Bruce Warner (4 July 2011)
"SCRIPTURE DOES NOT TELL US THE RAPTURE IS 'IMMINENT', BUT RATHER THAT IT IS 'EXPECTANT
Bruce, you make a good point! I think you would like my chapter on the Rapture in my recently published book: A Better World Is Coming Soon - Don’t Miss It. Here is a very brief excerpt. The book is also a great witnessing tool for everyone.
Imminence or Certainty?
There are no specific passages in the Bible that teach the concept of “imminence,” but there are a number of passages that strongly refute it as just shown with James 5:7-8. Some Old Testament passages use terms that at first glance could suggest immediacy are: Isaiah 13:6; Ezekiel 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1; Obadiah 15 and Haggai 2:6. But the words “near” and “at hand” and in “a little while” in these passages cannot mean that the “Day of the Lord” was near in regard to time. These passages were written from seven hundred to five hundred years before the First Coming of the Messiah. How could the “Day of the Lord” be near when the First Coming of the Messiah had not taken place? Scripture distinctly shows that there are two comings of the Messiah. In one coming Messiah dies for man (Psalm 22:6-8, 11-18; Isaiah 53:1-12) and the Second Advent He judges man and then reigns on earth (Isaiah 52:13-15; 63:1-6; 66:15-17; Habakkuk 3:3-6; Zechariah 14:1-4, 9; Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 19:11-21).
Messiah Jesus had to come the first time to die for man and the second time He comes to judge and reign on earth. The “Day of the Lord” which starts with the Tribulation could not be “near” or “at hand” or “a little while” until the Messiah had come the first time to die for man. We know the Messiah could not return to judge the world until the fourth kingdom of Daniel ’s prophecy (Rome) was established (Daniel 2:31‑45; 7:2‑28). When these prophets wrote, the third kingdom (Greece) had not yet risen.
If the words in the Old Testament, “near” and “about” and “a little while,” have nothing to do with the timing of the Rapture and the Second Coming, neither do similar words that are used in the New Testament. We know this because it has been over 1900 years since the New Testament was written and Christ has not returned. Instead of having to do with “nearness” in time these phrases have to do with the “certainty” of those events. We now understand that certain things had to take place before the Rapture could occur such as Israel becoming a nation; and we await the fulfillment of other forewarning signs such as those indicated in Joel 2:30-31 and Luke 17: 26-30.