Reasonable questions to ask about the rapture theory…

Every once in a while I still see a bumper sticker that says something like, “In case of rapture this car will be un-manned” or “When the rapture happens you can have the car.” You probably know that the word rapture is a popular one among many people in the religious world. But what you may not know is that the word itself is not used once in the KJV of the Bible and there is no solid support found in the original Greek manuscripts.

Now, I’m not saying that Jesus isn’t returning, that the dead won’t be raised or that the living won’t be caught up. Christ returning is definitely not a teaching foreign to the Bible. Jesus taught His disciples and warned others that He would return (Mark 14:62, John 14:3, 1st Cor. 11:24-26). But the doctrine of the second coming of Christ and the perverted doctrine of the rapture are not the same. One is right and the other is wrong.

Yes, I know the rapture is a popular teaching, but being popular and being right are not the same either. Think about some of the major components concerning the teaching of the rapture. The details depend upon who’s teaching it, but there are several common foundational teachings that crumble when they’re examined along with some clear statement scriptures found in the New Testament.

One major foundational teaching is that Jesus will return secretly to “rapture away” His disciples. If that’s true then why did the apostle John say that when Jesus returned everyone would see Him? Revelation 1:7 says, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” The apostle Paul said Jesus will return with a shout! Why shout if it’s supposed to be a secret? “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1st Thessalonians 4:16)

Another major teaching that the rapture hinges on is the belief of multiple judgment days. It teaches that Jesus will judge God’s people when He raptures them away leaving another separate day of judgment for those dead out of Christ and for the people left on the Earth. But if that’s true then why doesn’t the Bible ever use the phrase “judgment days?” Anytime you see the words judgment and day together, the word day is always singular. The word “judgment” is used 79x and the word “days” is used 157x but the words are not used in conjunction with each other one time! The judgment of the good and the evil will happen on the same day. Please read these verses and see for yourself what the Bible teaches – John 5:26-29, 2nd Peter 2:9; 3:7; 1st John 4:17 & Jude 1:6.

Lastly, teachers of the rapture theory say that Christ will eventually return to Earth to set up an earthly kingdom. The question is, “Will there even be an Earth after He returns?” “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 that are in it will be burned up.” (2nd Peter 3:10)

Jesus’ return, the Day of Judgment and the destruction of the Earth will all begin at the same time. When Jesus returns, the last thing the un-saved will have to worry about is an empty car. Biblical facts and Biblical theories are two different things.

Think about it.  EA

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8 comments

    1. I know what you mean. The scriptures offer one hope while the rapture offers two. Something else for us to keep in mind when we think about this topic. Thanks for commenting, Randal.

  1. Then again there are different ways 2 Pet. 3:10 can be understood because the word elements as used in this verse (as well as verse 12) is never used to show the physical elements as most of us have been taught but rather the elementary elements of O.C. understandings such as days, years, new moons, etc., etc. (Gal. 4:3;9; Col. 2:8;20) would be some examples.

    With that thought in mind IN Christ God destroyed the Old Creation to bring forth the New. Behold old things have past away and all things become new. I could get on my soapbox here but I won’t; we are now in the ever increasing Kingdom of God and it’s not a political earthly Kingdom but rather a moral ethical Kingdom revealed by His righteousness, peace, and joy in the lives of believers (Rom. 14:17) Righteousness, peace, and joy are descriptive words to describe Life in the Spirit; the Kingdom is in the Spirit.

    1. Hello Jr.,

      I understand what you’re saying. If you keep 2 Peter 3:10 in the immediate context, as well as in agreement with Paul’s letters, you see that Peter’s point is about a destruction that renders the Earth completely spent; not guidelines of a religious law that are referred to in days, years, and new moons which were indicators of the law of Moses. At the end of verse 10 Peter said along with the “elements” that the “earth also, and everything in it will be burned up.” “Burned up” comes from the Greek word “Katakaio” which literally means to burn up, to be consumed by fire.

