People of The Living God

Psalms 150

 

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RAPTURE THEORY

Truth or Fable?

Harry R. Miller

         “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1).  But “preach the Word…for the time will come that they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:2-4).

        One of the greatest fables of these last days is the fable of the “rapture.”  In no other period of earth’s history could such an unscriptural doctrine be floated.  There are literally “heaps” of teachers who are giving out this false hope and “other gospel” to the many who have itching ears (“They heap to themselves teachers”) (2 Tim. 4:3).

        The “great tribulation” is upon us, and as we enter the shadows of the day of trial, those who have a shallow Christian experience shrink in fear from the test, and joyously accept the doctrine of escape.  These are they of Matthew 13:21: “Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”

        Little do the multitudes realize that “we MUST through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22), and that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

        None of the reformers of ages past ever believed in the rapture theory, or in any other doctrine of escape.  They all believed that the way out was the way through.  The three Hebrew children escaped the destruction of the fiery furnace by way of the furnace.  Daniel escaped from destruction by the lions while he was in the lions’ den.  Joseph was “delivered…out of all his afflictions” (Acts 7:9,10), but we know that his “feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron; until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him” (Psa. 105:18,19).

        Revelation 3:10 is often used to try to “prove” that there is to be a “rapture,” since the Lord said, in this verse, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”  But nothing is said here of a “rapture”; neither can we infer from anything in this Scripture that there will be a “rapture.”  The promise is to a certain class of people who have pleased the Lord with their conduct.  (Notice that this promise is not given to every Tom, Dick, and Harry.)  And the promise is that they are to be KEPT FROM.  Kept HOW is not herein given.  The method must be found in other places.

        In the Greek language in which our Bible was originally written there are three prepositions for the English word FROM: “apo,” which means away from; “para,” which means from, but along side of; and the third FROM, which is “ek”: this is the preposition which is used in Revelation 3:10, and it means KEPT FROM, WHILE IN.  So you see Revelation 3:10 actually disproves the whole idea of the so-called rapture.  Jesus prayed that we might be kept FROM the evil, but He also said (in the same verse) “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (Jno. 17:15).

        In 2 Timothy 4:18, Paul said, “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work.”  He knew that the deliverance of the Lord was not by way of a “rapture,” but by way of trial, for in the 3rd chapter, the 11th verse he says, “Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”

        Paul learned to glory in trials, and to rejoice in tribulation, knowing that this “light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17).

        In Luke 21:36 we find Scripture that is commonly misinterpreted by those who hold to the “rapture” theory: “pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these thing that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”

        Nothing is said in this verse of a “rapture,” either.  Men were told to pray that they would be accounted worthy; that their faith would fail not; and that their integrity and steadfastness would carry them through.  The rewards are not for those who escape the trials of the Christian life, but are given to those who OVERCOME.

        Another idea used to support the rapture theory is taken from the following two Scriptures: “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints” (Jude 14); and Jesus said, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself” (Jno. 14:3).  It is stated by the theorists that He must first come FOR His saints before He can come WITH them.  But let the Scriptures speak for themselves in explaining the identity of these SAINTS of Jude 14.

        “The Lord came from Sinai…with ten thousands of saints” (Deut. 33:2).  “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai” (Psa. 68:17).  “Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision” (Dan. 8:13).  Now it is certainly most apparent that these angels and saints are not men, but are heavenly beings.

        The English word “saints,” recorded in Jude 14, is taken from the Greek word “hagios,” which literally means: the holy.  There are many proofs of this in the New Testament: “the holy angels with Him” (Matt. 25:31); thou are “the Holy One of God” (Luke 4:34); “the Holy Ghost” (Acts 16:6); and many others, all translated from this same Greek word.

        The Lord Jesus will return WITH hosts of angels (holy ones) FOR His saints, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels” (2 Thess. 1:7).

OVERCOMERS MUST ENDURE

        Paul, in speaking to the church at Thessalonica, said that “we ourselves glory in you…for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye ENDURE, which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer” (2 Thess. 1:4,5).

        They were worthy of the kingdom of God because they suffered for it, and in the suffering they became overcomers.  Their steadfastness in faith was pleasing to the Creator; so Paul said, in connection with the coming of Jesus with all the holy angels, that he prayed always for them, that they would be counted “worthy of this calling” (verses 10,11).

        Friends, remember “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:7).  Before the cry goes up, “Behold the bridegroom cometh” (Matt. 25:6), the bride will have to have “made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).  And according to John the Baptist, Jesus has the fan in His hand, “and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:12).

        It is said by those who advocate the rapture error that Christ will come and secretly catch away His bride into the heavenly places and there He and His saints will have the marriage supper: ALL this, of course, during the time of tribulation upon the earth.

        Here again we can see the fallacy of this rapture fable, for Jesus gave us a parable which most certainly disproves a heavenly marriage supper: “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests” (Matt. 22:9,10).

        Shall we believe that both “good” and “bad” people are raptured?  Notice that both kinds are at the wedding, and one guest is even cast out (verse 13)!  Were not all the people to be “changed, in a moment” (1 Cor. 15:52), in order to be caught up in the air?  Was the man who was cast out unchanged when they threw him out of heaven?  Certainly this doctrine presents many unsolvable problems.

