This is me in Nazareth, holding a 500 year old parchment (I think it’s Isaiah)
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s Word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water,” (2 Peter 3:3-5, emphasis mine).
There are some sincere Christians who don’t believe in the Rapture. Or perhaps they believe in the Rapture, but not pre-Tribulation. I believe that these people are genuinely born again, but they are deceived—as deceived as they say that pre-tribbers are. So what’s the deal? How can we explain this phenomenon?
Jesus said that the End Times would be a time of deception—deception so big that it could fool even the elect (Matthew 24:24), and perhaps will for a time. This is the biggest danger, the danger that will open the door to all the other dangers of the Tribulation period: deception. In fact, Jesus warned four times in Matthew chapter 24 about deception, and repeatedly told His disciples to watch out for false prophets, false christs, and deceivers.
Why do these Christian believers deny the Rapture? Here are some of their arguments against the Rapture:
- “The word Rapture isn’t in the Bible.” True, the word is not found anywhere in the original language of the Scripture. Neither is the word Trinity. Yet the concepts for both words are clearly defined in Scripture. The word Rapture came into the English language thanks to the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible in fourth century. The word rapio is the Latin translation of the Greek word found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, harpazô. Harpazô means to snatch, seize, or take suddenly. Rapio means to seize, snatch, or tear away. So the English translation that is most commonly used “catch away” fails to convey the suddenness of the original language that rapio does. So while the word Rapture isn’t in the Bible, the concept is unmistakably there.
In addition, there are two individuals in the Bible who were raptured (suddenly taken into Heaven): Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11). So by their example, we have an example in miniature of what a worldwide Rapture will be like—a sudden seizing or snatching away.
- “There will be no secret Rapture of the Church.” This is also true: the Rapture will not be secret. This argument is almost laughable because the worldwide disappearance of millions of people will be sudden, and as I noted in The Rapture and The World Left Behind, it will probably cause all sorts of chaos: knocking out all power grids, telecommunications, and satellites worldwide and turning loose demonic power (and violence) on the earth as never before. In the wake of all this violence and mayhem, people may not notice the disappearance of Christians right away, but they will certainly notice the Rapture effects.
- “Jesus said that we (Christians) will have tribulation (John 16:33), so there’s no escape clause.” Yes, Jesus did say that. Tribulation means trouble. The word tribulation is used in the King James Version of the Bible for many things unrelated to the End Times. If there was no possibility of escaping the Father’s wrath and the wrath of the Lamb, then why did Jesus urge us: “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man,” (Luke 21:36, emphasis mine) if there is no possibility of escape? Pretty much that whole chapter is about the End Times, clearly Jesus is offering a way to escape the Tribulation. Perhaps this just seems too good to be true for some people.
You can’t claim that every time the word tribulation appears in the Bible, it means the End Times Tribulation or Great Tribulation. Here are some places where the word tribulation appears in the King James Version that have nothing at all to do with End Times prophecy: Deuteronomy 4:30; Judges 10:14; 1 Samuel 10:9; 26:24; Matthew 13:21; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Romans 2:9; 5:3; 8:35; 12:12; 2 Corinthians 1:4; 7:4; Ephesians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:4 & 6; Revelation 1:9; 2:9 & 10; and 2:22. In each of these verses they are translated in the more modern versions of the Bible as troubles, persecutions, afflictions, and trials.
So there is an escape clause. Otherwise, why would Paul write, “God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)? But you’ve got to be watching for the Rapture.
- They confuse the Rapture with the Second Coming of Jesus. These are two separate events, both future. When there are two future events, this is often confusing—the Jews of Jesus’ day didn’t recognize Him as the long-awaited Messiah because He didn’t resemble the conquering King that they were looking for. That’s because they had confused His two incarnations on earth: the first as the suffering Savior and the second as the conquering King. Here is a table that may help you understand the difference between these two future (as of this writing!) events:
|The Rapture||The Second Coming|
|Jesus comes to take His Bride (the Church)
(John 14:1-3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17)
|Jesus returns to earth with His Bride (the Church) (Colossians 3:4; Zechariah 14:5; Jude 14; and Revelation 19:14)|
|Could happen at any moment (before the Tribulation) (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 and Revelation 3:3)||Happens after a sequence of events (at the end of the Great Tribulation) (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:29-30; and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8)|
|No one knows when, only the Father (Matthew 24:36; and Mark 13:32)||Three and a half years after the Abomination of Desolation causes the Jews to flee Jerusalem (Revelation 19:11-21)|
|There is a shout (1 Thessalonians 4:16)||No shout mentioned (Revelation 19:11-21)|
|Resurrection of dead Christians (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-54)||No resurrection mentioned (Zechariah 12:10; 14:4-5; Revelation 1:7 and 19:11-21)|
|Living and dead Christians receive a glorified body (1 Thessalonians 4:14-16)||Christians return with Jesus already in their glorified bodies and on white horses (Revelation 19:11-21)|
|Christians, both living and dead, meet Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)||Jesus’ feet touch the earth (Zechariah 14:4 and Revelation 19:11-21)|
|Watchful Christians taken, and unbelievers and Christians not watching for the Rapture are left behind (Matthew 25:1-13 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)||The wicked are taken to judgment, and living Tribulation saints are left behind (Matthew 13:28-30 and 37-43)|
|Bema Seat Judgment (Judgment seat of Christ) in which believers are rewarded (Romans 14:10-11; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; 1 John 2:28 and Revelation 3:11-12)||White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15)|
|Marriage of the Lamb in Heaven (2 Corinthians 11:2 and Revelation 19:6-9)||Set up the Millennial Kingdom on earth (Zechariah 14:3-4; Jude 14-15 and Revelation 19:11-21)|
|Happens suddenly, in a moment (1Corinthians 15:52)||Will not happen so suddenly (Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7)|
|Only watchful Christians will see Jesus (1 John 3:2 and 1 Corinthians 15:52)||Everyone on earth will see Jesus return with His Bride (Revelation 1:7)|
|At the trumpet sound believers will fly up to Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)||Angels are sent to gather the wicked for judgment (Matthew 13:39, 41, 49; 24:31; 25:31 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)|
|Jesus appears in the clouds (no horse) (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)||Jesus returns on a white horse (Revelation 19:11)|
|Message of hope and comfort (1 Thessalonians 4:18; Titus 2:13 and 1 John 3:3)||Message of judgment (Joel 3:12-13; Malachi 4:5 and Revelation 19:11-21)|
I hope this helps clear up any confusion. But as always, the best way is to get right with God now. Not only will you escape the coming wrath, but it will make your remaining days on earth better in ways you can’t even imagine. God is good!