What is the "Blessed Hope"? 
by Sheila Lewis Busby
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Titus 2:13 

This verse is the only place in scripture that uses this phrase, yet many people are completely convinced that this is a reference to the rapture. And not only that, they use this verse as proof of a two stage return. Is the "blessed hope" the rapture? 

Sometimes, our "hope" is in the resurrection of the dead. 

  • Acts 24:15 having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 
  • Romans 8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 
  • 1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 
Sometimes our "hope" is in something we will receive here in this lifetime, and sometimes our "hope" is in things we will receive during the endtimes. 
  • Romans 5:2 ...we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.  
  • 1 Corinthians 9:10 ...and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop.  
  • 2 Corinthians 1:7 Our hope for you is unshaken... you will also share in our comfort. 
  • 2 Corinthians 10:15 ...but our hope is that as your faith increases, our field among you may be greatly enlarged, 
  • Galatians 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness.  
  • Ephesians 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  
  • Philippians 1:20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed...  
  • Colossians 1:4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven... 
  • Colossians 1:22 ...not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:3 ...and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?  
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:8 But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.  
  • 1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope 
  • 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

Consider this. In Titus 2:13, does the word "and" <2532> (in Strong's Concordance) necessarily mean that the two are two separate events? The same word "and" is spoken by Paul in Acts 23:6. 

  • Acts 23:6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; with respect to the hope AND <2532> the resurrection of the dead I am on trial." 
Are the hope and the resurrection of the dead two separate events now? 

And what did Paul have to say about "hope?" Paul, who in Titus 2:13 speaks of the "blessed hope," had already spoken of hope earlier in his letter. 

  • Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago 
He continues to speak about hope later in the letter. so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. 

Can we assume that out of three references to "hope" in Paul's letter to Titus, the middle reference refers to a different hope without stating so? 

Now, eternal life for us will be realized at the rapture, but the rapture will only be the first moment of eternal life for us. Our hope would not change if we were to endure tribulation before being raptured. 

Even if we could show that "blessed hope" definitely does not refer to the rapture, it would neither prove nor disprove the pre-tribulation view. The point here is this. If we have no proof that the phrase, "blessed hope," refers to the rapture, and if it cannot be shown that the word "and" necessarily separates two separate events, then 

Is it a good idea to base doctrine of a two stage return on such flimsy proof?
Copyright © 1997, 1998  Sheila Lewis Busby
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