Does the bible teach a 'rapture' of the saints? Part 1
There are a lot of divided opinions about the second coming of Christ. It has been coined the rapture in some quarters, with some believing in a pre-tribulation ‘rapture’ of believers while other hold onto a post-tribulation view.
To me, it seems much of these views have been arrived at without looking at the bible as a whole as the bible tells us that out of the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses every word is established.
The first of many books that points to the end times is the book of Daniel. In this book the rule of world powers and their demise was accurately predicted. The overthrow of the Kingdom of Babylon by Median and Persia was accurately predicted. The overthrow of Median and Persian was also predicted with a lot more detailed given in Daniel 10. Alexander the great led Greece in victory over the Median and Persian kingdom and at his demise his kingdom was split amongst his 4 generals and not his descendants.
One of the rulers of note during this period was Antiochus Epiphanes. He looked to change the culture and customs of the Jewish people.
27 The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.” Daniel 9
He defiled the temple by sacrificing a pig in it and this was referred to as ‘the abomination of desolation’.
One of the things that seem to stand against understanding of the end times is knowing which events have already been fulfilled and which are yet to be. And this has given rise to some new ideas and interpretation of scripture.
One of those that comes to mind is in relation to Antiochus Epiphanes. Even though his actions including defiling the temple and trying to change the customs of the Jewish people has already been fulfilled, certain denominations interpret this as a change of ‘Saturday’ worship to ‘Sunday’ worship. This approach obscures the true, bigger picture. All of these simply depicts the frailty of the human system of governance and the coming of God’s everlasting Kingdom.
When God gave the children of Israel the law and established his covenant with them, He also revealed to them the consequences of breaking it. They will be led into captivity amongst other things. From scriptures we see the children of Israel continually break God’s commands and this led to their eventual exile to Assyria and then Babylon. During the time of Media and Persia, they were brought back to their land and were subsequently ruled by the Greek and Roman kingdom. The demise of Jerusalem and the slaughter of the about a million Jews happened in the latter part of the Roman kingdom.