Is The Rapture A Number Specific Event?

Q. First of all, I thank God for making your knowledge and understanding available to the body of Christ and thank you for giving your time and energy to this excellent ministry. Now to my question.

I have heard and read many times that the timing of the rapture is based on the completion of the church, whatever number God decides is complete. This explanation has always seemed arbitrary to me and God is anything but arbitrary. Also, I’m not aware of any scripture that says this or even hints at it. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

A. The Scripture that hints at the rapture being a number specific event rather than a date specific one is Romans 11:25.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.

There are two Greek words in this verse that lend critical support to a proper understanding. The first is translated “full number”. It’s a nautical term that describes the pre-determined number of sailors necessary to operate a ship. Until the ship had its full number of crew members, it could not sail. This is why ship captains sometimes got unsuspecting men drunk and kidnapped them late at night and then set sail immediately.

And the second, translated “come in” is also a nautical term that described the ship’s arrival at its intended destination.

By using these terms, Paul was saying that the hardening of Israel’s heart will not be fully removed until the Church reaches its pre-determined number and has been taken to heaven. There’s nothing arbitrary about God’s action here. He has already determined the number and will take the Church to its intended destination as soon as it’s reached.

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