What is the meaning of the rapture in the context of 1&2 Thessalonians?

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The following are biblical evidences for a Pretribulational Rapture: The pillars of Pretribulationism The foundation of Pretribulationism has four elements: Consistent literal interpretation The literal method of interpretation attempts to explain the original sense of the writer according to the normal usages of words and language. The literal method interprets all of the Bible in a normal and plain way, all the time understanding that the Bible, at times, uses symbols, figures of speech and types. Distinction between Israel and the Church The more one recognizes the biblical distinction between Israel and the church, the clearer one will be able to see God's distinct plan for each group.

According to Thomas Ice, "If Israel and the church are not distinguished, then there is no basis for seeing a future for Israel or for the church as a new and unique people of God. If Israel and the church are merged into a single program, then the Old Testament promises for Israel will never be fulfilled and are usually seen by replacement theologians as spiritually fulfilled by the church. The merging of Israel's destiny into the church not only makes into one what the Scriptures understand as two, but it also removes a need for future restoration of God's original elect people in order to fulfill literally His promise that they will one day be the head and not the tail Deuteronomy The more that believers see a distinct plan for Israel and a distinct plan for the church, the more they realize that when the New Testament speaks to the church it is describing a separate destiny and hope for her.

The church becomes more distinct in the plan of God. Israel's future includes the seven-year tribulation, and then shortly before Christ's return to Jerusalem she will be converted to Jesus as her Messiah. On the other hand, the distinct hope for the church is Christ's any-moment return.


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Thus, a distinction between Israel and the church, as taught in the Bible, provides a basis of support for the pretribulational rapture. Those who merge the two programs cannot logically support the biblical arguments for pretribulationism. Futurism Pretribulationism takes a futuristic interpretation of Daniel and the book of Revelation.

The Rapture in 1 & 2 Thessalonians - The Herald of Hope

Daniel gives the seven-year chronological framework of the Tribulation while Revelation details the judgments that make up this period. Futurism sees prophecy as being fulfilled in the future, namely with the Tribulation period, the Second Coming of Christ to earth, and the Millennial Kingdom. Futurism is opposed to preterism, which sees prophecy as already being fulfilled in the past, predominately in A.

Futurism is also opposed to historicism which sees prophecy being fulfilled in the current Church Age. Premillennialism At the end of the seven year Tribulation period, Jesus Christ will return to earth in power and glory to set up an earthly Kingdom from Jerusalem that will last for a literal one thousand years see Rev. Proper methodology for addressing the rapture issue What is the proper method for addressing this issue of the timing of the Rapture?

Examine the Rapture and Second Coming passages Go first to the portions of Scripture that speak directly about the Rapture and the return of the Lord to earth.

1 and 2 Thessalonians

Study John ; 1 Corinthians ; and 1 Thessalonians for the Rapture. Examine implications of conclusions Proper methodology does not stop with an examination of the primary texts addressing an issue. As John Feinberg says, "While one should begin with passages that speak directly about the doctrine under consideration, one must also pay attention to the implications of the doctrine. This is especially important if, as in the case of the rapture, the passages about the rapture and return of the Lord do not determine the question of the rapture's timing in relation to the time of the Tribulation.

Implications and relations of doctrines to one another are crucial. If one's position on a given theological issue is correct, it will fit with other known theological and biblical truths rather than contradict them. John S. Although study should begin with passages that speak directly to the topic at hand, both are equally important. It is surely no victory to uphold one's views on the timing of the rapture at the expense of denying what God's Word says, for example, about the relation of the church to God's judgmental wrath.

Thus, no one verse tells us that the Rapture will be pretribulational or midtribulational or posttribulational for that matter. Does this mean that the doctrine of pretribulationism is unbiblical? Not necessarily. Many important biblical doctrines are not given to us directly in one verse. Some doctrines are based on a harmonization of multiple passages.

For example, no one verse explains the doctrine of the Trinity or that Jesus Christ is the God-man.

The Rapture: Why Pre-Trib And What That Does - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - Jon Courson

Yet a harmonization of passages shows these doctrines to be biblical. Likewise a harmonization of biblical texts shows the pretribulational rapture view to be biblical. The following are the biblical evidences: God has promised the Church deliverance from divine wrath 1 Thess.

