Taking a Closer Look at the Rapture

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The bumper sticker read, “Get Right or Get Left.” In the upper left-hand corner of the sticker was a Bible reference: 1 Thessalonians 4:17. This passage says, “Then we who are alive and remain 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.”

A popular teaching

According to the premillennial doctrine of the Rapture, Christ will first come only for His own. The righteous dead will be raised and they, along with the righteous living, will be caught up to meet Christ in the air. The Latin translation of “caught up” in this passage is rapiemur, and it is from this word that the term Rapture comes.

Many believe that when Christ comes, those who are unprepared will be left wondering what happened to all those who suddenly vanished into thin air! In other words, the bumper sticker means: Get right with God, or you will miss the Rapture and be left here on earth.

What the Bible says

“Get Right or Get Left” may be clever, but it is scriptural? Certainly Jesus is coming to claim His own, but on that same occasion He will deal with the unrighteous. All the dead will be raised on the same day (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15).

It’s been rightly observed that the same expression “in [or at] the last day” is used of both the resurrection of the righteous and the judgment of those who reject Christ (John 6:39-40; 12:48).

Some passages discuss the destiny of both the wicked and the righteous (e.g., Matthew 25:31-46), while other passages deal with only the one or the other. The text referred to on the bumper sticker focuses only on the blessedness of the righteous at Christ’s coming. Writing to the same church, Paul discusses the destiny of the wicked, as well as the righteous (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

The Rapture has captured the interest of millions, especially as it is portrayed in highly dramatic novels and movies.

Let’s make sure what we believe about His coming is really what His word actually says.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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