Unfortunately, the Protestant world (and some Catholics too) has become enamored of a very sinister deception. It is called the “Rapture Theory.” The Rapture Theory promotes the idea that “faithful Christians” will be spared the tribulations of the Judgment Day. Somehow, whether it is through the medium of space ships taking them to outer space or angels whisking them from this corporeal reality into the astral plane, these Christians believe that they are not required to defend the Faith against the enemies of Jesus Christ. Rather, they believe that all they have to do is wait around for the day that they will be rescued from all of this.
Friends, there is hardly a more pernicious idea pervading Christendom than this one, because it has had the effect of neutralizing all those Christians who should be working for the Kingdom. Instead, they have become uninvolved in their own salvation.
Let’s look at the Scriptures whence this doctrine arises:
Matthew, Chapter 24:
“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 Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also be the coming of the Son of man. 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 cometh.” -- Verses 37-42
This description is assumed by the rapturists to say the following: The good Christians (the rapturists) will be taken and the bad Christians and/or non-Christians will be “left behind” to endure the tribulation. The rapturists will be taken away to some nether world where they will be sustained until it is all over. Perhaps they will even be able to observe the Great Tribulation unfolding on some screen like some exciting docudrama. Then they will be returned to earth to pick up the pieces and to presumably rebuild and rule. This is the essence of the Rapture Theory. I haven’t seen the movie, Left Behind, but I’m sure it paints the same scenario.
What are these people missing?
In the verses quoted above, it is clear that Jesus is comparing the future tribulation with the days of Noah just before the Flood “took them all away.” So, let’s look at those verses and see what they say:
“And Yahweh said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for in thee have I seen righteousness before me in this generation.” - Verse 1
“And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and only Noah remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. – Verse 23.
Now, note very carefully the use of the word “remained.” Unless I do not understand the English language, “remained” and “left behind” are synonymous. Noah and his family were the ones who remained and the others were taken away by the Flood. Is there any doubt as to who was taken versus who was left behind on the earth? It is crystal clear that it is the evil ones who were taken away by the Flood and the righteous ones who were left behind on the earth.
Now, let’s go back to Matthew.
Verse 37 tells us, “As in the days of Noah...” Jesus is making a direct comparison between the coming tribulation and the bygone days of Noah. The evil ones were doing absolutely nothing to prepare for the day of trouble. It was “party hearty” time. Only the good people were making preparations.
The rapturists cannot be compared to the good people because they are doing absolutely nothing to prepare for the day. They may not be actively sinning, but they are certainly not promoting God’s Kingdom. They have, in fact, become fat, lazy Christians. The only “preparation” they are making is assuming their righteousness. In fact, they are merely engaged in business as usual, like Noah’s contemporaries “eating and drinking, marrying, giving in marriage,” etc. The revelers of Noah’s time were blissfully going about their daily activities, disobeying God’s commandment to establish His Kingdom here on earth.
Verses 40 and 41 tell us, “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.”
Now, given the context that Jesus clearly ascribes back to the days of Noah, who is “taken” and who is “left behind?” It is clear that the people who were left behind here on earth were the good people of Noah’s family. The ones who were “taken away” were the evil ones of the surrounding country. They were taken away by death. There is no other possible interpretation.
The rapturists, in order to purvey their doctrine, must REVERSE the clear meaning of Genesis 7 in order to interpret Matthew 40 and 41 to mean what they claim.
Jesus is telling us that the ones who will be taken, AS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, will be like the evil ones who were swept away by the Flood. Contrariwise, the righteous ones, AS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, were “left behind” here on earth, although they had to endure a seven month ride in the ark.
THE RAPTURISTS HAVE GOT IT BACKWARDS; and they had better start preparing for the worst, because, if you keep on reading Matthew, Chapter 24, Jesus makes it very clear who will inherit the Kingdom:
“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 [the rapturists don’t care when the thief will come because they assume they will be spared!], he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. [The rapturists are standing by, idly, while the house is being broken up.] Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has made ruler over his household, to give them meat [instruction in the Law] in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you that he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken [as in the days of Noah]; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be a weeping and a gnashing of teeth.”
-- Verses 44-51.
