"Left Behind" Lie
By Dan L Baxley
12/21/2002 - 2022 -- not much has changed
It sounds nicer to call it a misunderstanding, but in fact it is a lie. It is far from a misunderstanding, as far as truth is from a lie. A lie fabricates and misdirects the reader or listener, designed purposely to misguide with misinformation -- sometimes the "lie" is mixed with a certain amount of truth to disguise the 'lie". The first true lie, a wicked mix of truth and the lie -- "You shall not surely die", found in Genesis 3:4. This lie came by way of the "serpent" being used as an agent of Satan. Apparently animals, wild and otherwise, including reptiles, had a certain control over their own spirit. For this reason the Creator puts a curse on the serpent for allowing himself to be used by the evil spirit, Satan. Under the presence of our Creator animals of this planet take on a completely different persona than what we now perceive. We are given brief views into this by events such as this conversation taking place in the garden between Eve and the serpent and then there is the donkey that spoke to Balaam (Numbers 22:8), This animal being used by YHWH to impress upon Balaam the seriousness of his misadventure. These things are another matter of course, but we do see another time when creatures of the earth were used for evil as well as good. In the Garden of Eden Satan had not helpers to preach a false message to Eve and to Adam (Adam was standing right next to Eve) so Satan enlisted the aide of the serpent. Today Satan does not need to use this kind of mythical magic, no, he has plenty of those in the ranks of mankind to follow his evil spirit of deception (2 Cor 11:13-15).
The pre-trib rapture doctrine smacks of this lie presented by Satan to Adam and Eve in the garden. Perhaps stated as human nature would like to hear it, "surely you will not have to die, suffer, be tried, tested, or endure discomfort". We have an inner desire to avoid suffering, to escape physical harm. There is a soothing voice, a soft, stroking hand that pets our brain when we are told sweet, soft things, things we want to hear. Oh, sure, we know that we will be changed, but still, to suffer and die? Well, I'd rather be raptured before all hell breaks loose, wouldn't we all. This is a doctrine of "escape", of saving the flesh, a misdirected doctrine of false hope in saving ones self from pain. A doctrine filled with false hope and the ultimate disappointment. It is not a misunderstanding; it is a false teaching, a hope that will be filled with disappointment, and maybe even a loss of faith. Those who pin their hopes on this false doctrine may face the hardest of all tests in faith.
We All Must Die First -- the Flesh is NOT Forever
We die then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). To die is gain (Philippines 1:21). We must die in order to gain life, putting off this body of flesh and made into something else, something better, a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:36-44). We must accept the fact that we are to perish so that we may live. The Christ has made that possible by the shedding of His blood and His resurrection from the dead – He defeated death, and the agent that had the power of death, Satan. The first church in The Messiah had discussions about the resurrection, not the rapture. This false doctrine of the “rapture”, dealing with being taken out of harm’s way, escaping the “tribulation”, is being taught by nearly every evangelical preacher and teacher we see and hear today. It is a “lie”, a lie that is building false hope for millions of believers that should be studying their own bibles for the truth. It is truly astonishing at the number of professed believers, literally, being into this doctrinal lie.
There were some, in the first century church, teaching that there is no resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12). Paul spent a good deal of time in correcting those who were of this opinion. We see in the doctrine of the "Resurrection of the Dead" as one of the basic foundations of the Apostles teaching (Hebrews 6:2). It is referred to as an elementary teaching by the writer of the letter to the Hebrew followers, along with faith, baptism, laying on of hands, and eternal judgment.
The Rapture Doctrine, some try to say, refers to the Resurrection Doctrine. This may be so, from their point of view, but it comes with a twist. We might ask who needs the Rapture Doctrine if the Resurrection Doctrine is already in place? There must, then, be a difference between the two teachings, especially if the “rapture doctrine” is a lie and is not speaking of the resurrection. This evil, teaching the "rapture" as the "resurrection', is creeping more and more into the Christian Community.
Resurrection, or Rapture?
