The Myth of the Rapture

The Christian myth of the Rapture (which, unbeknownst to most Christians, originated with the religion of Zoroastrianism) seems to become more convoluted with ever more nonsense as time goes on. This trend is exemplified by various films and videos which support one version or another of the Rapture as well as the Tribulation period. Most recently, one was reviewed by Dr. David Reagan on his program “Christ in Prophecy: Apokalypsis Video Review” (airdate: 4/28/2019). This video, “Apokalypsis: The Final Warning”, was critiqued by Dr. Reagan as “[a] fantastic new video program [which] has been produced by the Inspiration TV Network that provides a fascinating, exciting, highly-informative and accurate overview of end-time Bible prophecy”.

Well, with an endorsement like that how can there be any objection to it? After all, if it is “fascinating, exciting, highly-informative and accurate”, what could be wrong with it? Especially if the “accurate” part is true. Now, to be fair, I am not going to critique the actual video, per se, because I did not, nor do I plan to, watch the entire video myself. I only watched the clips presented on Dr. Reagan’s program. But that is well past enough for me in any case. I will state, for the record, that if anyone thinks they could win over someone like me with such unmitigated psychobabble, then they don’t understand how truly freeing it is to no longer buy into that sort of idiocy. But these kinds of films and videos are not really designed to win anyone over to the faith. They are designed to frighten those who already profess to be Christians into submission – making them too scared to think for themselves.

After this sterling review, Reagan went on to relate that when he had first been approached to be one of the “expert commentators”, he refused “because I was fed-up with doing video interviews that were then edited to make me look foolish [I doubt that editing is required for that] and were used as part of a video program attacking Bible prophecy”. He went on to state that this had happened to him several times before and he would have none of it. But, the producer talked him into it, assuring him that the video would present biblical prophecy in a positive light. Reagan then went on to name several other “experts” who would also take part, including Rod Rhodes, Teresa Garcia, Don Perkins, and Gary Frazier.

Then, as if his initial review wasn’t quite enough, Reagan called the video “the finest video I have ever seen about end-times Bible prophecy”. He then proceeded to air select clips from said video, beginning with a scene illustrating humanity’s advances in the scientific realm, including space exploration. During this clip the narrator spoke about humanity’s “amazing progress”, but continued that this has made the “inhabitants of the world an over-confident and arrogant race”. Way to be anti-science without coming directly out about it.

But it is perfectly natural for the fanatical types to belittle science and education and academics and real scholarship in any case. It’s actually standard fare and no amount of reasoning will dissuade the fanatic that he/she is right because the Bible (or other holy book) says it.

The narrator continues; “Brewing underneath the haughtiness of mankind, like a sleeping giant, is the approaching fulfillment of gruesome and fearsome [see, be afraid!] prophecies predicted over millennia in the ancient writings of the Bible. . . .” pointing to “a supernatural reckoning; a time when the literal wrath of God will be poured out over all creation, when collective sinful debts of humanity will be reconciled. A time of great tribulation.” He should have the audience quaking in their collective shoes by now.

Dr. Reagan then interjects, stating, “Well, as you can see, this is a first-class presentation”. More clips of the video continue, alluding to the fact that the US is not mentioned anywhere in ancient biblical prophecy (go figure) and briefly attempting to explain why, as well as essentially endorsing the pre-tribulation Rapture. Dr. Ed Hindson, who was shown as attempting to explain these things, then states that Christ will return to claim his bride, a standard Christian doctrine. Frankly, I have no desire to be a bride, but I digress.

The narrator continues; “So, while the body of believers is whisked away to be with Jesus in the clouds, the world below is thrown into total disarray and panic such as the world has never known. The world will be left to wonder if this kind of event will happen again and, if so, when; and even worse, will they ever see their loved ones again (as a young lady is shown cowering in a corner, afraid and alone). With the disappearance of a large percentage of the global workforce, economies around the world will experience depression-era drops as under-staffed companies struggle to meet their production and financial projections. . . . Nations will be plunged into economic collapse”. “Catastrophic” environmental effects will ensue partly because nuclear reactors will leak radiation (another good anti-science whammy!).

Dr. Reagan again interjects “Airplanes will crash! Cars will crash! All kinds of things” will lead to “absolute anarchy! Martial law will have to be put into place.” One truly wonders here why he thinks others make him look foolish as he rants like a maniac.