The Rapturists belong to that very same school of non-activist, uncontentious, “don’t rock the boat” Christians (unlike those activists who founded Christianity in the face of both Roman imperialism and rabbinical persecution) who have stood by and watched the household being torn asunder by the antinomians and the “Judeo-Christians.” How can you inherit that which you have failed to protect? If you are not actively “contending for the faith,” i.e., working for the Kingdom here on earth as in heaven (recall the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer), then you are an evil, lazy servant. Indeed, you are no servant at all.
Jude, Verse 3, has this to say:
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation[for true Israel], it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints[not to the antinomians and dispensationalists!].”
Notice the definite article ‘the’ in front of the word ‘faith.’ Does this mean any old faith that one might happen to entertain, or is this a reference to THEFAITH OF OUR FATHERS, ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB? Unlike our modern antinomians, whose faith is in Jesus rather than the faith of Jesus, the saints of old had faith in God’s Law. In essence, modern Christianity puts more stock in the personality of Jesus, as a roving one-man cavalry, riding in to save us from ourselves. The Biblical Jesus, however, is one who exhorts us to obey His Law and to follow His example. Is modern Christianity following His example? Didn’t He overturn the tables of the moneychangers? Hasn’t modern Christianity let the moneychangers back into the temple?
“If ye love me, obey my commandments.” -- John 14:15.
Biblical Christians know that if they put their trust inYah’s Law, the nation will prosper.(See II Chronicles 7:14.) The problem is that modern Christianity has become heretical and Pharisaic, teaching the doctrines of men instead of the Law of God.
Elaborating on this subject, in the very next Chapter, right after the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, Jesus gives us the parable of the unprofitable servant. In this parable, the master of the household gives three different servants five, two and one talents respectively. (It seems to me that the double meaning of the word ‘talent’ is really beautiful here.) The housemaster praises the two servants who doubled their talents but he rebukes the holder of the one talent because he simply buried the coin and did nothing with it.
In verses 29 and 30, Jesus tells us:
“For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I can hear the wailing and the grinding of teeth when the rapturists find out how wrong they have been.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” -- I Peter 1: 7.
Those who are doing absolutely nothing but waiting around for the Rapture, contrary to the clear admonition of our Lord to maintain His household and obey His commandments, are the very people who will be counted among the hypocrites when the Bridegroom comes to claim his Bride [Israel restored], for they assume that their faith will excuse them from the firestorm when Scripture clearly tells us that our faith is to be tried by fire.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” -- II Thess. 2: 11,12.
What greater delusion could there be than believing that mere faith, as opposed to practicing the righteousness of Yahweh’s Law, is all that is required for salvation! Did any of the prophets say that it would that easy????????????? The dispensationalists and antinomians who say that the Old Testament is a “Jewish book” that has no relevance to the modern “Christian” church should read the book of Job to find out what real faith is. Job lost all of his earthly possessions, including his children. After enduring all of these things, Job declared: “Behold, happy is the man whom god correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.” (Job 5:10) Also: “When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (23:10.) The author of the book of Job tells us: “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (1:22.) Of these modern, fair weather Christians, I would ask: How does your “faith” compare with Job’s? Are you absolutely, one hundred per cent positive that the Old Testament is irrelevant?
Can the rapturists, who are sitting around wasting their talents, be considered “profitable servants”? Is their “do nothing” attitude in these times of crisis acceptable to Jesus? I don’t think so! The rapturists’ delusion is one of grandiose self-flattery: “Our faith is so strong that we will be spared the fire,” they proclaim! How self-serving and convenient! On the contrary, they have substituted a delusion for the Faith, and I guarantee that they will be second in line, right after the false priests of “Judeo-Christianity,” to be cast into the fire for their failure to heed Scriptural warnings about the true nature of the tribulation and the Judgment Day. They will be “taken away” all right, but in the same manner as the evil ones of Noah’s day. They will be taken away by death.
Finally, Matthew 10:22 puts it this way: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
Does it say “he that is raptured before the end shall be saved”? And, incidentally, nobody hates the rapturists because they are the least controversial of all Christians! Since they have effectively removed themselves from the scene and from contention, nobody pays them enough attention to warrant hatred – certainly not the sworn enemies of Jesus Christ! How can you hate an “enemy” whose only plan is to leave the battlefield? Can you hear the enemy saying “Good riddance!” and “Have a nice trip”? “See you after the battle!” “Don’t bother to come back!”
