I Believe I Can Fly
The Rapture of the Church
Gregory D. Davidson, D.D.
It seems that man has always been fascinated with flying. From the Wright Brothers to NASA to the current day, technology is advancing. But I truly believe that I can fly and I will not need a machine. No, I have not went crazy. I am speaking of a future event in which the church will be “caught up” in the air to meet our Lord known as the Rapture.
There are many people confused about the second coming of Christ. Many, many, Christians do not realize the second coming will be in two different stages: the Rapture and His Glorious Appearing at His Second Coming. These two events are clearly taught in the Bible. Lets look at the Biblical evidence.
At the Rapture, Jesus comes for his own. (John 14:3) (I Thess. 4:13-18)
At His Second Coming, He comes with His own. (I Thess. 3:13; Jude 14)
During the Rapture, He will come in the air. ( I Thess. 4:17)
At His Second Coming, He will come to the earth( Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:11,12)
Only His own will see Him at the Rapture.(1 Thess. 4:13-18)
All will see Him at His Glorious Appearing (Revelation 1:7)
The Rapture has no signs preceding it, but His Second Coming has definite signs that will precede it. (Luke 21:11, 25)
These two events will be seperated by a seven year period known as the 70th Week of Daniel or the Great Tribulation. This seven year period is also called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) referring to Israel. This in itself is a hint because it refers to Israel and not the Church because it will not be here on earth during this time.
God has a distinct plan for both Israel and the Church. Israel must endure the 70th Week of Daniel to fulfill its payment to God. The Churches payment has already been paid by Jesus Christ, therefore we will not have to endure the Time of Jacob’s(Israel’s) Trouble.
There are many references in Scripture that convey a message of a Rapture of the Church seperate from our Lord’s Glorious Appearing when He comes to set up His Millennial Kingdom here on earth. Most people use First Thessalonians 4:16 & 17 as the base scripture for the Rapture.
(16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ shall rise first. (17) 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 thus we shall always be with theLord. (emphasis mine)
Some opponents say that the word ‘rapture’ does not appear in the Bible. This is not a worthy objection. The original Latin translation of the Bible by the Christian scholar Jerome, used the Latin word ‘rapere’ to correctly translate “shall be caught up.” The word ‘rapere’ was later used as the derivation of our English word ‘rapture’.
The most concrete biblical evidence for the Rapture, I believe, is found in the Book of Revelation.
For starters, the Rapture is in the right place chronologically in Revelation. Chapters 2 & 3 deal with successive Church eras. The first event after the end of the Church age in chapter 3 is the call of John (who typifies the Church) to ‘come up here’ in chapter 4. The rest of chapter 4 and chapter 5 deal with visions in heaven. Chapter 6 introduces the Tribulation.
On careful study and consideration, you will notice that the Church is absent in chapters 6 through 18. Why? The events described in these chapters are taking place on earth. The church is absent because it has been Raptured. The extensive use of Old Testament language and symbols in these chapters point to Israel.
There is also other Biblical evidence that implies that the Church will be Raptured before the Tribulation. Consider these four reasons:
1. The Lord has promised to deliver us. (Revelation 3:10)
2, The Church is to be delivered form the wrath to come. ( 1 Thess. 1:10)
3. The Church is not appointed to wrath. (1 Thess. 5:9)
4. The Church is absent in Revelation chapters 6 through 18.
There is more evidence in the Word of God that point to a Rapture or taking away of the Church. Remember how God ‘took’ Enoch away from the world because he walked with Him. (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) Or how about Elijah who was taken away. ( 2 Kings 2:11) You might even say that Noah and Lot were in a sense ‘raptured’ from the evil that came upon the world in which they lived.
For me this amount of evidence in itself is enough for me to know without a doubt that one day, I will fly away from this wicked world to be with my Lord forever.