Churches Of Christ/rapture; pre-mellinalism


I have a friend that just recently wanted to argue about the "rapture" and I know that it (the word) is not in the Bible.  Please give me your expert advice on this topic with scripture.
Regina Hunt

Hey Regina,

The word rapture actually just means "joy".  The millennialist concept comes from a misunderstanding of apocalyptic passages (such as Isaiah, Revelation, and the Olivet Discourse such as recorded in Matt. 24-25) and Judgment Day passages like 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15.

The most popular version of "the rapture" in millennialism is called the "pre-tribulation rapture" which says that before The Tribulation, a period of 7 years, those who are faithful to God, mentally retarded, or young children/infants, will be "raptured" or taken up into Heaven (similar to what is described in 1 Thess. 4:13-18).  The rest of the human population will be "left behind" much like the popular book series to undergo the tribulation and the events that follow.  Ultimately the idea is that they get a second chance to turn to God as the mundane world gets turned into the fantastic as beasts, "the Antichrist", angels, demons, locusts, and a host of other things recorded in Revelation romp across the planet.

The problem with this is in the misunderstanding of the apocalyptic passages.  They don't have anything to do with the end of time.  The few passages that do (1 Thess. 4, 1 Cor. 15, 1 John 2 and maybe a couple of others) are pretty straight forward.  Jesus comes back, all the dead rise from the grave, the righteous are then taken up into the sky and go with Jesus to Heaven, the wicked are cast into what is commonly referred to as "Hell" now, and that's all that is stated.  We aren't even told what happens to the literal universe after that.

As for the apocalyptic passages (which is much of the Bible), there is insufficient space to address what those mean in detail.  It is enough to say here that they deal strictly with the end of the Jewish system under the Law of Moses and the establishment of the church, which all took place in the 1st century AD.  If you want an in depth, Bible-only look at those books, I have a blog dedicated almost entirely to that point.  You can look book by book, verse by verse as you need to there, comment, question, etc.  You will start to understand how unified the Bible really is and how the pieces fit together.  Most folks who get it wrong tend to cherry pick a verse here or a verse there.

Just start at the bottom and work your way through whatever you want to learn about.

Hope this helps!

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Ernie Laurence, Jr.


I am capable of answering any questions concerning doctrines of the church of Christ. I specialize in Creation vs. Evolution topics, the book of Revelation and other Biblical prophecies, and other apologetics related topics such as distinctions from denominational doctrines.


My experience in this area includes: having been raised by members of the church of Christ from infancy, having been immersed into the church of Christ at age ten, having taken an active role in worship/service leadership (song leading, teaching, preaching, youth ministry) since age fourteen through the present, and participating in numerous formal debates, research projects, and online discussions.

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I hold a bachelor's degree in computer information systems (CIS) from Tarleton State University which focuses on business communication and management. This provided training for how to deal professionally with individuals and organizations if not direct training in the field of religion. See experience section for informal education experience.

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