Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Rapture Is...

Sometimes it seems that there's a lot of compartmentalization going on in Christianity: Calvinist or Armenian? KJV Only or Inclusive? Full Dunker or Baptism Optional? Traditional Worship Music or Contemporary? Hate The Message or Heretic? All seriousness aside, it probably only seems that way because it really is that way. 

Ever since I started doing Christianity right I've been getting asked over and over "Are you pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib?" It's almost like they're choosing up sides for the post rapture volleyball tournament. To be honest to me the whole question of pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib rapture is confusing at best. However IF I decide which volleyball team I'm on, I will get a T-Shirt, I promise.

To be honest the rapture is not important to my salvation. My salvation is based on grace through faith, my savior only told me to do one thing: repent. My Lord forgives me my sins and guides me and is waiting for me. Never once did He say "I'm only going to save those that believe in a pre-trib rapture" nor did He say "Believers in a mid-trib will roast in hell." Is it a sin to disagree over what kind of rapture there is going to be, or even if there is one? Of course not, as long as it's done with love. I pray that's right because I disagree with a LOT of stuff that's written about the rapture on all sides of the argument. 

My bride is devoutly pre-trib and she finds it confusing that I haven't joined the team. "Chuck Smith and John MacArthur and Hal Lindsey are pre-trib" she'll say, I guess hoping that I'll see the error of my ways with their endorsement. And of course Hal Lindsey is pre-trib, he's made a jillion bucks off of it. What would she say if I respond with "So is Rick Warren." I've done a lot of research on the timing of the rapture, events of the rapture, the systemology of the rapture and one thing holds true: when ever you study research on the rapture, the article you're reading will eventually break down to name calling. It seems that a lot of people who write about the rapture will resort to insulting those that disagree with them because it's easier than changing your opinion when you're standing on shaky ground.

But to be honest, although I'm not exactly positive where I do stand on the rapture, I know precisely where I don't stand. You won't be seeing me wearing a Team Pretrib warm-up jersey. There's many things about the pre-trib rapture theory that bother me, most of them do not have to do with pre-trib proponents but with the theory itself.

So in a nutshell here's my objections to pre-trib theory. It's not an endorsement of any other theory because no one has paid me any royalties for my endorsement.

1. It's too easy. I know a pastor who admitted (publicly) that the first time he saw the northern lights he thought it was the rapture and that he and his brother were dancing around in joy. All I could think was "Are these guys going to be broken-hearted when the world starts to fall apart for real." Pre-trib always sounded too easy to me, like receiving a huge present just because you successfully renewed your drivers license. When mentioning this argument I've been told (by more than one person) "of course it's going to be easy, God doesn't want the church hurt". My only response is Fox's Book of Martyrs. Throughout history people have suffered and died for their faith, what makes this generation so special? Because so many people think that they're getting a free ride into heaven and missing the coming tribulation just because they're so awesome the pre-tribulation rapture theory is also known as "The Great Sneak-Out".

No Christian, in the history of Christianity, has ever escaped trials and tribulations of this earth by resurrection or rapture. God promised to save us from our sins, not from pain. Those that have lived life as the poor do down in the trenches of life, know The Truth inherently: that expectations of injustices supersedes their hopes of divine escape. The poor inherently know they will not be raptured from harm in the Great Tribulation.

2. It Requires Multiple Second Comings. Honestly! To believe the pre-trib theory you have to believe that Jesus is going to sneak down to earth, scoop the elect up, sneak back to heaven, then later come back to kick satan butt and take names. Unfortunately there's no secret rescue mission in the bible, no covert snatch-and-grab to save those that might get uncomfortable if they get too close to the tribulation. No, when Jesus returns it's going to be big:
Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. (Revelation 1:7)
3. The Church is not mentioned after chapter 3 of Revelations - so what? Neither are cats and goldfish. Does that mean that cats and goldfish are raptured too? I'm sorry but the lack of a mention of something does not mean that the particular something was disappeared, it just means that it's not mentioned. . 

4. Why Bother? The mark of the beast is mentioned seven times in the book of Revelation, if the elect is no longer on Earth, who is Jesus warning? In fact, why write more than three chapters of Revelation at all? And why bother Daniel, Isaiah, and Amos with all those disturbing visions? If the church is gone when things start to fall apart, who is Jesus talking to in the Olivette Discourse? The sad fact is that we're going to be here through the whole thing, not many of us, but some. 

5. 'Cause I Say So. One of the worse arguments in favor of the pre-trib rapture came from a website where the author said that Jesus would come when we lease expect him. And the best time for that (ignoring the fact that the bible told us he would come in time of great tribulation) would be when things were peaceful and quiet... like now! Because the author said it would be a good idea! Really! This is some serious wishful thinking. In reality the bible states:
37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:37-39)
This sounds pastoral on the surface, but God did not flood the earth because people were eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, he flooded the earth because people were horrible sinners:
 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)
What Jesus was telling us in Matthew was that he would return during a time of great evil, when every thought of man was on evil, and people would think it was normal, continuing in their lives eating and drinking and marrying etc. 

6. Daniel has to be lying. In Daniel 7:21-22 he prophesyed that the antichrist would be waging war against the saints until Jesus returned. Daniel 7:25 clearly states that this battle would go on for three and a half years. But who would the antichrist be fighting if the rapture happened months before he came to power?

7. Paul has to by lying. For a pre-trib rapture to happen you have to rip 2 Thessalonians out of your bibles:
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)
Paul clearly says that before Christ comes again to gather us up first the apostasy (or great falling away) must happen first, then the antichrist must be revealed and take Jesus' place in the rebuilt temple and claiming to be God. This stuff happens during the tribulation, not before. 

