Rapture or Resurrection?
by your servant, Dan Baxley
Recently I was asked about the Rapture and my position on this popular subject. I’m Giving you fair warning -- I do not believe in the Rapture doctrine and feel that it is a doctrine of deception with deep, negative ramifications for the body of believers having set their hearts on this false offer of (escape) hope. The following is an expanded form of my reply to this question.
What follows here is my position and what I firmly believe is the position of the Word of our Creator and Messiah, YaHshua, as determined through His inspired writings we have come to know as the Holy Bible. First, please note, I have been looking into this and observing its acceptance by the Christian Community for the past 20 years (40 years if you count the first time I heard about this false doctrine). This doctrine appeared, at one time, to be dead, disproved and ignored by mainstream Christian teachers (pre 60's). The "Modern Day" Evangelicals, having basically grown out of the Pentecostal Movement of the 60’s, have revived this once fallen “doctrine”. Of course there are some Bible teachers that do not believe in this deceptive teaching and then there are those that believe it and want to believe it, but of the teachers and students that have gone to their knees and truly searched their hearts, have abandoned this false teaching for what it is – a false hope. It is a teaching, however, that has caught the imagination of those professing to be Christians as a way out of this mess we call the World and a way that sounds pleasant to the hearer of a no pain, no trouble and the ultimate escape of the coming “tribulation”, "time of trouble", and etc., etc. It all sounds nice, but - Our Hope should be in the Messiah, and His "resurrection", raised from the dead and making the way possible for us to received this very same life eternal – first we must be willing to give up this life. Please, let me explain, but if you have already made up your mind then you need read no farther. It is the "resurrection" (not to be confused with the rapture) of the dead we are looking forward to (1 Cor 15:21-22), when all the saints will be raised and those yet alive "quickened" into a new creation, a new creature suited for life eternal (1 Cor 15:44).
(1Co 15:21-23) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming.
(1Co 15:42-44) So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
(John 5:21) For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.
The Rapture? Why I don't believe in the Rapture:
The Rapture Doctrine: A teaching that living, flesh and blood Christians are taken in a secret return of the Christ, prior to the "time of trouble", to Heaven until the trouble is over. This Doctrine includs the Imminent Return Doctrine as well, and is fast replacing the Biblical teaching about the Resurrection Doctrine. The Imminent Return, is coupled with the Rapture Doctrine. The Rapture Doctrine is a hijacking of the Resurrection teaching. The Imminent Return says that our Lord can return at any moment. This of course flies in the face of the prophetic word. Say our Lord was to come right this minute, then what happens to the rest of the Prophetic Word? It is the Prophetic word that proves He is who He says He is. If a Messiah was to come right now, this hour or day, then half or more of the prophetic word would never be fulfilled. Remember the Body of the Christ is bears the Testimony about YaHshua in the Spirit of the prophetic word. Prophecy fulfilled proves Him and prove His truth and His understanding about who we are and tell us why we need Him. The Rapture Doctrine and the Imminent return Doctrine say that we do not need for His truth, His Words to be fulfilled. That, my friends is a false idea, a false teaching. Our Lord YaHshua cannot and will not retuen until the scheduled time for His return. One thing is certian, He cannot return, nor will He return until some time AFTER the Sixth Seal is opened -- Revelation 6"12-17 -- the Wrath of the Lamb, and that is only the start of trouble.
Resurrection: Apostolic biblical teaching concerning the raising of the dead by the power of the Christ's resurrection -- that power being from the Father -- to occur at His visible return. Every eye will see His Return. It is this doctrine taught by the Apostles, the raising of the dead, First to meet the Lord in the air over the earth and then to be with Him as he and His Angels set down on the Mount of Olives. No one goes to Heaven of Heavens. From this point on, from this Resurrection of the Saints the 1,000 year rule of YaHshua begins as King of kings, ON EARTH. Then a Second Resurrection is to take place at the end of the 1,000 years, and that resurrection is the resurrection to the Judgment of all that had live before from the beginning of man's creation. This Second Resurrection will end with some being thrown into the Lake of fire, and this is called the Second Death. This Second Death has no power over those who experience the First Resurrection and the quacking into eternity. None of this has anything to do with either the Rapture or Imminent return doctrines, both false and misleading, holding out a false hope.
More, Much More
It is easy to confuse the two, a resurrection or a rapture, as both have to do with a "rising up" but there the similarity ends. Modern prophecy teachers, not all of them, but the number is growing, especially since the Tim LaHaye/Jerry Jenkins, Left Behind series of books, are happy to confuse the issue and replace the "Resurrection" teaching with the "Rapture" teaching (resurrection of the dead, or snatching up of the living to Heaven).
When you read more and more of the arguments in defense of the false rapture teaching it becomes more and more evident they are replacing the “resurrection” doctrine with the “rapture” doctrine. Try as they might the two are not the same and they know it! How do they know it? First, the term and the teaching and the term used about the “resurrections” can be found in the Scriptures, but the term “rapture” cannot. To teach this false doctrine they must twist the scriptures is assumptions and out of scripture sources and the use of other languages (Latin) in order to come up with their term Rapture, for a doctrine teaching the catching up the living into Heaven -- the Rapture. So, why, pray tell, do they insist upon using a term not found in the Scriptures? Why not teach the "resurrection", a term found in scripture, a term so plainly referred to as one of the “basic” principles of the Christian faith, a teaching taught by the Apostles?
