Recently, someone publicly commented on a YouTube video post I made. Randy R. was quite direct: “There is no Rapture.” He then proceeded to outline his so-called Scriptural proofs. In reading his reasoning, I’m fully of the opinion that Randy is completely off-base in his understanding of God’s Word and His overall plans and purposes for humanity. In Randy’s (I presume) postmillennial view, we who hold to a pre-Tribulation, pre-Millennial perspective are deceived and will be told by Jesus that, “I never knew you.”
Others who believe as I do are more than welcome to weigh in to dispute Randy’s arguments. In this article, I want to briefly sketch my own responses. I’m sure many who agree with our pre-Trib position are smarter or more eloquent than me in countering these ideas. To make it interesting, here are the slightly edited notes from Randy (in italics) with my Scripturally-based rebuttals below each of his points:
Randy R: There is no such thing as a rapture. The Word of God shows His return as singular.
Rebuttal: Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries has a teaching that laments this viewpoint. It is called: “How the Blessed Hope Became the Blasted Hope.” The teaching centers around 2 Peter 3:3-4, which says:
“knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’”
This is truly the position of so many in the church today, who have become disenchanted with God’s Word and His timing.
Randy R: First… Paul calls the event the “resurrection of the dead”… 1 Corinthians 15:42-54 not the conjured rapture.
Rebuttal: Paul indeed speaks of the raising of the dead. Unfortunately, Randy neglects the plain meaning of the passage, particularly verses 51-52:
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”
Lo and behold, the Rapture is a mystery. What the text directly says, however, is that we (who are alive) will be changed. Some number of us will not die, but will be raised, even as the dead are raised imperishable, i.e. with new glorified, spiritual bodies.
Randy R: Second… Job 14:12 tells us that man dies and is not resurrected until the heavens are destroyed.
Rebuttal: Job didn’t know about the Rapture. It was a mystery not revealed until New Testament times. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 adds to the 1 Corinthians passage:
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
The dead in Christ will rise first, then those of us who remain alive will rise. We will be caught up with Jesus in the clouds. At this coming, Jesus does not set foot on the earth, yet He removes those who belong to Him.
Randy R: Third… Peter tells the church that Jesus comes “like a thief in the night when the heavens are destroyed with a great noise…” 2 Peter 3:10-18.
Rebuttal: That little word “then” is critical to understanding this verse. Jesus comes like a thief in the night in the Rapture, then—at a future time—the heavens are destroyed.
Randy R: Fourth… if Jesus were to come prior to the heavens being destroyed… it would destroy the element of surprise in which He stated how He’d come “like a thief.” Jesus is not a man that He should lie.
Rebuttal: That’s exactly the point. The Rapture occurs at a time that no one knows—like a thief breaking into a house. The heavens are destroyed after the millennium in Revelation 21:1, long after the Rapture and the Tribulation:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”
Randy R: Fifth… Jesus also informs us that the heavens will be destroyed…. and of THAT DAY, no man knows the day or the hour… Matthew 24:35-36… Why are we constantly LIED to and told that no man knows the day or the hour of a conjured ‘rapture’?
Rebuttal: “That day” and “last days” encompass periods of time. Many prophecies are lumped together and will actually occur in stages. When Jesus was incarnate, he didn’t know when the Rapture would occur—only the Father knew, just as He stated. Old Testament prophecies often have a telescoping effect. There is a near fulfillment and a later completion of that prophecy. We’ve been in the last days since the time of the resurrection.
Randy R: Sixth…John informs us that those martyred for not taking the mark are resurrected at the ‘first’ resurrection…. Revelation 20:4-5.
Rebuttal: This argument fails to understand that there are various stages in the resurrection as to who and when. Believers in Christ, sleeping and living, will rise in the Rapture. Following that, we have martyred Tribulation saints who will be resurrected to participate in the wedding feast at the end of the 7 years plus the Old Testament saints. Whereas those who participate in the Rapture are the bride of Christ, the subsequently risen Tribulation saints and OT saints are the friends of the bride invited to the wedding feast.
A terrific reference for all the chronology of these last days is “The Footsteps of the Messiah” by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum. For those confused by poor teaching that has led to anything but a pre-Trib Rapture view, this book could help them a lot.
Randy R: You can see that those who segregate His singular return must conjure terms that are not Scriptural in order to present their agenda. Not one Scripture directly states their view without the elements of speculation, conjecture, assumption, opinion, and lies.
Rebuttal: This is just a foolish statement. The pre-Trib Rapture has more Scriptural evidence than any of the so-called contenders. See my final response for more on this.
Randy R: Rather Jesus modeled His return… found in Acts 1:9-14. He will return in “like manner” as He left. He left the Mount of Olives to the sky and then to Heaven. When He returns, He will come in “like manner.” From Heaven He will come to the sky to resurrect the dead, and catch up those who are alive and remain; from there He heads to the Mount of Olives “with all of His saints”… Zechariah 14:4-5.
