Welcome to Thus Say the Prophets!
Is the Rapture a Biblical Doctrine? By John of AllFaith © 4.16.08 (updated 5.17.11)
Let's discuss this on my Blog!
To make sure we are on the same page with what the Rapture is supposed to be, please begin by watching this 2 minute video by a Rapture beliving ministry:
The Rapture doctrine means one thing and one thing only. It does not refer to people going to Heaven after they die, to people having visions or traveling in visionary states etc. The Rapture theory refers to the belief in the nearly instantaneous translocation of every single "Born Again Christian" on earth to Heaven as shown in this video. It refers to the nearly instantaneous disappearance of millions (if not billions) of human beings around the globe without a trace. It speaks of the "taking away" of every child on earth, of jets falling from the skies as Christian pilots are "taken" (arguably a good reason not to hire Christians hehe); it foretells the worst multi-car pile-ups in history as every vehicle being driven by a Christian is suddenly abandoned and careens out of control, of husbands and wives, parents and their children being separated as the Christians are "taken" in a twinkling of an eye from all over the globe.
This is what we mean by the term Rapture.
The Doctrine of the Rapture of the Church is the popular Nicean Christian belief that at some point in the future HaShem will extract all true "Christians" from the earth, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" leaving everyone else here to suffer under the reign of the coming Antichrist (Rex Mundi).
This idea gained popular support through the teachings of Dr. Clarence Larkin (Dispensational Truths), Rev. Charles Scofield (The Scofield Bible), a plethora of Second and Third Great Awakening Evangelists (see my study The Great Awakenings for more on these religious developments), and more recently from the unbiblical works of fiction by Tim Lahey known as The Left Behind Series in which the Antichrist is depicted as a Transylvanian Dracula-type Liberal do-gooder gone bad! Likewise, Family Radio of Harold Camping has used this teaching to mislead millions. We need to understand the truth of this! Is this a biblical doctrine? Consider the following:
- In Summary
"Just the Facts Please!"
No Biblical Support:
- The "Rapture" is a new doctrine, not historically held by any segment of the Church prior to the mid 1800's.
- Proponants can't agree on the question of timing: Pre, Mid or Post Tribulation, so it's obviously not that clear. There are clear statements in the Revelation and elsewhere that contradict all three of the theorized time frames for a Rapture.
If this earth shaking event were truly a biblical prophecy it would be made clear by the holy prophets.
- One reason often given for why the Rapture must occur is that the Holy Spirit (the Ruach of HaShem: the Holy Presence of HaShem) must be removed from the Earth during the reign of the Beast (Rex Mundi/Antichrist). No biblical evidence for this view is ever offered nor can any be shown. Were God's Presence ever withdrawn from the Earth all life would instantly cease to exist since in the Spirit of Adonai "...we live, and move, and have our being..." (Acts 17:28).
Doctrinally this idea is even more problematic because were this accurate no one post Rapture could be "saved" nor have any communion with God (to be directed by Him etc.) and yet the biblical prophets clearly show divine intervention and inspiration throughout the entire final seven year period.
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were delivered but passed through the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:19). So too will we pass through the Seven Years or serve God's Will as martyrs.
- Daniel was delivered but he nonetheless went through the Lion's den (Daniel 6:16).
- The House of Judah survived King Nebuchadnezzar's tyrany but they passed though their Babylonian captivity.
- The House of Judah survived the wrath of Haman because Mordecai was inspired to say to Esther: "...who knows whether you haven't come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14). They went through the experiences and HaShem protected them. So too will we pass through the Seven Years or serve God's Will as martyrs.
- Nowhere in Scripture does Adonai remove His people in this way. They always pass through the "Red Sea" and continue in His service under His protection and inspiration.
Not Taught by Rebbe Y'shua:
- Rebbe Y'shua (Jesus) does not reference a Rapture in his important Matthew 24 list of signs in response to the question of his talmidim (students) "When will these things be?"
The Rapture would be a major sign for those left behind! Surely Y'shua would have explained what such an event would mean for those "left behind." Multitudes would be seeking to understand the prophecies and their fulfillment. They would be on their faces before HaShem begging for another chance. Would Y'shua leave them with any mention of such an event? According to most Rapture theories those left behind will still be able to find salvation as long they have not taken the Mark of the Beast. Surely Y'shua would have hammered this point home for them! Instead he mute on the subject? Makes no sense.
- Some advocates of this heresy point out that Rebbe Y'shua's Matthew 24 prophecy does reference 'those in the field' being "taken." They assume this is referring to the Rapture. Consider the context however. This warning is clearly speaking of the Jews of Jerusalem at the End of Days who will flee the beleaguered Holy City once Rex Mundi commits the "abomination of desolation spoken of by Prophet Daniel" (see Matthew 24:14 and 24:40, Revelation 12:). This is not referring to a Rapture when read in context.
In the same section (Matthew 24:17) we see clearly that such people would not have the option to return to their homes to retrieve their belongings under the conditions supposed in the Rapture teaching. Those who are wise will immediately flee. Those that fail to properly understand the signs will not flee and they will face the wrath of Rex Mundi (Revelation 12:).
And yet 'Those in the field,' 'on the roof tops' etc. are encouraged to run into the wilderness relying on nothing by Adonai, rather than returning home for their belongings. Such options would not exist in the Rapture as taught and so the reference can not be to it.
- Rebbe Y'shua does not discuss or even reference a Rapture in his prophetic presentations to John in the Book Revelation.
