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THEOLOGY > Future > The End of the Age > The Rapture Question > Conclusion        


The title, “A Second Time,” (Heb. 9:28) would be an appropriate one for this division of study. The Lord came to earth the first time to purchase atonement for His own. He will return a second time to receive unto Himself His people, to put down evil, and to initiate eternity. This is the believer’s blessed hope.

Simply stated, the Bible teaches only one return, not two returns, nor a single return in two stages, with the two stages being separated by the years of the Great Tribulation. Neither does the Bible teach that the Rapture is a separate event from the Second Coming of Christ, which has been labeled by the Dispensationalist as the Revelation. There is no justification from Scripture for the assertions that the Second Coming of Christ is anything but a single, one-time coming. At a point in the future He will return, and when He returns the Rapture will take place.

The terms, “Rapture” and “Revelation” are simple two different ways of speaking of diverse aspects of His Second Coming. The words in no wise refer to different individual events, separated by a period of time. The Lord is coming “a second time.” On this point there is no equivocation in Scripture.

Since the Scriptures never hint at anything but a single coming of the Lord, then this undeniable fact must guide the framework for construction of the end-time sequence of events. Scriptures determine the system rather than someone constructing an eschatological system and then bringing the system to the Scriptures for support of the system. Eschatology is, as are all theological pursuits, essentially exegesis. The Scriptures alone establish the proper eschatological chronology.

Scriptures are the determining factor, but that does not preclude the perusal of historical interpretations. When this is done, it will be found that a one-time coming of the Lord is the oldest view. It has roots in the early church, reaching back to the period of the Church Fathers. The modern dispensational interpretation, that has a Rapture followed years later by a Revelation, is totally absent for the first eighteen hundred years of the Christian Church. While age is certainly not a guarantee of orthodoxy, new and novel interpretations certainly raise a huge red flag. What is recent must certainly be supported by Scripture if it is to gain acceptance by the Church, but this very modern innovation has no support in God’s Word, either explicitly or implicitly.

The Old Testament prophets must be interpreted
in light of their fulfillment in the person and mission of Jesus. . . .
The final word in doctrine, whether in Christology or eschatology,
must be found in the New Testament.

Pretribulationism is in fact an inference
in light of which the Scriptural teachings
about the second coming of Christ and the attending events are interpreted.
George Ladd

Teachers of pretribulationism complain that posttribulationists
shouldn’t saddle them with a burden of proof.
But why not saddle them with it?
Everybody agrees that the rapture occurs at the Lord’s coming.
First Thessalonians 4:13-18 says so explicitly.
The new Testament also says explicitly
that the Lord will come right after the tribulation,
but never that he’ll come before it.
Bob Gundry

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