What Do We Mean by the Imminency of the Rapture?

Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.

The Definition of Imminency:

The dictionary defines imminent as “ready to take place,” “hanging threateningly over one’s head,” “impending” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, 1963). Because of the negative denotation of the term, some of us prefer to refer to the Rapture, which is a joyous event, as being at any moment.

The Description of the Imminent Return of Christ:

Christ’s return for His church can happen at any moment. It will be sudden and unannounced. Other events may happen before the Rapture, but nothing else must take place.

Renald Showers suggests three features that are true of an imminent event:

a. Since it is unknown when the event will take place, it is impossible to say what amount of time will transpire before the event takes place.

b. A person cannot legitimately set or imply a date for the event to occur.

c. A person cannot legitimately say that an imminent event will happen soon. No prophecies need to be fulfilled before it can occur. But it does not have to occur this year or this decade. (Maranatha Our Lord Come, 127-128).

The coming of Christ was just as imminent in the days of the Apostles as it is today. Obviously, in God’s eternal counsel the date of the rapture has been determined. Today we are one day closer to that glorious event than we were yesterday.

The Defense of the Imminent Return of Christ:

Even those who do not subscribe to the pretribulational rapture, agree that the New Testament teaches the vivid expectation of Christ’s imminent coming. Numerous passages could be cited; two must suffice.

a. Philippians 3:20 “For our citizenship is in heaven from which we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” The words translated “look for” speak of eager expectation and intense yearning. The Second Advent of Christ is preceded by various signs (Matthew 24; Revelation 19). The Rapture could occur at any moment.

b. Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearance of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.” The term “looking for” means to await eagerly. For the Christian the Rapture can be joyfully anticipated, for it will deliver him from sin, suffering and the coming tribulation (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9).

© Manfred E Kober

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