The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

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The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Heresy?

Postby selderane » Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:33 am

So awhile back I left a Christian gaming guild over a disagreement with the founder over the doctrine of the Rapture. He preached it passionately, I opposed it passionately. In the end he said I relied too much on reason, and not enough on Scripture, to prove my point; that if I felt the Scripture didn't teach the pre-Tribulation Rapture I needed to use Scripture to prove it.

I kindly pointed out that I can't prove a negative by retorting that I couldn't prove the Bible doesn't say aliens from Mars wiped out the dinosaurs either.

I also wanted to ask him to prove when he stopped beating his wife, but I felt our correspondence had come to its natural conclusion before that point.

Now, back in the day (which is a Tuesday if I recall) I was an ardent believer in the pre-Tribulation Rapture. I was on that Hal Lindsay/Tim LeHaye bandwagon hardcore.

But then I changed. A middling itch at the back of my mind turned into a radical shift away from what I once believed and along with that came the realization that not only was the pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine wrong, it was very dangerous.

It widely accepted that in the End Times the world will go through seven years of, well, tribulation before the return of Yeshua. It's not fun times for the people of Earth during that span, but all Believers know it's coming. So knowing that and then getting offered a "Get Out of Trib Free" card is a difficult proposition to refuse. But think about that for a moment. Forget for now whatever Scripture comes to your mind to defend the doctrine and simply think about what you're saying will happen.

Great calamity is coming to the world and those who accept Christ will be spared the worst of it by being supernaturally removed from the planet.

Now, tell me, where else in Scripture did Yahweh ever do that for His people? He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and we can have faith in His actions because His actions are consistent and establish a pattern we can look back at and identify.

The pre-Tribulation Rapture deviates from this pattern. Yahweh has never removed Him people from fire. Rather He protects them as they pass through it.

Yahweh will take millions of people from the Earth during the Tribulation but He won't do the same for Noah and his family during the Flood? Or Israel during its captivity in Egypt as He sends plagues upon the land?

He won't simply remove Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fire? They have to go through it?

The pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine ignores the clear Biblical pattern of Yahweh protecting His own as they go through tribulation.

Even more dangerously, I think, is the simple fact that if I'm wrong it doesn't matter. We avoid a literal world of hurt. But if I'm right? How many Believers will have their faith shattered at the very time they need it most? How many Believers will be caught ill prepared to weather the storm they thought they'd avoid?

Why tend to your oil like a wise virgin when you're sure you won't need it when the night comes?

I can, and have, looked at the Scriptures used to support the pre-Tribulation Rapture and found them wanting, but I think the more compelling case is the one that asks you to look at Yahweh's behavior in the past and challenges you to answer for the change. If He is the same yesterday, today, and forever then why didn't He save His children in the past the way many believe He will in the near future? Why will He not protect us going through the Great Tribulation as He has through every tribulation to that point?

In my opinion the answer is clear: He will protect us. Because He has to protect us. He's promised to protect us.

And knowing that means the Great Tribulation is not to be feared. And the pre-Tribulation Rapture isn't, as it has come to be known, the hope of all Believers. It is a false teaching that will rob Believers of their faith.

And there is only one entity that seeks to rob Believers of their faith.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby Bruce_Campbell » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:20 am

I don't really have a dog in this fight, but IIRC, the rapture is a fairly new bit of theology. I think it came up around the 1800's, and it could be even younger (somebody correct me on this if I'm wrong). I know most (maybe almost all?) Catholics don't buy into the rapture doctrine. If I'm not mistaken, Mormons don't either (ArcticFox? Sstavix?)

Anyway, like I said I don't really have a dog in this fight, so carry on. :)
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby Sacntus_Incendia » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:28 am

As for a pre-tribulation ideology, I go back and forth. Part of me thinks its legit, and that up until the Rapture God has been leading us through the fire and that at that point we are finally at our destination. Another part thinks it's not legitimate and that we'l go through it, and another part wonders whether we've been going through it for a while now. After all, Yeshua (I love that I'm not the only one here that uses that name :) ) said that the end of the world would be slow. What if it's much slower than we realize? But that last part isn't as strongly supported in scripture, so maybe not. As for the Rapture, I'll be bluntly honest; I have no idea.

But there is one thing I would like to point out. You mention the pattern of God. In some cases I would say that yes, a pattern can be seen, but I would also say no to other parts of His qualities. For instance, throughout the OT God seems much more wrathful and punishing than in the NT. I know that this is because the Holy Lamb was slain and God's wrath was satisfied, but it's still an example of how the pattern changed. Likewise, I wouldn't make everything a pattern, because the nature of God is one that we as fallible humans simply can't understand.

