The History of the Rapture
This doctrine is new; it was never taught or even discussed prior to the 1830’s. It seems to have first come from a “prophetic vision” by Margaret Macdonald, a woman in 1830, who was a part of the cult group the “Irvingites,” while having an emotional experience…After that, another cult group called the “Millerites,” predicted the return of Christ on October 22, 1844. It did not happen; that should have been a clue, but this would not die. [Miller…went on to play a role in the founding of the Seventh Day Adventist Church]…
At the same time, this belief was then picked up by Irish born…John N. Darby…who took this new fad to America in 1862 to 1877….He was, in fact, a failed lawyer who was very “intolerant to criticism” and prideful. This should be another clue…He then developed a poor method of biblical interpretation called dispensationalism (The Problem with Dispensationalism!)—another clue…
The very popular commentary of the Bible he produced…the very first study Bible, given out to just about every preacher and evangelist beginning in 1909, and one we still have today, The Scofield Study Bible.
Where are the Bible passages for this? Is this not clear in Scripture? Many people think so, but take a look for yourself. The most popular Bible references are John 14:2–3; 1 Corinthians 15:49–55; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7. The best thing to do is read the passages in their context and you will clearly see for yourself what they say…
Then this was further popularized the book, Jesus Is Coming by evangelist William Blackstone… This work sold more than one million copies…in 1957, when respected Theologian from Dallas Seminary, Dr. John Walvoord, wrote a book called, “The Rapture Question”…it seems he did not check his facts and read into the passage a presumption he saw as fact because it was in his favorite work, Scofield Study Bible. But he did not declare it a dogmatic fact, but left it open for further research and debate…Then, the rapture gets popular with the publication of Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth, which sold over 15 million copies;
So if someone insists this is a valid doctrine, ask for the Scripture references, then ask for any solid biblical scholarship on it. You will find none as I did not. Yes, many great people think this is true and teach it passionately. They get so caught up in it, pun intended, they do not look it up.
The Late, Great Planet Earth is a best-selling 1970 book by Hal Lindsey with Carole C. Carlson, and first published by Zondervan. The New York Times declared it to be the bestselling nonfiction book of the 1970s. [Emphasis added.] The book was first featured on a prime time television special featuring Hal Lindsey in 1974 to 1975 with an audience of 17,000,000…it was adapted…during 1976 into a film narrated by Orson Welles…Lindsey and Carlson later published several sequels, including Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth and The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon.
The Late, Great Planet Earth is a treatment of dispensational eschatology. As such, it compared end-time prophecies in the Bible with then-current events in an attempt to predict future scenarios resulting in the rapture of believers before the tribulation and Second Coming of Christ to establish his thousand-year (i.e. millennial) Kingdom on Earth. Emphasizing various passages in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation, Lindsey originally suggested the possibility that these climactic events might occur during the 1980s,
foretold a Soviet invasion of Israel (War of Gog and Magog)
Lindsey also predicted that...the European Union, was destined (according to Biblical prophecy)…to become a “Revived Roman Empire” ruled by the Antichrist…
America would not be a major geopolitical power by the time the tribulations of the end times arrived…
It is now 2020 and America is still the world’s major geopolitical power.
the Tribulation or the Rapture would occur no later than 1988.
According to the Bible’s judgement on prophets, Hal Lindsey is a false prophet. But he’s still going strong, because he and other rapture teachers like him give a false hope of evading suffering.
And what is it that the Church — or all true believers — is watching and preparing for? The “Blessed Hope” that the Apostle Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
When we read that passage we find resurrection of the dead and transformation of the living, AKA the rapture, but where is the description of this as the “Blessed Hope”?
“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.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)
When we look up “Blessed Hope” we discover the following passage
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13)
OK, so the blessed hope is the resurrection of the dead in The Promised One / Messiah / Christ at his appearing on earth, but does it prove the claim that, for the first and only time in history, believers will not experience tribulation?
Not according to the Bible.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also…and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:1-5)
“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints;” (Romans 12:12)
“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you…For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel…to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel…whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” (Colossians 1:1-24)
“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father…And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad…how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (I Thessalonians 1:3-10)
“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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (II Thessalonians 2:2-5)
Someday soon, Jesus Christ is going to leave heaven and call for those who are watching for His return to leave this earth and meet Him in the air. This even includes those who have died during this Church Age…
Those who are left behind will be the ones who experience the “Day of the Lord,” which begins with the great Tribulation. You don’t want anyone you know or love to be in that number…
And how do you make certain you’re ready to experience the “Blessed Hope” and miss the “Day of the Lord?” Simple. [Emphasis added.]
Recognize that you’re a sinner who has fallen short of the standard that God has set. (Every human being has!) Confess your sinfulness and ask God to forgive you. Accept the free gift of pardon that Jesus Christ purchased for you with His atoning death on the Cross. Believe God’s promise (“…whosoever believes in Him shall not die but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16) and receive His pardon in your heart. Then ask God to make of you what He wants you to be. Thank Him for giving you eternal life with Him.
You are now a part of God’s forever family and have just changed your eternal destiny. Now, you are one of those watching for the “Blessed Hope.”
Hal Lindsey’s use of the “Sinner’s Prayer” as a legitimate means of salvation without crucifying the flesh is consistent with his anti-biblical promise that Christians are promised a soft life.
The following passage is used by Dispensationalists as proof of a pre-tribulation physical removal of believers with their resident Holy Spirit.
- “…be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled…as that the day of Messiah / Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come
- a falling away / apostasia: defection, revolt first,
- and that man of sin be revealed / apokaluptó: to uncover, reveal, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (II Thessalonians 2:1-4)
The fact that apostasia most likely has the meaning of physical departure is a clear support for pretribulationism. If this is true, (Dr. Tim LaHaye and I believe that it is), then it means that…Paul teaches…that the rapture will occur first, before the Day of the Lord commences. It is not until after the beginning of the Day of the Lord that the Antichrist is released…This is the only interpretation that provides hope for a discomforted people. Maranatha!
For starters, these teachers have got the Day of the Lord all mixed up with the Reign of Antichrist, which in itself tells us just unqualified they are to teach anything about either event. The reign of antichrist has to occur prior to the Day of the Lord’s Christ.
Secondly, a basic investigation of how apostasia is translated reveals that the claim that this word has the meaning of a physical departure is just a flat out lie. This Greek word is only used one other time, and that in absolutely a spiritual context.
- Original Word: ἀποστασία, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (ap-os-tas-ee’-ah)
Definition: defection, revolt
Usage: defection, apostasy, revolt.
Acts 21:21: they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
This one investigation into the pre-tribulation rapture teaching should shock us into awareness of “because they received not the love of the truth…God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Even human armies execute soldiers for desertion. Should God shrug it off when eternal life for the people his son died to save is at stake?
The argument of the passage itself does not allow a pre-tribulation rapture interpretation. Paul is assuring Gentile converts that the sight of Antichrist in the temple is a sign that Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus will shortly return to rescue them. Ergo, believers must be on earth to see it.
Moreover, using one verse to prove one’s private interpretation is a violation of the scriptural – and legal -requirements for at least two witnesses to establish truth. Anyone who cares at least as much about the truth as police investigators or psychiatric providers determining a course of action in this life can extend their investigation of the veracity of the pretribulation rapture doctrine to the other witnesses provided in scripture.
What we find is that the other passages describing the climax of human history unquestionably direct the action of falling away with the faith, defecting to the enemy whose lies they choose to believe.
“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; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (I Timothy 4:1-2)
Phonetic Spelling: (af-is’-tay-mee)
Definition: to lead away, to depart from
Usage: make to stand away, draw away, repel, take up a position away from, withdraw from, leave, abstain from.
Luke 2:37: she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Luke 4:13: when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
Luke 8:13: They on the rock are they, which, for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Luke 13:24-28: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able….shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Acts 5:34-37: stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up…Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
Acts 15:37-38: Barnabas determined to take with them John…But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
Acts 19:8-9: he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly…persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples,
Acts 22:28-29: Paul said…I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
II Corinthians 12:7-10: there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me…For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
II Timothy 2:15-19: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker…and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
Hebrews 3:12-13: Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
II Peter 3:15-17: “…account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”
- Original Word: ἐκπίπτω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (ek-pip’-to)
Definition: to leap out
Usage: I fall out, fall off, fall away; hence in nautical language: I fall off from the straight course; of flowers: I fade away, wither away; I fall from, lose, forfeit; I am cast ashore; I am fruitless.
Romans 9:6: Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect.
Galatians 5:4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
As for the claim that rapture prior to tribulation is the only interpretation that provides hope for a discomforted people! Talk about taking a verse totally out of context. Read the surrounding passage in which Paul comforts the Thessalonians.
“we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God 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: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…When he shall come to be glorified in his saints…Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ…he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work..” (II Thessalonians 1-2)
Paul never spoke of a Rapture.
Many Christians believe in a future End Times event when all true believers still alive before the end of the world will be taken from the earth by God into heaven. The term describing this event is the Rapture.
