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Todd: There’s an amazing event in the future for every believer and it’s going to blow your mind.
Jeff: And Todd, that’s what we’re going to talk about today on the Prophecy Pros Podcast.
Todd: All right, so Jeff, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a minute. We hear this talk about a certain thing and it’s called the rapture. How do we know that the rapture is even a thing? I hear people saying the rapture’s not even in the Bible. How do we know that the rapture’s in the Bible and what does it tell us about that?
Jeff: Well, that’s a great question, Todd, because one of the questions that people want to know is not only is the rapture in the Bible, but if it’s in the Bible, what does it mean? And what does it mean specifically for me? When is it going to happen? How’s it going to happen? And so I want to begin to answer some of those questions. And even some of those objections. As we travel around the country, as we talk to people, as people talk to us online and in social media, some of the questions that people ask us is, “Hey Jeff, is the word rapture even in the Bible?” Because aren’t we supposed to be teaching the Bible here? And if the word’s not in the Bible, then why should we even be talking about it? So the answer to that question is, “No,” The English word, rapture, is not in the Bible. Okay?
Jeff: I know, I know it’s a shocking revelation here, no pun intended. But there are other English words that are also not in the Bible. Words like Trinity, and missions, and Easter and, Christmas, and great commission, and incarnation, and errancy. In fact, the word Bible is not in the Bible. So, Hey. So we need to make sure that it’s not exactly the word that we’re looking for. It’s the teaching of the doctrine. The word rapture is simply a word that we use to describe a biblical event taught in the Bible. In fact, when you get down to where this whole doctrine is specifically taught several places in the New Testament, but one place is First Thessalonians chapter four. And the Bible says that we’re going to be caught up.
Jeff: In the next podcast, by the way, Todd, you’re going to be unpacking all that for us. Kind of a frame by frame, slow-mo guys kind of thing. But the word there, the word caught up is the Greek word, harpazo, that was translated into Latin as the word raptura, which is where we get our English word, rapture. Okay, so that’s where it is. But it’s like why do we call it the rapture? Well, it’s because of the Latin translation, and also because if he called it the harpazo, that sounds like something you’d order at an Italian restaurant. You know what I’m saying? So it didn’t really sound good. Or the great snatching away. I mean, that sounds like a zombie movie.
Todd: Or calling it the caught up. That’s just too complicated.
Jeff: Yeah, the caught up. It’s like, caught up what? Are you caught up yet? So no, the English word rapture is not in the Bible, but we believe the teaching of the rapture is. A second objection that people have sometimes is they say, “Well, this whole rapture, in the retros the idea of Jesus returning for his bride to rescue them from the wrath that is coming during the time of judgment, during the great tribulation period of seven years where God’s going to unleash the seal, the trumpet and bold judgments on planet earth.
Jeff: So the idea is that Jesus returns for his bride to rescue her before that event happens. And people say, “Well that’s just you trying to have an escape clause. That’s just a Christian escapism doctrine.” And the way I respond to that is simply by saying, “Well, Noah’s getting rescued from the flood was an escapism as well.” It’s as Rahab being rescued from the destruction of Jericho that’s escaping the wrath that’s coming as well.
Jeff: So, I think beginning is important to say this is that Christians are never immune from suffering. I mean, at no point in the past 2000 years have Christians ever been immune from hard times, from persecution, and even from tribulation, but just not the tribulation that is predicted for the end times for the book of revelation. And then, God also never promises to deliver us or to exempt us from the world’s hatred as well. Read about John 15 Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it hated me first.” And Paul told Timothy, “All those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” But specifically, we’re talking here about God’s wrath. And in scripture what we see is that God exempts us from his wrath because the Bible says that his wrath fell on Jesus Christ at the cross.
Jeff: And Romans 8:1 says, “There’s therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” So, we are completely exempt from God’s wrath, and it’s God’s wrath that’s going to be poured out on planet earth. So, that’s the doctrine of the rapture. So it’s not an escape clause. People always say this too. They say, “Well, where do we see the church during this time of the great tribulation, or during the time of tribulation?” and when you look at the book of revelation, Todd, you see that the word church there occurred the word ekklesia, which means called out ones. The word church occurs 20 times in the book of Revelation. So then you have to ask the question, “Well, where does it occur?” Well, in chapters 1-3, which talks about the seven churches basically, you see the word church appearing 19 times. You see in chapter 22 when we get into the millennial kingdom, the new heavens and new earth, it’s appears one time.
Jeff: But when you get to the part that talks about God’s wrath being unleashed on the earth, chapter’s 4-19, zero times.
Todd: Zero churches.
Jeff: No church mentioned at all. But we do see the church in heaven though, during that time. We see the church praising God. And then finally, just from a location standpoint, in the book of Revelation, chapters 1-3 of Revelation, you see the church on earth, chapters 4-19 in heaven, while God’s wrath is on the earth. Chapter 19 you see the bride of Christ returning with Christ at the second coming. And so those are the raptures…
Todd: So, those are two different events.
