The first four parts of this series of articles point out significant scriptural problems with creating a Pretribulation “Rapture”. We can see when verses are read in context there is no way to create a coherent, consistent interpretation that will allow for two second comings of Christ. As pointed out in PART 4, this theory requires us to do much damage to scripture, and in effect, read into scripture things that are not there. For those who choose to believe the pretribulation rapture theory, they can find it in the most amazing places in scripture, yet they can not provide a single clear verse that indicates that Christ will return for believers before the tribulation. In effect, if you want to believe it, you can find it everywhere, even when it is not really taught anywhere. Quiet to the contrary, throughout the Gospels and the New Testament, we are taught that believers should expect Tribulation, Persecution, Hatred, and Martyrdom for their faith. We are told that any who would seek to live a Godly life will face persecution. The era of relative peace and tranquility believers in the west have experienced in the last two hundred years is a result of God’s Sovereign Mercy, not God’s promises. It is the exception, not the rule. Our brothers and sisters in Christ this very day are being martyred across the Middle East and Africa. Again, I must ask, where is their “rapture”. Is it only those of us in the West that God will rescue from persecution?
In this series, I have tried hard to focus on scripture, clearly presented and without interpretation. I have tried to simply let the scriptures clearly speak for themselves. I believe that we can continue to gain insight from scripture if we read two of the prayers of Jesus. The first is the Lord’s prayer, as found in Matthew 6:9-13
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Notice that Christ instruction to believers is that we should pray for His Kingdom to Come. His Kingdom comes to us at his Second Coming. He does not tell us to pray that God takes us out of the world but that He would return and bring the Kingdom to us. If we believe in a pretribulation rapture we must ponder why Jesus continues to NOT mention it. For further support of the assertion that Christ did not teach that we would be removed from the world, we should look at John 17:14-15. Notice than in the context of hatred and persecution of Christians, Christ’s prayer to the father is that He WOULD NOT take them out of the world but protect them in the world.
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
So if the specific prayer of Jesus Christ to the Father is that the Father would leave believers in the world when they are hated by the world, how could we possibly believe that there is this secret deal that Christ never mentions that Christians will be taken out of the world to protect them from persecution? I feel like I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but friend, the pre tribulation rapture is simply not in scripture and can not be defended scripturally. It is a huge money maker for those who write books and make movies, but it is not scriptural.
Certainly there are many mistakes in doctrine and many false teachings out there, so why have I spent so much time on this one? The answer is because it is one of the most dangerous. To believe we will never face persecution, tribulation, and martyrdom is to be spiritually unprepared when they happen. Many Christians throughout history and throughout the world today are being forced to choose between their faith and their life. Would you be ready if you had to face that choice? Friends, you can not deny Christ to save your life. This is not one of those things you do, and then repent of later. We must realize that as Christians we are called on to stand firm in the faith, even to the point of death.