"The Rapture" answered by Dr J.W. Bernard

John says:
We passed by the day of the rapture on the 21st of May. 
Jerry, how did the idea of a rapture get started?  I can't
find the word rapture in my Bible.
Jerry says: 
Before 1830, no one had heard that “in one cataclysmic
moment, millions around the globe would disappear,”
or that “those left behind, terror stricken, will be
desperate to understand what happened,” which is
what you’ll find on the back cover of Tribulation,
volume two of the Left Behind series. Authors Tim
LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, along with the likes of
Hal Lindsay, my friend, the late Jerry Falwell and
others, are proponents of the work of English clergy-
man John Nelson Darby.
It was around 1830 that Darby, having selected
scripture passages from Daniel, Revelation, 1 and 2
Thessalonians and elsewhere, pasted them together,
called them a whole, and invented the Rapture, a
word not found in the Bible.
While Darby’s ideas found little traction in Great Britain,
they received a predictably strong reception when he
toured the States between 1859 and 1877. But it was
Cyrus Scofield who kept Darby and his ideas from
falling through the cracks of history. A follower of
Darby and, apparently, an avid note-taker, Scofield
made his study notes into Biblical annotations for what
became The Scofield Reference Bible, a bestseller in
early-twentieth-century America that is still in publication.
The narrative is pretty straightforward: We assume that
we live in the End Times. Soon, on a day when the world
situation has become so critical that it could blow at any
moment, Jesus appears in the sky, visible only to right-
believing Christians who, in an instant, are bodily
beamed up to be with him. Driverless cars, vans,
pickups, semis, buses and other vehicles suddenly
careen out of control (hence the bumper sticker that
reads, “In case of the Rapture, this car will be unmanned”),
and pilotless airplanes crash. What follows is seven
years of Tribulation, with its earthquakes, plagues,
famines, wars and the rise of a charismatic, power-happy,
and murderous Antichrist (all of which might leave even
the most casual observer of the first decade of our new
millennium to wonder how we’d tell the difference).
Finally, Christ returns a second time, defeats the
Antichrist and reigns over the earth for a 1,000 years.
Out of favor during the middle decades of the twentieth
century, Rapture advocates, also known as Dispensation-
alists and Premillennialists, now are center-stage in
American life and government. In his book God and
Empire, Biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan writes,
“The full Rapture program cannot be readily dismissed…
[because] … there are very specific connotations to
American foreign policy in the volatile Middle East.”
Why the Middle East? Because Rapturephiles believe
that their moment will not come until just before the final
conflagration between the Jews and the Arabs. So
Middle East hatreds and violence must be allowed,
even encouraged, to escalate to the point of no return.
Moreover, since the Rapture is God’s plan, any attempt
at peacemaking, such as the current Middle East peace
talks, which Secretary of State Clinton frames in terms
of a “last chance” for peace, are against God’s will. But
not the invasion of Iraq, nor any future action intended
to drive the Middle East — and the world — to the brink,
and over.
To the observer, the ironies can be overwhelming.
However, having myself stood at the door of true-believer-
ism, I know how its self-absorption can mask the ironies
obvious to others. Take, for instance, my copy of The
Scofield Reference Bible. It’s a red-letter edition (the
words of Jesus are printed in red), the irony hiding
behind the realities of Rapture theology, which has little
to do with the teachings and actions of Jesus. Where
he voiced a radical vision of a humanity founded on the
dual principles of agape (love) and koinonia (communion),
Left Behind theology seems to be more of a Save Your
Behind theology, one in which Jesus is more of a shill,
a name appropriated in hopes of gaining legitimacy.
So, what’s real about the Rapture? Its roots are in the
nineteenth-century rebellion against Modernity with its
scientific rationalism. Beneath the glare of uber-left-brain
logic, the stories and myths that had carried the larger
truths about being human in an overwhelming, frightening,
awe-filled universe were declared to be nonsense —
which is nonsense, and begged an equal and opposite
reaction, which came in the declaration that the Bible
was literally true — every word. The idea of the Rapture,
then, is Modernity’s shadow, the unexpected, unscientific,
and nonrational child of the rationalism that made it
inevitable. Its adherents don’t care that its Biblical
evidence comes from pasted-together passages written
by different authors at different times in history. To them,
inside their belief system, it is a coherent narrative that
is to be followed to the letter.
And therein lies the problem. We are all living witnesses
to what religious "true-believers" are willing to do to the
rest of us. Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach
Center stood ready to burn the Quran regardless of the
consequences, which promised to be bloody. Thankfully,
they didn’t go through with it, but others did, and still
others will. Should the more sophisticated but equally
zealous advocates of a Middle-East-cum-worldwide
holocaust gain sufficient voice in the making of American
foreign policy, we may discover that questions about the
flux of history that delivered us to this point, or whether
the Rapture can be defended Biblically, or the ongoing
banter about who’s crazy and who’s not, have become
irrelevant. We could say, then, that the realest thing
about the Rapture is that it’s an idea with the potential
for making the earth into a graveyard.” 