Jeff: Yeah. The rapture and the second coming are two different events, which is going to be another podcast that we’ll do in the future. Just what are the distinctions between the two comings of Christ there? And then chapter 20-22 where the church is reigning with him in the millennial kingdom.
Jeff: So really what we see, I think Todd, is the pattern of scripture is to deliver a God to deliver his people before he unleashes his wrath. As I said, did that with Noah. He did that with Rahab, that type of thing. We also see that the promise of Jesus in John chapter 14, our Christ says, “If I go away, I’m going to come again, and receive you to myself. That where I am. You may be also.” There’s a huge background to the Jewish wedding motif that he’s talking about there.
Jeff: An engaged, betroth, groom would go away, and then at an unannounced time just return to take away his bride to his father’s house. Which is exactly what Jesus promises to do. We see also the prophecies of Paul, which you’re going to get into here in the next podcast as well.
Jeff: But also, it’s very interesting to me that even in Revelation 3:10, Jesus promises the Philadelphian church. He says, “I will keep you from that hour of testing that is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth.” That’s revelation 3:10. He says here, “I’m going to keep you from that.” Okay?
Todd: Out of.
Jeff: Out of. It’s not keep you in that, but keep you out of that. And what I find very encouraging, very comforting, is the fact that that has not happened yet. He says here, “To keep you from the hour, this coming upon the whole world.” Well, that that hour has not come yet. It’s still a future.
Todd: It’s a specific timeframe he’s talking about.
Jeff: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Once again, it’s God’s wrath, not man’s wrath. We do suffer under man’s wrath, but God’s wrath is yet in the future. So those are just some of the objections that we see that people have towards the rapture. And of course not every Christian believes in the rapture, not every Bible teacher believes in the rapture. I believe for some of the reasons we mentioned here and more, that there are many sound reasons to believe in the rapture, and into this event where Christ is going to rescue the bride of Christ. But it’s a fascinating topic, isn’t it?
Todd: It really is. And so many things come to mind as you’re talking about that. And one thing we’ve pointed out before and I want to reiterate, is that it’s not like you and I didn’t grow up believing this. We let the word of God dictate our beliefs. And we have good friends that have different views of the timing of the rapture.
Todd: But you and I both hold to the pre-trip view, meaning that the rapture happens before the seven year tribulation. And you mentioned several cases that support that. Just God’s pattern of work with Noah and Rahab and even Lot. He got Lot and his family out of there before destruction came.
Jeff: That’s right.
Todd: And even with what you said with the church being spoken of before chapter four of Revelation, 20 times he says churches. And then Revelation chapter four says, “After this, I looked and there before me was a door standing open in heaven and the voice I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you must take place after this.'” And what’s interesting is, in chapter one of Revelation, Jesus said the seven lamp stands were the church. Now, after this verse in chapter four, we see the seven lamp stands in the throne room of heaven.
Todd: So, the symbolism supports it. The types that he gives us in the Old Testament supports it, and like you said, Jesus’ words even support it when you analyze those carefully. So it’s not like we just pulled this out of thin air or it’s because we want to get out of here before the bad stuff happens, and we just came up with this teaching on our own. I’ll play devil’s advocate again, is one thing I’ve heard from people that don’t support the pre-trip view is that it’s just a recent notion, that Christians have only been teaching that recently. What would you say to that?
Jeff: Yeah, well several things. I think as you look back at the early church, and one of the things that I bring out in my book, Like the Bride, is the fact that there I just a preponderance of evidence that the early church believed in the imminence of Jesus Christ’s return.
Jeff: In other words, there was an expectancy, I list about 20 to 30 verses there throughout the New Testament where the church was looking forward at any time for Jesus to return. You got to keep in mind, the early church didn’t have the perspective of history that we do. Jesus said, “I’m going to come back again for you.” In fact, when he ascended on the Mount of Olives, in his Ascension, the angel said, “The same Jesus is going to return one day, to planet earth.” Of course, that’s talking more about the second coming, but it does put that in their minds that they were looking for his return at any time, and at any day. And so that kept them in this expectant spirits. And you see that spirit of expectancy all throughout the New Testament and then also, just the fact that you have the early church.
Jeff: They had this phrase, they would say to one another called Maranatha. And they would greet one another that way. And Maranatha is Aramaic. It just simply means, may the Lord come. May the Lord come. So, it’s like the return of the rapture of Jesus was on the churches lips every Sunday. They said that to each other when they greeted one another, they said that to one another, when they left each other at the end of the evening too. So that spirit, we also see it in what’s called Didache, which was the early teaching of the apostles, is extra biblical document but you have that imminency doctrine is there. You see it in the early church fathers and really, off and on throughout church history. Now someone says, “Well, no, this came about at the end of the 19th century or whatever through Darby and other guys like that.”
