Q. How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He is now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. Since Jesus must personally participate in the rapture, and since He can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends, the rapture therefore cannot take place before the end of the tribulation.
A. It’s an interesting argument, but if you look at it carefully you’ll discover what you’re actually saying is that the Rapture can’t take place until after the 2nd Coming. If Jesus has to stay in Heaven until “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” and if He has to personally participate in the Rapture, then you’re not talking about Him coming for the Church after the Great Tribulation, but after the 2nd Coming. No one advocates a post 2nd Coming rapture.
It’s more likely that Peter was speaking in general terms about the end of the age rather than specific ones. And don’t forget that when Peter made this statement, the doctrine of the Rapture hadn’t yet been introduced on Earth. It would be 20 years before Paul would reveal the “mystery” of the Rapture in his letters to the Thessalonians (1 Thes.4:16-17) and the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:51-52). In the Greek language the phrase “I tell you a mystery” means he was revealing a secret. There’s no evidence that Peter or the other disciples even knew about the Rapture before Paul disclosed it. We see hints of it in the Gospels, but only because we already know about it. The fact is, there’s no clear teaching on the Rapture of the Church that precedes Paul’s.