Is it Biblical?
Does the Bible teach that the lost, rebellious people who have rejected Christ’s offer of salvation, through the obedience of the faith, to be the ones that get LEFT BEHIND? You know the books and movies by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins? The movie starred Kirk Cameron, and depicted a totally literal presentation of Revelation, and that one day people looked around, and millions of “Christians” had vanished? Yeah, they made millions from it all. But again, is any of it true, and corroborated by the actual Bible, in context? Well I’m sure, if you’re like me and grew up in the Bible Belt, hearing that the Church gets “raptured” and taken to heaven before the “Great Tribulation”, then you understand this post. If you weren’t taught this, thank God for it, because in no way is it Biblical, and we are gonna look at some of the very verses used to preach that lie, and show how the context of what is said is utterly ignored to arrive at that claim. Let’s dig in!!
“But as for that day and hour (of Christ’s return) no one knows it – not even the angels in heaven – except the Father alone. For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left. There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; one will be taken and one left. “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
Okay, those of us reared in this thinking know fully well how these passages are misused. They are touted that Jesus’ return happens without warning, just like the flood, which is sort of true, to a degree. But they go on to focus on the marrying, and carousing, and living their lives apart from obedience to God, and boom!!!! He returns, and they aren’t ready. And ….THAT IS TRUE. But where the perversion lies, in an attempt to teach a false theology, is in the context of Jesus’ words being ignored. This doctrine goes on to say, as their support for the mysterious “rapture of the church”, that two men are in the field working, the godly one is taken, but the ungodly is LEFT BEHIND!! Same with the next verse: The godly woman grinding at the mill is taken and the other (you guessed it), LEFT BEHIND. But what did Jesus actually say in the context?? Look at the verses again with certain words emphasized by capital letters…..
“But as for that day and hour no one knows it – not even the angels in heaven – except the Father alone. For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they knew nothing until the flood came and TOOK THEM ALL AWAY. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be TAKEN and one left. There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; one will be TAKEN and one left. “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
Who did Jesus say were taken, in the context? Those who reject Him, not His faithful people. His people remained on the earth. And so is it when He actually returns on the Last Day, when He said He was coming. (see John 6:54)
So…..are they, or are they not abusing the scripture to promote and project an idea on the minds of people, that God never once suggested? Yeah…. and that is okay, so long as they openly repent before all when they have been reproved. We can all be wrong. But is He Lord when we realize we are? That shows godly sorrow. If they don’t, it is spiritual pride, and they will be rejected by God. (DISCLAIMER: The majority of preachers will never tell you if they intentionally, or unwittingly mislead you. They’ll either keep lying, stop addressing the subject, or just gradually start to change it with “some new revelation.”)
So, another point to be made on this subject, (and it would take writing a book on here to name them all,) is seen in the definition of the terms, “THE LAST DAYS/ THE GREAT TRIBULATION.” In their RAPTURE narrative, these represent two different things. 1) The “Last Days” is used as the period evidenced by turmoil signs from Jesus’ words, denoting the days just prior to His “catching away” of the Church. (i.e.- in the Left Behind teaching, that wars, diseases, perplexing world events mean his coming is nigh and denotes the last days ) 2) And the “Great Tribulation” is a distinct set of years at which time God pours out His WRATH upon those left behind, in order to judge them and drive them to repentance, before the “Second Coming” of Christ.
So what do the Apostles, who wrote the scriptures, have to say about what these two periods are? And are they two different things, as suggested by the dispensationalists who teach that error?
In Acts 2, during Peter’s sermon on the Temple Mount at Pentecost, he quotes Joel 2:28-32 (at least those are the passage numbers in most english translations. In the Hebrew Bible, the passage reference is chapter 3:1-5). Let’s observe the contrasts of Joel’s words, versus how Peter used them in the present tense of their partial fulfillment at the feast day of Pentecost.
After all of this I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your elderly will have revelatory dreams; your young men will see prophetic visions. Even on male and female servants
I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth – blood, fire, and columns of smoke.
The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the color of blood, before the day of the LORD comes – that great and terrible day! It will so happen that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who survive, just as the LORD has promised; the remnant will be those whom the LORD will call.”
So Joel foretold of a day when God would once again be able to take up abode in His people, by His Spirit, and that both men and women would forthtell (preach) His word. Joel goes on to describe the Day of the Lord, (Jesus’ return), and give matching imagery that Revelation also uses of the moon turning red like blood and the sun darkened. He clarifies it is the Lord’s Day. A great day for the faithful, and a terrible day for those who rejected Him.
