Definition of

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The English word RAPTURE does not occur in the King James, New King James, NIV or other modern translation of the Bible. In fact, the word itself did not come into existence until around the very late 1500s A.D. Among many Christians, especially those in certain parts of the Protestant world, the word means to be "snatched or caught up."

Many believers rest their hope in what they believe is a "rapture" of saints based on only two Bible verse written by the Apostle Paul.

There will be the shout of command, the archangel’s voice, the sound of God’s trumpet, and the Lord himself will come down from heaven . . .then we who are living at that time will be gathered up along with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1Thessalonians 4:16 - 17)

Many religious teachers teach that the rapture (also known as 'rapture of the church') can only occur just before Jesus's Second Coming to reign and rule the earth for 1,000 years. Some also believe that such "snatching up" of saints will occur in SECRET to save a select few from the suffering and trials delineated in the book of Revelation. These believers, as it is taught, are taken to heaven for a period of time until they return triumphantly with Jesus to fight those who are deceived by Satan after which they will rule the world with Christ.

Jesus told his disciples, in regard to the exact time of his return to earth and the establishment of his kingdom, that "(the) day and hour no one knows - neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son - except the Father only . . ." (Matthew 24:36, HCSB). Jesus restated his answer, just before ascending into heaven, as to WHEN his kingdom would be set up (Acts 1:6 - 9).

In spite of these direct statements from Jesus, there have been those throughout history who have dogmatically tried to predict the day of the rapture and/or the day of Jesus' return to earth. Religious leaders foolish enough to "set dates" have been embarrassed and discredited when their predicted date quietly comes and goes.

A notable example of "setting dates" is William Miller, a preacher in the Baptist church who predicted Jesus would come back to earth sometime within a year of March 21, 1843. When March 21, 1844 came and went without incident, Miller adopted the new date of April 18, 1844 for Christ's return. When THAT date failed, one of Miller's associates recalculated the date of the Second Coming to be October 22, 1844. What is labeled "The Great Disappointment" occurred on that October day when Jesus didn't arrive as scheduled. Some soon abandoned faith in God entirely because of the false prophetic predictions. Still others continued their faith and became the foundation of the Adventist movement.

The lesson of history is that believers TODAY need to be VERY wary of any teacher or preacher who says he or she knows the date of Jesus' second coming.

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Apocalypse Dynamic EquivalenceHeresy Rapture
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Definition of Rapture