The Rapture Theory is False
There is a teaching today that is rife within the Christian world, called the rapture. What is the rapture theory? It is believed by those who hold to this theory (and there are MANY who do), that the "church" will be raptured away to heaven and then the earth will continue for a period of seven years (called the tribulation) in which the inhabitants of the earth will be plunged into a time of great trouble and strife (more so than now). So according to this teaching there is a separation to take place between the saved and the lost BEFORE the end of the world.
In this teaching we are also told that Christ will return in two "phases". The first will be a "quiet" affair with the saints being raptured away. And then the second phase after the seven year tribulation will be the "glorious, triumphant" return, which according to this teaching, will usher in the 1000 year millennial reign on earth (which is also a false teaching).
Let me quickly show you an example of the weakness of the rapture doctrine - I came across a recent article stating '10 Irrefutable Proofs' for the rapture. Here are the first two 'irrefutable proofs' they quoted:
Number 1. "THE RAPTURE IS THE 'BLESSED HOPE' WHILE THE SECOND COMING IS A DAY TO BE GREATLY FEARED" ... They separate the rapture and second coming saying that the rapture is the 'blessed hope' quoting Titus 2:13, and the second coming is the 'FEARED day of the Lord', quoting Amos 5:18. They believe these must be different events, because one is to be hoped for, and the other is to be feared. But they fail to realize the simple truth that the second coming is the 'blessed hope' for the saved in Jesus, and to be 'greatly feared' by those who reject the Lord. Simple, logical truth.
Number 2. "IN THE RAPTURE, JESUS COMES FOR HIS CHURCH, AT HIS SECOND COMING HE BRINGS THE CHURCH WITH HIM" ... They say that Jesus takes His church away in the rapture, quoting 1 Thess. 4:16-17. And then Jesus comes back with the church at the second coming, quoting Revelation 19:14, which says 'the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses.". But what they fail to realize is that the 'armies' whom Jesus returns with are His angels, as Matthew 25:31 confirms, not the church.
"But what about 1 Thessalonians 4:14, where it says that those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him? This surely is talking about the church coming back from heaven after the rapture with Jesus at His physical return?" - No it's not. Rapture adherents love this verse, but they completely miss the context of what is being said here. Look at both vs. 13 and 14. Paul is clearly talking about those who are asleep in Christ, ie, those who are in their graves waiting for His return. And what does Paul say to give encouragement concerning those who have died? He says that just as God raised Jesus from the dead, so He will bring with Jesus those who sleep in Him. In other words, those who have died, God will raise them from the dead, just like He rose Jesus from the dead.
The rest of the so called 'irrefutable proofs' are of the same mold. They are not proofs at all, but just twisting of scripture to suit their wrong belief. It's interesting that they also believe the 'antichrist' will not be revealed until AFTER the rapture. This is a deception of the Roman Church. The Bible and historic Protestantism already revealed the antichrist - The Papal Church of Rome!
NOTE: If the rapture theory is a true Biblical teaching. Why was it not well known and popularized until the early 20th century?
BIBLE PROOF THE RAPTURE THEORY IS FALSE
John 17:15 ...'I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.'
Let me get one thing out of the way first. The word "rapture" is not found anywhere in the Bible. So where do they get the word from? It was coined from the words "caught up" found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. And we will deal with those verses later on.
What I would like to do is drop a Biblical bomb straight away on the pre-tribulation rapture teaching and expose it's weakness. That Bible bomb is found in Matthew, chapter 13. In this chapter, Christ Jesus is telling a parable and teaching a lesson concerning the events of the last days and the second coming. Let's look at what He says:
Matthew 13:24-30 ...'Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; [NO] lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together FIRST the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.'
Wow! I love the Word of God. It is so clear that we need not second guess what is going to happen. So what are we told in the pre-tribulation rapture theory? We are told that Christ will "gather" His people BEFORE the tribulation and separate the "wheat and the tares" BEFORE the harvest. And yet what does it clearly state in the Bible verse above? That the separation only takes place AT the harvest.
"Oh but the rapture IS the harvest!"
Ok. So according to those who hold to the pre-trib rapture theory, the harvest takes place BEFORE the tribulation and BEFORE the end of the world. This is clearly what they believe because according to this teaching, the world continues for another 7 years and then another 1000 years AFTER the rapture. Well, what does Christ Jesus our Teacher say about this?
Matthew 13:38-40 ...'The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.'
