The Rapture to Heaven doctrine has probably been the most debated issue in the Bible lo these past 20 to 30 years.
Not a single second goes by where the debate does not continue to rage in homes, churches and more so now on the Internet. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has their specific take on the Rapture ranging anywhere from a Pre, Mid to Post Tribulation position, as well as the ever increasing Pre-Wrath point of view.
Most heated discussions usually end up with the often heard comment, “Well, it really doesn’t matter when Jesus comes, as long as we know we are saved?”
That statement carries more concerns for us because, while salvation is first and foremost the biggest issue we have to concern ourselves with, little do folks recognize that being ignorant of what God really states in His word can cause people to go down the wrong road in all aspects of what the Bible (and God) proclaims in His written word.
There are several scripture that quantify the positions we take that can have a bearing concerning whether we are truly committed to the specificity of God’s word. One statement from God that comes instantly to mind is found in Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23, which clearly state, “He that is not with me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scatterth abroad.”
What does this statement really mean?
This statement was made by Christ as He was addressing those who had decided to be part of His team, which in essences is what we do when we accept Jesus Chris as Lord and savior.
The wonderful change that is made in conversion is Christ’s victory over Satan. The conversion of a soul to God is Christ’s victory over the devil and his power in that soul, restoring the soul to its liberty, and recovering his own interest in it and dominion over it.
All the endowments of mind and body, the estate, power, interest, which before were made use of in the service of sin and Satan, are now converted to Christ’s service and employed for him. Hence Christ infers that, since the whole drift of his doctrine and miracles was to break the power of the devil, that great enemy of mankind, it was the duty of all to join with him and to follow his guidance, to receive his gospel and come heartily into the interests of it; for otherwise they would justly be reckoned as siding with the enemy: He that is not with me is against me.
Those therefore who reject the doctrine of Christ, are looked upon as adversaries to him, and in the devil’s interest. Therefore, to deny the Gospel of Christ means that you are antichrist!
What is the Gospel? It is very simple! The Gospel was preached to Abraham as we see in Galatians 3:7-9, which states, 7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
That’s it! That is the Gospel, period! End of story!
But, those who promote or believe in the Rapture believe otherwise! They believe there are still future events that have to unfold regardless of or the need of faith in Christ, such as the following:
(a) God has yet to fulfill His land Promises to Israel, although Joshua 23:14 boldly states otherwise!
(b) God will save all Israel, regardless of faith, although Romans 11:23, where the Apostle Paul is speaking about Jews, boldly states that the only way a person can be saved is by faith in Christ!
(c) God will establish a different kingdom for Israel besides the Kingdom of God, although several scriptures boldly state otherwise (1 Chronicles 22:10, Psalm 22:28, Isaiah 9:7, Daniel 2:44, Daniel 7:14, Daniel 7:22-27, Matthew 5:20; 6:10; Matthew 16:28).
(d)God is not powerful enough to protect His children during times of tribulation nor while He pours out His wrath on the unrepentant, therefore He has to Rapture them up to Heaven, although a plethora of scripture boldly state otherwise, such as Psalm 91 and 2 Peter 2:9;
(e)Left Behind, books written by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins have sold over 65 million copies, books of which their theory is based on the scripture in Luke 17:36, which says36Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left, interpreting the word taken is speaking of Christians being raptured to Heaven while unbelievers will be left behind. Yet, the original manuscript does not contain the word “behind” after the word “left.” The word left in the Greek is aphiemi which means to forgive,the same word(aphiemi) which is used twice in The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew6:12. Therefore, 65 million people who purchased those books bought into a theory that is not based on Bible truth.
We could go on and on and provide scripture after scripture (not theories or conjecture nor quoting the myriad of authors who have written Pro-Rapture books) that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Rapture to Heaven doctrine is not biblical, but many of our readers will still cling to this belief. They will present a variety of theories concerning this chapter and that chapter, interpreting this verse and that verse to mean this and that. These novel notions create “Ahah” and “wow” reactions and they receive many compliments such as, “I never looked at that verse in that manner before; you are so intelligent and gifted and blessed by God.”
