πετροστελος

April 11, 2009

Rapture, not

I have been reading N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope and have been finding his views very refreshing and intelligent.  Last Sunday was Palm Sunday and we celebrated the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  With this scenario in my mind, I find that N.T. Wright’s explanation of 1 Thessalonians 4 makes perfect sense of the text (Surprised by Hope,  p. 132-133):

When the emperor visited a colony or province, the citizens of the country would go to meet him at some distance from the city.  It would be disrespectful to have him actually arrive at the gates as though his subjects couldn’t be bothered to greet him properly.  When they met him, they wouldn’t then stay out in the open country:  they would escort him royally into the city itself.  When Paul speaks of “meeting” the Lord “in the air,” the point is precisely not–as in the popular rapture theology–that the saved believers would then stay up in the air somewhere, away from earth.  The point is that, having gone out to meet their returning Lord, they will escort him royally into his domain, that is, back to the place they have come from.  Even when we realize that this is highly charged metaphor, not literal description, the meaning is the same as in the parallel in Philippians 3:20.  Being citizens of heaven, as the Phillippians would know, doesn’t mean that one is expecting to go back to the mother city but rather means that one is expecting the emperor to come from the mother city to give the colony its full dignity, to rescue it if need be, to subdue local enemies and put everything to rights.

See also, “What’s wrong with the Rapture“.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.