The Rapture is a controversy among Christians. Some belief in it, and some don’t. See more here The Rapture.
For the sake of this article, I will stay on course with some of the main controversies around it and evidence that speaks loud.
Three main controversies around the Rapture are:
1. CONTROVERSY ABOUT DARBY,
2. CONTROVERSY ABOUT “SECRET”
3. CONTROVERSY ABOUT “ESCAPISM.”
John Nelson Darby, born in Westminster, London, became the father of the “Rapture controversy” in the 1800s. The so-called “Darby Theory” is the theory about the Rapture of the Church before the Tribulation, and it was single-handedly credited to John Darby.
So, was Darby the one to concoct the idea of the Rapture? Let us look at what those who walked the earth before he wrote, like:
1.1. EARLY APOSTLES,
1.2. MEDIEVAL CHURCH,
The Early Apostles were Christians who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Some of them have personally known some of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
As time passed, and because of the controversy around the Rapture, translators would refer back to the writings of these Early Church Fathers. Lee William Brainard had done some in-depth translations to uncover their commentaries around the topic of the Rapture and brought some new insights.
Here are some of the fragments from the commentaries of Eusebius and Ephrem the Syrian:
Eusebius of Caesarea, also known as Eusebius Pamphilus, was a Greek historian and Christian polemicist. He became bishop of the Roman province of Syria Palaestina in AD 314.
•EUSEBIUS, Fragments in Luke, Luke 17:26, Migne 24.584-585
“As all perished then except those gathered with Noah in the ark, so also at this coming, the ungodly in the season of apostasy, shall perish. While according to the pattern of Noah, all the righteous and godly are to be separated from the ungodly and gathered into the heavenly ark. For in this way comes a time when not even one righteous man will be found among mankind and when all the ungodly have been made atheists by the antichrist, and the whole world is overcome by apostasy, the wrath of God shall come upon the ungodly.”
Note the order: the righteous removed from the presence of the ungodly, season of apostasy on earth, then the wrath of God.
•EUSEBIUS, Fragments in Daniel, Migne 24.528
“The apostle Paul was moved to write in this manner on the second coming of Christ, for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with the command, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. But the same apostle also sets forth, in his prophetic writings, the end times coming of the antichrist and his depravity, and after this the glorious appearing of our Savior.”
Note the order: first the gathering of the Church, the time of apostasy and the antichrist, and then the glorious appearance of our Savior.
Ephrem the Syrian was a prominent theologian and writer, born 306 AD in modern-day Turkey, and later lived in Edessa.
•EPHREM the Syrian, Sermon on Repentance and Judgment and the Separation of the Soul From the Body
“For the elect shall be gathered prior to the tribulation, so they shall not see the confusion and the great tribulation coming upon the unrighteous world.
•EPHREM the Syrian, On the Fathers Who Have Completed Their Course
“Behold, now the holy and the just are chosen and gathered into the harbor of life that they should not see the tribulation and the snares coming upon us because of our sins. … If we don’t know hasten and weep shamelessly, rightly repenting in humility of soul and complete meekness, oh how we shall mourn in the tribulation … Again, when we see the saints in glory flying off in light in the clouds of the air to meet Christ, the king of glory, but see ourselves in the great tribulation, who shall be able to bear that shame and terriblereproach?”
The Albigenses, Lombards, Waldenses, and Dolicinites were groups that moved up into the mountains and escaped the persecution of the Catholic Church for longer.
According to Dr Thomas Ice, they believed in the Rapture of the Church before the Millennium. However, no one knows for sure because, by 1215, they were declared heretical and subject to persecution. As a result, very little of their work is left.
Peter Jurieu wrote in 1687 a book: “Approaching Deliverance of the Church.” In his book, he wrote: “Christ would come in the air to rapture the saints and return to heaven before the battle of Armageddon.”
Philip Doddrige wrote a commentary on the New Testament in 1738, and so did John Gill in 1748. Both believed in the Rapture and spoke of it as imminent.
Morgan Edwards, the founder of Brown University, wrote about it in 1744. He wrote: “The distance between the first and second resurrection will be somewhat more than a thousand years. I say somewhat more because the dead saints will be raised and the living changed at Christ’s appearing in the air.”
James Macknight, 1763, and Thomas Scott, 1792, taught the Rapture of the righteous, secure in heaven until judgment is over.
Many theologians today state that God does nothing in secret. But, is the Rapture a secret, or not?
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about the Rapture, referring to it as “a mystery.” Proponents of the Rapture portray it as a secret, as if it is something that only a few informed people can know about. But this is not the case.
There are a total of seven of these mysteries in Scripture, and the Rapture is one of them. Like all mysteries, the Rapture is a New Testament revealing, at the right time, what has always been part of God’s plan. Biblical mysteries are not unexplained riddles or unsolvable detective stories.
1 Corinthians 15:51 I tell you A MYSTERY: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye.”
Christians who believe in the Rapture are often accused of cowardness, not being prepared to suffer, and wanting to escape the brunt of God’s wrath. Is this then the great escape? The Bible tells us so.
Luke 21:36 “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen.”
It will be a sin if God punishes our sin once in the body of His Son, Jesus Christ, and again in our bodies. Thus, God removes the righteous before He punishes the earth dwellers. And we get to praise God for His mercy.
Sources for RAPTURE CONTROVERSY:
I’m Louise Krüger, an introvert who enjoys getting lost in deep things, and my go-to place for this is the Word of God. Am I a theologian? By no means, but I love to study and unearth truths with the help of the Holy Spirit and scholars who know more than me. And then to serve them in bite-size pieces for those who cannot study for hours. Faith in God is not blind; it is evidence-based. Dear online friend, I would love to inspire, encourage, and walk with you on this journey.