(Php 3:10-12) That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of the Anointed YaHshua.
(Rom 6:5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
(Mat 22:29-33) YaHshua answered and said unto them, You do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God (the Father). For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
There is no life or worship of any kind of connection with the dead and our God and Father in Heaven. When the Dead are resurrected back to life then God and Savior and Creator is for them, those living again. This being brought back to life is only possible by His power and choice to do so. To be raised back to life is formed in two events, once at the Return of our Savior and a second resurrection time at the end of the 1,000 year rule of YaHshua, and it is at that time that the rest of the dead will be raised back to life to stand before the Judgment seat to either receive Life Eternal or to suffer the Second death, an eternal death -- He is not a God of or for the Dead. The final death is for good, never to exist again.
A challenge: Take a good bible concordance, like Strong's, or any bible search software and look up "resurrection", then look up "rapture". What you will find is that Rapture is nowhere to be found but Resurrection is from beginning to end, and so numerous as to be undeniable as a doctrine and a truth. In many places you will see the phrase, "resurrection of the dead", never the "the rapture of the living". Rapture is nowhere to be found, you have to massage the few places terms for the resurrection are used to mean what they, the deceivers, want them to mean, to circumvent the resurrection truth with a raoture lie. Some call this Rapture Doctrine the Escape Doctrine, a false promise and false hope told to willing ears that they do not have to suffer or come through any kind of fire or trial. Funny, how this flies in the face of what we are told about the End Time Chruch, Laodicia --
(Rev 3:13-18) He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that you may see.
(Rev 3:19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Does this sound like a Chruch that is in Heaven?
Let me give a few points of reasoned opinion and of fact:
First, the Rapturist (I just invented that word, I think) are the first to admit that the term, "rapture" does not appear in the scriptures and readily agree it is taken from a "Latin" term used by the old school Catholics meaning to "snatch", or, by implication, in their use, to "snatch up" (some say, caught up). So, the teachers of this doctrine are on shaky ground to start with by their own admission. The logical mind, when it comes to “Biblical” doctrine would surly be suspicious of a doctrine using terms not found in the very source of doctrine, the Bible. At least that is what I think – Biblical doctrine, from the Bible? What a concept.
(Note to the reader: When a doctrine is based on a title not found in the pages of your Bible you should be suspicious, very suspicious. The Trinity doctrine is another example of the title not being found in scripture, and like the title Rapture finds its origin in the Latin Language of the Roman Catholic organization -- the confusion -- the Roman Church looks on the Latin Language as inspired and holy while the rest of Christianity claim the Greek as the Holy inspired language -- you be the judge)
Second, the "Rapture Doctrine" is taught in conjunction with the doctrine of "Imminent Return". I'm sure you have heard of this, the idea that our Savior can come at any “moment” -- perhaps as you are eating breakfast, or in you car traveling 70 miles an hour, or in an airplane, suddenly, whoosh, you, or your neighbor, are gone, vanished). This is a dangerous doctrine when you consider Bible Prophecy, especially when we read that the TESTIMONY or our Savior is in the “spirit of prophecy” (Rev 19:10). This is to suggest that the "testimony" about the Messiah is "prophetic", in its nature, by the mere fact we are speaking of His "future coming", hence, a prophetic belief and “testimony” of just who is coming and how. This “Testimony” and the hope of our Savior’s return is a doctrinal issue centered around Him and must be satisfied in His truth and all else rejected.
(2 John 1:9-10) Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of (the)Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him.
Eph 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
Can you see the danger of just going with the flow, accepting whatever the false teachers throw at you? Remember, also, many of these teachers don't realize they themselves are deceived as you read in 2 Timothy 3:13, "...deceiving and being deceived". Hey, if it sounds good, it must be good, right? We live in a time and society men pleasers -- of hearing only what we want to hear, the ultimate positive thinkers, right? Well, not quite, as the ultimate positive thought should be the coming of the Kingdom to this Earth and peace at last, peace at last. The wisdom of the World, however, is to think good thoughts about ourselves and to reject any criticism – a feel good society. Huge numbers of Christians have set up preachers for themselves that will tell them just what they want to hear. These preachers have honed their skills like the finest salesmen and women. Going to one of their meetings is not much different than going to any motivational convention on how to sell Tupperware or just about anything and the people love it.
The false Rapture Doctrine misses the truth of the Biblical "Resurrection Doctrine" and this doctrine is called a basic doctrine, an elementary doctrine that all Christians should come to understand.
(Hebrews 6:1) Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about (the)Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. NIV
(Hebrews 6:1-2) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of (the) Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. KJV
You see, as “repentant” believers we should already understand the “principles” of the “Doctrine of the Christ” (Messiah) and what the “foundation” upon which that Doctrine (about Him) is established.
Sadly, many of the teachers responsible for delivering the truth of the "resurrection", have opted for a self-fulfilling prophecy that pleases the ears of their contributors (2 timothy 4:3). Read any of the Old Testament Prophets writings and you see they were not very popular, they were not given to warning people about how nice they are, how good they are, how they deserve have this or that. Jeremiah 18:18 is a good example of the treatment of any teacher that would tell the people and their leaders the truth. In other word, the things people want to hear is not always what they should hear. The Rapture Doctrine is a wonderful doctrine about escaping all trouble and going straight to Heaven during the time of calamity on Earth. It is the ultimate “feel good” doctrine with a built in “fear factor” – I’ll speak more on that later.
