The Rapture Chronicles – Part 4: A Sure Doctrine of the Bible

Wilfred Hahn

Our study of the Rapture Chronicle Series yielded a very important proof. The Rapture can only occur at the start of—or just before—the Tribulation begins. We have decisively proven that the Rapture cannot occur at the mid, the pre-wrath point, or post/the end of the Tribulation. To repeat: As we have shown, Scripture only supports the pre-Trib position. This view also perfectly lines up with the character and nature of God. We can rejoice about that: Our LORD is faithful. “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does” (Psalm 145:17).

Another clear conclusion is that there are two streams of Christians in the last days. There are those who trust Jesus Christ as their Savior before the Rapture takes place, and those who do so thereafter. Their paths are very different. This is a very important distinction to keep straight. 

If one mixes up these two streams, the narrative of the books of Daniel and Revelation (as well as a few other verses outside these two books) risks not making much sense. The whole detailed record will not fall precisely into place. Raptured Christians meet the Lord “in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), their bodies will be made glorious (Philippians 3:21), and they will reign with the Lord forever. Wherever Christ is, there we will be also. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). 

As for those who become Christians after the Tribulation period begins, they will face much persecution on earth. In our Rapture Chronicles to date, we concluded that ALL Tribulation Christians will perish, and that this extermination will occur no later than the mid-point of the 7-year Tribulation. 

This  “persecution by slaughter” is connected with the False Prophet’s attempts to make all bow before the First Beast; to take his “mark,” at the threat of being cut off from the world’s financial system should one not comply (see Revelation 13 for the full account). This is most pivotal—the capstone of Satan’s cosmological scheming, and his last. 

While we may have reached our conclusions about the Rapture by studying the Bible, others will continue to reject this doctrine. One of the reasons some people have rejected the Rapture doctrine is that they may have confused the two separate categories of Christians (as we have explained). Or, people may simply choose what they believe no matter the facts. The latter is often the case with other Biblical truths.

Most sadly, this denial may be attributable to the fact that “[…] the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). And, being “[…] tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14).

Some choose to ridicule Rapture believers, employing personal attacks and blustery debate tactics. Often, when we mention that we have adopted a pre-millennial, pre-tribulational view and believe that there will be a Rapture—absurdity of all absurdities—we receive responses of surprise.

Apparently, to believe that a Rapture will occur reveals that one is “low brow,” “gullible,” and an “escapist.” But, even as a spirit of derisiveness and smugness is becoming more prevalent among the Rapture naysayers, the reality is that their arguments have generally been invalidated as perhaps never before.

These “nay” respondents will usually agree that any differences in perspectives are nothing over which to lose fellowship (as long as both parties are pre-millennial), and that it is not a salvation issue. Yet, “nay Rapture” proponents seem to adamantly want to convert Rapture believers … even to “deliver” them to a post- or mid-tribulational perspective.

We wonder why there is such an opposition to the Rapture view. Just what spirit—or irritant—is behind these attacks? Naysayer counter-arguments and viewpoints range from the thoughtful to pure vitriol.

Conversely, those who hold the Rapture view do not feel it an imperative to expunge the world of Rapture naysayers. As readers will know, this doctrine is not a salvation issue. The Rapture believer knows that the non-Rapture-believing Christian is given salvation through grace as anyone else. The nay-Rapturists, on the other hand, generally do not see it that way.

So, why “proselytize” naysayers to the Rapture view? This writer is not suggesting that this is a priority. Nevertheless, while not every variant of doctrine threatens one’s salvation, every deviation from Biblical truth does have its price, we believe. Good doctrine is therefore important. We are charged to “[…] teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).

However, as already mentioned, “[…] the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.”  That time is certainly today!

Not surprisingly, therefore, some Christians do succumb to the notions of the naysayers.

To illustrate, some time ago, a friend (with an evangelical background, who was raised with the Rapture expectation) rather suddenly changed his mind, announcing that he no longer believed in the Rapture.

This writer was curious about what was behind this “conversion.” Apparently, my friend had swallowed the argument that the Rapture was a “new” doctrine, supposedly popularized by a delusional young woman named Margaret MacDonald in the 1800s.

This couldn’t be further from the truth in many respects. To fall for such shallow arguments is to ignore Scripture and the full history of the Christian church. There has been much research done in recent years that sheds additional light on the unfounded allegations of the naysayers. Pro-Rapture scholars have roundly invalidated the claims of those that claim the Rapture is a new teaching.

Dear reader, what is your view on the Rapture, and can you support it in the face of mockery and derision? We suspect that many Christians are “closet Rapture believers,” who will only admit their views in safe company. 

