The Rapture: Fact or Fiction?

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Fact or Fiction?

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MP3 Audio (6.44 MB)


The Rapture: Fact or Fiction?

MP3 Audio (6.44 MB)

Why do many people believe a doctrine that has no biblical validity? Isn't it time you learned the real truth?


Have you seen the bumper sticker, in case of rapture this car will be unmanned? Or perhaps after the rapture, can I have your car? Many believe that in the near future Christians who are going about their daily business, working, shopping at school or driving will suddenly disappear, they're gone, raptured away. Now is this what your Bible teaches? On Beyond Today we'll explore the origins of the rapture theory, we'll discover what information Jesus Christ left behind. And most importantly determine how this should change your life today. Stay tuned with us as we discuss the rapture, fact or fiction?

Millions have read novels about the rapture. They say families will be shocked by the strange disappearance of a father, mother or child. Planes will crash since pilots have vanished. Driverless cars will collide in the streets and only clothing an unworthy loved ones are left behind. Now is this what your Bible teaches? Is this idea of the rapture fact or fiction?

Now many popular books and movies are based on this disputed doctrine that essentially teaches that Jesus Christ will come initially to snatch believers away to heaven leaving the rest behind. Now stop right there. That says something very interesting doesn't it?

We live in a time when many people are comfortable getting their knowledge of religion second hand. Now what do I mean? Many allow a movie or a novel or a video to define what they believe. Now okay, stay with me for just a minute and let me explain what I mean. The problem is they don't go to the source. Should a popular novel or a movie be the foundation for what you believe? No, you can't afford to neglect your personal responsibility to look into it and prove the truth.

Now if you're willing to go beyond entertainment and take a careful look to the right starting point you'll see that the rapture theory doesn't really stand up to the scrutiny of the Word of God.

Example, fact or fiction the rapture is recorded in the book of Revelation, right? Wrong, that's fiction. Did you know that there's no mention of the rapture anywhere in the book of Revelation?

Now you may believe that Bible prophecy teaches the rapture but fact or fiction? The word rapture can't even be found in the Bible. That's a fact. Did you know that the word rapture isn't even in the Bible? You see just because millions of books have been sold about it doesn't make it true.

Now as we begin, let's notice what many believe about the rapture. The doctrine of the rapture incorrectly teaches that somehow Christ is going to secretly come and approach the earth but He won't actually return to it and what He'll do is seize true believers. He'll rapture them, and change them into spirit and then transport them to safety in heaven and up in heaven that's where they'll wait out the tribulation and all the difficulties that will be happening on the earth. Now the only evidence that it's occurred is the fact that Christians are gone, they're raptured away. And so the overall concept is that Christ literally snatches, or abducts or seizes those Christians up from the earth years before Jesus actually returns to earth. Now since the word rapture isn't found in the Bible where did all this come from?

Where did this idea of a supernatural sudden removal of believers originate? Well Jesus' disciples taught the doctrine of the rapture, fact or fiction? No that's not true. Did you know that the rapture is not even mentioned in any valid historical document before the 19th century?

The fact is that this word raptured and this whole concept, it's a new doctrine. It didn't come to light until the early 19th century. And you know what's interesting, how did it happen? Where did it come from?

Well it seems that a 15 year old English girl, Margaret McDonald had a vision with the idea of the rapture. By 1830 a British journal published that revelation. The publisher was Edward Irving, he was a charismatic preacher who began to publicly teach those ideas.

Now next thing that happened was an Irishman, John Darden, he was a minister in the church of England and he developed it, he expanded this theory of the secret rapture and he merged it into his prophetic teachings. Now this is where it gets interesting.

Do you know who gave the rapture theory its biggest boost? Cyrus Scofield, in fact you've probably heard of the Scofield Bible. In 1909 Scofield published the reference Bible that consisted of his commentary included in the text of the Bible. It also included the secret rapture of church into its study notes. And so you know what this did, this validated the idea of the rapture. It promoted the premise of the rapture.

Now you should believe Scofield because he was a doctor of theology, fact or fiction? That's fiction. In fact, he gave himself a theological doctorate degree. He never attended any theological schools. He had no formal Bible training what so ever. So there's hardly any doubt that Scofield produced his reference Bible only for the purpose of spreading Darby's rapture doctrine.

