Common Sense The Rapture and Persecution
The Fallacy of the Persecution Saving Rapture
(Or is it Raptures)?
Everyone wants to know when is the rapture? Do you know why?
It is a time of great temptation, persecution and devastation upon the whole earth. We are not meant to escape it but rather to endure it. It is quite evident we will suffer it. To what degree Christians will suffer persecution is very plain in the scripture. The Antichrist will make war with the saints and overcome them.
But they in turn overcome Him, by not loving their lives even until death - and by their testimony of Jesus.
Nothing could be more plain. The earth itself will be under great duress and many hardships will be faced by all humans. Intense heat, lack of rain, disease, earthquakes, eruptions, wars and great fear - all will come upon the world. That is just the beginning; a beginning that gets progressively worse quicker and quicker.
The question of when the event of the Rapture happens, boils down to either of two positions. One is whether it is at the end of the Tribulation or at the end of the Millennium.
The idea or concept of the Rapture is found in a single scripture in Thessalonians. In it's humble beginnings there many scenarios have been surmised as to when it happens. However, it is not directly associated with any exact event other than "A" resurrection. To believe it happens anywhere in the future - it must be made to coincide with a resurrection.
All should be able to agree with that.
But the Bible is clear what the order of resurrection is. Christ the first-fruits, then we which are His at His coming. Now, whenever that is - it is only going to happen once. Not several times. Lazarus's sister said it would happen at the last day and Jesus did not argue with her.
That begs the question - how many last days can there be?
Might I suggest - only one?
The Sadducees asked Jesus about "THE" resurrection not the resurrections (plural). Jesus answered their question and he did not correct the idea of a single resurrection - he merely corrected the idea that marriage was not going to be an issue in those days.
Even though they did not believe in the resurrection - they presented the problem from the Pharisee's point of view who did. They weren't really seeking truth - they were trying to humiliate the Pharisees their rivals - and were attempting to get Jesus to agree with them - by showing that it would be improbable in the resurrection for a woman to have 7 husbands - thus the resurrection - in their minds - was a false teaching.
If the idea of a single resurrection was wrong, Jesus would have corrected it - just like He corrected the other false notion - but He didn't. Now you have to remember, Jesus was a teacher. He would not have left them with a false theology. He actually said they erred in the idea of marriage after the resurrection by saying - "you err not knowing the scriptures." He then tells them the error but it wasn't the idea of a single resurrection. If He pointed out the one error - He would have pointed out the other if it existed.
Revelation 22 says there is a single resurrection of the just. So where does the idea of several resurrections (rapture) come from?
Dispensationalism; and in my opinion that teaching is wrong. One of the scriptures used to justify this persecution saving teaching is the one in Thessalonians about we are not appointed to wrath. That is true. But the wrath Dispensationalists are talking about is tribulation wrath - thus the rapture solution. But if you read 1 Thessalonians 5 it is obviously talking about ETERNAL WRATH. It even compares it to our eternal salvation. The two eternal destinations is the entire purpose of those scriptures. Not the rapture during the tribulation. Read it for yourself..
1 Thessalonians 5
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Not (eternal) wrath BUT (eternal) salvation instead...
Dispensationalism is merely 160 years old and prior to it - there was no theory of a secret rapture to transform and resurrect saints before the worst part of the coming tribulation. Today, the belief is widely held in Evangelical circles especially with the success of the Left Behind Series which propounds and supports this idea.
Obviously the Bible mentions only 2 resurrections, the one of the just and the one of the wicked. Believing in others is what convolutes the end times scenarios with images of Christians being airlifted out of the earth during the tribulation. And why? Well, although the reason is generally given as one of reward for diligence - the truth is that it is concocted out of fear. Fear of dying in the tribulation. Fear of dying for the Lord. Fear, fear, fear.
Let us reason together. There is no precedent where God has saved believers from persecution. The Bible clearly states the opposite. "They hated me first - they will hate you." "They killed me first - they will kill you." "All who live Goldy in Christ shall suffer persecution."
Or more specifically 1 Thessalonians 3:4,
For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass...
And there are so many more verses like this. Surely you see them in your own study. Surely. Reason alone suggests that ALL will suffer or at the very least - might suffer - tribulation. There are numerous verses like this in many compelling statements which demand a simple conclusion. Namely - Christians will suffer persecution. That's part of being a Christian. They go hand in hand. To say that one kind of tribulation is greater than another kind is fallacious. Pain is pain and death is death. It is of no importance whether it is suffered under the so called, "Great Tribulation" or not. It is great (so to speak) to the victim no matter the era, duration or intensity.
Almost all pretribulation rapture teachings state that there will first be a rapture that takes every living Christian out of the world before or midway during the tribulation - but then, 100's of millions of people get saved when they realize they "Missed it" - and it is these Christians that get slaughtered by the Antichrist.
But nowhere do I see the character of God act this way. Especially when you consider it is for no purpose whatsoever. THERE IS NO PURPOSE STATED IN THE BIBLE AS TO WHY THE FIRST GROUP (IN THIS TEACHING) GOES UP. Furthermore, there is not a single scripture that describes what happens IMMEDIATELY AFTER THIS EVENT. Think about it. Supposedly the most historic event ever recorded - 100's of millions of people disappear in an instant - and there is not a single scripture discussing the immediate aftermath. But there are 100's and 100's of end time scriptures discussing every other subject in it's finest detail.
We are to patiently endure persecution til the end - the Bible repeatedly says. He who endures til the end SHALL BE SAVED. It refines us. Give it some thought. Should some endure and others miraculously escape? Should God respect this last generation of believers more than those that supposedly immediately replace them - or those which preceded them? At the very time when the world is in horrid spiritual darkness - is it reasonable to assume that God would take his army out the world - the very army that converts sinners to God via preaching and witnessing - loving not their lives even unto death - and replace them with second string players hurriedly saved - and shortly slaughtered?
I BLUSH FOR THE ARGUMENT.
Are we to believe that this scraggly group - of let's face it - LEFT OVERS - has the spiritual strength to endure immediate persecution. That these last second Christians are capable of this? It stretches the imagination beyond Christian common sense. And in the truest sense - this teaching makes a mockery of the endless millions of martyred saints throughout the ages. Do you really believe that this hastily saved group could - according to the scripture do this?
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
More by this Author
Ms. Palin turns AK's GOP inside out August 2006 By Amanda Coyne Alaska Dispatch Before things erupted at the August 8 Republican Party picnic in Kincaid Park, in Anchorage; before large and visibly upset...