A huge number of Christians around the world grew up on the teachings of 'The Rapture' let alone the movies series 'Left Behind' and yet there are on the other hand, voluminous theologians who disagree with this view of the Scripture.
I for one grew up on Hay Lindsay's 'Late Great Planet Earth' series of books and bible teaching of this genre of 'end of the world' scenarios. I too have written on these scenarios previously noting that when passionately preached, I've noticed as a by-stander, that many come to Christ, becoming Christians.
My South African associate and correspondent Terrance Hanafey has recently put out a paper on 'The Rapture' and I considered this to be a good way to present 'his case' – so in the words of Terrance Hanafey –
First he starts with the Scripture:
"For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven,with a loud command,with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God,and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that ,we who are still alive and are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. I Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 16-18.
Terrance says - many have requested of me a study of the "rapture" of the body of Christ and yes, I do enjoy discussing this. But let me say from the outset, I have been accused of being a prophet of doom and that we should focus on the now and not the future. This is my (Terrance) take on the subject of the future.
I am one of those really "show me now" type of people and I would rather be at the front of the train seeing what we are heading into than sitting down quietly watching the lovely scenery go by. To all you bible scholars, if you disagree, you are entitled to your opinion, that means I too am entitled to mine.
Firstly I was taught by my dear and precious mentor and close friend Pastor Gerald Stokes, whom I respect more than any other bible scholar in the world. The actual word 'rapture' is not in the bible, rather 'caught up together'.
We who are alive and remain, meaning there is some real rough rides ahead, our physical bodies will leave the earth and we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye (a split second), our bodies will be given an immortal body at this same time. That sounds to be like an instantaneous death and a change. Then, according to the bible - It is appointed unto man once to die, after this the judgement. (Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27).
Terrance explains thus - We will then meet all the other believers who have died already 'in the air' and meet the Lord Jesus Christ at this same time and this whole glory train of believers 'all head off to glory land' to a huge marriage feast - which as I see and understand it, will last a period of 7 years of celebration. (Revelation chapter 19 verse 9). On earth there will utter confusion as the children who have not yet sinned will be taken to heaven as well. (This is very challenging to many theologians).
We get a glimpse of the way our Lord deals with global judgement, if we look at the judgements that have already occurred upon the earth. First there was the flood where only Noah and his family were saved, the rest of humanity was destroyed-found in Genesis chapter 6.
Secondly, the destruction of the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where only Lot and his wife and two daughters were saved from the fire and brimstone destruction. (Genesis chapters 18 and 19).
In both cases God removed the righteous and obedient men of God and their families before the destruction happened. The Lord has not changed and will remove His righteous body of believers who have their total trust in Him. The folks left behind will be the unsaved and sadly to say, a lot of 'thought to be saved' folks who have chosen to follow the world and who did not get themselves ready for the Lord's return. We are called to be expectant.
Drama on earth
Whilst we are in heaven there is terrible destruction for those humans living upon the earth for 7 years. During this period of time two humans emerge as world wide leaders. They are possessed by Satan who elevates them to a place of total domination, whereby they force everyone to receive a mark, called the mark of the beast upon their foreheads and their right hands.
For those who refuse to accept the mark of the beast the punishment will be death by public beheading, very much like the old days in the French Revolution days. Revelation chapter 20 verse 4 (and more recently ISIS).
Just so that you fully understand why you cannot and must never receive the mark of the beast, because in my view of the biblical text in this, all those who receive this mark can never find forgiveness from God and will never, ever get into heaven. This incidentally is exactly Satan's goal during this 7 years of tribulation so that he can take millions more people with him to hell, because then all those people will be in the boat as Satan and his angels - no forgiveness, eternal damnation in the lake of hell alive yet burning in sulphur forever.
The mark of the beast allows people to buy and sell - in other words trade and survive. Spiritually, the tribulation period is mainly focused on the Jewish nation in an effort to see those who have never accepted Christ as their Saviour and Messiah - to be saved.
There are two people in the bible that have never died. Enoch (Genesis chapter 5 verse 24) and Elijah (2 Kings chapter 2 verse 11). These two witnesses return in this time and appear in Jerusalem.
They confront the Anti Christ and the false prophet (the two agents of Satan) who have set up a statue of the Anti Christ. It speaks and fire comes out of this Anti-Christ and has power to change the weather and the bible says an attempt is made on his life (in the head), and comes back to life.
Meanwhile, these two God fearing men Elijah and Enoch speak openly about the lies that the two agents of Satan are speaking and it seems focused on the Jewish people. Both these righteous men are killed in front of the whole world (think video surveillance). After 3 days they are risen back to life in front of the whole world and many people turn to the Lord. At this time the Antichrist reveals his true identity by taking a pig and slaying it in the holy temple of the Jews.
Terrance Hanafey continues - the entire Jewish nation are shocked and flee to Petra a city on the desert for safety - this is a mysterious city what God has kept for their protection. All hell (as it were) then beaks loose and all the armies of the world encamp around Israel – this is the battle of Armageddon against the Lord. Satan entices these armies - Jesus Himself comes down from heaven on a white celestial steed along with the holy angels and completely destroys every last enemy of the followers of Satan.
A New Jerusalem
Jesus Christ brings down a city from the heaven called the new Jerusalem and sets up His head quarters in the city with the disciples and rues the earth for a thousand years of complete peace without war.
The Scriptures speaks of a short season when Satan is realised from the bottomless pit to tempt the people of the earth – yes, and some are deceived for a time and rebel against the Lord Jesus.
There is then the day of judgement for all the unbelievers and everyone who has the mark of the beast and Satan, the Anti Christ and the false prophet and all the angels and demons who followed Satan. They will be banished forever into a lake of burning sulphur forever, and never to be seen or heard of again. Revelation chapter 19 verse 20.
God will then purify all the poisonous gases around the planets of the galaxy and the will be a new heaven and new earth and it will be refreshed as it was in the time of Adam and Eve.
Terrance Hanafey says these events are still to come and you can find every single one of these events listed in the pages of the bible. He has put them into an order that completes the circle as he prayerfully understands it. Terrance encourages each person to read and study it so you too can also fully understand that this is not some story made up but actual real events that will effect each and everyone of us.
Terrance says may God bless you all – He thanks you for reading this.
Now you decide.
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 45 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
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Married to Delma for 45 years with 4 children and 6 grand children