The Apostles taught the resurrection. The term "rapture" does not appear in the scriptures, but the term "resurrection" does, some forty times. We are told the term "rapture" comes to us from the fifth century Latin Vulgate, "raptius", and that that term is supposed to have come from the Greek, "harpazo", which means "caught up", and that this is how the KJV translates "harpazo", as "caught up". What nonsense. If the KJV bible translators translate "harpazo" as "caught up", does this "catching up" then refer to the ‘rapture’, or "resurrection"? No, it does not! This being "caught up" has but two references in the scriptures. The first is referring to the taking up of those still alive at the return of the Messiah (1 Thessalonians 4:17). The second is speaking of the Messiah being taken up, "snatched up" as the NIV has it, to the Father in Heaven (Revelation 12:5). The most popular term found in the Greek copies of the New Testament letters, and the Gospels is, "anastasis", which is translated into English as, "resurrection", and means, to stand up, rise, rise from the dead. Once we are resurrected, raised from the dead, then we will be "caught up", and those still alive at His return will be changed, and then "caught up". Do you get it? Those that remain, after the dead are raised and then “caught up”, those alive are then, after the dead rise, “changed”. This change is the putting off the old man, the ultimate quickening into the same substance the Messiah is made of.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Here is something else to think about -- to be resurrected does not mean being “caught up”. First the dead are raised, resurrected, then those alive are changed and follow the raised dead to meet the Messiah. Only those in the Messiah are “caught up” to him, dead and alive alike, all with new , spiritual bodies. There is another resurrection of the dead that will take place, concerning the nation of Israel that does not include the “caught up” feature to the resurrection of the saints. Israel of history past is going to live again. This is part of the "restoration". Remember the story of Lazarus (John 11:43). Here is the account of a man raised from the grave and joining his family as if nothing had happened. This is an example of Israel's future and it is not a hidden thing for we have the Words of the Living God telling us this very thing is going to happen.
Ezekiel 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus said the Lord GOD (YHWH); Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
All of that aside, sticking with the main topic, bottom line, when we look in our KJV bible, or the NIV do we find the term, rapture? Twist it any way you want, the word does not come from the original but from a copy of a Latin bible. So, the final answer is, no!
Most scholars use the Greek translations as their authority, and this authority excludes the term "rapture". Those who support the “rapture doctrine” using the Latin Vulgate (scriptures translated into Latin) as their authority are using backward research, which is not always wrong, but in this case it is backward theology. This is also a very weak excuse for using a term on which to establish a doctrine. In some cases those who try to draw upon the Vulgate from the Roman Church to support their argument for the doctrine are the very ones that point fingers at the Roman Church for being wrapped in false, pagan doctrines, which they accuse the Roman Church of having mixed with the Christian beliefs. An honor the Latin Vulgate does hold is that of being the oldest complete copy of the scriptures to date, but that does not make words of questionable meaning, or original intent, the authority upon which we should be basing first century doctrines from the Apostles, or from the Messiah Himself.
Note: Latin, the language of the Roman Church: Vulgate meaning, "the published text", that is to say, "the common language of the Romans, or Latin's". The Latin Vulgate, composed by St Jerome is recognized as the Bible of the Roman Church, today, however, Latin is no longer a common, or vulgar language and is used mainly within the catholic churches ritual – like other languages claiming to be “holy”, it too is fading into the background. Jerome was way ahead of his time, however, having produced his translation over a period of twenty two years around 380 AD -- considering the Wycliffe English Bible was not produced until 1384 AD, one can see why the Roman Church was so protective of their translation, to the point of regarding the Latin version as the only inspire and holy work of God -- a thousand years before all of the others -- for this reason alone, all Christians should take the Roman Bible seriously. Still, is the Vulgate translations Holy? Perhaps inspired guidance, similar to all translations, up to a point, but HOLY as above all others? Sound familiar? It should, considering the push by some in the Christian community declaring the KJV Bible as the only inspire, and Holy word of God -- they are a bit late, however, in claiming that right. For the American Catholic there is the NAB (New American Bible), a translation into English from original Hebrew and Greek, not the Latin -- the work of a team of Catholic language scholars, and a very nice work at that -- they have remained true to the word, just as the majority of scholars who specialize in Biblical Translations and language. In my opinion, I would agree, this is admirable work free, for the most part, from Catholic dogma. In fact, it is this translation that is the greatest witness against the Roman Church and her Pagan theology, and traditions. But, then, the Roman Catholic Church would be the first to tell you that their religion is based on TRADITIONS, not the Bible, that is, in so many or similar words. Traditions and customs are what they are all about. In fact, they might laugh at you if you were to suggest that we should be ruled by Scripture Only -- no, really, laughed at, and I am speaking from experience. While on a Tour of Roman Basilica -- we visited 5 of the 7 -- that came up on our discussions and there was out loud laugher at the question about Bible Scripture over the Traditions of the Mother Church. No wonder Luther caused so much trouble, but within the Roman Church, he changed nothing -- the same today as then -- Traditions, tradition -- others have this same problem.