So does it make you wonder about the accuracy of the rapture theory? It should.

By the time you get to the 1970's we find the first modern writer to popularize this idea. Now if we fast forward to just 15 years ago we find the idea of the secret rapture re-popularized in the Left Behind series.

Now these books sensationalize, they capitalize on people's concerns, on their worries, their fears of world problems and their confusion about prophecy. So these stories are based on the idea that Christians will suddenly disappear when Christ secretly and He swiftly takes them away from the tribulation on the earth. And of course the ones that are left behind, those are the atheist, they'll be baffled by the Christians who have mysteriously disappeared. Now you add in political and sexual intrigue and that message just spreads to a very wide audience. And so the question is, is the Left Behind series fact or fiction? Well they claim some biblical basis but the truth is, it's fiction. They were written for anyone interested in a fascinating story and they can be fascinating but fiction. And so there's the fact that millions of books have been sold make it true. It doesn't. They don't explain the scriptural basis for the doctrine and they don't show how to prove it from the Bible. So when it comes to the truth, it leaves you with questions and confused.

Do you wonder about what is truly going to happen? Are you unsure of the answers? Remember you have to go to the source for the real story and that source is your Bible. Many mistakenly claim that the rapture is a part of Bible prophecy.

And of course there's no doubt that prophecy reveals information about the future but it can be difficult to know where to start. So to help we have a free booklet, it's You Can Understand Bible Prophecy. Now this booklet will help you really get a handle on what prophecy is all about. This booklet is absolutely free and it'll make it easier for you to unlock a proper understanding of prophecy. You can go on line to to down load it, you can read it on line or you can order your fee copy of You Can Understand Bible Prophecy. So click or call us toll free, even the call is free, 1-888-886-8632 that's 1-888-886-8632. Prophecy is one of the most intriguing subjects in the Bible because it tells us specifically how God will intervene in world affairs. Now you don't want to be left unaware of what the future holds. Your copy is waiting for you, it's absolutely free. Click or call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or go on line to to download it, read it, or order your free copy of You Can Understand Bible Prophecy. Now you may be somewhat acquainted with prophecy, this booklet will help you to truly understand it. Now if you're on the social networks you can follow us on Twitter and join our Beyond Today Facebook page.

Now some 20 to 40 million people believe there is a coming rapture. They say the righteous will be spirited away to heaven while the Godless remain on the earth. But what will become of all the pets? Now believe it or not for a fee there's a service out there that will place your dog or your cat in the home of a caring atheist at the rapture.

Now some books have been written, some are pretty satirical but they take advantage of those who mistakenly believe in such a doctrine. You can guess that of course you pay in advance.

Now does your Bible really teach of a time when Christians will be whisked away to heaven? Now will there be that time in the future that will really be happen? Is that fact or is that fiction? No it's fiction.

Now you may say there must be a place in the Bible where the teaching of the rapture is based. Now that is true. The main argument is based on one scripture and that scripture is found over in I Thessalonians 4:17 notice what it says

I Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

You see some claim that this verse has a linguistic basis for the word rapture. Now here's why. The Greek for "shall be caught up" that phrase "shall be caught up" was translated into the Latin word rapio and that Latin word literally means to seize or to abduct or to snatch and so from this one solitary word comes the whole artificial construct for the rapture theory.

So we got to ask does the original Greek word for "caught up" express the sense of an abduction or a seizure? You see, it doesn't. It actually combines the ideas of force and suddenness seen in the irresistible power of God. That's from the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries.

So what we find is an entire doctrine that's based on a misunderstanding.

Remember no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. That can only come from God. So how can we better understand what this particular verse really means and why would such a strong word be used? Well first we've got to notice the context of the passage.