In summary, I would like to say that the rapturists are Scripturally wrong on four major points:1.) They have reversed the meaning of Jesus Christ’s prophecy regarding who will be taken and who will be left behind.2.) They have unwittingly obviated the need for the Tribulation because they have replaced God’s Law with antinomian “faith,” thus removing the Scriptural basis (righteousness versus unrighteousness) for the Judgment Day and the very tribulation from which they falsely expect to be spared.3.) They have fallen into a delusion of self-flattery, claiming that their vague, emotion-laden concept of “faith,” even though it denies the validity of the Law, is sufficient for salvation.4.) They have opted for the easy way out, contrary to the clear pronunciations of Scripture which tell us that we must be “tried by fire” and that we must “endure to the end.”
In short, they have become Christian couch potatoes whose heads are so far up in the clouds that they are no earthly good. Amen.
There will indeed be a rapture of the saints; but the “rapture” will be the joy they experience after they have endured to the end. Frankly, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I want to savor the victory. Being “chastened,” “tried,” and “made pure as gold” should be considered an honor, not something to be avoided. Gird your loins and buckle your seatbelts, the rollercoaster leaves in five minutes! Maybe sooner!
(Please share this message with any rapturists you might know. They need to hear it more than anyone else!)____________________________________________________________________
For the record, here is the 1830 vision of the Scotswoman Margaret MacDonald, in her own words, which is the reputed source of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory. Pay special attention to the following sentence:'Tis Christ in us that will lift us up - he is the light - 'tis only those that are alive in him that will be caught up to meet him in the air. It seems that this phrase, “caught up…in the air,” has been interpretedquite literally by many to mean a pre-Tribulation Rapture “up in the sky,” but is that what she intended? I think not, for the very simple reason that it is clear that Miss MacDonald believes in a Judgment Day and trial by fire, and the vast majority of rapturists are antinomians and dispensationalists, both of which groups believe that Christians are saved by “faith only,” not by the Law (righteousness). Rather, Miss MacDonald talks about “spiritual discernment.” In what sense does the “faith only” doctrine require spiritual discernment?
The Book of Revelation clearly tells us that we will be judged “according to our works.” (Rev. 20:13.) In fact, the meaningfulness of our Faith depends upon the way in which our Faith is demonstrated in our actions. “Faith without works is dead.” – James 2:14. What good is your faith if it does not bear fruit for the Kingdom? Read her insightful vision for yourself and see if Miss MacDonald belongs in the “faith only,” pre-Trib camp.
When Paul and the Apostles tell us that good works are not enough to save us, what they mean is that our attempts to undo all of the evil we have done as individuals and as a people could not possibly pay off the full debt that we owe to God. Instead, by His grace (mercy), He cancels a large part of that debt on our behalf when He knows that our hearts have been converted through true repentance. But those whose hearts have not been converted will most definitely pay the price at the Judgment Day and they will be judged according to their works._____________________________________________________________________Margaret Macdonald's revelation as published in The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets In the Catholic Apostolic Church (1861):
"It was first the awful state of the land that was pressed upon me. I saw the blindness and infatuation of the people to be very great. I felt the cry of Liberty just to be the hiss of the serpent, to drown them in perdition. It was just 'no God.' I repeated the words, Now there is distress of nations, with perplexity, the seas and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for fear. Now look out for the sign of the Son of Man. Here I was made to stop and cry out, O it is not known what the sign of the Son of Man is; the people of God think they are waiting, but they know not what it is. I felt this needed to be revealed, and that there was great darkness and error about it; but suddenly what it was burst upon me with a glorious light. I saw it was just the Lord himself descending from Heaven with a shout, just the glorified man, even Jesus; but that all must, as Stephen was, be filled with the Holy Ghost, that they might look up, and see the brightness of the Father's glory. I saw the error to be, that men think that it will be something seen by the natural eye; but 'tis spiritual discernment that is needed, the eye of God in his people. Many passages were revealed, in a light in which I had not before seen them. I repeated, 'Now is the kingdom of Heaven like unto ten virgins, who went forth to meet the Bridegroom, five wise and five foolish; they that were foolish took their lamps, but took no oil with them; but they that were wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.' 'But be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is; and be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.' This was the oil the wise virgins took in their vessels - this is the light to be kept burning - the light of God - that we may discern that which cometh not with observation to the natural eye. Only those who have the light of God within them will see the sign of his appearance. No need to follow them who say, see here, or see there, for his day shall be as the lightning to those in whom the living Christ is. 