Rapture or Opression

The Rapture, as defined by my previous belief and also popularly held by the United Pentecostal Church.

The belief that at some undetermined time jesus will return and catch away his bride (like a thief in the night, when you are asleep and unprepared) to live with him for eternity in heaven. Leaving all of those who did not become saved during the time proceeding his arrival to fend for themselves amidst the tribulation times. At which time you will be forced to accept the mark of the beast if you want to live (you can not buy or sell without it). If you accept the mark of the beast you are damned, with no chance of redemption, to burn for an eternity in hell (a place prepared for Satan and the fallen angels). You will also endure all of the grievous plagues that are to be inflicted on the unfaithful and those who accepted the mark as will the beast himself. When one is Raptured, they will fly or float up into the heavens leaving behind their mortal body to be replaced with a new heavenly body that is neither male nor female. It can not ever be afflicted in any way, even age does not affect you. You do not need to eat or sleep and have no need for money.

How can I be included in the Rapture?
You must be saved.

How does one get saved?
You must repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of jesus christ for the remission of your sins and be filled with the Holyghost. This is what is known as being born again.

Can I be lost after I am saved?
Yes. Sin can not enter into the kingdom of heaven. If you have sinned, that sin is with you unless you have repented of that sin.

What is a sin?
Anything unholy or evil. Basically everything that doesn’t have anything to do with God’s holy nature. But you have to leave out all of the incest, murder, stealing, rape, favoritism, glory seeking, lying ways of God. Those don’t count. Only the “good” things count.

What does it mean to repent?
One must turn away from the sin and never do it again. If you ever repeat a sin then you did not repent.

What does it mean to be baptized?
You must have someone that is saved (filled with the “holyghost”) after you have repented and only then, dunk you under water and say the words “I now baptize you in the NAME of Jesus” (Father, Son and Holyghost will not suffice). This is baptism the “correct” way.

What is receiving the Holyghost?
The proper way to receive the holyghost is after you have repented and been baptized the proper way you open up your heart and mind and let the spirit of god flood through your soul. When this happens you will hear strange sounds and words in your mind. This is the holyghost wanting to speak through you. You must submit yourself completely to the holyghost and release your tongue and allow it to talk through you. This is known as speaking in tongues. You do not have the holyghost until you speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues is the biblical evidence that you have received the holyghost.
You are not saved until all of these things are completed and then it is only while you are a good boy or girl. If you sin, you must do it all over again (accept you don’t have to be baptized). You know, repent, get the holyghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues.

From age 13 until about age 35 or 36 I believed this with all of my being. I didn’t receive the holyghost until I was around maybe 28. I lived from the age of 13 to 28 +- in fear that the rapture was about to take place and I would be left behind. I actually lied to fellow members of the church and told them that I had gotten the holyghost sometime around 20 because if you don’t have the holyghost, when the sermon ends they will have an alter call and you are expected to go to the alter. Otherwise, they will bring you to the alter and try to pray you through to the holyghost, for your own good of course. I have spent countless hours with my hands raised in the air trying to “find” god and “get” the holyghost so that I would not be lost for eternity. I have had my hands raised for so long that all feeling was gone and someone is on either side of me holding them up for me, praying to get the holyghost. So tired from standing and praying that I can barely talk. You want to talk about abuse, there you go.

I lived in fear that at any moment god would come back and that little thought I had or my last “private moment” would get me left behind. Can you imagine a male teenager with urges, desires and needs believing that all of those things are wrong, evil, unnatural and sinful. Yep, quite a mind fuck. Girlfriends are a no no, you might sin. Thinking it is the same as doing it so if you think it you have to repent just as if you actually did it.

I can distinctly remember my wife and I (fiance at the time) talking about the rapture and that it would probably happen before we could even get married (almost 22 years ago). I remember dream after dream of being left behind and hiding from the evil mark of the beast people (those who accepted the mark) and trying to find food or trying to keep from getting caught.

Did that fear stop once I was saved? Nope, because sure enough, there would be a day once in a while that I would do something that was considered a sin and that would put me in jeopardy of being left behind yet again. You know what the most messed up part of the whole thing was, the fear of being left behind and hell wasn’t even my driving factor. It was disappointing the almighty loving and benevolent god that saw my poor state and sacrificed himself on the cross for my sins. Wasn’t he so thoughtful and nice?!

Some would probably say that I have a bad attitude towards the christian faith, they would probably be correct. It took the best years of my life away from me. I will never get those back. It is now my goal, my purpose in life (not entirely though) to expose all for that crap for what it is. Lies. Lie upon lie to enslave people into submission of one form or another. That is all it is.