You know what is all around this particular verse and why did the Apostle Paul write this particular section of scripture? Well why did he do it? He had to answer concerns of the Thessalonian Christians. They were grieving, they were hurt over the unexpected deaths of their members, of their family. Why? Because they thought that Jesus would return in their life time. They were caught unprepared for the death of the faithful people. You see they weren't worried whether Christ would return and rescue them. They weren't worried about their safety and the end of the age tribulation and they certainly weren't neglecting their spiritual readiness. We can know this by looking back at verse 13, I Thessalonians 4:13

I Thessalonians 4:13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, (literally those who have died) lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

So is it fact or fiction? The topic is those Christians who have died. You see that's a fact. God will bring the dead back to life. Let's go on, verse 14

I Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

So did you notice the time reference here? It says, bring with Him. That is the second coming of Christ. Did he mean an approach by Christ or a rapture? No it could only be referring to Jesus' second coming. You see his point is that those who have died are not in any disadvantage at all. No wonder the Thessalonians could have hope because all Christians, living or dead are included in those verses. In fact look at verse 16 it says

I Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
I Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

And so we see this verse is talking about a resurrection it's not talking about a rapture and it's certainly not a secret. The return of Christ is heralded by the seventh trumpet, there is shouting going on and so true Christians dead and alive join the returning Christ in the air, that is in the clouds, in the atmosphere of the earth not in the heaven of God's throne.

You see it's talking about the first resurrection that's the main subject when we read the entire context of this particular section of scripture. And why did he use such a powerful strong word? Because he wanted to reassure God's people that at Christ's return God was going to unite the believers who were still alive with those who had already died.

You see, the dead won't be left behind in any way. So fact or fiction? When this verse says we'll meet the Lord in the air it means that Christ will make a pass near the earth and snatch those few people away and take them to heaven. No that's not there is it? That's fiction.

This word for meet, this is a very interesting word. It seems the special idea of the word was the official welcome of a newly arrived dignitary. Jamison, Fawcett and Brown Commentary says that this word refers to when a king enters his city the loyal go forth to meet him. Also the word meet is used of an official reception given to a visiting governor whom its citizens escort into the city from which they've come to meet him. So when we put all of it together it becomes very clear.

When Jesus returns, true Christians will be resurrected and rise to meet the King of Kings. As an escort of honor they'll officially welcome the newly arriving King and they'll accompany Him back to the earth where He'll rule from Jerusalem. They're destined to reign and to rule with Jesus Christ in His fantastic kingdom.

So that's what that passage in I Thessalonians is all about. Imagine the celebration, imagine the excitement. So it's no wonder that God's people could be encouraged with what the truth really is. Now there's also another aspect to consider. Is it fact or is it fiction? Did Jesus pray to the Father not to take us out of the world? Did you know that was a fact? You can read it for yourself in John 17:15. It's interesting that Jesus prayed to the Father

John 17:15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

Now that's just the opposite of the rapture. The Bible doesn't promise that God will take believers to heaven and protect them from the troubles to come. In fact He prayed for our protection from evil while we're here on earth. So Jesus asked the Father not to take us, we're not going. There's no doubt Christ will return but be careful not to read into those prophecies words and ideas that just aren't in scripture. There is no rapture. There is a second coming.

Now there's so much more to discuss on this topic. Up next we'll be talking with the Beyond Today panel but first you've got to get this special free offer, it's the Good News magazine. This magazine contains important articles to help you understand the accuracy of important topics like the rapture, what does the Bible teach about future prophecies and how do you make sense of it. The Good News will give you the insight into those issues. That's why you need your free subscription to the Good News. It will help you with answers. Even the call is free 1-888-886-8632 that's 1-888-886-8632. Remember you can also visit us on the web at where you can search on line for hundreds of related articles in our literature archives. Now the Good News magazine not only examines world events and Bible prophecy but articles will also help you with your every day life. So get your free subscription today. Call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or go on line to God has an amazing plan for man kind and for you personally. Understand it better by getting your free subscription to the Good News magazine. And remember you can follow us on Twitter and you can join our Beyond Today face book page.

Now we've been discussing the popular idea of the rapture. Will Jesus return as a thief to take His people away secretly and if so, why can't you find the rapture in the Bible? Well it's time for our Beyond Today panel to discuss the topic. So joining me now are fellow hosts of the program, Darris McNeely and Gary Petty.

