The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures Part I -- By: William K. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 114:456 (Oct 1957)
Article: The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures Part I
Author: William K. Harrison


The Time of the Rapture as Indicated in Certain Scriptures
Part I

William K. Harrison

[William K. Harrison is a Lieutenant General (retired) in the United States Army and now serves as Executive Director of the Evangelical Welfare Agency, Chicago, Illinois.]

The term rapture is commonly employed by Bible students to designate the translation of the church described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18. The fact of the rapture is accepted by those who accept the Bible as the Word of God, and who believe what it says. That the rapture will occur as an element of those events related to the second advent of Christ is likewise accepted by those persons. The question is whether it will occur before or after the period of unbelievable tribulation which is described by the Lord as immediately preceding His second coming to earth (Matt 24:16–30).

This tribulation is referred to by many Bible students as the great tribulation and, for sake of convenience, will be so designated in this study. It is mentioned or referred to in various places in the Old and New Testaments. The sixth to the eighteenth chapters of the Book of Revelation are believed to describe it in detailed but largely symbolic terms. In character it is absolutely without parallel as to its destructive and terrifying effects, and it is world-wide. If language has any real meaning, the terms used admit of no other or lesser conclusions.

Problem of the Time of the Rapture

There is serious honest disagreement among Christians who agree in their loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible, as to whether the rapture occurs before or after the great tribulation. In view of such conflicting opinions, the question arises as to whether it is profitable to continue efforts to settle what possibly cannot be susceptible of settlement, and which is not by any means a fundamental or necessary article of the Christian faith. The answer to this question is not in doubt; we should continue. The fact

that the problem exists and that only one of the conflicting opinions can be right should cause Christians to seek God’s truth. If they approach the subject objectively, without emotional or prideful influences, they will certainly improve their knowledge of the Bible and it may be that as we all seek to learn God’s truth He may give to the whole believing church a real and true understanding of the solution. As we approach the end of the age, the truth in this question becomes increasingly important to every believer and if there is an answer we should seek it.

The Bible ...

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