People have asked me to post something on the rapture…so here goes. I am not posting this to open the subject up to debate, so please keep the comments on the thread short. If you disagree, I would prefer you simply cite a book (or link) that supports your view. The point of this article is to let people know what I understand. End-times views are always controversial, especially between Christians.
Different people have different beliefs about the rapture, two major ideas are pre-trib & post-trib. If one cherry picks verses, and ignores verses that don’t fit one’s preconceived theory, then all kinds of eschatological (meaning “endtime”) beliefs can be adopted. Dispensational premillenialists believe that God will not allow them to suffer, but will rescue them with a rapture at any moment. This belief was responsible for thousands of Chinese believers abandoning Christ, because they had been taught they would not suffer; when the communists took over, then the persecution caused many to fall away…they felt the Bible was untrustworthy. If they had read the Bible for themselves they would see that God’s saints clearly suffer the Antichrist’s persecution: MT 24:21-22, 28-31, 2 THES 2:1-8, REV 13:3-10; 14:9-12. Surprisingly, many Christians who are exposed to this pre-trib pre-millennial dispensational belief are unaware many other credible viewpoints exist. Post-trib believers see the church persecuted by the AntiChrist before the rapture, and some believe the rapture is only a rapture that deposits them back on earth. Neither pre-trib nor the post-trib systems are taught directly in the Word of God, & both have problems with various scriptures that contradict them. Both make assumptions beyond Biblical proof. Disp. Premillenialism gets into a number of heretical beliefs. They have the unsaved Jews being raptured in a second rapture.
The popular view that gets so much attention is the pre-trip premillennial view. The history of this rapture theory I exposed in 1991 & connects w/ the Jesuits. A book that does a good job of documenting the theory’s origin is The Rapture Plot by Dave MacPherson. (Simpsonville, So. Carolina, 1995.) He, and I, and others, have written how a girl Miss Margaret MacDonald in 1830 in Port Glasgow, Scotland had a vision. She handwrote a letter describing her dream to Edward Irving (whose followers were called Irvingites). Later Darby & the Plymouth Brethren would get it from Irving, but pretended they came up with it. Schofield then made the rapture theory of the Plymouth Brethren well known by his reference Bible. So the idea is relatively new, considering millions of believers for 18 centuries did not see it in the Bible.
Quite a bit is said about how a sign will precede Christ & that Day of the Lord. Christ spoke of a sign in the sun, moon & stars that announces his 2nd coming. (MT 24:29-31) Considering his first coming was announced by a star, it makes sense, and it harmonizes with GEN 1:14. It is also spoken about in ISA, EZEK, and Joel. When the persecution of God’s elect by Satan (the wrath of Satan mentioned in REV 12:12) ends, then YHWH God is empowered to begin His wrath on the ungodly. True believers are preserved from the wrath of God, as were His people often in OT times. What I just said harmonizes with the early Church fathers who generally took the position that the Christians have to suffer persecution from the Antichrist. This view harmonizes with the Word and is called pre-Wrath, meaning the Christians don’t suffer the wrath of God before they meet Christ in the air. The pre-Wrath view harmonizes with all scriptures.
There are other perspectives on Revelation, like the Preterist, the Historicist, the Amillenial view, etc. We want to remember that “the sum of Thy Word is truth” PS 119:160. Systems of end time doctrine which ignore contradictory scripture have not found the answer, for Scripture doesn’t contradict Scripture. The two views are actually two sides of a diamond & the common denominator needs to be found to add the views together. God’s Word fortunately means exactly what it says, and it will harmonize with other verses if one prayfully thinks about.
My concern had been to expose unscriptural teachings, as well as prepare people for what is coming. We look forward to Christ’s second return!