Friday, May 13, 2016

The Great Rapture Debate

"There isn't going to be a rapture...where Jesus makes people vanish into space!  That's crazy!!"

"If there is a rapture, it's gonna be after all the Christians lose their heads!"

"The word rapture isn't even in the Bible!  The whole idea was just recently invented by John Darby and was never taught in church history!"

"When Jesus comes he will snatch his bride into the sky and then put them on white horses immediately and have them fly back with him to earth to fight in Armageddon!"

"Jesus is already here on earth!  He is dwelling in our hearts and minds!  The rapture was fulfilled at Pentecost when he came into our hearts via the Holy Spirit!"

Holy ball of confusion!!  What's up with that???

There is perhaps no greater debate when it comes to Bible Prophecy than the nature and timing of this event.  LifeWay Research recently polled 1,000 senior protestant pastors about their rapture beliefs, with the following results: 

" Pre-Tribulation View - 36%.  Christians who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture in which the Church will be taken up to heaven before the Tribulation period begins- an escape from the prophesied apocalypse. 

" Mid-Tribulational View - 4%.  Christians who believe in a mid-tribulation rapture that will occur 3.5 years into the Tribulation.

" Post Tribulational View - 18%. Christians who believe in a post-tribulation rapture in which the event occurs at the end of the 7-year Tribulation. In this case, the Church would suffer through the 7-years of devastation: death, torture, starvation, plague, war and climate-change far beyond any climate-change that is happening at the present.

" None of the above - 25%.  Those who believe the rapture should not be taken literally.

Mainline Protestant pastors (36 percent) are more likely to say the rapture isn't literal. Pastors who hold this view include about half of Lutherans (60 percent), Methodists (48 percent) and Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (49 percent).  In contrast, almost all Baptist and Pentecostal's support a literal rapture with a majority of Evangelicals supporting the pre-tribulational view.

Pastors under 45 years of age who believe in the pre-tribulation rapture comprise only 28%, while 23% believe in a post-tribulation rapture.

Despite the differences of opinion expectations are high that Jesus will come soon.

A Pew Research study, July 14, 2010, found that 41% of Americans believe that Christ will return by 2050. Even those who are not affiliated with a particular religion, 20% do believe such events will occur prior to 2050. While 58% of white evangelicals believe that Christ's return will happen prior to 2050, only 32% of Catholics and 27% of mainline Protestants believe the same. 

So what is the truth, and is the truth discernible?

As mentioned earlier, the pre-tribulation theory got its boost in the 1830s and found popularity in the United States in the early 1900s, partially thanks to the Scofield Reference Bible.  Some argue the fact that since pre-tribulational theory was not taught in previous church history it should be approached skeptically.  Others would argue that the relative newness of a particular teaching is not the core issue. The question always has to be, is it Biblical?

Each of the different views have some element of Biblical foundation in its core doctrine and should be accepted or rejected based on whether or not it is in agreement with the Word of God.  Healthy debate can be a good thing if done in the right way.  When these issues divide Christians so that they break fellowship and condemn one another as heretics, we have lost the unity and love for one another that we are supposed to show the world.


After looking at the evidence and studying the Word of God, I have come to the conclusion that Jesus will come for His Bride and that we will have NO PART in the wrath of God that will be poured out on planet earth.

I believe that the Antichrist will literally be walking around planet earth after we are gone and will rule over a global currency.

I believe that Jesus will return to earth 7 years after the Antichrist signs a peace agreement with Israel.

I believe that events will get so bad on planet earth that if Jesus didn't return to shorten those days that NO FLESH would survive.

"But Dennis, I don't believe that at you think I'm going to hell?"

Nope.  If you have believed in your heart and confessed with your tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord, then you can be saved.

I believe that when we all have our personal one-on-one with Jesus he will ask us to explain HOW we believed what we believed based on our study and devotion of the Bible.  So the grey areas of HOW Jesus returns are not salvation issues but Jesus wants us to know why we believe what we believe based on the Word he gave us.

But....why would I want to be co-teaching Confirmation at my church with someone who believes there is no rapture imminent and that all prophecy has already be fulfilled and all we need do is make the world a better place so that Jesus can reveal himself?  How the heck are we going to help those kids understand anything?

I love what Dr Jeremiah says, "Here at Shadow Mountain Church all the staff, teachers and pastors all believe in the Pre-trib rapture doctrine.  That's what you are going to hear preached from the pulpit, Sunday school, adult ed and Bible studies. We are all on the same page and you can bet if we hire a new staff or pastor we are going to make sure they agree with our Pre-trib beliefs." (paraphrasing)

"Well Dennis, our church just stays away from all those topics about prophecy and end our pastor won't preach on Revelation, 1 Thessalonians, 2nd Thessalonians, Matthew 24 and the other passages in the Gospels where Jesus talks about the Last Days."

Are you serious?  Your pastor just refuses to preach or discuss the return of Jesus?  Wow!  No wonder the church of America has gotten so lukewarm, so apathetic, so in love with the world, so "tolerant" of other religions, so intolerant of the word DOCTRINE....and so worthless at making disciples who make disciples.

Revelation 3
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.


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