Why the Rapture isn’t Biblical… And Why it Matters

I grew up in church culture. Most of what I recall from those early childhood and teenage years bring memories of good things.  People genuinely taught me that loving Jesus matters more than anything else in the world.  The world, after all, is corrupt and the place we truly long for is far, far away – heaven.  So we are to love Jesus and hate the world.

Now, this is not hatred toward the people on earth.  I did not grow up in a church culture that taught that we ought to tell outsiders how much they suck, but that this “world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.”

World and physicality = bad.
Jesus and spiritual bliss in a distant heaven = goal of the game.

This distinction came with a subset of beliefs about the destiny of God’s world.  Eventually this planet would be destroyed and we Christians would “fly away” to heaven at the rapture of the church.  Certain Christians understood the timing of the rapture as it corresponds to the book of Revelation differently than others, but no one ever denied the imminent return of Jesus to evacuate the church out of earth.

What I’ve come to realize is that the church of my youth probably had the rapture all wrong.  You see, the Bible flows from Creation (Gen 1-2) to Renewed Creation (Rev 21-22).  This is the narrative of Scripture.  Nothing in the text (if read in its proper context) alludes to the actual complete destruction of the planet.  This world’s worth to the Creator runs deep and because of this, the world as a whole ought to be intrinsically valuable to us.

Physical/earthly realities such as social injustice, violence, hunger, preventable sickness, and the destruction of nature are invitations to the church of Jesus to get our hands dirty and proclaim that this world matters (even in its broken state)! Christ will complete creation upon his return, uniting heaven and earth for the life of the age to come!

The famous “rapture” passage is found in 1 Thessalonians 4.15-17 and reads:

According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  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.  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.

This passage, when placed in the larger context of the chapter, is answering questions that Christians in Thessalonica had concerning death.  What has happened to our loved ones who have died before the return of Christ to earth? What is theirs and our ultimate destiny? Paul’s answer: bodily resurrection at the return of Christ to earth!  Not an escape into the sky [see appendix below!].

In this passage, Paul borrows two specific images from the Old Testament that would have been familiar to Jewish converts and Gentiles who were familiarizing themselves with the Hebrew tradition.  The first of these that Paul employs in the text has to do with Moses who comes down from Mount Sinai with the Law with the great blast of the trumpet.

The second image is taken from Daniel chapter 7 where the “one like the son of man”  (or “human being” or “The Human One”) and the community he represents is vindicated over the enemies of the people of God.  Clouds here symbolize the power and authoritative judgement of God about the rescue of his people. This idea now seems to be applied to Christians who are facing various forms of persecution.

Finally, there is a third image in the text that comes from outside of the canonical context.  This is the image of an emperor who visits a city.  The people of that region would have gone out to meet him to usher him into their home in a royal procession out in the open air.  This, Paul seems to apply to the church who will usher in their King into the new creation.***

Rapture, as it is popularly understood, is nowhere to be found in this “rapture” passage.  Christ will return to resurrect, to purge, to heal, and to establish the eternal kingdom of God on this earth. Heaven and earth will unite like a bride and husband – for all eternity. That’s it.

The Bible teaches that when Christ comes back, it will be Good News!  “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’” (Revelation 21.4).  Surely we cannot erase judgment from the picture, but the hope is that those in Christ will be raised to eternal life and everything that is wrong with this world will be made right.

This world renewed is going to be our home for eternity, and we have the opportunity to reflect that future in our present.  Rapture invites us to escape this world: the last thing that Jesus would have ever taught! “On earth as in heaven” is what he said, not “in heaven away from the earth!” Our world’s future is hopeful. Let’s tell that story and not the escapist narratives that many of us grew up with.

[Kurt Note: This article is an adaptation from various pieces that are part of my “rapture” category.]

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APPENDIX

Word Study, 1 Thessalonians 4.17 (Warning: a bit more technical!)

Below is a Word Study that I did based on 1 Thessalonians 4.17.  What is interesting to me is how it reinforced my belief that the “rapture” as it is popularly understood (Jesus secretly returns to extract believers from earth to heaven for eternity) is completely unwarranted.  If you choose to follow the logic below, you will know why :-)

1. Word Identification

The word underlying “air” in 1 Thessalonians 4.17 is the Greek word “ἀήρ” (Strong’s: #109).

2. Frequency and Distribution

  • Roman Historical Narrative  (1x,  Acts – 1)
  • Pauline Letter  (4x, 1Cor – 2, Eph – 1, 1Thes – 1)
  • Apocalyptic (2x, Rev – 2)

The usage of ἀήρ in the New Testament by verse:

Acts 22:23

…εἰς τὸν ἀέρ
…dust into the air,

1Co 9:26

…ὡς οὐκ ἀέρα δέρων·
…one that beateth the air:

1Co 14:9

…γὰρ εἰς ἀέρα λαλοῦντες.
…shall speak into the air.

Eph 2:2

…ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος τοῦ πνεύματος…
…power of the air, the spirit that…

1Th 4:17

…κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα καὶ οὕτως…
…the Lord in the air: and so shall…

Rev 9:2

…καὶ ὁ ἀὴρ ἐκ τοῦ…
…sun and the air were darkened by…

Rev 16:17

…ἐπὶ τὸν ἀέρα καὶ ἐξῆλθεν…
…vial into the air; and there came…

3. Meaning

1) the air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air 2)the atmospheric region[1]

After surveying the above seven occurrences, it is clear that the definition is simply the area of unseen space in our atmosphere.  Below, the meaning in its various usages are explained:

ήρ (aēr109), ἀέρος, (ἄημιἄω, [cf. ἄνεμοςinit.]), the air (particularly the lower and denser, as distinguished from the higher and rarer ὁ αἰθήρcf. Hom. Il. 14, 288), the atmospheric region: Acts xxii. 23; 1 Th. iv. 17; Rev. ix. 2, xvi. 17; ὁ ἄρχων τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος in Eph. ii. 2 signifies “the ruler of the powers (spirits, see ἐξουσία 4 c. ββ.) in the air”, i. e. the devil, the prince of the demons that according to Jewish opinion fill the realm of air (cf. Mey. ad loc.; [B. D. Am. ed. s. v. Air; Stuart in Bib. Sacr. for 1843, p. 139 sq.]). Sometimes indeed, ἀήρ denotes a hazy, obscure atmosphere (Hom. Il. 17, 644; 3, 381; 5, 356, etc.; Polyb. 18, 3, 7), but is nowhere quite equiv. to σκότος,— the sense which many injudiciously assign it in Eph. 1. c. ἀέρα δέρειν (cf. verberat ictibus auras, Verg. Aen. 5, 377, of pugilists who miss their aim) i. e. to contend in vain, 1 Co. ix. 26; εἰς ἀέρα λαλεῖν (verba ventis profundere, Lucr. 4, 929 (932)) “to speak into the air” i. e. without effect, used of those who speak what is not understood by the hearers, 1 Co. xiv. 9.*[2]

Although ἀήρ is not a word that is frequent in the New Testament, it is interesting to note that there is only one other word that is translated into English as “air.” The Greek οὐρανός has a different meaning when used as “air” than ἀήρ.  Rather than referring to the “lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air,” it means:

1. the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it

  1. a. the universe, the world
  2. b. the aerial heavens or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and where thunder and lightning are produced
  3. c. the sidereal or starry heavens

2. the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings[3]

It seems that the difference between these two words will prove to be significant.  The word in the 1 Thessalonians text indicates the “air” of the “lower” region as opposed to the “heavens” as οὐρανός can also be translated (heavens – 24x, heavenly – 1, heaven – 218).  In other words, Paul had an option to use either of the words to talk about the “air” but he chose to use the word that refers mostly to the lower atmospheric region.

