Monday, April 22, 2013

The Rupture of the Rapture

You’ve seen the slogans on bumper stickers: “In case of the rapture this vehicle will be unmanned…The rapture: the only way to fly.”  The concept of the rapture is on the lips and in the thoughts of many people today.  Proponents of the dispensational view have boldly and widely preached it.  Many have come to accept it as being true.  Hal Lindsey, author of The Late, Great Planet Earth, described the scene associated with the rapture in these words: “There I was, driving down the freeway and all of a sudden the place went crazy…cars going in all directions and not one of them had a driver.  I mean it was wild!  I think we’ve got an invasion from outer space.”  Richard DeHaan, another proponent of the rapture, described it as a bewildering scene of people who suddenly disappeared without warning.  He said these individuals were snatched (or raptured) by Jesus from earth into heaven.
Dr. Robert Strong provides a concise statement of the rapture doctrine: “By the rapture is meant the sudden and possibly secret coming of Christ in the air to snatch away from the earth the resurrected bodies of those who had died in faith, and with them the living saints.”  It is believed that the saints will be raptured for seven years while sinners on earth experience a period of tribulation after which Jesus will come with His raptured saints and establish an earthly kingdom over which He will reign for one thousand years.  There are several reasons why the doctrine known as the rapture should be rejected.
The Bible does not teach that Christ’s second coming will be in secret.  The secret coming of Christ is a major tenet of rapture proponents.  The Bible declares that when Jesus comes again “every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1:7).  Rather than a secretive event, His second coming is described as a “revelation” and an appearing (2 Thess. 1:7; Heb. 9:28).
The Bible teaches that Christ’s return will be accompanied by audible phenomena.  The trumpet of God shall sound (1 Cor. 15:52), the voice of Jesus will be heard, along with the voice of the archangel (1 Thess. 4:16), and the heavens shall pass away with a great noise (2 Pet. 3:10).
The Bible teaches that Christ’s return will initiate the general resurrection in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come forth (Jn. 5:28-29).  His coming will be marked by the resurrection of both the Christian and the non-Christian at the same time (Acts 24:15).  Rapture advocates proclaim that the resurrection of the just and unjust will be separated by a period of seven years.
The Bible teaches that the preaching of the gospel would continue until the end of time (Matt. 28:19-20).  This could not occur if the rapture doctrine is true.
At Christ’s return the earth and everything in it will be destroyed (2 Pet. 3:10).  There will be no earth for a so-called tribulation period to occur.  Neither will there be an earth left upon which Jesus could reign for a thousand years.
At Christ’s return the Judgment will occur (Matt. 25:31-33).  Everyone will be changed from possessing mortality to immortality (1 Cor. 15:51-53).  Both the living and dead saints and sinners will be rewarded according to their deeds (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:6).  The non-Christian will be consigned to hell while the child of God will be welcomed into heaven (Matt. 25:34, 41).
The doctrine of the rapture is the result of man’s vivid imagination.  There is simply no biblical support for the teaching known as the rapture.