That brings me to the third point. Our Savior said that no one can go to Heaven unless he, or she is from Heaven. When our Savior said this He was talking about Himself and in the process made it plain that no one on this Earth, of flesh and blood, dirt and water, has ever been or ever will be in the Heaven of Heavens.
(John 3:13) And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. KJV
(John 3:13) No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man. NIV
(1 Timothy 6:16) who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. KJV
(1 Timothy 6:16) Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. NIV
Can you see? Only that which is from Heaven can go there. And as unpleasant as it may seem to some, we are not from Heaven but from Earth, we are made of dirt, my friends. That’s right, we are dirt mixed with water, a composite of minerals with just enough acid thrown in to give us an electrical charge that keep our fleshly heart pumping and our brain connected with the other parts. I am not the first to observe man as the first "battery". When people talk about the aura they see around people it is the electrical energy our physical body is emitting, it is not some special spiritual escence. We are bound to this Earth and are not going to Heaven and have most definitely not come from Heaven. We are created beings, and the record of that creation is found in the Book of Genesis. But, in all of this, we have a fabulous future ahead of us and it is by the "power of His resurrection" we will attain a future with Him and become, literally, as He is in a new, everlasting, spirit body. The wicked of the world, however, will not receive this gift, for whatever reason, and will perish as all flesh must perish, they to everlasting death and ashes and the saints to everlasting life.
Read the last book of Revelation and you find not only is our Savior coming to this Earth but eventually so is our Heavenly Father (John 3:13, Rev 21 - the New Jerusalem, Rev 22:1-6, Rev 22:12). It is interesting to note that one of the most quoted verses in the bible is within 3 verses of John 3:13 (John 3:16) and still most Christian teachers teach we are going to heaven, when our Savior said just the opposite. This should be an alert for the Rapturist, especially since the Messiah Himself tells us that only He is from Heaven and that you cannot go there unless you are from there, but still they teach the Messiah is coming in SECRET and RAPTURES away the faithful Christians to Heaven, thereby avoiding the "wrath of God" on this Earth. If this were the case then whom are the Elect that would not be saved except for the intervention of God and our Savior? Read it in your own bible, it is not a secret, "except those days be shortened" , but, " for the elect's sake", can it be any plainer? the Elect of the Messiah are on earth.
(Matthew 24:22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
(Matthew 24:29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
(Matthew 24:30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Rev 6:12-15)
(Matthew 24:31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
This, my friends, is the coming resurrection and it will be anything but silent, or secret. It may not be recognized by those not looking for this event in this way and this is why we must keep watch so we will not be caught off gaurd and recognized the "SIGN" of His coming.
Please notice the sequence of events in the words of our Savior, Yahshua (His Birth Name). First, if those days are not shortened no one would be saved, not even the Elect (saints, believers). I personally believe this is in reference to a “spiritual” salvation as well as a refernce to a physical destruction. In other words, “as the days of Noah” (Mat 24:37), the influence of deception becomes greater and greater to the possibility that without our Creator’s intervention even the Elect would fail, or fall, and then the situation would truly be like the “days of Noah” where only one man was worth saving (his family got to go along for the ride), but in this case, as outlined by our Savior Himself, no one would be saved -- so, how badly do we need His intervention?
Certainly there is much, much more that can be said about the statements made by Yahshua in this revealing chapter of Matthew, but for now the issue is about the Elect being Ruptured before a time of “tribulation” (distress, trouble). The question remains, then, if the Elect are in Heaven at this time, how are we to make sense of the words of our Savior? We can’t, not without using our imagination to conjure up a different vision (and this is just what the Rapturist are beginning to do -- they are now claiming the doctrine of the Rapture is "new revelation" the first Church and Apostles never had -- incredible). Look again, He says “after” the “tribulation” of those days, not before. This poses other questions concerning the timing of events and I hope to cover Matthew 24, specifically, at a later date but keeping on track with the debunking of this “theory” promoted by the Rapturist we will skip over the configuring Matthew 24 with the Book of Revealation (click here for link to new, broader study concerning Matthew 24).
Again looking at the sequence of events as given by our Savior, “after the tribulations of those days”, we see the “heavens shaken” then we see the "sign" of His coming and the whole Earth mourning. Then look at what happens, Angels are sent out, a great Trumpet blast and the Elect are gathered from one end of the Earth to the other, and from one end of heaven to the other. (It is easy to prove that the heaven spoken of here is not the Heaven of our Heavenly Father but is the heaven of the air, our atmosphere from which we get rain (Acts 14:17, James 5:18). And one more thing, notice verse 30, second paragraph, “…They will see”, and who is the “they”, who is it that “sees” all of this? The whole World so how can it be some secret? It can’t, it just simply can’t be. Also, if the Elect are already in Heaven with the Messiah, they do not need to be gathered. So, what is this saying? Simple, the Elect have not been "caught up" up to the Heavenly throne in a secret “Rapture”, but are gathered by the Angels at the very loud and visible, return of our Savior, at the sopund of TRUMPET blasts.