4. Meaning in Context

In the context of 1 Thessalonians 4.17, Paul is answering questions regarding the blessed Christian hope.  What happens to Christ-followers who die before the return of the Messiah?  Are they gone forever?  And what about those of us who are waiting for this day?  What are we to look forward to?  In answer to these kinds of questions Paul describes the coming of Jesus as a moment of resurrection.  Because Jesus died and rose again, his followers will someday be like him.  They will have bodies that are restored to the image of Christ who is the image of God.

Paul in this passage uses mixed metaphors to communicating the reality of the final resurrection.  He employs imagery from the Old Testament as well as from Roman royalty.  Christ will appear in such a way that it will be like Moses when he descended down from the Mountain of Sinai.  He will come with the “clouds” meaning that he will come with the power / authority of heaven like the “son of Man” in Daniel 7.  When this happens all followers of Jesus will be gathered around their King and will usher him into the new heavens and new earth.

Unfortunately, the present passage of Scripture has been interpreted in several different ways; mostly indicating that the return of Christ will be a rapturous moment when God will snatch believers away from this evil world to meet him in the “air” (up in heaven) for eternity.  There are several problems with this approach (too numerous to look at for this word study).  The current word study exposes one of the fallacies in this interpretive scheme.

Had the Apostle wanted to communicate that Christ coming downward to take us upward was the goal of the 2nd coming, he could have chosen to use a word like οὐρανός.  This word, which is interpreted as “air” on some occasions (as indicated above), would have given the impression that going to meet Christ in the “air” was a upward heavenly route.  However, what this word study has discovered is that the word Paul chose to use was one that indicates the lower part of the atmosphere.  Paul had a grammatical choice to make, and clearly he did not want to misguide his first century audience by making them think that being “with the Lord forever” actually meant going to heaven, away from the creation project.  So, in order to keep his metaphorical devices in place without giving the wrong impression, he chose to use ἀήρ to indicate that he was not talking about escaping this world; but rather being part of its redemptive process.  If the alternative word had been selected, Paul would have given us the opportunity to affirm cosmological dualism.

5. Verification

There is no dispute of how ἀήρ is to be translated from Greek into English among the translations.  In every version that was checked (ESV, KJV, NIV, and TNIV) this word is translated as “air.”

After consulting the “Easton Bible Dictionary” we find that this word study’s findings about the meaning of the word ἀήρ is consistent and verified.  It states: “The atmosphere, as opposed to the higher regions of the sky (1Th_4:17; Rev_9:2; Rev_16:17).”[4] This is also confirmed by the UBS Greek Dictionary: “air; ethereal region above the earth, space.”[5]


FOOTNOTES

***N. T. Wright, “Farewell to Rapture,” Biblical Review (August 2001). http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_BR_Farewell_Rapture.htm (accessed October, 2009).

[1]http://www.biblestudytools.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=109&version=nas

[2] http://www.greekbiblestudy.org/gnt/greekWordStudy.do?id=100095&greek=false

[3] http://www.biblestudytools.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=3772&version=nas

[4] See: Easton Bible Dictionary. Available Online at: http://refbible.com/a/air.htm

[5] The Greek New Testament With Greek-English Dictionary by B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)

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  • CyPontuo

    i just hear you saying the same things and when you unpack the passage it says the same thing, we should always be prepared to meet the One and Only Creator who has the power to create and re make . That only comes through Jesus HE already came once and promised again but the gift of the Holy Spirit the Wonderful Counselor comes with those who receive Jesus now, to reduce or to diminish the fact that any day is our last sort of gives some the impression that there is time, but like a thief in the night , in a blink of an eye this fleeting world and our human earthly nest and dwelling is gone – or a sudden interruption occurs through disease of tragedy, we do get a new body and there is new creations but through Jesus it can start now, We are made new creation in Jesus and God offer solely mercy and grace to start new. There is urgency in not waiting to figure it out, many parable express this ( like the virgins with the lamp oil) . We don’t understand when the birdie and groom will unite in one phase but Jesus clearly states to be ready and those that are dispels and following are to be sharing that message as well. I would not emphasize the non essential aspects of rapture and what that may look like but you cannot reject that sudden sweeping even will occur like Days of Noah and many will have no idea of whats happening nor will they be prepared, having eternal security and solid ground, a house built on the rock in tragedy whether its an armageddon scenario or a serious car accident or finding out someone you love has been murdered or has a disease or suddenly you lose everything you once held dear, I mean there is no real fairness in how we die, mankind inherent sin in a world and state that co exists with good and evil, on earth and in our earthy shells , in the systems we function in and the systems around us , so it is imperative that people know who Jesus really is and what God has done for us and what God is offering us and anyone any day. Jesus is solid I understand what this article is trying to depict, and I get that but there is also some error in it I know its hard to convey , like what Im saying has its human frailties in trying to communicate it, but certainly we need to be ready any day for the worst so the only One that can make it new and first can do that, and we need to know Him – and it is for certain we need to be ready and sharing that message and just admit some of the gray areas when we do not know everything about how that will look. I do agree HE always showed grace and that the Revelation shows what we become and the finished competed work, but there is an available wholeness available now in Jesus right here, right now and it has nothing to do with end times situations, in essence at the fall of man things died and ended and a paradigm came in the knowledge with good and evil where there was brokenness and death and God has healed that in many ways , but there is much of that healing that is yet to be also, this current sate needs to be in existence like a wheat crop needs to have a full growth before harvest all history with its weeds caught in the goodness of life and earth needs to reach its fullness and so the farmers servants can gather the wheat crop in its fullness and separate the weeds that an enemy planted in the wheat . The LORd then says He will take the wheat crop into a stable , and there is this parable there about that being similar to heaven and the next coming or the new creations beyond this fleeting earth. Personally I feel like we should still recognize the times like a ripening of some a tree ( Jesus used fig tree, leaves etc) we are not be so ignorant to that , but yes people get things wrong you know there is much love and presence available now without even a religion or a temple, there is much to be joyful about on earth and humanitarian things that need to be handled and done in Jesus name, but there are also people who worship the earth soley without Jeus and make Jesus something else, and Jeus talked about some of those people who will say they did things knowing God but Jesus does not know them – because of greed and sin and the lust of power it go to some peoples heads that they are doing good works and doing good things on this earth , they will get power perhaps and rule, and yet not all of those people are necessarily of God . We are given the best cornerstone and the best works come by submission to the Holy Spirit and the movements of the Holy Spirit, disciples who continue on and press on get sanctified by the grace and mercy and forgiveness of God and that manifests into doing works by His Spirit not works of the flesh. But this is good article get us all thinking , the rapture is a tough one –Harpazo look that up. . I just read in Scripture to be ready any day, and tell others where the Life is that is never truly dies, that there is life more than eyes can see and Jesus is for real and reveals that. God breaks tradition a lot and we can do that anywhere and not get hemmed into a pattern of religion time and time again, we are the salt and light and hands and feet of Jesus but His power is also made perfect in our weakness and we fail and people see us and call that hypocrisy a lot and often thats because they are looking for the good in us and to see if we will do what is right, but they condemn themselves for they know right and wrong and know what it should look like and don’t do it but condemn those that should deb because we lay claim to Jesus , but when we are sincere we will fall and fail but the Lord is using us anyway through the cross and through the redemption God offers through Jesus its victory weaving anyway, and that is why we cannot just foo good works to make ourselves still feel Christina enough or working enough or seving enough, it need to be by His Spirit and with true love , the price is paid already we do not earn it like many religions try to do and teach to modify behavior. Goodness will become us when we keep admitting sin and moving on in the faith through the mercy which gets us in deeper soil but we cannot fall too far form thinking we are no longer sinners like the rest of the world, that is why the work that needs done needs to be that we know Jesus and tell others the day is coming and there is ONE FLOCK and ONE LIFE , ONE SHEPHERD to which heaven rests and the cornerstone to which heaven is built on . And we need to ready in that any day. Also it is obvious these days are like no other, and Jesus spoke of like Days of Noah so I do feel there is some kind of event whatever you wasn’t to call it that is approaching if you steer from that you risk becoming more fleshly in lusts and procrastinate it drifts us form the important focus we need to have each day in our daily walk and surrender. But the balance is that we should be able to be loving and approachable and that God will use us in ordinary ways, not self righteous legalistic pretentious faith with masks and cloaks of religion , this gets messy within the journey at times discerning these things. I think Lori has what i have always perceived as the way I found it to look according to Scripture – i mean there is real spiritual war fare and its pretty intense when you are aware and the bride the church is a wonderful refuge , the blessed hope and all really shine brighter in the dark times. There are many that feel the day is good now, all is good but is it? You know the people that God loves everyone and all people are of God. I do feel God loves everyone but I also feel the Scripture tells us to guide others and help all people regardless of their belief but we can recognize those that are rejecting us and we move on – but Scripture also tells us that not all people are of God that an enemy sowed weed in the wheat , who are the weeds ? There is definitely some other beings around us fighting and we are fighting amongst ourselves and within our selves and Jesus is offering the constant refuge and offering movement for those that are willing to submit time and time again. And being ready is knowing Jesus , for any day the time is coming , that is apparent.