We present here a short “checklist” of five points that will be helpful in countering doctrinal error in the matter of the Rapture.

1. Back to the Source. First, we must begin with the document that is claimed to be all-sufficient for teaching, rebuking and admonishing (2 Timothy 3:16). Its truth towers far above that of all other documents in the world. The Rapture doctrine finds its source in Scripture—nowhere else. Not only is it spoken of specifically, but also it is foreshadowed and deductive based on the character and actions of God Himself.

The doctrine of the Rapture must stand on the Bible “full stop.” The view of any later church father, pope, or entranced young girl cannot add any credence nor pedigree to what Scripture has said. As it is, a so-called church father can be found and quoted to support almost any theological view. We may have our favorites, but quoting them adds nothing proof-worthy to this main point: The Rapture is a Scriptural doctrine.

2. Since When New? Rapture doubters often claim that a teaching cannot be true if it is “new” … i.e., a view that was popularized in recent centuries or times. This argument is not valid for a number of reasons. For one, just because a Scriptural doctrine has been rediscovered recently says nothing of its veracity or history. If it is Scriptural, it is therefore correct … whether it is a recent understanding or not.

Rapture doubters like to say that the “church has historically not taught the Rapture.” We ask, What church, and during what era? Was it the founding church that was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the New Testament? Or a later church that preached a different Bible and a different gospel?

3. Context: The History of the Church. Rapture naysayers like to sweep away the record of Christian history, and while doing so, ignore the warnings of the New Testament from its outset. Early on—nearly 2,000 years ago—Christians were already warned about the infiltration of false doctrines, and that deceivers would creep in unawares. Sadly, this was clearly an issue already during the time of the apostles themselves (See 2 Timothy 3:8; 4:3; 2 Peter 2:1-3).

Once the apostles had passed on, the dilution of the gospel happened quickly. Over the course of a few centuries, many false doctrines (surely, driven by many “antichrists”: see 1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:3) became embedded in various teachings. However, crucially, these were not “new” teachings. Rather, they were largely restored teachings that were originally based on Scripture. 

4. Solid Scholarship and Proofs. Today, we have the benefit of much scholarship on the origins of Christian doctrines. Within this record are the teachings of various preachers and theologians of the 16th to 19th centuries (outside the Roman Catholic Church), which have been found and uncovered. Plain to see in these records is the dominance of pre-millennial interpretations of the Bible.

Moreover, there is much proof of the Rapture being taught once the systematic oppression of Christians (or those with merely opposing Scriptural views) began to be lifted. The Rapture view was held by some clergy centuries before the alleged “trance revelations” of Margaret MacDonald. John Nelson Darby is shown to be influenced by these teachings of more than 200 years before his time (and not deliriums).

Today, we can say with confidence that the trance allegations of the “anti-Rapture” crowd, have been thoroughly debunked and invalidated, based on scholarship and hard evidence.

5. Logic and Apologetics. There are many excellent books available on the doctrine of the Rapture. Hence, as already mentioned, we can hardly do credit to this body of work … especially so in such a short article. Students of the entire Bible (Old and New Testaments) can sense in their spirit God’s divine plan behind the Rapture. 

God always called out and preserved the believing remnant before unleashing His wrath. Consider the preservation of the families of Noah and Lot. Why then, would the Church (what Jesus calls His Bride) be allowed to be utterly slaughtered under the justice of His wrath? As pointed out in this Rapture Chronicles series, it is ALL Christians who were not part of the church who will perish in the Tribulation period. Not His Bride.

None who refuse to take the mark and worship the beast (Revelation 20:4) will survive. Contrary to the Bible, if one presumes that Christians will not be “[…] caught up together […] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), then what “blessed hope” is there (Titus 2:13)?

To the contrary, says Jesus Christ to the Philadelphian church, “[…] I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

But do we not all deserve wrath? Yes. As such, the Partial Rapture Theory (that only some Christians will be raptured and not all) can appear logical. Why? To the human, it simply doesn’t seem just that Jesus Christ would rapture all Christians; though hardly any of them are as worthy as perhaps Elijah and Enoch of the Old Testament, who were also raptured.

But, if the Lord saves us “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8) through grace, then the Rapture is equally undeserved for last-day Christians.

In conclusion, today, the attacks against the Rapture (except on the basis of Scriptural evidence) can be ignored. Our short, five-point checklist shows that the main arguments against the Rapture are fallacious … and sometimes nothing more than mean-spirited “hatchet jobs.”

ALL present-day Christians are both saved and raptured by grace!

Midnight Call - 12/2020

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