Jeff: And my response to that is a couple things. Number one, if we’re going to gauge the legitimacy of a doctrine based upon how popular it is in church history, we’re going to have a huge problem. Because justification by faith alone, was not very popular when Martin Luther said, “Hey.”
Todd: For hundreds of years.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. So, when Luther said, “Here I stand.” He was taking an unpopular view. They could have said, “Hey, this justification by faith thing is a recent doctrine.” What Luther do? He just pointed them back to the scripture. And that’s our authority. And even though there are many good things in church history that we can point to and use as a proof case for a viewpoint, we always have to go back to what does the Bible say? I don’t care what anybody says throughout church history, but if the Bible says it, in the first century when it was written, that’s what we’re going to believe.
Jeff: So I think we can trace this doctrine of immanency, or the idea that Jesus could return at any time, then he’s going to rescue his bride, delivered from the wrath that is coming. First Thess tells us, “We are not destined for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Also in first Thessalonians. Those are the kinds of things that we base that belief on.
Todd: And with that, one objection I get from people sometime is, “Well he’s going to keep us from the wrath, but that’s just talking about hell, when all said and done.” But you and I know when you study Old Testament and New Testament, God talks about the day of the Lord, a time of wrath. The hour, it’s talking about a specific time frame. And you said some things that really got my attention. The fact of immanency. That only works in a pre-trip view.
Jeff: That’s right.
Todd: If that’s the next thing on the radar that Christians have been looking for, then it only makes sense that it’s the rapture. And also, we find that it’s called the blessed hope in Titus 2:13. It says, “While we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.” So, that’s a blessed hope. It’s supposed to be something that we look forward to and we do get out of here. And also, sometimes I hear people say, “Well, the first half of the tribulation is not going to be that bad.” What would you say to that?
Jeff: Well, when you read the first half of the tribulation, it looks pretty bad to me.
Todd: It’s really bad.
Jeff: And there are different… People do different timelines in terms of when they think that the seal judgment’s going to begin, that type of thing. But I think it’s pretty clear that it begins in the early stages of the tribulation period. And then like birth pains, they get successively closer together and stronger. And again, back to the context of what you’re saying about the early church and their view of this imminent doctrine, the context of First Thessalonians, is where it says, “He delivers us from the wrath to come.” It says, “He will wait for his son from heaven to come.”
Todd: That’s the rapture.
Jeff: That’s a direct reference to the rapture. And then over in chapter five, when it says that God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation, people say, Well, that’s just God destining us for salvation, for our spiritual salvation.” But the whole context of that passage is specifically talking about the day of the Lord. The day when they’re saying peace and safety, suddenly like birth pangs, this destruction will come upon them. And it just talks over and over again about the end of time, the last day. So, the context of being delivered from God’s wrath is speaking of God’s wrath as poured out on planet earth.
Jeff: And of course that’s going to be a horrible time for planet earth and for humanity. And it does say something about the character of our God, and how while he is very loving and very gracious, and we’re living in a great day of grace right now, where the Lord is not slow concerning his promise, but is willing for all to come to repentance. So he’s waiting on people. At the same time, there’s going to come a time where God says, “All right, that’s enough. I’m going to take my bride out. Now it’s time to start pouring out that wrath on planet earth.”
Todd: Amen. And I love what you mentioned too about the Jewish wedding traditions. I mean that’s something I think believers should study because it is a perfect picture of the rapture. Jesus said, “I’m going to prepare a place for you.” In the Jewish wedding traditions, the groom after they are engaged would go and literally prepare place for the bride. And she would have a rough idea of when he was coming back, but she wouldn’t know for sure. But it was when the father would say, “Okay, you’re ready. This, this room or this addition on our house that you built is ready for your bride. You’re ready for your bride. Go get her.”
Todd: And just when you study it in that context, it gives you goosebumps to think about how mind blowing and how beautiful that is. Because what if we believe we got to go through any of the tribulation before we’re raptured, how does that line up with this Jewish wedding tradition? I mean, what groom is going to let his wife get beat up for a little while, and then take her with black eyes and a broken nose and go to the wedding, go get married. It just doesn’t fit the typology anywhere in scripture. But again, you and I have friends and know great Christians who believe differently, and we can joke about our differences and still be brothers in Christ.
Todd: But to me, the pre-trip rapture view just number one, aligns it with scripture. Number two, it just really gives us hope. And especially with the things that we’re facing in our day, I think it just gives us tremendous hope to know that the Lord’s return is coming soon. And even if we do have to go through some tough stuff, we still know that he’s our bridegroom and he’s coming back someday for us.
