ADD-15 - The Rapture
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ANSWERING DENOMINATIONAL DOCTRINES
Are you ready for the rapture? What does the Bible say about the
rapture? It's a very popular subject. Many novels, Christian novels even,
have been written about it. A lot that you see on various television shows
will picture the rapture.
Is this found in the Bible? Is it something that the New Testament
Christian needs to be concerned about?
Not long ago I was traveling down the road and I remember the car
ahead of us had a very interesting bumper sticker. It read something like
this, ‘In case of the rapture this car will be unmanned.’
Now just imagine in your mind you're driving down the interstate and
all of a sudden there are cars going everywhere. You look in the cars and
there are no drivers- that's kind of the image that the rapture presents. One
very interesting graphic portrays it this way, there was a pair of shoes and
then it's as though something was being sucked right out of those shoes
and that was the individual taking part in the rapture being taken right up
into eternity at that very second.
We think about the rapture, and we ask what does the word of God
say? Is there any word from the Lord on the subject of the rapture?
Understand this is a very highly publicized topic. It draws even the
attention of Hollywood and novel writers.
We want to consider today- is it a biblical idea? Does the New
Testament say anything about the rapture?
Here's the first and probably the most important thing in our study
today. Inside the Bible, which is our authority Colossians 3:17, which is
what we’ll be judged by in the last day John 12:48, there is nothing said
about the rapture. You don't find the rapture in Scripture. It's just not found
In fact even some of the greatest proponents of the rapture theory will
say ‘don’t go get your Bible, it is not in there.’ Let me illustrate Hal Lindsay
in The Late Great Planet Earth on page 137 said this, “Sometimes
misunderstood terms provide the red flag an unbeliever needs to turn him
away from the simple truth of God's word. Rapture may be one of those
words.” Listen now he specifically says, “It's not found in the Bible.” Friend
that in and of itself should make a mega red flag as Lindsay said go up. If
it's not in the Bible, if I don't need to get out my concordance and find
where it is and see what God says about it- then why would I want to
believe that? It is truly a man-made doctrine made up by men.
When I think about these unscriptural doctrines these man-made
doctrines, what does the word of God say about them? The Bible says in 1
Timothy 4:1 the spirit expressly says that ‘in latter times some will depart
from the faith teaching doctrines of demons and deceiving spirits.’ It's a
demonic doctrine. It is not from God. It's not from heaven. The Council of
God didn't put this in the ideas of men. The Bible defines these kinds of
doctrines as damnable traditions of men. Matthew 15:7-9 Jesus said of
these hypocrites that ‘while they honor me with their lips, yet their heart
their mind is far from me.’ Why? They teach things that are the
commandments of men not the commandments of God. Jesus said, ‘In
vain do you worship me teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
Friend we can put the rapture right in that. There are people teaching
this as a doctrine and as a teaching of Christ. It's not even in the Bible. It's
a doctrine of men.
3 John 9 describes it this way. The Bible says ‘If any man
transgresses and goes beyond the doctrine of Christ, he doesn't have God
as his father.’ And so as we think about this theory this man-made idea that
is not in the Bible, it would be classified with Hebrews 13:9 as a strange
doctrine, as a doctrine of men, Colossians 2:22. It is something that the
child of God does not need to worry about.
It is indeed a fantasy. O. Roberts described it this way. He said of
Jesus coming in the rapture that ‘His appearance will be in the clouds, be
veiled to the human eye, no one will see Him. He'll slip then slip out move
in to get His jewels and slip out as under the cover of night.’ You have got
to have a pretty wild imagination to believe that. You just don't find in the
Bible. Jesus comes at the end and nobody can see Him? Where is that at
in Scripture? It's not. It's fantasy.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:34-36, “No one knows that hour only God
Himself.” There is no way to know it seven years before if you don't even
know when Jesus is coming. Supposedly seven years before Christ comes
there is this secret return of Christ just for the saints. He collects all them
and then following that seven years, there is seven years of tribulation.
There is great trouble and anguish and then Christ comes and there is a
thousand year reign of Christ in Jerusalem. It gives men and women
another chance and then the end comes. This is a fantasy! People believe
this, but you just can't find these teachings in the Bible.
