Jesus and the apostles never taught about a rapture. Rather, their message was about the hope of the resurrection.
[Steve Myers] Doesn’t the religious world all agree when it comes to this idea of a rapture? Well in fact it doesn’t. Even ministers disagree.
Imagine a time when people will suddenly be whisked away off into heaven. Everyone left behind will be facing destruction, tribulation, all kinds of trouble. Makes for a great storyline, doesn’t it? Books, movies have been written about it. But is it true?
I was amazed to talk to people out there on the street. And I spoke with them and they had a hard time explaining exactly what this idea of the rapture is all about. Is it biblical? Let’s notice what they said.
What is the rapture? How would you explain it?
> That’s a tough one
What exactly is the rapture?
>> I don’t know
Steve: What if I told you that the rapture’s not in the Bible?
>Wow, you got me with that one. Hmmm
>> I don’t know. I really don’t know but I could ask my brother cuz he’s a minister.
Steve: Do you believe in the rapture?
> Couldn’t you find an easier subject?
Well it doesn’t have to be that difficult a subject. The rapture is a topic that certainly intrigues people. They wonder about it. But what’s the draw to the idea of the rapture. I think for many the draw is this. It’ a way out. In fact on today’s program I’m going to use quite a few different signs to help illustrate the idea of the truth versus the rapture. And I think part of the appeal of the rapture is just this. A way out the problems of this world because certainly Christ talked about the signs of the times but doesn’t the religious world all agree when it comes to this idea of a rapture? Well in fact it doesn’t. Even ministers disagree. There was a recent study that was done by LifeWay research and they interviewed 1000 Protestant pastors and of these 1000 Protestant pastors, what percentage do you think do not believe in a rapture? Two–thirds do not believe in So let’s be clear Jesus himself taught something very different than this idea of the rapture. He talked about the hope of the resurrection and there is a huge difference between the rapture idea and the truth of the resurrection.
So let’s think about that for a minute. What’s the difference between the rapture and the resurrection? Many people are unsure. But it’s something we have to be sure about. And perhaps you’re like these people.
Do you believe in the rapture?
> I don’t know. I think so. I think yes, I think I do
>> I believe what the Bible says is true
Steve: So if we had to prove it or if someone said okay you think that’s going to happen, show me why you think that’s gonna happen
> I don’t think you can, I don’t think you can prove it anymore than, you know, it’s not something where you can you know, Galileo or people can claim it - the earth is round and everybody looks around and it looks flat. You can’t objectively eventually get that answer until it happens. You just have to believe.
Steve: Do you believe in the Rapture?
> Maybe we need to explain it for those that don’t understand it. Want to just speak on it a little bit?
Well let’s speak on it just a little bit. Because she’s right. We do need an explanation because it’s not biblical and most don’t understand it and just don’t know what to think about it but perhaps they learned about it as a child growing up or maybe their church taught it. But we certainly don’t want to be in that situation where we get our religious truth second hand. We want to know what the Bible really teaches and when you really get down to it, what the rapture idea does is it confuses the truth about how people do rise, how they come back to life, how people are changed. And so there is a huge difference between the rapture and the resurrection and you’ve got to recognize the signs of the times.
So as we think about that for a moment, what is this idea about the rapture? Let’s define our terms for just a moment. The thinking goes like this. There is a time of trouble, there’s tribulation, there’s difficulties that will be going on the earth. Jesus will secretly come near to the earth supposedly and then take away the true believers and then suddenly transport them to safety in heaven. And so it kind of follows this idea that there is going to be this escape, this exit, and what’s left is just the evidence that well they’re gone. That’s the only evidence that it’s happened is that they’re gone. And of course it sounds, well maybe it sounds good. Does it sound good if there’s a lot of trouble? Who wouldn’t want to get out of the chaotic crazy mess that this world may find itself in? But should we be looking for that kind of exit? I mean it might seem biblical, it might seem well – if it was good enough for Jesus isn’t that good enough for us?
Wait. Wait a second. How long has this idea been around? Well when you start looking into it it’s only been around for less than 200 years. And so you need to go back to the Bible. What does the Bible say? Because this idea comes from a misunderstanding, misunderstanding of what Scripture really says and what will happen.
