Is the message below a correct understanding of the scripture with regard to a rapture/gathering of God’s people?[Editor’s note: A fairly lengthy and somewhat incoherent set of claims about a premillennial rapture is below. Normally, we would not put such stuff out there, but there are sufficient people who find themselves believing this kind of thing that we have decided to post the article and a response. The response comes before the article, which is at the bottom. Also, there is a follow-up question below.]
There is way too much in the content below for me to address every claim from this gentleman and whether it is biblical. What I can do is take on one or two of the claims and respond to these few. Hopefully, this will indicate how I would respond to the entire set of claims.
This author proposes that there are three separate gatherings/raptures of Christians up to heaven between now and the Millennial Reign (presumably the Millennial Reign of Christ as taught by premillennialists). To this I can say with great confidence that this is not correct interpretation and that this person is reading into scripture (eisegesis) rather than reading from scripture (exegesis).
First of all, where is the scripture which says that there will be three raptures? This author offers none.
Does he offer a scripture which says that there will be a rapture/gathering before the millennial reign? Answer: No! He has not a single passage to offer which tells us that there will be a gathering before the Millennial Reign. In fact, he does not even define the Millennial Reign. He assumes that there will be a Millennial Reign, but he does not define this reign, biblically, and he does not give us a passage from the Bible which tells us that there will be such a Millennial Reign. As for the idea of a Millennial Reign of Christ on the earth (which this person apparently believes in), I know of no passage which tells us that Christ will come back to the earth and reign here, never mind that he will do so for 1000 years. This teaching is the result of the imagination of certain people, not the result of good biblical exegesis.
For example, he tells us that Revelation 4:1-5:10 describes a rapture/gathering of the apostle John. I ask you to turn to this passage and read it. Do you see even the slightest hint of a gathering here? Do you see John being called out of this life and harvested for eternity here? I do not. What I see is a vision that John had while living in exile on the island of Patmos. This is found in Revelation 1:9-11. Here we see a classic example of a biblical vision. There is no rapture here. There is no resurrection. There is no physical carrying away. This is a figment of the imagination of the author. He is scanning the Bible looking for supposed raptures. The author tells us that Revelation 5:9 describes a rapture. I just read that scripture and see no evidence of a rapture there. It is a vision. That is all it is. This passage is not a statement about certain people who will be taken, and there is no mention of a Millennial Reign here either.
Then this person has a second rapture in Revelation 7:9-14. I invite you to read this passage for yourself. Do you see any evidence that this is a prophecy about an actual rapture of humans—a removal of human bodies from the earth, and a drawing of them to heaven. I looked at this passage and I see a prophetic vision. That is all it is. It is a vision, the interpretation of which can be debated, but I certainly do not see the word rapture or the word gathering. In fact, I see literally zero evidence of anything of the sort. I certainly do not see mention of a Millennial Reign or of this happening before this reign. This statement by the author is pure invention.
Then the author has the temerity to state that he detects a third gathering of the saints in Revelation 14:14-16. Again, this is a prophetic vision. This is apocalyptic literature, which, of course, is highly symbolic. I see no gathering of the saints here. I do see a prophetic “harvesting” here, but the meaning of this symbolic harvesting is not clear, and there certainly is not the slightest evidence of a rapture. Those harvested here are thrown into the “winepress of God’s wrath.” I will admit that I am not sure exactly how to understand this vision, but one thing I can say for sure is that it is not a rapture of the saints. I do not believe that the Saints will be thrown into the winepress of God’s wrath! In fact, I do not know of a single passage in the Bible which teaches that there will be a rapture of Christians before the supposed Millennnial Reign of Christ (a teaching without biblical basis in the first place).
So, here is my suggestion. Do not take anything that this author says to be true. I suggest you look elsewhere for a discussion of end times. There is significant evidence that the author here is not even very well educated. For example, when talking about those who accept Christ, he calls them those who except Christ. There are dozens of rather obvious grammar and spelling errors in the statements below. This, too, should make you at least a bit skeptical that this is coming from a person of solid scholarship. Add to that, this gentleman apparently believes in extraterrestrials. Another reason to take all he has with a grain of salt.
If you want some material on the Book of Revelation, I suggest the CD series we have available at www.ipibooks.com The title of the CD set is “And He Shall Reign Forever and Ever.” Either that or you can do a search on the Book of Revelation at the web site, where you will find a ten hour class on Revelation, as well as nearly a one hundred page outline of material on the book. In this class I spend quite a bit of time discussing premillennialism and reasons that this is not biblical and that it is inconsistent with biblical theology. I also recommend a book by Gordon Ferguson titled
“Revelation.” It is also at www.ipibooks.com I hope this helps.