A forth point, before I tear into the scriptures on the subject of the "Resurrection". Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say we, as Believers, are to escape the riggers of physical life, and sad to say, there will be a “tribulation” generation, just as there was right after the formation of the first century Church. Millions of our brothers and sisters have given up their lives in sticking faithfully with the “testimony” of our Savior (Rev 11:12). The Bible tells us that to love one's life is to loose it but to be willing to give up your life for His sake is to gain it (Matthew 10:39). There is a simple truth of nature, in the physical flesh and blood of this world, we have a desire to not want suffer, to be void of pain, but the reality is that we do suffer and we do experience pain, as does the whole creation (Romans 8:22). It is normal for me and you to want to be safe and not have to suffer and desire the protection and well being of our loved ones -- this a normal thing. However since the creation of man there has been pain and suffering, more in certain parts of the world or societies than others. It is interesting to note that most to the real physical sufferings are in those nations that have gone furthest from the God of the Holy Bible. And isn’t it strange how the number of educated people in the West and in Europe, nations founded, in part, on the Holy bible as part of their heritage, chase after the gods and the, so called, “wisdom teachings” of those despicable societies held captive by doctrines of devils and demons uopn which these Eastern religions are based – the root cause of their pain and suffering and still educated Western individuals chase after these demonic wisdoms -- amazing.
When the plan of the Living God is finished the horrible religious practices of nations worshiping demons and following every imagination of the mind will be abolished and then suffering will be abolished and everyone will enjoy peace equally -- this will be made possible and offered to everyone when the Kingdom is set up on Earth -- but make no istake, this is not the end of it. Man- kind, apart from our Creator, YaHshua, does not have the answer to World Peace. People say that if God really exists then He would stop all of this World suffering and wars, and such, and the answer to that is that is exactly what He is going to do. He is going to intervene and in a dramatic way, a way by which no one will be able to say it is an accident. Oh, at first it will be seen as “Mother Nature” gone berserk, but When our Savior, YaHshua, stands on the Mount of Olives and destroys the power of the nations there should be a great awaking. In fact, take heart dear ones, there is a period of time, within those moments of world wide punishment (nature gone berserk), the believers (the Elect) are supernaturally protected (Rev 7:3; 9:4; 14:1; 22:4) be sure and read these verses and notice that in Rev 7:9 there are millions of believers counted among this group, not just the 144,000 Israelites. The sad thing is this -- just prior to these Heavenly corrections there will be a full scale falling away from the truth (Mat 24:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). Many believers having placed their hope in the false "Rapture" doctrine will become scoffers at the "promise" of His return when they find themselves in the middle of worldy upheaval the like never befor recorded. These coming dramatic events may cause a massive exodus from the Scriptures, loosing their faith, abandoning the Savior of the Bible as their Savior.
Back to the Rapture
I know, it may seem I'm off track to the original question but not really as the questions about the Rapture has had many, many years of development and refinement and there needs to be a little preparation in understanding before tackling this head on. The fact is, the answer is simple but the human mind is not and once misconceptions have been planted and a believer, especially a believer, with a strong desire and love for our Savior, can be taken advantage of by the many wolves among the flock, feeding on the believers desire and hunger for information concerning the Word of God. Once an idea is planted and the new convert accepts it as a truth when it is actually a weed, it takes a bit of groundwork to dig it out. Also remember, nearly all teach we are in the "end time" and if this is so, by their own admission those “end times” will be as the days of Noah – this a truth they cannot deny – by this they admit to there being but a few true believers (Mathew 24:37-38, 1 Peter 3:20, only eight souls -- and -- Noah and his family were not removed from the Earth) not the vast numbers we see today claiming belief in the Christ of the Bible – don’t forget the “falling away”, but we don’t see that today, not like the Bible speaks of it.
According to Revelation 3:14, the "end times" Church is a "luke warm" Church thinking it is rich when it is not. The coming of our Savior is not going to be easy for them. So, by this description, the “end times” Church is living under a “deception” of its own, that they are “rich” when they are not. If this applies for us today then we should be looking for the “falling away”, shouldn't we? If, as the Evangelical Christians teach, we are in the Last days, then the Christian Church we see today should be the Laodicean Church, the one the Messiah is going to spew from His mouth at His return. O the webs we weave, the Rapturist caught, once again, in their own web of deceit.
Many claiming to be believers are “luke warm”, having the appearance of being rich but are in the Spiritual eyes of our Savior, poor. The wolves would have it both ways, they say they are the Elect and that they are really spiritually rich and not the Laodicean Church, but continue to teach we are in the “End Times” –- so they preach -- in their efforts to devour the flock. Of course, they do not teach this directly, it is really a “catch twenty two” for them. Teach the “Escape “ doctrine, even though the scriptures say no man can go to Heaven, by this they call the Word of God a liar. They teach our Savior can come at any time (Imminency doctrine) delivering the Church up to heaven to save them from the "time of trouble" that the Laodicean Church will have to endure at the 'time of trouble, in the end days we live in -- confused yet? These are the very ones YaHshua will spew out of His mouth when he returns.
Escape the Coming Beast Government?
Some people think of "escape" in a different way, like escaping to the mountains, as opposed to being ruptured. Perhaps to some far away place, a mountaintop, underground bunker, a cave, maybe an Island. But this is no solution considering the fact the coming events will be worldwide. For me I had rather be in America than anywhere else during times of trouble. Let’s take a sensible look at this option, however.
