[quote=philipmarus]I’m having a discussion with a Protestant over the rapture. For purposes of this thread I just want to focus on 1 Thess 4:15-16 which speaks of believers at the end being “Caught up”
15 For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ, shall rise first
16 Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air, and so shall we be always with the Lord.
My Fundamentalist friend argues in response to fact that the Rapture is unhistorical, that the 1st Century Christians Paul wrote Did believe in the rapture because 1 Thess speaks of believers at the end
“Caught up in the Clouds” to meet the Lord in the Air.My friend insists that this must be interpreted in a physical sense.
My friend insists the word for Rapture comes from rapiemur. He insists that it is in the Greek but it according to my Bible software it only appears in the Latin. I’m not a Greek or Latin scholar.
In essence, my friend asserts that Thess. text “proves” the rapture because it speaks of believers being “Caught up in the clouds” at the end of time.
Belief in a rapture* is *historical, and a part of Catholic doctrine. What is disputed is the timing of the event. The popular fundamentalist ratpure doctrine places the event before the Great Tribulation, which is usually many years before Christ’s Second Coming. Catholics, along with many protestant denominations, place the rapture immediately prior to, or in conjunction with, the Second Coming. It is viewed as an event that parallels Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem that we celebrate on Palm Sunday, but in its final glorious form as He comes again. No one will be secretly whisked away and so spared the Tribulation. Rather, Christ’s Second Coming will be unmistakably procalimed to the world, at which point those living in Christ will be caught up to meet Him as He arrives in Glory, just as 1 Thess 4 describes (literally or allegorically, it matters not).
It is an important point that the primary “proof” text for the Secret Rapture doctrine (I’ll use “Secret” to distinguish the fundamentalist doctrine from the true Catholic doctrine) never mentions its relationship to the Tribulation, which is the major point of difference in our doctrine. Thus, these passages can in no way prove that the Rapture will occur prior to the Tribulation, as they insist. In fact, their version of the timing is found nowhere in the Scriptures.
This reality prompted Dale Moody, a prominent evangelical protestant to write:
“Belief is a Pretribulational Rapture contradicts all three chapters in the New Testament that mention the Tribulation and the Rapture together (Mark 13:24-27; Matt. 24:26-31; 2 Thess. 2:1-12). The theory is so biblically bankrupt that the usual defense is made using three passages that do not even mention a Tribulation (John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:17; 1 Cor. 15:52). These are important passages, but they have not had one word to say about a Pretribulational Rapture. The score is 3 to 0, three passages for a Post-tribulational Rapture and three that say nothing on the subject.” Dale Moody, The Word of Truth, 556-557.
Hope this helps.
P.S. For a great read on the subject, try Dr. Paul Thigpen’s The Rapture Trap.