INTRODUCTION: The rapture has become a popular theology, like many of our feel good, urban legend theologies; they lead people into fantasy, but far from reality and scripture. America loves vampires, mystery and intrigue. The rapture plays right into their thinking. We do not attend churches based on the knowledge and correct theology. We attend churches because of friends, popular or lively music and/or a zealous entertaining Preacher. I agree we should have those things, but in addition at Promise I teach and challenge all my parishioners to be learners and thinkers. We teach Greek so that no one, including me, can pull the wool over their eyes. 40% of all material is lost when any document is translated. Pastor’s must be scholars or they are merely well meaning people that do not possess the right to preach. Even the disciples went through three years of training!
Throughout this paper you will see an “absoluteness” and what may seem to be inflexibility. When dealing with theology, I do not have a flexible position. How this is implemented must be done with Grace and Love, but the discussion is concrete. Please temper my remarks through this lens!
The rapture and those who teach it are false theologians, and speculate an exciting ending. Unfortunately they destroy scripture and take Christ’s redemptive work away from Jesus and give it to us. Under this theology we now save ourselves. We cooperate with God to get into heaven. I understand their theology. They claim that by God giving those who are left a second chance, is the greatest act of God’s grace. Unfortunately, just like their theology on Baptism, this has already occurred, once and for all. God does not need a second redemptive act anymore than we need a second Baptism. God can’t get any more merciful. He already has poured out all the mercy that is ever needed. For Lutherans, God has done it all already and continues to save us. Soli Deo Gloria––To God alone be the Glory! Therefore on behalf of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, it has become essential for me to refute this heresy and those who teach it. Below will be a systematic process of proving the rapture wrong. I pray that through the power of the true Spirit all who read this will come to know the knowledge of Jesus Christ, leave these churches and unite with the truth. Better yet, create a new church with all the zeal of the contemporary church with the theology of a Lutheran.
Before beginning, I would like to share a personal note. I did not come by this easily. As a young student I struggled with various theologies and questioned everything. When it came to the book of Revelation I asked God for understanding and he gave it to me. I was overwhelmed in the spirit. Then later in life I went to school for my masters in theology and as I was being taught it was what I had already known. The school put better and proper words to my thoughts, but the theology was the same. Was this revelation to me? Was this God? I am always learning and am always open to God’s Word revealed, but until I am convinced by scripture that I am wrong, this is the Word of God!
ORIGIN: John Nelson Darby first proposed and popularized the pre-tribulation rapture in 1827. This view was accepted among many other Plymouth Brethrenmovements in England. Darby and other prominent Brethren were part of the Brethren Movement which impacted American Christianity, especially with movements and teachings associated with Christian eschatology and fundamentalism, primarily through their writings. Influences included the Bible Conference Movement, starting in 1878 with the Niagara Bible Conference. These conferences, which were initially inclusive of historicist and futuristpremillennialism, led to an increasing acceptance of futurist premillennial views and the pre-tribulation rapture especially among Presbyterian, Baptist and Congregational members. Popular books also contributed to acceptance of the pre-tribulation rapture, including William Eugene Blackstone‘s book Jesus is Coming published in 1878 and which sold more than 1.3 million copies and the Scofield Reference Bible, published in 1909 and 1919 and revised in 1967.[Full citation needed]
The early original Christian church, as well as the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox churches, the Anglican Communion and many Protestant Calvinistdenominations, have no tradition of a preliminary return of Christ and reject the doctrine. The Orthodox Church, for example, rejects it because the Protestant doctrine of the rapture depends on a millennial interpretation of prophetic scriptures, rather than an amillennial or postmillennial fashion.
For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapture
ORIGIN COMMENT: As you can see this is not something that was riveted in history. It was invented! It was inspired by a little girl’s dream. For 1,800 years no one thought of this. The apostles never spoke of it, nor is it in scripture. Scripture has been re-worked to imply it, but due to ignorance no one has seen through the lie. I will explain all of this later. For now, note that the rapture is a recent design and not an understanding from the apostles.
I will use a two prong approach to this discussion, one by reasoning and the second by scripture, seeing how the religions who support this would not be popular if it we not for the enlightenment, self-termination and self reliance. I will conclude with the truth of the end times and what will happen.
1. If the rapture happened today, why does my friend Roger get a second chance but my mom doesn’t? Why would God create a system where only a select few get a second chance to believe and be saved, while all those who died before, get their life and that’s it. The rapture is a theology for those living in the here and now appealing to those who think only of themselves. As I have already shared, Christ’s mercy and love have already been “lavished” on us. There is no need for more. Just as the rich man who went to hell and pleaded for God to warn his brothers––Christ is and was our only warning. The rapture demeans the redemptive work of God and his absolute judgment. As if God would not know who would turn and who wouldn’t. We are judged by our hearts not our outward work. God does not need a proving period to see if we will change. He already know all who will change and when. It’s called foreknowledge!
