time of retribution for both saint and sinner alike, marking entrance into the eternal state of life everlasting in the city of God for the one, and unending punishment in the lake of fire for the other.

    The cause for much modern  confusion on the subject of the rapture lies in the preconceptions and presuppositions which most bring into the picture as they attempt to related their understanding of the rapture to the overall context of predicted end-time events. The overall context of predicted end-time events, therefore, is really the crucial matter of dispute. For example, talk of a "mid" tribulation Rapture position, per se, only makes sense to the one who presupposes the existence of a future seven year tribulation time frame with which to start. Once that underlying notion has been given up, however, the "mid" distinction itself becomes a non-starter, a logical misnomer.

    The so-called "rapture question," boils down most fundamentally, then, to what may be termed "the future seven years with which to start" question. Where does the Bible actually say that there is coming a great tribulation time frame that must last for seven years? When you find such a statement in the New Testament, please let me know.

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