Rapture?

Here is a subject I have ignored like the plague…but since the world is facing a pandemic I figured I’d discuss this idea – the rapture.

Is the rapture plausible?

The scriptural basis for it is flimsy at best and the doctrine wasn’t even in Christian theology until the mid 1700’s and 1800’s. Here is some historical timelines from Wikipedia.

“The concept of the rapture, in connection with premillennialism, was expressed by the American Puritan father and son Increase and Cotton Mather (both part of the Salem Witch trials). They held to the idea that believers would be caught up in the air, followed by judgments on the earth and then the millennium. The term rapture was used by Philip Doddridge (1738) and John Gill (1748) in their New Testament commentaries, with the idea that believers would be caught up prior to judgment on the earth and Jesus’ Second Coming. The concept of a pre-tribulation rapture was articulated by Baptist Morgan Edwards in an essay published in 1788 in Philadelphia.”

“John Nelson Darby, considered the father of dispensationalism, first proposed the pre-tribulation rapture in 1827. This view was accepted among many other Plymouth Brethren in England. Darby and other prominent Brethren were part of the Brethren Movement which impacted American Christianity, primarily through their writings. Influences included the Bible Conference Movement, starting in 1878 with the Niagara Bible Conference. These conferences, which were initially inclusive of historicist and futurist premillennialism, led to an increasing acceptance of futurist premillennial views and the pre-tribulation rapture especially among Presbyterian, Baptist and Congregational members. Popular books also contributed to acceptance of the pre-tribulation rapture, including William Eugene Blackstone’s book Jesus is Coming published in 1878 and which sold more than 1.3 million copies, and the Scofield Reference Bible, published in 1909 and 1919 and revised in 1967″

As is told by the history of this theological belief – it started in the 1700’s and caught momentum afterwards (namely publications and conferences helped push this along). But for like 1500 years prior the belief was pretty much non-existent. Which makes me wonder – why did it even spring up and in relation to what? Christians that needed this idea were persecuted under Roman rule many centuries earlier and never held such a viewpoint. They held the view they would ‘suffer like Christ’…Paul is pretty quick to admit this in his letters and the gospels also keep this idea afresh in the believers minds.

History is not on the side of the doctrine (that’s pretty clear). I also think the idea is not plausible and falls into the category of ‘make belief’. I think it is a best wish scenario based on a passage (from Thessalonians) that is pretty vague to be building such a detailed doctrine upon. I don’t see the theological or historical credibility of such an idea – as it is presented in this day in age (I am talking pre-trib ideas here).

I figure if the early Christians had to take the hard road and face most of the persecution from society around them – why would that change for the West (if this were to ever happen)? Also, wouldn’t WW2 have been a good time for this to occur? Some 200 million men went to fight in that war – likely some 30% or higher (maybe even 50%) were Christian (UK, Canada, America, France, and other northern territories). I figure, if people were gonna escape some tribulation – that would’ve been quite ideal.

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18 thoughts on “Rapture?

  1. from sabio’s blog as it sorta relates:

    maybe the problem isn’t whether we have the facts or not but in the interpretation of them. some thing facts are fine and succient for living. others look for the meaning and purpose behind the facts. others cower at the facts (like evolution) and create counter notions to cover their own anxiety of their finitude (hence why many fundies believe in the rapture because they don’t have to deal with their own death).

  2. Great blog. You are on target. Speaking of the history of the pretrib view, I recently spied a Google piece that is a brief, documented summary of that view’s origin and early development. It has the title of “Pretrib Rapture Diehards.” I also saw another article that is sure to cause sleeplessness (or worse) in certain circles; it is titled “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” (also on Google). How is it that such info has seemingly been unknown until recently? Incredible, isn’t it? Thanks again for your super blog! Ruby

  3. “How is it that such info has seemingly been unknown until recently? Incredible, isn’t it?” (Ruby)

    I think it is wishful thinking so no one in churches that teach this really question it…plus the history of doctrine is likely never touched in any church circles (as far as I know).

  4. “How is it that such info has seemingly been unknown until recently? Incredible, isn’t it?” (Ruby)

    I think it is wishful thinking so no one in churches that teach this really question it…plus the history of doctrine is likely never touched in any church circles (as far as I know). (SVS)

    I think what has happened is that churches, pastors and leaders have become set in their beliefs on this doctrine. People who believe in the rapture are pretty much setttled in their belief and they don’t question or study it.