      Also 2 Peter 3:12 says, “when the heavens will come to an end through fire, and the substance of the earth will be changed by the great heat?” The word “changed” (melt in the KJV) comes from the Greek word “Teko” meaning to make liquid, to melt, to perish or become destroyed by melting. The point is that the present day earth will simply not be present. It is very much akin to the flamming return of Christ that Paul mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 1:7,8.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, Jr.

      1. Yeah, I know but there is much more to be said from either point of view, but at least with the word elements I hold that we must use it in the context of how it is used in other places, then we get into the whole issue of how the Jews viewed the world of their day, their use and understanding of Old Testament prophetic language etc., etc. it would certainly make for a long and serious discussion if we didn’t end it up by tearing each others hair out; but then there I have an advantage I have no hair:) Blessings my friend

  2. The word “rapture” comes from the Latin word rapimur in the Latin Vulgate – 7 deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus. In Greek the word in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is harpazo which means “transferring one person swiftly from one place to another”

    Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for harpazō (Strong’s 726)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 10 Apr 2012.

    The verse itself says in the KIng James Version – 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

    17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

    18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

    There’s still debates about when that is actually going to happen, and Paul did write to comfort the Churches that it still hadn’t happened yet because some were believing that it did.

    There is an implication that the shout is going to be heard for those that can hear the Shepherd through the Holy Spirit and for those that are sincerely seeking the Truth.

    The Rapture has nothing to do with judgment day. There is two types of judgment the Bema judgment, and the Great White Throne Judgment, and since I haven’t done enough research I can’t comment on those.

    There are two separate events – one is when Jesus’ foot hits the mount of Olives and it separates into two. Search it for yourself. Then there is the time in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 where it says that we shall meet the Lord in the air. How are we going to meet the Lord in the air if there is no Rapture?

    Also the Bible talks about the New Jerusalem and the Holy City –

    Revelation 21: Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John,[a] saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

    I don’t want to get into a debate or a discussion because I am not an expert on Bible prophecy, but from what I have learned thus far, I can say that there are some things which the Bible states clearly and there are somethings that are still a mystery, and until the time comes somethings will still be a mystery, but the best thing is to trust God when you don’t understand. Another key to Bible interpretation which I am still learning is to use simple verses to interpret the complex. I hope this helps.

    1. Hello KOG4,

      I don’t mean rapture in the sense of meeting Jesus in the air. I mean “rapture” in the sense of Jesus secretly returning, then leaving and then coming back again and setting up an earthly kingdom.

      1 Thessalonians does indeed describe Jesus returning for His people – but not to reign on the Earth as some try to teach. People will meet Him in the clouds in the air. The implication about the shout is that it will be loud enough to be heard and not be mistaken by anyone. Read Revelation 1:7 and you will find that when Jesus returns with the same clouds (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 1:7) that every eye will see Him including those who pierced Him – that’s because Jesus’ one and only return will usher in the judgment of all the world (2 Peter 3:6-10).

      There will only be one resurrection because there is an hour coming when everyone in the graves will hear Jesus’ voice at His return (John 5:28-29). Not “just the good” as some teach, because at that time there will be those who are risen unto condemnation as Jesus said. Both good and evil will be judged at the same time (Matthew 25:31-46).

      Jesus has a kingdom now and it’s not “earth based.” (John 18:36; Colossians 1:13) He has already rejected being an earthly king (John 6:15). His foot has indeed touched the mount of Olives before, but I see no where in the scriptures that it teaches His foot will do so again…at least not the mount of Olives we read about in the gospels. When Jesus returns, death will be destroyed and the kingdom will be delievered up to God; not started (1 Corinthians 15:23-26, 52-55).

      Hebrews 9:26-30 says, “...once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

      The “rapture” as many try to teach it will not give people an additional chance to find salvation. The chance is now (Matthew 25) because when Jesus returns, it will be too late…it will be with His angels and flames of judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

      You said, “Another key to Bible interpretation which I am still learning is to use simple verses to interpret the complex.” I agree 100%!

      Thanks for your reply. Feel free to reply if you like. I don’t mind discussing it. It’s completely up to you :)

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