  • Bonnie G

    The gathering of the saints spoken of in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 takes place immediately after the great tribulation. This is the first resurrection and the rapture (changed in a moment or in the twinkling of an eye). The righteous dead are resurrected and the alive righteous ones will be changed in the moment and all will be caught up to be with Jesus. Jesus will then pour out his wrath on those unrighteous people that remain on the earth.

    • Hunter

      Where is your evidence of it being after tribulation. No one knows the time of the rapture no one. Bible doesn’t say whether it’s Pre or post trib. All the Bible says is the times will be like that of Noahs time. And Matthew 24:42 says, “therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

      • Bonnie G

        In Matthew 24:21-31Jesus speaks of immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days… He will send his angels to gather his elect. The bible says you will know the season…the feast of Trumpets…which is in the fall

        • John

          This references Israel , Isaiah 45:4a, Zechariah 12:10-14, the church does not exist in Matt 24, it was birthed in Acts 2:4.

          • Bonnie G

            Jesus is the one who called us His elect, I’m just quoting Him. The church has always existed where there was someone worshipping God! They were first called “Christians” in the book of Acts. The bible calls the elect “spiritual Israel” also.

          • Matt Socash

            John, the church is who suffers for Christ’s name sake, who loves God because their sins have been forgiven, who has the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, and who must endure (as a Christian) to the end so they will be saved. Yes, John, I don’t see Jesus supporting the rapture! Matt 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

      • John

        It’s clearly pre-trib, 1 Thess 1:10, 4:16-18, 5:9, 2 Thess 2:1-8 ( verse 3 also references the rapture, in the original Greek or Aramaic “apostasy” means “departure from an object” it’s not referring to those who fall away from the church, that is not keeping it with-in context, the subject at hand). Final confirmation in Rev 4:4,10, and 5:9,10 where the church is seen in heaven before the first seal is opened in Rev 6:1.

        • jd66

          The opening of the seals is the beginning. Rev 4:1-11, he describes the throne of God, 5:1 the one sitting on the throne holds a scroll , v5 that only Jesus can open , then 6:1 the opening of the scroll and beginning of the end. Compare the sermon on the mount Matt 13:1-34 to rev. 6 :1-17, and compare Matt 13:24-30 to Rev.14:6-20. Also read 2 Thes. 2:1-12. Note v8 and compare to Rev.20 7-15. This happens when the thousand years are over. See my previous post to Hunter about the rapture. Rev.4:9,10 he sees 24 leaders each with a gold bowl full of incense, the prayers of the people, and they(the 4 living creatures and 24 elders) sang a song of how Jesus bought the people’s freedom with his own blood, and how he prepared a place for them (John 14:3, I go to prepare a place for you……where I am, there you will be also) people tend to see the reign of antichrist as Gods anger, but it’s not, if it were, then his anger would already be upon us because the “mystery of this sin is already at work”‘ 2 Thes.1:7. Gods anger comes after antichrist and on those who chose to follow him, Rev 15:1; 16:1, also the wine press of Gods anger described in Rev.14:17-20, which the people suffer after the rapture. The revolt in 2 Thes. 2:3 is a falling away of the church. He will deceive if possible, Gods elect Matt 24:24, and “if God does not reduce the number of those days, no one will be saved,” but he will reduce them for the sake of his elect Matt24:22. Rev 13:5 antichrist has 3 1/2 yrs, or 42 months. Again Rev13:10b “in this situation God’s HOLY PEOPLE need endurance and confidence” to make it through these trying days but “I will give the privilege of eating from the tree of life….to everyone who wins the victory” rev 2:7, 11, 17 , 26. Matt 24:13, “the person who endures to the end will be saved”

      • jd66

        Matt.24:1-35, note v29, immediately after the misery of those days….compare to the opening of the seven seals in Revelation…., Also in Matt13:24-38, Jesus describes the “rapture” as a harvesting, which comes to pass in Rev.14:14-16, “then, I looked, and there was a white cloud, and on the cloud sat someone who looked like the son of man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the temple. He cried in a loud voice to the one who sat on the cloud, “swing your sickle, and gather the harvest. The time has come to gather it because the harvest on earth is overripe”. The one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the harvesting of the earth was completed. ……….read all of rev 14 and you will see that these things take place after the antichrist reigns just as Jesus said in Matt 24 in his sermon on the mount. Note v32, “learn from the story of the fig tree……….v33 you will know when it is near, even at the door”
        After this God pours out his judgement on all those who take the mark of the beast, Rev15,16, those who are left refuse to repent, 16:9-11, 21, then Armageddon v16 , then 1000 year rule with Christ, and satan bound for 1000 yrs. 20:1-6, after this the great white throne judgement. 20v7-15, then a new heaven and earth 21:1-4. Rev13 describes the coming antichrist and how v19, ” in this situation God’s holy people need endurance and confidence”. This is the “disgusting thing that will cause destruction” Jesus talks about in Matt 24:15 You can find me on fb Jane Dupre

  • cesar

    And so the marriage of the Lamb and His bride, the church which is to be done in heaven before coming to earth in the final judgment is also a hoax? The Lamb while in heaven and the church while on earth could not get married if they are not together.

  • les

    wow. took lil over an hour and read through many threads here. GOOD READS! some thoughts running through my mind at this moment: thoughts 1- first coming, God incarnate; actually physically dwelling on earth to become random for mankind. second coming, God fulfilled (“it is finished”) Glorified spirit body yet will physically once again dwell on earth as King of Kings, Lord of Lords to reign.