Joel goes on to tell exactly where the Covenant will be cut and with whom. On the Temple Mount (Moriah) and with the remnant of the Jews who believed Jesus, and took up their own Crosses to follow His example of martyrdom, whether in self-denial in the world, or literal death. Ironically, Mt Moriah and Jerusalem also denote ancient imagery of The Temple and Holy City, which are metaphorically repurposed in the coming of the Lord, as His people (temple) and Jerusalem (The Eternal City of Christ). Here all of Israel (those in Christ) are finally saved. The term “Israel” is always used to denote the present “people of God.” In the New Covenant there is no ethnicity involved. The New Covenant “Israel of God” is the followers of Jesus. In the Old Covenant, Israel represented a nation God set apart for Himself. So Israel means the people who God has His seal upon. So Joel is depicting the outpouring on the literal spot where the New Covenant is cut, as well as using the same location as a metaphor for the Temple of God, as His faithful reunite with Him, for His habitation in the New City.
Question: What nationality were every single one of the first Christians? Yes, JEWS. The remnant Paul speaks of. Everyone on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, present on that Mount, when God cut the New Covenant, were Jews. Remember what Jesus said to the religious Jews who rejected Him?
Then Jesus said to those Judeans who had believed him, “IF you continue to follow (do) my teaching, you are really my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
But the bible says the unbelieving Jews said to Jesus….
“We are descendants of Abraham,” they replied, “and have never been anyoneʼs slaves! How can you say, ʻYou will become freeʼ?” Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the family forever, but the son remains forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be really free. I know that you are Abrahamʼs descendants. But you want to kill me, because my teaching makes no progress among you. I am telling you the things I have seen while with the Father; as for you, practice the things you have heard from the Father!”
They answered him, “Abraham is our father!” Jesus replied, “If you are Abrahamʼs children, you would be doing the deeds of Abraham.”
So Jesus is distinguishing natural descendants of Abraham, from the “SEED of Abraham.” Who was the Promise to Abraham? JESUS is the Promise. This is the great nation of all people. Those in Christ.
“And if ye be Christ’s, THEN are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
But these unbelieving Jews wanted to kill Jesus, just as they killed every Apostle and Prophet, with the exception of John, whom they boiled alive in hot oil, but he lived to see the visionary imagery Jesus gave him to write to the seven churches of Asia Minor. We call it “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, and it’s an apocalyptic genre style of writing. That means it is ALL symbolic and metaphorical writing, and NEVER to be viewed as literal.
But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! You people are doing the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Jesus, “We were not born as a result of immorality! We have only one Father, God himself.” Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come from God and am now here. I have not come on my own initiative, but he sent me.“
Ever notice how Jesus doesn’t care about natural family loyalties? He only calls “family” the people who obey Him.
“But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.“
So Joel spoke of the SEED of Abraham receiving the Spirit. Everything started with a remnant of Jews first, and then flowed from them out to the nations. Joel is also a source of Paul’s statement in Romans here, citing, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” In context, Joel is talking about a remnant of faithful, obedient people who call Him Lord. He isn’t saying that to acknowledge who Jesus is saves us. It means real servants who keep Christ’s law till death. And…..the outpouring of the Spirit has nothing to do with speaking in other languages, as you hear about with Charismania today. That too has been perverted, and is a lying doctrine. I mean, c’mon, other than Luke’s two books, the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, being “filled with the Spirit” is not mentioned. Why didn’t Paul mention it? Because it is clear:
“And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them THAT OBEY HIM.”
Why? Because Luke was speaking of a corporal outpouring, not some individual experience where you get some special language that only you and God know. (Shoot me, please!🤦🏼♂️)
But let’s now see Peter’s context of Joel’s words, to clarify what “The Last Days” are, and when they begin.
”But THIS is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel: ʻAnd IN THE LAST DAYS it will be,ʼ God says, ʻthat I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And I will perform wonders in the sky above and miraculous signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
The sun will be changed to darkness
and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.ʼ
So….. in the LAST DAYS, Peter says here, rephrasing what Joel said, to explain that when Joel said, “After all of this”, that what had just happened in Acts 2 was that which he spoke to come. The LAST DAYS started with the birth of the Church on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, with a corporal outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to seal all who call on the name of the Lord, through loyal, obedient service. These are they that will be saved, not those who pray the sinner’s prayer, found nowhere modeled in scripture, that liars like Joel Osteen will tell you to repeat.