'Tis Christ in us that will lift us up - he is the light - 'tis only those that are alive in him that will be caught up to meet him in the air. I saw that we must be in the Spirit, that we might see spiritual things. John was in the Spirit, when he saw a throne set in Heaven. But I saw that the glory of the ministration of the Spirit had not been known. I repeated frequently, but the spiritual temple must and shall be reared, and the fullness of Christ be poured into his body, and then shall we be caught up to meet him. Oh none will be counted worthy of this calling but his body, which is the church, and which must be a candlestick all of gold. I often said, Oh the glorious inbreaking of God which is now about to burst on this earth; Oh the glorious temple which is now about to be reared, the bride adorned for her husband; and Oh what a holy, holy bride she must be, to be prepared for such a glorious bridegroom. I said, Now shall the people of God have to do with realities - now shall the glorious mystery of God in our nature be known - now shall it be known what it is for man to be glorified. I felt that the revelation of Jesus Christ had yet to be opened up - it is not knowledge about God that it contains, but it is an entering into God - I saw that there was a glorious breaking in of God to be. I felt as Elijah, surrounded with chariots of fire. I saw as it were, the spiritual temple reared, and the Head Stone brought forth with shoutings of grace, grace, unto it. It was a glorious light above the brightness of the sun that shone round about me. I felt that those who were filled with the Spirit could see spiritual things, and feel walking in the midst of them, while those who had not the Spirit could see nothing - so that two shall be in one bed, the one taken and the other left, because the one has the light of God within while the other cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven. I saw the people of God in an awfully dangerous situation, surrounded by nets and entanglements, about to be tried, and many about to be deceived and fall. Now will THE WICKED be revealed, with all power and signs and lying wonders, so that if it were possible the very elect will be deceived - This is the fiery trial which is to try us. - It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus; but Oh it will be a fiery trial. Every soul will be shaken to the very centre. The enemy will try to shake everything we have believed - but the trial of real faith will be found to honour and praise and glory. Nothing but what is of God will stand. The stony-ground hearers will be made manifest - the love of many will wax cold.
I frequently said that night, and often since, now shall the awful sight of a false Christ be seen on this earth, and nothing but the living Christ in us can detect this awful attempt of the enemy to deceive - for it is with all deceivableness of unrighteousness he will work - he will have a counterpart for every part of God's truth, and an imitation for every work of the Spirit. The Spirit must and will be poured out on the church, that she may be purified and filled with God - and just in proportion as the Spirit of God works, so will he - when our Lord anoints men with power, so will he. This is particularly the nature of the trial, through which those are to pass who will be counted worthy to stand before the Son of man.[my emphasis – EJ.] There will be outward trial too, but 'tis principally temptation. It is brought on by the outpouring of the Spirit, and will just increase in proportion as the Spirit is poured out. The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept. I frequently said, Oh be filled with the Spirit - have the light of God in you, that you may detect Satan - be full of eyes within - be clay in the hands of the potter -submit to be filled, filled with God. This will build the temple. It is not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord. This will fit us to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb. I saw it to be the will of God that all should be filled. But what hindered the real life of God from being received by his people, was their turning from Jesus, who is the way to the Father. They were not entering in by the door. For he is faithful who hath said, by me if any man enters in he shall find pasture. They were bypassing the cross, through which every drop of the Spirit of God flows to us. All power that comes not through the blood of Christ is not of God.
When I say, they are looking from the cross, I feel that there is much in it - they turn from the blood of the Lamb, by which we overcome, and in which our robes are washed and made white. There are low views of God's holiness, and a ceasing to condemn sin in the flesh, and a looking from him who humbled himself, and made himself of no reputation. Oh! It is needed, much needed at present, a leading back to the cross. I saw that night, and often since, that there will be an outpouring of the Spirit on the body, such as has not been, a baptism of fire, that all the dross may be put away. Oh there must and will be such an indwelling of the living God as has not been - the servants of God sealed in their foreheads - great conformity to Jesus - his holy, holy image seen in his people - just the bride made comely by his comeliness put upon her. This is what we are at present made to pray much for, that speedily we may all be made ready to meet our Lord in the air - and it will be. Jesus wants his bride. His desire is toward us. He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. Amen and Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus.''