THE RAPTURE QUESTION
by: S.R. Shearer
are a lot of people today who - while supporting us on a great
deal of what we teach - believe that we err insofar as our belief
that the so-called "Secret Rapture of the Church" (that many
otherwise sound Bible teachers preach) is wrong. Many of those
who criticize us with regard to this issue, DO SO NOT SO
MUCH ON THE BASIS OF THE WORD OF GOD per se, BUT
RATHER BECAUSE THEY THINK THAT BY DOING SO, THEY ARE DEFENDING
THE CHURCH AGAINST THE "DOMINIONIST" APOSTASY - an apostasy
that groups like "Latter Rain," "the Manifest Sons of God,"
"the Vineyards," "Restoration," etc. are polluting the church
with. Dominionism is a modern-day form of post-millennialism
that posits the notion that the church must first "conquer the
earth for Christ" before Jesus can return to "rule and reign."
For example, in an otherwise well thought-out exposition against
"Latter Rain" and dominionist teachings, Pastor Bill Randles
of Believers in Grace Fellowship in Marion, Iowa says:
"The Latter Rain is another similarly misapplied Scripture
(the dominionists use to promote themselves with), which has
taken on a life of its own. Hos. 6:3, Joel 12:23, and Jas.
5:7 all speak of the 'Latter Rain' which has traditionally
been understood to be an allegorical reference to the agricultural
calendar of Israel. The former rain, which was vital to the
preparation for planting, corresponds to the giving of the
Law of Moses, which is vital to the preparation of the heart
for the Gospel. The latter rain came at the end of the growing
season, and was vital to perfect the crop for harvest. This
corresponds to the giving of the Spirit.
"But Branham (and other 'Latter Rain' teachers) promoted
a different concept of the Latter Rain ... their Latter Rain
was yet to come, and their idea of the former rain was Pentecost.
The Latter Rain was presented as the coming 'Outpouring' of
the Spirit, greater than Pentecost or any other outpouring
"The gradual effect of this 'fresh word' was to supplant
the hope of many, from the IMMINENT return of
Jesus, to a hope for the 'Great Last Days Revival' that would
break out and usher the church into her greatest time of glory
and power ever known.!
"THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS THE RAPTURE HAS COME UNDER
SUCH ATTACK AND RIDICULE, AS THE 'HELICOPTER ESCAPE'
OF THOSE WHO 'DON'T WANT TO TAKE THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACE AS OVERCOMERS'
AND 'TAKE THE WORLD FOR JESUS'. IN FACT, THE TEACHING HAS
DEVELOPED TO THE POINT THAT MANY BELIEVE THAT JESUS CAN'T
COME BACK YET, EVEN IF HE WANTED TO, FOR WE, THE CHURCH, HAVE
YET TO 'RESTORE ALL THINGS'. Where did this idea come
from? From another badly distorted Scripture, Acts 3:21.
"The context for this Scripture is the temple, where Peter
is preaching to the Jewish crowds who witnessed the healing
of the man at the gate Beautiful. Peter boldly explains that
they had rejected and slain the One Whom God sent to them
- the only One Who could fulfill their national hopes and
longings, i.e., the restoration of all things, the throne
of David, the kingdom to Israel, the city of Jerusalem as
the Joy of the whole earth, and the Jews as the priestly nation.
"Failing to recognize Him, God had vindicated the One they
condemned, and He (i.e., Jesus) was now in Heaven, offering
the forgiveness of sins to all who believe. He will come again
at the time of the restoration of all things - this being
in the hand of the Father. It has always been understood that
Jesus Himself is the One Who would do the restoring.
"Like the other verses, this one has received a novel interpretation
of late. The new view is that Jesus can't come back, for He
is 'held in Heaven' until we, the Great Last-Days Church,
get busy and 'restore all things' ..."
Randles, of course, is right insofar as the apostate teachings
of the new dominionists are concerned - i.e., that Christ is
dependent on the church to "restore all things" before He can
return to "rule and reign." That's to make God's moving on the
earth dependent on man, and Randles thinks that the "Secret
Rapture Theory of the Church" somehow counters this false teaching.
The "Secret Rapture Theory" posits the proposition that before
the so-called "tribulation period," Christ will "catch away"
His church to preserve it from the terror, suffering and hardship
of this period:
"His appearance in the clouds will be veiled to the
human eye and NO ONE WILL SEE HIM. He will slip in,
and slip out, move in to get His jewels and slip out as under
the cover of night." (Roberts, How to be Personally
Prepared for the Second Coming of Christ (pg. 341).