8. Jesus has to be lying. Jesus told us pretty much when he would return (Not the hour but close enough):
29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)
Jesus says quite plainly that he will return after the tribulation and then gather together His elect. He doesn't say "Just the dead ones, cause I got the live ones years ago" It doesn't take a lot of theological horsepower to determine that this is happening after the start of the tribulation.

Ever since I've heard of the pre-trib theory I've thought "What happens if it's mid-trib, or post-trib, or just-a-few-weeks-after-the-start-of-the-trib? What happens to the faithful that were counting being snatched up to heaven free of charge? What happens when they realize they're not being rescued from the tortures that so many saints before them had to endure just because they're so wonderful? What happens when they suddenly realize that this thing just got real and their free ride is now going to cost? Personally I always thought "they give up" - not all, but quite a lot. 

Turns out I was right, Paul mentions in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 that a great many will fall away, divorcing themselves from  God when they realize that the gravy train hasn't pulled into their station. Fully a third of Christians will turn their backs when the going gets tough. Many people think we're in the Great Apostasy now. News Flash: this nonsense we're going through right now is going to seem like child's play four years after the antichrist comes to power. And Paul isn't talking about atheists and pagans turning their backs on Jesus, they never knew God so how could they fall away? it's the Christians who sit next to you in church every Sunday singing enthusiastically off key and are currently happy with the delusion that they believe about the pre-trib theory. They're convinced worse they can face in this life is an IRS audit and possibly a mortgage rate increase.

At best the pre-trib theory is a nice story that makes people happy. HOWEVER - the pre-trib theory does not come from the bible, it comes from Margaret MacDonald, a scottish lass. She says she had a feverish "Rapture dream" about a pretrib rapture. Where else have we heard of feverish dreams leading to interesting stories... Stephenie Meyer claims to have been inspired by vivid dreams and wrote the wildly popular Twilight series (about satanic creatures) J. K. Rowlings claims to have been inspired by astrological signs and symbols to write the wildly popular Harry Potter series. L. Frank Baum says he was inspired by a spirit to write the wildly successful Wizard of Oz. Muhammad's initial experience with the "angel" caused him to believe that he was demon possessed. He became suicidal. Under the influence of this 'angel' he wrote the Koran. It's kind of scarey how these satanic ideas just pop into peoples heads. But I digress

The idea of the pre-trib rapture ended up in the hands of James Hall Brookes who ended up teaching it at his Niagara-on-the-Lake summer conferences in the waining days of the 19th century. Ever notice how many nutty religions came out of upstate NY? Mormonism, Millerites, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, Shakers, Seventh Day Adventists, Spiritualism, and now we can add the pretrib theory to the list as it's practically a religion unto itself so fervent are many of it's followers. Once Timothy LaHaye cemented the idea of "The Great Sneak-Out" (love that name) in the minds of Americans it was all over. No longer do straws need to be grasped, weak theology is now mainstream.

To me the worst part of the tribulation will be the famine mentioned in Amos. Some say it's already here, and that's not hard to believe
11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord God“When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the Lord12 “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, But they will not find it. (Amos 8:11-12)


  1. Doug, your article re the rapture is terrific and I agree with you.You should write a book! You might enjoy Googling "Famous Rapture Watchers," "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" - all by journalist/historian Dave MacPherson whose book "The Rapture Plot" - the greatest and most accurate book on pretrib history - can be obtained by calling 800.643.4645. I'm serious when I say you should write a book. I love your bravery and writing style. Lord bless you and yours.

  2. [Thanks Doug. Discovered your good blog. Saw the following item on the net.]


    How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 2:34,35 reveal that Jesus stays at the Father's right hand in heaven until He leaves to destroy His foes at the second coming to earth. Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven with the Father "until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. ("The Rapture Question," by the long time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn't dare to even list, in its scripture index, the above verses! The same Acts verses were also too hot for John Darby - the so-called "father of dispensationalism" - to list in the scripture index in his "Letters"!)
    Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The "rest" for "all them that believe" is also tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who'd be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the end of trib “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which Scofield views as Israel's posttrib resurrection!) It's amazing that the Olivet Discourse contains the "great commission" for the church but not even a hint of a pretrib rapture for the church!
    Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this "rapture" was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!). Google "Walvoord Melts Ice."
    Other Google articles on the 183-year-old pretrib rapture view include "Pretrib Rapture Politics," “Famous Rapture Watchers,” "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," “X-Raying Margaret,” "Margaret Macdonald's Rapture Chart," "Pretrib Rapture's Missing Lines," "Edward Irving is Unnerving," “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” "Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty," and "Morgan Edwards' Rapture View" – most by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” (the most accurate and documented book on pretrib rapture history which is obtainable by calling 800.643.4645).

    1. Wow!
      Thanks Irv, I've got more to write about on the Rapture, and you've fed me quite a belt of ammo.

      Dr. Robert D. Luginbill classifies the Pretrib rapture theory as "Tribulational Security" and calls it one of the "Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith". Unfortunately Dr. Lunginbill writes at a doctorate level while I'm reading at a "Fun With Dick And Jane" level. I'll eventually figure it out and come back with a blog on Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith but think about it:

      Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that there will be a great falling away - what do you think will happen to multitudes of faithful when they receive notice to receive the mark of the beast Or Else and they now know that they missed the pre-trib rapture they were counting on, and the easy ride they signed up for just got real