        According to the words of Jesus, in Matthew 13, the tares are gathered FIRST (verse 30): “gather ye together FIRST the tares, and bind them into bundles to burn them.”  And verses 49 and 50: “So shall it be in the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire.”  When the time arrives for the separation of the saints and sinners, it is the sinners who will be dealt with FIRST; they certainly will not be raptured!  But they will be SEVERED from God’s people.

        No place in the Bible do we find any PROOF that the Lord will “rapture,” or catch away, His bride before He deals with the wicked.  The bride will be hidden in the “day of trouble” provided she is accounted worthy to escape all of these things.  “Come my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast” (Isa. 26:20).

        “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time” (Rev. 12:14).

        “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.  In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.  Remember Lot’s wife.  Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.  I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.  Two women shall be grinding together; 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” (Luke 17:30-37).

        The BODY of Jesus Christ is to be protected in the WILDERNESS during the day of trouble, and if you are accounted worthy, the Lord will reveal unto you where the Wilderness is, and you may join the remnant who “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17).

AFTER THE TRIBULATION

        “Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days…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” (Matt. 24:29-31).

        This trump, or trumpet (the words in the original are the same) that is blown AFTER the tribulation is over, is THE LAST one to be blown, for at its sounding ALL are changed, and ALL in a moment of time: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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” (1 Cor. 15:51,52).

        There is no need for the blowing of many trumps for the dead after ALL of the dead have been raised!  “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which ALL that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth” (Jno. 5:28,29).  And how could any trump blow after THE LAST trump?  There is a vast difference between “A” LAST, and “THE” LAST.  A LAST may imply there are different series of trumps, and this trump was A last of one of this series, but when the Holy Ghost saith THE LAST, then we know definitely that there could never be another, after the sounding of this one.

JESUS COMES AS A THIEF

        Just before the last vial of God’s wrath is poured out upon the wicked, the Lord of harvest gives His people this warning: “Behold, I come as a thief.  Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Rev. 16:15).

        Because Jesus is to come as a thief, it does not mean that He will come secretly, but that He will come suddenly, on an unprepared world.  “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 Pet. 3:10).

        Certainly there will be nothing secret about the coming of the day of the Lord, yet the Scripture plainly declares that “It shall come as a thief.”

        There cannot be anything secret about the coming of the Lord Jesus, for “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thess. 4:16).  “And every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him” (Rev. 1:7).  It is then that “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” (2 Thess. 1:7,8).  It is in this day of wrath “when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe” (verse 10).

        “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  Let NO MAN DECEIVE YOU by any means: for THAT DAY SHALL NOT COME EXCEPT there come a falling away FIRST, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:1-3).

        In spite of Paul’s warning, Christians are being deceived into thinking that we will be gathered into Christ before the man of sin is revealed.  Surely such a doctrine is a doctrine of demons.

THE END OF THE WORLD

        “SEEING then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, LOOKING for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, LOOK for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet. 3:11-13).

        The END OF THE WORLD will come at the time of “the harvest”: “The harvest is the end of the world” (Matt. 13:39); and in verse 49; “So shall it be at the end of the world.”  The end of all things shall come upon this generation, according to the words of the Master, in Matthew 24:34,35: “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, TILL ALL THESE THINGS be fulfilled, HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY…”

        Modern expositors have made void the words of Jesus.  They say that this generation shall pass, and that a thousand years of earthly utopia shall follow before HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY.

        Because of the misinterpretation of the 20th chapter of Revelation, many false doctrines are used to support one another.  The greatest support to the error of the “rapture” is the doctrine of a “millennium,” or a thousand years of earthly supremacy for the Jewish nation.

        In order to support their theories, the proponents of this doctrine hold to the literal or material interpretation of Revelation 20, in spite of the fact that many other Scriptures flatly deny such a doctrine.

        Jesus said He would raise the dead “AT THE LAST DAY” (Jno. 6:39,40,44,54).  Martha also understood that this was the time of resurrection, for in speaking to Jesus about her dead brother, she said, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at THE LAST DAY” (Jno. 11:24).

        THE last day, like THE last trump, excludes the thought of there being any others that follow, for if any followed, this one could not be THE LAST.  Good common sense and all the rules of grammar are ignored by many “modern” expositors in their endeavor to bring forth their “cunningly devised fables.”

        Paul, in the 26th verse of the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, tells us that “THE LAST ENEMY that shall be destroyed is death,” and in verse 54, “So when this…mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

        It is then that THE LAST TRUMP sounds (verse 52).  And according to the words of Jesus, this is THE LAST DAY and the END OF THE WORLD.

        In 2 Peter the 3rd chapter, verses 10-13, we have a perfect account of the world’s end: “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.

        “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, WHAT MANNER OF PERSONS OUGHT YE TO BE in holy conversation and godliness, LOOKING FOR and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

        “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”  The sum of these things is that when Jesus comes He shall make a full end of both sin and sinners.  The just and the unjust shall be judged and each rewarded according to his works.  Then the Lord shall create new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness; and the former things shall not come into mind, for there Christ and His saints shall reign for ever and ever.

        Even so, Come Lord Jesus, and make a full end of sin forever.  Amen.

***WHEN**CHRIST**RETURNS***



THE LAST ENEMY shall have been subdued, (1 Cor. 15:26,54).

THE LAST TRUMPET shall have blown, (1 Cor. 15:52).

THE LAST DAY shall have come, (Jno. 6:40).

THE END OF THE WORLD will have been reached, (Matt. 24:3; 13:39).

***THEN***



New heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, (2 Pet. 3:13).