The first place of escape should not be to an Island. First off you are limited in your travel and our Messiah warned us (gave us permission, really) if you are persecuted for your faith in one city flee to another (Mat 10:23), so flight is an honorable thing, but there was a condition, read it again. But for the moment let's consider the opion of our flight to another place, another city, or an Isand, perhaps.
An Island would be very limiting in times of stress, being trapped, basically, with limited options if you need to escape again – I would not choose an Island -- picture this -- you escape to an Island and on the way you pass those escaping from the Island. The next thing wrong with this choice is found in Revelation 6:14, you may escape the Beast, perhaps, but you have set yourself up for a real disaster and it would be the same problem if you escape to a mountain, or a bunker, or a cave, and it is a real big problem -- as every mountain and every Island is going to be moved from its place prior to His coming -- in fact, it will be the "sign" of His coming. The only reason given by our Messiah to flee anywhere is when we are being persecuted for His Names sake. We receive instruction from an Apostle of our Savior that says we are to remain in the calling we are called (1 Cor 7:20-21) and by this we should understand that running somewhere to hide is not the rational thing to do. Certainly there are times you wish to move to improve you families condition and for financial reasons but even then we are to consider first the blessings of our Father in heaven.
My personal choice, for the betterment of my family, not to escape something that is only in the shadows, would be to work toward a small family farm and to become self sufficient, to own my own home (the full deed) and to owe no one anything. Not on a mountain, not on an Island, and certainly not on the coast. A self-sufficient lifestyle, say, as much as possible, would be my choice in raising a healthy family and living a healthy life. But certainly not with some group -- group escapes have nearly always proven to be a disaster. There may be strength in numbers but there are also major problems. Peer pressure to do things you really don’t want to do and then you have the problem of stronger personalities wanting to be in charge and human nature being what it is, well, we see these problems in the news from time to time -- people following some professed prophet of god, and isn't it odd, or not, how often these groups turn into some preversion centered around sex of some sort, multiple wives, abuse of children, and other sorts of deviate behavior. No, I would stay away from any group of people seeking to build their own little society.
Okay, back to the Rapture, again: I have touched on some of it but here are the basic points of the Rapture teaching.
1. Christ comes secretly and Raptures (snatches up) the Church to Heaven for 3.5 years, or 7 years, depending on which of the Rapturist you talk to. I believe with Tim LaHaye it is 3.5 years. This will be during the time the Earth and all those sinners that wouldn't listen to reason are suffering the Wrath of God. Oh, wait, is it the “Tribulation” that is the Wrath of God?
2. Christ now returns (called the "third" coming by some, as opposed to the second coming the Bible teaches) with His Elect to destroy the opposition. According to some of Tim's (Tim Lahaye) books the newfound believers, those "Left Behind", will take up arms and fight the Devil and the Beast. This too is just so much bologna. Nowhere in The Commands of the Messiah are we instructed to take up arms. In fact our Savior said, that if His Kingdom were of this world then would His people take up arms, but His Kingdom is not of this world -- not yet anyway, (John 18:36). I know, I know there are those that teach the Kingdom is in the World now or that it is in our hearts but for now let’s stay in the physical world concerning physical Kingdoms -- the Kingdom of God is to come, ow else why do we pray, "thy Kingdom come"?
3. "God has not appointed us to wrath" is a favorite quote by the Rapturist. This is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation ... ". This is a favorite verse for obvious reasons as they teach the "Wrath of God" is being unleashed on the Earth while they are safely in Heaven. A major problem with this is that the verse being quoted is addressed to the people of God at that time, not just for people 2000+ years later. Certainly it is a message for us also but specifically to the Thessalonians of his day. He spoke to these Thessalonian believers in the context of their own immediate lives and showing a concern for their "spiritual" lives as well, hence, the reference to "salvation". The "wrath" spoken of here is in reference to the "wrath” of the Judgment, the final Judgment, a "wrath" the children of evil will not escape.
Another verse the Rapturist like to quote is Revelation 3:10 where a message (promise) to the Philadelphia Church given, "I will also keep you from the hour of trial (trouble, or Tribulation, as some have it) that is going to come upon the whole world." You see, the Rapturist teach we are in the "end times", so we have to be either the Philadelphia Church or the Laodicea Church age. Certainly the choice is better to be the Philadelphia Church. So they take this verse to themselves and say the remark about being saved, spare, kept from this “hour of trouble” is the “rapture”. They are mistaken in this, however. I would like to think we are in the Philadelphia Church age myself, and believe we are, but not quite like the Rapturist see it. Let’s not get “age” or “era” mixed up with “generation”. Let me explain:
From the Scriptures we know there will be an "end times" generation and our Savior said that generation, the generation to witness the end times, would not pass away until all had been completed (Matthew 24:34). The “generation” that enters a specific time in a future history will witness the whole deal concerning the coming "wrath" mentioned in Rev 6:17 (remember, this is NOT the "wrath of the Judgment" but the "anger" of God the Father and of the Lamb against the whole earth- that wrath, that anger -- the SIGN of His coming). The “generation” entering into the period of the “wrath of the Lamb” will be the Laodicea Church.
