There has been and will be great speculation regarding the various views of what is termed “The Rapture”. There are now at least four respectable Views. (among evangelicals) I will briefly (if that is possible) explain these views.
The word “rapture” does not appear in the English Bible. The term is actually taken from the Latin Vulgate word “rapiemur” 1 Thess 4:17 (Vulgate) which is translated from the orginal Greek word “harpazō”. This Greek word is translated “…shall be caught up”
1 Thess 4:17 (KJV)
The concept of a rapture being separate from the time of first resurrection is of recent orgin. Most attribute this recent and novel teaching to John Nelson Darby about 1830 A.D. although there has much research of the History of the Church to attempt to locate someone that taught this theory before John Nelson Darby. It is clear from Church history that Premillennialism has been taught from the very beginning of Church history, but there seems to be absolutely no reference to a separate Rapture. Does this disprove the concept of rapture? Even if it does not disprove the concept of a Rapture that is separate from the first resurrection, it does indeed indicate that one should be very cautious to accept the view of a rapture separate from the first resurrection.
For years the author of this article believed in what is known as “Pre-Tribulation Rapture”. The theory of Pretribulation Rapture is now taught as an established fact. Many good sound evangelicals teach Pretribulation Rapture as though it is not a theory and have great controversy over this teaching. It is not a fundamental of the Faith and yet fellowship is divided among true believers over this teaching.
While Pretribulation Rapture is not taught anywhere in Church history, Premillennialism was clearly taught by many early Church fathers in the first three hundred years of Church history. Even though Premillennialism is not a fundamental of the Faith, it is important because it connects many of the other teachings of Bible teaching.
Note: Pretribulation Rapture theory should not be held dogmatically. In fact most scholars that are honest admit that there is not one clear verse or passage of Scripture that is unambiguously clear on a Pretribulation Rapture,
Since we cannot determine with an absolutely certainty that there is even a rapture that is separate from the first resurrection we should hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
If there is a Pretribulation Rapture all Christians will be taken regardless of what view they take of the issue. However, if there is no Pretribulation Rapture, those who put too much weight on Pretribultion Rapture will be seriously disappointed and unprepared for what they may be required to face.
The practical approach is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. In one point in my Christian journey, I had a friend of mine say to me, “If I believed there wasn’t a Pretribulation Rapture, I couldn’t be a Christian”.
The person was not well taught in Scripture at that time, but I was greatly concerned that a person would rest their salvation on a theory. that wasn’t clearly taught until approximately 1830 A.D.
The author of this article has studied this issue for 50 years and only changed his view point in approximately 2004. For years he had tentatively continued to hold to Pretribulation Rapture theory.
At present the author tenatively holds what is know a Prewrath Rapture. The author believes that the Rapture is immediately prior to the Wrath of God which beginnings at the end of the Sixth Seal or at the Beginning of the Seventh Seal.
Note that all of the views regarding the Rapture believe that God will not put his children through HIS wrath. The question is “When will the wrath of God begin?”The Bible seems to clearly gives the answer. For years the author had overlooked a clear passage of Scripture. Revelation 6:16-17 appears clearly the answer:
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Rev 6:15-17 (KJV)
All of the Seventh Seal is the Wrath of God. The Seventh Seal contains the Seven trumpets, and the Seventh Trumpet contains all the Seven Bowls (vials).
The Seven Seals may be somewhat parallel to the seven years of Daniel’s Seven year Week. If that is the case (speculation) according the Prewrath Rapture viewpoint the Rapture would take place immediately before the Wrath of God (Day of the LORD)..
At present the author has not addressed the three other views of Rapture. The Prewrath Rapture viewpoint began approximately 1990 with Marvin Rosenthal and his book The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church .
My hope is that you will prepare for the hard times to come and not rest your hope on a Pretribulation Rapture. First of all you must prepare spiritually. Do you know that LORD? Are you 100% sure? Nothing is more important. If you are not absolutely sure or even if you are still read What Must I Do To Be Saved?