Raptures are a subject of great importance to members of certain Christian groups. It is a much debated topic, but there is no doubting the conviction that believers hold; for them it is a fact. If they are right then those who do not believe in raptures or who have not prepared themselves by becoming born-again will be in for untold suffering.
What are raptures?
Those who put their faith in raptures believe that Jesus will return for his followers just before the end times or shortly after. Once his born again devotees are taking out of harm’s way the world will then enter a seven year period of unimaginable suffering before arriving at judgement day. The word rapture refers to the idea that his saved Christian followers will be “lifted up” out of harm’s way.
Where is the evidence about raptures?
The evidence for the rapture comes from the bible, but it is never mentioned specifically in the text. Devotees firmly believe that there is enough evidence in the text to put the idea beyond question; although sometimes you have to read between the lines. The fact that this idea relies so much on other people’s interpretation of biblical text means that most Christians would not hold it to be a fact. Many of those who feel strongly about the rapture believe that these other Christians are not going to be saved from the times of tribulation; they are not rapture-ready and some would even go so far as to claim that non-believers are on the side of Satan.
What happens after the rapture?
There is disagreement between the various groups who believe in raptures. Some claim that followers will be whisked off to heaven while others believe it will be to a new Earth that has been especially created by Jesus. Meanwhile on Earth, things will descend into chaos as the time of tribulation arrives. Other rapture followers believe that saved Christians will have to hang around for some of the years of tribulation but will escape just before things get really bad. The less optimistic believers in raptures claim that the saved will have to endure the tribulation before being lifted up. At the end of the seven year Jesus will return and with it will come judgement day.
Who believes in raptures?
This idea is associated with certain evangelical groups in the United States. It was popular in the UK and the rest of Europe back in the eighteenth century among followers of the Plymouth Brethren. There has been a bit of a revival in Europe as certain American evangelical groups find followers, but nowhere near to the same extent as in the States. Those who hold with the idea of raptures tend to be very eager to spread their belief because they feel there is not much time life left before the end; these followers feel it is their duty to save as many as possible. Less charitable commentators claim that spreading the word about raptures is often done by people trying to make money from other people’s fears and by taking advantage of the fact that some people will believe almost anything.
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