Sorry for that bit of bile dripping from my mouth. Let me just wipe that off, there, that’s better.

Not exactly what I posted before but with the combination of FB loosing my post and me thinking about it a little it got me riled a little. lol

What Rapture?

by Farrell Till

Re-posted here by permission from Farrell Till.

Thank you Mr. Till!


Eighteen replies to Robert Turkel’s attempt to defend preterism are listed at the bottom of the index page in this forum. His articles made frequent references to the “rapture” belief of dispensationalists, so I often had to remind readers that what dispensationalists believe about the second-coming prophecies was irrelevant to his debate with me, because I am well aware that the New Testament does not teach the rapture doctrine believed by what is probably a Christian majority. As I explained in my replies to Turkel, New Testament writers believed that there would be an imminent return of Jesus within the lifetime of some people of their generation. Those prophecies obviously failed, so biblical inerrantists have been leaning over backwards to try to explain the failures. Preterists claim that the prophecies and their references to “the sign of the son of man coming in the clouds” and “all the tribes of the earth mourning over him” were figurative, and dispensationalists have redefined terms like “this generation,” “soon,” “at hand,” etc. to make them references to events in the distant future. Both are acts of desperation by people who refuse to accept the obvious failure of the second-coming prophecies.

My eighteen replies to Turkel, linked to above, soundly refuted the figurative fulfillments of the second-coming prophecies, which preterists claim happened in AD 70. In this article, I will reply to the dispensationalist belief that the second-coming of Jesus is yet in the future. An important part of their belief is something that they call “the rapture,” which is a doctrine that was taught nowhere in the New Testament. Before I show that the doctrine of a rapture clearly contradicts New Testament passages that referred to the “second coming,” I should first explain what dispensationalists believe the rapture will be.

In my replies to Turkel’s preterism, I often said that dispensationalism is just as ridiculous as preterism; however, I think I will have to admit that for sheer silliness and screwiness, the rapture part of dispensationalism can hardly be exceeded, because it puts a figurative spin on second-coming prophecies in order to deceive people into believing in a “rapture,” which, according to the dispensationalist spin, will be an event when the righteous dead will be resurrected and, along with the righteous living at the time, will all be caught up into the air to be with Jesus while a seven-year “tribulation” ravages the unrighteous who were left behind on earth, but this so-called “rapture” is taught nowhere in the New Testament. Indeed, as I will be showing, it flagrantly conflicts with the face-value reading of various New Testament passages that spoke of the second-coming and “end times.” To see that the doctrine of a “rapture” contradicts the New Testament, we must first understand what the dispensationalist concept of the rapture is. This belief was recently given mainstream popularity by the “left-behind” novels published by Timothy LaHaye, who with Jerry Falwell co-founded the Moral Majority, and Jerry Jenkins. I understand that the sale of those novels has enriched both LaHaye and Jenkins, a fact that makes the “rapture” just one more example of how religion often exploits the general public. I wouldn’t waste my time reading fiction that had the obvious intention of playing on the fears of the biblically uninformed by propagating a doctrine that is obviously contrary to New Testament teachings, but having read reviews of the first novel in this series, I think I can summarize its plot.

On an airline flight from Chicago to London, the pilot is informed by a flight attendant that several passengers have mysteriously disappeared. Their clothes were left behind, but the passengers themselves had vanished. Through radio contacts with other airliners, the pilot learned that the same thing had happened on their flights. The pilot was ordered to return to Chicago, and when the plane arrived there, the ones who had been left behind on the flight, found chaos present all over the city. Airplanes, cars, and other vehicles, whose operators had also mysteriously vanished, had crashed. When the pilot returned home, he found that his wife and son had also disappeared. His wife was a Christian, who had claimed to see signs of an imminent rapture of true believers, so the pilot saw this as the only possible explanation of the disappearance of so many people.

I will interrupt the plot summation here to point out that the disappearance of so many is a serious flaw in this fanciful novel, because the New Testament teaches that only a few people will be saved.

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14 For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Luke 13:22 Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.”

Matthew 22:14 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

That LaHaye and Jenkins depicted so many who had been caught up in the “rapture” is not just a flaw in the plot of this novel; it is a reflection of the deplorable fact that many who claim to be Christians rarely take the time to learn what the Bible actually teaches. We see this misconception about the number of “saved” people reflected on an almost daily basis. Over the news, we often see people interviewed after the deaths of those who had somehow caught the attention of network news saying something like, “He [she] is with God now,” or “He [she] is in a better place,” or “He [she] is in heaven now,” whereas, if the New Testament is accepted as the “inspired word of God,” the odds are that someone who has died would be more likely to be in hell than in heaven. I can’t remember ever hearing anyone say of a recently deceased person that he [she] is probably weeping and gnashing his [her] teeth in hell. No, such talk is almost invariably about how the dead person is in heaven. That belief in widescale “salvation” was apparently reflected in LaHaye’s and Jenkins’ “left-behind” novels is within itself sufficient to show that they present an unscriptural concept of what will happen when Jesus returns.