Red Flag, Red Flag!
When the title for a teaching, let alone a doctrine of faith, cannot be found in the scriptures, then this should be a red flag of the first magnitude. The Evangelical Order is pushing this false doctrine as the truth. Perhaps not all evangelists are participating, but those within the Evangelical Order that do not teach this false doctrine, this lie, are strangely silent. The Rapture doctrine is not new it has been on the fringes for years and has its beginnings in the early 1800. There is an excellent book written by Dave MacPherson, entitled, "The Incredible Cover-up, The True Story of the Pre-Trib Rapture". This book, printed by Logos International may be out of print as the copy I have is dated 1975. This book exposes the Pre-Trib Rapture historically as well as by scripture This book so thoroughly exposes this false teaching that the author made the following statement, "Before you've reached the last page, you'll probably agree that the pre-trib rapture view is on its last legs -- if it ever had a leg to stand on." That was written back in 1974, since then the Rapture Doctrine appears to dominate the Christian view. Amazing!
NEW INFO: I have recently discovered that this book can be purchased for $7 from Cutting Edge Ministries. Go to -->www.the-cutting-edge.org
MORE NEW INFO: Since I posted this article on the web a few years back a new book has been published, a really good book: End Time DELUSIONS, by Steve Wohlberg, published by Treasure House. Steve Wohlberg has a website: www.endtimeinsight.com .
And You Get Left Behind!
This doctrine has been received on the popular front in the form of fiction. Books written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins called the "Left Behind" series. These books of fiction have been so popular that a whole series has been printed just for the teen market. These fictional stories push the Pre-Trib Rapture Doctrine. Some say, "Sure they are fiction but they get the word out to those who otherwise would not listen". Listen to what, lies, and deceptions? The majority of people reading these books are not pagans, atheists, or people of other false religions awaiting enlightenment, but those who call themselves Christians, that is the target audience. If we consider these books to be aimed at those on the outside, none-believers, then we must consider these as the, "I told you so", books. In the end the false message that is being delivered by these books, now being turned into movies, is a slap in the face to all unbelievers, and even to those of the faith that reject this dangerous doctrine. This slap, this message: The good guys get taken and you get "left behind", boy are you going to be sorry now, and "we told you so".
The basis of this false teaching is when the trouble comes, the Great Tribulation (Revelations 7:14), true Christians will be picked off the earth in advance, by our Savior, to peace and safety, to heaven. Those found not deserving, along with the wicked of this World, will be left behind to suffer 7 years of bad luck, their just deserts, of course, while those “raptured” get to hang out in heaven. At the end of the 7 years our Savior will return again (so much for the second coming, this makes three) and set up the Kingdom with, of course, those privileged escapees, who will then become the rulers of the earth.
John, the last Apostle and co-author of the Book of Revelation, is shown a great multitude dressed in white robs, those hanging out with the Messiah, the Lamb. Just for fun let's read the answer as to who these individuals are. “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple.” (Revelations 7:14). Who is it that comes out of this Great Tribulation? Sounds like the saints to me. Also notice, it is these saints that end up before the throne, a great honor, with God Himself! Where does this leave the pre-trib raptured?