I have to state that end-times apocalyptic scenarios have never done anything toward making me want to be a Christian. While it is true that, when I was an evangelical Christian, one of my favorite books was “Revelation” (along with “Hebrews”), that was mainly because they gave me a sort of distorted comfort in that I “knew” that I was saved, so I didn’t have to worry about any of it. It never occurred to me one time back then that there was no reason for me to know anything about this scenario if the Rapture was to take place prior to the Tribulation. Today I can confidently state that if this is “God”, then I want nothing to do with him. That any god would rain down wrath upon almost all of the human population, killing over half of them and allowing the rest to suffer (except for those raptured up, who didn’t have to taste death) in such a manner is beyond reasonable comprehension. But, again, they don’t really want you to use your mind to reason anything.

The narrator continues, “The years that follow will be the darkest time for humanity as the wrath of God is poured out over a rebellious and sinful world. Inevitably, those left behind will ask, why did they disappear?” As the narrator is speaking they go to a concocted news clip; an interview of a “professor of world religions” (clearly showing him as a dupe is a means by which they can insert anti-intellectual thoughts. Whether the clip is supposed to be showing “fake media” is, I suppose, up to the viewer). The screen caption reads “Where did they go? Millions disappear worldwide”.

As the female reporter asks the professor a question, the narrator continues, “The groundwork for mainstream deceptive explanations of what actually happened in the time of the Rapture has been in the works for quite some time”. The professor answers the news reporter, “There have been so many explanations that have been presented; and obviously the last twenty-four hours has been unprecedented in human history. And, so, we have to look at these different explanations, whether [get this] they be alien abductions or a collision of dimensions, coming from the scientific community. But my particular background is as a religious scholar [as the viewer sees the reporter’s eyes begin to glaze over], so I want to look at it from that perspective. People who have been followers of the New Age Movement, for example, have been saying for decades now that we are entering a new phase of evolution in human beings and that this evolution would be spiritual rather than physical”. The narrator then continues that because the present generation’s minds have been molded by Hollywood, with its science-fiction genre (even mentioning the transporter beam of Star Trek), these will give the “quickest explanations” for what is happening.

Seriously? This clip and the comments associated with it just made me laugh! Who has been attempting to concoct explanations for why people will suddenly be gone? What is their evidence for this? Do they really believe that people are sitting in dark, smoke-filled rooms just waiting for the Rapture to take place so that they can explain it away? Do these people really believe that anyone else actually believes this crap except for themselves? Nobody is trying to lay groundwork to deceive people when it takes place because nobody else believes it will take place! But, these fanatics accept any sort of conspiracy theory, and I suppose this must be among the newest ones. Beyond that, why would aliens come here and abduct people suddenly by beaming them away? And why on earth would they take only Christians if they did? And the “religious scholarly” perspective presented is weak at best. The New Age Movement, really? If anyone tried to write a novel with this set of scenarios I think it would have pitiful sales indeed as people would find the explanations lacking in credibility.

As they cut away from video clips, Dr. Reagan interjected that during the 1970s he was “mesmerized” by leaders in the New Age Movement as they would state that Christians would be taken away so that those who are left would take over and use reason to solve the world’s problems. He then added that when the Rapture happens they will say they were right all along. Now, I don’t know if that claim was ever made by leaders in this movement or not since I haven’t studied it in depth, but if it was it’s just as ludicrous as Christians believing they will be raptured away to be with Christ.

As the video clips begin to play again the narrator asks, “Is there a larger deception brewing; a pre-indoctrination embedded into the psyche of the science fiction sub-culture [with reference to] fans who may be comforted to believe that Christians were removed by a transporter beam or aliens?” Dr. Reagan immediately asserts, with no evidence to back him up, that “Yes, that will be one of the explanations; no doubt about it!” I was left to wonder how it could be that anyone could be “comforted” by the idea that aliens suddenly beamed away their loved-ones. But I do have to give them credit for one thing. If they are referring to the program “Ancient Aliens”, then there does indeed seem to be some kind of deception taking place, in my humble opinion.

Then the program moved on to clips showing the rise of the Antichrist, who, they emphasized, will ride a white horse and will be a “future political leader”. Dr. Reagan stated emphatically that he will rise to power peacefully and take over the European Union, and this will usher in the seven years of the Great Tribulation as soon as he signs a peace treaty with Israel. The video clips at this point show the Antichrist in various situations with what is obviously the leader of Israel, who is acting completely subservient to the Antichrist. It goes on to show the Antichrist with leaders of other nations too.