As the storyline in the first novel in the “left-behind” series continued, the pilot, who returned home and found his own wife and son missing, called the office of her church and found the pastor there. During a subsequent meeting of the two, the pastor told the pilot that he had never actually been a real Christian and was therefore not surprised at having been left behind. The obvious purpose of this part of the plot was to promote the “rapturist” view that when Jesus returns, he will take the righteous into heaven with him for seven years, so that they will be spared the suffering that will come during seven years of tribulation that a figure known as “the antichrist” will bring upon the unbelievers who were left behind when the righteous were caught up to meet Jesus. The identity of the antichrist will not be revealed until after the seven years of tribulation, at which time “all nations” will attack Israel in a war that will culminate with the battle of Armageddon, during which the armies of heaven will be led by Jesus. Needless to say, everyone who is not a believer will be destroyed in this final battle, and Christ will begin a thousand-year reign on earth. Satan will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit at this time to remain there during this earthly reign of Christ (Rev. 20:1-3). During this thousand years, there will be a “golden age” of Christianity, but some people will be born who are not faithful to Christ, so at the end of the thousand years, Satan will be released from the bottomless pit that he had been thrown into at the beginning of Christ’s reign (Rev. 20:7). At this time, those not loyal to Christ will gather against him again and be defeated. Satan and his cohorts will then be thrown into a lake of fire (Rev. 20:10) where they will be tormented forever. God will then create a new heaven and earth and put those who were “saved” on the new earth to rule there forever.

There are, of course, variations of the “rapture” doctrine, but the summation above represents the most commonly believed aspects of it. The word “rapture” doesn’t actually appear in the New Testament, but this belief is based primarily on a strained interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

An important point for readers to keep in mind as I analyze the rapture doctrine is that this passage clearly teaches that when Jesus returns, he will bring with him those who have died and then call those who are living at the time up into the air to meet him. Another proof text used by the rapturists is 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.

50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 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 will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

A serious problem with the “rapture” doctrine is that it teaches that there will be multiple resurrections. Rapturists teach that Jesus will return, at which time, the righteous dead will be resurrected to be caught up into the air to meet him with those who are living at the time. Then after a battle with the forces of evil, Jesus will reign on earth for a thousand years, after which there will be a second resurrection to precede the final judgment, but some very clear New Testament texts teach that both the righteous and unrighteous dead will be resurrected at the same time to face judgment according to what they had done on earth.

John 5:28 Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when ALL who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and will come out–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

This passage clearly says that “the hour” is coming when all that are in their tombs will come out. It doesn’t say that the hour is coming when the righteous dead will hear the voice of Jesus and come out, and then a thousand years later, the unrighteous dead will hear his voice and come out. It says that there will be an “hour” when both the righteous and the unrighteous dead will hear his voice and come out. The subsequent statement that those who have done good will attain the resurrection of life and those who have done evil the resurrection of condemnation certainly teaches that both the righteous and the unrighteous will be simultaneously resurrected and then judged. By saying that “the hour” is coming when this will happen supports the view of a simultaneous resurrection of both groups but is hardly compatible with the repturist belief that the righteous will be resurrected and then a thousand years later the unrighteous will be raised.

As we saw above, the rapture doctrine teaches that Jesus will “bring with him” the righteous dead so that they and the righteous living can reign with him for a thousand years, but other New Testament texts teach in rather plain language that the resurrection of the righteous will happen on “the last day,” not a thousand years before the last day.

John 6:37 Everything that the Father gives me [Jesus] will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; 38 for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.” 41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day….

I have often pointed out that an inerrant Bible would require every verse in it to be consistent with all other verses, but if the rapture doctrine is true, the Bible is errant in other places, because the passage just quoted contained four references to a resurrection of the righteous, which would happen “on the last day,” but the rapture doctrine says that the resurrection will occur a thousand years before the last day. Hence, if the spins that rapturists put on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 are correct, the passage quoted above from the book of John is incorrect in repeatedly saying that the righteous will be resurrected “on the last day.” Hence, the rapture doctrine is incompatible with the biblical inerrancy doctrine.

