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Op-Ed: The Rapture of God’s Church – When Will It Happen?

The most common issue centered around the Rapture has to do with the timing of it. File photo: Casimiro PT, Shutter Stock, licensed.

PORTSMOUTH, OH – The word “rapture” cannot be found in English translations of the Bible. “Our word Rapture derives from the Latin translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, which translates the Greek harpazo (to catch up or carry away) as rapiemur from the Latin rapio. Harpazo occurs fourteen times in the New Testament with four variations of meaning, each contributing to our understanding of the Rapture,” says Dr. David Jeremiah, a biblical scholar and pastor.

The most common issue centered around the Rapture has to do with the timing of it. There are four main views: 

  1. Pre-Tribulation Rapture: This view maintains the rapture occurs when Jesus comes secretly to gather the church prior a seven-year Great Tribulation that precedes the return of Christ to earth. 
  1. Mid-Tribulation Rapture: This is similar to the pre-tribulation view except that it locates the rapture after the first three-and-half years at the point when the Anti-Christ assumes power. 
  1. Pre-Wrath Rapture: This position argues that the rapture will occur toward the end of the tribulation before the outpouring of God’s wrath with the bowl judgments prior to the return of Christ. 
  1. Post-Tribulation: This view sees the rapture as occurring simultaneous to the return of Christ at the end of the Tribulation. 

What is the tribulation? 

“The word translated as “tribulation” comes from the Hebrew words ṣar or ṣārâ and the Greek word thlipsis…While believers may currently experience tribulations, the Bible anticipates a future intensified time of Great Tribulation proceeding just before Christ’s return.”

Hal Linsey’s is a well-known proponent of the Rapture. His books include: “There’s a New World Coming: “A Prophetic Odyssey” (1973); “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1974); “The terminal generation” (1976); “The Rapture: Truth or Consequences” (1983); “There’s a New World Coming: An In-Depth Analysis of the Book of Revelation” (1984); “The Road to Holocaust” (1990); “The Greatest Works of Hal Lindsey: The Late Great Planet Earth/Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth” (1994); “Planet Earth: The Final Chapter” (1994); “The Final Battle” (1995); “The Messiah” (1996); “Apocalypse Code” (1997); “Vanished Into Thin Air: The Hope of Every Believer” (1999); “The Promise of Bible Prophecy” (2000); “Faith for Earth’s Final Hour” (2003); “The Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad” (2011). [

“Left Behind,” a series of religious novels (published from 1995 to 2007) by Tim LeHaye and Jerry Jenkins focuses on the seven-year conflict between the Tribulation Force and the New World Order. The books in order: The Rapture, The Regime, The Rising, Left Behind, Tribulation Force, Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, Soul Harvest, Apollyon: The Destroyer is Unleashed, Assassins, The Indwelling, The Mark: The Beast Rules the World, Desecration, The Remnant, Armageddon, Glorious Appearing, Kingdom Come.  

How is it possible for Christians to have four differing viewpoints of the Rapture? Controversy exists among denominations, pastors, scholars, evangelicals, and believers concerning the timing of the Rapture in reference to the Tribulation.  

Personally, I’m with the pre-tribulation flock – the sheep will meet their shepherd in the sky. And although debating the meaning of scripture is interesting, hostility over differing views is not. Christians need to respectfully agree to disagree with each other.  

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