Imminency and the Any-Moment Rapture

by Dr. Thomas Ice

We believe that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ could come in the clouds at any-moment and take His church to be with Him to His Father's house (John 14:1-3). What a great hope, that while you are reading this article, our Lord could return and rapture His church. We have come to call this any-moment hope of the rapture an imminent event.

The English word "imminent" (of Latin derivation) can be used in many ways, it is used to note the New Testament teaching that Christ could return and rapture His church at any-moment, without prior signs or warning. Use of the term "imminency" entered the lexicon of American Evangelicalism around the end of the last century in contrast to the dominate, but waning, postmillennialism which taught that Christ's coming was not imminent.

Postmillennialism held that Christ's return must first await the Christianization of the world by the Church. By the 1930s, it was common to pack into one theological expression - imminency - all of the many New Testament ways in which Christ's coming for His Church is said to be possible at any-moment. Thus, imminency and the any-moment return of Christ became synonyms for the pretribulational rapture of the church.

In fact, imminency is such a powerful argument for pretribulationism that it is one of the most frequent and fiercely attacked doctrines by our opponents. Non-pretribulationists sense that if the New Testament teaches imminency, then pretribulationism is virtually assured.

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http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/imminency-and-any-moment-rapture