Scriptural Fact or Man-Made Fiction
Lt. Col. Jack Mohr
"Not giving head to Jewish fables, and the commandments of men, that turn from the truth." Titus 1:14
For many years. I preached a doctrine that is popular with millions of present day Christians. It went something like this: "The Rapture has to do with Christ's coming in two stages. First, He comes silently and secretly as a thief in the night to snatch His bride. The Church. off this earth and take her to heaven. Then a man called the Anti-Christ will take over and rule this world for seven years. During his rule, there will be a time of great tribulation (trouble), but at the end of this period. Jesus Christ will return with His Saints, to destroy the Anti-Christ and set up His kingdom."
Literally tens of thousands of sermons have been preached using this format and based on four New Testament verses. These sermons state that the next advent of Jesus Christ will be "silent, as a thief in the night."
For eighteen years, I preached this doctrine with all the fervor I could muster. But one day as I studied in the 24th Chapter of Matthew's Gospel, I began to think for myself for the first time, as the Holy Spirit led me into the truth. So what I want to do in this article is to discuss with you, the possibility that the Rapture of the Church, instead of being Scriptural fact, is man made fiction - in fact that it is one of those "Jewish fables," Paul warned us against in Titus 1:14, when he said: "Not given to heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."
Now I realize that some of you who read these words are going to be deeply disturbed by them. Some of you will not be honest enough to read them and check them out against the Word of God. I realize that the Rapture Doctrine is a wonderful thing to believe in. It gives you a warm feeling. to believe that you will be rescued from a time of great trouble; and it is a powerful tool in the hands of a preacher or evangelist, to persuade men to accept Christ while there is still time. But there are other doctrines, which the Rapturists believe are false, which are pleasant too. One is that eventually, everyone will be saved. I'd like to believe that too! But it's poison out of the "pits of hell itself." So just because a doctrine is popular and pleasant to the ears, does not make it true.
Now I do not expect you to believe what I say. In fact, I'm not at all concerned about whether you do. All I ask you to do, is to be honest enough to look with me at what the Word of God says about the Rapture, and then honestly decide for yourself, without any advice from your pastor, or any pressure on his part. If you are honest, there is only one conclusion you can reach. Two different teachings concerning the Rapture cannot both be true.
I am indebted to much of the research on this. article. to Dr. William Strittmaiter, President of Kingdom Bible Studies. in Lakemore, Ohio.
I also realize that some of your pastors are going to view this article with a great deal of un-Christian sarcasm. This does not bother me in the least. Again, all I ask, is that you take what I say, put it under the magnifying glass of God's Word, then as an intelligent, honest person, MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND!
The four Scripture verses I mentioned earlier, as being the foundation of the "Rapture Theory;" and I use this term for want of a better one, are:I Thessalonians 5:2 - "You yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord cameth as a thief in the night."Let's examine these verses carefully as intelligent people and see what they really say.
2 Peter 3:10 - "But the day of the Lord will come us a thief in the night..."
Revelation 3:3 - "...I will come on thee as a thief."
Revelation 16:15 - "Behold, I come as a thief, blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they ... see his shame."
I Thessalonians 5:2 says that the "day of the Lord," will come as a thief in the night. It does not intimate that the Lord will return. The next verse goes on to say: "For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as a travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
Is the silent return of Jesus Christ the subject of this verse? Of course not! The subject of this verse is "sudden destruction." Verse 4 is seldom ever quoted by the Rapture preachers. it says: "but ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." What does Paul have reference to? Did he say that Christ would come back silently and secretly to steal Christians away from the earth? Of course not! Read the verse again. He said that the "Day of the Lord" would come in silence.
I Thessalonians 5:2 is not about the Lord at all, but has to do with the "Day of the Lord." It is not about a secret removal of the church from this earth, but about sudden destruction. It clearly states that the "Day of the Lord," does not come on Christians, but on Un-believers. The word "THEY" in verse two has reference to unsaved people.
Now look at 2 Peter 3:10. Most Rapture preachers only quote part of this verse, the part which says "But the day of the Lord will come us a thief in the night." But even this part of the verse should show you that it is about the "Day of the Lord," not the Lord's return. The rest of this verse says: "But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
Will this event be silent and secret so that no one will know about it until it is over?
That's not what it says. It says: "but as the days of Noah were, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be, for as in the days that were before the flood. they were eating and drinking, marring and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, AND TOOK THEM ALL AWAY, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Then shall two be in the field, the one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken and the other left."
