Failed bible prophecies is an oxymoron. Yet
the Rapture has failed. That raises the
question, Is it a Bible prophecy?
For centuries until now proponents claim
it is near, but it never ceases to disappoint.
Recent history of the past two hundred years
document men of all shades who claimed to
have known signs of its nearness.
Not one single sign has yielded fruit on the
barren rapture tree. It’s time to “cut it down.”
Why does it yet cumber the ground of the
The Test of a False Prophet/Prophecy
God made this test very simple. “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord and the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumtuously: you shall not be afraid of him,” (Deut. 18:22)
Rapture ready advocates claim the rapture is near, again, and again. Their writings and books document all the dates they claimed it would occur. Anyone willing to take the time to look can find them on and off line.
If they were giving sworn testimony in court, they would be charged with perjury. For a thorough catologued documentation of the all the date-setters throughout past and modern history see “The Day and the Hour” by Frances X. Gumerlock.
10 Reasons Why the Rapture Can’t Happen Soon
The source for this study is 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, the alleged source for a future rapture.
Reason One: The Time Statements
The coming mentioned in 1 Thess. 4:13–18, is according to the word of the Lord. That means the word Christ spoke about his return. When Paul says “we who are alive and remain until the parousia,” he refers to those living in his generation.
This accords with the words of Christ who taught that some then living would not die until they saw him coming in his kingdom and glory, Matt. 16:27, 28; Matt. 24:30–34. Timing is important.
Reason Two: New Testament Christians Did Not Expect A Rapture.
The gathering of the saints to the Christ was already occuring in Paul’s day as documented in the second letter to the Thessalonicans, (2:2). The time was the early 50’s A.D..
The word used here for gathering together is episunagoges is the same as that in Hebrews 10:25. There, Paul told the church not to forsake the episunagoges (the gathering together). It was not a physical gathering of the saints from the earth, but their spiritual gathering together in Christ while yet on earth. See also Matt. 24:31.
Apparently some event led the Thessalonicans to believe that the gathering to Christ was already completed and that Christ had arrived. Yet, they were still alive walking around on earth. They did not associate Christ’s coming with an auto-exit from the planet. (The nature of their error is examined below).
Reason Three: The Resurrection of the Firstfruits Saints
Those indicated in the term “we who are alive and remain” who participate in the resurrection [out from among the dead, Phil. 3:11), are firstfruits saints who have the firstfruits of the Spirit.
Only one generation of saints can be the firstfruits and only one generation of saints could have the firstfruits of the Spirit. Paul used similar wording to speak of them in Romans 8:23, “we who have the firstfruits of the Spirit.”
John affirms that it is the “firstfruits saints” who came out of the great tribulation. In Revelation they are the called the 144,000, clothed in white robes, Rev. 7:9, 13–14; 14:1–5.
This demands that the great tribulation ocurred during the time of the outpouring of the Spirit according to Joel 2:28–32. Can there be any doubt that the work of the Holy Spirit belongs to the first century, (Gal. 3:2–5).
That means no other generation qualified and it most certainly spoke specifically of Paul’s own generation. From this conclusion there is no escape.
Reason Four: The Nature of the Resurrection Body
For all the reasons above and those which follow, the mortal body to be raised at the parousia is not a physical body. Paul wrote to living, breathing Christians in Romans 8:10 the following:
And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” In verse eleven, he makes it clear that this was the mortal body.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
This is why we earlier spoke of the “firstfruits of the Spirit.” The Spirit’s role in resurrection is critical. Secondly, the body which is dead is only dead if and only if Christ is in you (Rom. 8:11).
Now who’s willing to bet their life that these Christians to whom Paul wrote were already in a literal grave? That is the logic of Dispensationalism and futurisit eschatology. It doesn’t fit the Bible view of resurrection.
If the mortal body wasn’t biologically dead, i.e. not breathing and without a pusle per the text, how then could the resurrection of that dead mortal body be the rising of a corpse from a tomb. It’s ludicrous!
Reason Five: The Simultaneous Dying and Rising of the Body.
For most physical resurrection advocates, the resurrection is a consecutive process of dying and rising. In their physical paradigm view, they assert the biologial body dies, goes to the grave, decays, then one day if they hold their mouth at just the right angle, and get all their endtime missles lined up against Iran and Russia, it will rise from the grave.