What do we know about the rapture? A lot of it is based on emotion
and a lot of it is based on human imagination. Lindsay again describes it
this way, ‘The rapture will be the ultimate trip. Those who are alive to tell
the story of what he calls ‘project disappearance’ will try in vain to describe
the happenings which will verify the oldest secrets of God's word.’ This is
his imagination. ‘There I was,’ he says, ‘driving down the freeway and all of
a sudden the place went crazy. Cars were going in all directions and not
one of them had a driver. It would be like there was an alien invasion from
outer space.’ Friend when you hear people talk like that, it's kind of like a
sci-fi movie. It's more like scientific fiction that it is anything you find in the
Bible. Yet people believe this theory. It is tied to plans of salvation and
they're thinking about the end of the world, but it's really just a glorified
Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins book Left Behind described this way,
‘It begins with a 747 jet.’ Imagine in your mind a 747 jet flying over the
Atlantic Ocean. ‘There are 100 people on board. These people are caught
up in the rapture. While they're on this jet in the middle of the ocean, and
they leave clothes, jewelry, and pacemakers in their seats.’ Now can you
imagine that? You’re in the middle of the ocean on a 747, and you look
over at the guy next to you he's gone and there's his pacemaker. Again this
is the type of fantasy and fiction that we’re dealing with.
Where does the rapture come from? The word rapture, as we
mentioned, is not found in the Bible. The word comes from 4th century
Latin Vulgate word, rapyus, which is wrapped in translation of the Greek
word harpazo. That word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 but it's not the
theory that you find in the Bible. If the theory was based mainly off of this
word, and friend in many ways it is, and here's what that also means. If it is
based off that Greek word, here's what that theory would also have to
mean- Enoch and Elijah received the rapture long before the church age.
Genesis 5:24 Enoch is called up to God- there's that idea. 2 Kings 2:11
Elijah also was called up into the clouds. Again, did they receive the
rapture? No, that is not the idea that is trying to be taught in the Bible. If it's
based solely on this word, ‘Jesus was called up in the air’ Luke 24:51, Acts
1:9 ‘they saw Him depart on the clouds.’ And yet, that's not the idea that
you find in the New Testament. 2 Corinthians 12:2 Paul says he was called
up into that second heaven- well this during the church age which
completely destroys the theory if we’re going to base it solely on that word.
Philip took part in the rapture, Acts 1 and Acts 8 Philip, the spirit called him
away. Well was that the rapture? No, not at all. That's not what's being
taught in the New Testament.
The trouble with something like this is when one person has a wild
imagination, they run to the Bible and look for words or ideas to then build
that doctrine around. Friend instead of doing that, we need to go to the
Bible and let the Bible define what God wants us to believe and how we
Let's lay down then some basic beliefs about the rapture, and let's
see how it lines up with the word of God.
What does the rapture say? Number one the rapture says that the
second coming of Christ is different from and after the rapture. Listen
carefully, ‘We believe,’ Lindsay says, ‘the Bible distinguishes between the
rapture and the second coming of Christ and they do not occur
simultaneously.’ And so the key thing to really solidify your mind here is
that Lindsay and proponents of the rapture theory have that there are now
two comings. There will be a coming for the saints, then Christ will come
again as the second coming and he'll gather the rest who've decided to get
right with him evidently.
Well what does the Scripture say? What does God say on this
subject? Thankfully the Bible does tell us there will only ever be one
resurrection, one second coming of both the just and the unjust. How do we
know that? Notice Acts 24:15. The apostle Paul as he preaches the
message of the gospel says in Acts 24:15 “I have hope in God which they
themselves also accept,” notice this, “that there will be a resurrection of the
dead both of the just and the unjust.” Paul how many resurrections are
there going to be? “There will be a resurrection.” Who's going to be there
Paul? “The just and the unjust.” When I think about the rapture theory- two
comings, different resurrection, all these things-no, that's not the idea.
When Christ comes there will be a singular resurrection, a singular
gathering of God's people, both for the just and the unjust. There is no
separation in Scripture of the two. The rapture theory is not from God.
Then there's a second tenant of the rapture. Hal Lindsay says the
rapture will be secret. In the rapture only the Christian sees Him. It's a
mystery. It’s a secret. When the living believers are taken out the world's
going to be mystified. Wait a minute now! Is that really what the Bible
describes as the rapture? Is it going to be a secret just with the Christians?
Friend if the rapture and the verse that people are going to use is 1
Thessalonians 4:16 is a secret- we've got big problems. Wayne Jackson as
he commented on 1 Thessalonians 4:16 said that it was the noisiest verse
in Scripture. How do I know that it won't be a secret? Notice 1
Thessalonians 4:16- see if this sounds like a secret to you. The Bible says
“For the Lord himself at a sound from heaven, will ascend from heaven with
a shout with the voice of an Archangel and with the trumpet of God and the
dead in Christ will rise first.” Does that sound secret? Absolutely not! It is
anything but secret! Revelation 1:7 says, “Every eye will see Him, even
they who pierced Him.”