(Steve Myers)
Now I spoke earlier about the misinterpretation of one of those passages that used to prove the rapture, I Thessalonians and we see the fallacy behind that. Now there's another one that's often cited and it's over in the book of Matthew. Its Matthew 24:36 and it says

Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Matthew 24:40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
Matthew 24:41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

Now when we consider that particular verse some claim, boy that obviously is talking about the rapture. Well why not what does it really mean?

(Darris McNeely)
Well just look at what it does say Steve, it's really talking about it's emphasizing the fact of the uncertainty of the time that no one knows. Several times Christ referred to the fact that no one knows the hour or the day of His return not even the Son of man. It is in the hands of the Father only. So he's emphasizing that, that no one knows. So its useless to speculate or to dwell on that, trying to find out to determine when Christ is going to return which sometimes is a little bit of an adjunct to the idea of the rapture. But He's also emphasizing be prepared, be alert, be spiritually prepared for the times and even of our own life. He's also talking

(Steve Myers)
In that part you talk about where it says watch that's referring to that being ready?

(Darris McNeely)
He's also talking of a time of a judgment at the resurrection which is the truth of the scriptures. There is a time when there will be a separation in one sense, it's a time of judgment and so that's what also Jesus is referring to, one will be left and one will be taken in that sense not up into a rapture type of idea but it's really speaking to the judgment of God upon mankind.

(Gary Petty)
You know Darris, you were talking about context, it's very important to look at what Jesus says here in context. Let me borrow your Bible for a second here. You were talking about, you were reading at about verse 36 if you go back just a little bit before that in verse 30

Matthew 24:30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Mathew 24:31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Now that's not secret, that's something everybody sees. So the idea of a secret rapture, people just disappearing in the context, that's not what Jesus was talking about at all. He was talking about His second coming in power and in glory and all nations see it.

(Steve Myers)
You've got trumpets, you've got a lot of noise and people are obviously noticing something's going on, so there's not secret. But one of the things that some will argue is that it's kind of like there's stages that Christ comes back and then takes these believers away and then some time later after all the troubles have been going on the earth, they come back and maybe that's what that is referring to but how do we know that that's not the case that there isn't stages?

(Darris McNeely)
You try to do that you're reading something into the scriptures regarding the return of Christ that is not there. The scriptures that talk about Christ's return are so very plain. Revelation 11:15 for one says that at the time of Christ's return the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of our Christ. They all speak to a wholesale change over that is dramatic, that is sudden during that time of Christ's appearing, that second coming and there's nothing that indicates stages that's being discussed there. The whole idea of that one scripture you referred to of I Thessalonians 4 of people rising to meet Christ in the air you brought it out so well. There is a very interesting example of this. In the modern nation of Jordan the ancient city of Jarash is there and there in Jarash they have a huge triumphal arch that was built during a Roman period during the time of the reign of the Emperor Hadrian who was paying a visit to the city of Jarash and you can see that today. It's been reconstructed and you can get a visual of how the city fathers, the city officials would have gone out through that to meet that coming Emperor outside the city to meet him at a distance and to escort him back into the city to Jarash on his official visit which is exactly what the Apostle Paul was talking about there in I Thessalonians 4 to describe the saints rising in the air to meet Christ at His coming and then to return back to this earth to accompany Him as the King of Kings. It's a beautiful picture to illustrate exactly, Paul knew what he was talking about, it was not to take us up into heaven in some stages like that of a rapture, that you have to read into the scriptures.

(Steve Myers)
They didn't go out and meet the dignitary and go somewhere else, they met Him, they brought Him back into the city.

(Gary Petty)
There's two other things to think about in I Thessalonians 4 in comparing Matthew 24 both happen at the sound of a trumpet and so they're the same event, then in I Thessalonians 4 the people who are alive don't proceed those that have already died so the resurrection happens at the same time, they are not two different events, they are not two different stages.

(Steve Myers)
Now one of the things that can kind of get mixed up into this whole thing is this idea of the protection in the tribulation and there is a section in Matthew 24:21, the same chapter in the Bible, it says something interesting it says

Matthew 24:21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Matthew 24:22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.

So how does that fit in does that mean you're going to be whisked up off to heaven to be protected from that?

(Darris McNeely)
No again it means what it says that God is going to save flesh, human life in the midst of this world.

