The rapture remains one of the most debated issues in Christian theology. Virtually every Christian denomination affirms belief in the eventual return of Christ, however, there's a wide variety of opinion with regard to when and how Christ will return. Others question whether Jesus will rapture believers at all. Today the blessed hope that believers will be 'caught up' to heaven is being challenged with new waves of criticism. Is the rapture taught in the Bible? Can we really expect Jesus to gather up believers before the antichrist is revealed?
Dr. Ed Hindson is the dean of the School of Divinity and Distinguished Professor of Religion at Liberty University. He's the speaker on The King is Coming and author and general editor of 40 books including the newly released, 'Can We Still Believe in the Rapture' which he co-authored with Mark Hitchcock.
Dr. Hindson began by noting that the biblical term 'rapture' in English is generally translated as 'caught up'. In the original Greek New Testament it's the word, 'harpazo'. As he phrased it, '...and it basically means zap, you're out of here; caught way, snatched away, taken away.' Jesus will come quickly, instantaneously to take believers home to heaven. This term was used as early as the 1600's by various Puritan writers to describe this event.
What about those who say the term is not in the English Bible? Just as the term 'Trinity' is not in the Bible, the concept is there. In like manner, just as the term, 'rapture' is not in our Bibles, the concept is there along with the word in the Greek New Testament.
In light of that, the real question is not whether there is a rapture, but instead, when will it occur. There has to be a time when the dead are raised and those still living are caught up according to 1st Thessalonians 4. You can debate when you believe that's going to occur but it has to occur. So just as there has to be a second, promised coming when Jesus returns, there also has to be a rapture.
As this Crosstalk moved along, Dr. Hindson dealt with so much more including:
--What is the proper way to interpret prophecy?
--Why is there such a large divide surrounding this topic in Christian circles?
--What are the various views concerning the timing of the rapture?
--Does the rapture communicate escapism?
--Is there anything on the prophetic time line that could or perhaps must occur before the rapture takes place?
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