That violates the seed analogy Paul uses in 1 Cor. 15: 35–36. Resurrection of the body is not a consecutive process, but a simultaneous process. Consider:
“But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.”
A seed does not die first, then wait for 2000 plus years and come to life. It simultaneously dies and through the decay of its outer shell, the new plant in a different form pushes up through the earth.
To make the resurrection a consecutive process of dying would leave the saints in a “naked” (bodiless) state until an alleged future parousia, the very thing Paul desired not to have and for which God gave the earnest of the Spirit to prevent:
“If indeed having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being buredened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swalloweed up by life.
Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” 2 Cor. 5:3–5)
Now remember that is an analogy. The point is this:
While the saints were “dead” through Christ, the Spirit within them was simultaneously bringing them to life in the Spirit. The “mortal body” was dead but at the same time, the “Spirit” was life.
That is why they had a mortal dead body and were imbued with the Spirit to create new life, not consecutively, but in one ongoing simultaneous process.
Further, the indwelling was an ongoing present process at the time Paul wrote. That means resurrection was already in progress as Christ the Seed of Abraham and in whom the saints became one seed with him had already been sown.
God spoke of Israel and Christ being raised together as one body, but it was Christ, the firstfruits, (N.T. saints with the Spirit) and afterward those (O.T. dead saints at his parousia (the harvest).
Isaiah prophesied thusly, “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise.” (Isa. 26:19). That means Israel’s resurrection was tied to their relationship to Christ, not to their biological affinity with dirt.
Hosea teaches the same concept whom Paul quotes in 1 Cor. 15. “Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but he will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.”
This text is transparently clear in that when Israel returns to the Lord (repents), God would heal “us,” bind “us” up, and after two days revive “us” and on the third day raise “us” up, that we (Israel) may live in his sight.
How could Israel be raised up with Christ on the third day? Only because He was the resurrection, he was Israel (the one Seed) who determined the true sons of Abraham. Yet the full picture is that since Christ was also Israel thus as long as Israel was dead, Christ’s death and resurrection was incomplete.
This is why Israel’s resurrection is tied to their relationship to him. Further, it shows that the applied meaning of Christ’s death cannot be limited to his physical resurrection at the cross but extends to that of His people Israel.
This is why to deny Israel in 1 Cor 15, not only denies the text in Hos 6, but also implies that Christ has not risen, (1 Cor. 15:13), because Christ and Israel are “organically” inseparable.
As Hosea shows it the nature of their death was not physical, but spiritual, i.e. a broken relationship with God through sin, thus the need for them to turn to God through repentance. Christ died for sins, not for the revivification of body tissue.
So get this very clear. To deny that God has raised Israel and argue for a future resurrection is to deny that Christ has been raised. To do so repudiates the gospel of Christ.
Reason Six: The Verb Tenses In 1 Cor 15 Apply to Both Texts
Above we established that the resurrection was a simultaneous process of dying and rising as in the sowing of a seed. Next we showed the proof of this process in the experience of the Romans (8:10–11), and by correlation, the same was true of the Thessalonicans (4:15–17).
In further support of this point, Paul uses present passive verbs to describe the simultaneous resurrection process of 1 Cor. 15. The present passive tense suggests continuous action going on at that present time.
From his first century perspective, Paul wrote:
“It (seed) is being sown in corruption. It is being raised in incorruption. It is being sown in dishonor, it is being raised in glory. It is being sown in weakness. It is being raised in power. It is being sown a natural body. It is being raised a spritual body. (1 Cor. 15:42–44)
This is present tense action describing two simultaneous events. While the mortal (natural body) was being sown (dying) the spiritual body was being raised.
Therefore to meet the demands of Paul’s resurrection motif, the resurrection had to be preasent and ongoing in the first century, by means of the miraculous Spirit, involving a dual process of simultaneous dying and rising of those who were then alive when Paul wrote.