Now, recall, Rev 3:10 speaks of a people that will be spared this time of "trouble", and we see them as the Philadelphia era people. Each of the Seven Churches are seen not only as actual Church locations once existing in Asia, but are seen as progressions of the Church down through the ages to the present time -- the Seven Churches give us an historical time line. Go to those cities today and you will find some no longer exist. The historical Church can be found passing down through history with the differing personalities as described by John. These eras or ages of the Church each last longer than any given generation. A generation can be 40 years or it can be 100 years, the bible supports both, you pick. A Church “era” can be 400 or 500 more or less, you pick. So you see the problem in trying to pin down the “end time” generation. There can be several “generations” within and “era” or and “age” crossing one over the other. This, however will be changed in the Philadelphia generations as the last of those in this era will have died -- being kept from that "time of Trouble".
Protection During the Wrath of the Lamb
We have already seen that during this time of "trouble" there will be believers, witnesses to the truth of God and having the Testimony of the Messiah, and will be supernaturally protected by a "marking" of our Heavenly Father's Name on their foreheads (Rev 7:3; 9:4; 14:1). Some point out that in biblical language the term "forehead" means your "mind", His Name implanted in your conscious mind. The Philadelphia people will be spared all of this by the fact they will have all gone to the grave, being saved “from the time of trouble”. I believe that when the last person of the Philadelphia “era” passes away (this could be 200 plus years to await the resurrection in the grave) is when only the Ladocia Church left. The events of Revelation will then begin to unfold in full force, but it will be a particular “generation” within the Laodicea era that will have to go through what is to come, it is only a guess as to how long the Ladocia era will be. I believe the Philadelphia era already have the Name, as mention in verse 8 of chapter 3 -- they have not “denied” His a Name but this will be lost on the Laodicea people and explains the need for the marking of His people at a certain time during the “wrath years”. You will notice no Name is mentioned among the Laodicean Church. It is also my opinion the Church eras over lap and each progression from one to the other is a blend of past eras. This makes the promise made by our Savior to the Philadelphia Church something special. When the Ladocia people enter the last ‘generation, they will do it by themselves, there will be no living, cross over, if you will, of the Philadelphia people.
Rapture or Resurrection?
The Rapture is to be "caught up", or "snatched up". The Rapture Doctrine and the Resurrection Doctrine have some similarities due to the fact that the Rapture Teachers use some of the same verses used when describing the Resurrection. In the New Covenant writings we find four verse using the term Caught up, from which the word, Rapture, is derived. Here is the verse with the most to say, in a connection with the Resurrection --
(1Th 4:16-17) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This verse has a lot to say, and a lot is said that refutes the Rapture Doctrine. The Greek for the term, caught up, is harpazo
meaning to seize or carry off. But notice, in this verse, there is no mention of going to Heaven, none. First the Lord Himself is discribed as descending from Heaven, and not quietly either, but with the voice of the Archangel, and with the Trump of God. This all sounds pretty noisy to me. It is then the the Dead in YaHshua rise first -- the Dead Rise, now that is the Resurrection. It goes on to say that following the Resurrection of the Dead in Him, those that are still liiving are "caught up". But caught up to where? To meet in THE CLOUDS, and then the place of meeting is repeated, to meet the Lord in THE AIR. Clouds, air? That is the atmosphere of the Earth. The remark, then, so shall we ever be with the Lord, is a truth. Wherever our Lord is so shall the those in this First Resurrection be with Him, and where is He going to be? On this Earth, ruling for the 1,000 years as King of Kings. If you insist on using the word, rapture, in place of the term, caught up, then please note, that this rapture, the rapture where the dead and then the living in Him, ends with meeting Him in the Earth's atmosphere.
Setting aside this obvious truth and looking at other things the Rapturist teachers teach, like the sudden dissapearance of Christians all over the world, but not during a time of turmoil and sudden excitement, but suddenly, quietly disappearing for over three years while the world goes into a state of tribulaiton. Clothes left behind, ipods dropping to the ground, cell phone not being answered, airplanes falling from the sky -- that is if the believer happens to be a pilot. Doesn’t sound so secret to me. This then is supposed to be the warning or the Sign of our Savior's coming? This is supposed to be the sign of His Next, or second (third?) coming that is happen again some 3.5 years later and then He will be bringing those previously Raptured with Him. And where does it say that? It does not, no where does it say our Lord returns to this Earth and the Saints previously raptured coming with Him. But, this great disappearance is supposed to be the sign of His coming, I mean His second or third coming, return, whatever. This is not the Sign of His Coming however. When the Resurrection of the Dead, followed by the catching up of the still living in Him happens, that is the Coming, that will be the time of His Return. A Sign or warning would have to be before that, and where do we find this warning, this Sign of His coming? It is not the Resurrection and the catching up of the Saints, when that happens it is too late, the First Resurrection is over. So, what is the Sign of His Coming, of His Return?
(Mat 24:29-31) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send hHs angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
You could just highlight all three verses, I guess. This is anything but a quiet, unnoticed event. The previous verses follow a question from His Disciples -- verese 3 -- "... and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Our Lord then goes through a list of things that would come on the world and be part of the world, and He tell them the things they need to watch out for, not to be deceived, even by some who would come in His Name and deceive many people. He then,m in verse 29 -31 comes to the answer to their question. The Son coming in the Clouds or heaven -- our atmosphere. A better understanding would be to translate heaven, in this case, as sky, becaust that is what is meant and that is what the Greek in Strong's G3772 agrees with. There is the heaven around the Earth, called the Sky, our atmosphere, and then there is the heaven of the stars, that place we call, outer-space, and then there is the Heaven of the heavens, where our Heavenly Father lives and our Savior is now present. If we go to the Book of Revealing we will see this very prophecy tied to the removal of the Sixth Seal.
