16
Apr

Ask Pastor Jason: What about the Rapture?

Greetings all,
AskPastorJasonPaper
First and foremost, I am sure there are going to be things that we will agree on and there may be some things that we do not agree on. But I do not want this to become a place for argument but a place of discovery and open discussion.

What I want us to discover together is a deeper love for God and His word and the encouragement and excitement that can be found as we study and look at these questions in the Word. Through this blog and our interactions, I also want us to better understand each other, too, by learning what is in each other’s hearts.

Now that we’re all in agreement, here’s my first question:
“Do you believe in pre-tribulation rapture or post-tribulation rapture, and why?”

Let’s start out by asking two other questions. One, “what is the rapture?” and the second, “what is the tribulation?”
Well, let’s start off by looking at the rapture and what it is.

Rapture is the belief that as time runs down to Christ’s second coming that the enemy will take complete control over the world; and at this time, God will take all those who believe in Him to heaven.

Next let’s look at the tribulation and what it is.
This is the belief that Satan will take complete control and anyone who does not renounce Jesus will be oppressed and killed. Included in this belief is the fact that people will not be able to buy or sell if they do not pledge allegiance to the anti-Christ.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory is the belief that God does not want this for His people and will take His people home to heaven, leaving only people on earth who have not accepted Christ. During this time those who have not accepted Christ are to figure things out and hopefully accept Jesus.
That’s the basic run down.

Here’s what I think. I believe that the rapture theory has brought a new theology to the table called, “escape theology.” I have a problem with this theology because after all the studies that I have done on the tribulation, I cannot get over the fact that Jesus talked and told us that we would face guaranteed persecution. I believe that during the tribulation, persecution will come for God’s people and at times it will be great. I also believe that some of us will even face the choice of our relationship with Jesus or our death.

Here’s the problem I have with “escape theology,” it gives us a mindset that we do not need to worry about tribulations now as long as we are “saved.” It gives us an “out” to not care about people on this earth who seem to be lost causes. Why? Because God will take us out, therefore we don’t have to worry about it. I do not believe that we will escape the tribulation or persecution, and I definitely do not believe in pre-tribulation rapture.
With that said, please do not draw the conclusion that I therefore believe in post tribulation rapture.

I strongly believe that we have taken the words in Matthew and in Thessalonians completely out of context and have translated some of these words poorly. This has left us with some misunderstandings about these scriptures.

The passage in Matthew 24:40 that refers to “one will be taken and one will be left” is translated poorly. The word for, “will be taken” (paralambanetai) is also used for receive. So, I believe the passage is really saying that in the times of persecution one will “receive” the word of God while the other will not. Furthermore, one will receive comfort from the word and another will not.

Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 …
The passage refers to Christ’s followers meeting Him in the air. This passage is what proponents of the rapture theory point to as proof. I think the pre-tribulation theorists have a cultural misunderstanding and as a result, they misunderstand the scripture.
I believe this passage refers to how people will react to the King of Kings coming back to rule and reign.

Why?

When a king would come to an area, all of the people would come out and stand by the roadside as a tribute to the arriving king. Basically, this would symbolically show that the roadside bystanders wanted the king to see them make this public display of obedience.
If we apply this to the verse and Christ’s second coming, we know that Jesus is going to come back just like he left – in the clouds. So, as He descends to earth again, all those who believe in Him will line the path of His coming in obedience. Therefore, we (as followers) will be with Him here on earth as He takes His throne.

With all of that said, I have come to the conclusion that I do not believe in pre-tribulation or post-tribulation raptures. The church has taught this for the last 250 some odd years and I believe it is in error.

The belief in pre-tribulation rapture and post tribulation rapture is exactly why I think many people will fall away in the last days. Because as things unfold during the tribulation and Christians are not “saved” or do not escape persecution, sadly, people who have been tricked and who have been lied to will turn away from God. They will say that because there wasn’t a rapture, the word of God is untrue.

If you want to talk about this more please contact me via email, Facebook or phone and we can talk. I have only covered this briefly and if there are more things that you would like to discuss, I’m more than willing and able.

In His Grip,
Pastor Jason