by Paul Benson
I want to share with you something I feel very strongly about. I am trying to condition myself to use biblical terms instead of man-made ones (to avoid promoting man-made concepts). Here today I’d like to address our usage of the word ‘rapture’. I try not to use the word rapture unless I’m speaking about the errant pre-trib rapture theory and its various components. The reason being I have developed a deep conviction that doing so unwittingly promotes that deception. And I want no part of that action!
I believe it more appropriate we refer to our future hope the way the Bible does; and thereby stay on target with the truths the Bible really teaches about the Return of our Lord. If the Lord Jesus taught we would give an account of every idle word, would we not be wise to exercise great care in our choice of the words we use to refer to biblical matters? If you think the usage of the name rapture is a non-issue please consider what I have to say.
Guilty by Association?
Our casual usage of the word ‘rapture’ to describe our catching away to meet Jesus leaves people who don’t know better with the impression we are endorsing the erroneous concepts of the pre-trib theory. It leaves no distinction as to our view on end-time teachings. We become, in their eyes, just another person waiting for the rapture!
This helps foster the grossly mistaken ‘no big deal; it’s only a matter of timing’ notion that has lulled millions to sleep. This not-an-issue mindset blinds people to the danger of the pre-trib teaching, and the serious damage it causes to the understanding of those seduced into embracing it. That makes us a part of the problem, and not part of the solution. Whereas in contrast, simply stating we are awaiting our gathering together unto Christ at his Return to Earth is a solid promotion of the true pattern the Scriptures present. Let’s be wise with our words!
The Rapture Versus The Biblical ‘Catching Away’
The (supposed) event of the pre-trib rapture, and our gathering together unto Christ at his Return to Earth (which the Bible truly does teach), are NOT the same thing! There are MANY differences between the two concepts. Most notably one is Bible truth and one is a seductive deception! Let’s look at some of the remarkable differences between the two:
1), The destination reached through this event is not the same! The Rapture supposedly instantly translates the Church off to *Heaven (? – verses not found). BUT The Bible says… Our gathering together unto Christ at his Return joins us to him up in the air here on Earth (Mark 13:26, 1Thess. 4:17, Psalms 50:2-6, Jude 1:14-15) as he pours out judgment and begins his millennial reign.
*Pre-tribbers say Jesus is building us a home in Heaven. They interpret Jesus saying he went to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-2) to mean he is in Heaven building us massive houses on a street of gold. But then they say at his Second Coming we return with him to Earth for the 1000 year reign. Talk about taking a job away from home! What would be the sense of building the Bride a home in Heaven only to make her abandon it to dwell on Earth? If Jesus went to prepare a place so we could ‘be where he is also’, don’t you think that place would naturally be where he is actually going to be? Where is Jesus going to be ruling and reigning? ON EARTH! The place he went to prepare you is not a big old house on a street of gold. It is a place and position in the eternal kingdom of his Father.
2). The angelic participation in this event is not the same! Pre-trib teachers firmly state NO angels will be *present in the event called the rapture (?- no verses found)! BUT The Bible says… Our gathering together unto Christ at his Return has an amazing angelic participation! ALL the angels of Heaven coming with Christ (Matt. 25:31, Rev. 19:14, 2Thess. 1:7-8); blowing the trumpet (1Thess. 4:16, Rev. 11:15); gathering the elect unto Christ and destroying his enemies (Psalms 50:5, Mark 13:27, Rev. 14:14-20, Matt. 13:39). We see angels everywhere!
*Pre-trib teachers claim they can prove two separate comings of Christ in the end-times by showing one coming without angels (pre-trib rapture) and another coming with the angels (His return). But pointing to verses about the coming of Christ which have no mention of the angelic presence as proof angels are not a part of our catching away is no proof at all; but is instead a rather foolish assumption. I like to use as an example Jesus meeting the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (one of my favorite Bible stories). The text says nothing of the sandals on their feet. Should we conclude they were all barefoot because there is no mention of sandals in the text? Of course not! That would be foolish. No less foolish than claiming verses having no mention of angels are proof of the angels being not present. The angels are not mentioned in some verses on the Return simply because that is not the focus of that passage. Where is there any verses that SAY there will be a separate coming of Christ without angels? There are none! These unsound and foolish assumptions are a LARGE part of the overall makeup of the pre-trib theory. Without them they would have very little theory to preach on!
