We have probably been taught that when ‘Jesus comes’, we shall be caught up from off the earth’s surface to be with the Lord in the air etc. before the great tribulation — hence it was and is referred to as the pre-trib rapture. The clouds that some are expecting are very natural clouds and many have tried guessing when this would take place. Just how far is ‘up’? Six feet, sixty feet, six hundred feet? — Keep guessing for we are not told! The word ‘rapture’ does not appear in holy writ! We will have to examine the Word under the teaching ability of the Holy Spirit to see just what God intends for us with this account. Revelation always supersedes what we come up with via education. Whatever conclusions we arrive at, one thing is certain and that is, they must glorify Christ (John 16: 13, 14a). “Stop the world, I want to get off!” . . . such a phrase does NOT glorify Jesus Christ for it would assume that which Jesus supplied at the cross was insufficient to bring mankind through to full victory — which is most assuredly not the case. We can be overcomers here and now through Christ who strengthens us.
WHERE DID IT SPRING FROM?
‘The Rapture’ first appeared on the English scene back in the 1740’s through a book by Morgan Edwards (1722-1795). He came to the USA in 1762 and it was in 1788 that he published another book in the States. Following Morgan Edwards this teaching was resurrected by Emanuel Lacunza around 1812 and again brought to the fore through J.N. Darby who used the details of a vision that Margaret McDonald had in 1829 in Port Glasgow, Scotland. Robert Norton MD carefully preserved Margaret MacDonald’s vision in note form. Later Darby came by and used such notes to elaborate on this ‘rapture theory’. Edward Irving added some of his own ideas and ‘this new doctrine’ was spread mostly through the Brethren Movement later incorporated in the notes of Dr. C.I. Scofield and then printed as footnotes in his bible.
It is high time to escape these cunningly devised fables (2 Peter 1:16a).
2 Tim.2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil who are taken captive by him at his will.
This is the central verse often quoted . . .
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (together with them in the clouds) to meet the Lord in the air, so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Are we not with Him right now? Answer = yes as an individual believer. However this refers to being fully one with the overcomers in the clouds (see ‘re-think’ No.31).
We have already learned that the Holy Spirit is the teacher of all things . . . (John 14:26) and that will have to include anything about a ‘rapture’. The Spirit of Christ in you will release His thoughts wherein is His will from the ‘mind of Christ’ which was in Jesus and is now in us (1 Cor. 2:16). Ephesians 4:8 says that Jesus ascended up on high and led captivity captive. . . Captivity being the binding and misleading work of the enemy who is called the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2). Jesus ascended far above this limited realm of Satan’s . . . the ‘air’which, naturally, is no more after a certain height anyway!
Rapture believers are looking forward to being taken out from or off from the earth! But what did Jesus pray?
I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shoudest keep them from evil (-one)(John 17:15). Now follow on to see that the word teaches that the evil is removed first. . . not the saints!
Matthew 13:30 Gather ye together FIRST the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barns.
Old Covenant endorses the same thought. Proverbs 2:21-22. For the upright shall dwell in the land and the perfect shall REMAIN in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth.
Psalm 104:35. Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth and let the wicked be no more ... Proverbs 10:30. The righteous shall NEVER BE REMOVED, but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth. Luke 17:27 comparing the last days with Noah’s day. . . He took them all away ... Who was taken away? The ungodly and rebellious.
2 Cor 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. (3) And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;)
(4) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
This man, most likely Paul, was ‘raptured’ or ‘caught up’ — but was still on earth as he either had a conversation with the man mentioned or it was himself — so that he could later relate the experience firsthand.
Note here ... PARADISE = 3rd. heaven = Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life in the midst (Rev.2:7) which equates with the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle-of-Moses pattern . . . it is the place where God’s fullness operates — 100% God’s thinking ruling unhindered.
CAUGHT UP comes from the Greek word meaning to seize, take away from a root meaning to take unto (or into) oneself.
God desires to lift us out of being of the earth, earthy (natural reasoning thinking) to the heavenly . . . the rapture picture is not a literal ‘takeoff’ but is being caught up into His life and thinking and such thinking is certainly spiritual.
IN THE BODY or not . . . the context certainly infers that it didn’t matter at all! Tribulation, by the way, is only for the purifying of the saints for all the references to it, in context, are associated with them. (See ‘re-think’ No.13).
God has not failed in any arena and He has called us to share the spirit-word wherein is life with all.
2 Cor 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, (quoting laws and regulations — ought to, got to, should do — is not appealing to someone seeking spiritual reality) but the spirit gives life.
Amos 9:10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, ‘The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us’.
Rapture believers think that the great tribulation is the evil! Notice here, however, that God is speaking to the sinners or unbelieving believers of His family who think they ‘will be out of here!’
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they (all the tribes) shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (This is covered in detail in ‘re-think’ No.31) Where is the ‘secret rapture’ in this? It is not natural for nobody can see anything in a natural cloud!
Jesus has already been caught up to be the King in the arena where Satan once had power to exercise authority.
Jesus Christ has given His people the power to sit with Him in heavenly places far above all principality and powers . . . we are already caught up in Him. . . it remains for us to yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit so that which has been given can now become a reality in our daily walk. Let us avoid foolish guessings such as an evangelist in England who gave the following answer to a question posed to him. The question was, “If, when Jesus comes, we are going to be caught up to meet him in the air, what happens to our Australian brethren down-under for their ‘up’ is in the opposite direction to our ‘up’?” He answered, “They will fly round the earth to Mount Olivet, the scene of His coming!” They will have to start sooner than the northern hemisphere saints and they had better fly ‘low’ as there is no oxygen after about six miles up! One can guess where ‘Superman’ idea came from?
Enough of this ridiculous logic which will always incite argument. We are a part of God’s glorious victorious plan of the ages and, being God and being Love, He cannot fail . . . not even with one person! §