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby selderane » Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:32 am

But there is one thing I would like to point out. You mention the pattern of God. In some cases I would say that yes, a pattern can be seen, but I would also say no to other parts of His qualities. For instance, throughout the OT God seems much more wrathful and punishing than in the NT. I know that this is because the Holy Lamb was slain and God's wrath was satisfied, but it's still an example of how the pattern changed. Likewise, I wouldn't make everything a pattern, because the nature of God is one that we as fallible humans simply can't understand.
Yahweh's nature between the Tanakh and B'rit Chadashah (try using that one if you love Hebrew!) never changed. Yahweh was as gentle during the ages of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, David, et al, as He was during the Apostles. Forgiveness was always there for those who repented. Yeshua didn't usher that in. All Yeshua did was correct teachings that went astray, reach out to "the lost sheep of Israel", and fulfill the price of sin.

Also consider the breadth of history the Tanakh spans as compared to B'rit Chadashah, as well as the focus. The former had a larger focus on the nation of Israel, while the latter looks most at the personal. Two wildly different scales.

No, I think if you look for it, the wrathful Yahweh of the Tanakh is alive and well in the B'rit Chadashah. Ask Ananias and Sapphira.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby Sstavix » Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:20 am

I don't really have a dog in this fight, but IIRC, the rapture is a fairly new bit of theology. I think it came up around the 1800's, and it could be even younger (somebody correct me on this if I'm wrong). I know most (maybe almost all?) Catholics don't buy into the rapture doctrine. If I'm not mistaken, Mormons don't either (ArcticFox? Sstavix?)
Oh, sure, drag me into this. :P All right, I can provide some information, but I doubt it'll help.
... Great calamity is coming to the world and those who accept Christ will be spared the worst of it by being supernaturally removed from the planet.

Now, tell me, where else in Scripture did Yahweh ever do that for His people? He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and we can have faith in His actions because His actions are consistent and establish a pattern we can look back at and identify.
According to the Book of Moses, this is actually what happened to the City of Enoch. However, it wasn't because God wanted to protect the citizens from fire, but because every single person in the city was so impossibly good that the entire city was "translated," or taken directly to heaven (or more precisely, the terrestrial kingdom).

Now I know what some of you are thinking - "the book of what? My bible doesn't have a Book of Moses!" If you aren't LDS, you would be correct. As you may know, over the years, many people have edited and mistranslated the Old and New Testaments, and these have been carried forward as the centuries have gone by. Well, the Book of Moses consists of edited-out passages of the Book of Genesis, as revealed to Joseph Smith by Heavenly Father - basically it's the "director's cut" of Genesis. This is part of the scriptures known as the "Pearl of Great Price," so the fate of Enoch is uniquely a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and you are unlikely to find this in other Christian churches outside the Mormon faith.

Now that being said, Bruce is absolutely right in that the LDS don't believe in the Rapture in the same vein as the Tim LaHaye / "Left Behind" crowd. In fact, the idea of a pre-Tribulation Rapture is pretty much universally discredited by all church authorities for the same reason selderane has rejected the idea - there is a distinct lack of doctrinal and scriptural evidence to back it. The church authorities also have never received any revelation indicating that it would happen this way, too (at least as far as has been made public). Instead, we have been advised that hard times will be ahead, and we are to prepare ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually (that's one of the reasons Mormons seem so obsessed with food storage :wink: ).

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby Bruce_Campbell » Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:20 am

Daw. Thanks for indulging me, Sstavix. You're good people. :D
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby ccgr » Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:18 pm

God gives fair warning on impending judgement, look at Jonah and Nineveh, in the end the town repented and was spared.

God spared Noah and his family from the flood and Lot's family (minus his wife being turned into a pillar of salt) from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God also spared the jews from the final plague in Egypt. he does look after those who believe in Him.

I personally learn towards rapture given God's grace on His children in the past.

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:36 pm

I pretty much agree with Sstavix on this one. I also feel there is little to no evidence to conclusively support this.

I'd like to sort of piggyback on that and add that in the case of Eastern Orthodoxy, part of the Left Behind/Timothy LaHaye type eschatology centers not just on the Rapture, but also on a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on Earth. This doctrine was previously called Chiliasm, and is one that the Orthodox reject. The idea is that Christ's Kingdom is not of this world, and a literal 1000 year reign on earth before the final judgment would run counter to this.