And certainly there will be a time when people are changed to spirit. When the dead will be resurrected. But it happens at Christ’s return and that’s what the Bible calls resurrection. And if you don’t understand the resurrection the challenging part is you won’t see the error in this whole concept of the rapture.
Because this much is true. Our world is facing a mess. We are in trouble. Bible prophecy says very clearly that when you look around this world we recognize it can’t go on. God has to intervene. There has to be a time where Christ will come back and stop the chaos.
Do you see those signs? Because they are around us. In fact in the book of Luke we can read a prophecy about this time that lies just ahead. It says this in Luke 21:25 Luke 21:25And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
American King James Version×. It says, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring.” And then it goes on in verse 27, “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
You see that speaks to the time when Jesus will intercede. And there are so many passages in the Bible that speak to this very time. This time of cataclysmic events that will be happening. A “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.” This difficult time, even Daniel prophesied about that. And when does it end? Well it all culminates in the return of Jesus Christ.
In fact in Matthew it says “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” So you think about those difficult times. Who wouldn’t want an escape? Wouldn’t you like to get away from it all and be off in heaven with Jesus? Well the problem with that is, nice story but it’s fiction. It’s not fact. It is not fact. The rapture is not an escape hatch. It’s really unbiblical and so when you read what Scripture has to say God puts us on notice that this exit strategy of the rapture is not His idea. God might give us a little bit different sign. It probably would look like this.
There is no secret snatching away of believers that will occur in the future. Will you somehow just exit life's consequences and escape? You see if you really read the Bible that’s not the way out. That’s not the way it’s going to happen and God puts us on notice. Puts us on notice that we’d better look into His word and find out what does it really say?
And so we’d like to help you with that very thing. We have a study aid that’s called “The Rapture vs. the Bible.” And you can get this free study aid. Go to our website beyondtoday.tv. Call the number on your screen. Because if you’re going to really dig into the Bible you can get the help that you’ll need by ordering this particular study aid. So we hope you’ll call now, we hope you’ll go to our website and get this important study aid. Because when you do you’ll find that the Bible will show very clearly that the rapture is not what Christ taught. It’s not what the disciples taught. This idea of Christian escapism might sound appealing well because we look around this world and we see this world is a mess. There’s not much true satisfaction that is out here in this world. But we have to be careful with that idea of thinking of a rapture because it’s not an exit. It’s just not an exit. The rapture is a fantasy, it’s an imaginary dream. It’s a diversion. And that’s one of the problems with it. It’s a diversion from the Truth of Scripture. And so let’s see why. Why is that the case? And I think to consider that we need to ask the question what is the New Testament about? If you had to focus in and consider a major theme of the New Testament what would it be?
Well you’d probably think of Christ’s resurrection because Christ was crucified and He was raised back to life. Spirit life. And certainly the New Testament talks about that and it talks about our future as well. And in fact in 1 Corinthians 15 it speaks to that very concept. And notice how important this idea is. In 1 Corinthians 15:17 1 Corinthians 15:17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.
American King James Version×it says this, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” This is an important idea. The resurrection becomes the basis for our faith. And it’s in the Scripture over and over again. Do you know how many times in the New Testament resurrection is talked about? Over 40 times you’ll find it in the New Testament and so you can’t overlook the significance of the resurrection.
And in fact a little bit later in this very same chapter verse 51 says this “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep,” we’ll not all die “but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” And so when we read what God inspired here we see very clearly when is it when Christians will be raised? Resurrected? Well Paul plainly says “at the last trumpet” when Christ returns. And at the resurrection God will change believers who are still living at that time to spirit. So the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of those faithful believers, when does it happen? Same time. It happens at the same time. And this resurrection is something we can look to and we can hang our hope on it.
In fact the book of Hebrews says it’s our anchor, it’s an anchor to the soul that we can be sure of. And so it focuses over and over not on rapture. Not on that kind of an exit because that is not an exit. We shouldn't be looking for an exit strategy, but we’re looking to the time when Christ will return to earth. And in fact the Bible’s pretty plain. Not everybody is protected. Not everyone is.
