By Douglas Stauffer and Andrew Ray, Copyright 2016.
This book-form contemporary commentary on First and Second Thessalonians is included in the SwordSearcher library and includes 17 charts in the Image Viewer.
The question for all ages: Does the Bible conclusively prove that God will Rapture the Church before, during or after Daniel's Seventieth Week, commonly referred to as the Tribulation period? As the controversy rages and debaters rant and rave, Dr. Stauffer and Dr. Ray methodically, systematically, and scripturally consider many of the end times' details concerning the timing of the Rapture. This concise commentary on the prophetic events of First and Second Thessalonians provides definitive and undeniable proofs showing that the scripture holds the answer when freed from private interpretation. It is important to understand the timing of the Blessed Hope since it serves as a primary impetus for godly living. With so many contrary voices, the Church's spiritual survival hangs in the balance.
The Philadelphian Church Age basked in the sunlight of hope that is the Blessed Hope (Tit 2:13). As the Rapture message flourished, it inflamed a desire within the saints of God to live holy lives and win the lost to Christ. During this period, revivals were widespread, souls were saved, hymns birthed, and churches planted. As the Blessed Hope mutated from a sure hope, the clarity and conviction of the Philadelphian Church Age gave way to the darkness of doubt, despair, and uncertainty found in the present Laodicean Church Age.
End-times' understanding has become much like the vision described by the prophet Isaiah (Isa 29:9-14). Those who should be in the know are in a "deep sleep" having closed their eyes (Isa 29:10; Re 3:17). Neither the learned (Isa 29:11) nor the unlearned (Isa 29:12) appear to offer definitive solutions concerning true Bible interpretation. Even those who believe and love the Bible seem to promote the Rapture by citing verses that neither speak directly of the Church's Rapture (Re 4:1) nor reference a Rapture at all (Mt 24:31). Additionally, those who trust in the ever allusive "original autographs," that they neither possess nor any longer exist, cannot discern the difference between Israel and the Church, the Kingdom and the Church, or the Rapture and the Second Advent.
The Bible frequently characterizes the Christian life as a battle and an athletic contest requiring discipline and endurance for success. Yet, many Christians are both AWOL and unfit for the spiritual challenge. Compounding the problem are those who expound the scriptures to others. Today's teachers are clouded by assumptions, presuppositions, and pet perceptions. Often, they simply continue teaching what they have previously taught or parrot what they have heard from their favorite teaching personality. This takes place without regard for the actual truth. Unfortunately, some of the most insidious attacks against truth have originated amongst those closest to the truth. This generally ensues because of pride, ignorance or personal ambition.
A return to the light of God's WORDS (Ps 119:130) remains the only remedy for putting the darkness of doubt and despair to flight. No book, however well it may be written, will restore your hope in the Blessed Hope. No preacher, regardless of how charismatic, eloquent, or intellectual he may present himself, can clear the fog caused by false information concerning the end-times. You read that correctly! The authors of this work are not the authority. Not even close! The words penned and typed are insufficient to restore anyone's lost hope. However, the SCRIPTURE contained within this work framed within their intended contexts can serve to restore the light and hope undermined through decades of inconsistent ambiguity.
After spending months reading, writing and researching, we are more convinced today of the Pre-millennial, Pre-tribulation Rapture than when we embarked on this spiritual endeavour. During the process of writing this commentary, our understanding has grown exponentially as students of Bible prophecy. We have become increasingly convinced of the soundness of our positions based upon Bible study, along with some sound exegetical and theological persuasions involving the brethren. This interaction has included brethren both aligned with Pre-tribulation Rapture eschatology and those adamantly oppose to this position.
We encourage you to trust the scripture! We invite you to evaluate our words in light of the perfect words of God! Where we may have erred, choose the Bible. However, we are convinced that anyone subservient to the scriptures will agree that the doctrine of the Pre-tribulation Rapture is the doctrine taught by scripture. This will not come to pass if we wrest the scriptures in order to cause them to prove an unprovable treatise, but only because this work explores the topic of the Pre-tribulation Rapture through the eyes of a contextual scriptural Bible study.
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.