(Rev 6:12-16) And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven (sky) departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the Wrath of the Lamb:
(Rev 6:17) For the great day of His Wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
The Rapture Doctrine holding out a false hope to the flesh, a hope that the flesh will not have to suffer or experience the times of Trouble, the time the Earth will shake and the sky, our atmosphere, will appear to be evaporating, like a scroll being rolled, a very similar discription some in the Earth sciences appear to happen when the Sun burns off our protective covering, like a peeling back and forward as the ozone evaporates -- a possibility, they say, when the Sun begins to burn out. Notice, it is at that time when the when the Angels of our Savior are sent out to collect those who belong to Him, and that would be the First Resurrection. But the SIGN of His Coming is First to happen, before the gathering. The 6th Seal event, BEFORE His actual return, means the coming, first, of great devastation, great trial on Earth, as the Earth is shaken, literally shaken, nearly to pieces and so frightening mankind, not into submission, but into fear and death. Some, hopefully, during that period will repent. But, as for the world, we see, in the opening of the 7th Seal, more is to come. No escaping to some Island or mountian or hole in the ground, and certainly no escaping into the Third Heaven.
The Resurrection is the opening up of the graves and the dead rising to meet a very visible Christ in the Clouds, as every eye will see him when He comes (Rev 1:7, "... every eye will see Him", and Matthew 24:27, note: the term "lightening" would better be translated "the sun" as it is the "light" that comes out of the East and shines to the West). Yes, just as the sun rises in the East and every eye on earth sees it so will be the coming of the Anointed, our Savior, YaHshua be. Nothing secret about that. Before the World has a chance to take it all in our Messiah will be standing on the Mount of Olives. The time for governmental bodies to repent will have passed. Then will be the time for laying hold of the Beast and the False Prophet and tossing them into the Lake of Fire, that Fire prepared for Satan and his angels. Satan, too, is chained up for a period of a 1,000 years, at that time. All the nations armed forces will be gathered to do battle, in a false defense of the Earth, but our Lord and Savior will have none of it and they will all be defeated in a flash -- Zechariah (iah = YaH) chapters 12 and 14 is also a description of our Lord and Savior's return, when every eye will see Him, even those who had killed Him, the whole house of David, all the Jews will see the one they pierced --
(Zec 12:10) And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
(Zec 14:12) And this shall be the plague wherewith YaHWeH will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
(Zec 14:4) And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Remember, those alive in Him, will be with Him, and where is He going to be? Standing on the Mount of Olives. There is virtually no talk of prophecy about men going to live in the Heaven of heavens. In fact, our Heavenly Father is going to make a New Heaven and a New Earth -- Revelation 21:1.
The resurrection involves the whole of the Christian population from the beginning time of times, all of the house of David, all of the Apostles, all of those that have died in the Christ and then, and only then will those still alive in the flesh be "quickened' into the new "spirit" bodies ready for life eternal -- and that is only the First Resurreciton.
Rom 8:11 "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Yahshua (His birth name) from the dead (and He) dwell in you, He that raised up the Anointed from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you."
1Jn 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does 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."
The "Resurrection", unlike the Rapture is not secret and we are not going off to a Heaven beyond our own sky, no, we are meeting our Savior in the clouds and from there we end up on the Mount of Olives right across the valley from Jerusalem, initially, and then we begin the 1000 year rule of peace on earth with Him. To get a glimpse into this marvelous time read all of Zechariah 14. It is not a long Chapter but it is right to the point. It is obvious, from the context it is speaking of the time of our Savior's return and where He will be. Make no mistake YHWH is YaHshua as identified here in Zechariah 14 and many other places.
Why is this important? What difference does it make, "rapture, "resurrection", they both get the job done, right? The Rapture Doctrine of escape into the Heaven of heavens, a dream of Satan's -- he and his demons were cast out or Heaven and down to earth, his desire has always been to get back there -- just in case you are wonder where the inspiration for this false doctrine originaltes. This false Doctrine deals with the truth found in the Word and then splices in a few lies. Remember, in the garden of Eden, Satan told the truth to Eve but it was indirect and misleading, a lie mixed with truth spoils the whole truth. Certainly Eve did not die when she bit into the fruit, but that was not the death Her Creaor had meant, and Satan knew it. He is called the Father of all liars (John 8:44) and when you see how governments lie to one another and how our politician’s lie, upon lie, deception upon deception is it any wonder who their father is? The First Liar was Satan. His stock and trade is deception and the best deception is to deceived the gullible, and the innocent, whenever possible. He has had several thousand years to hone his craftiness. We should all be aware and be on guard even of our own thought and desires for the lust of our flesh is not to suffer but to escape. Being true to ourselves we have to know that there is only one true escape, on lasting and eternal escape and that comes only from our Savior, YaHshua, He and only He is the way, the Door to Eternal life, where all of the pain and the struggle of the flesh ceases.
A Dire Warning
If those that cling to the “escape” teachings of the Rapture and find themselves in the times described in the Book of Revelation will they not begin to clamor, "where is the promise of His coming?" And in this, many may lose their faith and become the "end time" scoffers spoken of by Peter (1 Peter 3:3) -- and whose fault will that be? This then is a false hope not the true hope of the "Resurrection of the dead" coupled with the very visible return of our Savior.