Thank you Jesus for giving us the clear truth on this matter, so that we should not be deceived! Do you see the truth on this friend? The church and the wicked continue to live together on earth until the END OF THE WORLD. And it is only at the end of the world that the separation takes place. The pre-trib rapture theory is now blown to bits by the Word of God!
Please understand that VITAL point. The rapture theory teaches a separation BEFORE the end. But the Bible clearly teaches that there is NO separation before the end.
This also proves the mid-tribulation rapture teaching to be false
Those who hold to the mid-tribulation rapture theory, believe (just like the pre-trib teachers), that the separation takes place BEFORE the end of the world. But as we have shown from the Bible above, the separation takes place ONLY at the end of the world. Need more proof? Take a look at these Bible verses and you will notice that the focus is NOT about the church being taken away before the end, but rather AT the end of the world and the LAST DAY.
John 6:40 ...'And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.'
John 11:24 ...'Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.'
John 12:48 ...'He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.'
Eternal life is given on the LAST DAY. The resurrection happens on the LAST DAY. Judgment is given on the LAST DAY.
Notice also what Jesus says in Matthew 28:20 ..."lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." ... Now why would Jesus reassure us that He would be with us until the END OF THE WORLD, if we were to be raptured away BEFORE the end of the world? Doesn't make sense does it? Friend, the rapture teaching is a false one invented by Satan to cause God's people to be unprepared for the time of trouble ahead, that we WILL go through.
PAROUSIA AND APOKALUPSIS
Those who believe in a rapture say that the Greek word "parousia" refers to the secret coming of Jesus with the rapturing of the church and that the Greek word "apokalupsis" refers to the visible glorious coming of Jesus in power seven years later. So they believe from these Greek words that Christ will return in two phases, separated by the 7 year tribulation. Well, we have already proven from the Bible that there is no separation between the church and the wicked until the END OF THE WORLD. But let's take a look at "parousia" and "apokalupsis", and what we will show you is that BOTH are used to describe the SAME second coming, not two comings.
Paul uses the word "parousia" in 1 Thessalonians 4, which we have discussed above, when speaking of the coming of Christ and our gathering together unto Him. But Paul then shows that this "parousia" will destroy the man of sin; the Antichrist ... "whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming [parousia]." 2 Thessalonians 2:8. So we have a problem. Paul is saying that it is DURING the "parousia" of Christ that the man of sin will be destroyed. And yet those who hold to the rapture teaching say that the man of sin will reign AFTER the "parousia". And will not be destroyed until the physical "apokalupsis" coming of Christ.
"Apokalupsis" [revelation] is also used in a way that indicates it is NOT a separate coming from the time the believers are gathered up. Peter said in 1 Peter 1:13 ..."be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation [apokalupsis] of Jesus Christ;" Now why would Christians be exhorted to continue hoping to the end of the world for the grace brought through the revelation of Jesus Christ if their real hope was a rapture seven years before the revelation? Do you see the problems with this teaching? I hope so.
These following verses which give Matthew and Luke's account of the same event prove that the words "parousia" and "apokalupsis" do refer to the SAME ONE COMING OF CHRIST. In Matthew 24:37 it says ..."But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be." ... And the same account in Luke 17:26, 30 says ... "As it was in the days of Noah ... Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed [apokalupsis]." This is how we are to find out the TRUTH. We need to compare scripture with scripture.
So why are the two Greek words used? It's quite simple. Parousia means "presence", a VISIBLE return. And Apokalupsis means "to reveal", a REVEALING OF THE TRUTH. So to turn these two words into two separate comings make no sense whatsoever. They both describe the ONE event, the physical, visible, loud, fiery second coming of Christ, in which the truth will be REVEALED!!
WHO IS JESUS COMING 'AS A THIEF' FOR?
There are many Christians who hold onto those few words ... "coming as a thief" ... separating them from the context and believing that Jesus is coming as a thief for the church. But let us look at what the apostle Paul says regarding Jesus coming 'as a thief'.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 ...'But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.'
These things become so clear when we read the context, rather than separating small pieces of scripture and building a faulty teaching on them. Can you see what Paul is saying above? WHO is Jesus going to return 'as a thief' for? THE WORLD! For whom does Jesus 'come suddenly', without them being aware? THE LOST. Which ties in perfectly with the parable of the wheat and tares, wherein the LOST are gathered FIRST. Paul confirms above in 1 Thessalonians 5 that the saints are NOT ovetaken 'as a thief', because we will be watching and waiting for the Lord, expecting His return.
