What is the origin of the "rapture" doctrine? Is it biblical? The doctrine of the "rapture' was my favorite, most loved doctrine. Several years ago, a friend researched the doctrine and looked into this question. While discussing the research with him I remembered one related verse which should have arrested my attention years ago!
The result of the research is written in the book, "The Unorthodox Believer". Here is a short excerpt from the book which shares the origin of this doctrine:
The rapture teaching originates in Glasgow, Scotland with a group called the “Irvingites” around 1830. Prior to that, the rapture doctrine was unknown by any theologian, priest or monk or nun, unknown for 1,800 years. A European theologian named, John Nelson Darby, heard this new doctrine in Scotland and traveled there to interview the Irvingites. He found that it originated with a young women who was ill and bedridden. She had nothing to do but read her King James Bible. She knew nothing about biblical culture and nothing about biblical languages and nothing about the Old Testament. She was not even schooled with any theological studies either. The rapture doctrine was completely her own interpretation – by a vision she claimed. It was appealing for sure, to have a teaching that God will swoop away believers before experiencing the worst troubles to come. Darby, adopted the teaching, wrote it up and preached it. He include it in his commentaries. The teaching spread and by the late 1800's had spread to nearly all churches in both Europe and the Americas due to Darby's notoriety – he was trusted to be truthful without proof or challenge. Some of Darby's followers migrated to American and a few founded Seminaries and Bible Colleges where the rapture doctrine was taught as gospel … along with a few other non-biblical teachings like dispensationalism.
This discovery brings up other questions which are discussed in the book.
Before sharing the verse I mentioned, know that it is built on what was written in Ephesians chapter 2; the Jews and Gentiles are both created as a "new man", so making peace.
4: 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling,
This "one body" does not refer to the institutional corporate churches in existence today. It refers to the body of Christ which includes every person who has, is, or will be born from above (aka born again). It includes both Judean and Gentile. We all share in the promise of Abraham, which provides the foundation of our hope*. This is a KEY truth – there is ONE hope of our calling, not 2 not 3. This hope is common to both Jew and Gentile. Thus, we cannot expect to have something different happen to us, in Christ which is different for the Judeans, including Abraham.
On the basis of the evidence, I had to discard the doctrine of the "rapture". The truth makes MUCH MORE sense, especially given what has been happening in the rest of the world lately. There is not much that stands between the believers in this country and the terrible persecution that is happening elsewhere. Don't think for a moment that "…it can't happen here". We have been tremendously favored, but must continue to be vigilant and strong to endure.
There is more to learn about this subject – find out for yourself!
Here is a link to the book, "The Unorthodox Believer".
*"hope" is not used in the bible in the same way that we use the word. It refers to events and promises that are not available today, but will be available in the future.
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available.
(C)2017 Keith S. Radcliffe