Reason Seven: Constituent Elements of Matthew 23–25
- The parousia, (coming) Matt. 24:27 / 1 Thess. 4:15
- The sounding the last trumpet, Matt. 24:31/1 Thess. 4:16
- Within “this generation” [first century]/ 1 Thess. 4:15, 17
- Coming in the clouds, Matt. 24:30 / 1 Thess. 4:17
- Resurrection, Matt. 23:35–36; 24:31; 1 Thess. 4:16
- Meeting the Lord (apantesis), Matt. 24:31; 25:5; 1 Thess. 4:17
Reason Eight: God gave the Thessalonicans Two Signs To Help Them Understand the Time.
The first sign given was the coming the apostasy or falling away. The second was that of the man of sin. Both had to appear to the Thessalonicans before they could know the end was near.
The man of sin had presumed the seat of God in the temple. This refers to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Thus, the man of sin’s activity had to occur before Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 AD. That temple has not existed for centuries proving this coming of the Lord was a first century event.
Some today believe these signs are yet future. However, Paul told the Thessalonian church that the mystery of lawlessness was already at work in their day, with a restrainer opposed it until he be taken away, (2 Thess. 2:
When Paul corrects the misunderstanding of the Thessalonicans regarding the time of Christ’s return, he says nothing about their understanding of the nature. He never said a word about their belief that they would yet be on earth after Christ returned.
Reason Nine: The Defeat and Destruction of Satan
Paul taught the church that Satan would be destroyed at Christ’s glorious return, (2 Thess. 2:8). Writing later to the Romans on the same subject, he says that God would crush Satan under their feet shortly, (Rom. 16:20)
From Revelation, John writes that Satan’s defeat had drawn near and would shorlty come to pass. But, the defeat and destruction of Satan was at the end of the millennium, i.e. the thousand years reign.
Therefore, John when John wrote, the millennium end of the millennium was near, thus, the defeat and destruction of Satan.
This means that they were already in the millennium.
Reason Ten: The Apantesis of the Lord in the air, 1 Thess. 4:17.
Many believe that because of the use of hapazo, (caught up) the Rapture doctrine of seizing believers from the earth transporting them to heaven in a physical cloud is taught. All the reasons above obviate such an idea.
Whatever the meaning of this term, it can only mean the consummation of the events already in progress in the first century. More than ample evidence is listed above to show the first century chronological framework and nature for the fulfillment of these events.
Therefore to take one word, lift it out of its immediate and remote context and build an entire eschatologial and theologial system on it is naive.
In addition, another keyword is used in the text which mitigates the idea of harpazo as referent to a future rapture. It is the word, apantesis. According to F.F. Bruce in the World Biblical Commentary on Thessalonians, its meaning compliments the term harpazo and directs us not to heaven but to earth.
Bruce comments: When a dignitary paid an official visit (parousia) to a city in Hellensistic times, the action of the leading citizens in going out to meet him and escort him back on the final stage of his journey was called the apantesis.
So Cicero, describing Julius Ceasar’s progress through Italy in 49 B.C., says, “Just imagine what apanteseis he is receiving from the towns, what honor are paid to him!
Cross referencing Matt. 25:6, Bruce continues: ‘Where the bridal party is summoneed to go out and meet the bride groom (eis apantesis autou), so as to escort him with a torchlight procession to the banqueting hall, and Acts 28:15, where Christians from Rome, walk south along the Appian Way to meet Paul and his company (eis apantesin hemin) and escort them on the remainder of their journey to Rome.
Bruce concludes saying: “These analogies (especially in association with the term parousia) suggest the possibility that the Lord is pictured here as escorted on the remainer of his journey to earth by his people—both those newly raised from the dead and those who have remained alive.
While Bruce cautions against dogmatism, the preponderence of evidence is conclusive that the common use of apantesis when used with parousia means to meet and escort a dignitary not to where he originally came from but on to his final destination.
It is a beautiful picture of the Lord returning to comfort his people, as in the Revelation message, the holy city, new Jerusalem descends from heaven. The tabernacle of God is with men, and the Lord himself is the temple. There is no more crying and sorrow over sin and its dominion over man. Death, Hades and Satan are defeated. So shall we ever be with the Lord.
Want to learn more about the resurrection and the coming of the Lord. Get the book, the Re-Examination: A Review of the A.D. 70 Coming of the Lord. Click here to order.