Q. What do you think of the “Left Behind” series of books and the movie that has recently come out which shows what life on earth will be like after the “Rapture.”
The “Rapture” is a teaching associated with the doctrine of Premillennialism which is a false doctrine, based upon false concepts. It found great popularity in the United States when the Scofield Bible published John Darby’s notes in 1830. More recently Hal Lindsey has promoted his books and concepts which teaches a brand of Premillennialism and the Rapture.
Some Premillennialists believe in a “secret” rapture for the church. Christ will return, and those who are His will be “raptured” and suddenly disappear. “In case of rapture this car will be unmanned.” This is the basis of the “Left Behind series.
The Bible does not use the word “rapture.” The Scriptures teach that when Christ returns it is the end of time.
1 Thess. 4:13-18
13 “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
“Always be with the Lord,” where? In the air! At the second coming it is all over. The Bible never places Christ back on earth.
2 Thess. 1:5-10
5 “This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed.”
At Christ’s return God “deals out retribution” to those who have refused to be obedient. It will be the time of judgment. “These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord,” starting at that very moment.
Some Premillennialists teach that this secret “rapture” will remove the church from the earth during the “tribulation” period. This is the time at which the literal Jews will return to the “promised” land and begin the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple.
Are based on misunderstanding the nature of promises made to the Jews through Abraham.
State that Jesus will return in the air secretly.
That the kingdom will be established.
That the church will be caught away secretly to meet the Lord in the air.
That the church will be in the air for seven years while there is tribulation on earth.
That Jesus and the saints will return to earth to gain victory and set up a kingdom which will last a literal thousand years.
“What Do The Scriptures Say?”
There will be nothing secret about the second coming of Christ. 1 Thess. 4:16-17 above is clear. There will be the shout and the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God announcing His coming. The apostle John said about His coming:
“BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.”
When Jesus comes again the world will be destroyed. There will be no thousand years following his return, there will be no “tribulation” period. The earth will cease to exist.
2 Pet. 3:8-13
8 ” But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
When Jesus comes again judgment begins, there will be no time when the “righteous” are removed from the earth during a time when the “wicked” are punished. The Scriptures clearly teach that there will be no separation of good and evil until the end (Cf. Matthew chapter thirteen)..
1 Thess. 5:1-4
1 “Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness”
30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
1 Cor. 5:10
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
When Jesus comes again, it is all over. There will be nothing secret about His coming. There will be one resurrection of the dead to appear in one final judgment. The world will end and eternity will begin.