Unfortunately, all of us will have to face an increasing tide of tribulation if the end comes within our lifetimes (I don't think it will but what do I know? lol), but such is life :-P.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby selderane » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:06 am

According to the Book of Moses, this is actually what happened to the City of Enoch. However, it wasn't because God wanted to protect the citizens from fire, but because every single person in the city was so impossibly good that the entire city was "translated," or taken directly to heaven (or more precisely, the terrestrial kingdom).
I would say this example is outside of the pattern I was referring to. While I don't accept it as reliable (sorry, I'm not a Mormon) I would say it does find a parallel in the Prophet Enoch and his translation into heaven.

Both events had nothing to do with calamity, as you acknowledge, but because the person/persons in question were of a certain moral quality. Moral quality the Bible never says the Church attains to be taken away writ large before the Great Tribulation.
God gives fair warning on impending judgement, look at Jonah and Nineveh, in the end the town repented and was spared.

God spared Noah and his family from the flood and Lot's family (minus his wife being turned into a pillar of salt) from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God also spared the jews from the final plague in Egypt. he does look after those who believe in Him.

I personally learn towards rapture given God's grace on His children in the past.
But look at your very own examples, they defeat the idea of a pre-Tribulation rapture. Yahweh saved His children, yes, but He didn't teleport them from location A to location B. Lot had to be physically escorted from his home by angels. Israel (Judah is not the totality of the nation of Israel) had to physically walk out of captivity in Egypt under Yahweh's protection.

And on and on. None of the people you site as examples were physically removed from danger. It was their faith in Yahweh that protected them through the danger. As it will be again in the end.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby ccgr » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:07 pm

Either way I believe we'll be spared the judgement not intended for us. I am not sure if there will be a "safe place" to get moved to in the end times. Time will tell, for now all we can do is guess.

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:01 pm

In the end he said I relied too much on reason, and not enough on Scripture, to prove my point
This, right here, is the problem with any religious discussion: That reason and scripture must be in opposition. I find that position to be absurd. Proper understanding of Scripture requires reason.

God gave us all brains. Too few of us use them.

As for the subject... I do not believe in the Rapture as I do not find it scripturally supported. However, I see no particular harm in believing it either.
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby storm » Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:20 am

So far as I have seen of events of late that I see and read about and how the UN is wanting to take over our military and just everything in general keeps pointing to the Tribulation and when you see so much being proven right about the Bible and places and people mentioned in it I not only believe that the rapture is true I believe we will see it in our life time
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby storm » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:48 am

I should also add that there are 3 groups or 4 if you count the ones who don't believe in it at all The pre The post and The mid Tribulation i personally am in the camp of the pre tribulation
Do I argue with those who don't agree no I state how I feel and let God do the rest
for as long as man has walked this earth different ways of interpreting the Bible have existed a good example during the civil war many churches of the same faith split because of interpretation 1/2 reading that slavery was evil and 1/2 reading it was normal and a excepted practice
So I feel till we are in heaven we will always have divisions only then will we know for sure who is right but one other thing we will know for sure too
It won't matter any more
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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby Darkkodiak » Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:18 am

I really connected with the Pre-Trib teachings of Perry Stone on this subject. I appreciate the connection with the original Jewish audience that we usually miss out on when reading from a western perspective, especially the symbolism and references. I feel like God's pattern of grace is the same with Noah, Israel, and will be for true believers who actively continue in the faith (those He knows with intimacy). He spares a remnant by grace for His glory. The biggest influence of reason that affected me is the parallel of the rapture or "being caught up" with the Jewish wedding, and how it strongly parallels Noah's ark. I don't believe that anyone who is Pre-Trib will be ill prepared if they are wrong however, because when we fall in love with the Lord and really get to know who He is the way He designed us to, we do not fear trials, persecution, or even death. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, including giving up our lives. Not to make light of how hard these things are, but the same people who do this in heavily persecuted countries now, are just ordinary people like us with Jesus, and they have hope despite all opposition! Take heart, because He has overcome the world!

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Re: The Rapture: The Hope of All Believers or Dangerous Here

Postby Expat_PM » Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:21 pm

In the end he said I relied too much on reason, and not enough on Scripture, to prove my point
This, right here, is the problem with any religious discussion: That reason and scripture must be in opposition. I find that position to be absurd. Proper understanding of Scripture requires reason.

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Wise words.

Someone else mentioned the three types of Rapture beliefs: Pre-trib, post-trib and mid-trib. I believe there is a fourth to which I subscribe: The Pan-Tribulation Rapture doctrine. Simply stated, "It'll all pan out in the end."

If God chooses to rapture me out of the tribulation (pre, post, whatever) then glory to God, praise the Lamb.
Should He, on the other hand, leave me here to endure every second of it then glory to God, praise the Lamb.
He will be my Rock and my Salvation no matter what happens.

peace,

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