So, are the Last Days referring to newspaper headlines in 2020, as the rapture teaching people tell you? No, not at all. Peter, James, Paul, John, and the rest were present when the last days began. That is plain as day in the text. So, question 2) When is the Great Tribulation according to GOD’S WORD? Is it a seven year, (or at best a three and one half ok year period), that is pulled so far from the context of Daniel that it’s embarrassing, or do the ”Great Tribulation” and the “LAST DAYS” mean the same thing? Yes. The Last Days/ Great Tribulation began in the days when Jesus ascended and the Church was established, and they continue until He returns. John told the seven churches, in Revelation 1, that he was a fellow sufferer in the tribulation with them.
“I, John, your brother and partner in the TRIBULATION and the kingdom, and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.“
Folks, there are a lot of false prophets teaching today. In fact is most in America, and the world abroad are false. Jesus said it would always be so. But those who love Him know His voice, and they won’t follow false ones. Does that mean every false teacher intends to be? Jesus never said that. He simply said anyone who teaches a gospel contrary to what He and His Apostles taught is a liar, and false prophet, and destined for damnation. Can they repent? Absolutely. Didn’t Paul? He was killing Christians.
I don’t say these things to condemn bad teachers. They’re deceived. I say them in hopes of some awakening from their ignorance and arrogance, and truly repenting. Remember Zacchaeus? Go read how his repentant heart responded to God’s correction. There was fruit of repentance, not just emotional words without immediate change. But sadly, false teachers, pastors, whatever you want to call them, rarely ever repent of anything. They just say crap like, “I can be self-righteous, God knows! May the Lord forgive me.” Well, those are just vain words. He doesn’t forgive words, or lip-service. Do they go on their livestreams, and before their church, and declare they were wrong, having been shown their error, and they want to make it right, by humbling themselves and getting their doctrine in order with the Apostles? Hardly ever. Pride is too great! They’re too much like King Saul: people pleasers and not the servants of Christ. They excuse everyone, especially themselves, and declare “God knows their heart!” Well, He does. He says it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who besides God can know it?” They expect preferential treatment, and want to be rebuked privately, even though the Apostle Paul commanded they be “rebuked before all so that others may fear.” See it???
What I have experienced is rejection upon rejection for teaching these things. And so is the case with the very, very few men that I have ever known who do teach it right. It costs you something to stand for Christ, without bending for people. Is there a prophet, teacher, or Apostle that ever truly lived for God that it didn’t? But it is not us who are ultimately being rejected. It is Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8
For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Consequently the one who rejects this is not rejecting human authority but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
There is no slight-of-hand here. No deception. Just a lot of typing of a lot of words, to be as thorough as possible in exposing the heresy of the modern church, that professes Jesus, yet perverts His word, and folks professing to be a Christian with little or no intention of actually doing what He commands. You know what separates wheat from tares; sheep from goats? The Word of God. When you see people leaving churches that have men teaching and reproving lies, you have a thinning church where wheat stays and the chaff are blowing away, and where the goats are slipping out the door to take their rebellious self-seeking selves down the road to be a problem for a church that will compromise to their bidding. People leaving, who resist authority, is a positive thing. It is purifying the church.
Regardless of what “experts” have told you about a rapture away to Heaven, it isn’t in your Bible, and nowhere in Christian history is it found before 1820. It’s a new doctrine and a “new revelation.” You know what that means? It means it is a lie. How do I know? Because John summed up in 2 John that there is NO NEW REVELATION APART FROM WHAT IS WRITTEN. God does NOT give new revelation today, or any day past the Apostles’ teaching. Those “words” people give you in church, from God. 99.99999999999% flesh driven lies. A clear statement by Jude on the matter……
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was ONCE FOR ALL delivered to the saints.”
I see “preachers” tell the unlearned, who willfully feed from their hands all the time, and say things like: “The early church fathers believed such and such…”, and they will pull a quote of that church historical figure out from the context of that person’s writings, and imply that the ancient figure supported a pre-tribulation rapture. I call BS! Sadly these goats, who won’t submit to the word, eat it up as truth, and never have the common sense to make the “preacher” show them the source material they quote. As a good teacher I know said to me recently, “People find what they seek.” He was paraphrasing Jesus, saying, “ ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” That’s it!!! Or you can do as these people who seek someone who agrees with them to justify them, rather than the word of God to purify them.