The Rapture—Is It a Reality?
One of the widely preached views of the end of time is called “the Rapture.” The scenario pictures the sudden and secret return of Christ, the sweeping away of the righteous to be in a place of total ecstasy and happiness for a short period of time, only to return to the earth to face the rigors of another imagination, the “Battle of Armageddon.” Oral Roberts who has been in the news over the last several months as a result of his having seen Jesus (all 900 feet of him), his revelation that he would only escape death by being bailed out with several million dollars in contributions, and even having raised the dead, has not been silent on this fantasy called “the Rapture.” Here is the way he expressed himself.
“His appearance in the clouds will be veiled to the human eye. He will slip in, slip out: move in to get his jewels and slip out as under cover of night.” (Oral Roberts).
Almost daily, Jimmy Swaggart and his panel of Pentecostal preachers, telecast their opinions that the “Rapture” is real and warn that should anyone be suddenly missing, not to worry, it is just the Lord who took away people without notice. This is truly false, but it would be interesting to hear Swaggart and company answer someone who says, “We need not worry about all the missing children about whom so much concern is being expressed—the Rapture may be under way.” Of course, there is nothing like the imaginary Rapture taught in the Scripture—and the millennialists cannot admit that is is now going on, for that would mean they missed it.
According to others like Hal Lindsey, author of “The Late Great Planet Earth,] and Richard DeHaan, popular radio and TV preacher, people will suddenly disappear, bewildering those left behind. Once the rapture is over, according to these men, the saints return, and after the battle is won, they spend the remainder of their time here on earth during the “millennium.”
Imagine a conversation like this:
Saint — “I am glad I won’t be here during the tribulation.”
Non-Saint — “Why?” Saint — “Because, I won’t be persecuted during the tribulation.”
Non-Saint — “Where are you going to be?”
Saint — “With the Lord in the Rapture.”
Non-Saint — “Where is that going to be?”
Saint — “Somewhere where everything is beautiful and perfect.”
Non-Saint — After it is over, do you have to come back here?”
Saint — “Sure—this is where the millennium will take place.”
Non-Saint — “Is the Rapture going to be nicer than the millennium?”
Saint — “Well...” (and the conversation ends.)
The imaginary conversation illustrates a basic fallacy in the thinking of millennialists. Why would the Lord take saints away for just a short sort of vacation, only to bring them back to experience the horrors of a war, the likes of which the world has never known, then relegate them back to a renovated earth for a thousand years of nothing better than they had during the Rapture? It is really nonsense. It is very hard, according to the millennial theories to finally get to heaven, isn’t it?
Jesus told His disciples about the kingdom of God, all phases of it. He left nothing to their imagination and forbade them from preaching imaginary views of His kingdom (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:4-8). One very important parable He taught deals with the kingdom. It is Matthew 13:24-30, and is often called the “Parable of the Tares.” Let’s study it briefly, trying to find some time frame for this “Rapture.”
Verses 36-43 present the divine explanation and meaning of the parable.
Verse 39 — Jesus said that an enemy (Satan) sowed tares (the unrighteous) among the wheat (the righteous). Just before the time of harvest, the laborers (the angels) express intent on weeding out the tares, but are restrained. Verse 39 — Jesus said, “the harvest is the end of the world.” verse 41 — Jesus said, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and them that do iniquity...” Verse 30 — The parable notes that the Master commanded his servants to “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them.” Notice that word “first.” Verse 43 — Finally, He concluded, “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
Some Conclusions: The Bible and the millennialists are completely opposite in regard to this parable and the issue of the Rapture. The millennialists have the righteous going out first—the Bible says the unrighteous will be removed first. The millennialists have a view that demands a secreting away of the righteous, leaving behind the unrighteous, but the Bible reverses the order. If you have a “Scofield Bible,” (Scofield was a rank premillennialist) notice the comment on versse 30. It reads, “At the end of the age, the tares are set apart for burning, but the wheat is gathered into the barn.” Which should one believe—the Bible or the millennialists?
The doctrine of the “Rapture” is a ruse—not a reality. It promises things God has never mentioned. It ignores the events that God promises will take place, reverses their order, and nullifies the scheme of redemption. There is not one verse in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation that teaches anything remotely like “the Rapture.” — Be looking for the next issue of this paper in which we will study the “Battle or Armageddon.” Your comments and questions will be welcomed and reviewed
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