Now turn to Revelations 9:4 and answer the question, who is to receive special protection from what comes out of the Abyss? The answer, of course, those with the mark, or seal of God on their foreheads, or in their foreheads, as some read it. Sounds like these people are still on the earth? Now go to Revelations 13:7, and ask yourself, who are the saints? If the saints are gone then who are those with the seal of God? Who are these called saints? Who is it the Beast has been given power to conquer? The “rapture doctrine” should be called the “escape doctrine” – a doctrine offering false hope. The reality is similar to those saying, peace when there is no peace, safety when there is no safety (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Accept this false “rapture doctrine”, teach this doctrine and a false hope of “early” salvation could lead to sudden destruction. The ultimate disappointment -- and perhaps lead to cursing God -- because it did not happen the way they thought, the way they wanted. After all, would a loving God allow such terrible things to happen to His children? I have heard Christian teachers say this very thing, they would not have a god so mean and cruel. They ignore His word; for we are told that He tests any that would build upon the foundation of the Messiah (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).
This Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine is well received because Christians have become lazy in their responsibility to study the word, and of course we want to hear good things don't we? Tell us what we want to hear, give us books to read that deliver to us a "feel good gospel", a gospel of safety, a gospel of punishment for lesser people, for the wicked, those people that wouldn't listen to us. Go to 2 Timothy 4:3-4 in your own bible. This is human nature in action. We want to escape the "Wrath of God", and we can, but not as the false hope of the Pre-Trib Rapture Evangelists teach. Let's try to understand what the Wrath of God is, when is it, and the difference between His wrath and that of Satan's and of the Great Tribulation.
The Tribulation, The Wrath of Satan, the Wrath of God:
The Great Tribulation found in Revelations 7:14 should be read and read again, from verse nine, and then answer the question, "Who are those dressed in the white robes? Have a look at Revelation 2:10. No one can deny that the message here is to the Church, the congregation of the Living God, the saints.
The Great Wrath of Satan (Revelations 12:12), Satan's wrath, is described by other translations as great anger, raging anger, and fury. This wrath, this fury, is first directed at Israel, the woman, and then he turns his wrath toward her offspring, the believers that obey the Father's commands and hold to the testimony of Yahshua (Revelation 12:17). We recognize the Jewish people as Israel, and in today's language the two terms are interchangeable. We also see the greatest gathering of Jewish people since the Messiah walked its streets, today we see them as “Modern Israel”. This Modern Israel is where I believe Satan will strike, but we should remember that Nazi Germany went after Israel, the Jews, even before she became a modern nation, once again, in the land of Canaan.
While we see the re-creation of the nation Israel, by men, centered around her foundation is the city Jerusalem. This city is a necessary component for prophetic statements found in the book of Revelations. Many prophetic statements made in the Old Testament are also connected to the existence of a nation called Israel and a city, Jerusalem. Keep in mind the history of the past. Remember, the Romans tried to destroy the woman, but the earth opened up her mouth and swallowed her up, hiding her in the earth. The Jewish people scattered to the four winds, the dispersion, the "desporia" as it is known.
Israel disappears into the nations, as slaves and vagabonds and this is when the Roman purge in all its destructive fury turns on the Christians, the offspring of the Jewish nation -- enemies of the state (Revelation 12). They were murdered, (martyred) by the thousands. The dispersion ranged throughout the world, the earth swallowing up the flood of destruction. Many new Christians followed this migration away from the Satanic controlled government. For Satan to destroy the woman and her offspring, an offspring she didn't want, leaving her behind, would mean the total destruction of his, Satan's, present domain, Rome, the earth itself. It should be little wonder when Satan became wroth with the Woman (Israel, the Jews) and turns on the Christians left behind,. being unable to wipe them out totally, he shifts gears and does and astounding thing. He, Satan, inspires the Roman power to accept Christianity as the State Religion. Who would have thought of such a thing? Satan's genius is that old saying, "if you can't beat them, join them", and he has. Christianly of today comes out of this union of Satan with the Church. State approved religion, Christianity, incorporating heathen festivals and traditions as a method of control true Christianity becomes hidden. From this government approved religions comes a rebellion, of sorts, and it is the birth of the Protestant movement. Another genius move of Satan, knowing there will be some to rebel he allows "daughters" to go out from the Mother Church, claiming their independence, satisfying the need of some to feel they are in control of their own lives and it works beautifully. From this Protestant movement follow many others from the Mother, to the Daughters to the Daughters, daughters, all holding the same basic traditions and customs and practices of the original Babylonian rebellion. The traditions of the modern Christian Church can be easily traced back to the Mother of all Mothers of religions, if you care to, this is not hard to uncover, it is hard to accept -- to admit you have been fooled, as a believer, that is. But, don't feel too bad, after all, Satan has had a few thousand years to prefect his deception, you have had but a small time and have only a small time to make up your mind.
