By: Brandon T. Ward
The rapture is a commonly taught doctrine by the churches of today. This doctrine wrongly teaches believers they will be removed from the earth by Christ in either a, Pre-Tribulation rapture, Mid-Tribulation rapture or Post-Tribulation rapture. This belief is leading many Christians right into the arms of Satan who appears at the sixth trumpet claiming to be Christ.
This false idea the church will be “raptured” before the Tribulation has not been taught throughout the history of man. Not until the 1830s when a troubled young lady named Margaret McDonald claimed to have a vision from God showing her the Saints would be removed from the earth before the Tribulation. She admitted the vision seemed evil and dark, yet the preachers of the time took the idea and it quickly spread the world around. We will discover in this study of God’s Word the rapture is another tradition of man which makes void the Word of God.
Before we start our Bible study, let us ask our Father for wisdom and understanding of His Word, in Jesus Name amen.
What rapturists fail to understand is the earth is our home, we are not going anywhere, Christ is coming here. As Zechariah 14:1-4 documents, “the day of the Lord cometh… And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” This verse documents Christ is not only returning to the Mount of Olives, but upon His return there shall be a great earthquake which divides that mountain. Let us further document Christ’s return in,
13 “And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
What hour? The hour of temptation which is the Tribulation of the Anti-Christ, Satan. What city? Jerusalem, where the two witnesses will be killed and arise after three and a half days (Revelation 11:3-12). This event ends the Tribulation and triggers the great earthquake in Jerusalem as Christ descends from Heaven. “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever,” (Revelation 11:15). Once the seventh trumpet sounds there shall be time no more. Therefore settle it in your minds, Christ is coming here at the end of the Tribulation.
To expand on this point, Christ must remain in Heaven until His appointed time which is the seventh trumpet as we just learned. Turn your Bibles with me to,
20 “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:”
21 “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
These two verses alone document there is no rapture. God’s Word has just stated, Christ must remain in Heaven until all prophecy has been fulfilled, He cannot leave to rapture the church away. In the prior verses, we documented Christ will return to the Mount of Olives at the end of the Tribulation and not a moment before (Zechariah 14:1-4, Acts 1:11-12). It is Satan’s message that he will come to fly you away, if you believe this false doctrine you will be harvested out of season as Christ warned us of.
Now let us analyze a few verses typically used by those who believe in a rapture. Many point to 1 Thessalonians 4:17 as proof of their premise. However, in order to make sure we are “rightly dividing the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15) let us start with verse 13 to identify the subject at hand.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14
13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
The subject is where are the dead. If we believe Christ is risen, then we should understand those who have passed on before us are with our Father in Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8). Upon the return of Christ, He will bring those who sleep in Him back to earth with Him.
I Thessalonians 4:15
15 “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.”
Those who remain alive at the return of Jesus Christ cannot “prevent” (Strong’s word: 5348), which is to say “precede” those who have passed on before us. Why? We are still in a flesh body while they have died in the flesh and have already risen into their spiritual body with Christ. We should note, our spiritual body has mass, it has substance, but it is not corruptible, it does not die (1 Corinthians 15:35-55). Further, Angels and men ate each others food as documented in Genesis 19:1-3 and Psalms 78:24-25.
I Thessalonians 4:16
16 “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:”
The Trump of God is the last trump, the seventh. “In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished,” (Revelation 10:7). When this trumpet sounds there will be time no more as Christ will have returned and His feet will be firmly placed upon the Mount of Olives. Remember, we just documented in Acts 3:20-21 that Christ must remain in Heaven until the fulfillment of all prophecy which occurs at the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
However, we must understand the trumpets are in chronological order, six comes before seven. At the sixth trumpet, which is Satan’s trumpet, he will be cast from Heaven to earth along with his angels (Revelation 12:9). Satan will act as the Lamb to deceive the nations into believing he is Christ returned. If you are entangled in the lie called the rapture you will end up worshipping Satan believing he is Jesus Christ returned to rapture you away. This is one of Satan’s many wicked lies.
