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Holman Bible Dictionary


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The catching up of believers by Christ at the time of His return. The word came into use by way of the Latin rapio used to translate the Greek term of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 , harpagesometha . Living believers are said to be “caught up” to meet the Lord at His coming. Those of varying millennial views about end time events all hold firmly to the biblical truth of such a rapture. However, it is within the premillennial view that the teaching of a rapture finds major emphasis.

This view sees a tribulation period immediately before the second coming of Christ. Pre-tribulationists see the rapture occurring prior to the tribulation. This approach places the church in heaven during the time of tribulation on earth.

Mid-tribulationists place the rapture at the mid-point of a seven-year tribulation period. The church remains on earth for the first half of the tribulation, but escapes the last half which is seen to be the time of intense or great tribulation. This view, along with the previous one, sees the second coming of Christ in two phases. The first phase will be a secret coming in clouds to rapture the church. The second will be His return with the church to reign on earth.

Posttribulationists hold the church will remain on earth during the tribulation period. While that time will be one of wrath upon the world system, the church will be protected from divine wrath although experiencing tribulation. This view avoids dividing the return of Christ into two phases. See Eschatology ; Future Hope ; Tribulation .

Jerry W. Batson

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Rapture'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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