With a little observation. you can see that these verses refer to the time just before Christ returns and what will happen when He does return. Thousands of sermons have these verses saying: "Christian believers shall be taken from this earth in the Rapture and the unbelievers will be left on this earth to go through the Tribulation." Let's see for ourselves what they say.
Now whether this teaching is wicked or not, or whether it is just plain unbelief, is not the purpose of this study. The people of Noah's time did not believe him and went about their business, doing "their own thing", until something drastic happened to them. Verse 39 says the flood "TOOK THEM ALL AWAY!" Notice it was not the righteous people - Noah and his family who were taken - but the wicked people, the careless who would not listen to Noah's warning.
Now notice what verse 39 continues to say: "so shall the coming of the Son of man be." Notice verse 40-4l: "Then shall two be in the field, the one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill: the one shall be taken, and the other left." But notice carefully who those are that will be taken. Does it say, or even hint that. believers will be taken away to heaven, while the wicked are left behind to control this earth? Of course it doesn't! It clearly states, that as it was in the days of Noah, the wicked would be taken away, while the righteous will be saved.
But let's look for a bit more proof. Look at Matthew 13. the Parables of the Tares and the Wheat, and the Fish and the Net. To get the right answers, you will need to read Matthew 13:24-43. very carefully. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, it is the tares, which represent the wicked, that are gathered first. Verse 30, says: "Let them grow together (the wheat and tares) until the harvest: and in the time of harvest will I say to the reapers, (Notice very carefully now) Gather ye FIRST together the tares and bind them into bundles and burn them, but gather the wheat (Christians) into my barn." (Kingdom.) (Emphasis added.)
When Jesus explained this Parable in verse 38 He stated that the "good seed" are "the children of the Kingdom." In other words, "believers."In this same verse He clearly states that the field represents this present world and that the children of the "wicked one" (Satan). The one responsible for these, is their father Satan. (Could this possibly be tied in with Christ's. remark', in John 8:44?) Jesus then goes on to explain in verse 39, that the "harvest" represents the "end of this age"
So we see an interesting "word picture" painted by our Lord. On this earth (the field) we have two crops growing side by side until the time or the harvest, they are wheat, representative of "saved people" and "tares" which represent those who have given their allegiance to Satan (unsaved). Now notice closely who are gathered first. Does it say that Christians will be gathered first and be "saved from the first of tribulation? Of course it doesn't! It very clearly states that the "tares" (wicked ones) will be gathered first and will be burned in the fire. Who are you going to believe? The Word of God: or your pastor who has taken the Word and twisted it out of shape? Some day you will have to answer before God for what you do with His Word. He will not accept the excuse: "But my pastor told me it was this way!"
In verse 41, we see that the unbelievers, the wicked, the Anti-Christs and the children or the Devil will be removed from this world. while the "children of the Kingdom on this earth, represented by His barn. Notice closely once more, this Kingdom is on this earth. Isn't this what Christ told us to pray for in Matthew 6:10, when He said we should pray: "...Thy KINGDOM COME, Thy will be done, ON EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN." (Emphasis added.)
Now before we continue, read Matthew 13:47-52, the Parable of the Fish and the Net. It teaches very clearly that at the end of the age, the angels will come forth and "sever the wicked from among the just." The word "among" means: "living with". "Sever" means to: "separate: to part by violence." It comes from the Greek word "aphurizo," which has the same meaning.
Now be honest with me and with yourself. Does it say anything here about the "Church" being Raptured out of this world, while the wicked remain behind? Someone has got the "cart in front of the horse," in their teaching!
Now I would like to invite your attention to probably one of the most used, or possibly "misused" would be a better term, of the Rapture Scriptures, found in I Thessalonians 4:13-18. "Then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be' with the Lord." (Vs 17). You say: "See that proves it. That same verse alone proves the Rapture of the Church." But does it really? Let's examine this portion of God's Word, very carefully and see what it really says.
We need to go back to verse 13 where Paul said: "But I would not have you to be ignorant brethern concering them which are asleep (dead), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." Which "have no hope" in what? That God will save them from tribulation on this earth through a Rapture? Does it say that? It is speaking here about the "hope of the resurrection," and has absolutely nothing to do with a Rapture.
You should be able to see, if you have normal intelligence, that the first half of verse 14 speaks about Jesus Christ being resurrected from the dead. The second part begins with these words: "Even so, (or we could say) "Likewise", them which also sleep (are dead) in Jesus will God bring with Him." This clearly states that God will resurrect the righteous dead at this time, in the same manner in which He brought Jesus out of the grave. Can you find the word "heaven" anywhere in this verse? It isn't there! The word "are asleep" which is found in the end of verse 15, clearly has reference to "all those who have died in the Lord and who have been sleeping in the grave."