Rapturists will no doubt object that 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says only that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him and that the “dead in Christ will rise first” but says nothing about a resurrection of the unrighteous at this time; however, those who so interpret this passage fail to keep in mind that Paul’s purpose in saying these things was to give comfort to those who were concerned about friends and relatives who had already died: “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope” (v:13), so he wanted to assure them that when Jesus returned, God would bring with him those who had fallen asleep “in him” (v:14). His intention, then, was to let the Christians worried about the eventual fate of Christian friends and relatives who had died before the return of Jesus know that God had not forgotten them and that they would be given top priority when Jesus returned. Besides this, the passage does leave room to understand that a general resurrection of both the rightous and unrighteous would happen at the return of Jesus, because Paul said in verse 16 that “the dead in Christ would rise first.” This could have simply meant that the dead in Christ would rise first or before the living righteous at that time would be caught up to meet Jesus, but it could have meant that at the general resurrection when Jesus returns, the dead in Christ would rise first and then those who had died in an unrighteous state. Regardless, if this text is to be made consistent with others quoted above that mentioned a general resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous in the same hour–and biblical inerrancy requires such consistency–it must be interpreted to mean that Paul made no direct mention of the resurrection of the unrighteous not because he thought that they wouldn’t be resurrected at this time but because they lay outside the scope of his purpose, which was to comfort Thessalonian Christians who were concerned about Christian relatives and friends who had already died. The failure to mention directly the unrighteous dead, however, would not mean that Paul was claiming that only the righteous dead would be resurrected at that time.

The rapture doctrine is also inconsistent with what the Bible teaches about the “final judgment.” John 5:28-29, quoted above, teaches rather clearly that there will be one general resurrection, at which time both the righteous and the unrighteous will be judged. This same view of the final judgment is taught elsewhere in the New Testament.

2 Thessalonians 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

Two groups were identified in this passage: those who have been troubled or persecuted, who would be Christians, and the troublers, who would be those who “know not God.” The persecuted Christians will be given “rest” (v:7), and the troublers or persecuters, who have not obeyed “the gospel of [the] Lord Jesus Christ,” will be punished with “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (v:9). This “rest” and “punishment” will happen “in that day” (v:10) when “the Lord Jesus [is] revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,” as he takes vengeance on the disobedient in “flaming fire” (v:8). This text is entirely consistent with the passages quoted above from the gospel of John, which taught a resurrection and judgment of both the righteous and unrighteous in the same “hour,” but it isn’t at all consistent with the rapture doctrine, which teaches that Jesus will return but will not resurrect or judge the unrighteous until a thousand years have passed.

The rapture doctrine also teaches that the earth will endure for a thousand years after the return of Jesus, but this aspect of the doctrine conflicts with 2 Peter 3:9-14, which teaches rather clearly that the earth and everything in it will melt in fervent heat when Jesus returns. After referring to “scoffers” who would ask about the promise of Jesus’s coming, because all things were continuing as they had since the creation (vs:3-4), “Peter” went on to describe the catastrophic ending of the world when Jesus did come back.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

Aha, some rapturists will probably say, this text spoke of “a new heaven and a new earth,” so this is consistent with the dispensational view of the rapture, but it really isn’t. The dispensationalist view of the second coming is that Jesus will return, take the righteous dead and the righteous living at the time off to enjoy the rapture for seven years, while the ones left behind experience the “tribulation,” and then after a thousand-year reign of Christ, the earth will finally be destroyed for a new, rejuvenated earth to arise from its ruins, and a final judgment of the wicked will occur. The dispensational view teaches this order of events: (1) Jesus returns (2) the dead in Christ are resurrected to come with Jesus, (3) the living righteous are caught up in the air to meet Jesus, (4) a rapture of seven years happens, (5) Jesus returns to Jerusalem, (6) the armies of the world gather together against righteous forces, which will be led by Jesus, (7) the righteous forces prevail, (8) Satan is bound and cast into a bottomless pit, (9) Jesus reigns on earth for a thousand years, (10) Satan is released from the bottomless pit, (11) another battle with Satan and his forces happens, (12) Satan is defeated and, with his forces, is cast into a lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented forever, (13) the dead, both the great and the small, stand before the throne to be judged, (14) the wicked–whose names were not found in the book of life–are cast into the lake of fire, and (15) a new heaven and a new earth, where righteous dwells, arise.

The scriptures I quoted earlier, however, teach this order of events: (1) Jesus returns on the clouds of heaven with his angels, (2) the earth and everything in it is destroyed, (3) all who had already died are simultaneously resurrected, (4) the living and the dead stand before the throne to be judged according to the deeds they had done while living, and (5) the righteous are saved in heaven, and the wicked are condemned to eternal torment in hell. The following passage, which followed descriptions of the second coming of Jesus in the previous chapter, clearly teaches this view of “final judgment.”

Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

This passage is entirely consistent with the texts quoted earlier, where Jesus said that the hour was coming when all who were in their graves would hear the voice of Jesus and come forth, those who had done good to the resurrection of life and those who had done evil to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29), it is consistent with John 6:37ff, which said four times that Jesus would raise the righteous “on the last day,” and it is consistent with 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, which says that Jesus will return with his angels, take vengence in flaming fire on those who hadn’t obeyed the gospel, render eternal punishment to them, and be “glorified” by his saints, but it can be made consistent with the rapture doctine only by putting strained, figurative interpretations on the face-value language of texts that referred to the second coming of Jesus.

The problems in the rapture doctrine can be summarized like this:

  • It requires too many “comings” of Jesus. The New Testament teaches one second coming, but rapturism has Jesus coming once to take the righteous away to experience a seven-year “rapture” and then coming a second time to defeat the forces of Satan, reign for a thousand years, and then render a final judgment of the wicked.
  • It teaches that only a part of the people on earth will see the return of Jesus, but Revelation 1:7 says that “every eye will behold him,” including those who pierced him, and all the people on earth will wail over him. This is inconsistent with the rapturists belief that the righteous will be caught up to Jesus when he returns, and the unrighteous will be left behind, not knowing what has happened.
  • It teaches two different resurrections, the resurrection of the righteous at the coming of Jesus and then a resurrection of the unrighteous a thousand years later, rather than a general resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous at the same “hour.”
  • It contradicts Jesus’s clear statement that the resurrection of both the righteous and unrighteous would occur “on the last day,” because the doctrine of the rapture has the righteous dead being resurrected a thousand years before the destruction and rejuvenation of the earth and final judgment of the unrighteous.

Jude 14-15 is very clear in teaching that when Jesus comes, he will do so to execute judgment on the world, both to the righteous and the unrighteous.

14 “It was also about these [troublemakers in the church] that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Jude’s depiction of the coming of Jesus is consistent with the descriptions in Matthew 24:30-31 and Matthew 16:27, which depict Jesus coming in the clouds with his angels to “render to every man according to his deeds,” but it isn’t at all consistent with the rapture doctrine that has a thousand-year gap between the coming of Jesus and the judgment. In a word, belief in the rapture is hopelessly inconsistent with the many New Testament prophecies that predicted an imminent coming of Jesus, which would signal an immediate end of the world and a final judgment of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

I trust that readers understand that I believe none of the biblical rantings about a second coming of Jesus, end of the world, and final judgment. I consider all doctrines about a second-coming of Jesus to be silly religious nonsense. Jesus has been coming soon all of my life, and I am 72 years old. From the time in which he allegedly lived, believers in him have said that he would return soon, as passages quoted above clearly show, but as the scoffers ridiculed in 2 Peter 3:4 said, “All things continue as they were from the beginning.” Even before the time of Jesus, there were doomsday prophets who predicted that the world would end soon. A list of hundreds of failed predictions that the world would end soon can be accessed here. These failed predictions date back as far as 2800 BC, to an inscription on an Assyrian clay table, now in the Municipal Museum at Istanbul, which said, “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.” Similar doomsday prophecies have been reissued all through history, and they have all failed. Despite the failures, people shackled by superstition still take them seriously. The many predictions that we hear today about the coming “rapture” is taken very seriously. Any time that an important political figure in the Near East sneezes or acts of terrorism happen in that part of the world, gullible believers see them as signs that the end is near. There is even a Rapture Index on the internet that keeps people apprised of the likelihood of the rapture happening immediately. This index is based on 45 different categories, such as false christs, the occult, Satanism, unemployment, inflation, global turmoil, and so on. It now stands at 152, up from its all-time low of 57 on December 12, 1993, but down from its record high of 182 on September 24, 2001. There is also a Rapture-Letters site, which claims to have a computer program that will let people leave letters that will automatically be sent to their “left-behind” friends after the writers have been caught up in the rapture and left their empty cars behind. The site offers this service free–but solicits contributions–and advises those who want to leave letters that this will be an important way to witness to left-behind friends and relatives after the rapture has taken the letter-writers away. As the humorist Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up. You can click the link above and see for yourself that such nonsense as this is being taken seriously.

That so many people do take it seriously causes rational-thinkers to wonder if there is any hope for humanity ever to rise above the superstition that has retarded the progress of civilization.