Friday, April 10, 2009

Bad Raps For The Rapture

The teaching of the Rapture doctrine was first published about 1788 by Morgan Edwards (1722-1795). Before that time, it was unknown. Later, it was adopted about 1827 by John Darby, (1800-1882) and popularized by the Scofield Bible of 1909. However, today, since the 1970s the doctrine has taken a serious and well-deserved beating.

Speculations abound concerning the Rapture. It is a system filled with contradictions some of which are noted below. The Rapture supposedly occurs at some time in the future before the alleged final return of Christ. It is alleged that Christians will be raptured out of this world before, (pre) during (mid) or after (post) the great tribulation. Of the three, the pretribulation position is most common.

Contradictions with Scripture and the Rapture Theories.
Every passage in the Bible strongly teaches or implies that no one was raptured before the second coming. The parable of the tares teaches that the Son of man sowed good seed in his field. But while men slept, the devil sowed tares. The servants wanted to perform a sort of rapture on their own by gathering up or separating the tares from the wheat. They were forbidden. The command was to leave them alone. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn. (Matthew 13:29, 30)

Contrary to the Left Behind advocates, the scriptures teach that both the wheat (Christians) and the wicked were sown together in the world. Both would remain together in the world until the time of the harvest, stated to be the end of the age, (Matthew 13:40) at which time they would be cast into the lake of fire. Thus no separation or rapture of Christians takes place before the harvest (Christs second coming and time of the resurrection).

Confusion Over Where to Place the Millennium
There is a very clear starting point and ending point for the endtime scenario mentioned in the parable of the tares. Observe that the good seed are sown by the Son of Man. This refers to Christians who obey the gospel. During this same time, the wicked are sown by the devil. They are so for rejecting the message of the Messiah and his reign. (Psalms 110:1; Acts 2:34, 35; 3:22,23; John 8:44). Both grow together without interruption until the harvest.

Now the harvest is the second coming of Christ which follows both the millennium and the great tribulation. Since the wicked and the righteous both grow together until the end of the age, there is no rapture before or during the great tribulation which of necessity precedes the end. When Christ returned at the end of the age, the millennium was over. So both righteous and the wicked are on earth for the entire duration, through the great tribulation and through the millennium. They are not separated until the time of the harvest, the time millennialism and rapture advocates agree is the final endtime judgment.

Left Behind Gets The Behind Out Front
Next, observe that the servants wanted to rapture the wicked, not the righteous. Do you want us then to go and gather them up? (Matthew 13:28). While they are forbidden to prematurely gather wicked, the Lord does explain that the reapers who attend the end of the age gathers the tares first and the wheat afterwards. First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.

This is directly in contradistinction to the Left Behind advocates. Most importantly, it is the righteous who are left behind in the kingdom. After the wicked are cast into the lake of fire the scriptures read. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

In every text where Jesus speaks of his return, it is always the wicked who are taken and the righteous are the left behind. The writers of the Left Behind series along with other Rapture advocates have reversed Gods order. They want the Christians raptured, before the end the age while leaving the wicked behind. This does not accord with the text.

In our last example, Jesus offers an analogy of the endtime scenario from Noah. 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. (Matthew 24:38, 39.

From the above, we learn that it is the wicked who are the taken, seized (a meaning of the word rapture) being overcome in the flood while the righteous were left behind to repopulate the world.

This scenario would repeat at the Lords coming. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken [the wicked] and the other left. [the righteous], -just as in the days of the flood. (v. 40)

Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken [the wicked] and the other left [the righteous]. (v. 41)

Finally, the chronology of the rapture is its greatest miscalculation. The events of Matthew 13:37-43 occur at what is called the end of this age. That is not our current age. That was the Jewish age of the first century in which Jesus and his disciples then lived. Suffice it to say that Jesus died in the end of the age, (Hebrews 9:26). That certainly could not describe our present age, but refers to the first century.

What the Bible teaches about the second coming of Christ, the end of the age and the harvest, all occurred within the end of the Jewish age, which age ended in 70 A.D..

William Bell is a speaker on Covenant Eschatology and is the author of the Re-Examination, a critique of futurism. Learn more about these and other endtime subjects at and

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