3). The visibility of the event to the world is not the same! The story says the pre-trib rapture *instantly disappears everyone (? – verses not found) leaving behind a pile of empty clothing. BUT The Bible says… Our gathering together unto Christ at his Return ‘disappears’ no one! We are transformed at the Resurrection (1Cor. 15:51), and everyone then ascends visibly up to meet Jesus in the clouds (1Thess. 4:17). How do we know this? We are following in the footsteps of our ‘forerunner’.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Romans 6:5
Our experience will be in the likeness (mirror image) of his! He ascended visibly (Acts 1:9-11), and so shall we at his Second Coming to meet him in the air (1Thess. 4:17)! HINT: The air, sky, and clouds are part of the visible physical world; not an invisible realm! There is no reason to think the catching away would be anything but visible. What IS invisible are ANY Scriptures which teach otherwise.
*The catchphrase (in the twinkling of an eye) misused to teach an instantaneous disappearance is lifted from a verse in a chapter on the Resurrection which makes absolutely no mention of the catching away. To claim it is referring to the catching away is worse than bogus; it is deceptive! The passage teaches we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, NOT caught away.
4). The visibility of Christ in this event is not the same! Pre-trib promoters claim Christ will NOT be visible to the world at the supposed ‘rapture coming’ (? – no verse found). BUT The Bible says… At our gathering together unto Christ at his Return he is perfectly visible to all the world (Matt. 24:27, Matt. 26:64, Mark 13:26, 1Thess. 4:17, Rev. 1:7)!
5). The purpose of the event is not the same! The commonly stated purpose of the rapture is to remove the Church so they can escape the time of tribulation as it is (supposedly) the *wrath of God (? – No verse found). BUT The Bible says… Our gathering together unto Christ at his Return is so we may be joined to the Lord (Rev. 19:7-8); and so that the Lord can be glorified in his Saints (2Thess. 1:10-12) when he comes to pour out God’s wrath after the tribulation (Rev. 19:15, Zep. 1:14-18).
*Nowhere do the Scriptures portray the tribulation as the wrath of God! This concept is merely part of the pre-trib hoax. If you think the time of tribulation is the wrath of God you can find an article where I prove it is NOT God’s wrath HERE.
6). The Marriage Supper associated with this event is not the same! The pre-trib fable says the marriage supper takes place in Heaven (? – no verses found). BUT The Bible says… Our gathering together unto Christ at his Return is allegorically depicted as a wedding in Revelation 19. This chapter details the Groom coming out of Heaven for his Bride, and then clearlly shows the Battle of Armageddon as the supper associated with this event (Rev. 19:7-21). There is NO other location or other supper associated with our joining unto Christ anywhere in the Bible!
7).The time-frame of this event is not the same! The rapture supposedly removes the Church before the time of tribulation. The pre-trib promoters firmly state the Body of Christ will NOT be on Earth to face Antichrist and his war against the Saints (? – no verses found). Believers are told they will never have to face the consequences for refusing to take the Mark of the Beast (? – no verses found)! BUT The Bible says… Our gathering together unto Christ at his Return takes place after the tribulation (Matt. 24:29), when he comes to defeat Antichrist (2Thess. 2:1-3, + 2:8) and bring victory at last to the persecuted Church (2Thess 1:6-8, Daniel 7:21-22, Daniel 12:8).
8). The singleness / plurality of the event is not the same! Pre-trib rapture theory *forces multiple raptures in the end-time scenario (? – no verses found)! BUT The Bible says… Our gathering together unto Christ at his Return is ONE event that happens at ONE time: the Coming (1Cor. 15:21-24)! This fact is plainly and clearly stated in that passage!