    Now, next thought tagging that one, 2- To be caught up, whether in atmospheric above clouds as in the heavenlies, or also known as the third heavens–in spirit, or even if in our known air, is not an actual coming back. He calls with the trumpet call of God…voice. not actual physical glorified body of Christ returning. Next thoughts: there is the second death right? OK. Then what about those who were “sporadically” being raised from the dead upon Christ’s death/resurrection? Who were they? OK, true, the second death actually refers to the same context of speech between Jesus and Nicodemus about being born again; the second death is the death of eternal spiritual separation from The Maker, The Savior, then meaning first death is that by the physical body. But they came back up. Those who were dead and …well… then not dead when Christ died and rose. The were… Alive. Maybe some had cancer. Some were stoned to death. Beheaded even. But they were raised physically, assuringly like Jesus did for all those he raised during his ministry and through the authority he handed over to his disciples to do as well. The point is this….thinking….bear with me….it is the declaration to say “RISE”. and the dead come to life. Peter did not go into the tomb physically to retrieve the dead body….nor any of the other disciples did they? Not even Jesus did that with his dear friend Lazarus. HE CALLED him. With a loud voice. With a deep heavy breath. Something that you would need for a trumpet, no?! And yes, most importantly, you gotta use those lips to make that trumpet call out. Not just breath alone. So to me, it’s like a calling out for…. And time and again we read about how Jesus spoke, and it happened. He spoke to fisherman, and they just came. They stopped, dropped and ran to him. Jesus called out to Peter to come out on the water. That just sticks out to me in thought. To me, the rapture is the calling of the saints to Him in spirit for a glorious reckoning, but not the judgment yet. His word says that ALL will give an account. No one is exempt from that. But those who give an account and are saved, will not inherit the second death, spiritual separation from Him forever.

    Next thought, 3- The trumpet….in 1 Thess 4 that is so quickly referred to as the rapture scripture…a trumpet produces sound. It’s about timing of course. Paul was telling the people to get ahold of themselves. Stop being so easily swayed by this and by that. He gave a recap with a timeline of something that he had obviously gone over with them previously and in great detail the first time. This scripture was just a reminder excerpt for them to regroup. Get back into spiritual thinking instead of other’s opinionated philosophy or self interpreting or false doctrine/teaching. Still thinking…. It is said, even declared by Paul himself, he was among the elite of his time, the skilled thinker, fully trained in law and “professorship”/”doctrine scholar” of his time. Sorry here…but sometimes, a lot of times, those types of people can easily go deeper than the average Joe. He went deep. a lot. Even peter mentions that Paul goes so deep it’s hard to understand him. And yet as you read him chronologically, you see a humbleness, a humility sweep through his pen. He is still deep, but more conscious of his efforts to relay the vastness, the depth, the height of his Savior, and how miniscule he was the older he got. To fully appreciate what Paul was saying, we all need a lot more humility to be applied to our words, and our hearts pricked with earnestness and our eyes descaled in order to grow that much deeper with our Savior, Jesus, through the empowerment of His authority and revelation of His mysteries through the Holy Spirit as Paul lived seemingly every day of his life. Moving on in thoughts… someone mentioned that this topic of rapture being more spoken of in beginning of new testament than later, well, as with context of other scriptures, in my opinion, was because no one truly knew what was to happen. Christ only gave a timeline of what to expect and the surrounding symptoms…But He, nor Paul, wanted the focus to be on the going away. It was about this: “what are you doing to fulfill your role while you are still breathing in this failing body of yours?!” My life, your life, as a believer in Christ Jesus is not about whether a rapture will occur at all or when in human timeline it will…but what are you doing to ensure that you see your neighbor’s face, the inmates’ faces, the orphans’ faces, et c., in heaven one day? The point of it was, we will be changed like Jesus was changed. If Jesus was changed physically in a glorified body and the earth gets an overhaul as such to have a glorified earth “recreation”, so be it. Don’t waste precious time over silly arguments or genealogies, which, remember, we will all give an account for EVERY word spoken, (here’s another thought, maybe even give an account for every word we should have spoken eh?! yeah, yeah, that’s another debate, right?! not. just driving a point…)

    another thought, 4- Old Testament, I see a lot of the removing of the sinners, unbelievers, evil doers from the face of the earth. Jesus becomes the game changer. Now it’s the believers who are being removed. Do you see it? Killing off “heretics” who don’t believe the same doctrine of faith. Killing off anyone who even dares to speak of the name of Jesus whether or not they actually believe in Him….and even God Himself may, just may remove (rapture) the innocent (saved) from the coming wraths (different wraths to come, some are for repentance for salvation-sake, others for justified punishment for the choice to believe the beast and take its mark) during the Tribulation to give one more second chance of “blessed are those who (choose to) believe and yet have not seen” . He tells of the things that already happened, what’s happening now, and will happen based on the choice you make now–the very basis of Revelations–a vision of unexplainable things. Things which are too deep at times for me to wrap my brain around and my spirit desires to know this more fully. But alas, until that which is perfect comes, I see now in a mirror dimly. Truly if the Bible is the perfect that which comes, no need to worry about any rapture, any tribulation let alone a second coming of Christ. And I should understand it completely, wholly, without any suspicion or misinterpretation. Golly, no need for a comforter (holy spirit) who reveals things, eh? so go my thoughts. I digress… sorry….Removing of saints leaves what? Un-saints. rather, a whole lotta people who need to make a choice to remember what was spoken about Jesus. His word says that we all are without excuse. We all have that little ole seed of somehow knowing a real God and Savior exists and the need to search out its truth. Would that not be the essence of this timeframe?

    yet another thought, 5- If the restrainer has to be removed in order for the full essence or evil workings to take place like it has never been done before…could that not refer to the Holy Spirit? In old testament, God gave and removed the Holy Spirit pending the people’s obedience. In the New Test., Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will never leave us…that is when we become believers, that’s it, He’s there, you’re stuck with Him. You are sealed. Key word is sealed, for me. Then I read in Revelation 7 about a seal on the servants of God (144k). Then the other wrath or great tribulation could take place. why? well…remember that OT foreshadowing of Christ’s coming? go ahead, think about the Passover. the blood was the seal of protection for those who should choose right then and there to enter into that security. Every Israelite did. And even if they had foreign slaves, guess what?! if they entered and choose the way of the Israelites, they would be sealed in the deal of protection, too. Back to the future. Does it say in Rev. its the Holy Spirit? not that I read. but like I said, it’s just a thought. Got you thinking just a bit? So the Israelites get the seal of protection as usual. got that. But then all other outsiders, non jews, the gentiles, they have to make a choice now because they see that there is now a difference among the peoples. Protection over those servants. These gentiles do not have the gospel ministry if the rapture took place and now they only have the seed and the seal, or the mark of the beast. And guess what? if you refused the mark of the beast, you’re eliminated right away. No second chances with the devil. He wants to eliminate you entirely to gain more souls for eternal damnation. Without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, there is great lawlessness and defication beyond measure now. How much more difficult to choose between God’s son or the beast? very.

    God wants His creation to choose Him. But He is done waiting. He longs to be reunited with His creation as it was in the beginning, walking side by side in the garden. talking, moving, enjoying the praises of his creation through just the very existence of His craftsmanship! But like His word says, be ye hot or cold, not lukewarm. He is threshing the wheat in Revelations. Last call folks. You gotta really mean salvation business during this timeframe, because the lines are drawn clearly by the beast. Choose me, you save yourself (yeah. not. save your life you shall lose it, remember?!), don’t take my mark and “off with your head!” no delay here. This is second half of Rev. 7.

    But now, now here’s the kicker for me…being that the tribulation is most certainly pinpointed to His chosen lineage, the Israelites, looking back over Revs 20:4-5, 7:all, 6:9-12, all seem to point to really the same group of peoples. yes? or no? But it is all referenced at different times of John’s vision. He is being taken from future to past, to present to past to future again….etc., etc. I am compelled to believe that this vision is not chronological in its entirety. The seals, the bowls, the trumpets, yes, all in sequential order, each in itself, but each portion of the vision is not necessarily in order. But much else is in spiritual review of the actual physical events that took place and the Why he was having the vision, What to do with it, …a review of time behind the scenes…it’s all being displayed of what’s going on in the spirit realm.

