It’s time to leave behind the “Left Behind” theology.
The immensely popular “left behind” series of movies and books is the “default End Times theology” of many faithful believers around the globe. The tragedy with this theory, while widely popular, is that it cannot be supported with scripture and therefore leaves the believer with a vague and unsettled position in regards to actual Biblically prophesied events!
The main faulty issue that we need to “leave behind” is this:
No scripture text can show that there will be an interval of some years between Christ’s coming secretly and silently FOR the saints (commonly called the rapture) and then coming 3 1/2 or 7 years later WITH the saints (commonly called the second coming). Here is where it gets tricky and where the Left Behind, Pre-tribulation movement gains its ground. Both of these events will happen and both are prophesied in your Bible.
The problem is one of timing.
The left behind crowd sincerely believe that Jesus will return secretly for His church “at-any-moment”, to rapture believers driving their cars on the highway and children riding the bus to school, straight to be with Jesus in Heaven. You have probably seen this in the movies or heard it in a sermon or two. To support this position they would quote the hugely popular verse: “No man can know the day or hour…” It could happen today, next year or 100’s years from now.
Those not “caught up” are Left Behind — the non-believers and infidels — to experience the wrath of antichrist and the wrath of God. The actual “Second Coming” will happen some years later once the antichrist has appeared on the scene and built his cruel empire. He and his armies will try to exterminate the Jews once and for all but will be defeated in the battle of Armageddon as Christ comes “riding on a white horse”, this time very visible and with a great shout and a trumpet blast, with all the raptured saints.
Unknowingly, for the majority I suspect, this “Pre-Trib” doctrine puts its adherents in an awkward position.
For one thing, the Bible nowhere describes an interval longer than one “unique day” (Zech 14:7) between the rapture and the second coming. What it does describe, very carefully, is a single (by that I mean only one) coming from heaven to earth, where both the living and dead saints are caught up in the air with Jesus and, as He is on a journey from heaven to earth, continue with Him in a Royal Procession right back to the earth as He descends to take His long-awaited throne in Jerusalem (Luke 19:12-15) and reign there as King forever!
That’s what your Bible says and this is what will happen.
Here it is in black and white:
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (I Thess 4:13-18)
Please notice that is says: we “will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”. We won’t stay in the air but we will always be with Him. As Jesus returns to this earth to establish His kingdom and to sit on His throne, those who have fallen “asleep in Jesus” are raised up from their graves and the living believers are changed “in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” They meet the descending, coming King in the air over the city of Jerusalem, where the Last Battle will be staged and proceed down to earth with Him as His mighty army, to sit on His throne, which has been usurped by Satan and his henchman.
“He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev 3:21)
And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Mtt 19:28)
The Holy Spirit does not leave the earth, ever!
Another position to “leave behind” is that the Holy Spirit does not leave the earth as the church is raptured some 7 years before the second “second coming” of Jesus. Of this I am absolutely certain: Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, will remain here on earth, until the end of the age and the harvest and the separation of the wheat (believers) and the tares (imposters)!
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mtt 28:20
“The harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. (Mtt 13:39-40)
“This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous. (Mtt 13:49)
Lastly, although there are many more points, I feel compelled to bring up the Last Trumpet. The apostle Paul, by the Spirit, predicted that the saints would be “caught up at the last trumpet” years before the apostle John, by the Spirit, had a vision of seven trumpets played by seven angels which brought about God’s justice and cleansing to the earth..
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” I Cor 15:52
No trumpet, no dead raised imperishable!
Dear brethren, there is only one series of prophetic trumpets in the New Testament, those foretold in the book of Revelation. In Rev. 10-11, we read that at the 7th trumpet, which is the last of the series, “the mystery of God is finished” (10:7) and “the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants… and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” Rev 11:18
I challenge you to show me, in the Scripture, a more accurate and more detailed description of the rapture and the second coming all boiled down in to one moment than this!
The Greek word for trumpet is more accurately “a war-trumpet” that boldly announces God’s victory.
“The trumpet was the signal employed to call the hosts of Israel to march as to war, and is common in prophetic imagery (Is 27:13) and the seventh angel (Rev 11:15) — Strong’s Concordance
Now really, shall the Lord Jesus descend from heaven “with a shout and the trumpet blast” (which both are war cries) and then instead of rushing into battle, He shall “leave the field” and whisk off His saints into heaven, while the most fierce and devastating battle between good and evil in the history of humanity is fought in plain view of the host of heaven, who supposedly are enjoying the delicacies of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?
Isn’t it time we “leave behind” this outrageous legacy of the pre-tribulation movement, which might make for nice Hollywood entertainment and recapture the truth of the Bible?