Jeff: Absolutely. And I think sometimes, that there is with certain doctrines in scripture, there’s an overreaction based upon the way things were presented at certain times. And I’ll be the first to confess, man, there was a time when there were some really bad Christian movies that came out about the rapture and just like, “Oh please no.” Do it on some other doctrine that I don’t like. But yeah, people look at that and they make parodies of it and make fun of it, that kind of thing, but it doesn’t change the fact. As well intentioned as those things may have been, it doesn’t change the fact. Again, we have to ask ourselves not has there been a cheesy Christian movie made, but what does the Bible say?
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: And how can we back up that with scripture and with what God says in the rest of His word. So I think when you put just all those pieces together, you’ll see from the teaching that really the pattern of scripture, and the teaching and the promise of Christ, and the prophecies of Paul. We see it also in First Thessalonians chapter 15, First Thess 4 again, you’re going to get it unpacked next time, but and then just Revelation. Once again, just the horrors and the catastrophic destruction and wrath that’s going to take place during that seven year period.
Jeff: God has destined us to be in heaven with him, and to be ready to come back with him in victory at the second coming, which obviously we’ll cover it another time.
Todd: Yeah. Also next podcast, maybe what we can do is also talk about like you said, the specific parts of the rapture, what actually takes place as Paul describes. And also what we believe is going to be going on with the believers in heaven during that tribulation period. So yeah, I can’t wait to get into that. And this one we just wanted to unpack what the rapture is. That is a real thing, that is in scripture. One last question and then we can end is, what do you think about… It seems like a lot of people are turned off to it, almost like we’ve cried wolf so much because there’s been date setters and people saying the Lord’s coming on a certain date or a certain time period, and then that that time has passed. And it seems like it’s like crying wolf where a lot of people would just tune it out now, to where even believers are not even really thinking about the rapture. What can we tell them that would encourage them to give it another look?
Jeff: Yeah, I think there’s two sides to that. I think the one side there has been people who have been watchman on the wall. They’ve been sounding the trumpet call and saying, “Hey, the Lord is coming back.” Maybe without a followup explanation of, “Now, we’re not saying tomorrow, we’re not saying this, but we’re saying scriptures teaching that he is going to come back.” I think the first century church had that imminent seize that we talked about. They had that sense of urgency. I think it really gave them a sense of purposeful urgency to their lives. Not panic, not anxiety, but a sense of, “Hey, my life matters because the Lord could come back at any time.” But I love what… I’ll get more back in this in just a second, but I love what Martin Luther said. Speaking of Luther, he said, “If I knew Christ were to return tomorrow, I would plant a tree today.”
Jeff: And just the idea of we still got stuff to do today. We still don’t know. This tree may grow and live a hundred years. But at the same time, we do know that Christ has promised to come back. And the last days were really began according to First John chapter 2, we’re in the last hour, even in the first century.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: So we’re really in the last of the last hour. And when you combine that with the context of the prophecies that we are seeing, information and that have already been fulfilled right now, that gives us another clue that the rapture is closer than it’s ever been before. So I think because of that, it’s really not crying wolf, it’s really more like sounding the trumpet.
Todd: The alarm.
Jeff: “Hey, the King is coming.” And for the church at least, we need to make sure that we are looking forward to that coming, that our hearts are prepared, that we’re purified and that we’re ready to meet that Jesus that we read about in Revelation chapter one.
Todd: Amen. And like you said, it’s an important doctrine and it’s almost like the pendulum has swung the other direction to where it’s not on people’s radar anymore. And that’s what we’re trying to do with these podcasts is the name of one of your books, Wake the Bride. Trying to wake people up to the fact that, “No, we still should live with that sense of immanency. We still should live with that sense of urgency and focus in on the things of God and not on the things of the world.” And I think that brings people a lot of hope, and a lot of urgency for the time.
Todd: Well, if there’s anything else that you guys want to find out about us, if you want to ask us questions, please, please go to prophecyprospodcast.com. And you can get find out all the information about me and Jeff and our ministries and what we’re doing. And also you can ask questions and we would love to start a conversation with you, continue the conversation with you and just hear what’s on your heart, what questions you have, ask us questions about the rapture, about anything at all related to Bible prophecy and eschatology. We would love to hear from you, Jeff, is there anything else you can think of that you didn’t say?
Jeff: All I want to say is, don’t miss the next podcast because Todd’s going to unpack the rapture frame by frame. We’re going to analyze it and break it down a little bit for us, and talk about that. It’s going to be a great time.
Todd: Hey, thank you so much for listening. We’re really excited you found us. Make sure to subscribe, if you have not done so already. And if you liked what you heard, please let us know by leaving a review. That does us a huge favor and helps us out a lot. For more resources or to ask questions or find more about our ministries, go to prophecyprospodcast.com. And a major thank you, major shout out to Harvest House Publishers for helping us with this podcast.