Is The Rapture A True Doctrine?
What is the rapture? It is part of the larger false doctrine concerning the end-times known as premillennialism, which means “before the millennium (1000 years).” Although there are different “waves” of this doctrine, we will try to focus on what these “waves” have in common, namely: (1) All the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the kingdom of Jesus Christ and the Canaan land promise have remained unfulfilled (that is, Jesus’ kingdom has not come, yet; and Israel has not fully possessed Canaan land, yet). When Christ first came to the earth, it was for the intention of establishing a political, earthly kingdom (like the glorious kingdom of David and Solomon) that would be established in the promised land of Palestine. (2) The plan was thwarted by the Jews when they rejected Jesus and crucified Him. (3) “Plan B” was then established by God in that the church was instituted as an emergency measure. (4) When Christ returns, He will establish His earthly kingdom and reign for a thousand years. (5) Christ will actually return two times according to premillennialism (three times, when you count His first coming in Bethlehem). (6) His first “second coming” will be secret because He will raise the righteous from the dead and will cause the righteous living and resurrected righteous dead to be transported (or “raptured”) into heaven, where they will remain for seven years. (7) Those who are “left behind” on the earth will be going through a seven-year period of tribulation/persecution. (8) Jesus’ second “second coming” will not be in secret; instead Jesus will establish His earthly, political reign in the city of Jerusalem and sit on the literal throne of David. (9) Every Jew will return to the promise land and the promise land prophecies will be fulfilled. The Law of Moses will be reinstated and Christ will reign on the literal throne of David for a thousand years. (10) Satan will launch an attack on Jesus (called the “battle of Armageddon”) that will take place on the ancient hilltop of Megiddo (“Armageddon” means “hilltop of Megiddo”). Jesus will win. Finally, the wicked dead will be raised from the dead, the final judgment will commence, and eternal destinies will be decided by God, the Judge of the world.
This doctrine is false for the following reasons:
According to the rapture doctrine, the “rapture” will occur before the second coming of Christ. First, we will see as the biblical evidence sets forth that the rapture doctrine is a fantastical doctrine that has no foundation. Second, Hebrews 9:28 speaks of Jesus only returning a second time, not a third time.
According to the rapture doctrine, the rapture will be done in secret. This plainly contradicts Scriptures in that the Lord's second coming will be visible (Acts 1:11) and audible (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
According to the rapture doctrine, the rapture will bring up some of the righteous into heaven secretly. This is false. The righteous and wicked will be cohabiting together on earth until the end of time; then Jesus will separate the wicked from the righteous (Matthew 13:37-40).
According to the rapture doctrine, only the righteous will be raised from the dead. This is false. The dead (righteous and wicked) will hear the voice of Jesus and come forth from the graves for judgment (John 5:28-29).
According to the rapture doctrine, the church will be in heaven for seven years. This contradicts such Scriptures such as Matthew 25:31-46. When Jesus returns, eternal destinies will be decided by the Judge of the world and one will either be in eternal punishment or eternal life.
According to the rapture doctrine, events on the earth will continue after the rapture. This is false. Christians on earth are to maintain their virtuous conduct until the parousia (Greek word for “coming”) of God at which time the heavens and earth will be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10-12). There will be no future, literal “tribulation” (as defined by the premillennialists) or 1000-year reign of Christ upon the earth.
According to the rapture doctrine, many will be led to Christ after the rapture. There are no second chances given after the second coming of Christ. Many of the parables of Jesus taught about His second coming, pointing out that a person needs to be prepared (such as, the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13; see also 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).
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