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BIBLE AND THEOLOGY FORUM
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Understanding Eschatology (the Rapture)

Eschatology is that branch of theology that studies "last things," eschat- = Greek for "last." Eschatology includes these topics:
death,
life after death,
the intermediate state (life after death and before the resurrection),
Hades / Sheol / Paradise / Tartarus, the Pit,
the rapture (meeting in the air with the Lord),
the resurrections,
Daniel's 70th "week" (see Daniel 9),
the "tribulation," (popular word for Dan's 70th week, {including
the "Beginning of Travail" and
The Great Tribulation (see Matthew 24},
The Day of the Lord (The Day of Yahweh),
the regathering of the nation of Israel,
the 2nd Coming of Christ,
the judgments (Judgment Seat of Christ, Sheep & Goat judgment {Mat 25}, Great White Throne Judgments,
The Lake of Fire / Gehenna
the Millennium,
the New Heaven & New Earth,
Eternity future.
"Hell" is a word that confuses two different things: Hades / Sheol vs. The Lake of Fire or Gehenna.

If a person wants to understand these topics, including the Rapture, one thing to do is to get out a good literal Bible translation (not the NIV) and a set of colored high-lighters. Then make a project of reading through the Bible in a year, marking the various topics of eschatology in different colors.

This year I am reading through the ASV (1901 edition) and marking eschatology with colors like

Blue = rapture and resurrection of the Church
Pink = Daniel's 70th Week ("tribulation")
Orange = Great White Throne judgment and Lake of Fire
Purple = intermediate state (Hades, Paradise, Sheol)
Yellow = Millennium & Eternal State.

My method is to mark all passages that should be considered for that topic, whether or not those passages actually refer to the topic or not. For example, in the Old Testament there are passages predicting judgment to come. Sometimes it may not be immediately apparent as to whether the prophet is predicting a historical judgment, such as destruction to come from the Assyrians vs. destruction to come during the "tribulation." In such a case, I mark the passage as "tribulation," and leave the interpretation for later.