So many times people get upset, if you claim, there will be no rapture. Just recently I challenged somebody to show me scriptures (besides 1. Thess 4:16-17), that would speak about a rapture. There is a simple principle of Bible intrepretation: Do not base a doctrine on just one verse. So, to make the rapture a valid doctrine, you would have to have at least two or more scriptures, that mention it.
The person I was asking, gave me a list of scriptures, that supposedly (in her view) are talking about the rapture. Here they are:
- Daniel 12:1-2
- Acts 1:7-8
- John 14:3
- Mark 13:32
- Rev. 3:10
- Matthew 24:30-31
- Philippian 3:20-21
Now, in all of these verses, the word “rapture” does not occur, nor does a similar scenario of taking people in the air on clouds. Let me give you an explanation to these often misunderstood verses and how they are NOT speaking of the “rapture”.
“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
No rapture here. Daniel sees “distress as never occured” at that time (the time of the end, see Dan 11,40 and Dan 12:4) and also a resurrection and God promises to rescue his people, if they are in the book. No rapture is mentioned here! The angel gives advice to Daniel, to seal up the vision until the “time of the end”. This is very interesting, because as John sees a simliar vision, the angel tells him, NOT to seal the vision, as the “time is near” (Rev 22:10). Obviously the fulfillment is in Johns time, like he said many times in Revelation, that the “time is near” and all the things he saw will happen “very soon”. So, the “time of the end” refers to Johns lifetime. That is consistent with all the NT writers who believed they live at the “end of the age” and the “last days”. Which is meant to be the last days of the old covenant and the end of the old covenant age. But agin: no rapture in Dan 12.
“He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
No mention of any rapture here either. Jesus is answering the question, if he will restore the kingdom of Israel (Verse 5+6). Rapture? It’s not mentioned here.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am”
There is a lot of possibilities to interpret the “Fathers house with many mansions”. But at least you have to consider the context to interpret this passage. Jesus is not even talking about his coming in this chapter. He is talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit. This could be understood as he himself “coming back” as it is written in John 16 again: “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” Then he continues to explain it to the disciples and it’s clearly about the coming of the Holy Spirtit. No rapture here!
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
I can’t finde the word “rapture” here. In the previous verse Jesus is making it very clear, that the fulfillment of all the signs he gave to the disciples will be in “one generaion”. That includes the “coming of the son of man in the clouds”, that he was speaking about just in the verse before. The coming in the clouds refers to Dan 7:13-14:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, a coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
What does Daniel see here? He sees the son of man “APPROACH” the Ancient of Days and that he was “led INTO his presence”. So this can’t be the rapture. If so, he would be coming “from” the ancient of days and “out of his” presence. No, Daniel sees the inauguration of Jesus as the King over all Nations. Which the greek word PAROUSIA (coming) means. That happened finally in 70 AD, when the old system was put away, at least that was the “sign of his coming” (his inauguraiton and inthronisation).
Sorry, but again: No rapture here!
“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, 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.”
Again, the word “rapture” is not mentioned here.
To the contrary, Jesus is speaking to a first century church and promising them: Since YOU (the saints of Philadelphia) have kept my commandements, I will keep YOU (the church in Philadelphia) fromt he hour of trial … He was (and is) not speaking to believers in the 21st century.
Sorry, but also here: no rapture in this verse.
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
This one is tricky, I admit. People who have heard the narrative of the rapture so many times have a hard time not to see it here. I will try to explain it:
“Then will appear the sign of the son of man in heaven.”
The question is: What is in heaven? The sign, or the son of man? When Jerusalem was finally destroyed, that was the sign, that the son of man has truly been inthroned in heaven. That was important, as many of the disciples were falling away from the faith in that time, because Jesus was not there anymore and the church was persecuted as he has announced in Mt 24. Also many false Christs appeared at that time.
“And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” A better translation would be “and all the tribes of the land will mourn”. This is also very relevant in other places. It changes the scenery from a global to a local event. That makes much more sense from the whole context of revealation (written to 7 specific churches in the area, mentioning of many specific things only relevant to jews, etc.). So, whole Israel was mourning at the events of the destructon of Jerusalem in 70 AD, which was the “coming of the son of man in the clouds” (see my comment and explanation about Dan 7 above).
“And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
This is just a reconfirmation of the statement, that the Gospel will be preached to the whole world before the end … or it also could refer to the salvation of all the christians from the destruction of Jerusalem, because according to the warning of Jesus, all the Disciples were fleeing into the mountains of Judea, just before the roman armies put Jeresalem under siege.
Also here, there is no literal mention of a “rapture”. You have to interpret it in a certain way to come to that conclusion. But I just gave you another way to interpret it. Without a rapture.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
This refers to the final resurrection and transformation of our bodies in the same way as 1Cor 15. In both places, the last coming of Christ is mentioned and also the resurrection, but without the scenario of a secret rapture. It just mentions that Christ will return, bring everything under his control and transform our bodies. That’s it. No clouds, no flying away, no going to heaven with him … that is mere interpretation, if not to say violation of the text.
And last but not least, I will add a scripture by myself, that is wrongly used so many times to support the idea of a secret rapture.
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”
As in the days of Noah …
Many are making a point here to explain how bad the world will be in the endtimes. Like at Noahs time, the world will be full of sin and iniquity. But thats not what the text says. It just says: the eat, they drink and they marry (since when is eating and drinking and marrying a great sin). The point is: “and they knew nothing about what would happen” … Jesus is merely saying, that they will be surprised! Nothing more. Please do not read something into the text, that is not there.
The next point is this: If the days of Noah are the analogy to the coming of the son of man, then we have to ask the question of who was taken and who was left behind. In Noahs time, the wicked were taken away, and the righteous were left behind. That’s exactly what happened at the “coming of the son of man” in 70 AD, when whole Jerusalem was burnt and the temple was destroyed. All the saints were saved and all the Jews who did not accept Jesus as the messiah were taken.
Again: no rapture here!
The rapture is not a teaching, that is supported by the whole counsel of the Scriptures. You can believe it, if you want, but don’t tell me I’m a heretic, if I don’t!