    Rapture. Tribulations. Famines. War. Man has endured a lot. Who would think more awful than the holocaust? Slavery? Modern-day child prostitution? Serial killers? …it will happen far worse than we have ever read in our history or current newscasts. Rapture or not. Where’s your focus? Are preaching the gospel to the four corners of the earth?! Oh my word, look at that, how many references are there in Rev about the four corners with angels holding things back until the appointed time? they have God’s sealed wrath in their possession and can not be released until the appointed time…that being that we who are here are doing our best to get the whole globe filled with gospel proclamation which will bring on the second coming events…wow.

  • Teth Adamus

    there is no rapture, reincarnation, or 7 year tribulation in the Bible. u all have alot to learn. get in that Bible and find u a teacher who truly, understands the Bible because we are close to the end

  • cocoa

    The Rapture was in scripture long before Ms. MacDonald? was born. They did not use the word Rapture. The words the great falling away is said to be mistranslated and should have been departure. That the Rapture will take place is in scripture.
    The Lord fulfilled the first four Spring Feasts in His First Coming, He shall fulfill the 3 Fall Feasts in the Second Coming.
    The Second Coming is made up of 3 events (the 3 fall Feasts of the Lord, not the feasts of the Jews) which begins with the Rapture. The first event is the Rapture aka the Resurrection of the Dead in Christ who shall rise first and those who are alive shall follow them and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Study these Feasts as all are about HIM. These final 3 are not yet fulfilled.
    The Lord Himself shall appear with a shout and His blowing the trumpet, some of the trumpets have significant #’s as this one is the 7th=study these things. The Feast of Trumpets/Rosh haShana is aka the day no man knows. It lasts two days and based on the moon and they never know which day it will be.
    The Father will say to the son, it is time go and get your Bride.

    The other events will follow quickly. I once believed all the church would be the Bride. No longer for the Father wants a Bride who loves His Son. Many claiming they are believers love their lives here more and do not want His Coming to interfere with the lives they so enjoy here. The true Bride longs for His Return, is running around looking for His Coming. That is all they can talk about. When a Bride loves the Bridegroom they can not help but speak of Him only all the time. When one is in love, listen to them. They show it, what is in their heart comes out of their mouth.
    People in love tend to act and speak as they do about the one they love.

    Just as He fulfilled the Feasts in the First Coming, so shall He fulfill the Feasts in His Second Coming. The Second Coming has all three Feasts fulfilled during this time. The only ones who HEAR this trumpet He blows are the ones being taken in this event. They return with Him when He touches down at the Eastern Gate to complete the Second Coming. His Bride and all the Angels are with Him.

    Sadly, it appears that many in the church are cold these days. Revelation speaks of the beheading of believers..who/what speaks of beheading believers today? Christians and Jews are persecuted around the world. They are killed/burned/crucified/beheaded.

    Many who believe in the event called the Rapture are hated/mocked by those who claim they are believers. Hate for those who believe in this event is shocking in that they have no love in them for other believers. Scripture says believers are to be known for their love for one another. Rather than curse them should they not pray for them?

    I do not believe in a pretrib Rapture. I believe much of the world is in tribulation now, especially in the land of the Bible. That with the Rapture the Great Trib begins but I believe it shall be shortened for the elect’s sake as scripture says or no flesh would be saved.

    Most people do not study scripture. They read the books of others, listen to what others say. He is real, He existed and He exists today. You Choose who/what you will believe. Scripture tells us to pray for a way to escape the things we see coming upon the earth. Most people are ignorant of scripture and like to hear things that tickle their ears and sounds good and right to them.

    We must choose to believe what He said.
    Read about Constantine and how he changed scripture and changed much to woo the Romans to Christianity as they loved all things pagan. He hated jews and he hated passover. Dec 25 was the b’day of Nimrod who married his mother, trees decorated in silver/gold in honor of his birthday. Our Lord was born in Sep. Christians saw the Romans and their celebrating Christmas and Easter and they liked it and joined in celebrating pagan holidays.

    All 3 Fall Feasts are a part of the Second Coming as the Second Coming consists of these three events, all part of the Second Coming. All of them will be fulfilled just as the first 4 Spring Feasts were in the First Coming.

    Be careful who/what you hear and whom you believe. Study for yourselves for you alone shall give answer for yourself and what you choose to believe.

    Those taken in the Rapture will be judged by Christ at the Bema Seat of Christ, given gifts/rewards/wedding garments. All others will be judged at the White Throne Judgement.

    All 7 Feasts are about Him only.

  • Janine G

    How did you even imagine such a wrong understanding, when both the KJV as well as ancient Greek make it obviously clear that we will be meeting the Lord in the air?…Who told you that everyone thinks that “air” means (heaven)????? >:0 “huh, what?” lol.

    I grew up with several pastors in my family,(uncles and grandfather) therefore I have known many other pastors because they had friends who were pastors / preachers…I have never heard any of them talk about or teach that being caught up in the air (rapture) to meet Jesus meant that we meet in heaven. It has ALWAYS, been common knowledge, obvious knowledge that He is coming down “near” earth in the clouds to “meet” us…not meet us like “Hi, long time no see”, lol. He meets us at a destination point in the clouds “without” setting foot on the ground as He later will on the Mt. of Olives.

    He is simply coming to get us, we will go back with Him for the marriage feast, get our robes and crowns, then we will come back with Him as it says in Revelation…He will be coming back with thousands of saints on horses to defeat the enemy…this is when He will set His feet on the ground on the Mt of Olives, which will be the “second coming”. He didn’t “come here” at the rapture, He stayed a distance away and met us.

    Also, just because the scripture stated that “so we shall ever be with the Lord”…doesn’t mean that we “think” that means we will stay in heaven for eternity…What does being with Him forever have to do with “where we are???”…who ever told you that we think such a thing? I go back 47 years, practically born in church, never heard anyone think things you are assuming and we have a wide range of friends in ministry from several denominations…we even have friends and family who have converted from Catholicism…NOBODY thinks what you assume we think. It is understood that from the time we are raptured, we WILL forever be with the Lord…WHERE EVER that may be. Part of that time will be in heaven…a short time, 1000 years of that time will be here on the earth before it is transformed into the new earth…no matter where we are, we will be with Him. That’s all that means.

    You think too much and bypass the obvious, resulting in a whole lot of work that makes no sense. I also want to say, that “Strong’s” has many MISINTERPRETATIONS, so don’t think it’s the only go-to source. In fact, if you have not studied Greek and Hebrew, you can go to Strong’s to get an answer and actually get the opposite answer because you don’t know how to properly use it. (I know, I know, you think you do, lol) Strong’s is not a dictionary. You don’t just pick a word and open Strong’s for the meaning, or even the root of the meaning, there is much more to it.

    I once read a conversation on a forum between a Hebrew / Greek scholar and a person who was talking about how much she loved her Strong’s and Vine’s set for studying the Word. She started giving examples of what she was learning, that made this scholar have to tell her to “stop, stop” “Stop embarrassing yourself” “you have no idea how to use that book, and you still have the wrong interpretation”…He had to explain in long detail how to get the correct rendering…when he gave her the accurate translation, it was completely different than what she had. I was very grateful to have come upon that conversation, because she used her Strong’s as a tool the same way most of us use it, and it is completely wrong, therefore a waste of time.

    After watching how he got the correct answer and what he had to do to get it, I stopped using my Strong’s and told my daughter who is in ministry school to stop using hers. (And we were using it the way many pastors and theologians use it). Why waste your time looking for the wrong interpretation? It’s better to look for the answer from people who already know how to get the answers and make sure they aren’t just people like you and me who were using it wrong.

    I’ve spent too much time here…I don’t usually like to write comments because they trap you and eat up your time. If you want to discuss anything I’ve said here, it can be found online…just look for it and verify your sources, don’t believe everything you read online or on Strong’s…verifying sources is key. :)

    (I don’t come back to posts after I’ve left, like I said, it devours too much time.)