The imagined Rapture references at Revelation 1:10, 4:1 etc. are to John's spirit being "taken up" in his visions so he could behold what our Cohen Gadol (High Preist and Mediator) had to show him. Emissary Paul also references such experiences when he writes: "... whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: only God knows" (II Corinthians 12:2). These are not physical takings as with the Rapture theory and so can not be compared to such an event. Such statements are descriptive of visionary experiences only.
- Nicene Christians do not honor the Sabbath (as commanded in both the Tanakh and B'rit Hadashah -- the "Old" and New Testament writings) and so the Rebbe's concern on their behalf that this fleeing not take place on the Sabbath has no meaning for modern Christians. Master Y'shua would surely have known the Church would abandon the Sabbath three hundred years after his death and so there would be no reason for adding this. Clearly he is speaking to the Jews of Jerusalem in this verse who will confront the fury of the coming despot and his New World Order.
Not Taught by Rabbi Paul:
- Believers are advised to stand firm against the Son of Perdition (the Antichrist/Rex Mundi). To do so they must be present on the earth during his reign.
- The "Last Trump" (I Corinthians 15:52) is sounded to announce the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth and the beginning of Moshiach's reign (Revelation 11:15). Paul's comment in I Corinthians 15 specifically refers to the time that seventh shofar/trumpet is sounded. The Pre or Mid Tribulation Rapture as conceived would have taken place years before this shofar (ram's horn) is sounded according to the Book of the Revelation. It is sounded when the Jews are ALL gathered back to Jerusalem for the inauguration of the global theocratic Kingdom (Hosea 3:4-5, Isaiah 2:4, Isaiah 11:6-9).
Not Taught in the Book of the Revelation:
- Revelations 6:9 makes it clear that during the entire seven year period those martyred by the Antichrist and his New World Order must patiently wait, "until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." This clearly shows that there will be no Rapture to rescue their fellow Believers from martyrdom (unless one interprets the Rapture as referring to the elevation of the martyrs during this period, in which case a different term should be coined because that is not what people mean by the word Rapture).
- The prophetic word about the future of the Church makes it clear there will be no escaping the things that are coming. Throughout the Seven Church Ages (described in Revelation chapters 2 and 3) the Church has moved progressively farther and farther away from the God of Israel until, in the "Laodicean" End Times, the Church will embrace the Antichrist and be "vomitted out." If the Church deserves to be vomited out how and why would God rapture it away to safety and bliss? Will Adonai reward the lukewarm apostate Church for its failures and backsliding? May God forbid the thought!
- Both the Pre-Tribulation (the most commonly held view) and the Mid-Tribulation Rapture versions are directly and repeatedly contradicted by the clear biblical teachings concerning who will be on Earth opposing the Rex Mundi ("Global Potentate") during the final conflict. According to the prophets, the true Believers will be present throughout the Seven Year Tribulation Period that ends the age of the Goyim (Luke 21:24).
- The Pre, Mid and Post-Tribulation Rapture theories are biblically discounted when we consider that despite the Nicolaitan doctrines of people living in Heaven and walking on gold plated clouds, the Kingdom of Adonai will be on the Earth, not in Heaven. Y'shua made this clear when he taught us to pray: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).
The Book of the Revelation shows some few survivors of the Tribulation Period but most then alive will not endure to the end. The vast majority of lifeforms on the planet are going to die during the Tribulation period, at least 3/4. Those who die during the Tribulation as martyrs will immediately awaken to find themselves in Heaven before the Throne (Revelation 6:10). These will return to the Earth along with Y'shua and his angels to defeat the Rex Mundi and inaugurate the Theocratic Kingdom. Others will be resurrected during the Kingdom reign through two resurrections of the dead (one to life, the other to destruction.
- John explains that at certain points during the Tribulation Period -- including during the second half (known as the "Great Tribulation") -- Believers will receive various protections from certain of the plagues (compare Revelation 7:3, 9:4 etc). This establishes that they will obviously still be on the earth at those points.
- The foretold (and now present) "Laodicean Church" of the Last Days is depicted as a lukewarm, hypocritical body that has abandoned the teachings of Rebbe Y'shua. These people claim to be Jews but they are not (Revelation 2:9). Our final "Church age" has largely become irrelevant in the world surrendering its authority to Islam, Secular Humanism and general apathy. Eventually it will kneel before Rex Mundi and his high priest the False Prophet as it becomes Babylon the Great (and/or her daughters). Portions of the Church are even now being "vomited out" as is obvious from the various sex, political and money scandals, the lack of Christian opposition to the rise of the Islamic Ummah and the New World Order, the general acceptence of the demonic practice of abortion throughout the so-called Christian world, the lack of biblical study and knowledge among Christians, etc. No, the Laodicean Church of today will certainly not be raptured away for its protection and glory! Rather it will be (is being) ruptured to its Pagan core in order that a pure Bride may be brought forth for Y'shua HaMoshiach. The Great Gentile Multitude and the 144,000 Jews who will stand with Moshiach during the final seven years are already being gathered and prepared (Revelation chapter 7). These people are not depending on religious hierarchies and ourdated creeds. Their hope is in the Echad Elohiym (the One God) alone.
Not Supported by God's Historic Dealings With His People:
- Adonai never granted this type of protection to His Elect even during the Exodus, the horrors of 70 C.E. or Masada, the Russian Pograms, the Nazi-wrought Shoah/Holocaust etc. Adonai does at times protect His people for His glory and purposes, but nowhere in Scripture does He remove them from the scene. They always remain as a testimony of His glory and faithfulness. There is no biblical evidence nor historic precedents that HaShem will do so for the lukewarm Nicene Christians nor for those comparatively few who are standing faithfully.
Would it be a glorious relief to believe we are going to be spirited away in a Rapture from the things to come? Absolutely! Is it going to happen? Absolutely not.