There is absolutely no *hint* of a rapture in this entire passage where Jesus discusses the end of this world.
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14 NKJV)
He even continues this discourse, and immediately says we will see anti-christ flaunting himself as God, affirming that we indeed will be here for when he takes his good-guy mask off and begins his tyranny. Again, no mention of a rapture yet:
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” (Matthew 24:15-28 NKJV)
Still no mentioning of His return and gathering up all of His people into the clouds, off the earth and transporting them to heaven. Not a word on this phenomenon yet. But, let’s keep reading His sermon, for He isn’t finished:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)
Ah, there it is; immediately after the tribulation of those days just described. So, in the very end, after chaos has reigned, and anti-christ has wreaked havoc on the church, then Christ comes on the clouds and gathers His people to Himself.
The doctrine of the rapture is a lie, and one that I am afraid too many put their hope in. Rather in hoping in the resurrection at the last day (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54), people are hoping in a very early escape, a secret rapture, where Christ doesn’t reveal Himself for all the world to see, but just vaporizes His people and they appear in heaven and no one knows where they went or who took them.
This is pure fantasy. It is not biblical, and I’m afraid it helps many in the church to be unprepared for the great tribulation that will fall upon her and truly test her faith in dreadful fire. What will happen to the faith of those who are so trusting in this pre-tribulation rapture when anti-christ enacts laws that prevents them from buying food unless they worship him? What will happen if they have to face beheading for following Christ? Will they renounce their faith because God disappointed them for not coming when they believed He would? Would they be able to suffer such hardships, or desire comfort and quick relief from their pain and just accept the mark of the beast?
If pastors were preaching the truth, the church would be more equipped. But instead, they choose to deceive themselves and the people for what?Money? Fame? Acceptance? Accolade?
I fear for those believing such blatantly unbiblical lies because they are just waiting to be snatched up and aren’t praying and preparing for a faith that won’t falter even in the midst of abuse and impending death. Instead of praying, “Lord in Jesus’ name please help me endure until the end, like You say, that those who persevere will receive the crown of life. Help me withstand the enemy in the face of every persecution and trial that is coming. Help me always trust You and to never deny You.”
Instead of praying that, they’re praying, “Lord come and take me away so I don’t have to go through all that.”
And God is saying, “No. I told you when I would come for you. Therefore, be strong. Hold fast to your faith, for an hour of great testing is going to befall you to show if you are really Mine.”
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. (Revelation 14:9-16 NKJV)
He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:37-43 NKJV)