I Thessalonians 4:17
17 “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.”
Now we have a clear picture. We that are alive and remain at the seventh trumpet which is the return of Christ will instantly be changed into our spiritual bodies to meet Him and those (in Christ) who have passed on before us. The word “air” (109) in this verse means “breathe.” This is the breath of life which is our spirit and soul, this is what God breathed into Adam (Genesis 2:7). In essence, this is the change of bodies from flesh to spirit as Paul told us would occur “in the twinkling of an eye” at the last trump. There are only seven trumps my friends, this is the event of the seventh trump (I Corinthians 15:51-56). Further, if you are not in a spiritual body, then Jesus has not yet returned, no matter what miracles are being displayed upon the earth!
Let us now take a look at the word “cloud” as used in the verse we just read. Turn your Bibles with me to,
1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
Every Christian understands this verse is a figure of speech which references a multitude of people being gathered together. Yet, they let the word “cloud” confound them in 1 Thessalonians 4 and Matthew 24. What have we learned about the return of Christ? We discovered that Christ is bringing back with Him those (believers) who have passed on before us. Christ is bringing back a multitude of people, a cloud of people as Paul would describe it in these verses. Do not let this be a mystery to you.
We are not flying away. Remember, Jesus is returning one time to the Mount of Olives which occurs after the Tribulation of Satan, the Anti-Christ. The earth is where Christ will reign with the Saints for one-thousand years, which is the Lord’s Day also known as the Millennium.
In I Thessalonians 5:1-6, Paul tells us to stay awake, be sober and watch. Had a rapture been a part of God’s plan we would not have been given this warning. Nor would we be told to equip ourselves with “the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” (Ephesians 6:10-17). Did it say run and hide or fly away? No! We are to stand like a man or woman of God against Satan. As a matter of fact the oil in our vessels is comprised of the very armour of God. How much oil is in your lamp?
With that said, now let us take a look at Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians.
II Thessalonians 2:1
1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,”
The topic is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we gather together with Him.
II Thessalonians 2:2
2 “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
Paul wrote this second letter to the Thessalonians in order to provide clarity concerning our gathering back to the Lord.
II Thessalonians 2:3
3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”
What day shall not come? The Day of the Lord, our gathering back unto Him. What “falling away?” The “falling away” (646) from God’s Word which means, “defection from truth.” Who is the “man of sin”, the “son of perdition“? It is none other than Satan himself, “perdition” means to “perish“, to “die“. Satan is the only one that has been condemned to death by name (Revelation 20:10, Ezekiel 28:18-19).
This verse makes it abundantly clear, the Day of the Lord, His return shall not happen until there is a “defection from truth” which is a defection from one’s professed faith, this is the Great Apostasy. This occurs when Satan, “the man of sin” appears in Jerusalem claiming to be Christ. The whole world including most Christians will stop believing in Jesus Christ and start worshipping Satan as they believe him to be Christ. They believe him to be Christ because of the miracles Satan performs and their lack of understanding of God’s Word (Revelation 13:13-14).
II Thessalonians 2:4
4 “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
The “son of perdition“, Satan has always wanted to be God as we can read of in Isaiah 14:12-16 where God called him “Lucifer“. Satan’s sin was that he wanted to be God himself and he wants everyone to worship him. He will get the opportunity to play God on the earth before men for a short time when he is cast out of Heaven. Satan being the father of lies and deception will “doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,” (Revelation 13:13) deceiving even ‘if it were possible the very elect‘ (Matthew 24:24). This is why Christ stated, ‘if they say I am here or there believe it not,’ (Matthew 24:26-27). Why? When the True Christ appears we will be instantly changed into our spiritual bodies and not one moment before that.
II Thessalonians 2:5-6
5 “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”
6 “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”
Who will be revealed? Satan and all of his lies will finally be revealed to the entire world. Though it will be one day too late for the world as the appearance of Christ brings this action forth.