    And READERS…don’t believe everything you read online either…check several sources who can back up what they say with scripture. The Bible interprets the Bible, so even if he somehow convinced you that he made some kind of discovery, do some research in your own Bible, you will find the answer in other places.

    2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. KJV

    This means that God alone interprets His Word. Like I said, the Bible interprets itself. You will find answers to your questions about the Bible and it’s scriptures within the Bible…not by some Joe who didn’t like how “he” interpreted the scriptures, so went looking elsewhere to find “another” meaning. aka interpretation.

    THE OLD TESTAMENT CONCEALED, IS THE NEW TESTAMENT REVEALED!

    God didn’t divinely give us scripture just so we can be super confused and look for other ways of reading it. He knew in advance that His WORD would be translated in most languages, and He made sure it is accurate for all of us.

    They have even put our King James Bible against the Dead Seas Scrolls which are ancient texts…and our Bible is precisely accurate.

    Remember that we are warned in the scriptures that “not one jot or tittle will be removed from His Word.” Trust that God has kept His Word accurate.

    Now, I know that there are some things through various translations that were watered down, even some translations have removed certain words, or even a whole scripture…They are in BIG trouble with God, but these are not the tried and true early translations. I like to read the New King James, but I do have a 1611 King James, and even 1590 Geneva Bible which is the Bible that King James had re-translated.

    Translating something using different words, does not mean the jot or tittle was removed…you can say a particular phrase several different ways, just as long as they all mean the same thing…that is what the different translations do. But some are severely watered down, which takes away the emphasis of the interpretation, but nonetheless, they do say the same thing. That is why we are to study.

    I study with an interlinear Greek and Hebrew Bible ((ancient) Koine Greek and ancient Hebrew), along with my Geneva and NKJV and sometimes with my NIV just to ensure that I’m understanding the full weight of what is being said. :)

    • Jeff

      You sound incredibly full of yourself, but I did get a big laugh out of your ridiculous statement “I don’t usually like to write comments because they trap you and eat up your time”, and then proceeded to ramble on and on mindlessly.

    • Matt

      “The bible interprets itself…” Ah yes, I love that line. It always reminds me why we have tens of thousands of denominations and beliefs, all claiming guidance by the Holy Spirit and the obvious nature of truth behind their “correct” interpretation of scripture.

  • Linda Patricia Gunn

    To truly understand the Rapture and when it occurs, it is necessary to take into account what a Jewish betrothal and wedding ceremony entail. I have wondered how many people who write about the Rapture forget that the Bible is a Jewish book, written by Jewish men. Figurative language and “types” are all Jewish as well. Without an understanding of the betrothal and wedding ceremony, anyone who writes on the Rapture will give erroneous information. The Rapture is a type of the Jewish betrothal and wedding ceremony. The book “An Israeli Love Story” by Zola Levitt gives detail on both. On pages 105-113 Mr. Levitt goes into considerable detail about these events. In researching this, it is apparently not what is done for today’s Jewish betrothals and weddings; rather, this was what was done in Old Testament times. The following is an overview of some of what he says in his book:
    1. The prospective groom made a covenant with the bride and he would drink a cup of wine to seal the covenant.
    2. He paid his future father-in-law money for his future wife.
    3. After these things the groom would make a speech and tell his bride that he was going to prepare a place for her. The fact that he paid money to the father of the woman insured that he would return for her, no matter how long it took for him to complete the bridal chamber.
    4. Before he could return for his bride, the groom’s father had to agree that the chamber was ready. If anyone asked the groom when he was returning for his bride, he would tell them, “I don’t know; only my father knows.”
    5. Meanwhile the bride would prepare her trousseau and keep herself for her groom alone. She stayed home every night waiting for him to come for her. Tradition held that it would be at night or at midnight.
    6. She would be waiting with her attendants who would have their lamps ready with oil in them. As time went on, the bride and her attendants were ready every night.
    7. In order for the bride and her attendants to know the groom was coming for her, he would shout, and when he got to her house, he would snatch her out of her father’s house.
    8. He would take her to his father’s house and take the bride to the bridal chamber where they remained for seven days. At the end of those seven days she would no longer be a bride but the wife of the groom.
    9. When the newly married couple emerged from the bridal chamber, then the marriage supper would take place.

    Mr. Levitt wrote this in the context of a fictional love story, so if you get the book, please take into account that you should not expect a heavy theological discourse on the Rapture.

  • Richard Rankin

    The earth will be destroyed by fire. But before that, Jesus will sit on the throne in Jerusalem. Jesus taught that when He comes in the clouds, one will be taken and the other left. Where did the first one go? Have you even read the second epistle of Peter chapter 3 verses 7 through 12? Is this a time like Revelation in which you have to choose to live or die based on whether you take the mark of the beast or the number of his 666? Revelation 3:10 tells us of a Church who will escape the time of testing.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      Was the earth destroyed by the flood “literally?” Nope. The context of the passage is the flood story– in ‘that’ way it will be ‘destroyed…’ So not actually destroyed, but purified of evil.
      Peace.

      KURT WILLEMS
      http://kurtwillems.com
      http://facebook.com/kurtwillems
      http://twitter.com/kurtwillems

      • Richard Rankin

        I disagree. Have you been born again of the Holy Spirit?

  • Richard Rankin

    You need to read Luke 16:19-31. Fire is flames.

  • Richard Rankin

    Why was Sodom and Gomorrah burned then?

    • http://conthis.blogspot.com Joe Sewell

      I don’t understand your question. They were destroyed due to their sin, which God decided was too great to let continue. What connection are you trying to make with the topic?

      • Richard Rankin

        Perhaps the word I used should have been “how” instead of “why”. Sodom and Gomorrah were burned by fire, so why not the whole world? That is, all you can sense. Why else would Jesus tell cities that their punishment will be greater than Sodom’s and Gomorrah’s? In the anti-Christ’s society, he will not tolerate believers of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit preserves the world like salt does meats. Without salt, the world would be unbearable for Christians. That is why unsaved people have no peace. Without the Holy Spirit in their lives, their lives are out of control.

        • http://conthis.blogspot.com Joe Sewell

          Ah, OK, I see now. I was merely making a nod to a teaching David Jeremiah put forth just before my original comment. He claimed, if memory serves, that the fire at the end wouldn’t necessarily be a destroying fire, but a cleansing fire.

          It matters little to the point I was trying to make, though. My point was simply that, even if Kurt’s assumption about “the actual destruction” of the heavens and the earth were true (which, I agree with you, sounds unlikely, but for the sake of argument let’s assume it’s a possibility), there are other issues with his line of reasoning.

  • Richard Rankin

    Seems to me the author will write anything to make real Christians look stupid and ignorant, Am I right?

  • Antichrist

    For all who believe that we will be raptures and escape the anitichrist, may I ask, who would the Antichrist anti? The disbelieving Christians?

  • axel gipson

    There are 8426 prophecies in the Old Testament most having to do with the kingdom of God, yet Christian theologians and teachers say there is no other prophetic event coming but the Rapture of the church. And a good 75% of the whole Bible is focused on the word “Israel” yet it seems most Bible Teachers on the internet hardly say a word about it.

    I don’t think there are many people, Bible Teachers included who have taken an honest look at what Paul saying “those of us who left will be caught up to meet Him”

    As radical as this may sound, but is there anyone else candid enough to admit that Paul’s wording gives the impression of there being a mere remnant, a few left overs stragglers…perhaps a half million or so world wide, who are still living after many multiple milliions of believers who have been martyred?

    Because his wording of this passage is not the best way of describing any such entire body of believers being caught up, but on the contrary, but a few.

