By Paul Benson
The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. Proverbs 14:15
Solid Proof The Pre-Trib Rapture Theory is False
I am not someone who likes to beat around the bush all day. Why waste the time? If there is a bird in that bush, reach in there and nab that rascal! As a researcher and a writer I prefer means and methods which get right at the heart of a matter. And I have a couple of questions I like to present to those who promote the pre-trib rapture theory which do exactly that. I find these two questions thought provoking and enlightening, but amazingly I have had great trouble finding a rapture theorist who will address these two questions in an honest and strait-forward manner.
I am either given as answers ‘straw-man’ arguments, which have nothing to do with my questions, or a sad rerun of ‘Discredit the message by discrediting the messenger’ (if I can find fault with you I can justify ignoring what you have to say). I can show where all my beliefs about the Return of Christ are plainly and clearly stated in the Bible. The rapture theorist (since it is an ‘implicit’ doctrine) cannot do so, and this lack of biblical support often becomes a great frustration to them. Let me pose these two questions to you, and ask you for an answer that is not an end-run around the question:
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1Thessalonians 5:21
I see questions of this nature as being of vital importance to a proper understanding of eschatology. They cause a person to engage in the type of critical reasoning that cuts through the fog of Scripture twisting, unsupported statements, and outright lies that false teachings are cloaked in. Here are the two questions:
Rapture theorists teach that the Coming of Christ for the Church, and our gathering together unto him, is ‘imminent’ (likely to happen at any second). This concept is a pillar of the pre-trib rapture theory, and without it the theory collapses. They claim the Apostle Paul believed this doctrine of ‘the Imminent Return’ because it was revealed to him by God, that he taught this concept to his followers, and wrote his letters (that we know as Scripture) with this notion presented in them. My first question is this:
Exactly when did the Coming of Christ and the Resurrection / Catching-away BECOME imminent? There had to be a time when it was not imminent (before the Cross for example) and then there had to have come a moment when it was now imminent. Exactly when was that moment; when did the rapture BECOME imminent?
(If you would like you can post an answer in the comment area below, but please NO straw-man (irrelevant issue) arguments that distract from the subject at hand. I ask that you would directly answer the question.)
Let me tell you why the pre-trib rapture theorist will not, and in fact cannot, directly address that question. It is because the truthful answer is catastrophic to their doctrine. The truth is that the Return of Christ for the Church could not have been imminent in the days of the early Church, could not have been imminent down through the centuries, could not be imminent today, and will not be imminent until immediately before it actually happens. This is easily provable by examining the Scriptures themselves.
There are actually quite a number of prophesies that prohibited the Resurrection / Catching-away from being imminent in the days of the early Church. Let’s first look at just one major road block to this concept: the prophesied death of Peter by being martyred as an old man. The Lord Jesus himself gave this prophesy (John 21:18). It is an irrefutable truism.
Historical writings give us a pretty good idea as to not only when Peter died, but also when Paul died. Smith’s Bible Dictionary says, “According to the early writers, he (Peter) died at or about the same time with Paul, and in the Neronian persecution, A.D. 67 or 68. All agree that he (Peter) was crucified.”
From this information so far we can know the following to be absolutely true:
- Jesus said Peter would die as an old man, therefor the Resurrection / Catching-away could NOT happen until this prophesy was fulfilled.
- Paul died about the same time as Peter. This means the Resurrection / Catching away was NOT imminent during the span of Paul’s ministry to the Body of Christ, and therefor God did NOT reveal to him any such thing! It was not a possibility until the death of Peter!
- Paul would NOT (under the unction of the Holy Spirit) have taught as doctrine to his followers something that could not possibly happen, nor would he have included this concept in his writings to them. The Scriptures were penned by God himself using holy men as vessels. God does not lie, nor does his Word! It would have been a lie to teach and promote as imminent something NOT possible in his lifetime, and the Holy Spirit would not have guided Paul to state a falsehood in his writings to the Church!
There are many other prophetic statements standing in the way of an imminent Return that had to be fulfilled first, and many that still need fulfillment (they are scattered throughout the pages of the Bible). For the sake of time and space let’s look at the last one (as far as I can tell) to be fulfilled before the Resurrection of the Just and our gathering together unto our Lord could occur.
Many say Job is the oldest of the Biblical writings. Even he prophesied of the Resurrection of the Dead. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God (Job 19:26). I have heard many a pre-trib rapture teacher quote that verse from Job, but never this passage:
But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? 11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Job 14:10-12
This unspeakable event in which the heavens go away is spoken of in nearly twenty different places in the Bible yet rarely preached on. Job prophesied this event would PRECEDE our Resurrection! According to the prophesies of the Bible the Resurrection / Catching-away could not become imminent until after the heavens vanish. A thorough look at all the passages detailing this event in the heavens show it to happen either just before, or in conjunction with, the Second Coming of Christ right after the tribulation.
Thus we see the doctrine of the ‘Imminent Return’ is a provable lie.
- To say God revealed to Paul the rapture was ‘imminent’ is a lie!
- To say the Apostle Paul believed this doctrine is a lie.