However, after this has been said and done, there is only one quantifiable reality that can truly be considered concerning the legitimacy of Rapture to Heaven doctrine: Do those notions glorify Jesus Christ?
The five points mentioned above not only do not glorify God, they in essence call Him a liar! Each scripture cited above rebuts without question that those notions go contrary to the word of God. In other words, these man-made concocted theories in essence are claiming that what God has clearly stated in His word is not true and those who posit those notions know more than God! They in essence claim that a certain ethno-religo-political group of people are more important than Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross!
We need to state that any doctrine that does not glorify Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross – thereby fulfilling the Law and all the prophecies cited in the Old Testament – is not of God! Therefore, if it is not of God, will continued belief in the Rapture to Heaven doctrine have any effect on your walk with Christ? Only the Holy Spirit can confirm this for each individual believer.
I related to Chad Miles that due to my failing health and other pressing issues, I will not be able to fulfill my original plan of unveiling the entirety of my two books with the preliminary introduction and explanation to each of the respective chapters. The approach I initially used was not to solely write my opinions about the Rapture, but to systematically present the evidence that took me over 25 years of research to compile. I was prepared to do this more as an educational and teaching task, rather than just presenting ‘opinion’ or novel ‘theories’ about the Rapture. I apologize for my inability to do so at this stage of my life.
I have been physically handicapped for the last 8 years due to injuries I sustained while working as a live-in Manager of a homeless shelter in Palm Springs, California for three years straight without a single day off, not even Holidays, on the average of 18 hours per day. I will turn 70 years in a couple of months, and life’s journey has indeed taken a physical toll.
Nevertheless, I consider myself to be a “teacher” and an “elder” of the church and have spent close to 40 years of study and research of God’s word. Not in support of any particular doctrinal camp (Pre,Mid, Post, Pre-wrath, amillennial, premillennial, postmillennial, preterist, futurists, etc.) nor any allegiance to any of the existing polemical theories whatsoever.
My studies have been based on the etymology of Bible words to gain a deeper and greater understanding as to what each word truly means, such as in the case cited concerning the true meaning of the word Left. As we saw in that example, the more correct rendering of that word is to forgive which pretty much turns upside down the entire “Left Behind” theory that is still being preached and taught in churches throughout America on a daily basis.
I could spend the next ten years providing similar examples (that are all contained in my two books) and, for the most part, Rapture to Heaven adherents would still cling to their belief systems. Sadly, time and space on this great forum prevents this educational task from being accomplished to your satisfaction.
However, as a parting gift, I have posted links where you may download free PDF copies of both books to examine their contents on your own. It has never been my goal to profit from any sales of my two books; I just wanted to get the information out to the public. This has irritated my publisher, but we have to do what we have to do.
Click on the following book titles to download free PDF copies of The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation.
In parting, I have asked Chad Miles to afford me the opportunity to revisit Hearken the Watchman and provide any other scripture that I discover that adds confirmation to the discussion, because our study of the word of God is an ongoing process until He returns.
I will say that no one truly knows beyond a shadow of a doubt whether Christians will be provided an escape from increasing times of tribulation we see looming in the immediate horizon. Based upon my work, I am convinced this will not be the case. I totally agree that we will be caught up to have a meeting in the air with Jesus Christ as He descends to earth to rule and reign forever; however, the Bible nowhere states He takes us back to Heaven. There is no reason for Him to do so. He can and will protects us until He returns; as Jesus Himself prayed to the Father: I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One, (John 17:15).
If somehow Christians do get caught up to Heaven, Halleluiah! If they don’t, and they find themselves not prepared to deal with increasing times of tribulation, the reader will never be able to say they were not provided with Bible knowledge that a Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven would not occur, nor that they were not warned ahead of time.
Joe Ortiz has the distinction of being the first Mexican American in US history to conduct a talk show on an English-language, commercial radio station. He began his broadcasting career in 1971 at KABC TALK RADIO 790 AM in the highly competitive Los Angeles media market. He went on to become an award-winning broadcaster, news reporter and newspaper columnist in Los Angeles for over 30 years. Joe writes regularly on his two blogs The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation.