This is directly related to the topic we discussed a few days ago, "Is the Rapture a Biblical Teaching?" but raises a few new issues as well. It is another reply to one of my AllExpert questions:
I realize that there are differences in biblical interpretation and views on various books of the bible. I'm particularly interested in Revelations, and the upcoming Rapture. I was raised Catholic and this was a topic that we didn't dwell on much, but it has really become a fascination of mine recently.
I know that many people believed that the Rapture would come in 1988 based in Jesus' Fig Tree parable. Obviously 20 years have passed, so we can safely assume that that was an incorrect interpretation of scripture. What is your belief as to when this might come? Is there a widely accepted belief of a future date and/or time? I realize that Jesus also said that nobody but the Father can know the specific date and time , but is there an approximate that biblical scholars agree on?
Here's my reply: What is your view on this?
As you can appreciate this is a topic about which volumes could be and have been written. I recently posted a study on this to my blog and website where I look at this issue in detail (hence its pretty long).
First, officially the Catholic Church rejects the teaching of the Rapture as they teach Amillennialism and the whole idea of a Rapture is contrary to this view.
In my opinion the Rapture is not a biblical teaching (but the Thousand Year reign is: i.e. I do not accept Amillennialism either).
The 1988 idea is based on a few different prophecies, Jesus' fig tree teaching, Dan 9 etc. In my opinion, that date was critical. To explain why I will need to include a little background.
Paul tells us that:
II Thess 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Many people identify this 'hinderer' of the Antichrist as the Holy Spirit (Third Person of the Trinity). In my opinion this refers rather to all those who sincerely serve God and who, knowingly or unknowingly, are lead in their resistance to evil by God -- these are "the hinderers" who in the future will be among the 144,000 Jews and the Great Multitude of Gentiles referenced in the Book of Revelation.
The presence of godliness hinders the full manifestation of the Evil One.
I believe that without this hindering agent the Antichrist would have come to power in 1988. Think about how far Christianity has fallen and how acceptable it has now become is bash Christians and others of faith since 1988! Respect for religion has plummeted. Its not coincidence. The Laodecian Church (Rev. 3:14-19) is now replacing genuine faith in God (as is witnessed in the Clergy Response teams, the sex scandals etc) and we can now clearly see how the New World Order is preparing the way of the Rex Mundi ("Global Ruler") or Antichrist. What was theory in 1988 is now fact.
Master Y'shua (Jesus) told us that we would not know the "day nor the hour" but that if we paid attention we could discern the "watch." That "watch" began in either 1948 (with the re-founding of Israel) or in 1967 (with the retaking of Zion: Jerusalem as Israel's eternal capital). In either case, that Watch is fast coming to a close and the rise of the Antichrist is imminent as the hinderers find themselves progressively 'outgunned' by evil.
I do not believe the Bible teaches the Rapture nor that the Church will be Raptured. I believe this is a dangerous misdirection that is promoting Laodecian religion.
Following is a list of why I believe this.
You are most welcome to write me back here with further questions or thoughts. You also might also be interested in reading the entire study on my blog where you can comment (if you open a free account):
This study is also posted here:
May this information be a blessing to you,
~ John of AllFaith
"Just the Facts Please!"
* This is a new doctrine, not historically held by any segment of the Church.
* Christians can't agree on the question of timing: Pre, Mid or Post Tribulation, so it's obviously not that clear at best. If this earth shaking event were truly a biblical prophecy it would be made clear.
* The Pre-Tribulation Rapture (the most commonly held view) is directly and repeatedly contradicted by the clear teachings about who will be opposing the Rex Mundi (Antichrist) and when. According to the prophets, Believers will be present throughout the Seven Years.
* At certain points in the Tribulation, including during the second half, the Great Tribulation, Believers will receive certain protections from certain of the coming plagues and so will obviously still be on the earth.
* A reason often given for why the Rapture must occur is that Holy Spirit must be removed during the reign of the Beast. Were this so, no one post Rapture could be "saved" or have report with God (nor yet could the world itself continue to exist!) yet the Prophets show Divine intervention and inspiration will occur throughout the period and the oft stated presence of Believers on earth.
* Master Y'shua does not discuss or even reference the Rapture in his important Matthew 24 list of signs for, "When will these things be."
* Master Y'shua's Matthew 24 reference to 'those in the field' being "taken" is clearly speaking of the Jews of Jerusalem who will flee the City once the Rex Mundi declares his divinity and the "abomination of desolation spoken of by Prophet Daniel" occurs, and not to a Rapture when read in context.
* Master Y'shua does not discuss or even reference a Rapture in his prophetic presentation to John in the Book Revelations
* Modern Christians do not honor the Sabbath (as commanded in the Bible) and so the Master's concern that this fleeing not take place on the Sabbath has no meaning for modern Christians. Master Y'shua would surely have known the Church would abandon the Sabbath three hundred years after his death.
* 'Those in the field,' 'on the roof tops' etc. are encouraged to run rather than return home for their belongings. Such options would not exist in the Rapture as taught and so the reference can not be to it.
* Believers are advised to stand firm against the Antichrist. To do so they must be present on the earth during his reign.
* The "Last Trump" is blown to announce the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth. The reference therefore to Paul in I Cor 15 specifically refers to the time that trumpet is blown. The Rapture, as conceived, would have taken place years before this horn is sounded. It is sounded when the Jews are ALL gathered back to Jerusalem for the inauguration of the global theocracy (the Thousand Year Reign).
* God never granted this type of protection to the Jews, His Elect, even during the Russian Pograms and Nazi Shoah and there is no biblical evidence that He will do so for the Christians who, at the time, as described as being lukewarm and filled with hypocrisy.
* Revelations 6:9 makes it clear that during the entire seven year period those martyred by the Antichrist and his New World Order must patiently wait, "until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." This clearly shows there will be no Rapture to rescue their fellow Believers from martyrdom.
* The prophetic word about the future of the Church: Through the Seven Church Ages the Church draws progressively farther and farther away from the God of Israel until, in the End Times, it will embrace the Antichrist and God will "vomit it from His mouth" and 'sever the Church from the 'Tree of Israel' and cast it into the 'fire'. If the Church deserves to be vomited out how and why would God rapture it away to safety and bliss as His righteous judgment beings?
* The foretold Church of the Last Days is a lukewarm, hypocritical body that has abandoned the teachings of Master Y'shua and become largely irrelevant in the world (surrendering its position to Secular Humanism and eventually to the Rex Mundi as Babylon the Great and her daughters). Portions of the Church are even now being "vomited out of God's Mouth" as is obvious in the various sex and money scandals, the lack of Christian opposition to the New World Order, the practice of abortion, etc. The fallen Church of today will not be raptured away for its protection.