The “Rapture” – Fact or Fiction?

By Frank Brown

In studying this popular and widely-held belief, we will first see what people believe about it, and where their belief originated, and why it cannot be true.  The following is from an internet site.  First their statements, then my comments will follow at the end.

This article is about the use of the term in Christian eschatology, primarily in US Protestant Premillennialism.  For other meanings, see Rapture (disambiguation).

The Rapture is an event in certain systems of Christian eschatology (the study of the end times) whereby it is believed that all Christians will be taken from the Earth by Jesus Christ into Heaven. Although in almost all forms of Christianity, it is believed that those who are "saved" will enter Heaven, the term "rapture" is usually applied specifically to their belief that Christians will be taken into heaven prior to the Second coming of Christ, and there will be a period of time where non-Christians will still be left on earth before Christ arrives to set up his earthly kingdom.

The word "rapture" comes from the Latin verb rapere which means, "to carry off, abduct, seize or take forcefully" (comparable to the concept of  rape).  It was used in the Latin Vulgate (about 405 A.D.) translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, which is the primary biblical reference to the event in question, rapiemur, meaning, "we shall be caught up" translating from the original harpagēsometha (passive mood, future tense of harpazō).


The earliest known extra-biblical reference to the rapture is from a sermon attributed to a fourth century Byzantine, Ephraem of Nisibis, in which he is quoted as saying, "For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins." [1][2]

Although the doctrine of the Resurrection of the dead — as said to be taught by Jesus — was common to all Christians and part of the Nicene Creed, little attention was paid to the area of eschatology later known as 'Rapture' until the Protestant Reformation, aside from this ancient reference; thus the Christian denominations that have beliefs concerning a “rapture” are mostly those that appeared after the Reformation.

The later popularization of the term is associated with teaching of John Nelson Darby and the rise of premillennialism and dispensationalism in the United States at the end of the 19th century. The doctrine of the rapture was further popularized by an evangelist named William Eugene Blackstone, whose book entitled,  "Jesus is Coming" sold more than one million copies[3], and then by its inclusion in the Scofield Reference Bible.

Among Christians who do believe in a Rapture, there is substantial debate about the timing of the rapture relative to the seven-year Tribulation.  Critics of a "Pre-Tribulation" Rapture, consists of the belief that the Rapture will occur prior to the Tribulation, and often attributs the doctrine to a 15-year old Scottish-Irish girl named, Margaret MacDonald (a follower of Edward Irving) who had a vision in 1830.  However, there are at least three other Pre-Tribulation references prior to MacDonald.  For example, in a book published in 1788, in the writings of a Catholic priest named, Emmanuel Lacunza in 1812, Lacunza’s influence became acknowledged by various other writers and by John Darby himself in 1827.[4]

Increased interest in the Rapture theosophy gained populararity in wider circles during the 1970s, in part, thanks to the books of Hal Lindsey, including The Late Great Planet Earth.[5]  Many of Lindsey's predictions in that book, which assumed that the rapture was imminent, were based on world conditions at the time.  The Cold War figured prominently in his predictions of Armageddon, and other aspects of 1970s global politics were seen as having been predicted in the Bible.  Lindsey believed, for example, that the 10-headed beast cited in Revelation was the European Economic Community, a forebearer of the European Union, which at the time consisted of ten nations.

The doctrine of the Rapture continues to be an important component in Christian eschatology today.  Many Christians continue to feel that world conditions point to the Rapture occurring soon[citation needed].  Although this belief is emphasized in the USA , where it is widespread in certain circles, these views continue to find wide resonance around the world [citation needed] not through the study of end-times books, but through the political events around the world, the continued spreading of the Christian gospel, and particularly evangelicalism, into all areas of the earth.

Some challenges of the validity of The Rapture throsophy are based upon the famous "fig tree" parable of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, specifically Matthew 24:36:  "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only".  However, it should be noted that Matthew 24:36 does not specifically refer to the Rapture as such, but rather to that time when Heaven and Earth will pass away.  This event will take place at the end of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.

Another biblical reference frequently cited by Rapture orists is Matthew 24:40-41.  This verse does not refer to the Rapture dogma either: "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."  This parable is also repeated Luke 17:35-37: “Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  And they answered and said unto him, “Where, Lord?”  And he said unto them, (literal translation) “Wheresoever the (dead) body (fallen in battle) is, there will the vultures be gathered together.  This does not refer to the rapture of the church; that is, as Jesus answers that these people are taken to a battlefield and are dead and putrefying, having fallen in battle, He is pointing to an event later in time referred to in Revelation 16:14:  "For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."

Supporters for this belief generally cite the following primary sources in the New Testament:

"Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left." (Matthew 24:40-41, part of the Olivet discourse)

"(Christ) shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." (Philippians 3:21)

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:52)

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, says that the "dead in Christ" will rise first in the Resurrection of the dead, then all who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

Generally, an elaborate set of predictions about the end times is constructed from these sets of verses, together with various interpretations of the Book of Revelation and the predictions of Christ's return in Matthew 24:30-36.  In general, believers in the rapture throsophy consider this present day and age to be the end times, and offer interpretations of the various symbolisms in the book of Revelation in terms of contemporary world events.


Many Christians who do not agree that there will be a Rapture of the Church and they hasten to point out that it is a relatively new doctrine, first popularized in the 1800s and elaborated on subsequently.  There are many denominations holding this view, such as the Roman Catholic Church and all the Orthodox Churches .

Many do not accept the "rapture" interpretation because they recognize that it is clearly not expressed in the Bible, but instead purponents of the rapture-doctrine rely on extrapolations and inferences made from a patchwork of disjointed verses.  Many further believe that if anything this significant were intended to be a major part of Christian teaching, then surely Christ would have made a plain reference to it in His own sermons as recorded in the Gospel(s), and He would  not have buried such a major prophecy in a few verses of the Apostle Paul.

One common criticism of the rapture doctrine is based on the principle that one’s belief in Christ could be proven at that time; and that by the events of the rapture, it could also be confirmed  to anyone left behind.  Thus anyone left behind who had knowledge of the rapture theory, but previously did not believe in Christ, could essentially be forced, by the proof of this miracle, to believe in such.  This would prevent any type of Antichrist from obtaining credibility.

Most Roman Catholics and many Protestants do not accept the concept of a rapture in which some are "taken up into Heaven" before the end of the world; consequently, this idea did not exist in the teachings of any Christian whatsoever until the 1800s.  Therefore, it cannot be said to belong to an Apostolic Tradition.  Instead, most Catholics and many Protestants interpret 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 literally, and assert that the rapture will immediately follow the general resurrection on Judgment Day, when the living and the newly-resurrected-dead will rise up to meet Christ as he descends from heaven to judge the world.  These people consider the rapture to be merely a minor detail in the Biblical description of the Second Coming of Christ.

According to the Rapture interpretation, in the near future dead believers in Jesus will be brought back to life and believers who have never died will be changed in the "twinkling of an eye"; and both groups will be taken to heaven (Article ended).

My comments: This is a false doctrine that necessitates various other false doctrines for support.  Expose the other doctrines that it is based on, and the whole theory collapses.


First is the false doctrine espoused by Christianity today, that we (“good people”) go to heaven when we die, and/or are changed at the second coming of the Messiah.  However, a problem arrises; that in actuality, He is indeed coming to correct those that are currently upon this earth – and not those who are somewhere off in a heavenly place.  We (the resurrected Saints) will rule with Him here on earth – from Jerusalem to be exact.   See Revelation 11:5, with 20:6 and 5:10.  These verses show us that we, the called-out ones of Yahweh, will be right here upon this earth during the 1,000-year period millinium.  Yahshua also confirmed this, as a careful reading of John 14:2-3 will show.  Note these verses carefully: Yahshua said in vs. 2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,…” and Yahshua must go away; and that He goes to prepare a place for us. Then He continues in vs. 3, “And if I go and prepare a place (that is, a position*) for you, I will come again and receive ye unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”


Now let’s think for a moment – if Yahshua goes and prepares a place (or position) for us, then returns, where will He be returning?  Here, of course!  He is not coming to take us away, but to put us to work.  We will rise to meet Him in the air, to be transported to Jerusalem (Zech. 14:1-4). We will then be changed from flesh to Spirit, and from that point onward, we will have Spiritural bodies with the ability to appear in our fleshly bodies, or in the Spiritual bodies, at will.


Second false doctrine is the idea of an immortal soul residing within our minds and hearts.  This idea came not from the pages of your Bible, but from the erroneous beliefs gleaned from a fictious stage play written by Dante Aligheiri, a non-Christian Roman playwright.  No such belief comes from the Scriptures.  The Bible teaches that when we die, we are dead – just like the little dog Rover –when he died, he died all over (Eccl. 9:5)!  The Scriptures reveal that even King David, a man after Yahweh’s own heart, is not ascended to heaven (Acts 2:34).  Actually, no one has ascended into the heavenly realm of Yahweh’s domain, the “third heaven,” spoken of by Paul in 2 Cor. 12:2 with the exception of the apostle Paul and  he apparently was taken there in spirit form to be instructed by Yahshua Himself.  We do not HAVE a soul; we ARE a soul.  See Genesis 2:7, where Yahweh breathed the breath of life into Adam and he became a living soul; not that he now had a “soul” living within him.  This Hebrew word translated “soul” is “nephesh” and is from Strong’s Hebrew dictionary # 5315.  It can and does refer to any living, breathing creature, including animals and people.

In summary, everything about the so-named “rapture” doctrine is in error; it is based on other errors and understandings of those who advocate it.  They have no concept of Yahweh’s true Plan of Salvation for all mankind.  They do not realize that, instead of us wafting off to heaven to “be with the Lord,” as they say, He, Yahweh, is moving His headquarters here to this earth and He will do this at the end of the 1,000 year period.  So that more light might be shed upon this topic, please read about it in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. ~

See Strong’s Concordance/Greek Dictionary #5117,. topos, top'-os; appar. a prim. word; a spot (gen. in space, but limited by occupancy; whereas G5561 is a larger but partic. locality), i.e. location (as a position, home, tract, etc.); fig. condition, opportunity; spec. a scabbard:--coast, licence, place, X plain, quarter, + rock, room, etc. ……………………..