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The Rapture is described as the experience, anticipated by some fundamentalist Christians of meeting Christ midway in the air upon His return to earth. This teaching is correct in some ways in that the children of God will meet Jesus midway in the sky upon His return to set up His Kingdom, but where they may be going wrong is that this will not occur at the time setting they teach. They teach that the rapture will occur before the great tribulations and those that are Christ' will not have to endure the suffering of the tribulations. The rapture teaching was started by John Nelson Darby in 1800's and is what became known as the doctrine of "Dispensationalism" and Darby saw seven dispensations: (1) Paradisaical state to the Flood; (2) Noah; (3) Abraham; (4) Israel; (5) Gentiles; (6) The Spirit; and (7) The Millennium. By his own testimony, Darby says his dispensational theology was fully formed by 1833. "Dispensationalism" first took shape in the Brethren Movement in early nineteenth century Britain. The writings of the Brethren had a broad impact on evangelical Protestantism and influenced ministers in the United States such as D. L. Moody, James Brookes, J. R. Graves, A. J. Gordon, and C. I. Scofield.
The first question you must ask yourself is do you believe the bible? Well if so let's take a look at scripture that shows what will happen at the return of Christ in Matt 24:29-31 which states..."Immediately after the tribulation of those days the Sun will be darkened, and the Moon will not give its light; the Stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (NKJ throughout)
Notice what is stated as happening here? Jesus is returning to the Earth to set up His Kingdom. What else does it state here about the time setting? It is Immediately after the tribulation so how can some teach that they will be "Raptured" up several years before Jesus sets up His Kingdom and before the tribulation when the bible clearly states it will be Immediately after the tribulation? Also notice that after the tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken so all this tribulation will occur before Jesus returns. (See studies at the end of this paper for more on the resurrection.)
Let's address the scripture that they use to say there is a rapture. Let's look at Matt 24:36-42 and notice some points here. It states..."But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming."
Notice that Jesus compared His coming as the days of Noah because they did not believe the preaching of Noah and just continued in their eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. Also notice a very important point when Jesus stated that; "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left, two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left." This corresponds with 1 Cor 15:50-53 of which we will read in a moment.
Now the argument is that they will be in the heavens with Jesus before all this happens so let's go to some more scriptures that tell us what will happen and when. Let's start with 1 Cor 15:50-53 to see what is prophesied to take place during this time. It states Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
Notice all the points here. First we find that Christians are being resurrected from mortal to immortality. They are being changed from flesh to spirit because flesh and blood as stated in the above scripture cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Now let's notice a very important fact here and that is the time setting. It states that the last trumpet will sound when this happens but what does it mean, the last trumpet? We will have to go to the book of revelation to find this last trumpet and also see what happens when it sounds. Let's turn to Rev 11:15 and read it. "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
So we see here in the book of revelation that when the seventh (Last) trumpet sounds that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord so when we connect this to the resurrection stated in 1 Cor 15:50-53 we find it also corresponds. We also find it fits with what we found in Matt 24:29-31 which states..."Immediately after the tribulation of those days Jesus will return. Now what I did not show you in the beginning is that in Matt 24:31 it also states "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and notice in this part it states what they will be doing..."They will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." So we see several scriptures that corresponds to (1 Jesus returning (2 the resurrection occurs at he same time as the seventh trumpet sounds. There are no scriptures that denote any other resurrection except when the seventh trumpet sounds and that is the key to the time setting.
Now remember that the resurrection occurs at the sound of the seventh trumpet and Jesus begins His return at that time. Now what many people fail to understand is that the seven trumpets begin to sound when the seventh seal is opened (Rev. 6:12) and the seventh trumpets sounding (Rev. 10:12) (Rev. 11:15) starts the seven angels to prepare pouring their bowls out on the beast power and all those that have accepted the mark of the beast as recorded in Rev. chapter 16 as we will read on into this study. So with that in mind let's read what is recorded in the book of revelation concerning these events. There will be a great deal of scriptures to read in order for us to understand this so let's start in Rev 15:1-2 which states "Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God."
Notice that the seven angels are described as not yet pouring out their bowls but getting ready to and the description of what is in them which are the seven last plagues, and it states that these are the wrath of God and they also will complete the wrath of God meaning the setting up of Jesus' rule and the start of the kingdom of God. Now let's also notice what else is mentioned here. John states that he saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name will be standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. So the statement that these people that got victory over the Beast and his mark denotes that they had to be in the tribulation in order to get victory over the beast and not accept the mark of the beast right? Can we find scripture that backs this up?
