Time, Truth, and Wisdom
CHAPTER 13--The Rapture Theory, Satan's Crown Jewel
I can’t help it. When the rapture theory became popular back in the 1830’s I have this mental picture of Satan grinning from ear to ear, white teeth glistening in the sunlight, rubbing his hands together with glee and shouting....
“I’m going to take a bunch of ‘em to hell with me with this one!”
The word “rapture” is not found in the Bible and it’s not because it was erroneously omitted when the Original Texts were translated into other languages.
For almost 1800 years the “Church” never spoke of, preached on or endorsed this idea of a rapture.
I remember many years ago when I was a child living up in Pennsylvania. My father had taken me to the barbershop in Fairview and as I was waiting for my turn in the barbers’ chair I stood theree looking at a poster that was pinned to the wall and it was of a car going down the interstate highway (President Eisenhower had begun the interstate highway system) with the driver missing.
The driver’s wife was still seated on the front passenger seat and a boy and a girl were seated in the back. On the bottom of the poster was the word “rapture” and I remember wondering why God would do that because surely He knew that the car would eventually drift off the highway and these people could well be killed.
(By the way, there was also another poster on the wall that was promoting a new movie called Quo Vadis. This will give you an idea of how long ago this was. In fact, the movie came out in 1951, which was 68 years ago, when I was eleven years old. Funny how little bits of information just seems to be burned into our memory banks.)
So, even as a young boy, this idea of a “rapture” didn’t make much sense to me.
In 1830 a thin, sickly woman by the name of Margaret Macdonald had a vision and during this vision, she stated that she felt cold and uncomfortable and evil. Margaret belonged to a religious sect called the Irvingites. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, this information can be found concerning the Irvingites:
“A religious sect called after Edward Irving (1792-1834), a deposed Presbyterian minister. They themselves repudiate this name, saying Irving was not their founder but only their “forerunner”; and claim to be the “Catholic Apostolic Church”.
The sect arose from certain extraordinary “manifestations of the spirit” – tongues, prophecies, healings, even raising of the dead – which were said to have taken place during Irving’s ministry in London, after his deposition. These lead some of his followers to band themselves together for the purpose of forming a religious body modeled exactly on the lines of the primitive Apostolic Church, as they conceived it.”
Her vision was that of a select group of Christians leaving to be with Christ before the days of the Antichrist, effectively splitting the second coming of the Messiah into two separate stages.
John Darby, the leader of the Brethren movement on dispensationalism, made some changes to her account of the vision and ran with it. Primarily, because of John Darby’s ability to draw an audience when he is preaching, this doctrine became very popular and many believe that it formed the foundation of the Fundamentalist and Pentecostal Churches.
I have done considerable research on this theory while writing this book and I have come to the conclusion that it is so convoluted and complex that, even if it were true, I would be hard-pressed to understand everything that it encompasses were I to be among the living when it all happened.
There are basically five places in Scripture that are used to back up this theory and they are:
1st Thessalonians 4:15-17;
1st Corinthians 15:51-53;
I’m going to go to 1st Thessalonians first, which is NOT one of the basic Scriptures referenced above, and we have to understand what the subject is, as Paul is writing this first letter to the Thessalonians, and that subject is “where are the dead”.
1st Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
Not too hard to understand. Paul is saying that he doesn’t want these people to be stupid about those that have died and are dead. Don’t be like the heathen who don’t believe in Jesus and have no spiritual hope.
1st Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
If you believe that Jesus died and rose again then it would make sense that those who have already died and gone to heaven, while believing in Jesus, that God would bring them with Him when He returned. How can He do that? Because they are already with Him in heaven. Why would He bring them with Him anyway? Because the eternal Kingdom will be set up right here on earth.
In these two verses, Paul has explained what happens when we die. This is how we are able to come back with Him when He returns. It didn’t say a thing in the world about souls coming out of the ground.
When we die they take us to a funeral home, they clean us up a little, they put us in a fancy box and they lower us into the ground. Do our flesh body and our soul and spirit go into the ground? Not according to the Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 12 and verse 7:
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Pretty simple, huh? This is what happens when we die: we put the flesh body into the ground and our soul and spirit immediately return to the Father. So, those who have overcome and believed in Jesus and died; they will return with Jesus at His second coming.
Now, Paul is going to explain to us what happens to the people that have not died and are still living and walking and breathing and going to work and shopping and all that when Jesus returns at His second coming. This is the beginning verse of those that supposedly support the rapture theory....
