The Rapture Refuted

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  • The Rapture Refuted

    Is the Rapture Biblical?

    When I speak of the Rapture, I am referring to the belief that any moment (the doctrine of immanency) Christians across the world will not die, but will fly into the air to meet Jesus and be with Jesus forevermore. This Rapture is not taught by the Bible.

    There are two primary passages that the doctrine of the Rapture is based. One is 1 Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” The other is 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, 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 imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

    I can see how those verses, taken out of context, are compelling consistent with the Rapture for believers of the Rapture. But, I don’t believe the case for the Rapture stands up under scrutiny. Many bad doctrines survive by a lack of critical thinking. Where critical thinking is lacking, people see what they want to see in scripture and think their case is proven, without giving it much thought. I’m hoping to encourage critical thinking by breaking down my rebuttal of the Rapture interpretation by points, inviting those who disagree with me to directly address each point.

    Point 1: Starting with the epistle to the Thessalonians, the topic is that we should not grieve for those who have died because we will eventually be with Jesus and reunited with our loved ones who have previously gone on. This is the hope of all Christians. This is the hope that Paul is speaking of, not the hope avoiding death by going up in the Rapture.

    Point 2: Real hope is something that we must be able to obtain; else, it’s a false hope and a lie. It’s the real hope of Christians to be with Jesus and our loved ones forevermore. It’s a false hope to spend our lives hoping to avoid death because of the Rapture, only to die, as every generation of Christian in history, before those living today, have died.

    Point 3: Paul is speaking to the Thessalonians and repeatedly applies what he’s saying to them. He tells them not to grieve. He tells them to encourage each other with his words. As this applies to the Thessalonians, if Paul is referring to the Rapture, it must have happened in the first century, in the life times of the Thessalonians to whom he is speaking. Else, Paul is not talking about the Rapture.

    Point 4: Paul doesn’t tell the Thessalonians that anyone won’t die. This is an incredible omission if Paul is offering them the hope of not dying. We know from scripture that everyone is appointed to die. The belief that one generation won’t die is simply assumed, based on Paul not telling the Thessalonians that they’ll all die, while speaking of them eventually being with Jesus forevermore. But, it’s not necessary to tell people they’re going to die, especially if you’re trying to encourage them. Death is a given.

    Point 5: Moving on to the epistle to the Corinthians, the topic is overcoming death through Resurrection in Christ. Paul is not speaking of avoiding death by Rapture, but in undoing death.

    Point 6: Paul is speaking the Corinthians and uses the pronoun “we”, meaning Paul and the Corinthians, when he refers to what some believe is the Rapture. As Paul is talking about the first century Corinthians, if Paul is referring to the Rapture, it must have happened in the first century, in the life times of the Corinthians to whom he is speaking. Else, Paul is not talking about the Rapture.

    Point 7: Before the couple of verses used to support the Rapture, in that chapter, Paul devotes 49 verses to telling the Corinthians that they will die and that they must die! The Rapture is a complete contradiction of that. “You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies… For as in Adam all die…” Anything there you don’t understand?

    Point 8: Believers in the Rapture strongly lean on the phrase “We shall not all sleep.” All Greek manuscripts for this chapter have no significant variations, except in this one spot. A number of Greek manuscripts read “We shall all sleep.” Some read “We shall all rise.” Both variations destroy the Rapture doctrine. The Latin vulgate, based on some of the earliest Greek manuscripts, reads “We shall all indeed rise again” (courtesy of blind and unbiased Google Translate). The popular choice of modern translations, “We shall not all sleep,” fits the context very well if it’s understood to mean that we shall not all stay asleep.

    Point 9 [bonus]: All the fruit for the Rapture doctrine has been poisonous. A few years ago followers of Harold Camping sold their possessions to fund a massive advertising campaign. The whole nation was very much aware of Camping’s date for the Rapture. This brought ridicule to the name of Christ from unbelievers, and it cost all Christians’ credibility when the Rapture didn’t come. This scenario has repeated many times since the modern rise of the popularity of the Rapture doctrine. While many who hold the Rapture doctrine are quick to conveniently criticize failed date setting, all advocates of the Rapture have set general times for the Rapture that historically come and go, leaving a loss of faith in their wake. The Rapture doctrine has also played a large role in the creation of Christian cults, including suicide cults.

  • #2
    First off: the Roman Empire is dead and the Son Of Man takes possession of the Kingdom during its life - Daniel 2:44 & Matthew 21:43.

    There is one Old Testament passage that speaks of the church, Daniel 7:18-27, whereby the Little Horn makes war with the saints and prevails against the saints, wearing out the saints until their deliverance Matt. 24:22 & Luke 21:28.

    The Little Horn persecution and tribulation occurs during the Kingdom of Iron and Clay, the Kingdom of the Fourth Beast. The Roman Empire!

    Likewise, in 2 Thessalonians 1:1-9, who is Christ coming to provide relief of persecutions and tribulation? The church of Thessalonica!

    Ephesians 3:21 begs to differ, the church age is a world without end and its increase never ceases (Isaiah 9:7).

    Here are more great passages:

    Isaiah 65:20-24 (procreation, sin, death, and prayers are still evident - Isaiah 65:17)

    Isaiah 66:19-24 (evangelism, procreation, prayers, and corpses/death is still evident)

    Revelation 22:2 (nations are still in process of being healed is still evident)

    Revelation 22:15 (sin is still evident)
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    • #3
      Here are promises concerning creation:

      neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

      Genesis 8:21b

      In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

      His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.

      Psalm 72:7,17

      And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.

      Psalm 78:69

      His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.

      It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.

      Psalm 89:36-37

      The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

      Psalm 93:1

      Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

      Psalm 96:10

      Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

      Psalm 104:5

      Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.

      Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created.

      He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.

      Psalm 148:4-6

      One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

      Ecclesiastes 1:4



      OLD TESTAMENT APOCALYPTIC IDIOMS AND HYPERBOLES (MATTHEW 24:29-30):

      Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

      And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.

      Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

      Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.

      Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.


      Isaiah 13:13-17

      The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

      And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

      And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.

      And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts.


      Isaiah 19:1-4

      And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

      For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.


      Isaiah 34:4-5

      And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.

      All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God.

      I will also vex the hearts of many people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations, into the countries which thou hast not known.

      Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall.

      For thus saith the Lord God; The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee.


      Ezekiel 32:7-11

      Micah 1:3-9 (deliverance of King Hezekiah from King Sennacherib)

      2 Samuel 22:7-16 (deliverance of David from King Saul)

      Psalm 18 (deliverance of David from King Saul)
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