Appropriation of the Rapture by: Avi
I am premillennial for sure, which means that I believe that Jesus will return and reign on the earth for a good long while before the end comes and the new world begins.
But this absolutely does not mean that I am a proponent of the pre-trib rapture. That teaching has almost hijacked premillennialism.
The popular premillennial, pre-trib rapture teachings are a product of John Darby’s1 initial pre-trib rapture teachings and later on, his follower Cyrus Scofield’s2 widely popular Scofield Reference Bible. Darby’s charismatic and spiritual leadership first trumpeted the pre-trib rapture to the world, beginning in the 1830s. Before him, no one ever taught a pre-trib rapture. Darby filled in a serious need for eschatology (doctrines about the end) in his day. Cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons capitalized on the church’s severe weakness in their eschatology. Darby equipped the church with answers to such questions, albeit incorrectly. Scofield was a gifted teacher who took Darby’s teachings, tweaked them a lot to fit better, and published them in a fine study Bible called the Scofield Reference Bible. For its time, it was a wonderful resource for students of the Word, even though it was filled with erroneous eschatology. It is still popular today.
Darby’s teachings about the end times are wildly different than the pop rapture teachings of today. His was a product of the times. This has proven to be the case with all pre-trib teachers since then. I can remember a lot of the teachings of the various popular ministers on Christian TV when I was a child. Then, after I really came to the Lord again at the age of 20, the teachers had significantly changed their teachings to fit more with the current stage of world history. Today, these same teachers have adjusted their teachings to fit in radical Islam as opposed to western humanism and New Age as the spirituality of the future Antichrist. Before all this it was usually taught that the Roman Catholic church was the Beast. This view was so dominant in the Reformation that it was called the “Protestant View.” In the modern era, the Beast became Communism and then Naziism. Pre-trib teachings evolve as the daily newspapers are published. Some teachers openly advocate “reading your newspaper in one hand and interpreting it with the Bible in the other.” This will always lead to confusion, ALWAYS.
I coined a quote:
“Interpret the times according to the Bible, not the Bible according to the times.”
This requires a radical re-approach to the Bible altogether. One in which is that post-Biblical history–i. e. modern events–are never used to interpret the Bible at all. In this way, no one becomes the Beast of Revelation until he is actually successfully killing off most of the Jews and any Christian who will identify with them or their God and Messiah. He could turn out to be a Muslim, Communist, Nazi, Catholic, or something else we have not thought of yet. The Bible only says that he will demand personal allegiance and will kill anyone who does not follow him. He is also not necessarily a ruler of the entire world. I believe at that point, it will be obvious to all who know and love the Lord what is happening. I am sorry I can not show you from current events how he is coming or how his empire is beginning to prepare for the end. Maybe it is happening, but maybe not. I am sure it looked like the end in 1944 or in the seventh century with Mohamed.
It is best to interpret Revelation how it was intended. It is chiefly a book intended to be a very practical encouragement to believers, especially in times of suffering and persecution. It shows what happens in the end: the righteous will be rewarded and vindicated. Sin and evil will be over with. Justice will finally prevail. No evil will go unpunished and no good works and enduring faith will go unnoticed or forgotten. Revelation was not intended to be a complicated, esoteric, chronological point by point synopsis of the Great Tribulation for the most part. It is filled with symbolism, mostly straight from the Old Testament. Jesus is not a lamb with a slit throat and seven horns and seven eyes any more that numbers like 1,000 and 144,000 are intended to be taken absolutely literally. In fact, the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation taken literally would contradict taking Zech 13:8
“In the whole land, declares the Lord,
two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive.”
Now today the population of the state of Israel is estimated at 5,393,600. It is almost the same as the Jewish population of the USA. One third of this is 1,797,666. In order for Revelation to literally be fulfilled, 99.3% of the Jews on earth must be eliminated first.
Then, in Israel the Jewish population must fall from 5,393,600 to 432,000. This means that 4,961,000 Jews in Israel must die or be killed before the Antichrist begins to massacre the Jews in Israel in order for Revelation to be fulfilled literally. The total population of Jews worldwide is currently estimated around 13,333,333.
Before Revelation’s 144,000 can happen literally, the Jewish population must drop by 133,189,333. That is, about 99.3% of all Jewish people worldwide that would have to die first before the Antichrist comes and kills 2/3 of the Israeli Jews and leaves 1/3 as the 144,000 remnant if Revelation is literal.
In Israel today, 4,881,800 Jews would have to die before the Antichrist kills anyone at all!
See how crazy this sounds?
To hear a recent podcast series on our podcast on this specific visit here.
Are You Ready For Jacob’s Trouble?
Will There Really Be a Rapture?
When Is Jesus Really Coming Back?