Verse 16 says that Jesus will come "with a SHOUT, with the voice of an archangel, and with the TRUMP (trumpet) of God..." This certainly does not sound like a silent. secret coming to me. Now once again "do you find the word heaven anywhere in verse 17?"
This verse clearly states: "Then we which are alive (in other words after the dead in Christ are raised), and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and we shall ever be with the LORD." Does it say we will then go with Him to heaven? I can't find that anywhere here. But let me explain. When a king comes to a city. the representatives of that city go out to meet him. Then they accompany him into the city. When Queen Elizabeth visited America a few years ago. the President met her at the airport and escorted her into the city, so she could meet our people. He didn't go to the airport. get on the plane and fly back to England with her, now did he?
When you go to the local airport to meet relatives, do you get on the plane and go back home with them? You accompany them to your home. This is exactly what we will do when Jesus returns. We will not go back with Him to heaven. It doesn't even hint of this in verse 17. But quite clearly, we will meet Him in the air, and then accompany Him back to earth, where there will be a glorious coronation ceremony and He will rule on this earth, (Not in heaven, but on this earth) as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Verse 18 - "Wherefore comfort ye one another with these words."
So what we find in an honest study, is that I Thessalonians 4:13-18, is not about a Rapture, but about the real hope of Christians, the resurrection from the dead. As Jesus died and rose again. in the same manner will we be brought back to life when Jesus comes, not silently, but with a SHOUT and with the TRUMPET'S sound! We will go out into space to meet Him, "Praise God!" and then will come back to escort Him in honor into His Kingdom.
Now let's go to another Rapture Scripture, found in the 14th verse of the little Epistle of Jude. "... Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints..." to do what? Rapture them? read on: "To execute judgment upon ALL. and to convince all that are ungodly among them of their ungodly deeds..."
Jude was quoting here from a prophecy of Enoch which we can read about in Deuteronomy 33:2. Moses wrote: "The Lord came from Sinai. and rose up from Seir unto them. He shined forth from Mt. Parin, HE CAME WITH TEN THOUSANDS OF SAINTS." Have you ever heard your Rapture preacher or evangelist explain how the Lord came to Mt. Sinai with ten thousands of His saints? I never did. In fact, most of them will tell you there were no believers in heaven at this time. Then how can you explain God coming to Sinai, 1490 years before the time of Christ?
You see my Christian friend, the big danger coming from the teaching of this "false doctrine," is that it takes Christians out of the battle against the wicked. They want to hide comfortably in their spiritual fox-holes, waiting for Christ to come back and rescue them before things get too hot. Instead of doing the work Christ told them to do; instead of being the "salt of the earth" which should be holding back corruption, they often become part of this corruption. Many years ago, a very wise man named Edmund Burke said: "All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is for good men to do nothing." This has been the sad story of millions of neutralized Christians who have believed that the Rapture was all important.
A few years ago, I ran into this in Kansas City, it was one of the most shocking examples I had ever seen. After speaking in a large church, a woman approached me and said: "I agreed with everything you said, but it doesn't apply to me. You see. I don't belong in this world. I've been born again and this means that Jesus will rapture me out of this mess before the Communists take over." When I asked her to show me this promise in the Bible, she got mad, because it isn't there! You see, that old sister was so tightly wrapped up in her shroud of "self-righteousness" it is doubtful that even the power of Almighty God will get her unzipped in time to go with Him when he does return. She was completely neutralized and instead of "Occupying until He comes!" she was hiding in her air-conditioned foxhole, folding her holy hands and praying for Jesus to take her out of all this muck and filth that we call the world. No wonder we can't make very much headway against sin, when Christians feel like this.
In verse 45, we read further - "Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord shall find so doing?" The Lord comes as a thief, with punishment and destruction for the servant who is not watching. while the obedient and faithful servant, who is found doing his Lords will (verse 47) is made ruler over all His goods.
NOTE: - THIS IS IMPORTANT: When you study you Bible, always see what it says, and what it does not say. Now with reference to the place of rulership, come with me to Revelation 5:10 - "And hast made us (Christian believers) unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on earth." Then note specifically Revelation 3:21, as to who will reign with Christ (not all Christians will reach this exalted position) - "TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with My Father in His throne." Then notice again, Revelation 2:26 - "And he that OVERCOMETH, and KEEPETH MY WORKS unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations." So you see, there are some requirements if you want to "rule and reign" with Christ. It does not come automatically.
