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Clifford Frederick wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is the Rapture real?

Most of my Protestant friends refer to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.

I don't think it does and I can't find any Scriptural references for The Rapture.


  { Seeing that I can't find Scriptural references for the Rapture other than this, is the Rapture real? }

Eric replied:


The sequence of events identified by most Protestants who believe in the Rapture is not real. You will not find the word "Rapture" in English in Scripture. It doesn't come from 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (leave it to a Catholic to correct a Protestant on the source verse of their doctrines!) — which just talks about the general resurrection — but from 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (RSV2CE):

15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 17 then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord."

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

The Latin word for "caught up" is "rapturus", which is where the term comes from. What this verse means is that when Jesus returns, those who are dead will be resurrected first, then those who are still alive will be "caught up" together with them (presumably receiving their resurrection bodies as well) and then join the Lord.

This is a real event, but some Protestants (Premillennial dispensationalists) believe that it will happen, not at the end of time, but seven years before the actual return of Christ, before the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:14).

There are also Midmillennial dispensationalists, smaller in number, who think it will occur in the middle of the tribulation.

In any case, this is tied to some rather peculiar and strained apocalyptic interpretations of Scripture of certain (but not the majority of) Protestants. The fact is, the Rapture, as such, coincides (as 1 Thessalonians says) with the final return and Second Coming of Christ. To interpret it otherwise requires positing some sort of a weird "interim" coming of Jesus, between today and the "Real" Second Coming, which is not biblical.

The Rapture occurs at the General Resurrection at the Second Coming, and that's all there is to it.


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