Rapture Theory Making Headlines Again

By Mark A. Kellner

Greg Laurie has long been regarded as one of America’s top evangelists. At one point, the Charlotte Observer said he was on the short list of those who could be “the next Billy Graham.” And, indeed, his Harvest Crusades regularly fill arenas around the United States—with thousands responding to his invitations to receive Christ as Savior.

More recently, however, Laurie was in the headlines for another reason: He believes that a mass revival in America could trigger a “rapture” of as many as 150 million post-revival believers, exempting them from the great tribulation mentioned in Bible prophecy.

Speaking with the video streaming service PureFlix, Laurie set the stage for such an event by asking a legitimate question about the Bible and its treatment of the world’s leading superpower in today’s world.

“We know that the players of the last days will be the forces united under the [antichrist] going into a great battle in the battle of Armageddon with the kings of the East. But where is America in all this?” he asked, according to a Christian Post article.

Laurie answered his own question by insisting that America won’t be a “player” because so many millions of people will have been snatched up from our streets and highways. He said such a disappearance “will certainly explain how America ceased to be a superpower if Christians disappeared from every walk of life; from government; to the military; to technology; to the medical field” and other areas.

Laurie added, “All these Christians caught up to Heaven will certainly give an explanation as to why America would not be a superpower in the End Times.”

Laurie’s understanding of last-day events may have developed in the 1970s during his time in the so-called Jesus Movement, which was largely influenced by a school of Bible teaching called dispensationalism, from which many derived the notion of a “secret rapture” that would take millions away to paradise while those “left behind” faced tribulation. Decades as a pastor and evangelist have apparently reinforced this belief, so his suggestion that a rapture that would deprive the United States of superpower status as an explanation for not seeing America in end-time Bible prophecy makes some sense.

We respectfully disagree, however. The problem with the “secret rapture” theory is that it’s not supported in Scripture. The word “rapture” isn’t anywhere in the Bible. Instead, this notion is mostly extrapolated from two simple verses in the New Testament book of 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4 and verses 16 and 17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Let’s notice what these verses do not say: First, this appearance of Jesus, His return, isn’t going to be a secret. He “will descend from heaven with a shout,” accompanied by the “voice of an archangel” as well as “the trumpet of God.”

Next, we’re told the dead in Christ “will rise first,” and then “we who are alive and remain” will join them in a heavenward procession. Again, how secret could it be if millions of people will be seen lifting off for a reunion in the air?

No, what is spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4 isn’t a secret happening. It’s a highly visible, highly public event that will capture the attention of every living person on the planet. Indeed, the entire universe will be watching!

Amazing Facts believes that it’s important to discern the truth about last-day events to avoid confusion and deception. We have published many reliable resources to help guide you through the text of your own Bible to better determine the truth on this matter.

For instance, there’s Amazing Facts' free online book called The Secret Rapture that delves deeper into this issue and includes links to Bible verses supporting each point. You can read it on at your computer at home or on a mobile device anywhere in the world—and see the truth for yourself.

At this same rapturetruth.com website, you’ll find a video study by Pastor Doug on “Revelation’s Rapture,” which presents the Bible’s view of when and how this “rapture” will really take place.

And Laurie did raise a good question: Where is the United States in Bible prophecy? Our free online lesson will guide you to the Bible answer you need.

Comments

NOTE: If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.


Back To Top