There is an historical pattern established by Satan himself concerning the people of the Living God and the children of the faith, and with the return of the Jewish nation -- with the newly created nation of Israel, we see the gathering of the storm of fury, of the great anger, of Satan's Wrath. The pattern of Satan and his agents is to encourage the gathering of the people of the Living God, the people of the faith, into a single place in the hope of destroying them. Don't forget, it was the God of Israel that allowed her to be lost in the world of nations. If Satan would have had his way Israel would never have left the land of Canaan alive. It is our Savior's goal to restore Israel one day -- it is Satan's goal to destroy her and her children the Christians.
Modern Israel is the work of men, not the true prophetic “restoring” of the true Israel as many mistakenly interpret. Israel of today is not the Israel the Creator God is gathering from the ends of the world. When He gathers the true Israel they will live in peace and safety not like today. Satan gathers, by deceptive methods, a people desiring the restoration of Israel in a feeble attempt at the final destruction of the people of Israel. Satan’s own deception is that he really is doing the will of the Living God. He is really doing what the Heavenly Father wants. He is, in his own mind, the “Sword of the Living God”, punishing those rebellious humans. You can see this personality of the Devil in those that exhibit this very same kind of conduct and become his agents in the flesh. They kill others in the name of their god, thinking they are doing a service for the Creator God of the Universe. Their deception runs deep. Historically we can see this thinking with the Roman government, the Roman Empire. Later, those that managed to take control, and authority of the Christian church, and eventually became the religion of the Empire, murdered believers all in the name of their god. Satan’s personality shines through all of history, sometimes in individuals, always within organizations collectively brought together for the “greater good” of the state or the religion. In modern times we can see this every day in the news concerning the Islamic religion.
The Wrath of God (Revelations 16:1, and 19:15), YaH's wrath, is seen in Revelations as seven bowls poured out, and this all ends with the destruction of the nation’s armies and of the Beast and of the False Prophet. At the destruction of the system of Babylon we see those in heaven and the bride of the Messiah shouting, "Hallelujah", which is to say, "Praise to God Yah". There is a warning given in Revelation 18:4, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so you will not receive any of her plagues". (NIV) Why would such a warning be necessary if the saints, the people of the Living God, were already taken away?
The wrath of Satan and the great tribulation are tied together. Satan is the plague of the church, of the people of god, whether Israel, believers, or both. Revelations 7:13-14 makes this plain. Those dressed in the white robes are those that come out of the great tribulation and they are given special honor. There is no mention anywhere in the total book of Revelation about any honor being given to a pre-trib group, none. Reading Revelations 12:12-17, we see the “Wrath of Satan” being dealt out upon the woman that gave birth to the Son, "the man child". This woman is seen as Israel, or the Jewish nation from whom the Messiah, the man-child, sprung. No one would suggest that this is, literally the mother Mary (Mariam, Maryyam), and from the remaining verses it is evident the "offspring" are believers, followers of the Messiah. No one can deny Christianity sprang from the Jews. Our Messiah, including all of the Apostles were Israelites, and it is understood that our Savior was, by flesh, a Jew, of the tribe of Judah whose capital is Jerusalem, from among whom the Messiah sprang. The worship of the Messiah, Yahshua, produced offspring, His followers, a congregation of the Messiah, coming out of Judah. How we know the offspring are not also Jews, or a Jewish church, is easily demonstrated by the context of the reading -- Satan first attacks the Mother (Judah, and Jerusalem) of the Church, then he turns on her offspring, a completely separate group, as we are told the woman flees, dispersed, and is saved from complete annihilation by Satan, it is then and only then that Satan turns toward the "offspring". These offspring obey God's commandments and hold the testimony of Yahshua. This clearly demonstrates a separation. Certainly Jewish believers would be found mixed in with this group, but the very fact of holding the “testimony” of Yahshua would have forced them out from among the Jews, the nation Judah, as represented by the Woman (it is accepted that today, in this modern world, the term Jew is synonymous with Israel. All Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews. All the same in today's world the two terms are interchangeable in casual usage).