Randles, however, is very wrong in thinking that he is defending
"sound doctrine" by linking his defense of "sound doctrine"
to the "Secret Rapture Theory of the church" - what dominionists
contemptuously deride as Christianity's 'HELICOPTER
ESCAPE' hypothesis. The fact is, the dominionists
are right on this one - the "Secret Rapture Theory of the Church"
is shot so full of holes that it simply cannot be defended on
any rational basis, and those who attempt to do so only bring
ridicule on themselves and the theological positions they are
attempting to defend. But while the dominionists are right in
ridiculing the "Secret Rapture Theory of the Church," they are
wrong - very wrong - in thinking that in ridiculing it,
they are thereby upholding their erroneous doctrine that Jesus
can't come back until the church paves the way for Him by "conquering
the earth" - in other words, by taking "DOMINION."
THERE ARE OTHER PURPOSES OF GOD AT WORK HERE - PURPOSES
WHICH ARE NOT THAT HARD TO DISCERN FOR THOSE WHO HAVE "EYES
TO SEE, AND EARS TO HEAR" (Matt. 13:16, Mark 8:18). To discern
these purposes, we urge you to read the following chapters in
the ANTIPAS PAPERS:
BUT PRIOR TO ALL THIS, WE IMPLORE YOU TO READ THE FOLLOWING
MATERIAL TAKEN FROM CHAPTER VII OF THE NEW ANTIPAS PAPERS,
"THE GREAT ESCAPE:
MISCONCEPTIONS CONCERNING THE RAPTURE." You need to
understand in your own mind that the "Secret Rapture Theory
of the Church" FAILS ON ITS OWN MERITS. Don't
take our word for it. Study the matter for yourself. Be convinced
in your own mind. Be like the Berean brethren who - when they
heard Paul speak, searched the Scriptures for themselves to
see whether what Paul was saying was true or not:
"These (i.e., the Berean brethren) were more noble than those
in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness
of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those
things were so." (Acts 17:11)
---- VERY IMPORTANT ----
Now we are not talking here about things of little
or no real consequence - things that only academics
should be concerned with. There is much to be troubled
about here, especially insofar as it impacts matters
this ministry habitually deals with - for instance,
the constriction of civil liberties, the "War on Terrorism,"
President Bush's connection to the Promise Keepers movement
and Opus Dei, John Ashcroft's connection to the
same two groups, what the United States is doing in
Columbia and the Middle East, the nature and form of
America's New World Order system, etc. All these and
much more besides are things that will soon impact all
of our lives, and we must be prepared to face the consequences.
If we persist in believing in a "Secret Rapture of the
Church" - i.e., that we will "escape" all these things;
that Christ's, "... appearance in the clouds will be
veiled to the human eye and NO ONE WILL SEE HIM that
He will slip in, and slip out, move in to get His jewels
and slip out as under the cover of night" - we
will not be prepared for what is about to take place,
and the testimony that we must give to an unbelieving
world will be damaged to the degree that it has been
tainted with this erroneous and silly theory.
Listen brothers and sisters; listen to me carefully here: we
are about to be called "on the carpet" by people who - while
they claim to be Christians, and who say they are acting in
His name - have allied themselves with the elites of this world
in a war against the earth's poor and dispossessed, and if we
find ourselves on the wrong side of this struggle for any reason,
there will be a price to be paid. The Bible says:
"For WE MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF
CHRIST; that every one may receive the things done in
his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be
good or bad.
"Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade
men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also
are made manifest in your consciences." (2 Cor. 5:10-11)
I tell you the truth; I somberly and very earnestly warn you,
you had better get ready, because the Bible says:
"But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you
up to (church) councils; and in the ... (churches) ye shall
be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings
for my sake, for a testimony against them." (Mark 13:9)
You do yourself no service by thinking you will escape all
these things because you are going to be "raptured" out of this
earth prior to these great tribulations. Again I say, you'd
better get ready! The Bible says:
"SEEK YE THE LORD WHILE HE MAY (YET) BE FOUND, call
ye upon him while he is near:" (Is. 55:6)
God bless you all!
We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the
eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR
HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN"
WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank"
insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned
- a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY
trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN
rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners
in the abject poverty that American corporations have
imposed on the peoples and nations the American military
machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE
THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME
OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles,
"The Third World
as a Model for the New World Order," Inside
the American New World Order System" and "The
American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary
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