The Bible is one of the most controversial books written by mankind. Regardless of the fact that the individual books were written by different anointed writers at dissimilar time periods, they seem to have been written by one author because they make perfect sense when put together to form the Bible. Since “The Bible” is a religious book, it is used by millions of people globally for spiritual nourishment. However, the lessons transmitted depend on an individual’s biblical interpretation of the prophecies and stories therein. One issue commonly misconstrued in the bible regards the book of revelation, concerning the end days. As Todd implores, biblical interpretation of revelations is a paradox surrounded by an enigma.
The approaching of the Lord is a very misconstrued prediction in the bible. In the book of Thessalonians 4:13-18, the scripture illustrates that the righteous shall be resurrected and taken to heaven from earth. The lord will come down from the heavens with a trumpet and will take all those that were faithful to him on their journeys on earth. The events preceding his arrival are referred to as the “pretribulation rapture”. This paper will critique the article “The Pretribulation rapture”, by Todd Strandberg in view of my teachers’ view and my textbook on the issue of biblical interpretation. The bible’s historical explanation of the words “rapture” and “tribulation” will be studied.
Todd presents the argument that “pretribulation rapture” supporters maintain that Matthew 24:31 uses the word to “gather” correspondingly with the verb to be “caught up” as illustrated in the book 1 Thessalonians 4:7. The word rapture can be found from Thessalonians 17 in Paul’s “caught up” remark. Caught up is translated from harpazo, which means to “carry off, grab hastily or snatch up”. It then became a Latin word, raptus, which later formed the English word “rapture”. In 1 Thessalonians 5:2, Paul caused some confusion by saying that “the Lord will come like a thief in the dark hours of the night”. People conclude that the day of the Lord has come, and that the “rapture” could happen any moment. In a second letter, in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 using the noun form “gathering” in place of the verb form “will gathering” as used in Matthew 24:31.
Therefore, concluding that the events in the books Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17 are dissimilar on the grounds that the two are different verbs is not valid with the factoring in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. In all these cases, Paul was referring to the same word, only that he contextually used them differently to express more excitement. Problems, according to the bible, are moments of difficulty. Analyzing this issue from another perspective, my teacher taught me that the event in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is referred to as “rapture”. 2 Thessalonians also has the same event, and therefore can as well be referred to as “rapture”. Logically, since these two are similar, there is no reason as to why the event in Mathew 24:31 cannot be referred to in the same perspective.
Todd continues to say that in the book of Mathew 24:36, it is clearly explained that no one knows the time of the coming of the Lord. Todd insists that the day and hour will remain unknown until the moment of the rapture itself. The time preceding this “rapture” is what is fundamentally referred to as the “moment of tribulation”. This moment is considered to be a time span of seven years before Christ appears in the clouds with trumpets and the holy being gathered into the heavens. This is in tandem with the teachings I get from my book, therefore, I totally agree. What I would like to critique is the Todd’s view of the Lord coming as a “thief”. In Mathew 24:42-51, we read about Jesus coming as a thief in the night.
This does not necessarily mean that the Lord will come in the night; it is just a parable indicating that he will be coming without prior notification as a thief does. The symbolism continues in 2 Peter 3:10, just as in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and Revelation 3:3. Jesus tells his people that no one knows the hour, minute or time when he will come. That is why he tells his people to repent, and be prepared for whatever time he will come which is mysterious. Thus, the view that Todd holds onto that the moment of tribulation will last for seven years before the arrival of the Lord is not feasible.
After Jesus announces the Lords second coming (Parousia), he tells the parable of the fig tree. A fig tree has seasons, and Jesus used this illustration symbolically. In Luke 21:24, Israel is compared to a fig tree that has its time for withering and blossoming. The verse prophesized that Israel would fall into the hands of Gentiles as prisoners, and it happened. Just as they had a time to shine, they had to taste the tribulations of slavery. As Todd maintains, the second arrival of the Lord has many ciphers.
The current events of war, the development of nuclear weapons, and the changes in weather are all regarded as warning signs that the coming of the Lord is quite near; right at the door. I differ with this idea because scientists have evidence to prove every single act of nature. Thus, the natural calamities that happen in China, Philippines, and any other part of the world are the changes of the weather pattern owed to global warming. This shows that they do not act to fulfill a certain prophecy, but are the random and natural acts of Mother Nature.
Todd further illustrates that in the book of Daniel 12, there are major signs that precede the returning of the lord, called premonitions. This view contradicts the teachings from the book of Mathew 24:42-51, Revelation 3:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and 2 Peter 3:10 which explain that the Lord will come as a thief. No one knows the time, day, hour or year that the Lord will come and neither will there be signs of his imminent arrival. The views that the changes in weather, recurrent natural disasters, advancement in nuclear war technology, and wars are signs of the approaching of the Lords arrival day are not convincing. No one can adequately prove that the d-day is fast approaching. In general, the author has made appropriate use of the Bible; illustrated by a number of bible verses he has quoted as proof texts. Just as we are all different, the author understands the prophecy is in-depth, only that he approaches the interpretation of the prophecy in the bible differently.
Todd Strandberg “The Pretribulation Rapture”.