The English word ‘rapture’ derives from the Latin verb ‘Rapere,’ meaning ‘to carry off,’ or ‘to catch up…’
The term ‘Rapture’ first became popular in the United States toward the end of the 19th century through teachings on…dispensationalism by John Nelson Darby, an Irish evangelist. The rapture theory continued to grow in popularity among evangelicals largely due to a preacher named William Eugene Blackstone (1841-1935). His book, Jesus is Coming, sold more than one million copies…
The Rapture theory gained even greater interest during this time due to the books of Hal Lindsey. In The Late Great Planet Earth Lindsey predicted an imminent Rapture based on global conditions at the time…
the popular Christian book series based on the events surrounding the Rapture is the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins…
What Paul discussed was not “rapture” as a group event but “change” as an individual transformation, from corruptible to incorruptible. This concept is so clearly expressed in “the change” as euphemism for menopause, when women stop experiencing the monthly corruption of potential new life, that it is hard to comprehend how this got so distorted into “I’ll Fly Away.” Other than loving the lie that Jesus’ followers don’t need to follow Jesus into battle against evil.
“that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed…the invisible things of him from the creation of the world…even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:…they…changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.” (Romans 1:19-23)
“Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remaineth…and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail…Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 1:10-12, 12:26-27)
As detailed in Everything New is Old Again, Paul drew every bit of his teaching from the Old Testament. When we don’t add the word “rapture” up into heaven to scripture, but stick with “change” from mortal to immortal, we understand that this was a known phenomenon just as clearly described in the Old Testament as every other aspect of salvation.
Enoch was a prophet/priest/king whose transformation from mortal to immortal without going through physical death was timed to coincide with the end of his exceptional “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” while he preached of coming judgment to the most wicked population ever to walk the face of the earth.
“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Gen 5:24)
“there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:13-14)
Elijah is a major spokesman for God who established his credentials during a time of vicious persecution of God’s people. His transformation, like Enoch’s, can be seen as a reward for an exceptional life’s service under fire, not an escape from it. The timing of his transformation signals not the beginning, but the end, of the enemy’s reign of terror.
“Elijah…said…the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the LORD said unto him, Go…anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. (I Kings 19:9-17)
“And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal….And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.” (II Kings 2:1-12)
Since this instant change from corrupt to incorrupt is documented in the Old Testament, why don’t dispensationalists base their teaching of the future recurrence of this phenomenon on them? Their silence has thundering implications. They don’t want to admit the evidence for believers experiencing tribulation prior to the change.
So instead of referencing Enoch’s change experience, they wrest scripture to reference Noah’s experience.
Look at what Jesus says:
Matthew 24:37 “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 the coming of the Son of man be…
This disappearance spoken of by Jesus…is called the “Rapture” by those who know about it.
It is simply a “taking out” or “taking away” of Believers in Jesus Christ from the earth.
Uh, no. Noah and his family remained on the earth. Or we wouldn’t be here. You may recall that they repopulated the earth. They were not raptured out.
The days of Noah are referenced by Jesus because they are famous for unimaginable wickedness, giants, and the corruption of all human and animals flesh, i.e. hybridization. See the posts Seed of the Serpent and Mark of the Beast for details. For now, just note that diverting attention from the true examples of the “change” by Enoch and Elijah and the true reason Jesus references the “days of Noah”, the false prophets of Dispensationalism have left their followers in the dark about the worst era of history coming upon mankind.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
This explains prophecy teachers’ obsession with monitoring wars and disasters. According to them, Christians can feel a great sense of relief when things really get bad, because they’re expecting an airlift out.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 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. [But not by some imaginary rapture!] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them…the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (II Timothy 3)
“He who is taken away” is most assuredly the Holy Spirit, but not in the form of the Church being raptured up to God. According to Daniel and Jesus, it is in the form of the God’s people falling away to the enemy, led by corrupt leaders who ally with the enemy. We like to blame all persecution on the villainous Roman emperors and communist governments, but poseurs in our midst who out for personal gain do a whopping amount of damage to us.
- And now ye know what withholdeth / katechó: to hold fast, hold back that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only
- he who now letteth will let /the same word katechó: to hold fast, hold back until he be taken out of the way.
- And then shall that Wicked be revealed…[for who he really is] after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
- And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
- And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.“ (II Thessalonians 2:2-12)
Anyone who had to take the dread course Statistics in college understands that the only way to understand the complex code at the end of the course is to begin at the beginning, learn each of the simple segments of the equation, and fit them in the right order.
And the only way to get the right answer is to get every single element of the code correct. That’s why this blog book began at the beginning and ground its way through the entire Bible before tackling the end.
We can’t move the players around to fit our script. Just like
- Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years came to pass then was expanded to Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks of years,
- so too Daniel’s 70 weeks, although fulfilled in part by Messiah, had to be expanded by Messiah to ensure the cooperation of the other signatories to the covenant.
And we have to maintain the players and the order of events as Jesus gave them to us in the final version of the script.