The Hope of the Rapture

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

“For more than nineteen centuries, Bible-believing Christians have gained much comfort from this passage.  But the relentless attacks of recent years (some, nothing but vicious distortions of facts) have prompted many to question its truth.  This has led to confusion for some, complacency for others, causing both to redirect their affections to ‘things on this earth’ instead of ‘on things above.’”

  • Tim LaHaye, Rapture [under attack]

With having concluded the lighter side of Philosophy, which may get a return visit in the future, I decided to use this space for Tim LaHaye’s book defending the pre-Trib (pre-Tribulation) rapture.  At least for a few weeks on Tuesday morning.

Of course, you could read Tim LaHaye’s book or you could watch this video from Mark Lowry.  Mark Lowry fixes the argument of the pre-Trib, mid-Trib, or post-Trib rapture within the first two and a half minutes of this roughly seven-minute video, most of the rest is on how the Martins, the singing trio, were discovered, and all worth watching.

Now that we have gotten the concept of just changing churches out of the way, LaHaye spends over 200 pages defending the pre-Tribulation rapture and to some folks, Mark Lowry’s suggestion might be easier to understand.

But seriously, as LaHaye says in this early paragraph of his book, there is more to it than Jesus returning to gather us up before the tribulation, or in the middle of the tribulation, or at the end of the tribulation.  Like LaHaye admits, some of the theories are so far from the Biblical record and so farfetched, they simply make no sense.  Thus, I do not want to cover them.  I have highlighted four spots in the book and then I might add 2-3 articles afterwards to compare the three basic differences.

But, I have read a lot lately about “what is heaven like?” and there have been a lot of posts about whether we are already in the tribulation or possibly in the bumps in the road to warn us that we are about to be in the tribulation.  With all that information, you would think that we might know something, but I am still not sure.

The point that LaHaye makes throughout the book is that whoever may be correct in reading the Scriptures, we need to be ready.  I jokingly called a post a few months ago “Packed and Ready to Go.”  I was not joking in being ready if God appeared in the sky.  Since we can take nothing with us, “packing” will not be necessary.  And if, throughout the world, two women are grinding grain, one is taken and the other left behind, I really do not think that we need to have a letter kept at a lawyer’s office marked, “In case of rapture, send this to my children.”

Come on!!  Think that through.  That means that if we had such a letter, it means that we trusted a lawyer that is not going to be taken up in the rapture.  Is that a good idea to trust someone like that?  I know, it is silly to think any lawyer is …  No, if I finished that sentence, it might be accurate, but unkind to lawyers.  It also assumes that our children are not saved.  And if they are not saved, by the time that the “missing person” becomes an “assumed deceased” person, the tribulation will be over and the millennium reign will have started, so by that point, who cares about what we left behind?

But there is more hope in this Scripture above than a simple promise to gather us up, which is miraculous in itself.  But this Scripture states that the resurrection that Jesus Christ had on that first Easter Sunday is the proof that God will fulfill his promise to either gather us up from the earth or raise us from the dead.

In a discussion with friends over a partial rapture…  That meaning that some believers would be taken, and other believers would remain as witnesses for Jesus, etc.  Okay, back to the discussion, I quipped that I might have to do some suffering, but Jesus will take my wife up in the rapture.  She asked, “I am not complaining, but why?”  And I replied, “Because you are wimpy.”  While our friends laughed, my wife said, “With that remark, good luck getting paid Tuesday for the hamburger today.”  (I think we were at a hamburger place.)  That got even more laughter.  For those too young to get that joke, ask your grandparents about the old Popeye cartoons and Popeye’s friend, Wimpy, who never had any cash.  He would ask whenever he was in the cartoon, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.” But on second thought…

But if the rapture was prior to Tuesday, good luck getting your money back.

But as for those who have already passed away, those who died in Christ will be raised again.  This is the hope that is seen at believing-Christian funerals.  Yes, there is that sense of loss.  I have had some people who I have lost, and it took months to not have that impulse to look for their name in the Contacts on the phone and give them a call.  Only to stop myself before pressing the button to call them.  It is really hard to lose someone who keeps you focused on God.  But at some point, we must “man up,” as they say, and become that rock for others.

But getting to the LaHaye quote, he mentions “distorted facts.”  That is an oxymoron.  If the “facts” are slightly distorted, they are not “facts,” they are half-truths.  If the distortion is any worse than that, the person saying it is a liar.  We need to return to a world where “truth” and the “Truth” mean something.

We may be confused or complacent due to the loss of hope regarding misinterpretations of the rapture.  But regardless, losing sight of Jesus and the losing the thought of rising in Glory with Him and switching our gaze to earthly things makes us an ineffective witness for God.  And that is, to some degree, the point of LaHaye saying that we need to be ready.  If we truly love our neighbor, we will want to see those neighbors rising to meet Jesus in the sky along with us.

So, prepare early and often.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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