  • The word (Eph. 1:10) is translated from the Greek oikonomia (oikonomia / oy-kon-o-mee´-ah), meaning "law of the house."

    Strong's Concordance defines the word as, "Administration, dispensation; mangement of a household or of household affairs."

    Scripture reveals that God has made distinct changes in His administration of affairs on earth several times since the Creation, and will do so again in the future. Each period has a begininning and end, and is characterized by a certain set of features that clearly distinguish it from other periods.

    The purpose of each dispensation is to test man's ability to meet God's demands under different conditions. Success results in earthly blessing; failure results in some form of earthly judgment.

    Personal salvation is never the issue in any of the dispensations. Justification is, and always will be, only by grace through faith (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:24).

    Justin Martyr (110-165), Irenaeus (130-200), Clement of Alexandria (150-220), and Augustine (354-430) all recognized dispensational distinctions in their writings. 


    Justin Martyr (110-165), Irenaeus (130-200), Clement of Alexandria (150-220), and Augustine (354-430) all recognized dispensational distinctions in their writings. 




  • I'm not really sure how we went from the Scofield Bible, Dispensationalism to the topic of burning the Koran. I recognize that brother Jerry is a learned man and as such does have great insight into a great many subjects pertinent to the church and Christianity. 
    However, in my simple attempt to follow his discussion it felt as though we danced all around the topic without specifically addressing the topic or relating it to Biblical prophesy especially that in Matthew and the book of Revelations.


    This subject, regardless of the name or label it is given has been a topic of discussion since the days of the Apostles. Even at that time, there was much interest in the end times and the events that would precede it.  It is commonly know to students of the Bible that the dead in Christ shall rise first then others will be caught up to Him in the clouds.  We are given specifics and yet much has remained a mystery. What is central to the topic is whether people will indeed be taken right up to the clouds as the as the scripture states. Whatever we call it, or whatever guise we package it, it comes down to what the scriptures say and what we believe. 

    I try to be careful about getting too deep into the jots and tittles of Christianity and its study, for me it has proven to take my focus off of Christ and the faith once delivered to the Apostles which is the foundation of the church today theologically and practically.  What id o see and understand in the discussion is that false teachings and beliefs have crept into the church and deserve to be named, rebuffed, and hopefully eliminated from true Biblical Doctrines.

  • Dr Ley, you took the words right out of my mouth. Also, Dr Denis:

    Whenever we meet Jesus in the sky, however it is to be done, the statement does not say Jesus comes back at that time. Think about it-we meet Him in the sky, He doesn't come back to earth at that time. When He does come back maybe we will be with Him. Doesn't it say in the Bible that when Jesus comes back He will bring with Him myriads  to fight at Armageddon ? We will have different bodies after meeting Jesus in the sky, right?

  • I believe this is a real problem within The Church today and that make us Christian Believers into some kind of a religious sham in our time/dispensation. This last week, as The World looked on, Harold Camping and his Family Radio Church Network have been deceived with this date setting of their "Rapture",  that they said will come on the set date of saturday that we have now passed over.