Some teach that this Woman is the Christian church. Any that teach this should read Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 and heed that warning. This warning also applies to those that are attempting to restore the Old Covenant, the system of worship under Moses that belongs to the unrepentant Jews. The Christian church had better heed this warning before trying to replace Israel. Remember, the term synagogue as used in these verses is the same as saying, "church" to make the right sense of it for the modern reader. The synagogue was, and is, a place where the scriptures are read, and the people come to hear the reading, much in the same way Christians go to church. Synagogue is a structure, a building, an organized meeting place, or gathering place for people of a like mind. Today's Christians have raised up structures of their own, calling them churches. The actual word used in the Greek means “assembly”, or congregation, a term used of Israel even. So, when we read of the Synagogue of Satan we know that we are being told of the Church of Satan, a physical, organized structure. Heed the warning, read Revelation 2:9, 3:9, again:
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. KJV
In Revelations 13:7 we see the Beast is given power to conquer the saints. You will see that Satan goes after the woman, then turns on her offspring, which I believe to be the Christian church, as a body of believers that can be seen, or followed from history past. Remember, the first church was composed of, Jews, and gentiles, but Jews first. Keeping that in mind reread these verses. Next read Revelations 19:14. There is an event concerning the Beast and the Mark of the Beast and his image, Revelations 14:13, "Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." Now go to Revelations 20:6. Listen, the believers that wash their clothes in the blood of the Savior will be pursued by Satan. Future believers will be killed just like in the past (Revelations 6:9-11). It is very clear as to who the slain are. What is the blessing of this death? I believe it is the power of the second death will have no claim on them. In other words they will have received the promise “eternal life”, no longer awaiting the “judgment”.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. KJV
What the saints will be spared from is the Wrath of the Living God, which is to occur at the coming of our Savior. We see, also, in Revelation 9:4 the saints, those having the mark of God on their foreheads, as having special protection during the sounding of the fifth trumpet. These are obviously present, on Earth, or this protection from the plague that is going to come on man from the abyss would not be needed.
When the 7th trumpet sounds, a warning goes out announcing the coming Wrath of God. It is at the sound of this trumpet, the last trumpet, that the Resurrection occurs, Matthew 24:31 and 1 Corinthians 15:52. The Wrath of God is found listed in Revelations 16 as the Seven Bowls of God's Wrath, Revelation 15 refers to His Wrath as the "seven last plagues. These plagues, poured out on mankind is finished in Revelations 19 at the return of the Messiah where we see those in white robes with Him, so we know the resurrection has occurred at this time, not seven years earlier, not 3 years earlier, but at the end of the 7 years. The kings of this earth are defeated and the beast and false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire. You should note how brief this battle is. It really isn't much of a battle, it is pretty much one sided, and very decisive.
From the sounding of the 7th trumpet things happen fast and in rapid succession. Revelations chapters 17 and 18 are filler information, giving more detail about events of a singular nature, like dealings with the Whore and with the city Babylon. By sticking with the sequence of events beginning in Revelations 6 with the 7 Seals, then skipping over the detailed filler information and picking up the 7 trumpets at Revelations 8, then proceeding to Revelations 11:15 for the 7th and final trumpet that then leads into the Wrath of God mentioned in Revelation 15, and executed beginning Revelation 16.
This is the sequence of events, and when this is studied it is plain that the Resurrection takes place at the 7th trumpet, and this occurs after the great tribulation, and after the Wrath of Satan. This all fits in very nicely with Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:52, and with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
What's the Big Deal?
The danger in the Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine is this: The potential for lost faith. If modern Christians find themselves in the midst of great stress and world calamity, and persecutions, and even suffer death, they may lose faith in deliverance. In the desire to save the self by a belief in such a false, and deceiving, escapist doctrine they may not have the spiritual conditioning to endure, they may curse God, or accuse Him of delaying, or abandon their faith altogether. Check out 2 Peter 3:3-5, and pray you do not become a scoffer. Please, I beg you, read Revelations 20:4-8 and you will see as John saw, "...I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Yahshua and because of the Word of God." It goes on to state that these saints, the elect, are the very ones that refused, by penalty of death, to worship the beast, or his image, and refused the mark of his name. Then we are told that these came to life to rule with the Messiah for the thousand years, and we are also told that this is the first, resurrection. Now go back to Revelations 6:10-11, the martyrs of the past, that paid with their lives for their testimony, are told, "... wait a little longer, until number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been completed."
