CONTRADICTIONS IN THE RAPTURE TEACHING
Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
(Rev 14:12, NASB)
Confusion sets in as soon as one attempts to read the book of Revelation through the lens of the teachings on the Rapture. In teaching on the layout, themes, and time frames in the book of Revelation, the first question in the audience is usually, “So what about the Rapture?” And rightly so, for the doctrine on the Rapture in essence propagates that Believers (the Church) will not be on earth when the Seven Seals are broken, at least not to those who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, assuring the Church that she will not be persecuted for her faith. Rather, those who are ready for the rapture will be “snatched away” through a secret appearance of Messiah by receiving a pre-emptive resurrected body.
In order to study the Scriptures in a responsible manner, we are encouraged to exercise “exegesis,” meaning, “to read a texts in context”; thus reading a verse or phrase in context of the passage, as well as the context of the whole book or epistle, and also in context of the entire Bible. Yet, to justify the teaching of the Rapture in the book of Revelation, one needs to fall back on “eisegesis,” thus reading meaning “into” a text or phrase in order to make sense of it. This method of “inference” encourages the reader to justify contradictions which would otherwise be clearly understood if read in context.
In studying the book of Revelation, the first contradiction of the Rapture occurs in the breaking of the Seven Seals. The Seven Seals are major literal events which will occur on earth during the Last Week foreseen by the prophet Daniel. [Daniel foresaw what would take place with his people, Israel, in the latter days (Dan 10:14), as he saw the fulfilment of events recorded in the book of Revelation (Dan 7; Dan 8; Dan 9; Dan 12), as well as the persecution of all saints who would be present on earth during this time (Dan 7:21-22; Dan 12:1-3, 10).] The 5th Seal clearly indicates that Believers will be persecuted and martyred for their testimony, (Rev 6:9-11). This passage is refuted by the doctrine on the Rapture by inferring that these believers were not “ready to be raptured,” and that they thus deserve to be on earth during the time of the Great Tribulation.
The next contradiction occurs in Revelation 7 where the reader gains an understanding of how Almighty God intends to seal ALL HIS BOND-SERVANTS before He will pour out His foretold wrath on earth in the breaking of the 6th and 7th Seals. First of all God indicates that He has appointed 4 angels to protect the earth from harm (6th and 7th Seals), LEST ALL HIS BOND-SERVANTS ARE SEALED ON THEIR FOREHEADS, (Rev 7:1-3). In the context of this chapter one can immediately gather that God will deal separately with ‘the 12 Tribes of the sons of Israel’ (Rev 7:4-8), and ‘a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues,’ (Rev 7:9-17). Both these groups will be sealed on their foreheads, meaning, they would be sealed through salvation in Christ Jesus, the Messiah, in order to be protected from God’s wrath, (Rom 5:9). The ‘multitude from the nations before the throne,’ is clearly identified in this passage as, ‘the ones who come out of the tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,’ (Rev 7:14).
Once again, confusion and contradiction sets in when this chapter is read through the lens of the teaching on the Rapture. The most accepted explanation given by this doctrine is that Israel deserves to be persecuted because they refused to accept Jesus Christ as the coming Messiah. The Jews will thus go through Jacob’s Trouble, and that those who belong to the 144,000 Jews will “evangelize the nations,” resulting in the salvation of those who were not previously ‘raptured.’ [See Chapter 11, The Ultimate Trip, p 124-134, The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey, 1977.] There is no substantiation for this inference in the Prophets or the teachings of the Apostles in the New Testament, it is “read into Scripture.”
The next contradiction appears in Revelation 14. This chapter relates a very vivid picture of the Final Harvest at the Threshing Floor at the end of the age, predicted by Messiah in Matthew 13:24-30 and Matthew 13:36-43. This parable clearly indicates a time of testing in the latter-day Church to separating the wheat from the chaff. Revelation 14 calls the whole earth to fear God and not to accept the mark of the Beast (Antichrist), for God’s judgment on Babylon is imminent, (Rev 14:6-11). The saints are encouraged to ‘persevere in their obedience and faith,’ for ‘they will die in the Lord,’ (Rev 14:12-13). In contradiction to this passage, the doctrine on the Rapture ensures that those “who are prepared for the rapture” will not be persecuted, nor will they die for their faith, for they will not be present on earth.