The Rapture–I Still Believe It!

Following a link just now that I found on the Drudge Report, I encountered this statement:

The Rapture — the belief that Christ will bring the faithful into paradise prior to a period of tribulation on earth that precedes the end of time — is a relatively new notion compared to Christianity itself, and most Christians don’t believe in it. And even believers rarely attempt to set a date for the event.

Read more:

The current furor stems from the prediction by Mr. Harold Camping that the Rapture will take place on Saturday, May 21, 2011.

It may be that the article is correct that “most Christians don’t believe it” (speaking of most Christians not believing in the doctrine of a rapture).

Truth, however, cannot be determined by a majority vote.

Most Christians do not study their Bible enough to know the difference between truth and error.

Mr. Harold Camping is right that there will be a Rapture of believers. He is totally wrong about its timing.

Time will prove me correct in a couple of days, I’m sure.

Anyone who thinks they can predict the timing of the Rapture has failed to pay attention to what the Bible itself has to say about the subject.

I invite Mr. Harold Camping and all his followers after their day of disappointment to come here and discuss the subject using the principles I’ve spelled out clearly in earlier posts for conducting Real Bible Study.

I do believe that it is well-documented that I’ve spent more time studying the Bible than Mr. Harold Camping has. He has written more books, and spent more time on the air helping people understand the Bible than I have (and I have listened to him many years over shortwave station WYFR), but I have produced two major Bible study reference tools frequently mentioned here: The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible. I am currently working on an expansion of the cross references previously published, and have as of today reached Jeremiah chapter 3.

By the way, if you have not carefully studied the cross references I furnished for 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and the references they link to in the Bible, you haven’t studied the Bible carefully and fully enough to really understand what the Bible actually teaches about the Rapture.

So, if you want to know how to study the Rapture, I suggest you start at 1 Thessalonians 4:17, using either The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible.

For more help, read the articles and comments I’ve posted here on the subject.

I understand that the atheists are having a good time with Mr. Camping’s prediction. I even heard about that yesterday on the mainstream media over radio station WWJ in Detroit.

I really do want the atheists to have a good time while they have a chance–this is the only chance they will get.

Any atheists out there want to challenge me on whether or not the Bible is true? Whether or not the Bible teaches the doctrine of a Rapture?

Any Christians, or anybody else, are likewise invited to participate in a discussion on that subject here.

So far, the atheists have made a mighty poor showing in terms of response to my challenges and invitations here.

I read recently that a very prominent scientist, a physicist by the name of Dawkins [a kind reader in a comment below has corrected my flawed memory: I should have referenced Stephen Hawking], has declared there is no heaven, that heaven is a fairy-tale. In previous debates I’ve had with science teachers, I’ve warned them they had best stick with their field of expertise. They surely have little or no expertise in the field of Bible or Bible doctrine.

The invitation is still open: ask a question or post a relevant comment in your own words, or at most a brief quotation properly cited in rebuttal, and I’ll allow the post to appear so long as it is relevant to the topic or the Bible.

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8 Responses to The Rapture–I Still Believe It!

  1. ken sagely says:

    jerry thank you for the points you make on mr. campings prediction. i thought about isa 8/20 to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to his word,it is because there is no light in them. i think this applies to mr. camping or any bible teacher who makes statements or predictions about the rapture or any teaching that is not based on scripture. i went through the xrfs on i th 4/17 like you said to do and i didnt see a specific date mentioned at all in the passages. but rather daily lookin for his return titus 2/13″looking for the blessed hope”, in i th 4/18 he encourages us to “comfort one another with these words”. the early church had a great example of the bereans act 27/11″ searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”. ntsk and crgb have been 2 tools that helped me than any other to do what the bereans did to study the bible daily and search the bible daily to see if these things are so. thank you

  2. Richard Silverman says:

    Since you’re so adamant about people getting their facts straight, you might start with yourself. The physicist to whom you’re referring is Stephen Hawking. Richard Dawkins is a biologist, writer, and widely known atheist.

    Regarding scientists “stick[ing] with their field of expertise;” they are. You are making outlandish claims about biology, history, physics, cosmology, etc. when asserting the existence of God, miracles, prophecy, etc. It all flies directly in the face of our best understanding of the world around us, as embodied in those sciences. You have no credible evidence to back up any of it — and “it says so in my magic book” is not particularly convincing.

    I don’t need a deep background in Bible studies to refuse theism, any more than I need to read a 100-page treatise on the nature of fairies’ wings to deny the existence of fairies. The claims of religion are extraordinary in view of the understanding we now have of the world via scientific inquiry. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and you provide none. And claims made without evidence may be dismissed without evidence.

  3. Jerry says:

    Dear Richard Silverman,

    Thank you for your most helpful response to my article.