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It is best to take this deliverance as a physical removal Rapture from this time of divine wrath. Why does this wrath refer to the Tribulation? First, the context of 1 and 2 Thessalonians deals with the Day of the Lord and the judgment of God that precedes the coming of Christ. Second, the text states that it is a future wrath "wrath to come". Third, it is a wrath one can be rescued from by the return of Christ. Thus, The wrath referred to then is the wrath of the Tribulation period and not God's eternal wrath in general.

The immediate context is the wrath of the Day of the Lord Plus, this must be the same wrath as 1 Thess. The whole seven year Tribulation period is a time of God's divine wrath so the protection promised must be for the whole seven years. Some have tried to say that divine wrath does not characterize the whole seven year Tribulation period. They say that the early judgments the seals of the tribulation are the wrath of man and Satan. The following points, however, show that the whole Tribulation period is a time of divine wrath. Jesus is the One who directly opens all the Tribulation judgments including the seal judgments which begin the Tribulation period.

In Revelation 4 and 5 Jesus is the One found worthy to open the seals which He begins to open in The opening of the seals by Christ indicates that the seal judgments are divine wrath. The seal judgments which open the Tribulation are consistent with divine wrath "The judgments of these four seals include the sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts, frequently used in Scripture as the expressions of divine wrath. Indeed, they are all included and named when God calls His 'four severe judgments upon Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague' Ezek.

As early as the sixth seal, unbelievers declare that God's wrath "has come" Rev. Unbelievers recognize that all six seals that have happened so far are the direct wrath of God. It is the passage about saints being caught up into the air to meet the Lord. Hiebert and Hoekema, to use just one example, are going to have differing understandings of the Tribulation [cf.

The Bible and the Future , ]. Thus the timing of the rapture has to be discerned by relating the passage to other Scriptural passages. When it comes to this passage there seem to be two major arguments in favor of a post-tribulation view, one internal to the passage and one external. This points toward a rapture in which the saints immediately return to earth with Christ after having been caught up to meet him in the air though it should be noted that Beale and Weima, in their commentaries, take the clouds and the snatching up to be apocalyptic imagery rather than an indication of any actual movement.

It has subsequently been adopted by a number of commentaries.

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In this case, it is not a delegation that goes out to meet Christ; all those in Christ meet him. Nor do they go out to meet him; they are caught up to meet him. For further discussion, see here.

1 and 2 Thessalonians

More impressive, in my opinion, for the post-tribulation position are the parallels seem to exist between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4. On a pre-tribulation view, Matthew 24 deals primarily with the Second Coming proper whereas 1 Thessalonians 4 deals with a previous rapture. The post-tribulation position is able to identify these two passages with the same event.

Nonetheless, the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 are not as impressive as they appear at first glance. Points 1, 2, and 6 would, in the nature of the case, be the same at the rapture and at the second coming, if these two events are distinguished. Point 4 is a more exact point of comparison, but if one, for other reasons, sees the events as distinct there is nothing to prevent a trumpet sound at both.

Points 3 and 5 are more ambivalent. With regard to point 3, the Thessalonians passage merely mentions the voice of an archangel. The accompaniment by angels is only mentioned in Matthew. With regard to point 5, the Thessalonians passage has the saints caught up to meet Christ in the air.

Matthew has the angels collect the elect from the four winds. How much more so when it comes to the end of the whole world? First Thessalonians provides Christians with the clearest biblical passage on the coming rapture of believers, an event that will inaugurate the seven-year tribulation. At the rapture, Christ will return for His people. The dead in Christ shall rise first, while those still living will follow close behind. All believers will meet Jesus in the air to begin an eternity spent with the Lord 1 Thessalonians — Impressed by the faithfulness of the Thessalonians in the face of persecution, Paul wrote to encourage the Christians in that community with the goal that they would continue to grow in godliness.

Paul knew that the people had been exposed to errant teaching from those in opposition to the way of Jesus Christ and the grace of God. And Paul also understood that unless the young church continued to mature in its faith, the danger would only increase over time. With that in mind, Paul taught the people that any spiritual growth would ultimately be motivated by their hope in the ultimate return of Jesus Christ. Do you ever feel as though your Christian faith has grown stale, that you are withering on the vine when you would rather be flourishing in His service?


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