  • John

    Absolutely the rapture is in the OT, it is found in the song of Solomon, the flood and Noah’s ark is a picture of the rapture as is Lot being rescued from S&G, direct references to the rapture can be found in Isaiah 26:20 as well as John 11:25, 26 ( He references 2 separate groups here), John 14:3 ( some including myself believe the gospels should be part of the OT since John the Baptist is the final prophet and Matt 24&25 reference Israel and those who are in the tribulation period or Daniels 70th week, Dan 9:27 and Jesus quotes the OT in those 2 chapters of Matthew, in any case the church did not exist at this point, most believe the church was birthed on Pentecost, Acts 2:4). In any case you don’t build doctrine on one verse obviously; and finally the church is seen in heaven in Rev 4:4, 10 and 5:9 and 10 long before the first seal is opened in Rev 6:1, this is also confirmed in 2 Thess 2:1-8.

    • delusion buster

      sure, here’s the rapture

      Eze 37:12 “Therefore prophesy, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus said the Master יהוה, “See, O My people, I am opening your graves, and shall bring you up from your graves, and shall bring you into the land of Yisra’ĕl.

      there is no daniel’s 70th week seperated from all the other 69 weeks
      unless you are calling the messiah the anti-christ

      • O

        Are you not aware that during the tribulation, after the church has been removed, the humans on earth will still propagate. Those born during the tribulation, will still have A will and can choose. They are the ones referred to here in matthew 24:9 through 13. If they endure to the end they will be saved. More than likely they will be martyred. This world will be so full of hatred and evil. That’s why the Bible says it’s much better to be a part of the first resurrection (or rapture 1thess. 4:17) rev. 20:6 ……. In this verse also it proves that the church will be with Christ when he returns to rule and reign with him during the thousand year reign……make your decision today while we are still living in the church age and under God’s grace. God is just and must judge the wickedness or else he would not be true to himself. Two things God cannot do is lie ( his word is truth ) and he cannot learn anything. ( he already knows it all ) The beginning from the end. dig a little deeper my brother. Study to show thyself approved. Most of all pray, the Holy Spirit will be your guide…….. He and he alone is your teacher . Only two resurrections, as it pertains to the dead. Resurrection of believers unto LIFE (three groups: saints of the church age, OT saints, and tribulation saints) all must have made the decision to trust Christ as their savior before their death…….then the resurrection of the non-believers unto DEATH.

        • O

          Sorry this comment was meant for matt

        • delusion buster

          given over to myths and fables..
          you have given witness against yourself.

          there is a requirement to be a reigning priest
          Hos 4:6 “My people have perished for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being priest for Me. Since you have forgotten the Torah of your Elohim, I also forget your children.

  • DMCQ

    “In judging our salvation or definitive damnation, God will not be guided by cultic
    criteria – when and how we prayed – nor by doctrinal criteria – what truths we believe in. God will be guided by ethical criteria: what we did for others. The eternal destiny of human beings will be measured by how much or how little solidarity we have displayed with the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, and the oppressed. In the end, we will be judged in terms of love. ”
    Leonardo Boff.

    The rapture is not biblical but, as Jesus notes in the Gospel of Matthew, it is the command to love your neighbour as yourself that sums up or fulfills all the Law and the Prophets. The Bible does not proclaim an ‘escape’ from physicality and the world, but a renewed creation which will not be subject to decay or pass away.

  • Brian Johnson

    Yeah, um, this one misses a LOT of important theology in Revelation, and tries oh-so-hard to make Thessalonians an earth-bound resurrection only instead of The Rapture. It’s an entirely incorrect thesis and a fairly desperate one at that.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      Prove your thesis… No serious scholarship bears out your view.

      • Brian Johnson

        With a blanket statement like “no serious scholarship”, you have already defined “serious scholarship” in your mind and will rule out anyone I bring up. John MacArthur is no slacker on theological research, especially in the New Testament Greek, and he finds the Rapture to be solid theology. Dave Hunt spent 50+ years studying the Bible and finds the Rapture in the Bible. It is by no means unfounded, unscholarly … and plenty of serious scholarship DOES find the Rapture to be solid theology.

  • it’s my opinion

    But the dead in Christ shall rise first then those who are alive and remaining shall be caught up together to forever be with the Lord. Caught up means rapture.

    • The_L1985

      Rise FROM THE DEAD. Not necessarily rise INTO THE SKY.

      • it’s my opinion

        Now where do you suppose they would rise. You can’t rise into the ground.

        • The_L1985

          No, but people buried under the ground could easily rise to be on top of it.

          • it’s my opinion

            Caught up means to rise up and meet the Lord in the air and forever live in heaven with him. Not everyone is going to heaven. It takes repentance of sins, forgiveness and accepting Jesus Christ as your savior. We all have a choice. I hope that you make the right one.

          • The_L1985

            Does it SAY that this is what “caught up” means? Is your source Scofield (who was not, himself, infallible, and who, as a believer in a separate “Rapture,” would naturally have viewed the whole Bible through that lens), or is it somebody else? Who?

            After all, “caught up” doesn’t mean “made to rise into the air” in any other context. When I get caught up in a good book, I don’t start levitating! It’s possible that the author just means “we will be caught up in the excitement and wonder of seeing Jesus face-to-face.”

            Also, Matthew 25: 36-44 disagrees with you on what to do to reach Heaven, as do Jesus’s various parables of the rich man. (The Paul-and-Silas story about the earthquake in prison has a totally different context, which I’m not going to tackle at this very moment.) Or to quote St. James, “Show unto me thy faith without works, and I will show thee my faith through my works.”

            I grew up in southern Alabama, where damn near everybody is some flavor of Christian. I have heard every argument for and against just about every form of Christian theology you can think of. I have read versions of the Bible including the KJV, the NIV, the Good News Bible, Today’s English Version, and the USCCB. I went to church and Sunday School literally every single Sunday ever from infancy until I graduated HS, and attended fairly regularly afterwards as well. I am 30 years old, so that’s a long time to study Christianity!

            Trust me, I know what the Bible has to say on a wide variety of topics. 😉

  • Deborah Horvath Rowden

    Thank you! Finally a voice of reason and of rightly dividing the word of truth. My husband and I have
    studied this “theory” for years. (yes, it’s a theory or there wouldn’t be about six different versions of it) Pre-trib, post-trib, mid-trib! Which is it??
    We find nothing that points to an escape clause called rapture. Not if you read in context.

  • Mistee

    I think the author has missed the following passages:

    Matthew 24:
    40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

    Luke 17:
    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.”

  • Matt Socash

    Lori, I am wondering if you have actually read some of the verses you just quoted to support your views. Matthew 24 does NOT support the rapture, because it specifically mentions that the believers are here all the way up until the end: 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

    • O

      Are you not aware that during the tribulation, after the church has been removed, the humans on earth will still propagate. Those born during the tribulation, will still have A will and can choose. They are the ones referred to here in matthew 24:9 through 13. If they endure to the end they will be saved. More than likely they will be martyred. This world will be so full of hatred and evil. That’s why the Bible says it’s much better to be a part of the first resurrection (or rapture 1thess. 4:17) rev. 20:6 ……. In this verse also it proves that the church will be with Christ when he returns to rule and reign with him during the thousand year reign……make your decision today while we are still living in the church age and under God’s grace. God is just and must judge the wickedness or else he would not be true to himself. Two things God cannot do is lie ( his word is truth ) and he cannot learn anything. ( he already knows it all ) The beginning from the end. dig a little deeper my brother. Study to show thyself approved. Most of all pray, the Holy Spirit will be your guide…….. He and he alone is your teacher . Only two resurrections, as it pertains to the dead. Resurrection of believers unto LIFE (three groups: saints of the church age, OT saints, and tribulation saints) all must have made the decision to trust Christ as their savior before their death…….then the resurrection of the non-believers unto DEATH. God bless.