    You are indeed most correct in offering a correction to my reference to Richard Dawkins, when I meant Stephen Hawking.

    Thank you again for your correction.

    At least I had the correct field of science in mind—physics—and that no doubt furnished you the necessary cue to provide the needed correction.

    I had just recently read a mainstream news article on the Internet, and saved it, regarding Stephen Hawking, and his comment that there is no heaven, and life after death is a fairy tale, but did not check my computer files at my end to verify the information as I wrote my post above.

    I believe in theism. You indicate you do not. I would suppose you believe in naturalism.

    You mention that as to evidence, that I “provide none.” I am fully prepared to provide evidence, or to direct you to sources that do provide evidence, on this issue or any Bible related issue.

    I would seriously question whether you have ever taken the opportunity to read a serious scholarly defense of theism such as the two volumes by James Flint written in the nineteenth century, or more recent works, such as the writings of Dr. Norman Geisler. I have.

    I have been studying this subject seriously since 1954 when I first encountered the complete set of the works of Robert Ingersoll in the main library of the Detroit Public Library. I went to a second-hand bookstore in downtown Detroit and bought the set for myself used. At the same secular bookstore I also bought Watson’s Apology for Christianity, written specifically to address Edward Gibbon, and Watson’s An Apology for the Bible, written to address the work of Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, Part Two.

    You mention that the “claims of religion are extraordinary” and that “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    That is the argument of Mr. David Hume, as I recall.

    David Hume’s argument was answered fully by Mr. George Campbell sometime before 1762 in his work titled A Dissertation on Miracles: containing an examination of the principles advanced in Hume’s Essay on Miracles.

    Mr. Hume grounds his argument against miracles on the assumption that experience is our only guide in reasoning concerning matters of fact; but a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined; and if so, it is an undeniable consequence, that it cannot be surmounted by any proof whatever from testimony. A miracle, therefore, Hume concludes, however attested, can never be rendered credible even in the lowest degree.

    Mr. Campbell disallows the position laid down and assumed by Hume as an axiom, namely, that the evidence of testimony is derived solely from experience. He maintains that miracles are capable of proof from the evidence of testimony; and proceeds, in conclusion, to show that the miracles recorded in the Gospel are fully attested, and proved to moral demonstration.

    I personally would add that Hume’s argument is untenable, for if the basis of his argument and its conclusion is accepted, Hume has virtually denied the possibility of history.

    The evidence for the New Testament is solidly grounded on the principles of historicity.

    The eye-witness records included in the documents which form the New Testament provide first-hand testimony to the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. No other event of ancient history has such extensive contemporaneous written testimony from multiple eye-witnesses to establish its credibility. The fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is thus firmly established history.

  4. A. Way says:

    Richard Silverman said:Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidenceThe evolutionary explanation of life is thus “top down”:

    –Life exists
    –Natural selection is the best (non-theistic) explanation we have for life
    — Natural selection must therefore account for the complexity of life and all information systems no matter how improbable it seems.

    By contrast the “bottom up” view can be summarised along these lines:

    –The universe is described by a handful of dynamical equations.
    –The probability of informational complexity arising as a result of any purely stochastic system of laws is vanishingly small.
    –The observed informational complexity of life vastly exceeds anything a mutational model can deliver within the age of the universe.

    A seldom documented problem is that the epistemological foundation of evolution rests entirely on the state of the universe – the assertion that truth is ultimately defined by nothing more than the location and velocity of molecules in what is in effect a cosmic pinball machine.

    As someone once memorably noted Christianity is not about following lists of “do’s” or “don’ts” so much as embracing a single “done” – what God has already completed for each one of us. It is not a gift earned rather a gift worn and lived out.

    Galileo demonstrated in the 16th century that theories incompatible with the mathematical language of the universe will fail the test of time.

    The ultimate irony would be to spurn the opportunity for a friendship with your Creator – one transcending the limitations of naturalism – on the basis of a theory of origins that still awaits a quantitative mathematical foundation after 150 years.

    Oh – and the pre-tribulation rapture is fiction. But there will be a second return of our Lord for sure.

  5. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    I like your straightforward response to Mr. Silverman.

    And on that, I agree with you.

    My claim elsewhere when I have posted on the Internet my thoughts regarding the validity or non-validity of evolution is that the theory of evolution, particularly macro-evolution, when it attempts to deal with the subject of origins, is not science, but a very poor substitute masquerading as science that is actually philosophy.

    Apparently, none of those who defend evolution seem to understand the difference.