Does any of this sound as though we are to escape? Where does it say believers are to escape into the clouds for seven years, or even three and a half year, or any time at all, other than the twinkling of an eye, in that split second of the resurrection. To be in the first resurrection a price is paid, and the reward is ruling with the Christ, our Savior, as priests and kings for the thousand years, then after that, after the thousand years the rest of the dead are raised to judgment, and that includes all of mankind, all not found in the first resurrection. Yes, my friends, unless you have paid the ultimate price, as did our Savior, or if you happen to be one of the 144,000, and in that case you would need to be an Israelite, not polluted by the religions of this world, you will be raised in the second resurrection, not the first.
There is an exception to this view and that is found in 1 Corinthians 15:51-51 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, which indicates that the living believers, at the time of the Messiah's return, will be caught up, but not before those who have died in The Messiah, the martyrs. Let me repeat that, for the word is plain, "Not before". Better still, let's read it together, "...and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive ... " (NIV) If the dead go first where does this leave the poor rapture people? Again, the idea of escaping to peace and safety is not consistent with the word of God. The word we study, to strengthen ourselves spiritually, to be ready to die at the hands of beast, to be tested. Have a look at Revelations 20:4, pretty profound stuff. Yahshua gave His life for us should we be willing to do any less? The first resurrection is the reward of those who are, and have made this sacrifice. The power of the second death that follows the second resurrection at the end of the thousand years has no power over those in the first. The rest of the dead are raised at the end of the thousand years rule of the Messiah. It is possible that the, "rest of the dead", will include believers that had the easy life, that lived without sacrifice from the beginning of history to now (that is mere speculation on my part at this point), the believers, Christians if you prefer, that lived during times of plenty. Certainly this is left open to interpretation, but the plain fact is that there is no teaching of the easy way out. No, not for the end time, tribulation believers, those who obey God and hold to the testimony of Yahshua, this will be the real test, keeping your faith in God and our Savior when things get rough. Satan will have a wanted poster out on everyone that testifies to the name of Yahshua as Savior.
We are instructed to study, to do our best in the handling of the word of God, presenting ourselves as workmen that don't need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15). While this instruction is directed at Timothy it sets a good example for us. In the book of Acts we read of the Bereans and how they, "... examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11) We should do the same. Study your Bible to see if what you are being told, or what you read is so.
Let every man be a liar but the word of God true. So, I encourage you, look up and read from your own bible as much as possible, give the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit a chance at helping you to understand what you read. Don't let works of fiction shape your beliefs. Study your bible, get into the word, build your spiritual armor.
One last comment; this pre-tribulations rapture doctrine is usually coupled with another false teaching -- that the Messiah could come at any time, referred to by some as "The Imminent Return, or the doctrine of "Imminence". Certainly our Father in heaven could do as He pleases, for with Him, truly, all things are possible. However, He gave us His words and those of His Son's for a reason, and that reason is to glorify His name (Revelations 15:4). The scriptures are filled with references to His name being glorified, brought about by actions He revealed in advance. Unless these words, the words applied to future events, come to pass there will be someone that would charge, He really didn't do what He said, He is no different than other gods, they might say.
By the action of prophecy, the foretelling of events, His prophetic words, He proves who He is, and who His Son is, and that they mean business. Read Revelations 19:10 and you will see that this is what is meant, "...For the testimony of Yahshua is the spirit of prophecy."
Who is man to argue with the Creator? When the final word is fulfilled every mouth will be silenced and He will be revealed to everyone, He will glorify His name and that of His Son, and in the end His Son will rule, by the authority of the Father. Who are we to even consider His methods? Mere man, composed of dirt, we had better hope in His return and the Resurrection of all the saints, not the false hope of the Rapture of the few.
HalleluYah (Praise YH).