Rapture of The Saints


By Oscar Minks



MEETING THE LORD IN THE AIR

A great measure of harmony prevails between the pre-trib and post-trib views as to meeting Christ in the air. Both schools agree there is an actual gathering of the saints unto Christ in the air, and that the saints will return to earth with Him. The designations, pre-trib and post-trib bespeaks the difference between them regarding the meeting of Christ in the air, and it is doubtful that the difference in their views will be erased this side of meeting Christ in the air. However, it is my firm belief that our text (I Thessalonians 4:13-18) teaches a pre-tribulational appearance of Christ in the air, and a gathering of the saints of the previous ages and the present age unto Him. The phrase in our text which says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first” spans the ages, reaching back to Adam and forward to the newest grave of God’s elect prior to that glorious appearing of the Lord in the air. Yea, some graves will remain virgin, having never received their tribute due to the intervening of Christ in the air. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured)together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:17-1 8).

RAPTUROUS LIFTOFF

Some A-mil theorist will say, “The word ‘rapture’ is not in the Bible, and since it is not a Bible term, it should not be given the prominence that millennialism places on it.” This is unsound reasoning, for I am confident they would not apply the same rule to the words trinity, depravity, supernatural, attribute, etc. simply because they are not found in the English translation of the Bible.

The Greek word used in our text (vs. 17) for “caught up” is harpazo. This Greek verb has various meanings, such as, snatch away; carry off; catch away; to seize, etc. As used by Paul in our text, it conveys the idea of a joyous catching away. Our English word “rapt”, as defined by Webster, means to seize; lift up and carry away; transported with emotion. The word, “rapture” expresses the same meaning with the emphasis on being ecstatically and joyously lifted up. Thus it is, the two terms harpazo (Greek) and rapture (English) are virtually identical in meaning and when used in connection with meeting the Lord in the air, call for the same effect or function.

In view of the above stated facts, it is biblically correct to refer to the coming of Christ in the air, and the uniting of the saints with Him in that glorious appearing as the rapture. I have heard girls on a number of occasions, when speaking of their sweethearts say, “He swept me right off of my feet.” This is but a figure of speech, but it is a figure which never looses any of its meaning in dialogue, and it is invariably a reference to ecstatic emotion. While such experience of sweethearts is rapturous, it in no wise comes close to what the Bride of Christ will experience when she is literally swept off her feet to meet her Beloved and long awaited for Groom in the air.

MEETING THE LORD IN THE AIR

A great measure of harmony prevails between the pre-trib and post-trib views as to meeting Christ in the air. Both schools agree there is an actual gathering of the saints unto Christ in the air, and that the saints will return to earth with Him. The designations, pre-trib and post-trib bespeaks the difference between them regarding the meeting of Christ in the air, and it is doubtful that the difference in their views will be erased this side of meeting Christ in the air. However, it is my firm belief that our text (I Thessalonians 4:13-18) teaches a pre-tribulational appearance of Christ in the air, and a gathering of the saints of the previous ages and the present age unto Him. The phrase in our text which says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first” spans the ages, reaching back to Adam and forward to the newest grave of God’s elect prior to that glorious appearing of the Lord in the air. Yea, some graves will remain virgin, having never received their tribute due to the intervening of Christ in the air. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured)together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:17-1 8).

RAPTUROUS LIFTOFF

Some A-mil theorist will say, “The word ‘rapture’ is not in the Bible, and since it is not a Bible term, it should not be given the prominence that millenarianism places on it.” This is unsound reasoning, for I am confident they would not apply the same rule to the words trinity, depravity, supernatural, attribute, etc. simply because they are not found in the English translation of the Bible.

The Greek word used in our text (vs. 17) for “caught up” is harpazo. This Greek verb has various meanings, such as, snatch away; carry off; catch away; to seize, etc. As used by Paul in our text, it conveys the idea of a joyous catching away. Our English word “rapt”, as defined by Webster, means to seize; lift up and carry away; transported with emotion. The word, “rapture” expresses the same meaning with the emphasis on being ecstatically and joyously lifted up. Thus it is, the two terms harpazo (Greek) and rapture (English) are virtually identical in meaning and when used in connection with meeting the Lord in the air, call for the same effect or function.

In view of the above stated facts, it is biblically correct to refer to the coming of Christ in the air, and the uniting of the saints with Him in that glorious appearing as the rapture. I have heard girls on a number of occasions, when speaking of their sweethearts say, “He swept me right off of my feet.” This is but a figure of speech, but it is a figure which never looses any of its meaning in dialogue, and it is invariably a reference to ecstatic emotion. While such experience of sweethearts is rapturous, it in no wise comes close to what the Bride of Christ will experience when she is literally swept off her feet to meet her Beloved and long awaited for Groom in the air.

Continued next week.

We invite you to worship with us at Grace Missionary Baptist Church, locaed at The Glowmarw Bridge. Sunday School 11:00 am Worship 12:00 Evening Worship 7:00 pm Bible Study and Prayer Meeting Wednesday 7:00 pm Brother Fred Minks Elder Charles Minks.

By Oscar Minks

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