Let's look at what the angel showed John in his vision. Let's turn to Rev 7:9-17 as it states "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen." Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?" And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
As we see from this vision the apostle John saw we find the angel asked John who was this great multitude that he saw and John did not know but then the answer was that these are those who come out of the great tribulation. You see they rejected the mark of the beast and were beheaded for the witness of Jesus' testimony as we find recorded in Rev 20:4 which states "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
With what we have learned we need to understand where those that teach they will be with Jesus during a time when there will be great boils on peoples flesh and the sea becomes blood and every living thing in the sea dies and people are to be scorched with great heat as well as many other plagues and pestilence are getting ahead of themselves. So where and when does this occur and are the people who believe in a rapture correct in that Christians will be with Jesus during this terrible time? Remember they teach that they will be raptured before the tribulation or the time of trouble but we have seen from scripture that a number that no man could number will go through not only tribulation but be killed by beheading for a witness of the testimony of Jesus which means they will become followers of the Messiah and that could include those that were deceived into this false religion that offers pagan gods to worship while going under the name Christ. We have also shown that there are no scriptures that reflect a "Rapture" or resurrection before the seventh trumpet sounds. The great point here is that if you believe in this rapture and it does not occur you very well could lose faith at a time when you need it most! I just pray that those that have read this will remember these points here and not lose their faith but be encouraged that our redemption draws near.
The truth is that the terrible time of tribulation described above when there will be great boils on peoples flesh and the sea becomes blood is when God is in the process of destroying the beast system and those that accepted the mark of the beast. Let's read the scriptures and see what is happening here.
Let's read Rev 16:1-21. "Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth."
So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.
Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.
Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: "You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due." And I heard another from the altar saying, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments."
Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.
Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.
Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great."
So we see here that this is taking place after all Christians are resurrected and have become spirit beings waiting just above the earth for the command from Jesus to set up the kingdom of God for a thousand years. We see here that the armies of the beast will gather in the valley of Megiddo to fight the returning Messiah and will be defeated. As we find in this study the word "Rapture" can not be found in the bible and there is only one resurrection of all the dead and then the living saints in Christ are changed which takes place at the sound of the seventh trumpet and then the plagues and pestilence are poured out just on the beast power as we see when the fifth angel poured out his bowl it was on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness. However the teaching that Christians will not go through tribulation is false as we have seen. Remember even when God poured plagues and pestilence out on Egypt the children of Israel also received the pestilence for a time and then God showed His great power and love for His people by having the pestilence affect only the Egyptian people and those that did not obey His command to place the blood of a lamb on their door post however the plagues were no longer affecting His people.
Now we must address the Greek word Harpazo because those that teach the rapture doctrine use this word to point to their proof because Jesus was caught up or snatched away and this word was used one time in I Thess. 4:17. The word Caught up (Harpazo) truly means BY FORCE not just to be taken. To be taken in the Greek is (paralambano) and is used in the scripture where Jesus states one shall be taken and the other left. When those that are resurrected are taken they will be taken by force thus the usage of the word "harpazo" in I Thess. 4:17. The reason I state this is because 1 Cor 15:52 states that it will occur in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye which is very fast so it must be very forceful.
In the translations of John Wycliff of the year 1380 he used the word (rauyschid). He stated "Afterward we that lyuen, that ben left, schulen be (rauyschid) togidere with hem in cloudis, metinge Crist `in to the eir" and this word was also used in Matt. 11:12 in this way by John Wycliff as he stated And fro the daies of Joon Baptist til now the kyngdom of heuenes suffrith violence, and violent men (rauyschen) it. Notice the word was used in relation with violent men which seems to me to mean the same thing as taken by force or violence. This would not mean Rapture but more a sudden taking away which would be what would happen during the resurrection at Jesus' return. It's not like those resurrected will just slowly rise and yawning while looking around. No those being resurrected will be violently snatched away!
Those who teach the rapture doctrine do not want to discuss the time setting as with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. The reason is because the time setting blows a large hole in their doctrine as I showed in this research paper noting all the scriptures that show that the only time anyone is taken up is after the first tribulations and always after the seventh trumpet sounds. There is not one scripture (Even I Thess. 4: 16:17) that refers to the resurrection without also stating that the seventh trumpet sounds which is the time that Jesus is returning.
Now I know that many will read this study and continue to believe in the rapture because they hope they will not have to endure tribulation and that is the very reason many ministers use this false teaching. This teaching came from those that wanted to scare people into their church but it is not truth and we should trust Jesus not only for our salvation but also for protection during the tribulation. There are prophecies that show God is going to protect His people in Rev. Chapter 12 and also in Rev 3:10-11which states..."Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown."
For biblical facts check out Do we go to Heaven at death?
If you would like to study more about the battle of Armageddon you can access our research paper at the link below.
And the companion study titled... Resurrections and Judgements
You might want to study the research study titled Revelation Six vs. Matt. 24
In Jesus' Service:
Timothy M. Youngblood
Author and webmaster of
The Master's Table