2. It diminishes Christ. If Christ died once and for all, why does God need a rapture?
3. Jesus preached that those who are blessed are those who do not see. Why would God give the world such evidence. It is Faith that saves us, not sight. If a million people leave the earth like Tim LaHaye fictionally writes, who wouldn’t believe? Everyone has heard about this concept. Who wouldn’t believe after such catastrophic events? Come on! The rapture makes no sense in line with all that Jesus taught and did!!! If it were true then out of love for others I would never evangelize anyone who has a transportation job. All pilots, train conductors, taxi drivers etc. need to be atheists, otherwise they may kill a non-Christian during the rapture. Are you beginning to see how ridiculous this thinking is when it is played out in reality?
4. It is the most unloving event I have ever heard of. If my God, tortures my loved ones with fear and agony after I am gone, that is a horrible punishing God. Rapture believers say the rapture is a great act of love in that he gives some a second chance. If this were true, again extremely unfair and prejudice to those left, and again subtracts from the redemptive work of Jesus already done to save the world. The rapture is appealing because it feeds the flesh/ego of those self righteous who want revenge on those people beneath them! It creates a hierarchy! I actually had a non-denominational tell me she does not sin any more. After a few minutes of questioning, she found out she did, and unfortunately never came back to learn about Grace. My guess is that she went to a church that told her she was without sin again. We call those churches’s theology, “Holiness Churches.” A new form of Pharisee-ism!
5. Dispensationalism: Dispensationalism is the belief that God rules differently at different times. This is called descriptive theology, not prescriptive. In other words, people looked at what God did and “reason” that the Bible looks like God ruled differently at different times. The Bible prescribes i.e. like a prescription, that God is the same. He does not change his mind, and is the first and the last! Secondly, each different rule of God is ushered in by the failure of the previous rule. Therefore, when Christ sets himself up as ruler, on a temple 7,392,000 feet high, his rule fails and that ushers in the last dispensation and the end comes according to the Rapture theology. Maybe it failed because no one can live above 18,000 feet! The rapture is a silly theology for the silly minded.
SCRIPTURE: I will begin by refuting the passages used by Rapture heretics, and then show the passages that refute the rapture, ending with the passages of truth about the end times. There is a day when Christ comes back, but that is all there is!
1. Luke 17:32-36 NIV Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.
35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. This is not the entering of the tribulation. In the end, I will be taken and an atheist will be left behind to be consumed by fire. I am taken into the air to unite with the saints coming down from heaven. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18. Therefore, Luke 17 is not a rapture verse, but just a verse describing how we will be separated, sheep from goats, good from bad…
2. Revelation 3:10 (NIV)0 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. The rapture-ist’s say that this is the rapture. Although it is written to Philadelphia and all the Apostles experience a trial as did Philadelphia, they still seem to think that this means those who believe will not experience a trial. Again, this would be revenge by God and sparing us from trial. God did not promise that we would have no trials, if anything he “prescribes” that there will be trials. That is the mark of a Christian. So why spare anyone? This is inaccurate convoluted thinking to assume that this passage “prescribes” the rapture, as opposed to merely “describing” the events in Philadelphia and prescribing what’s going to happen to them!
3. Revelation 4:1 (NIV) After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” This is where they place the rapture in scripture. Unfortunately for them: Revelation 13:7 (NIV) He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. How did the saints get back on the earth in Chapter 13 if they were raptured? I know it’s the new saints and a second harvest of people Rev. 14:14-15. Then the end should come, but no, there is more left to the story. Our loving, caring God wants to torture the people some more, according to the rapture-ists. And if only the non-believers remain who will teach them? Well they say it is some of the Pastor’s who were not that good who also get called to be left behind and teach. So, I guess according to them I get left behind to teach . Wow! And we find this here in scripture??????
***That’s about all they have along with a much embellished story. Although at times they can piece details form the Old Testament to certain pieces of Revelation, they cannot make it all fit. They can’t explain Babylon, nor can they rectify the Gospels, New Testament and the Old Testament, hence the invention of dispensationalism to help. They basically shot an arrow and painted a target around it over the years.
Now let’s look at what Scripture does say!
1. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 (NIV) Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape
1A. The word quick and soon are the same word in Greek. Where Revelation is saying “soon” can also mean quickly as the rest of scripture agrees i.e. fast. John assumed that this would all take place soon, that’s why he wrote in haste.
1B. “They will not escape” There is no “left behind” to get a second chance.
2. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (NIV) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Matthew 25:31 (NIV) “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
2A. God does not come quietly. The first rapture of people is silent according to the rapture-ists. Scripture does not support this. They hang much of their theology on the passage, so they can’t switch and say this is a last, last time and still use it as evidence for the first last time.
3. Luke 12:44-46 (NIV) I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. No second chance!
4. Acts 1:7 (NIV) He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. The words for time in Greek are Chronosand Kairon. Chronos is where we get chronological time and Kairon is a period in time. You are taking your Kairon to understand the Chronos of events. If Revelation is meant to be literal, then we will know the times and dates. We’ll know how much time they have to believe and makes God predictable during the Tribulation. Again, just not true.
5. Matthew 24:9 (NIV) “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. No one who believes will escape persecution as the rapture-ists suggest. The Apostles did not!
6. Hebrews 9:28 (NIV) so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. No where does he mention giving them a second chance. It might be an important concept seeing how God wants all to be saved. He comes back and that’s it!
7. John 5:28-29 (NIV) “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. Again, that’s it. No second chance.
8. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NIV) 1Th 4:13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left til the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words. The end time is to encourage us, not scare us half to death. Just like the Catholic Church that tried to scare people into baptizing their babies through the Black Mass–Now it’s the rapture. Same old stuff. Same old strategy.
9. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (NIV) Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. Why would God give Satan another chance to deceive his people, when he tells us that is second coming will destroy Satan’s work?
10. Matthew 25 1-13, 14-30 & 31-46 The door is shut, no second chance for anyone and those separated are going to hell in each case. Now, the Rapture-ists say that this is the second, second coming. The first was silent in which all the Christians were “raptured.” No where in all of scripture does it speak of this. NO WHERE!
11. Matthew 13:24-30, 40-42 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 ” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 ” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ” “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Again, no second chance for the weeds to correct themselves.
12. In God’s nature he gives us every opportunity to follow him. When the rich man went to hell and cried out for water, God said no. When he asked that his brothers be told, God said no. Our chance and God’s patience is here on earth now. Why would God give yet another chance to only those who were alive during the rapture and not to the billions who have died before? God has given me this response and his zeal. This is a false theology and all those who teach it are false teachers! Flee!
My dear friends, there is so much more I want to show you. I cannot write books on the internet to persuade you that you are buying into a lie. I can only plead with you, as I’m sure you would for your loved ones to believe and be saved. The Rapture is a false theology. With all my heart, God has spoken to me. He revealed this as well as I learned it. This is how you confirm a revelation. Not by having a deep feeling. It must be confirmed and critically examined.
Now, what does God and scripture teach us? The end will come and all will be done away with. The Apostles were post millennialists. They believed that it had already happened and we believe as they did, but we add to it that it continues on. What they could not know is that the world was not going to end tomorrow. As Amillenialists we believe that we are in the reign of Christ, the church and the tribulation all at the same time. The three cycles are of the same time. We have all four horsemen on earth now. We have pollution and God’s wrath for those who do not believe all now on the earth. That explains why bad things happen. The tribulation is upon us, we call out to God, for Christ is all powerful and reigns today and as one body, his church, we are triumphant. Amillenialism is just post millenialism extended.
PLEASE, this is an over simplification. For more accurate information, go and learn from scholars!
Now, what to do:
One, if your church believes in this, rebuke them. Talk to your pastor. Do NOT leave the church entirely; just find one that teaches the truth. Make sure your Pastor has been properly educated and properly called.
Two, despite my frustration and anger at ridiculous theologies, I love my crazy brothers and know that through Grace, by faith they will be saved. What hurts is that they don’t feel the same about me. Many of the reformed non-denominational movement are separatist groups that feel only they will be saved and for we who rely on Grace are relying on cheap grace and will not be saved. I have heard these publically proclaimed on KWAVE radio by a Non-denom pastor in Florida and others.
Three, LEARN! I am a teacher by gift. Know what you’re getting into, don’t just find a friends church. That is not a valid criteria!
RecommendReading: Commentary“Revelation” Concordia Publishing House by Brighton
Four, Stay put. Stop church hopping. It prevents discipline and Gods’ discipleship. It’s not what you WANT in a church, but what God has SAID through his church.
Finally, I cannot do justice to this topic on paper. If I have created a doubt that the rapture is wrong, learn more. Begin to ask: What is your pastor’s education level? Can he/she translate Greek? Do they align with ALL of scripture? Are they mature in their faith or a recent convert? Does their theology have 500 years behind it or do they make it up as they go along?
May God be the Glory in His church and through His Son our Savior Jesus Christ!
Here I stand I can do no other.
The Rapture is a false theology!