(Steve Myers)
So the worlds not going to be destroyed in other words. Is it fair to say then that people are trying to read meaning into this instead of just taking it for what it says?

(Gary Petty)
This isn't about Christians somehow just escaping and being saved by Christ, this is about Christ coming back to save the whole world.

(Steve Myers)
And He's coming back and that's why it matters to us, I mean why should our viewers be concerned about it, what difference does it make?

(Darris McNeely)
Because it puts the emphasis upon the individual to change, to be prepared. The idea of the rapture gets us very self centered thinking only on ourselves, saving our own skin to the exclusion of others we get into self righteousness.

Yeah so there's important things we need to have some help maybe to understand a little bit more thoroughly so remember our free offers today. They're designed to help you in your studies. You Can Understand Bible Prophecy will help you really grasp the truth about Jesus' return. It doesn't have to be a mystery. The booklet's free and it's written to help you know the facts. There's four ways your can get it, you can read it on line at or you can download it, you can order your free copy of You Can Understand Bible Prophecy or you can call toll free 1-888-886-8632 and order your free booklet. And of course don't forget your subscription to the Good News magazine. It's a magazine that will help you understand Bible prophecy and how it applies to what's going on in our world. It's not only that the Good News will help you with prophecy but it will help you get to know your God even better with all kinds of articles that are relevant to your life. Are you ready for some Good News? Get your subscription absolutely free by calling us toll free 1-888-886-8632 or go on line to to download it, read it on line or order your free subscription. And don't forget our Beyond Today Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Now the idea of Christians being secretly raptured to heaven, it's a false teaching.

Remember just because millions of books have been sold about the subject doesn't make it true.

There's a frightening time of world trouble that lies ahead but your Bible teaches that Jesus will come again and set the world right. He will resurrect His people. People like you who obey His commands. When He returns we can meet Him in the air and escort Him back to the earth to reign and rule with Him. So now is the time to do something about it. It's time to act. Repent and obey God. Don't get caught up in a fictitious idea of a secret rapture. That's a false teaching that should be left behind.

Well that's our program for today. Don't forget about our free offers and be sure to join us next time here on Beyond Today. Thanks for watching.


  • Daniel Thomas
    People have argued for a long time that the tribulation is for the punishment of the ungodly and the righteous will be raptured out of here beforehand. Hell is prepared for the ungodly and if we had only an inkling of its severity we as Christians would spend all of our time on our knees interceding for our lost loved ones AND our enemies. The tribulation is for the church! Ask yourself, can God possibly come for the church in its apostate backslidden state? He would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if HE did. I do a lot of traveling and have visited many churches. The bride is not clothed in white. We are as the Laodician church today. If we were where we are supposed to be there would never have been the advent of abortion or homosexual marriage or many other atrocities. I lay the blame for these charges firmly at the feet of the church. If we were loving one another and united as God desires our voting voice would have been strong enough to thwart all evil decisions! The tribulation is for the church because GOD loves us and is not willing that any should perish. He loves even our present-day church and when HE is done with us we will be getting it right. HE LOVES US !
  • Craig Scott
    Josh, In John 5:25-29 Jesus Christ tells us that the dead rise from the grave. You might find it helpful to read our in depth bible study guide “What Happens After Death. You can read it online here: Also, the word paradise [paradisos] is an Oriental word meaning a type of idyllic park, a garden of Eden, a place of future happiness on earth. The word paradisos is only used in three places in the NT, Luke 23:39-43, Revelation 2:7, and 2 Corinthians 12:4. Here’s a message I gave in the past year which includes an explanation of the use of the word paradise [paradiso] in the scriptures cited above: In short the use of the word paradisos in scripture is a foreshadow of the glorious future when God makes His dwelling place among humanity on a renewed planet earth which you can reference in Revelation 21:1-4.
  • drow13f
    Maybe the confusion comes with not knowing from where the dead in Christ are rising. Before the cross paradise was in the earth according to Eph 4:8-9 and 1Pet 3:18-20 but after the cross paradise was taken to the third heaven according to 2 Cor 12:4 once Christ set the captives free. So they will be rising from paradise and we will meet them when they get here with the Lord. As far as I can tell anyway...
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