II Thessalonians 2:7
7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”
The subject in this verse is still Satan. Michael holds Satan in Heaven and he will be the one who casts him out (Revelation 12:7). That is what we are talking about here. He who letteth, (he who holds Satan) will let (will continue to hold Satan) until he (Michael) casts Satan and his angels out of Heaven and unto earth, this is the war in Heaven (Revelation 12:7-9).
II Thessalonians 2:8
8 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”
What wicked? Satan, who will appear on earth before Christ at the sixth trump, claiming to be Christ as verse four states. Then our Lord will return at the seventh trump to destroy Satan’s reign upon the earth. Remember, there are a total of seven trumps and they are all in order.
II Thessalonians 2:9
9 “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,”
Paul just told you these scriptures are about Satan and even named him so there is no doubt who the scriptures have been referring to. And pay attention to the sequence of events. The coming of Christ is after the lying wonders of Satan. Satan will perform miracles in the sight of men to prove to them he is Christ.
This leaves absolutely no room for a rapture of the church my friends. Quite the contrary, we are not going anywhere. The job of the Saints is to prophesy against the false messiah who is Satan which will appear on earth before men (Luke 21:12-18).
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”
After the Tribulation of those days, which are the days of Anti-Christ. The days when Satan will play his role as Jesus Christ, that is the Tribulation. Christ will not return until after Satan has been cast out of Heaven and is on the earth claiming to be Christ. As documented in II Thessalonians 2:2-4.
30 “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
Once again documenting Christ’s return is after the Tribulation and workings of the false messiah, Satan. We should note, these tribes are not the 144,000 who are sealed before the Tribulation.
God knew long ago that His most precious Word would be distorted by the traditions of man. Turn your Bibles with me to,
2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 “For 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;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
And so that time has come. We have multitudes of different denominations teaching various traditions of man which make void the Word of God. These Christians are like a reed shaken in the wind, leaning whichever way the wind blows. Ears that cannot hear God’s Truth, but ears that are quick to listen to the traditions of man, quick to listen to whatever sounds good at the moment. God’s Truth always sounds good for those with eyes to see and ears to hear!
Our Father also knew the traditions of man would lead to the lie called the rapture. Turn your Bibles with me to,
Ezekiel 13:3, 6-7
3 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.”
7 “Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?”
Divination, “the power of foreseeing, prediction, to be inspired by a god.” That god is not our God, yet many claim to have seen visions from the Lord both past and present which has led to many false doctrines, even new religions. These are vain, which is to say empty visions which offer false hope by false prophets which God is clearly against. God is saying, ‘they have seen nothing, I have not sent them!’
9 “And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”
These are the very words of your Father who is against these false teachers. If you are teaching God’s Word you better be certain you are teaching correctly. Those who teach will be judged first! Listen to the Words of your Father.
17 “Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them,”
Just as Margaret McDonald claimed to have a vision, which the preachers of the time brought forth of their own vain and corrupt hearts.
18 “And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?
19 And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?”
These false prophets who preach a rapture are sowing pillows over the armholes which block God’s outreaching saving arms, sowing over the very truth of His Word. God is stating, can your lies bring Salvation to the people? Obviously they cannot, only God has the power to accomplish this.
20 “Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.”
God is against those who sow pillows over His outreaching saving arms. He is against those who teach His children to fly to save their souls. God is boldly stating He is against the rapture doctrine.
A part of this deception is due to the fact that many Christians are told they do not need to read the book of Revelation. I beg to differ, more importantly God does. The very word Revelation (602 from 601) means, “to be revealed”, “to take off the cover”. Further, the Word of God including the book of Revelation is so important we have this warning, “if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life,” (Revelation 22:18-19). Had the book of Revelation not been important nor meant to be understood God would have never given us this warning. With that having been said please turn your Bibles with me to,
1 “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”
Rapturists believe God is calling the church to Heaven in this verse. Was the voice talking to the church? Absolutely not! The voice from Heaven was talking to John (Revelation 1:1). John was taken to Heaven and shown the future. Christ is not bringing the church to Heaven, Christ is coming here. Wherever God is, Heaven is also.
1 “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”
After what things? After John witnessed the events of the first six seals. Then we read of the four angels who are holding back the very winds that initiate the Trumpets sounding. You can document this by studying Revelation 8 where the earth, sea and trees are harmed (they are not literally harmed) when the first two Trumpets sound.
2 “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,”
3 “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
For every negative there is a positive. While Satan’s mark is known as the Mark of the Beast, God has His own mark called a Seal as this verse just documented. Both are placed in the receivers foreheads which is to say their brain. It is the lie of Satan or truth of God’s Word which is firmly planted in their brains.
The four angels holding the four winds at bay were told by the angel of the east not to release the four winds until the servants of God are sealed. The sealing of God’s servants with His Word is so important the Tribulation cannot begin until it is completed! If God had intended to rapture away the righteous of His flock they would not be here and this requirement would not be in His Word. In essence, this sealing is our spiritual armour of Ephesians 6, the armour we equip ourselves with in order to make a stand against Satan. It is the very oil in our lamps.
If we continue reading Revelation 7:4-8 we will document the 144,000 who are sealed consist of 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. These are the Saints who are delivered up to Satan, not raptured before the Tribulation. This documents all twelve tribes of Israel are God’s chosen to bring forth the Word of God, not just Judah which is a single tribe (Acts 10:36).
9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”
After what? After the Tribulation, after the return of the True Christ, on the Lord’s Day. John beheld a multitude of all the peoples of the earth, different nations, races and languages who were before the throne of God. These also overcame the Tribulation of Satan and his One World Beast Government.
10 “And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
11 “And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,”
12 “Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”
13 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?”
The Elder said to John, who are these in white robes standing around the throne of God?
14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.“
15 “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”
These are the very Saints who stood against Satan and came out of the great Tribulation. They are rewarded for the stand they made against Satan by serving at the very throne of Almighty God! For them to have come out of the great Tribulation, they had to go through it. Documenting there is no rapture of the church or Saints. Jesus said himself in John 17:15, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”
We are kept from evil just as the woman (symbolic of the twelve tribes) in Revelation 12:14 is protected from Satan and nourished in the wilderness for three and a half times which is the second half of the Tribulation of Satan. God always keeps us from evil and He provides a way out of temptation if we stay in His Word and seek out the scriptures asking Him for wisdom and understanding of them (1 Corinthians 10:13). We have numerous accounts of this from, Noah and the Ark, to Daniel in the lion’s den, Jonah in the whales belly and the three in the fiery furnace. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come,” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
The end of this earth age will come upon our generation. In the examples just given all of these individuals put in work for God and made a stand for Him. They were not raptured away. They made a stand just as we shall make a stand against Satan with the whole armour of God on and in place. During the Tribulation some of us will be delivered up before death, who is Satan (Hebrews 2:14), the false messiah at which time the Holy Spirit will speak through us. A testimony that even our “adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist” (Luke 21:15). This act will convert many during the Tribulation.
I ask that you turn your Bibles one more time with me to,
15 “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:”
The people of the earth hide themselves amongst the rocks as they are overcome with a paralyzing fear as it has now been revealed to the world they have been deceived by Satan. This reality grasps their very soul as they behold the appearance and Glory of the True Christ. As Matthew 13:42 documents, “there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
17 “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
We shall be able to stand! Instead of being rapture ready we need to be Tribulation ready. We can achieve that by no longer listening to the traditions of man and get into God’s Word asking Him for wisdom and understanding.
We make that stand against Satan properly suited with the whole armour of God as Ephesians 6 proclaims. We make that stand by ensuring we have enough oil in our lamps and vessels. This enables us to put forth a constant flame which dispels the dark lies and deception of Satan and his children in these end times and the Tribulation which is shortly to come!