1 Corinthians 10 says that some will go through difficult times. The book of Revelation says some will be martyred. There will be war that will be made against them. So not everybody escapes. That’s just the way that it is. But God also says when you are faithful God won’t allow you to be tempted beyond what you’re able, that He will make a way that you can bear it. That’s in 1 Corinthians chapter 10. And so when we put these different passages together it becomes so much clearer. It doesn’t have to be confusing.
Now when you think in terms of the rapture there is a section of Scripture that we’ve got to talk about for a moment because it’s probably the classic rapture Scripture. One that often times people will cite but when you read it does it really prove this idea of escaping off to heaven with Jesus? Does it really say that? Well let’s take a look at it. It’s over in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For 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:
American King James Version×and here in 1 Thessalonians it says this. It says very clearly “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. 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.”
Now does that sound vaguely familiar? It kind of sounds like what we read there in 1 Corinthians 15 doesn’t it? That’s the same trumpet that was mentioned. And being “caught up” is that idea of being changed in the resurrection and it kind of has this idea of suddenly happening, yes that’s true. And there is certainly a force that’s happening at that time. But what’s being described here? What’s being described in 1 Corinthians 15, this sudden catching up of believers? Those at when? Well at Christ’s return that’s when it happens. And what does the Bible call it? The rapture. No. Doesn’t call it the rapture. What is it called? The resurrection. It’s the resurrection. That’s where Christians are caught up. Where? To heaven? No they’re caught up to clouds. They’re caught up in the air, in the atmosphere. And then what happens? What’s the timing? Well it’s at Christ’s return. And what happens next? They come back to earth.
The Bible says very clearly He’s not returning to go back to heaven. That’s certainly not the way. If we were looking for that kind of a sign it wouldn’t say that. I think the sign would be something like this. Traffic isn’t heading in that direction. It’s coming back to earth. If you think you’re going to be whisked off to heaven that’s a dead end. That is not the truth. That is not what is going to happen. What’s happening is the resurrection and return of Christ to this earth.
And so to get all those details it can seem sometimes a little bit convincing but when you put the first verses together, you put those passages together, you see it has nothing to do with the secret, it has nothing to do with being off in heaven before an end-time tribulation.
And so if you want to put those different passages together order our study aid “The Rapture vs. the Bible.” You can it at beyondtoday.tv. Call the number on your screen. Because in order to put it all together you’ve got to study your Bible and our study aid can help you to do just that.
In fact there’s many different ways our study aid helps you to see the truth of the Scripture. There is a beautiful chart in our publication that’s called the “Progression of End Time Events.” And it maps out the book of Revelation, all the various seals, the trumpets, the plagues which sometimes can seem so confusing, and then it zeroes in on that time when Christ is seen in the clouds. That happens first. Christ begins to return. And then what happens? Well our chart helps you to see very clearly and put numerous passages together to show how God’s people are resurrected. And then Scriptures show us that Christ returns to earth. He comes to the Mount of Olives.
And so to think otherwise, well unfortunately that would be going the wrong way. Because Jesus Christ in the Scripture gives the true signs of the times. In fact in the Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24 Christ showed the way by talking about this time that just lies ahead. Matthew 24:29 Matthew 24:29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
American King James Version×says this. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven.” See then Christ is going to return. And so no doubt the signs are obvious. They are all around us and they point to one thing. It points to the fact that Christ will return. Christ will return and what happens then? Christians are resurrected to meet him. To meet him in the air. In fact that’s what 1 Thessalonians 4:17 1 Thessalonians 4:17Then 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.
American King James Version×talks about. It says then we who are alive we will be caught up together with those who are resurrected from the graves and meet them in the clouds and meet the Lord in the air. It becomes very clear. So this critical factor to really consider in 1 Thessalonians 4, what does it mean to meet someone? Now if we put ourselves back in the first century, back at the time these words were used, that word meet was often used when they would welcome a dignitary that was arriving to the city. And what would happen? People from the city would go out and the loyal supporters, let’s say those that are coming from the city, would go out and meet their king who would be coming to that city. So they’re like a, like an official reception that would be given to a visiting ruler. So the citizens escort the king into the city.
