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Is the Rapture a Rescue from Persecution?

No escape via a rapture

It seems to me the first thing that pops up into a Christian's mind today when he or she hears the word "rapture," is a rescue from persecution and tribulation from the Antichrist. I see no such promise in the entire Bible. The scriptures tell me otherwise.

2 Timothy 3:12  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Daniel 7:21  I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Revelation 13:7  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

I don't know any evangelical today who calls himself a futurist who would disagree that Daniel 7:21 and Revelation 13:7 are talking about the Antichrist. This baffles me because nearly all futurists claim the saints will be taken to Heaven just before the rise of the Antichrist!

A view that is very widespread in the church today holds that Jesus will come back to rapture the church out of the world, after which the great tribulation will then occur, and after that, Jesus will return again. There is no scripture in the Bible that says that. An honest Bible student who holds such a view must admit it is something they heard as a little child in Sunday school, and not from the Bible.

Not only that, but many have the mistaken belief it will be a secret rapture!

"There are many Christians who believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ will be in two phases. First, He will come for believers, both living and dead, in the “rapture” (read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). In this view, the rapture—which is the transformation and catching up of all Christians, dead or alive, to meet Christ in the air—will be secret, for it will be unknown to the world of unbelievers at the time of its happening."

The above quote is from https://billygraham.org/answer/what-is-the-rapture/ It's no surprise Billy Graham and his associates would teach that. He got it from the Scofield reference Bible and Scofield got it from John Nelson Darby's false doctrines known as Dispensationalism. Notice there are no Scriptures given to back up the idea that the rapture will be in secret and unknown to the world of unbelievers.

The history behind the current popular but false Rapture doctrine

The following are quotes from https://www.demonbuster.com/rapture.html.

Three Jesuit Priests reinterpreted Daniel's 70 weeks of prophecy; the Book of Revelation; and Ezekiel for the purpose of taking the heat of the Protestant Reformation away from the papacy. At the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, all the reformers looked at the Pope as the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible! The three Jesuits were:

  1. Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) of Salamanca - futurism/rapturists
  2. Luis de Alcazar (1554-1621) of Seville - praeterism
  3. Cardinal Roberto Bellarmine (1542-1621) - followed Ribera's school of thought.

The futurists rapture doctrine originated and was submitted by Francisco Ribera in 1585. His Apocalyptic Commentary was on the grand points of Babylon and Anti-Christ which we now call the futurists or rapture doctrine. Ribera's published work was called "In Sacram Beati Ionnis Apostoli " Evangelistate Apocoalypsin Commentari (Lugduni 1593). You can still find these writings in the Bodleian Library in Oxford England.

Ribera's futurist interpretation rocked not only the Protestant church but also the Catholic church, so the Pope ordered it buried in the archives out of sight. Unfortunately, over 200 years later a librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury by the name of S. R. Maitland (1792-1866) was appointed to be the Keeper of the Manuscripts at Lambeth Palace, in London, England. In his duties, Dr. Maitland came across Francisco Ribera's futurist/rapture teaching and he had it republished for the sake of interest in early 1826 with follow-ups in 1829 and 1830. This was spurred along with the Oxford Tracts that were published in 1833 to try and de-protestantize the Church of England.

John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) (A Leader of the Plymouth Brethren) became a follower of S.R. Maitland's prophetic endeavors and was persuaded. Darby's influence in the seminaries of Europe combined with 7 tours of the United States changed the eschatological view of the ministers which had a trickle-down effect into the churches. Darby's/Ribera's teachings were embraced radically by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921). Scofield adopted Darby's/Ribera's school of prophetic thought into the Scofield Reference Bible of 1909 which was heralded as the "book of books".

Another contributor to the rapturist's chaotic prophetic line of thought came through Emmanuel Lacunza (1731-1801), a Jesuit priest from Chile. Lacunza wrote the "Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty" around 1791. It was later published in London in 1827. The book was attributed to a fictitious author named Rabbi Juan Josafat BenEzra. Reverend Edward Irving (1792-1834) contended that it was the work of a converted Jew and proved that even the Jewish scholars embraced a pre-tribulation rapture line of thought. It wasn't long until he had persuaded others to follow his line of thought which gave birth to the Irvingites (per your reference to Margaret McDonald).

In March 1830, in Port Glasgow, Scotland, 15-year-old Margaret McDonald made claim of her visions. Robert Norton published Margaret's visions and prophecies in a book entitled, "The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets in the Catholic Apostolic Church" (London, 1861). Although the modern-day view of every believer being taken away in a rapture is different from all of the thoughts that came before it, there is little doubt about its error.

Lacunza asserted that only those believers who partake of the sacrament of the Eucharist would be raptured; while Margaret McDonald said the rapture would only take those who were filled with the Holy Spirit; and Norton claimed that only those who had been sealed with the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands would be raptured. Definitely, confusion ensued. John Darby, an ordained deacon in the Church of England, was acquainted with Edward Irving and had visited Margaret McDonald during the time of her visions. Combined with the knowledge he had gained from S.R. Maitland/Ribera's teachings and the new push from Irving/McDonald/Lucunza's teachings, Darby used the rapture theory to bring a clean break from the lethargic Church of England.

Ribera and Lucunza's teachings find a meeting point in John Nelson Darby. The effects of this purported lie against the truth are still dominant today in Christian churches worldwide .

(End of quotes from https://www.demonbuster.com/rapture.html)

There were no chapter divisions in the original text of the Bible. The first Bible to have chapter divisions was the Wycliffe Bible.

The chapter divisions commonly used today were developed by Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury. Langton put the modern chapter divisions into place around A.D. 1227. The Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use this chapter pattern. Since the Wycliffe Bible, nearly all Bible translations have followed Langton’s chapter divisions. (Ref: https://www.gotquestions.org/divided-Bible-chapters-verses.html)

With that in mind, let's ignore the chapter division of 1 Thessalonians chapters 4 and 5 and read it through from 1 Thessalonians 4:14 to 5:3.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

You see, if you read it through like this you can take it as events that all happen on the same day! Those who belong to Jesus Christ will be gathered to Him, and the wicked will be dealt with.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said the wicked will be gathered before the righteous!

Matthew 13:30  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

This sure indicates to me there is no significant gap of time between the gathering of the saints and the elimination of the wicked.



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James Arendt
James Arendt

My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom. My full bio.

On September 24, 2023, I had an accident and broke the bone of the tip of my left elbow. A boy ran in front of my motorbike less than 2 meters from me as I was leaving home. I stopped suddenly and my front tire slid on the sandy concrete road which caused me to fall. I did not hit the boy. On October 18th I had surgery done on my elbow. The doctor put in titanium rods to hold my bones together. The entire procedure including an entire week in the hospital was roughly $4000 USD. This was done in the Philippines where my wife and I have been living since June this year.


X-rays of bone before and after surgery that inserted titanium rods to reinforce my broken bone.

Before and after one week in the hospital.

Undergoing therapy to bend my arm again.
I'm now undergoing therapy to be able to bend my arm again.

It would be a super blessing to us if any of the visitors of this website can help us cover this expense!

You don't need a PayPay account to send me a donation! Just click on the donate button and you will see an option to send through your debit or credit card.


Or if you have a PayPal account, just log into it and send to my PayPal ID:
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