We need to be ready, spiritually and mentally strong so we can identify where we are and to be accurate witnesses of the times we live in. We will be able to testify that every word of inspired writings is true and that the God of the Universe and His Son are true. Keep in mind, 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 is called the "Resurrection Chapter" not the Rapture Chapter:
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
In all of this chapter there is no mention of going to Heaven, none. The other letter of the New Testament speaking on the "Resurrection" is found in 1 Thessalonians 4 beginning with verse 13:
"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Yahshua died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Yahshua those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, loud with aloud 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. NIV
"With a loud command -- the Trumpet call of God", this does not sound like much of a secret. Notice, He is coming here, not the other way around, as the Rapturist would have you believe. It is becoming more and more difficult to keep the teaching of the Biblical Resurrection separate from that of the false Rapture teaching as the teachers of this “false hope” are inter mixing the use of the term "resurrection" with the term "rapture". This is an obvious attempt to replace the "Resurrections" doctrine with the false Rapture doctrine. With this also comes the false teaching of "imminent" coming. This is another doctrine tied to the Rapture doctrine specifying the "any moment" return of the Christ.
His Return is Imminent, that is to say he can come right this minute. His return could be while you are asleep, or at work or picking your nose so you had better be real careful. To me this is a doctrine of "fear". Fear mongering is a favorite pastime for some individuals but others have turned it into a very lucrative business. Be afraid, be very afraid of His coming at any second – you had better be good -- conduct yourself accordingly or so goes the warning. The problem with this is that it then denies the prophetic messages of the Bible concerning future events to happen “prior” to His coming, again suggesting God is a liar by a doctrine meant to keep you on the straight path of fear. The obvious thing wrong with this is that Love of the Living God is not "fear". If we have the "love" of God in us then we have no need to fear and the doctrine of the "Imminent return" is worthless.
Tim Lahaye, along with many, many others, gives this doctrine alone more credit for keeping a converted Christian a Christian over any other doctrine in the Bible. His words not mine. Imagine, and I thought it was the Savior’s life that made that possible. I thought it is the indwelling of the Spirit of God and of my Savior that is encouraging me to live a right life. His love in me causes me to want to love others and live as best I can a life to honor Him. For the Rapturist it is the nervous anticipation of His sneaky arrival, as a thief in the night, they say.
This is the ultimate answer to their argument -- they cannot find solid scriptural teaching to fully support their Rapture theory, so with this idea of an ‘Imminent’ return they have an "the ends justifying the means" doctrine, even if it is a lie.
When is He Coming?
Our Savior is not coming today, tomorrow or the next day, and I have it on good authority -- the prophetic Word of the Living God. Many things have to happen before our Messiah returns. The things we see today that appear to fit scripture and seem to suggest we are living in the "end times" are the same sorts of things that have been going on ever since the Messiah's crucifixion. You think things are bad today, read up on World War I and II, if that didn't look like the end nothing else could have. Imagine, if you will, 1.5 million people dying in one year because of a ware in Europe. Imagine 50 million people died within 5 years because of a war in Europe. It happened and there are still a few people around that remember it, that lived through it.
One parting shot: Nearly all of the prophecy Evangelical teachers of today were teaching the end coming in the year 2000 (remember the big computer melt down) and when that did not happen some switched to 2001, then 2003 and 4, and even some of them pointed to the year of 2001 as God's judgment on the evil USA (9/11). Now a new favorite date is 2012. Still, all of these false prophets survived and are still selling books by the millions as if nothing happened. I have seen only one interview with one of these false prophets where they were questioned about the pre 2000 books and tapes warning the end of man's rule and the "Imminent" rapture to soon happen. Grant Jeffries just laughed it off and admitted he had some egg to wipe off his face but it was not a big deal. Problem is, God thinks it is a big deal as is determined by His word -- if a prophet says something is going to happen and it does not then we are not to fear him and we are not to listen to him (Deu 18:22). We are also told that God considers it an abomination when someone prophecies in His name or says that they have received a word from god when they have not (Jer 23:31). Read all of Jeremiah 23 to get a sampling of what God thinks of these false teachers:
Jer 23:16 This is what the LORD (YHWH) Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise me, 'The LORD says: You will have peace.' And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, 'No harm will come to you.'
2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
The error of their ways will be uncovered soon enough. Notice the statement, "...with stories they have made up" -- in today's language we call that "fiction". Tim LaHaye and many of the other "false hope" teachers are just that, writers of fiction. What is the underlying reason in these fictionalized stories? Greed, they make millions selling these fictional accounts of how they think things will turn out and they call it promoting the Gospel Message. They traffic in fear, they market fear, not the healthy “fear of God” but gleeful fear of anticipation of escape while you will have to suffer, not only the “tribulation” but the Wrath of God as well. Even with this, do they believe their own message? Some do, I believe, but there are others, such as Benny Hinn, that has been shown to be just the opposite of what they appear (Mat 7:15).
(2 Peter 2:14) With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed--an accursed brood!
(2 Peter 1:16) We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
(2 John 1:9-11) Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.
(2 Corinthians 11:14-15) And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
There is much more that can be said on this subject, but I am a professed lazy writer and need to be encouraged some to keep going. If you have any questions, or suggestions, please send me and email -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace to you, in His Name, YaHshua, from His servant, Dan