This is a quote the Orange Mailman made in a recent blog post. I think this is a great statement because he is inviting students to search the scriptures to see if their position better reflects the scriptures.
As a child growing up in church, I was told that Christians would all of a sudden disappear in a secret rapture. The world would be left wondering to where millions of people disappeared. Cars would careen into each other creating massive pile-ups on the freeway. Planes would all of a sudden be without pilots sending them plummeting to the earth. Students would leave other students in the classroom gasping as all of a sudden the only thing left in the Christian student's chair would be a pile of clothes. (The class clown would probably joke that Richard was abducted by aliens.) Only believers would see the Lord at the rapture as they were caught up.
But does this viewpoint better reflect the scriptures?
Look at Hebrews 10:36-39... "For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul."
Three different individuals are referred to in the passage above in which the context is the Lord's return...
1) HE WHO IS COMING or Jesus
2)MY RIGHTEOUS ONE, the believer who has and lives by faith
3)the one who shrinks back to destruction
God does not take pleasure in those who do not live by faith. Only the unrighteous are destined to destruction (the righteous will gain the glory of Christ-2 Th. 2:14) so those shrinking back would have to be unbelievers.
Are there any other passages of scripture that give greater clarity? Lets look at Revelation 1:7- "BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen."
Did you see the 100% word? Every eye will see Him...
Next check out Luke 21:25-28..."There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in the perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
Unbelievers will be shrinking back, mourning, and fainting from fear. Believers will be straightening and lifting up their heads. The position or viewpoint that best reflects the scriptures is that at the catching away of the saints at the return of Christ all eyes will see the Lord coming in the clouds. Believers will marvel as they see the Lord coming, unbelievers will mourn.
2 Th. 1:10..."when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed..."
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