    When the setting of future dates for this rapture that never seems to happen is done, it is more like a mocking of G-d's Word. G-d points out in The Scriptures, that no man will know the time or the day that The Messiah will return. But we do know that deception is a tool that Satan uses. When a Christian that believes and trusts in G-d, starts to believe in something that The Scriptures have not pointed out, then there is a question about the Truth of the statement as it comes to bear on the author.

    So my question would be: How do we as believers of The Word of G-d address our fellow believers who have taken the bait of Satan and now are set back by this obvious deception by some in Church Leadership?


  • Beemanlee....

    You have somewhat answered your own question.  We must remind them, NO ONE will know the time.  And, if you (they) are following one who says they do, then it is time they turn to a new leader.  To me, that is the dead give away.  Many will be deceived, but as such, were they really Christian?  So many want to be, but for some reason can not just give into Fait being the answer.  We are told, we can not serve two masters.  So, if you are following one who says they know, you are definitely following the wrong direction. 

    Now, how do you convince them of that?  Until they understand their mistake (the Holy Spirit truly shows them), I am not sure we can.  Only God can convict them and if they have not truly accepted and live by that faith, then all we can do is inform them... and the best way I can think of is .... NO ONE will know.  It is specifically stated biblically. 

  • Last night I watched Jimmy Kimmel's intro for his show and he talked about the "Rapture" and he confused it with Armageddon.  If Jimmy makes jokes about something one can almost depend that the subject matter of the joke was widely known.  The confusion between the Rapture and Armageddon was outrageous.  On FaceBook also, you could tell by what was being posted that there was that same confusion.  Jimmy included in his intro that he knew some people that sold everything they owned because they believed that Armageddon was Saturday-he went on to say-what were they going to do with that money?  Walmart would not have been open anymore.  I understand his point if it was going to be the end of the world or the Rapture according to a common knowledge of what the rapture will do to the earth, Earth will be completely destroyed and money will be of no use.  Common knowledge is of man, miraculous  knowledge is of God.  Maybe God will stop time and everything will just shut down so no mass damage could be done when Jesus comes to redeem His church. We don't know the mind of God we can only imagine as I am doing now.  One thing I do know is no matter how God does it, we can trust that He will do what He says He'll do.  It's a good thing we imperfect people do not know the mind of God.  Satan presumes to know the mind of God and we all know where he will end up.   

    This article was written to explain how the name rapture was attached to Jesus coming for His church, I'm sorry I took it out of context, but the response was very interesting.

  • To address Rose & beemanlee, Rose, your are right, there is not much we can do except point out that we humans will not nor ever know God's timeline.  Beemanlee, I understand your frustration, and I can identify with you on this point.  It is very frustrating to see so many that we think are fellow brothers & sisters in Christ being sucked in by leaders (pushers,like drug pushers) at the drop of what they must think is new light on the scriptures without fully contemplating the consequences or even searching the scriptures to make sure that they may be right.  It's like drugs in the sense that it makes one high with joy that they know what is going to happen(or so they think).  It causes a mania of the sort that Satan likes to see. 