    Now, as for the Pre-tribulation Rapture, it is not fiction, but Bible truth. But there are some who are unable to discern truth from error when it comes to Bible doctrine because they (1) have not done independent study of the Bible on Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island; (2) don’t know how to do independent study of the Bible on Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island; (3) are pre-committed to a doctrinal viewpoint that cannot be changed on the basis of new or better evidence; (4) seem unable to apply the 21 Rules of Interpretation posted here in the Archives for October, 2010 in their study of the Bible, so come up with or cling to the wrong answers when the truth has been presented from Scripture that proves them to be in error and substantiates the truth presented here by the process of doing Real Bible Study.

    As certain as it is that 1 Thessalonians 4 comes before 1 Thessalonians 5, and that 2 Thessalonians 2:1 precedes 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12, just so certain is the Rapture of believers of this age an event which precedes the Great Tribulation.

    So likewise is it absolutely certain that natural Israel as a people, nation, and land are still in the plan of God, and that God has not permanently rejected them, but will fulfill his covenant promises to them, as it is certain that night still follows day (Jeremiah 33:25, 26). Notice the claims to the contrary asserted by the enemies of God stated in Jeremiah 33:24. Those mistaken claims–that God has cast off “the two families which the Lord hath chosen” such that “they shall be no more a nation before them”–sound exactly like the claims made by those mistaken about the major themes of Bible prophecy that have been offered by Mr. A. Way!

    These promises were made to the literal nation of Israel in the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants, Covenants which are the central theme of the Bible, both Old and New Testament. The promises have not been abrogated, only delayed, by the purpose and providence of God, to make provision for us during this age of Grace, the Gospel age, to also benefit spiritually from those covenant promises, as Paul explicitly teaches in Ephesians 2:11-13 and elsewhere, in accordance with Old Testament prophecy.

  6. A. Way says:

    The Gospel of is a Gospel for ALL. Whosoever! There is no salvation by genetic heritage.

    Acts 26:22-23 KJV Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: (23) That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

    The NT is the expositor – explainer of the OT.

    Galatians 4:28 KJV Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

    Galatians 6:15-16 KJV For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (16) And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

    The Church becomes Israel! There are not two Israel, there is one.

    What is God’s condition for Israel’s Salvation?

    Romans 11:23 KJV And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

    As a nation – they have been separated from the vine.

    Romans 10:12 KJV For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

    There is one God, one husband, one bride.

    The Old and the New Testament are inseparable, for both are the teachings of Christ. The doctrine of the Jews, who accept only the Old Testament, is not unto salvation, since they reject the Saviour whose life and ministry was a fulfillment of the law and the prophecies. And the doctrine of those who discard the Old Testament is not unto salvation, because it rejects that which is direct testimony of Christ. Skeptics begin with discounting upon the Old Testament, and it takes but another step to deny the validity of the New, and thus both are rejected. {2SP 254.1} (guess who wrote that)

    Eusebius’s view of “Spiritual Israel”
    Then the spiritual seed of Abraham fled to Pella – who fled? The Christians.

    Salvation is open to the Jew as to anyone else but not as a nation.
    (Your house has be left you desolate)

    Matthew 23:37-38 KJV O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

    Its over.

    Romans 10:12 KJV For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

  7. Jerry says:

    Dear A. Way,

    If “It’s over” as you say, then I guess it is over.

    But God says otherwise.

    Jer 33:25 But I, the LORD, make the following promise: I have made a covenant governing the coming of day and night. I have established the fixed laws governing heaven and earth.
    Jer 33:26 Just as surely as I have done this, so surely will I never reject the descendants of Jacob. Nor will I ever refuse to choose one of my servant David’s descendants to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed, I will restore them and show mercy to them.”
    (NET Bible)

    Now I get it. We no longer have day and night in their proper sequence, and the fixed laws governing heaven and earth–like the laws of physics and the law of gravity–are no longer in force.

    And since all this is true, you must be right.

    But wait a minute. All this is NOT TRUE.

    Therefore, my position is correct, and yours is mistaken in the extreme!

    Better go back to Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island and this time besides your plain text Bible and either The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and/or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, take along the 21 Rules of Interpretation posted in the October, 2010 Archives here (they print out quite nicely), and follow them! Pay special attention to Rule 17, Rule 19, and Rule 20. And don’t forget Rule 6, Rule 14, and Rule 15. You have violated all of these with your suggested Biblical interpretation of passages related to this theme.

    You, and those of like mind, are following the school of theology and prophetic interpretation expressed by Jeremiah’s antagonists, for they were of the same opinion as you. But God answered them by the words I cited above from the NET Bible.

    There is no way either you or anyone else espousing your school of prophetic interpretation can legitimately get around the challenge God makes about the utter permanence of His relationship with Israel in accordance with his sworn eternal unconditional Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants!

  8. A. Way says:

    God has not changed. Israel rejected the roll.

    Romans 10:12 KJV For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

    Galatians 4:28 KJV Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

    One the hardest things for you to accept:
    1 Corinthians 7:19 AKJV Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

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