But let's get back to Matthew 24:45 - Nothing is said in this verse about the faithful servant being taken off to heaven. The promise is that he will be made ruler over his Master's goods.
Now look at verse 48 - "But if the evil (or Unfaithful) servant shall say in his heart. My Lord delayeth His coming and begin to smite his fellow servants, and eat and drink with the drunken, the Lord of that servant shall come in a day that he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of shall cut him asunder and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." What in the world does this teach?
Well first let me ask you a question: "Is the term thief used in relation to the Day of the Lord, or in relation to Jesus Himself? Is it used to describe a time when the righteous will be taken off to heaven, while the wicked control the earth. or does it tell of the punishment and destruction of the wicked?" It becomes quite obvious, when you study this verse, that it has reference to the Day of the Lord.
If you want to find out what a thief does, turn to John 10:10, where we are told that a thief comes "to steal, kill and destroy." Jeremiah 49:9, tells us that a thief comes to destroy and that this coming is silent. Have you ever heard of a thief who blows a whistle before he breI (Ginto a house?
Jesus gives an answer to His disciples, as to when the Day of the Lord will come, in Matthew 24:37-41. He says it will take place with "Great noise." No where in this verse does it say anything about a secret removal of the church from this earth. What comes as a "thief in the night?" Not the "Lord," but the "Day of the Lord."
Now turn to Revelation 3:3 - "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come upon thee like a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." Nowhere does this verse promise deliverance from tribulation. It is a clear warning to the Church and shows that Christ will come as a thief, not to those who watch - but to those who are not watching. Now once again, turn to Revelation 16:15 - This verse takes place at the time of the Battle of Armageddon, it says: "Behold, I come as a thief, blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." No where in this verse does Jesus say "I come as a thief to take Christians away from this earth. "It is a plain warning that those who do not watch will lose something and this will make them ashamed.
Now I'd like to take you to Matthew 24, the chapter that changed my mind about the Rapture Theory. First I want you to realize that this chapter was spoken to Christians. It was not given to the Jews, but to Christ's disciples. It may be beside the point, but with the exception of the traitor, Judas Iscariot, all these men were Benjamites from Galilee and were not Jews. They were Israelites, but not Jews. It is unfortunate, but most of our pastors are very careless in using these terms interchangeably. This is nothing but "intellectual dishonesty" of the worst sort.
In verse 3, we find that Jesus is sitting on the Mount of Olives, with His disciples, who are Christians (even though they were not known by this name until years later at Antioch, see Acts 11:26). This verse says that His disciples asked Him privately: "Tell us, when shall these thing be. and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?" (This should have been more properly translated "end of the age." since it comes from the Greek word "aion" which means "age.")
Now I want you to took specifically at verse 42, it states: "Watch therefore. for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come, but know this, if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore (because of this) be ye also ready, for in such an hour ye think not. the Son of Man cometh."
Notice carefully that this verse does not promise deliverance, but is a warning of possible destruction. (Compare with I Thess. 5:2-4, 2 Peter 3:10, Re. 3:3, and 16:15).
There has probably been no one who has done more to neutralize Christians, th/blo Bible scholar named Schofleld. He was the one who put the footnotes in the King James Version of the Bible. which is known as the Schofield Edition. Why I know some Christians who almost believe that Schofield's footnotes have the same authority as the Holy Writ. He discourages Christians from working for righteousness in their community. State and Nation. because they are told that when the saints leave this world, the devil is going to take over anyway.
Josephus. the great Jewish historian states that when the Romans attacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D. not one Christian lost their life in the siege. They believed that Christ's account as given in Matthew 24, was meant for them, not the Jews. and they fled for their lives, just as Jesus had warned them to do. More than a million Jews. who did not believe. were killed in that siege.
Many missionaries who were working in China prior to the Communist takeover. will tell you that those who had been taught the Rapture doctrine, were the one's who stayed behind and were killed by the Communists. Those who had studied their Bibles, fled and are the nucleus of the Christian church there now.