  • Fred Bachmann

    What about My Father has many mansions. explain that away

    • The_L1985

      Um…it doesn’t say where the mansions are or will be.

  • http://jonmccaw.com/ Jon McCaw

    For those that believe the whole argument of “Rapture” is not in the bible….

    Have you ever thought to look for the word “demon”, or “one thousand year reign”? These are merely stumbling blocks for those that do not search out the bible in the original greek (new testament) or hebrew (old testament).

    The harpazo IS in the bible (Greek) or the Hebrew is Netchatef. Others might refer to it as the great catching away. The point is, do not be deceived into thinking that the rapture is a figment of the imagination. Revelation is a time line picture of what is to happen.

    Raptures are not a foreign thing in the bible. Enoch was raptured, Elijah was raptured, and John was raptured where YHWH says come up here i have things to show you. in all there have been 6 raptures and the 7th is the rapture of the church.

    • The_L1985

      Then why are there zero references to the Rapture before the 19th century?

  • Randy

    Sorry but Christ will not set up an eternal kingdom on THIS earth. Rev 20:11 says Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. So THIS earth flees from the presence of God, then Rev 21:1 says there is a new Heaven and a NEW EARTH “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      I can understand why you see it that way, but that is a misreading of John’s apocalyptic style. A common style in the first century Jewish diaspora world. Literal readings of word pictures is a dangerous textual move.

  • Donna Lovato

    It is too bad that some people get very heated about this subject. I think we can have a reasonable discussion without getting upset. Personally I think when we get a bit testy it is because our pride of wanting to be right is showing. A trait I have been trying to fight in myself. I try to as the saying goes, not major in the minors. First of all is this a salvational issue? Does believing in PreTrib or Post-Trib matter whether one will go to heaven or not? The issue that does concern me is if some may put their faith in getting raptured before the Great Tribulation may loose their faith if they find themselves going through it. Remember the Bible does tell us that there will be a great apostasy (falling away) 2 Thess 2:3. Side note: I was brought up in a church that taught Pre-Trib an therefore for years had no reason to doubt this doctrine. Back in 2004 I was challenged by a woman at at outreach to study what the Bible says on this subject. I debated most of the opinions I have read here in this post with her. I did however go back and over the course of many years come to believe now that I was wrong and that the church will be going through much of what we call the Tribulation period. Just remember, what ever you believe… stay humble, teachable and be kind to one another, study your Word and just don’t listen to what you have been told (even by Pastors). Be a Berean! Most of all put your faith in Jesus not the rapture.

  • Price Dave

    As I read the comments, I would like to share a couple of thoughts. 1. Paul was a Pharisee, Paul knew the OT better than most of the believers of his day. Paul never taught contrary to the OT. 2. If you read the entire book of 1 Thess you will see that the subject of Jesus’ return only comes up because people have died, and some of them have died because they were killed for their belief (not good for the pre-trib kids). 3. 1 Cor 15:51 and forward clearly states at the “last trumpet”, last meaning that’s it, it’s over, the end of what we know is upon us and the beginning of what is next will begin. 4. Noah lived after God judged, God judged, he poured out his judgement and Noah was spared. Noah was NOT spared of living through the times of evil that brought God’s judgement upon the world. 5. Lot lived through the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah, only escaping right before God’s judgement was poured out. They werent taken from an evil place because it was evil, they were rescued from the effects of God’s judgement. 6. Yes the saints will be spared from God’s wrath, but there is no promise of us being spared of difficult times leading up to the pouring of his wrath. 7. And the big ONE – the rapture is anti everything that being a follower of Jesus means. Jesus said to put others first, to love others, to even die for others, why is the church waiting to be removed from the last days when those people will need God more than at any other time in history? Who will tell the people about salvation? Who will feed the hungry, who will take care of the wounded and battle worn? / Remember historically speaking the rapture was brought to the forefront in the late 1800’s (so it’s only really been taught for a little over 100 years). The rapture become quite popular when the Schofields re-printed the bible to wrap Darby’s teachings together (beware when someone prints a bible with an agenda) and finally the rapture got really popular in the 70’s and made alot of folks a whole bunch of money. Rarely does the truth ever make a whole bunch of money, however sensationalism almost always does.

    • Kirk Leavens

      Good one Dave. I grew up in the Assemblies of God, my 7th grade boys Sunday school class was taught straight out of a Scofield Bible, complete with Dispensational charts! I never could understand why God would require such sacrifice and persecution for saints in the past, yet spare us moderns from that during the Tribulation, a time when the world would so need our witness.

  • Price Dave

    How can there be an “anti” christ when everything and everyone christian has been removed? You can’t have the anti of something unless you have the “real” of it as well.

    • http://conthis.blogspot.com Joe Sewell

      A good question, actually. The reasoning, I believe, would be that Christ Jesus is still on the throne, and presumably still reachable. The knowledge of Him would still exist in written form, and He would still be in Heaven.

      Consider, too, that the events happening on Earth during that time would be a small reflection of the whole war. The devil, the Beast (usually referred to as the “AntiChrist”), and the False Prophet wouldn’t just be ruling Earth, but fighting for rule of Heaven as well.

      There are a number of other possible answers, including the notion that “the AntiChrist” isn’t really the Beast, but rather a condition or “spirit” that has come upon many in the past 20 centuries.

      The bottom line is that any antiChrist is a person, or perhaps system, that tries to set itself up as the sole hope for mankind, other than the true Christ. In that regard, we have had, and will continue to have, many antiChrists, even after the supposed removal of the Holy Spirit from the Earth. (That, in itself, is subject to debate, which is why I sounded so wishy-washy in discussing it.)

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com/ Findo

    Don’t forget that it also relies fundamentaly on a (flawed) dispensational framework.

  • David Cohen

    The notion of the Earth as an evil place from which Christ helps us escape is the cornerstone of Gnosticism, one of the oldest heresies which Orthodox Christians ever had to deal with.

    or an ancient heresy though, it has a very long reach.

  • Karl Martell

    Physical = evil, spiritual = good. Gnosticism defined. Jewish deity = harsh, Christian deity = gentle. Marcionism defined.

  • The_L1985

    Or, to quote an 80’s pop song:

    “They say in Heaven, love comes first;
    We’ll make Heaven a place on Earth.”

  • gimpi1

    For me, the statement, “Heaven and earth will unite like a bride and husband – for all eternity,” is equally problematic. The earth is a smallish, rocky planet orbiting a middle-of-the road star in one of the arms of an average spiral galaxy. Does the entirety of the universe exist for us? What about everything else out there? Is the “end of days” relativistic? In other words, is it already happening elsewhere in the universe, and heading towards us at the speed of light, like the light from a supernova that happened centuries ago, but won’t reach us for still more centuries?

    I don’t know how you can make much of this work with the reality of cosmology and physics. Personally, I don’t try. How do others handle it?

  • gimpi1

    Perfectly said, Paganheart. I agree 100%.

  • John Robenault

    My opinion is… Who cares! What happens will happen. That’s for God to take care of. I don’t need to know everything! My job is to live for Him and trust that whatever happens, He’s in control! I think topics like this tend to cause foolish arguments that shouldn’t be. As Christians we need to be unified, not fighting with each other like we’re children.

  • Chelsea Peer

    It’s interesting how “conservative,” “fundamental,” “pseudo-traditional”, whatever you want to label it, interpretation of scripture always gives humans a very passive, almost catered to role in the continuing story of God, while the more biblically accurate narratives paint humans as active in the process. If that makes sense.