Most sickeningly, the leader of Israel, in all of these clips, is shown wearing a Yamaka, so that the viewer can be in no doubt that he represents Israel and Jews and is selling himself out to Satan. Only Orthodox Jews wear this headdress at all times in public, most others only wearing it during religious rites and prayers. Any Jewish person would see this as deliberately provocative and deeply offensive since there was no need to show the Israeli leader wearing this headdress since Israeli flags were also pictured, making it clear who was present.

Teresa Garcia then made what was, to me, the most bizarre statements up to that point as she expounded, with reference to the Antichrist, that “He is going to become Time Magazine’s man of the year . . . win the Nobel prize; he is the Antichrist”, as a clip is shown of Antichrist and the Israeli leader with one arm around each other, waving to the audience with their other arms. Too bad she didn’t cite a biblical reference for that bonkers statement! Oh, wait, there isn’t one. I guess the bar has been lowered for biblical scholarship since I was last in college.

Gary Frazier (incidentally, of Lamb and Lion Ministries) then interjected that the Antichrist will soon thereafter turn on the nations as well as on Israel and all those who are saved during the Tribulation (yes, these nut-cases really believe that people will come to a saving knowledge of Christ during the Tribulation while the Church is absent). How this is supposed to happen with the Church removed from the world is never effectively explained, as far as I can tell, anywhere.

Dr. Reagan then stated that the “Trumpet Judgments”, found in “Revelation” are nuclear wars, as Ron Rhodes sought to explain this. They then showed clips of the Antichrist going to the new Jewish Temple and declaring himself to be “God”, beside him standing this cheesy, overgrown likeness of himself that the false prophet (barefoot, bearded, and dressed in a white robe) causes to move in a halting kind of manner as the Antichrist laughs. It is said at that point that people all over the world will watch this live via TV and the internet.

The Jews reject the Antichrist and he moves to “annihilate” them. They then flee to Jordan, to the one place, according to these fanatics, they can – Petra, where it is stated that they will be protected for three-and-one-half years. It is referred to as a “secure location”. Most of this part of the clip was elucidated by Don Perkins.

The narrator then continued that Petra had been built by the Nabataeans “quickly, for no known reason” just prior to the time of the birth of Jesus (obviously insinuating that it had been built exactly for the purpose of protecting the Jewish remnant during the Tribulation). He continued, “Petra is defendable (sic), and remote. The Jewish remnant can be safe there from any land-based assault. And while modern technology would make it feasible to attack them from the air, biblical scholars believe that God will keep them supernaturally safe from any aggression of the Antichrist”.

Wow! I can’t begin to put into words how profoundly insane this scenario is! But these fanatical types truly believe that after all of these millennia, Christ will just protect the Jewish remnant (who have yet to accept him as Messiah), when he has never done so before, in of all places a place carved from rocks. Anyone with ANY military understanding would know that Petra is NOT defensible and that, even if all of the remnant could fit there and live for such a period of time (how they would get food and water, among other things is anyone’s guess), it could easily be besieged, surrounded by armies so that no escape could possibly be made. And I dare say that most biblical scholars would laugh at this scenario as much as I did.

Dr. Reagan then adds that Christ suddenly returns, and the surviving Jews receive him as their Messiah. Video clips begin again showing people gazing up at the sky as Christ returns to vanquish his enemies on the earth. Dr. Reagan continues that this entire scenario is designed to bring the Jewish people “to repentance”. He all but states that all of the persecution that the Jewish people have had to face, and will face during the Tribulation, is what will bring them to repentance and recognition that Jesus is their Messiah. He phrases it as Christ bringing them “to the end of themselves”. Then dr. Reagan gave his evangelization push speech.

By now, if I am Jewish, I am far beyond insulted and cannot fathom how it is that even greater persecution, along with other trials and tribulations, could possibly induce me to accept a Messiah who would make me go through all of it just so that I would repent! And whatever happened to the mandate given to the ancient Hebrews by God that THEY were to be the ones who would carry the way of salvation to the rest of the earth? THEY were to be the light of the world. These Christian fanatics have all totally forgotten that, demonstrating that their theology is on shaky ground, at best. The Jewish people have understood that they had their own “Great Commission” long before the coming of Jesus and even though, according to biblical writings, they have largely failed in this effort, the Bible does not stipulate that they will be brought back into line because they have been persecuted into it. And, theologically speaking, the Church has been tasked with fulfilling this mandate, according to New Testament writings, anyway.

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