The rapture is a fantasy. It's a theory of man. Get your Bible and see
for yourself if the things are being said today aren't true and according to
the word of God.
There is a third tenant about the rapture fantasy. Hal Lindsay says on
page 130-131 of his book ‘Only the righteous will be raised at the time of
the rapture. The wicked then will be raised at the end of the millennium.’
What's significant is he has a separation between the two. He’s got Jesus
coming and only the righteous being raised and the rest, the wicked, at the
end of that thousand year millennium.
The word of God tells us this is not true. Is there going to be a
separate resurrection for the righteous and then a thousand years later a
separate resurrection for the wicked? Not if Jesus is Lord and I believe His
word. Look at John 5:28-29. Jesus said, “Do not marvel at this for the hour
is coming in which all,” listen, “all who are in the graves will hear His voice
and come forth. Those who have done good to the resurrection of life,
those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation.”
Friend this passage deals a deathblow to the theory, the man-made
theory, of the rapture. There are not going to be two resurrections. Jesus
says when He comes they’re going to hear His voice. “All” are. All who
Lord? ‘Those who have done good to resurrection of life, those who have
done evil to resurrection of condemnation.’ Both are raised at the same
time. There is only a resurrection, Acts 24:15.
Friend there's always been the warning in the Bible not to listen to the
false teachers. The Bible says in 1 John 4:1-4 that we've got to test the
spirits to see whether they are of God, for many false prophets have gone
out into the world. In the times of the Old Testament there were false
prophets. In the days of Jesus there were false prophets. Directly after the
time of Jesus in the first century, there were more false prophets. Look
around today! There are still false prophets. I've got to ‘Prove all things.
Hold fast to that which is good,’ 1 Thessalonians 5:21. That places a heavy
burden upon me because I want to please God and go to heaven. To test
everything I hear, I want to search the Scriptures daily to see if these things
are so. Why is it that?
Doctrines like these are so foreign to the Bible. They can take off and
be popular among so many people. Why? One reason is we’re not
searching the Scriptures to see if these things are true to the word of God.
We’re not doing what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 ‘study to show
yourself approved unto God a workman who does not need to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.’ The scary ideas that men make up should
encourage me get a Bible and test it. They make you want to see, is this
really true to the word of God? If it's not, you never worry about that again. I
can contain myself, be satisfied, with the simplicity of New Testament
A forth tenant of the rapture theory says the church is going to be in
heaven for a period of seven years, during the great tribulation supposedly,
and Lindsay says your presence during these last seven years in history is
entirely up to you. Are you going to be on the earth through seven year
tribulation or are you going to be in heaven with Jesus? Well is it really that
way? Is the church going to be in heaven and missed that period? Is that
really going to exist? Is there going to be another chance here on this
Again we can turn to the Bible and we can see that such is just not
the case. Matthew 25 is a great judgment scene. In this great judgment
scene, the end of the ages Jesus is now gathered on the throne and He is
going to present judgment -not just to the righteous, not just to the wicked-
but to all men at that time. Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31.
The Scripture says “When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the
holy angels with Him, and then He'll sit on the throne of His glory all nations
will be gathered before Him,” watch this, “He’ll separate them one from
another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. He’ll set the sheep
on the right-hand, the goats on the left hand. Then the King will say to
those on the right hand, ‘Come you blessed my father inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation the world. I was hungry you gave me
food. I was thirsty you gave me drink. I was a stranger you took me in. I
was naked you clothed me. I was sick you visited me. I was in prison you
came to me.’”
At the same time He comes back, all nations all men from
everywhere- all walks of life- right or wrong stand before God. That moment
Jesus separates them. In our text, He separates the good. Those who have
done the right things, those who followed His will are taken into that eternal
kingdom. Just a few verses following Jesus says to those who did not do
good, “I was naked you did not clothe me. I was hungry did not feed me. I
was thirsty you did not give me drink.” He says to those people at that
same time- then shall he say also unto them on the left-hand, “Depart from
me you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his
In contradiction to the theory of men, the Bible says there'll be one
resurrection. There'll be one judgment scene. There will not be a thousand
years of tribulation. There will be one chance. This is my one and only
chance to get right with God.
The Bible clearly teaches that life is very brief. James 4:14 says
‘What is your life? It's but a vapor here for a little while and then it vanishes
away.’ The Bible teaches me that I have to take opportunity and use it to
God's glory in the here and now. You remember the foolish man, Luke
12:15-21. He had a great crop year. He had everything come through that
year. He said to himself, “You've got many goods laid up for many years.”