And so when we understand what that word meet really means I think it does become pretty clear doesn’t it that Christ is certainly going to return. There is no doubt. And when Christ returns true Christians will be resurrected to meet the King of kings. To meet their King and as an escort of honor will officially welcome our newly arriving King and accompany Him back to earth where He will rule from Jerusalem.
That’s what those passages are all about it’s not some kind of escape off to heaven and there are so many passages in the Bible that speak to this very thing. They speak of the fact that Christ is going to return to the Mount of Olives, that the saints will reign with Christ. And where will that happen? On earth. There’s passages that talk about reigning with Christ. Reigning with Him a thousand years on earth. And so the sign is obvious. Christ will return and He’s coming to this earth to establish His Kingdom right here.
Now if you want to put all those signs together, put all those passages so they’ll make clearer sense I hope you’ll get our study aid because in our study aid it helps you to decide and determine where these fit all together so that with all the various detail it can become so clear. In fact if you are a prophecy buff, you like to sort those things out, you’re worried about the end time, you’re confused by the book of Revelation, get our study aid. Because there’s many different ways to help you to understand what the Bible is really talking about.
In fact there’s a wonderful chart that’s contained in our booklet where it puts various passages together where we’re meeting Christ and how they all fit. It’s a beautiful explanation of passages in 1 Thessalonians 4 like we talked about but also including those passages in 1 Corinthians and Revelation and even in Matthew so that you can recognize those passages and begin to understand them that much more clearly. So get your copy of the “The Rapture Versus the Bible.”
Go online beyondtoday.tv or call us at the number on your screen. Because if you really want to understand the truth of the Bible it’s important to recognize these signs. And really, what is most important? What do you think is most important about understanding the signs? Well it all boils down to one thing: will you be ready? Will you be ready? Because I think the sign we’d better take to heart is one that is something like this.
Because right now we have an opportunity. We have an opportunity. God’s giving us, in a sense, a sign. Take caution with your life. There is no time to waste in building your relationship with God. That’s what is most important. To really get to know the Father, to get to know our Savior Jesus Christ. The time is now. And so we’ve got to take caution when it comes to how we live our life and realize this world, this is not what it’s all about. This world and its ways are coming to an end.
And so it’s important to recognize you know mankind doesn’t have the solutions. We don’t know how to live in peace. We don’t know the way. And so we’ve got to take spiritual construction of our life to heart. That’s what God wants us to do. He wants us to build this spiritual house which would be our life. And so over and over again Christ encourages us to do that very thing. There’s a wonderful passage where Christ reminds us of that in Matthew 7:24 Matthew 7:24Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock:
American King James Version×and it says this. Christ Himself says “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them,” Christ says I “will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came,” and what happened? “The winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall.” So you hear those sayings. That’s a good builder, but then if you hear those sayings He goes on and you do not do them well Christ also says be careful. Because the rain descends, it says the floods came, the winds blew and beat on that house and what happened? It fell. And Christ says “And great was its fall.”
So when we think about this cautionary message Christ gives us He’s saying grow. Get your spiritual construction going because God has mapped the way and He’s given us the signs that lead us to a right relationship with Him. So be a profitable builder. Be sure that you build on that solid foundation of God’s truth with His understanding, with His wisdom.
So get out your Bible, study your Bible, pray to God, draw closer to Him, repent of your sins, draw close to God and replace those wrong behaviors with the right way so that you do have a spiritual house that you’re building. It’s by doing the will of God. It’s becoming more Christ like. It’s keeping that construction going.
Really, ask for His help and submit to His will and to His way. Because we don’t have to fear the future. We don’t have to be worried about it. When we stay close to God our escape in not found off in the rapture. Trust God. Look to Him. Look to the hope of the resurrection because the time is going to come when Christ returns and we can hear him say then “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your lord.” In fat that sign might look something like this.
You see this is a sign we all want to see. God offers so much if you’re willing to follow His commandments and put them into practice in your life.
So resolve to do just that. Resolve to use your life as a time of preparation, a time of training, a time to get ready for the coming Kingdom of God. Draw close to Him. Trust Him. Follow His Word. Then we can be assured we’ll see the signs of the time.
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