The Rapture of the Church -- By: Arthur B. Whiting

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 102:407 (Jul 1945)
Article: The Rapture of the Church
Author: Arthur B. Whiting

The Rapture of the Church

Arthur B. Whiting

To discuss any prophetic subject these days is to invite caustic criticism from many quarters. The fact is that the whole realm of eschatological teaching has been thrown into disrepute and discredited by speculative theories and prophetic forecasts which find no warrant in Scripture, but rather are condemned by divine revelation.

Anyone who seeks to get acquainted with the literature dealing with our subject soon realizes that there is a veritable maelstrom of theory, conjecture, disputation and exposition. It is fitting, therefore, that we approach our subject in the spirit of Moses before the burning bush. We must lay aside the garb of idle curiosity and the shoes of human speculation, and draw near to the burning bush of divine revelation with reverence and confidence.

That the Lord Jesus is coming again is generally admitted among all who accept the Word of God as authoritative. One would not expect it to be otherwise since the Scriptures are replete with references to it. Apart from the substitutionary death of Christ, there is scarcely a subject in the whole field of written revelation that has so much attention bestowed upon it. Arithmetic mention is not necessarily a sure indicator of the relative importance of any subject, but the frequency with which the Lord’s return occurs surely is not altogether without significance.

No little confusion exists with regard to the Lord’s second coming, because there has been a failure to distinguish things which differ. The Scriptures make it perfectly plain that there are two stages or aspects in which His coming may be viewed. Christ is seen as coming for His saints and

with them, and it is quite evident that the two are not synonymous. With regard to the former truth, He is represented as coming to the atmospheric heavens where He shall meet and receive believers who are supernaturally caught up from the earth; with respect to the latter fact, He is portrayed as descending to the earth, accompanied by His glorified redeemed ones, to establish the long-promised and eagerly-awaited Messianic kingdom.

It is the first-mentioned aspect of our Lord’s return which thus forms the subject of this present consideration. This great future event is frequently termed “The Rapture” in contradistinction to Christ’s return to earth which is called “The Revelation.” Like the word “trinity,” the term “rapture” is not used in Scripture, but the absence of both words in no way militates against the plain and positive teachings which they represent.

Of the several passages in the Word of God referring to ...

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