Thank you very much John for the time you put into this answer. The section that is difficult to reconcile though is where it says to examine Luke 12:36-38. Why would it say – when he will return from the wedding ??
This is a parable. We cannot glean doctrinal statements about a “rapture” simply from a parable. In any case, what is being taught in Luke 12:36-38 is that we as Christians need to be ready for when Jesus comes back. I believe all Christians agree that we need to be ready at any time for the second coming of Jesus. There is not the slightest indication of anything like a rapture in this parable which is intended to encourage us to live lives which are ready for when Jesus comes back.
Notice the wording here: Be dressed and ready “like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet.” Notice the word “like”. This is a simile. We need to be ready in a way similar to how a man waiting for a master to return from a wedding banquet. In other words we need to wait in eager expectation for Jesus to come. Again, not the slightest indication of a rapture here. The scripture does not say be ready “for” their master to return from a wedding banquet. It says be ready “like a person waiting” for such a person to return…
The person who put together this document is looking through a particular lens. If we look hard enough for evidence for something we are already assuming to be true, then we will find it, even if there is no such evidence. This is human nature. You can safely discount this person’s “discovery” of three raptures.
Here is the article referred to above:
TO ALL THAT I HAVE CHOSEN TO SEND THIS TO :
Keep this in your back pocket IF you need to use it one day…..
Following is the most condensed format of all the “Meat & Potatoes” which I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me within the King James Bible that needs to be left behind for the world if I and others are no longer here.
1) THE RAPTURE ( HARPAZO )
There absolutely appears to be (3) separate gatherings up to heaven between now and the beginning of the Millennial Reign –
A ) Rev 4:1 thru 5:10 – Rev 4:1 Starting with John prophesying his own rapture, which hasn’t happened yet because he is Asleep in Christ still ( And realize that nowhere within scripture has a prophet been given a prophesy with the sound of a trumpet from heaven )…. This first gathering is summed up with the many believers saved in Rev 5:9 !! 1 Thessalonians 5:9 ; Luke 21:36 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:2 ; Mathew 25:10 ; Romans 11:7-11 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:4 ; Mathew 24: 40-44 ; Rev 3:10-11.; and all of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5
B ) Rev 7:9 thru 7:14 – Believers gathered up that have been martyred – along with what I believe will be the catching away also of believers alive…..on this particular gathering would it not make sense also that He would again take up those alive with those that have died or are “Asleep in Christ” – to be performed exactly as described in the only (2) places within the New Testament – 1 Thesalonians 4 or 1 Corinthians 15 ; My conjecture is that it would be done in the exact same manner for this second gathering. Rev 3:20 ; Luke 12:39 ; Mathew 25:10-13 ; Rev 3:20 ; Mathew 24:43 ; Luke 12:36-38 ; Mathew 24:48-51 ; Luke 12:45-46 ; Luke 21:28
C ) Rev 14:14 thru 14:16 – What I believe could be the final gathering shortly after the “mark of the beast” to those who will be brought to death for not excepting the mark or those believers that have managed to slip through the cracks or survive – Again to what I believe… will be caught up alive with those martyred or that have died as in 1 Thesalonians 4. This gathering also appears to be the one described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:52 in conjunction with the “last trump”. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ; Luke 12:38 ; Romans 10:13 ; Mathew 24:13.
* Please examine in Luke 12:36-38 how precise Luke is lead by the Holy Spirit to describe what Paul calls the “mystery” when referring to the rapture ( harpazo ) unto the Wedding / Wedding Supper !!