    Pre-trib rapture belivers are convinced (or at least act like they are convinced) it will happen before a terrible 7 year tribulation. The critics against this belief are convinced that it won’t happen and they are entrenched and settled in their belief. Both engage in an “I’m right and you’re wrong debate”.

    What you used to get me was the preachers, teachers who were adamant that the rapture was not going to happen and that anybody who believed in a pre-trib rapture was a coward that was just trying to get out of something. Like it was such a bad thing to have hope that God was going to come and resuce you

    I always found that kind of thinking to be illogical. So if the pre-trib rapture does happen and all the believers do get taken, they are supposed to feel bad because God loves them.

    The scriptures that believers use are few, but they are in the Bible and the Bible does speak of two individuals that were taken, much in the same manner that pre-trib rapture people believe. Enoch and Elijah.

  5. “The scriptures that believers use are few, but they are in the Bible and the Bible does speak of two individuals that were taken, much in the same manner that pre-trib rapture people believe. Enoch and Elijah.” (Just1)

    Then I have to ask – is this inventing a doctrine some pretty vague characters with the same hope or just inventive thinking?

    Jesus points to John the Baptist as Elijah ‘come back’ – and he gets beheaded in the gospel story. So I am not sure they really upheld a belief like this – top it off their savior gets crucified…seems to me, in the gospels, they were expecting to suffer for their faith and not be magically ‘transported’ out of there (which was the case).

    I see some doctrinal differences between the gospel accounts on this subject and the pre-trib theories on the rapture. How can we think, as blessed as we are in this day in age, that we would escape some suffering when the original 12 could not?

  6. Jesus points to John the Baptist as Elijah ‘come back (SVS)

    Getting off the topic with point, but I think its an interesting thing that Jesus said here. Is Jesus alluding to a literal coming back of Elijah or a spiritual thing? Sounds almost like reincarnation.

    “….they were expecting to suffer for their faith and not be magically ‘transported’ out of there (which was the case).
    I see some doctrinal differences between the gospel accounts on this subject and the pre-trib theories on the rapture. How can we think, as blessed as we are in this day in age, that we would escape some suffering when the original 12 could not?” (SVS)

    No doubt, they did expect to suffer and pre-trib rapture believers also expect suffering. They just don’t expect to have to suffer through a period called the great tribulation.

    Not only that, people in our day and age do go through suffering and our suffering is different from the suffering of the people from Jesus and the apostles day. So a pre-trib beliver could easily say that the yhave endured their suffering and it is good and just that they get “raptured”.

    The gospels are not silent on this rapture thing though. There is the one passage in Matthew 24 about two will be in a field and one will be taken

  7. “There is the one passage in Matthew 24 about two will be in a field and one will be taken” (Just1)

    Now that depends on how one interprets that passage – in all honesty…in my opinion that might have nothing to do with the rapture.

  8. Now that depends on how one interprets that passage – in all honesty…in my opinion that might have nothing to do with the rapture. (SVS)

    Exactly, that is the truth of the matter. It does all depend on how it is interpreted and there are many ways to look at this particular passage. It doesn’t mean that a rapture believer is correct, but it does make the makes the belief plausible, and therefore a doctrine that can be biblically defended.

    By the way did you read this post by SOLW
    “I rebuke that false doctrine that says there is no rapture; This is a anti-christ end time spirit. I believe what the bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:17”

    Are you feeling the shame? 🙂

  9. ““I rebuke that false doctrine that says there is no rapture; This is a anti-christ end time spirit. I believe what the bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:17″ Are you feeling the shame?” (Just1)

    Who is SOLW?

    Anywho, SOLW better start reading his bible a little better before throwing out such nonsense rebukes. I would ask SOLW – show me the anti-christ pieces of not believing in the rapture? I mean, such a rebuke must come with proof that what is being said is actually against the messiah….I fail to see how anything I have said is against the messiah.

  10. Yes, SOLW is who you they are?

    “anti christ end time spirit”

    I wonder what passage they got that from anyways. Or can a person just give spirits a name

    I wonder part 2. Who exactly were they directing this comment towards anyways. I am sure that there are not many, if any, people in the circle of SOLW that would dare speak against the rapture. Maybe they are just blurtin out their thoughts against some random made up enemy.

  11. I went an commented on their facebook page with a rebuttal anyways – just to show people they do have a right to question what it is they are being told and what scant evidence may exist for such a belief. I also called into question the idea it was ‘anti-christ’ in nature – when I am not sure the belief is.

