As one travels across America, he often sees automobiles with bumper stickers saying: "In case of the Rapture, this car will no longer have a driver." Many religious leaders identify with this message, but millions remain puzzled by such wording. The word, "rapture," does not exist in the Bible, and the teaching that goes with "The Rapture" is anti-biblical. Dr. Robert Strong once gave this definition: "By 'Rapture' is meant the sudden and possibly secret coming of Christ in the air to catch away from the earth the resurrected bodies of those who have died in the faith and with the living saints."
However, according to the Bible, when the Lord comes again, "Behold, He cometh with the clouds;and every eye shall see Him, and they that pierced Him" (Rev. 1:7). Even those who crucified Him will see Him when He comes. There is nothing secret about the matter at all! Also, it is affirmed there will be plenty of noise to acclaim the Lord's return: "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 that are alive; that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thes. 4:16,17).
Dispensationalists proclaim that the "Rapture" period is for seven years. During this time, the saints are at peace, while the sinners are in great tribulation on earth. But the Lord taught in Matt. 13 that there will be no separation of the good and evil until the end of the world. Read the stories of the tares and the fish net. Our Savior emphasized that the righteous and the ungodly would dwell side by side until separated for all eternity into either heaven or hell.
In John 6, Christ says three times that the separation of the righteous and the wicked would take place at the last day. Earlier, in Jno. 5:28,29, Jesus had spoken of that day: "Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment." Note that "all that are in the tombs" will come forth at the same time to receive judgment. There will be one resurrection, composed of both the good and the evil (Acts 24:15).
In 1 Thes. 4, Paul discusses specifically what will happen to the saints --both dead and alive -- when the Redeemer comes. But closely following the reading in 2 Thes. 1:4-10, the same apostle, on the same subject of Christ's coming, to an identical audience of the church in Thessalonica, informs us that "when" (in Greek, an adverb of time) Christ comes, He will be admired by the saints while the wicked are being overwhelmed by the wrath of God! There is no place, nor time, for any so-called "Rapture"! "And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment; so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for Him, unto salvation" (Heb. 9:27,28).
"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all" (Eph. 4:4-6). Note that - there is "one hope." That doesn't mean two or three, or more. Some hope for a glorified earth, while others eagerly anticipate "the Rapture." But the New Testament shows clearly that our hope in Christ is for a home in heaven (Heb. 6:19, 20; 1 Pet. 1:3-5).
In 1 Tim. 6:13,14 and 2 Tim. 4:8, we find clear teaching that joins together the resurrection of the dead, the reward of the saints and the glorious appearing of Christ (Ti. 2:13) at the same precise moment (1 Cor. 15:52). In the passage immediately following the chief "proof text" of "Rapture" teachers (1 Thes. 5:1-4), we read vivid words that forever teach that the righteous are NOT taken away before the Judgment Day. Rather, the righteous are present with the wicked until the time the wicked receive their punishment, at which time the rightoeus receive their reward. The gospel of Christ is to be preached by the followers of Christ until the end of the world (Matt. 28:29,30), which is impossible if the saints are "raptured" seven years prior to the world's end!
As Loraine Boettner powerfully stated in The Millennium, "Jesus said that He would raise up those who believe on Him at the last day (Jno. :39,40,44,54). Clearly there can be no other days after the last day" (pg. 167). One of these days, known only to Jehovah (Matt. 24:36), the end of the world will come. Only those who live and die in Christ (Jno. 8:21; Rev. 14:13) will be prepared and able to stand (Rev. 6:7). What a tragedy to be unprepared, having followed fables instead of the revealed Word of God!
By Johnny Ramsey in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 55, No. 3, Jan. 20, 2006.
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