The apostle Paul said he doesn’t want ignorance in the Church over the issue of deceased believers. Then, by the word of the Lord, Paul said deceased believers will be raised from the dead and the living believers will be “caught up.” (The Greek word is harpazo; the Latin word is rapiemur or rapturo or raptus.)
The English came many years later and it morphed into the rapture.
“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. 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:16-18).
So despite what some say the harpazo, rapiemur or rapture is taught in the Bible and it is as old as the book of I Thessalonians (actually older) which was written around 52 or 53 A.D.
On April 28, 2016 CharismaNews carried an article about a LifeWay Research survey of 1,000 senior Protestant pastors. The article can be found at: http://www.charismanews.com/culture/56825-large-number-of-pastors-don-t-believe-in-the-rapture
The LifeWay survey discovered the following about Protestant pastors:
· 36% believe the Rapture is not literal.
· 36% believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
· 18% believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture.
· Most church members want their pastor to preach on the book of Revelation and the so-called end of the world, but most pastors don’t do it because it is a complicated subject that involves much disagreement.
· 49% believe the Antichrist is a person that will rise in the future.
· 14% believe the Antichrist is the personification of evil.
· 12% believe the Antichrist is not an actual person.
· 48% believe in a 1,000 year reign of Christ.
· 31% don’t believe in a 1,000 year reign of Christ, but they say He reigns in the hearts and minds of Christians.
· 11% believe the world will gradually get better and then Jesus will return (Post-Millennialism).
Concerning whether the Rapture is literal or not, Enoch was raptured before the Flood (Gen. 5:24; Heb. 11:5); Elijah was raptured in Old Testament times (II Kings 2:11, 15-18), and Jesus was taken up (raptured) before Luke wrote the book of Acts (Acts 1:2, 9).
Paul was caught up (raptured) into the third heaven (II Cor. 12:2-4); and John was caught up (raptured) into heaven (Rev. 4:1-2). It seems strange that a pastor or anyone else might believe that these things didn’t literally happen or that the concept of the Rapture is a new idea. Enoch was only seven generations from Adam (Jude 14).
Concerning church members wanting their pastors to preach on the book of Revelation and their pastor not doing it, these sheep are hungry and asking for a well-balanced diet, but they are not getting it. Limiting their diet will produce malnourished sheep.
My grandson Ryan was eight years old when I updated my commentary on the book of Revelation. Ryan, who lived with my wife Rachel and me, kept coming into my office and asking questions about what he was reading on my computer monitor. I soon concluded that he knew more about the book of Revelation than most pastors.
At that time, Rachel and I had a monthly TV program and I suggested that someone at the TV station should interview Ryan for about an hour of discussion on the book of Revelation.
It took some convincing to get the producer to do it, but he did and Ryan answered more than 100 questions without missing a beat. When asked if adults can understand the book of Revelation Ryan replied, “If an eight year old kid can understand the book of Revelation, adults should be able to understand it.”
Commentaries are available (mine is still on the market) and pastors can understand the book of Revelation, if they can find the time and have the want to.
Yes, there are differences of opinion about things in the book of Revelation. And there are differences of opinion about Jesus being the only way to be saved; baptism; hell; the gospel; same-sex marriage and more—but preachers still need to study and preach on these things.
During the Tribulation period, multitudes (perhaps billions) will follow the Antichrist, take the mark of the beast and spend eternity in the lake of fire. Some of this will happen because pastors have stood in the pulpits and never expounded on the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). It would probably be wrong to say that they are faithful watchmen.
Concerning whether the Antichrist will be an actual being or an evil influence, pastors can find out by studying their Bibles: The Antichrist will be a man (Rev. 13:18); he will be that man of sin (II Thess. 2:3); he will have a mouth and speak (Rev. 13:6); he will sit in the Jewish Temple and claim to be God (II Thess. 2:4); he will rule over the world (Rev. 13:7); he will confirm a covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:27); he will be cast alive into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20), etc.
Figuring this out shouldn’t be too complicated for pastors.
Concerning the world getting better before Jesus returns, the book of Revelation is very clear: Jesus will return first (Rev. 19:11-16). Then, Satan will be bound and chained for 1,000 years and the world will be better (Rev. 20:1-2).
Other Scriptures confirm this: A falling away from the faith begins before the Antichrist is revealed (II Thess. 2:3); a departure from the faith in the latter times (I Tim. 4:1); a lukewarm spirit in the Laodicean period of the Church Age (Rev. 3:17).
The stone or the Rock (Jesus; Deut. 32:3-4, 15; Psa. 18:2, 31; Rom. 9:33; I Cor. 10:4) will set up His kingdom after He destroys the reign of Antichrist (Dan. 2:44-45).
It is true that there is ignorance in the Church on these things. There are many reasons, but one of them is because pastors are ignoring the prophetic Scriptures.
Loving His appearance is something that will come up at the judgment seat of Christ (II Tim. 4:8).
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck