The Rapture: Truth vs. Myth
The Rapture of the Elect!
One of the tenets of Evangelical Christianity is a doctrine called the “Rapture.” This doctrine teaches that in conjunction with the second coming of Messiah, the follower of Jesus will be removed from the earth, while yet alive. We agree that this doctrine is well grounded in Scripture; however, unlike the Evangelicals, who claim this event is yet to occur, we are convinced that the historical evidence proves that the Rapture occurred in AD63, seven years prior to the fall of Jerusalem, in AD70. The scriptures pertaining to this teaching are numerous; however, we will start with a few of the more specific, and provide an additional list at the end of the link.
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 precede them which are dead.
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:
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.
18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thes. 4:15-18.
Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, (die) but we shall all be changed,
52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed.
53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.
55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Cor. 15:51-53 & 55. (See also Phil. 3:21, 11 Cor. 5:4)
In these verses, Paul tells the disciples that they would live to see the second coming of Jesus, and that they would be removed from the earth while yet alive.
By using the personal plural pronoun “we,” Paul makes it unmistakably clear that he himself intended to take part in the Rapture. A proper understanding of the word “we” is critical to the interpretation of these verses. When the personal plural pronoun “we” is used the writer is including himself and the people addressed. In addition, the use of “we” excludes everyone else and limits this promise to the people indicated in the verse. That would include Paul, and those to whom these letters are addressed in the ancient cities of Thessalonica and Corinth. By choosing to use the very specific pronoun “we” in these verses, Paul makes it impossible to extend this privilege beyond those mentioned in the verses.
It is also significant that Paul states that they would be caught up together to meet the Lord in the clouds, because Jesus told many people that they would see him coming in the clouds. In response to a question of the High Priest, Jesus says;
……Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Mat. 26:64.
In this verse Jesus tells the high priest that he will see the Son of man coming in the clouds.
Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so A’men. Rev. 1:7.
In this last verse, John states that those who pierced Jesus shall see him coming in the clouds. This is important, because it was the Romans soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross; therefore, for this prophecy to be accurate, those soldiers would have to have lived to see this event. Historical evidence that they did indeed witness the second coming of Jesus is provided in the account of the fall of Jerusalem by the Roman historian Tacitus.
Prodigies had occurred, which this nation, prone to superstition, but hating all religious rites, did not deem it lawful to expiate by offering and sacrifice. There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms, the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the Gods were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure. See 2 Ki. 2:11, 6:17.
The Jewish Historian Josephus, provides an equally graphic account of these events. These are some excerpts from his writings:
….They (the Jews) neither heeded nor believed in the manifest portents that foretold the coming desolation, but as if thunderstruck and bereft of eyes and mind, disregarded the plain warnings of God. So it was when a star, resembling a sword, stood over the city, and a comet which continued for a year. (See Mat. 24:30)
….Again, not many days after the festival, on the twenty-first of the month Artemisium, there appeared a miraculous phenomenon, passing belief. Indeed, what I am about to relate would, I imagine, have been deemed a fable, were it not for the narratives of eyewitnesses and for the subsequent calamities which deserved to be so signalized. For before sunset throughout all parts of the country chariots were seen in the air and armed battalions hurtling through the clouds and encompassing the cities.” (The Jewish War VI) See 2 Ki. 2:11, 6:17.
Notice that both of these historians report that chariots and men were seen in the sky above Jerusalem. This is a precise fulfillment of the prophecy that the people of that generation would see Jesus in the clouds.
In the Old Testament book of 1 Kings, we read of the departure of Elijah from the earth.
And it came to pass as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Eli’jah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. I Kings 2:11. See also 6:17.
The similarity of these two events is startling. We are of the opinion that as Elijah was taken out of the earth yet alive, so too were the disciples of Jesus raptured (removed from the earth) at his Second Coming.
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence for the Rapture of the saints in AD63-70, is the lack of any biblical or historical record of the death of the apostles. It is astounding, but neither the Bible or secular history records their deaths. Equally important is the lack of any mention of the Roman siege of Jerusalem, or a description of the destruction of the temple in their writings. If the apostles were still on the earth after AD70, why did they fail to record the cataclysmic destruction of the temple? There can be only one explanation – they had already been taken from the Earth yet alive as prophesied; therefore, they were not there to see or experience that incredible cataclysm. (The death of the apostles is part of Catholic tradition, but those beliefs cannot be verified with either biblical or secular history.)
