What if I told you that the rapture is something entirely made up? Would you breath a deep sight of relief, or would you be offended?
The Rapture theory is commonly held in much of Christianity today, but why? Is it really so biblical?
I don’t believe it is. In my mind, the rapture is a myth. It is complete fiction made up in the 19th century through the distortion of scripture.
So whether you believe in the rapture or not, allow me to present for you five compelling reasons why I believe the rapture isn’t real.
#1 It’s Unbiblical
The Rapture, despite how much it’s accepted as fact, is completely unbiblical. There is literally no direct scriptural evidence for the rapture. All of the scriptures classically used to defend the rapture are either a) taken out of context or b) vague and obscure.
If the rapture really is true, then why isn’t the bible filled with it? Why do rapture teachers have to use such vague passages to back up their beliefs?
Sure, there are a few verses that kind of hint towards the rapture. But as soon as you take the time to understand the proper context, you’ll discover that you’ve been implying your own meaning into the text (when it should always be the other way around).
#2 Implies a Third Coming of Christ
Rapture teachers, in order to back up their position, have invented a third coming of Christ. 1 They will teach that Jesus’ second coming is the rapture (where he sucks up all the Christians into the sky), and His final coming is a third coming (one of final judgement).
This is logically inconsistent, and scripturally insulting. There is no such thing as a third coming of Christ. When He comes again, it will be the final and full manifestation of the Kingdom. 2
Rapture teachers make the false distinction between “the day of Christ” and “the day of the Lord”, claiming that the bible refers to the rapture and the second coming of Christ as different events by these terms. But this logic is seriously flawed. 3
#3 Thessalonians 4:17 in Context
Thessalonians 4:17 is perhaps the most important bible verse in a rapture teachers theology. But is this verse really talking about the rapture? Let’s look at the context.
In Thessalonians 4:17 Paul writes “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…”
You can see why this can seem like a rapture verse. So here more than ever it’s important to understand what is leading up to this verse, and where it fits into the whole of this letter. 4
Right before verse seventeen Paul is talking about resurrection from the dead. This is massive. Paul is not talking about the end times. Paul is encouraging the church with the hope of resurrection. i.e. Death is not permanent! Death is not the end!
Check out specifically verse 14: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” Paul here makes the parallel between Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection. Death is defeated by Christ, and we share in His victory! Far from being a verse for the rapture, this verse is about the resurrection.
#4 A 19th Century Invention
The rapture was first invented by John Nelson Darby in the 19th century. 5 Up until that time absolutely no one believed in the rapture.
Think about that for a moment.
Some may be quick to say “Stephen, why are you questioning the rapture? It’s such a well established doctrine!” But who’s really the one questioning orthodoxy here? If you believe in the rapture than essentially you are saying that for 1,800 years the church as a whole has been wrong.
Are you that confident in this? Are you a better theologian than the reformers, the early church, or even the Apostle Paul?
Because none of them ever taught the rapture.
#5 Fear Based
The Rapture is an entirely fear based doctrine. It sounds much more like mythology, than Christianity.
The rapture creates a “rescue me” mentality. The church has become far more interested in being rescued from an “evil world” than it is in changing the world with the Gospel.
The rapture has detrimentally corrupted the church with an escapist mindset. We don’t feel responsible to build a lasting legacy. Instead, we look forward to our escape from this world. Ultimately, the rapture undermines the command of Jesus to preach the Gospel to all creation.
So is the rapture real? I doubt it.
Either way, who cares? We teach the rapture in Christianity sometimes like it matters. Let me tell you, it doesn’t. While the bible may be unclear about the end times, it is clear about this: we will never fully know what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen, or even how it’s going to happen.
Just trust Jesus, enjoy abundant life, and preach the Gospel!
So what do you think? Is the rapture real? Leave me a comment below!
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- No one would ever admit this, but if you listen to what the rapture teaches, it is implied. ↩
- It’s important to note here that the kingdom has already come fully in Christ. However, the second coming is properly understood as a full manifestation. It’s not that Jesus is gone from the earth, soon to magically come back. Christ is here and His kingdom is with Him right now. ↩
- By the same way of thinking you could conclude that when Mathew’s gospel writes the “kingdom of heaven” and Luke’s/Mark’s gospel the “Kingdom of God” that this means there are two kingdoms. ↩
- Remember, the new testament is a compilation of letters. Theses letters where never meant to be picked apart like we treat them today. They must be taken as a whole to be understood properly. ↩
- Specifically, the 1830’s ↩
- Psalms 115:16 ↩
- Revelation 21:2 ↩