1st Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
The keyword here is “prevent” and in the Greek, it means to be beforehand, or precede. We can’t precede them because they are already with the Lord. They are coming back with Him.
1st Thessalonians 4:16 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:
The Lord is coming, Michael, the archangel will shout, and this happens at the seventh trump. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. As they should because they are already with Him.
1st Thessalonians 4:17 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.
There are two things working in this 17th verse and it has to do with the word “clouds” and the word “air”.
In the Greek Manuscripts, the word cloud actually refers to an ordinary cloud but that is not how it is used here. In this verse, the word cloud is used as a metaphor and it means a large group of people. Have you ever used the expression “a cloud of grasshoppers or a cloud of locusts”? It’s a figure of speech that means that there were so many grasshoppers or locusts in the air at the same time that it looked like a cloud of them.
The word air in the Greek is aer; from aemi and it means to breathe unconsciously. It refers to the breath of life or the spiritual body.
The very moment that Christ returns every knee on this planet will bow to Him, our flesh bodies will die and our spiritual body will come forth. We will never, ever have a need for these flesh bodies again. Ever. That part of God’s Plan is complete and over with.
We are not going to meet up in the air and clouds with Jesus when He returns. He will plant His feet firmly on the Mount of Olives and the first day of the Millennium will have begun.
Another part of this rapture theory is that this rapture will happen “at any moment”. With no warning at all. Certainly, no one knows the instant of Christ’s return but we do know the season.
Let’s go to 2nd Thessalonians for a moment. There was some confusion after Paul sent that first letter to the Thessalonians so he is sending this second letter to straighten things out.
2nd Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
Paul is saying that he wants to talk to them AGAIN about the coming of our Lord and our gathering back to Him.
2nd Thessalonians 2:2 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.
Don’t be confused by my first letter to you and don’t let evil spirits, like the one that possessed Margaret MacDonald, have influence over you.
2nd Thessalonians 2:3 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.
How much more clearly could Paul have made it? Christ is not coming back “at any moment”. In fact, the Holy Spirit has inspired Paul to point out to us that two events will happen before Christ returns at the 2nd Advent. He cautions us FIRST to not let any man deceive us, and if the word man is used generically to encompass men and women, then he is telling us not to listen to some wacked-out, demon-possessed sickly woman in Scotland.
The rapture theory had not been taught by the Church for almost 1800 years and you cannot negate that fact by telling people that teaching this theory had simply fallen “out of vogue”. You can’t say:
“Oh, it’s in the Bible. We just forgot to tell everybody about it for almost 1800 years.”
Nonsense. Continuing with verse three and the SECOND event that must happen....
2nd Thessalonians 2:3……. For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.
What is this falling away? It’s called the Great Apostasy. Apostasy is generally defined as the determined, willful rejection of Christ and His teachings by a Christian believer. How can that be, you might say? Let’s finish verse 3 and I’ll tell you.
…….And that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
Who is the son of perdition? Satan, of course. He is the only entity, the only soul that God has created that has been sentenced to perish, to die.
The Apostasy comes into play when Satan, in his role as Antichrist, sits in the Temple of God, claiming to be God. And if you don’t have your ducks in a row, most Christians will believe that it actually is the true Christ and they will worship him and that’s what the Apostasy is all about.
The Apostasy that Paul is writing about cannot be accomplished by someone that does not believe in Christ in the first place. It has to be a turning away from ones’ professed beliefs and putting that belief in someone else. You will take your belief in Jesus Christ and place it with the Antichrist. Do you think that I’m making this stuff up?
2nd Thessalonians 2:4 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.
Satan, as Antichrist, will sit in the Temple of God, on Mount Zion, and he will show and convince the entire world that he is God. And I’m sure that some of you are sitting out there and insisting that I’m full of it and that you could recognize a fake christ if you saw one. I know for a certainty that you will not,
Paul presents us with two defined acts that have to occur before the return of the Lord:
1) There must be a falling away first.
2) The man of sin, the son of perdition, must be revealed.
This pretty much takes the “any moment” doctrine and shoves it back into the fog where it belongs. The biblically-illiterate ones will, however, hang on to this doctrine until the day they die.
“Well, that’s what I’ve been taught in my church for years. I just can’t believe that it’s not true. After all, my pastor wouldn’t lie to me.”
Yes, he has.
The rapture theory and the any-moment doctrines are a lie and 2nd Thessalonians, chapter 2:1-4 proves it. They can bend and twist the Scriptures around to make it seem as though it’s part of the Bible but they are only doing Satan’s handiwork. They are working for him and some of them don’t even know it. And this pleases Satan very, very much.