Categories: The Rapture of the Church Date: Feb 9, 2008 Title: The Rapture of the Church, fact or fiction? #3
This article is the third one in the series, dealing with the Biblical Truth, the Rapture of the Church - written by Pekka Sartola in his recent work, "Millennium".
Will the Church be in the Wrath to come?
So will the Church then be caught up. In a future moment of time, millions of believers alive will disappear from the Earth. The question of the timing of it divides the scholars mainly in three different groups, and needless to say, all of them are without question having the right view. Of these schools, three different terms have been used, where the common factor is the word Tribulation, agony, trouble, and it means the entire seven-year period of God's wrath. The prefixes attached to it, pre – mid -post, on their part describe the schools, to which the scholars place the Rapture: pre – before the Tribulation, mid- in the midst of it, midweek, and post – after the Tribulation. Thus so, the Pre-Tribulation comprehends the Rapture to happen before the wrath of God hits the world, i.e. before that seven-year period. Other beliefs exist, though. One school sees it so, that the Rapture takes place only after the Millennium; other in turn believe, that the Apostle Paul has misunderstood the whole thing completely and thus erred in his construction. However, let any man believe what he wills, but the Rapture before the Tribulation is a solid fact chrystal clear to the author of this book, so let us then see, what the Bible speaks about the issue. Will the then existing Church alive be in the Tribulation, or not?
The answer to that said question helps us also to find out the explanations to many other claims we advance. If the Church won't have to go through the Tribulation, the entire seven-year period of it or only, let's say half of it, then it means it just has to be somewhere else than on the Earth.1.Thess. 1:10 "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."
1.Thess. 5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation (Greek: soterias) by our Lord Jesus Christ,"
The word used in here, in relation to salvation and saving, soterias, means first of all the salvation from the power of sin to eternal fellowship with God, but it can also be translated and understood to mean physical salvation and preservation out of something. Which one meets the context? We announce the latter, for the entire passage of Paul in 1 Thess. 5:1-11 deals distinctly with the different, physical destinies of the believing and unbelieving worlds in the day of God's wrath, in the Lord's Day. In other words, the Lord preserves His own in not having to come across with those horrific events of the End Times, of which e.g. the Book of Revelation so distinctively speaks.Rom. 5:9 "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
Salvation can thus be understood bothways, or which other way of these two. By no means will the wrath of God come across with His children, but unbelievers, "the inhabitants of the earth", worldly people of the world, who have not received salvation. If we study salvation from the Eternal point of view, then we should understand the God's wrath as condemnation to eternal punishment. This view however does not fit in the context, I judge.
Rev. 3:10 "Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."
The word used in the previous is tereso- preserve, protect, keep out of, save from something. It is the same context and root word than the previously mentioned soterias; the idea is the same in both of them. In this the Lord announces to the Church in Sardes, that due to its keeping (Greek: eteresas - preserved) in its doctrine the Word of the Lord, accordingly will the Lord preserve the Church in not having to come across to that same hour of temptation which the worldlings have to face. The same root word is in the both of them, although some translators tend to use the word follow.
Furthermore, maybe the most significant passage of the NT, that speaks about both the Rapture and its timing. Jesus' own words to His disciples, and thus for His followers, for you and me.John 14:1-3 "Let not your heart be troubled (Greek: tarasso): ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you (Greek: paralepsomai) unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
The original Greek word, tarasso, means baffled, devastated, disturbed and, being in fear. Referring to His coming, Jesus so did not encourage His followers to think and settle themselves that way. He also tells He is coming back and take His own to Him, paralepsomai – which can be translated the following way: I take to me, carry away with me. Thus, once again, the context determines, which alternative translation is to be used. In my opinion, everything that is told in the Bible about these things, should be understood so, that the Lord will come back, we will be taken to meet Him in the air, then we will be with Him at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and after the period of God's wrath we will come back with Him to observe how the kings of the Earth will be destroyed in Armageddon and how the Millennium will be established, and we will be ruling in it.1.Thess. 4:18 and 5:11 " Wherefore comfort one another with these words, wrote the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians, Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." Further, he mentions, like a summary, in his letter to Titus (2:13) "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ".
Again, when we see from the Bible, what are all the events that take place during the era of God's wrath - having to have to endure it does not comfort us by any means, and by no way gives us the hope or reason to lift up our heads. And one could never consider it any a fulfilling of a blessed hope - make no mistake about it. The word "blessed", Greek - makarios, so means blessed, happy, even such blessing and happiness to be envied. Thus, the mankind that has to face the Tribulation could hardly describe itself that way. But the ones, who will be preserved from it, can. On which side does the Church belong, shouldn't thus be unclear?
... to be continued ...