- To say Paul taught this doctrine to his followers is a lie.
- To say Paul wrote his letters that we know as Scripture with this notion presented in them is a lie.
- To say the Coming of Christ for the Church has been imminent for two thousand years is a lie.
- To say the Coming of Christ for the Church is now imminent is a lie.
The Return of Jesus to catch us away will not be imminent until ALL prophesies that prevent it are fulfilled. The doctrine of the ‘Imminent Return’ is not from the Bible; The Bible refutes such a notion.
QUESTION #2. Please pay particular attention to the wording of the following verses.
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming (Greek – Parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2Thessalonians 2:1
When Paul wrote to the Church at Thessalonica he earnestly urged them to consider his words about the Return of Jesus and our gathering together unto him; as I also urge you here and now. This second question addresses an aspect of the Coming of Christ and our rising to meet him.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming (Greek – Parousia). 24 Then cometh the end… 1Corinthians 15:22-24
Some try and split up the Resurrection of the Just into a number of events taking place over a period of time. But here the Bible plainly nails it down to one event taking place at one time. We are given here the order of the Resurrection. Christ first, then all they which are his at his Coming / Parousia. First the Head – then the Body. The Resurrection of the Just and our gathering together unto Christ take place at his Coming / Parousia. Plainly stated!
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming (Greek – Parousia): 2Thessalonians 2:8
This verse speaks of the destruction of the Antichrist at the end of his 42 month reign of terror. This brings us to my second question (please take a moment and earnestly consider this):
How could the Coming /Parousia (and our gathering unto Jesus) destroy Antichrist at the end of his 42 month reign if the Coming /Parousia (and our gathering unto Jesus) happens before the tribulation? How is this possible?
(Again you are welcome to answer this question in the comment section below, but PLEASE do not insult my intelligence (or give others an unfavorable impression of yours) by stating an unsupported element of the rapture theory as a non-answer; such as, “Well, I believe the rapture and the Second Coming are two different things, so there’s your answer.” Stating your beliefs as proof of your beliefs proves nothing at all. I am looking for an answer that actually addresses the conflict the rapture theory creates with the verses given, and the fact they all point to one event.)
This conflict with Scripture disappears if you place the Coming / Parousia (and our gathering unto Jesus) where the Bible rightly does: at the Second Coming of Christ immediately after the tribulation of those days (Matt. 24:29-31). There is NO prior event taught in the Word of God.
Here is some additional commentary. This is an excerpt from the book ‘The Pre-trib Rapture: A Bucket Full of Holes!’ by Paul Benson
Outright Lie: The Coming (parousia) of Christ and his Revelation (apokalupsis) are two separate events.
The rapture theory centers around a false notion that there are two separate returns of Jesus in the end-time events. To illustrate the difference in these two events we are explained the first is his invisible Coming (Greek-parousia) to ‘rapture’ the Church, and the second is his Revelation (Greek-apokalupsis) where he is revealed to the world and pours out judgment.
There are a number of words used to refer to the Coming / Return of Christ: coming (Greek-‘parousia’), revelation (Greek-apokalupsis), coming (Greek-erchomai) etc., and if you compare their usage in the Bible you will see times they are used interchangeably to refer to the same event. A glaring example is to look at Jesus comparing his Return to the days of Noah and Lot in Matthew 24, and then look at Luke’s account. Matthew has Jesus using the word coming (parousia), but in Luke Jesus speaks of it as the day he will be revealed (apokalupto). Both words are describing the same event! His coming (parousia) is the day he will be revealed (apokalupto).
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming (apokalupsis) of our Lord Jesus Christ: 1 Corinthians 1:7
The Revelation (apokalupsis) of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass. Revelation 1:1
In the first verse above we have the word ‘apokalupsis’ there translated as coming. The same Greek word is translated in the next example as Revelation! Are you waiting for an unbiblical rapture; or waiting for the Resurrection of the Just at the Coming / Revelation (apokalupsis) of Christ?
The Coming of Christ we are waiting for and the Revelation of Jesus Christ are one and the selfsame event! You will not find in the Bible ONE passage of Scripture that plainly describes two comings of Jesus in the end-times. This concept is not from the Bible.
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear (phaneroo), we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming (parousia). 1 John 2:28
His Appearance and his Coming are the same event! To separate into two events what the Word of God plainly shows to be one Coming of Christ is error and deception. The pre-trib rapture theory is once again at odds with what is plainly taught in the Scriptures. There are NOT two separate returns of Christ taught in the Bible; this teaching is gross error.
The pre-trib-rapture myth is a creation of man, and is a lie against the truth. As all lies are, it is a defilement! If you have been believing and promoting that falsehood I lovingly encourage you to reject it now, and seek the Lord’s forgiveness. If you will turn from that lie and repent for having received it (and taught it to others), God will forgive you and cleanse you from that defilement by the blood of his Son Jesus Christ. He awaits your response. I am praying for you.
Your Brother in Jesus Christ;
Here is a list of other articles giving solid evidence the pre-trib theory is not correct doctrine: https://pbenson.me/category/the-rapture-theory/