Rebuttal: “Like manner” refers to Jesus in His 2nd coming setting foot on the Mount of Olives, the very place He left the disciples looking up incredulous. There are several iterations of the following list describing how the Rapture and the 2nd coming are two very different events. This is one version of 20 Reasons the Rapture is Not the 2nd Coming:
Rapture 2nd Coming
Christ comes in the air Christ comes to the earth
Christ comes for His saints Christ comes with His saints
Believers are taken away Unbelievers are taken away
Christ claims His bride Christ comes with His bride
Christ gathers His own Angels gather the elect
Christ comes to reward Christ comes to judge
There are no signs; it is imminent Many signs precede it
Revealed only in New Testament Revealed in both Old & New Testament
Mount of Olives is unchanged Mount of Olives is divided
Time of blessing & comfort Time of destruction & judgment
Involves believers only Involves Israel & Gentile nations
Will occur in a moment – in the blink of an eye Will be visible to the entire world
Tribulation begins Millennium begins
The Lord takes believers to heaven Believers return to earth from heaven
Living believers obtain glorified bodies Elect entering Millennium remain in same bodies
Believers go to the Father’s House The elect stay on earth
Satan remains free Satan is bound
False prophet & antichrist at large False prophet & antichrist thrown into Lake of Fire
Unbelievers remain on earth Unbelievers go to hell
Randy R: The “raptured’ do not go to heaven, but remain on Earth for 1,000 years. The dead get their physical bodies back so that they can rule and reign with Him for 1,000 years on a physical Earth. These physical bodies do not go to Heaven… see vs 50 of 1 Corinthians 15:42-54.
Rebuttal: Who are these dead referred to? There must be a spiritual transformation prior to the Millennium—a glorification of our bodies—flesh to heavenly—so as to negate sin in order for us to rule with Christ. In Randy’s view, how does this happen? What happened to the bride of Christ and her preparation for the actual marriage? This perspective simply doesn’t make sense.
Randy R: The Mortal are changed to immortal… this is the opposite of Adam… who through sin was changed from immortal to mortal… see Romans 5. Take heed that no man deceive you…. not one Scripture states the pretrib rapture view… that view is desirable for the “stony” soil who have no mindset for tribulation and persecution… see Mark 4:18.
Rebuttal: Multiple Scriptures depict the pre-Tribulation Rapture, but Randy fails to see them for what they are. This is the problem with faulty teaching that doesn’t take the literal, plain sense of Scripture unless it tells us otherwise. Passages we’ve already noted here include 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. When are these mortals changed to immortal other than during the Rapture?
Randy R: My opinion and belief is of no value next to the truth…. and neither is yours. Both Jesus and Paul warn, “take heed that no man deceive you…” concerning this topic…. those who do not take heed become the next generation of deceivers….
Randy R: The terms “rapture’ and ‘second coming” are absent from the Word and directly deceive those with itching ears. The matter is indeed salvific in nature.
Rebuttal: This is an old argument we probably get tired of having. The Latin for “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is “rapturo,” and the Greek is “harpazo.” The Strong’s reference is 726, which means “to seize, catch up, snatch away,” exactly the definition of how the Rapture occurs. And, oh by the way, as we also like to point out, the word “Trinity” isn’t anywhere in the Bible, but the fact remains that’s what Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in comprising the One true God.
Randy R: There will be no disappointment for the wise virgins who have enough oil to endure to the end. The foolish virgins are indeed watching. When the foolish virgins realize they don’t have enough oil to make it through the time of the “mark of the beast,” it will be too late for them, for they are “stony” soil… and have no heart for tribulation and persecution…
Randy R: When tribulation comes, they will immediately stumble as Jesus promises… Mark 4:18… Everything about the situation will be “too late’ for pretrib followers… for Jesus doesn’t give a second chance to the foolish virgins…. rather it is “depart from Me, I know you not.”
Rebuttal: This is a complete misunderstanding of the Parable of the Virgins. It refers to the concept of Jesus’ wedding, where the bride is the church and the bridegroom is Jesus. Those in the church already have the oil. They will join Jesus at the wedding feast as they will be Raptured and taken to heaven for seven years of final preparation for that Day. They return with Jesus at His 2nd coming and partake of the feast. Those not ready fall short from heaven’s preparations.
The purpose of the Rapture is to remove believers from the time of Tribulation, which has two groups as its focus. It is necessary for unbelieving Israel to finally turn to Jesus as Messiah. Unbelievers who chose not to follow Jesus are likewise subject to God’s wrath and judgment during this time. Where does the believing church fall into these categories? It doesn’t, which is exactly why the pre-Trib Rapture is necessary.
To deny the Rapture and to deny it in this pre-Trib timing is to deny God’s truth, His purposes, and what he intends to accomplish on the earth with His beloved.
For Randy and anyone else interested, I previously did a verse-by-verse Rapture Bible Study on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZPs_DRrYDE. It discusses all the pertinent verses of this very important topic, which as we grow closer day-by-day to Jesus’ return, brings us great hope and blessing.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and serves as Missions Director at his church. He is also a prolific author. His Whirlwind Series is comprised of three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. All these books are also contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has a standalone novel of supernatural suspense, The Tattooed Cat. He released Alien Revelation – The Unveiling, the first novel in a new series The Sons of God Chronicles in September 2019. You can reach him via his website at www.GaryRitter.com or at his Facebook Author page at https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube page – look for the fish symbol.