Is the idea of the "Rapture" Biblical? Can you prove to me biblically that this is merely a "tradition of men."
The rapture theory really began with John Nelson Darby, an Anglican Clergyman, ordained in 1884 in Calary, Ireland. He subsequently became (according to the Encyclopedia Britannica) “one of the earliest leaders of the Plymouth Brethren (a British free church movement emphasizing Biblical prophecy and the Second Coming of Christ), introduced a very different theological perspective, called dispensationalism. First taught to the Brethren in the mid-19th century, dispensationalism maintained that history is divided into distinct periods, or “dispensations,” during which God acts in different ways toward his chosen people. The present period, according to dispensationalism, was one of expectant waiting for the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Dispensationalists believed in an apocalyptic millennialism that foretold the Rapture (the bodily rescue of the chosen by God) and the subsequent cataclysmic events of the Last Days, such as the persecutions by the Antichrist and the Battle of Armageddon.”
“Darby taught that Jesus would effectively return in two stages. First, He would come secretly to “rapture” the church. Millions of believers would suddenly disappear. And then, at some point in the future after that, Jesus Christ would return again in visible glory to judge the living and the dead”.
The doctrine arises from Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep 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 by no means precede those who are asleep.16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
And the words of Jesus recorded by Matthew and Luke:
Matthew 24:40 "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
Luke 17:34 "I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 "Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. 36 "Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left."
We understand from these scriptures that when Christ returns he will raise from the dead those who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ and they will be taken, together with those in Christ who are living, to meet him in the air – the atmosphere.
To fill in some background.Christ at his return will save Israel from the northern invader and establish the kingdom of Israel as the kingdom of God upon the earth.A new sanctuary and temple will be built and mortal Israel resettled in the land as described Ezekiel 40-48. Christ will rule over the mortal population of the earth from Jerusalem for 1000 years.
Luke 1:32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
The 1000-year reign is just the beginning. At the end of this time there will be a second resurrection and a final judgment. After this all who live on will possess the divine nature. God will be 'all in all' and will live in and with them forever.
1 Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
The faithful will reign with Christ for the millennium and beyond.
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Daniel 7:18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
Revelation 11:15 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.
Just prior to the return of Christ there will be great tribulation centered on Jerusalem.
Matthew 24:21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Zechariah 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
It is at this point that Christ with his glorified saints, arrives at Jerusalem.
Zechariah 14:3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 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. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
The tribulation is the third and final overturnibg of Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 21:27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
This latterday invasion of Israel is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Ezekiel 38:8 "After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. 9 "You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you." 10 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: "On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: 11 "You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’ — 12 "to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land. 13 "Sheba, Dedan, the merchants of Tarshish, and all their young lions will say to you, ‘Have you come to take plunder? Have you gathered your army to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder?’"’14 "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: "On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? 15 "Then you will come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. 16 "You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes."
Ezekiel 39:21 I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. 22 "So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward.
And in Joel 3:
Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness. 16 The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel. 17 "So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again."
From the above we can say:
So we might ask will the saints be collected:
The only clue I think that we have to this is given in Revelation 16:
Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
From this we see that the warning of the coming of Christ as a thief is given in the middle of the gathering of the nations to Armageddon. Armageddon would seem to relate to the gathering of the nations against Israel as described in the prophecies I have referred to above.
I believe that this means that we will see the beginning of the gathering of the nations against Israel before Christ returns to gather the faithful. Before that happens the ten kings of western Europe must give their power to a resurrected beast.
Revelation 17:12 "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 "These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."
Before an unclean spirit can escape his lips the beast must be reconstructed on his old stamping grounds.
This is a work in progress with the EU which is loosely based on the Holy Roman Empire (AD 800 - AD 1806), harking back to Charlemagne.
Those who advocate the rapture believe that the faithful are taken to heaven. But the Bible teaches that no man other than Jesus will ascend to heaven.
John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
The kingdom of God is to be established on the earth. God created the earth to be inhabited.
Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other.
He plans to fill the earth with his glory:
Numbers 14:21 "but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD....
God’s glory will be in the form of men and women, created originally in his image, glorified with his nature to inhabit the earth forever.
2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
We see from scripture that there is no need for the faithful to be taken a long time before the final invasion of Israel takes place. The other false teaching is that of the antichrist being still to come.
The antichrist is the Roman Catholic Church that has persecuted the faithful for centuries.
The mark of the beast on the forehead and in the right hand signifies assent to the false doctrines of the State-backed Church required for centuries in order to buy and sell – whether we view it as preaching or trading.
We are not still waiting fror the antichrist or the mark of the beast.
I hope you find this helpful. If you require further clarification please ask.