I am pleased to share with your visitors a fine article by Patricia Bailey, on the subject of the rapture. Be sure to give it full attention because it is good!
Hello everyone. my name is Patricia Bailey and this is the 47th discussion in
our series titled: “THE RAPTURE” IS NOT BIBLICAL. You can find this 2 page printable fact sheet at
www.preteristpapers.com. We recommend Preterist Papers #1 and #2 as prerequisites for this discussion.
The modern conception of a collective snatching up of believers from the world in what is referred to as “the rapture” is a 19th century innovation and has been popularized especially over the past 50 years. It includes a constellation of false beliefs that directly contradict the plain teachings of the Bible. We recommend Don K.Preston’s seminal and very readable books to correct rapture error.
The notion of believers being lifted up into the sky is primarily based on the misinterpretation of two New Testament passages in Matthew 24 and in I Thessalonians 4. Take a look at #1. It speaks of two men plowing in the field. One is taken and one is left. Rapture teachers construe the one taken is raptured into heaven. But this is the opposite of its meaning. Jesus was comparing the Noah flood judgment to the coming judgment of Israel. Just as unbelievers were “taken” in death in the
Noah flood, so would the unbelievers be taken in death, in the coming first century war. The unbelievers were the condemned “taken ones,” not the righteous. The righteous were left alive on earth.
In the Thessalonians passage in #2. It states, “we will be caught up together…in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” It is assumed that being “caught up” is an actual lifting up from the ground into the clouds.
But in #2A we notice some compelling words: Some believers of Paul’s generation would be alive at this event. So those who believe in the inspiration and veracity of scripture, are compelled to acknowledge the first century fulfillment of this prophecy and realize it was future to Paul but not future to us. Let’s look further.
In #2B Paul used the word “apantesis” for “meeting” in verse 17. It was a well-known term in Paul’s day to depict the ancient practice of the people of the city going out to greet their returning conquering king and proudly escorting him back to the city. So we’re not seeing a reference to going out to meet the king and retreating with him to some distant place as the rapture theory would require. This tells us Paul was not writing about exiting the world. In fact, constructing an exiting scenario on this passage has introduced a mountainous level of confusion while making millions of dollars in book sales for false teachers. Taking the plain meaning of the text in 2C, that is the coming to earth of the king to dwell with his people, in other words the parousia, clears away the fog.
So let’s consider further what the words “caught up” may have meant to Paul. In 2D we look at the
comparable “day of the Lord” event as recorded in Matthew 24. The words “caught up” in Thessalonians is conveyed as “gathered” in Matthew. In 2E we notice that “gathered” has a spiritual meaning—the bringing together of the many into one holy people—the spiritual gathering into reconciliation with God.
In 2F we have yet more confirmation of our interpretation in a statement made by Paul which helps to clarify the “caught up” phrase. He speaks of being “caught up” to heaven and paradise, very similar to the Thessalonians 4 passage. But Paul was still on earth 14 years later writing about this experience. It was apparently a rapturous experience in the true sense of the word, that is overwhelmingly joyous, but it was not an enduring physical spiriting away from earth.
Although there are likely many variations on the errors the notion of “The Rapture” creates, we take a look at a few of them in #3. In #3A we see rapture believers think the destiny of ethnic Israel and the church are different, but the Bible plainly states there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. In 3B, rapture believers think Jesus came to establish an earthly kingdom, but Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world.
In C and D rapture believers think the kingdom of God couldn’t be established in the first century and had to be postponed, but Jesus said prostitutes and tax collectors were entering the kingdom of God during His very day.
Finally in 3E, like all futurists, rapture believers must ignore or explain away the numerous time statements prophesying the imminent coming of the Lord in the first century. They avoid the clear teachings regarding Christ’s soon return as in: “it is the final hour,” “the coming of the Lord is at hand,” “behold I come quickly,” and so on.
In summary, false teachings like the rapture hide the matchless prophetic splendor of The Word of God and they must be exposed. Perhaps instead of waiting to be raptured out of this world, we need to be living in the Light of the Love of our life and asking, “How can we serve you better this day.”
Please don’t believe us or anyone else but prove all things for yourself. Shalom.