In essence ‘eat, drink, and be merry.’ God said, ‘You fool! This night will
your soul be required of you, then whose things will those be who you
acquired?’ Jesus’ point was that man had one chance. He squandered that
chance. He didn’t get right with God. He was lost forever. Friend there isn't
going to be a second chance. All the wicked people are not going to get
another seven years to get right. I need to take advantage of now, and I got
to make sure that I'm living right and that I'm doing the things God wants
me to do.
A fifth tenant of the rapture says the events on earth, after the rapture
during the great tribulation, will continue. Lindsay says ‘these believers will
be removed from the earth before the great tribulation- before the most
ghastly, pestilence, bloodshed, and starvation the world is ever seen.’ With
this fantasy, there's the idea God's elector pulled out and then earth goes
on, but is very bad. Pestilence, bloodshed, starvation- a horrible tribulation.
Friend here's what I ask you to consider about this fantasy, does the
Bible say that the earth will or will not continue at the coming of Jesus?
Let's think about that for just a moment as we listen to the words of 2
Peter 3:10-12. “The Lord's not slow concerning His promises as some men
count slowness, but He's long-suffering toward us not willing that any
should perish but that all should come to repentance.” He in essence is
saying, ‘God's giving men a chance.’
What about when He does come? Look in verse 10. The Bible says
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the
heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with
fervent heat. Both the earth and the works and it will be burned up.
Therefore since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons
ought you to be? In all holy conduct and godliness looking for and
hastening the coming of the day of God because of which the heavens are
dissolved being on fire and the elements will melt with fervent heat.”
At the coming of Christ is there going to be another chance? Not at
all. The Bible says the day the Lord, same day as in 1 Thessalonians 5,
same days in Matthew 25, same day as an mention in John 5:28-29- on
that day when Christ comes the earth will be no more. Jesus said in
Matthew 24:34-36 “Heaven and earth will pass away. My words will never
Friend doesn’t build your faith on the fantasies and on the
premonitions of men. Build your faith on the word of God- which will indeed
stand the test of time.
Can I know for sure about the resurrection? Absolutely! You can
know it's a fantasy. You can know that it is in contradiction to the clear
explicit word of God. You don't have to worry about one day what's going to
happen when Christ comes- you can know right now if you're in Christ and
if you're ready for that great day.
The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27 Christ will come again apart from sin
for salvation. He dealt with sin the first time He came. He gave His life as
that perfect gift for all mankind. He'll now come to bring the redeemed
home and to punish those are not right with Him.
The real question you need to ask yourself very seriously is- am I
ready for that one day when Christ will come? Is my life right with God?
Friend we ask you in view of the brevity of life, in view of the fact that we
don't know when Christ is going to come, won't you get your life right with
Him? Won't you make sure that you’re a child of God?
Have you heard the word of God? Romans 10:17 says ‘faith comes
by hearing and hearing by the word of God.’ Having heard that this book is
the only way to salvation, it's the perfect path perfect plan, do you believe
it? Jesus said in John 8:24 “Unless you believe that I'm He, you will surely
die in your sins.” Having believed the message, would you repent? Jesus
said in Luke 13:3-5, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Having
repented, would you make that great confession? “I believe Jesus is the
Christ the son of the living God,” Acts 8:37, Romans 10:10, Matthew
10:32-33. Would you be immersed in water for the forgiveness of your
What does it take to be free from sin and have that hope? I must
obey God's plan of salvation- which means I must be baptized for the
reasons God says. Acts 2:38- it's for the remission of sin. Acts 22:16 they
had their sins washed away. Mark 16:16 Jesus said “He that believes and
is baptized will be saved.” It's to get into God's kingdom now- the church
Don't buy into the theories of men. Check it for yourself to see if the
things that have been said today are in your Bible. Forget about the
doctrines of men and build your faith on the word of God which will stand
the test of time for all eternity. One day, as a faithful child of God, you'll
hear these words, ‘Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joys
of our Lord.”
May God bless us as we continue to stand upon His will.
Study Questions for: “Answering Denominational Doctrine: Rapture”
1. According to John 12:48, what will we be judged by?
2. What is our authority according to Colossians 3:17?
3. Why were they hypocrites in Matthew 15:7-9?
4. What does 3 John 9 say about going beyond Christ’s doctrine?
5. Who knows when the 2nd coming of Christ will be according to Matthew
6. According to Acts 24:15, will the just and unjust be gathered together?
7. What does 1 Thessalonians 4:16 say of the 2nd coming?
8. What does Revelation 1:7 tell us about the 2nd coming of Christ?
9. According to John 5:28-29, where will they go?
10. What does 1 John 4:1-4 tell us to do?