The lack of any record of the death of the apostles in biblical or secular history, combined with the fact that they did not chronicle the destruction of the temple, or produce any writings after AD63, is compelling. It is powerful evidence to support the position that, precisely as prophesied, at the second coming of Messiah, the elect were removed from the earth, while yet alive.
The death and resurrection of Lazarus is additional evidence that the Rapture is a historical reality. Lazarus, having been dead four days in the tomb, had paid the penalty for Adam’s transgression. Having died once, when Messiah called him from the tomb he was physically “Born Again.” The death of Adam no longer reigned in his body; therefore, he could not have died again, except by a direct judgment from God. The book of Hebrews clearly states that man will only die once;
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Heb. 9:27.
If that Scripture is to remain unbroken Lazarus could not have died a second death, except as a direct act from the hand of God. There is no mention of such an event in the Bible. This creates a major flaw in Christian theology. For the Bible to be accurate, Lazarus had to be either taken from the earth alive, or he must be still walking the earth. The only way to resolve this dilemma, is to accept the fact that Lazarus and the elect of Israel were taken from the Earth, yet alive, at the second coming of Jesus in AD63-70.
This biblical dilemma would also apply to the Old Testament saints who were resurrected with Jesus as recorded in Matthew.
And the graves opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the Holy city, and appeared unto many. Mat. 27:52-53.
Once these Old Testament Saints were resurrected from the dead with Jesus, they would have to be removed from the earth alive.
This prophecy would also apply to the apostles and disciples who received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. When the apostles received the Holy Spirit, they passed from the Adamic death into the second life. They were literally “Born Again,” or “new creations,” and could not die; therefore, they too had to be removed from the earth yet alive. There is no need for a “Rapture” after their generation. The sole purpose of the biblical “Rapture” was to remove the resurrected Old Testament saints, and those who were “Born Again” from the earth because they could not die twice. That incredible miracle occurred in AD63-70, that is why there is no record of their deaths or any evidence that they were on the earth after the fall of Jerusalem.
Additional Scriptures for the Rapture
There are many scriptures in the Old Testament which prophesy this great event. Let us examine a few.
Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth
6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.
7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
8 But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land. Jer. 23:5-8. (See also Jer. 16:14)
In these verses Jeremiah makes the incredible statement that the events that will occur when the Messiah comes to save Judah will be so phenomenal, that God will no longer be known for the miraculous way in which He brought Israel out of Egypt; therefore, we know that this will be a truly spectacular rescue (salvation).
Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land (earth): for great shall (be) the day of Jezreel. Hosea 1:11. (See Hos. 6:2, John 10:16)
In this verse Hosea states that the Messiah will reunite the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and remove the remnant of Israel from the earth. Both Hosea and Jeremiah state that this event (Rapture) is limited to the house of Israel and Judah; therefore, contrary to Christian doctrine, it cannot apply to anyone here in the modern world.
As additional evidence in support of the second coming of Messiah in AD70, we offer a list of corroborating scriptures.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8 I tell you, that he will avenge them at once, nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:7 & 8
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:28.
In the following verses, Jesus tells the disciples that they will experience the second coming.
So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Luke 21:31-32.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Luke 21:36.
Clearly the “ye” and the “your” found in these verses of Luke, are intended for the people that Jesus is speaking to, as is the use of the term “this generation.”
The New Testament portion of ancient Israel’s history clearly states that the second coming of Jesus is tied to the destruction of the temple and desolation of Jerusalem. Precisely as prophesied, in AD70, the temple was destroyed, and the city of Jerusalem was left utterly desolate! It is impossible to deny the implications inherent in that historical reality!
Biblical and secular history provide empirical evidence that; the second coming of Messiah Jesus coincided with the destruction of the temple and desolation of Jerusalem in AD63-70. Precisely as foretold, at that point, the satanic forces who ruled the pagan ancient world were destroyed, the apostles and disciples were taken from the earth yet alive, and the meek (lowly humans) inherited the earth.
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