Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | January 25, 2016

What is Coming Next for the Church and Israel

Defending the Biblical Truth of the Rapture

There seems to be an increasing amount of discussion on the ordering of events surrounding the removal of the church from this world by the “Rapture.” I would like to devote some time to considering the rapture and examine how it most likely fits in with the other end time events described in the Bible.

For purposes of clarity I know the word rapture does not appear in the English translation of the New Testament but there is a simple explanation for that. In the Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament, the Greek word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17,  for taken up is ἁρπαγησόμεθα, which is transliterated in its root form as harpazō.

This word is translated, in most English translations, as “caught up, taken up, or shall be seized” or something similar. When the Latin translation, called the Vulgate, was made the Greek word was translated into the Latin as “rapiemur” which became rapture in English. Regardless of the language the concept of the word is to be suddenly caught up or taken up.

The Church Age

For over 1,982 years we have all been living our lives in what is called “The Church Age or The Age of Grace.” This block of time has been carved out of “The Times of the Gentiles” during which God is assembling a group of individuals to become the “Body of Christ” the church. The Church Age began at Pentecost on May 25, 33 AD (See note) and will end at the Rapture of the Church, a date still future whose timing is known only to God.

During this remarkable period God, the Holy Spirit, has baptized those who receive Christ as Savior into an everlasting assembly known as the Church. At the point of salvation the Holy Spirit joins with the individual to form a union that will last for all eternity; each believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and becomes a temple of God, the Holy Spirit.

This wonderful blessing started at Pentecost and will end at the Rapture; membership in the true church will close at that time. Although people were saved before Pentecost and will be saved after the Rapture they will not be a member of the true church, the Body of Christ. This is a privilege reserved for those who are born again during the Age of Grace and baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Which Events Remain to be Fulfilled?

There are several end time events described in the Bible which have yet to be fulfilled. The Bible does not specify their exact timing and their sequence so, as one might expect, there has been a great deal of discussion and speculation on those subjects.

I believe in a dispensational interpretation of the Bible so I will continue my examination from that perspective. From that perspective Israel has a future which was promised to it by God. The best explanation of what is going to happen and why has been given to us in the prophecies of Daniel; I’ve written on the Seventy Weeks prophecy here: The Seventy Weeks Prophecy of Daniel This is the first in a three part series on the subject.

A major thrust of this prophecy was the dividing of Israel’s last 490 years into two parts, a period of 483 years which included the First Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, and a shorter period of 7 years which is still future. It is the 7 year period which is referred to as the Tribulation.

The 483 year segment was brought to a close by the entry of the Lord into Jerusalem on March 30, 33 AD.

 Next we will consider those events preceding Israel’s last seven years.

Note – All First Advent dates are based on the work of Dr. Harold Hoehner in his book, “Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ.” Zondervan Corp. 1977


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