- A STAR IS BORN! (but who hatched this bird; and more importantly – WHY?
by Paul Benson
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. -Peter an apostle of Christ
Did anyone really need to rename our promise of the Resurrection? Do we need a new name for salvation? For healing? For the Cross? No, those names have been working just fine! How about for Heaven? No, Heaven doesn’t need a new name either. But, for the sake of discussion, let’s say I came up with a new doctrine that is a little different that what has been commonly believed about Heaven. And what if I said getting there is a little easier than what we’ve been taught? Just how would I go about promoting my new revelation? How could I get people to take the bait and swallow the hook?
I couldn’t call it Heaven. Folks might look into what the Bible really teaches on Heaven, and the path that leads there, and call me on it. I’d need a way to get them to turn loose of long held beliefs, and embrace my theory instead. I would need some real catchy phraseology, and have to concoct some very subtle distractions.
First I would have to invent a new name for my new revelation. Then I could say I’m not talking about that old concept of paradise but this other more ‘enlightened’ one. Then I would start pulling snippets of Scripture out of context that kinda-sorta sound like my theory; and go to work devising all kinds of clever ‘proof texts’ about my new doctrine. Skewed understandings of Bible verses so cunningly devised that my unsuspecting followers will be totally convinced they are ‘Bible Truth’! I could probably even get them to finance a book series!
Where could I find a really appealing name? I know! I’ll take a word for Heaven from the Greek, translate it into an obsolete dialect, then render that word into English; and I’ll have a new name for my new doctrine (don’t laugh, that’s exactly how they came up with the name ‘Rapture’!). And I can say it’s from the Bible because it is (kinda-sorta).
I’ve got a great idea! Let’s call this other concept of paradise ‘Ecstasy’, shall we? Now I’ve got a catchy name that will appeal to the senses of the carnal: ‘Ecstasy’! (‘Rapture’ anyone?)
And good news! You can get into this Kingdom of Ecstasy much easier than was previously believed. New revelation shows us you can escape all that ‘suffering for Christ’ business. You don’t have to identify with his death. And you don’t have to suffer persecution for taking a stand for Jesus in this world. Have it your way! Just accept my new teaching of escapism and all will be well.
Wouldn’t you rather go hassle free to the realm of Ecstasy than to suffer aggression and hardship along the path to that other place? (Wouldn’t you rather go in the Rapture and escape the end-time trials and persecutions to be endured by those awaiting the Resurrection at the Second Coming?)
OK. Enough about my new name for my new doctrine. Please forgive me for jesting.
But seriously, have you ever wondered why the preaching on an event called ‘the Resurrection at the Last Day’ for close to twenty centuries now becomes preaching on something called the ‘Rapture’?
Have you ever questioned why the focus was taken off our personal identification with the persecution, death, and resurrection of Jesus (which identification leads to our own resurrection), and why that focus is now placed instead upon a departure from this world? That is a pretty significant change of focus! Wouldn’t you agree?
What brought this on? Why the change?
Why? Because many in this day have turned aside to believe in a fable! This was prophesied to happen, and this erroneous modern theory is a direct fulfillment of that prophesy. Maybe there is some truth after all to people saying the pre-trib rapture theory is in the Bible! Here it is spoken of in this prophesy:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
…they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
We are living in the day of the fulfillment of those words!
A Common Misconception
I often hear people say, “It is not an issue to be concerned with. It’s only a matter of timing. Some just believe differently about when the same event will happen in relation to end time events; that’s all!” But that notion is in itself a false belief, and a subtle distraction! It keeps folks from identifying the problem, and seeing the need to deal with it.
The concept of a pre-trib rapture, and the Resurrection of the Last Day (that is actually taught in the Bible), are NOT describing the same event! (There is actually a great dissimilarity between the two!) I am surprised at how many people don’t understand that Scripture plainly teaches a Resurrection at the Return of Christ to this world. Even if there was an earlier ‘rapture’ event there would still have to be another Resurrection and catching away at the Second Coming (to deal with those saved during the tribulation).
It’s NOT the timing of ONE event, but the introduction of a SECOND that is the issue. We have many folks in this generation claiming the Scripture is teaching two resurrections and two catchings away. This is an ‘adding to’ of the Word of God and is a very dangerous practice.
Even theologians who promote the pre-trib theory freely admit there IS a resurrection at the Second Coming, but say the rapture is another separate resurrection seven years earlier. But, since it’s easier to pass off a false doctrine if people believe it’s the only game in town, most rapture teachers don’t say a lot about the Second Coming’s resurrection. It causes conflict in those who, searching God’s Word for both, find instead truth which rebukes their theory. The Scriptures portray the Resurrection of the Righteous as ONE event which transpires at ONE time! When you put the focus of your studies on the resurrection instead of the ‘catching away’ this becomes very apparent:
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 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. 24 Then cometh the end… 1 Corinthians 15:20-24
This passage gives us a clear biblical order of the Resurrection. Doesn’t sound much like two different ‘catching aways’ does it? No, it plainly shows one event. When does this event happen according to the Bible? At Christ’s Coming! And there is also a doctrinal safeguard built into this passage; a second witness of the types/shadows of the Old Testament events painting portraits of N.T. truths. Let’s look at that second witness.
Notice the term ‘firstfruits’ in the passage above. This is a reference to the Old Testament practice, commanded by the Law, in which a man would ask God to sanctify, or bless, the harvest of his fields, orchards, or vineyards etc.. He was to harvest the first small portion of his crop and take it to the priest as an offering to God. The priest would lift it up before God as a wave offering, and this ‘firstfruit’ offering would sanctify the remainder of the crop; which the husbandman would then go harvest.
Do you see now why Paul called Jesus the ‘firstfruits’? The offering up of Christ was a firstfruit offering to God. This sacrifice sanctified the rest of God’s harvest, namely us the believers. (The day Jesus rose from the dead was not called Easter by God’s people; it was the Feast of Firstfruits; which always fell on the Sunday following Passover)
What a beautiful image of Christ’s work on our behalf found there in the Law. And just what is the pattern given to us here? The firstfruit offering first, then the remainder of the crop harversted. The same as we saw in 1 Cor. 15! Christ resurrected first; then the rest of us at his Coming! The harvest of ALL believers down through the centuries will take place at one time: the Second Coming! The rapture theory divides our resurrection into two events, but the Word of God tells us this takes place all at once. Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (1 Cor. 15:23).
So we see it’s not simply a disagreement over timing, but the introduction of a myth about a second prior event; a myth which has no foundation in the truth. The Church WILL go through the great tribulation.
And we see it was the introduction of a NEW doctrine that necessitated the need for a NEW name.
If you want a truly biblical understanding of end-time events, focus your studies on the resurrection, Christ’s and ours, and you will see a much different picture than that presented by those promising an escape from the coming time of great persecution.
The Bible promises us a wonderful day when we will be caught up to meet Jesus at the Resurrection of the Just at the Second Coming (after the tribulation).
The promise of an earlier ‘rapture’ is nothing but a fable!
(This article is a modified excerpt from ‘The Pre-trib Rapture: A Bucket Full of Holes!’ by Paul Benson. It is available for free download in three e-book formats. You can download it HERE.)
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES :
For more on this subject please join me as I examine the various facets of the pre-trib theory in this series of articles:
I welcome your input. If you would like to share comment or criticism please feel free to do so in the section below. Overly long comments may be edited for length. Also I will not post the false teachings of others.
Thank you for visiting my site.