What will happen to vou when Christ returns? Will He find you "Occupying" ? You know you can't do that if you are hiding in a foxhole waiting His return. Occupation is a military activity. When Jude told us to "contend for the faith..." (Jude 3} he was giving us the picture of two men fighting to the death. He used the word from which our English word "epiagonize." from which our English word "agonize" developed. It is used only once more in the New Testament and appears in Hebrews 12:4, where it says: "Ye have not yet resisted (epiagonized) unto blood. striving against sin." In modern day language, he was saying: "Christian. you haven't reached the point in your Christian life, where you are wiling to shed your blood in the war against evil." This is what it is going to take. This is what it's all about!
For those pastors who say they aren't concerned with a Communist takeover of America, that their task is "to preach the Gospel and God will handle the Communists," I'd like to remind them that if the Communists ever take over in America, their right to preach the Gospel will be taken away, just as it was for our brethren in Russia and China.
What are you doing? Are you so self-satisfied that you will sit back and be further lulled to sleep by the preaching of a false doctrine. when you should be preparing yourself for rulership in the Kingdom of God. under Jesus Christ the King?
I hate to say it, but I'm afraid that too many of our church members should be classified as "amateur Christians." They are not really very much interested in playing the game "all out" The founder of a very well known fundamental seminary once said: "To impose a need to surrender the life to God as On added condition of salvation is most unreasonable." Another well-known Christian leader went even farther and said: "Once you say 'Yes' to Jesus, He is bound eternally by contract to save you: you can commit every sin in the Bible, plus all the others and there is NO HELL waiting for you." This is an absolute stupid statement for any preacher to make and some day God will hold him accountable for the Christians he has led astray.
Man was made in the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, holiness and was to have dominion over the earth (See Gen. 1:26; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24) Our standard of conduct can not be man as he makes himself, but man as God made him. Man is a being that according to the Bible (Ps. 139:14) is "Fearfully and wonder-fully made." He was created to rule the earth, to have dominion over it and to rule according to God's eternal Law. To diminish this responsibility and calling, and to reduce God's Law to a few vague moral precepts that man wants to follow, is to set a minimum of faithfulness and this in itself is evil. The one thing we cannot afford to be as Christians, is amateurs. Our calling is a total one; we can give God nothing less than our all.
There is nothing that points up the weakness of our modern day church, more than the reduction of faith from God's supernatural act of saving us to an easy believeism and casual disobedience.
A famous man on his death bed said when asked to repent: "God will forgive me; that is His business. "We Protestants have been quick to condemn the sorry medieval doctrine of indulgences, as practiced in the Roman Church, but we have fashioned our own doctrine of indulgences. So we tell people: "Accept Christ, and you will be safe; if you sin then, He will forgive you." We have turned our salvation into a sort of "fire insurance" policy to keep us out of hell. That's one reason it has become so easy for us to accept the equally "milquetoast" doctrine of the Rapture. I'm not so sure this is going to work. Christ Himself said, in Luke 6:46 - "why call ye me, Lord. Lord. and do not the things which I say?" Then in Matthew 7:21 - "Not every man that saith unto me. Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; (Notice very carefully now the qualifying word "But".) but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." I don't know many fundamental preachers who have the"spiritual guts"to preach this truth. Could it be that these who have turned their back" on personal responsibility and who say and teach: "All that is necessary is to have faith, and believe and God will take care of everything else." Could these be the one's to whom our Lord was speaking in Luke 13:25. when He said: "...and ye shall begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us, and he shall answer and sat, unto them I know not whence ye are."
Amateur Christianity, the kind that will rejoice in a Rapture, when millions of other Christians have suffered and died for Christ, is the modern form of the Phariseeism which Paul describes in 2 Timothy 3:5, as "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." The road to hell is lined with such as these. Take your Bibles and then lake a good, studied look at the Road Signs, which warn Christians who will not take a stand for Christ.
The Apostle John, in his First Epistle 3:8 tell us "...For this purpose (to combat Satan) the Son of God was manifested (that means "made known,") that He might destroy the works of the devil. "Whomsoever is born of God doth not commit sin (there are many Scriptures which indicate this ha', reference to wilful sin); for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin. Because he is of God." (Emphasis added.)
So my fundamental, Rapture minded friend. You can stand up in church and testify until you are blue in the face; you can knock on doors and bring people to Christ, but if your life shows that you do not follow His laws and believe that because you are saved you can lie like the devil. then according to the Word of God, what you got was not salvation. Now don't get mad at me. I didn't make this up. Its out of the Book you say you love and believe!
Read the Bible Road Signs, they say: DANGER! DETOUR! BRIDGE OUT! Listen to them. then get out and take a stand for Christ, your family, your country, and the white, Christian civilization that has given you everything worthwhile that you have.
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