There may be even a possibility of one final snatching away towards the end of the pouring out of the vials according to Rev 16:15-16 ; or this could be just a synopsis towards those who have already been taken in one of the (3) mentioned above…. This is what I believe is all part of the “mystery” Paul referred to when writing of the catching away of the believers. Mark 13:35 I believe also adds to this mystery – Not as detailed as Luke’s description…. But seems to use a metaphor to portray multiple watches – even up to four !! )
Now I realize most do not respond to a partial rapture theology ( which three or four separate raptures would be the epitome of )… But if you examine the differences between the church of Philadelphia against the church of Laodicea you will see justification for such belief – especially the open door compared to knocking on a closed door. ( Rev 3 )
After these (3) gatherings performed by the Lord the final 7 judgements of God will be poured out unto those remaining. Then it appears Christ will Return to wipe out (slay) any and all whom were ale to survive. This is very important to Understand – The “Second Advent” as Christians call it is not what many believe ! ( Rev 19:15 ; Mathew 24:30 ; psalm 2:9 )
2) THOSE NOT GATHERED UP
Those who never except Christ or that take the “mark” will be put into the center of the earth (bottomless pit – Rev 5:3 ; Philippians 2:10 ; Rev 9:1-3 ; Ephesians 4:8-9 ; Genesis 4:14 ; Rev 20:7-9 ) along with a bound up satan for a thousand years Rev 20:1-3 while we are with Christ in his “New Jerusalem” structure with many mansions and streets of gold. At the end of the thousand years satan will round up an army inside the bottomless pit to come up unto the surface of the earth to attempt to destroy us and Christ, but will utterly fail and fail quickly ( Rev 20:9). All those who were sent to the inside of the earth after the Millennial Reign will be judged in the White Throne judgement and those not found in the Lamb’s book of life will then be cast into the lake of fire to perish and become non existent forever. The good news though being : Once someone is saved and caught up in one of the (3) gatherings and deemed to be in Paradise – From that point on cannot be deceived by satan ( we are not inside the earth; but with Christ getting ready to inherit the earth for eternity upon completion of the thousand years when it is made new again ( Rev 21:5 )
3) HOW EASY IS IT TO BE GATHERED UP FOR ONE OF THE (3) CATCHING AWAYS
It is my belief that for the first gathering it may not be so easy…. Too many people that even believe in Christ have “cares for this world”.( Mark 4:18-19 ) Verses to examine would be : He who hateth his life in this world shall gain life eternal, he who loveth his life shall lose it. ( Ephesians 6:12 ; John 12:31; Mathew 22:14 ) (or) Anyone who chooses to become a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. I believe that those taken first will likely fit the description of those considered “Blessed” according to Mathew Chapter 5. If you thoroughly examine these verses you will see that these individuals would find it very easy to perform Luke 21:36 ( especially when it states “always” ). Why do I point this out ? Because the Lord is actually doing a favor unto this world when he performs his first 14 of his 21 judgements. The first 7, being the seals, will bring so many towards the Character of what I mentioned above to be taken…. And then the next 7, being the trumpets, will bring what I believe is the final individuals to obtain the Character of what I described above.
4 ) WHO WILL NOT BE TAKEN IN ONE OF THE (3) GATHERINGS
A ) Those who never believe that Christ died for their sins and except Christ as their Savior or even those that believed but begin to deny him in their heart. ( John 3:16-17 ; Ephesians 2:13 ; 2 Timothy 4:10 ; Galatians 5:4 )
B ) Those who become deceived by extraterrestrials, which are no more then demonic entities, as the ones to save us ( without even considering WHO created them!! ).They will also probably be deceived into believing that they took away those who were raptured. ( Colossians 1:16 ; Mathew 24:24 ; 1 Peter 5:8 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 )
- C) Those clinging unto the “cares of this world” to continue on in this world ; especially taking the “mark of the beast” to continue on in this world. ( Mark 4:19 ; Rev 13:17 ; Luke 12:32-33 )
The easiest way to Save these individuals will be to point out that there is 1,817 prophecies in the bible of which almost all have been fulfilled now ( this would be an impossibility if the bible was not the True and Real word of our Creator !! ). There will also be those that believe the Book of Revelation is not in chronological order – But I believe you can easily debunk that with verses Rev 8:1-2 and Rev 15:1
5 ) WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO REPENT
The word repent is simply a two syllable word meaning Change Thinking…. Not “turn from your sins”. That is why it states God repented in Genesis 6:6 . It will be extremely important for the world to Change Their Minds that Christ already paid the price for their whole life’s sins – past, present and future ( And this must be taught to the whole world for them to Love and Embrace Him for what he did for us and put them into a position to be gathered unto the Wedding / Wedding Supper by Him ) Romans 10:4; Ephesians 2:8-9 ; 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 ; Philippians 3:21 ; John 6:28-29 ; Acts 3:19 ; John 6:28-29
If you are also led to Repent ( Change your Mind ) to do Good Works then this will by all means profit you with Reward either in this current world or with Reward in Paradise ; BUT never let focus on good works super exceed that of your focus towards Faith that Christ has already ” paid the price ” for all your life’s sins. ( John 14:6 ) The main objective of this message is for as many as possible to Obtain SALVATION.
God Be With You All
P.S. -“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the TIME(S) of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. ” ( Acts 3:19 )