*If you believe in the pre-trib rapture you must also acknowledge the reality of the Resurrection which takes place at the Second Coming (though some refuse to). This is biblical fact and there is no way around it. It has to happen (if for no other reason than to resurrect those martyred for their faith during the tribulation). What this means is that to preach a pre-trib rapture you are actually preaching TWO raptures as well as TWO resurrections of the Righteous. This is a concept which is clearly refuted by Paul’s words! And pre-trib rapture teachers directly contradict the Word of God when they start teaching two resurrections and two raptures of the believers. Thus many refrain from teaching the irrefutable catching away at Christ’s Return; and preach in a manner that sounds like the rapture is the only catching away event of their theory. But, again, the Bible clearly states ALL believers are resurrected in ONE event (1Cor. 15:21-24)! So this catching away MUST be the one clearly stated in the Bible at the Second Coming, not an additional previous event NOT stated in the Bible! To deny this is to deny the truth of God’s Word.
Stop Aiding And Abetting The Deceiver!
Just like apples and oranges are both fruit, but in no way can be considered the same; so the pre-trib rapture story and our gathering together unto Christ at his Return are both a ‘catching away’. But otherwise they carry little similarity! They are not the same event by any stretch of the imagination!
It is vital we make that distinction clear if we are going to effectively combat deception, and promote the truth about what lies ahead for the Body of Christ.
Again, it’s NOT about the timing of ONE event. It’s about the deceptive introduction of a bogus claim of an additional previous event (and all the additional falsehoods associated) into peoples belief system. This is a serious error doing much damage to the understanding of those who are seduced by it.
Not only does the pre-trib hoax defile a person with all its falsehoods, it greatly skews a person’s perception of, and decisions concerning, what lies ahead. History teaches that in the communist purge in 1950’s China many of the professing Christians, when faced with hardship and persecution they had been taught they would never see, fell away from the faith. The Western missionaries had been teaching the pre-trib fable of escapism, and caused much damage in the lives of those deluded by it! This will soon play out again on a global scale.
Do we want to be a part of that? I sure hope not!
Do you want to leave anyone with even the slightest impression that you might hold to that erroneous teaching? I sure do not! And so we ought to be asking ourselves if we really want to be using an expression that was invented to promote such a dangerous falsehood.
Let’s choose our words in a careful manner that shines the light of truth on this issue; and shows we’ve chosen not to buy into that fable. Let’s help others realize there is a conflict going on here between truth and error that can seriously affect their faith and their future. Let’s help them see that they need to examine this issue, and get a grip on the truth.
If all who reject the pre-trib rapture theory would raise a fuss, and boycott the use of the word ‘rapture’, many would become curious, and would ask why. And some would be stirred to critically examine what they believe, and question if there is a true biblical foundation for those beliefs. That’s how people get set free from deception!
Do we want to be a part of that! I sure hope we would!
Let’s make sure we are truly part of the solution, and not just compounding the problem. Let’s refer to our catching away in a manner that promotes the truth:
Our gathering together unto Christ at his Return to Earth,
or the Resurrection at the Last Day,
or the Resurrection of the Second Coming.
Not with some flashy catchword that was concocted as a new name for some (at that time) ‘new revelation’ which has caused enormous strife and confusion in the Body of Christ for many decades now!
Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1Thessalonians 5:28
Yes, EVIL! The deception associated with the pre-trib rapture doctrine is without a doubt satanic. It has a very sinister strategy behind it which I detail in an article titled: ‘The Curse of the Pre-Trib Rapture!’ If you have not yet read that piece I really hope you would consider doing so. It may save you from unspeakable misery. You can find it here:
Blessings to all who love our Christ;
*That article is a chapter from the book ‘The Pre-Trib Rapture: A Bucket Full of Holes!’ by Paul Benson. This new book is available for free download at THIS PAGE.
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