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

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 102:408 (Oct 1945)
Article: The Rapture of the Church
Author: Arthur B. Whiting


The Rapture of the Church

Arthur B. Whiting

(Concluded from the July-September Number, 1945)

{Editor’s note: The footnote in the original printed material was numbered from 5 but is numbered 1 in this electronic edition.}

From the foregoing exposition of the central passage of revelation concerning the rapture, it will be observed that a number of features characterize this great event. First, it will be sudden. There seems to be a disposition on the part of some expositors to interpret certain events of Scripture as processes, a weakness usually revealed in explanations of prophetical subjects. This Thessalonian passage, like the rest of God’s Word, will admit of no such exegetical jugglery. The rapture is a sudden event in point of time and must not be conceived of as a long-drawn-out process in human history. Confirmation of this is seen in at least two additional Scriptures. In 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52, we read: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: we all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” Language could scarcely be clearer in indicating the rapidity of the change to be effected at the Savior’s return. And the Patmos seer, in recording the last spoken words of the Lord Jesus, reveals that the return itself will be sudden: “I come quickly,” i.e., suddenly. Scoffers may sneer at the seemingly delayed coming, but when the Redeemer returns for His own it will be with the suddenness of a Hitlerian blitzkrieg.

A second characterizing feature is that it will be selective. By such an expression we do not mean that only certain Christians will be taken to be with their Lord, while others are to be left to undergo a purgatorial treatment of suffering on the earth. This is a view which unfortunately has found credence among even otherwise well-taught Bible believers, but nowhere can we find warrant in the

Word of God for such teaching. On the contrary, the Biblical terminology leaves no doubt that the Rapture will concern every believer, living or dead. Every dead born-again one and every living regenerate will share in this stupendous event.

It is thus a selected people for which the Lord returns. The rapture has no direct significance for the godless and unsaved dwellers of earth; it is the second aspect of His return—the revelation—which will have fulness of meaning for the unsaved as He comes in judgment and destroys even with the breath of His mouth and brings to naught by the very manifestation of His presence (2 Thess 2:8). Nor can we be s...

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