  12. I invite all to read “Edward Irving is Unnerving” on Joe Ortiz’ wonderful blog “Our Daily Bread” (Nov. 12th installment). Raven

  13. Hey this is cool. More people who think they know the truth and everyone else is wrong 🙂

    Are you folks aware the Covenant Theology only dates back to roughly the mid-1600s? Yet, wow, look how many people believe it. Amazing…

    Let me guess though…all of you have prayed that the Holy Spirit would be the only One to guide you into truth, right? Wonderful. I find it fascinating that I have heard that same comment from Mid-Tribbers, Posttribbers and No-Tribbers.

    Oh well…

  14. “More people who think they know the truth and everyone else is wrong” (Modres)

    I know it comes off that way (in writing) – but I don’t really think that way…I just reserve the right to question auspicious beliefs about the rapture and to not believe them if the reasoning for such a belief seems lacking. And in this case, I think it is.

    “Let me guess though…all of you have prayed that the Holy Spirit would be the only One to guide you into truth, right? Wonderful” (Modre)

    I think God leads us into truth and His spirit can move us to think and see in new ways…but I don’t much stock into how that looks or what that exactly means…except to say I think it does happen (ie: enlightenment on a topic or an area of life).

    However, do we really think God is that concerned with the ‘end times’ theology floating around out there that some aspects of Christian faith build their whole legitmacy on? I lean towards ‘not likely.

  15. societyvs said, “However, do we really think God is that concerned with the ‘end times’ theology floating around out there that some aspects of Christian faith build their whole legitmacy on? I lean towards ‘not likely.”

    I think God is just as much concerned with End Times theology as He is any other portion of theology represented in His Word.

    The implication though that PreTribbers build their entire legitimacy on the Rapture and other aspects of End Times theology is is a misnomer. BECAUSE End Times theology is important for a number of reasons, then it is logical that people should be concerned about it.

    What I always find interesting is that whether I die TODAY, or the Rapture occurs TODAY, am I living my life as if every day is my LAST day? If the Rapture causes me to focus on the possibility of seeing the Lord before the day is out, then far from anything Dave MacPherson or anyone else says, it is helping me focus on what IS important and what is NOT important in this life.

    I just wish people would get their facts straight regarding the historicity of the Rapture. To hear MacPherson tell it, Darby and then Scofield got together, grabbed onto what Margaret MacDonald stated about an alleged vision she had, and then succeeded in bamboozling the entirety of the (then) evangelical church.

    The doctrine of the Rapture exists or not based on Scripture alone, not someone’s version of what took place in history.

  16. “The doctrine of the Rapture exists or not based on Scripture alone, not someone’s version of what took place in history.” (Modres)

    The doctrine of the rapture as we know it tiday is a construct of what people seem to want to read out of Revelations mixed with passages from Ezekiel and Daniel. The fact is, that construct had changed in the time period from when Revelations was introduced until the 21st century (recently changed/interpreted and solidifed in the 19th and 20th centuries).

    The problem with the rapture idea is that it can take away one’s focus on the ‘now’ since they are so suspended by the ‘then’…they fail to realize that it may not happen in their lifetime and regardless they need to take care of their life in this current era…and not worry about a rapture that may or may not happen (this point in Christian circles is certainly up for debate).

    “am I living my life as if every day is my LAST day?” (Modres)

    In some fascinating way I kind of agree – we get a sense of urgency in this thinking. That urgency can be a good motivator for change – day to day.

    I also see it’s drawbacks. You cannot live like you’re waiting…I don’t think that is the point of the rapture. It seems to me true waiting would be preparation of one’s self in cloaks of ‘good ethics’ – based in this time and day. The rapture, if it is real, will happen with our without any of our help (it’s an event that we cannot change with our waiting). I find some churches put this idea out there and really give little attention to way it effects many people…it can actually ‘stunt’ their lives.

  17. Good post. Your post complements nicely with mine on The Rapture: http://3dchristianity.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/the-rapture-a-mistaken-belief/
    Your post deals with the historical origins of this mistaken belief. Mine deals with the biblical texts that supposedly supports this belief, and argues that rapture-ready Christians actually got things backwards. Both the Matthew 24 and 1 Thess. 4 passages, when properly interpreted, actually suggests that it will be Christians who will be left behind and the wicked/evil are raptured away into judgment!

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