Matthew 24:42-43 ...'Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.'
Can we know what "watch" the Lord is coming in? YES! This is why we are given signs of the times in the Bible, so we can know in which watch the Lord will return. We do not know the hour, but we CAN know in what 'watch', which is why the 'goodman of the house' (the saints) ARE WATCHING AND WAITING!
John 10:10 ...'The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.'
What does a thief come to do? To steal and destroy! Is Jesus coming to steal and destroy His church? No! He is coming back to steal and destroy the wicked. This is who Jesus is coming back as a thief for - the lost! But the church will be watching, and will NOT "suffer their house to be broken up." Oh how the truth becomes so clear when we read things in context!
Jesus is NOT coming back as a thief for the church. He is coming as a thief for the world!
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE WORLD?
For Jesus to say "end of the world", there must be some destructive event to take place right? So what event is coming that would be an "end of the world" event? THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST JESUS! Take a look at the following Bible verses describing the second coming and you will see that THIS is the event that will "end this world" as we know it.
Revelation 1:7 ...'Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.'
2 Peter 3:10 ...'But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.'
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 ...'And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
Psalm 50:3-4 ... 'Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.'
Isaiah 34:8-10 ...'For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.'
Sounds like an end of the world event doesn't it? The destroying force of the second coming of Christ Jesus, as shown in the Bible verses above, will cause the earth to be "laid waste" as described in Isaiah above. Which means that the world will NOT continue on as we know it now, which the rapture theory proclaims. Instead, the wicked will be destroyed and the earth will be laid waste. And it is AT THIS TIME that the saints are taken to heaven, not before.
BUT WHAT ABOUT ONE TAKEN AND ONE LEFT BEHIND?
Matthew 24:37-42 ...'But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.'
This is such a misunderstood passage of scripture today. Take a look at the context of the above Bible verses. Do you see that Jesus is telling us that His second coming will be like what happened in Noah's day? And what happened in the days of Noah? The above verse tells us. The flood DESTROYED the earth, taking away the wicked and leaving behind God's people (Noah's family). Who was "taken away" and who was "left behind" in Noah's day? Take a look at the above verses again. It was the wicked who were TAKEN and Noah was LEFT BEHIND! And this is what Christ is pointing us to. He is saying that the day is coming when the earth will be destroyed again and the wicked will be TAKEN and the saints will be LEFT BEHIND.
Please take note of the following VITAL point.
Luke 17:35-37 ...'Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.'
Why did the disciples ask 'WHERE, LORD'? Were they wondering where the one left behind was? No, that person would be in the same place as they were. So the disciples are clearly asking where has the one taken gone. And what did Jesus say? "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." The body? In the original language, the word Eagle can also mean Vulture. And where do Vultures gather? Where there is a dead body! And look at what Job says about the Eagle:
Job 39:27-30 ...'Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.'
And in Matthew 24, Jesus even makes it clearer by saying it is a CARCASS! So the one taken is the wicked who will be killed.
And what did we already confirm would happen during the harvest at the end? Let's read it again ... 'and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together FIRST the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.' (Matthew 13) ... The wicked are "taken" first and the saints are left behind to then be "gathered into My barn" (taken to heaven).
The whole context of Matthew 24 is a warning for us to "watch and be ready" so that the "sudden destruction" that is to come upon the world (1 Thess. 5:3) will not TAKE US by surprise. Just like what happened in Noah's day. Who were taken? The wicked. Who were left behind? Noah and his family!
CAUGHT UP TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR
In light of what we have learned above. What does it mean when the Bible says we will be "caught up" to meet the Lord in the air? Exactly as it says! You see, those who hold to the rapture theory try to get something out of this verse that just isn't there! The truth is, when Christ Jesus returns at the second coming, the wicked will be destroyed, the dead saints will be resurrected and the saints who are still alive will be "caught up" to meet Jesus in the air. And then we will be taken to heaven to start the 1000 year millennium.
And why do we "meet the Lord in the air"? Because Jesus is NOT going to set foot upon the earth during the second coming. And the second phase of His return with the saints will be at the END of the 1000 year millennium. This is another misunderstanding that the rapture theory causes. Jesus is not going to rule on earth during the 1000 years. Instead, we are going to be in heaven with Him during this time, and the earth will be "laid waste" from His second coming. And only AFTER the 1000 years will we return to earth with Christ.