  • div>
    small village in County Wicklow. Although credited
    with being the "Father of Dispensationalism" what was
    in fact true that Augustine   said "Distinguish the dispensations,
    and all is easy." as well as  Justin Martyr (110-165),
    Irenaeus (130-200), Clement of Alexandria (150-220),
    and Augustine (354-430) all recognized dispensational
    distinctions in their writings.
    Allegorical interpretation, attributed primarily to Origen of
    Alexandria (c. 185-254), was adopted by the Roman
    Catholic Church in the 4th century, and led to the official
    teaching that the Church superseded Israel as the people
    of God in the New Testament. This interpretation, called
    "replacement theology" or "supersessionism", persists
    in Roman Catholicism and Reformation theology.
    The development of complex theological systems,
    including dispensational theology and "Covenant
    theology", was possible only after the Bible became
    readily available to the common man in the 16th century
    and study of the Scriptures had recovered the basic
    Reformation truth of justification through faith alone.
    So you can see that Darby though  not a "theologian" in its
    strict sense having studied the law, made a significant
    contribution to Biblical scholarship.  
    Were we to stop we would never gained additional insight
    into Holy writ and JND was and has been a helper along
    our journey.
    It is a shame that followers of men stop along the way
    and never continue to learn that which has been provided
    for our education.
     As we have discovered after some 40-50 of study we are
    just beginning to understand. And I believe your thoughts
    on the matter were right "The closer you get to Jesus and
    the Father the less companions you have for the journey".
    The "Rapture" is just one of many distractions along the
    way. Another for me has been the pigeonholing of believers
    with titles "Baptist, Dispensationalist, Hyper Calvinist,
    Christian" etc. We have become "rut orientated" Like the
    sign said as the first settlers began their travel to the
    western territories. "Choose your ruts carefully because
    you'll be in them for the next forth miles"!
    On a another more personal matter as I finish my "Doc
    Notes" on Dr Denis says "what Jesus really meant"  I am
    giving quite serious thought to my retiring  for a number
    of reasons, not the least that my hands and fingers are
    quit painful now and to type even this short note leaves
    me in excruciating pain and numbness. I cannot hold a
    cup of coffee (and you know for me that a biggee). In
    England on my last speaking engagement, I was
    introduced as the "The coffee swilling Dr. Callaghan from
    Dublin and America"  Another reason is that after some
    6000 churches that have indicated to me they would
    prefer to go backward rather than forward. Perhaps its
    time for me to step away from the fray and devote myself
    to futher study and communion with our Father.
    I realize that Father does not have a 401K plan and I am
    at His beck and call in the past few years it seems to me
    that He has allow me to gain more insight that ever before.
     Marti is doing better somewhat  but still needs constant
    care and we hope that your family and yourself will call
    on us if in any way we can ameliorate your needs.
    We are as always , your servants for Jesus sake,
    Denis and Marti
     Denis O'Callaghan  Ph.D., Th.D., D. Litt., D. D. 
     Director Scripture Institute
    "Augustine thinks in Questions"
    http://scripturestudies.spruz.com an outreach of Scripture
    Institute  ("Where scholarship and study meet". A study
    and social network  
    Dr Denis presents . . . “Doc Notes” An unexamined faith
    is not faith ... its superstition { Theology made simple}
    http://parsontoperson.blogspot.com  Heart to Heart (studies
    through and about the Bible) "The first reaction to Truth
    is hatred" 
    Scripture Institute) 
Please Sign In to Add a Comment

This website is powered by Spruz

What Each Area of the Site is Meant For: Blogs - This is your personal space. This is where you should post thoughts that are not intended for extensive further discussion. Observations from personal study and events that have occurred in your life belong here. Unless your post ends with questions or makes it apparent that discussion is to follow, it should probably be a blog. As discussed later, blogs are limited to those who hold to historic Christian beliefs. Forums - This is for open discussion relating to the topic posted. Dialogue is encouraged to stay on topic, so if a side conversation begins, open a new discussion. This is where the majority of the activity has taken place so far. Topics should remain general in nature, while in depth discussion on narrow topics should take place in groups. Groups - This is a place to congregate with people who have similar interests and positions in order to have open discussion. The conversation in here is not required to remain on topic, so it is more ready to follow rabbit trails. This is where you should go if you want to gather with a particular kind of theologian. Before initiating a new group, we ask that you consider posting a question in the discussion forum area to see if there is enough interest to justify a separate group. The reason we encourage such action is that, in the event that a group is inactive for 6 months or more, the moderators of Scriptural Studies reserve the right to close down and delete the group due to inactivity. Events - This is available to anyone that wants to post an event that you think the members of Scriptural Studies may be interested in. Contact Denis, Rabbi Del, Rifkah, or Marti for more details on advertising. Our Attitude of conduct: In case you missed them on your way in, take some time to become acquainted with the conduct we expect on this site. You may find our Attidudes on the main forum page. Our purpose at Scripural Studies is that the conversations move in a Gracious way. We define Gracious in the following way: 1) Not closed minded 2) Not self-promoting 3) Not characterized by mass amounts of cut-and-paste proof-texting 4) Not characterized by mass amounts of cut-and-paste from other places 5) Irenic 6) Not slanderous 7) No spamming 8) Perpetual venting bitterness 9) Not confusing or disruptive But in all things you'll be welcome here