In response to this weekend’s release of the “Left Behind” remake starring Nicholas Cage (which I haven’t seen yet at the time of this writing), my Facebook News Feed has been flooded with negative comments. Many of which were posted even before the movie hit the theaters!
The criticism of “Left Behind” has mostly been about it depicting the aftermath of the rapture. Some Christians believe there won’t be a rapture at all. One Facebook friend went so far as to label those who preach a pre-tribulation rapture “heretics.” That’s a strong accusation considering that would include Tim LaHaye (the co-author of the original “Left Behind” series), Perry Stone, John Hagee, Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe and numerous other men of God.
For the sake of time and to discourage online debates on the subject, I will avoid explaining in this article why I believe in a pre-trib rapture of the church. However, I need to point out a few things to any rapture bashers reading this. First of all, not all pre-trib believers are passively waiting around to escape the tribulation. Jesus said in Luke 19:13 (KJV), “Occupy till I come.” We should expect the Lord to return at any moment but be prepared to live out the rest of our lives on this earth.
Secondly, belief in a pre-trib rapture is not an endorsement to live an unconsecrated lifestyle. If anything, the pending rapture should motivate Christians to pursue holiness (Hebrews 12:14). Imagine how embarrassed you would feel if the Lord returned while you were getting drunk in a bar or sleeping with someone that wasn’t your spouse. Those sins might cause professing believers to miss the rapture.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “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.” The word rapture originated from the Latin word “raeptius”, which was translated from the Greek word for “caught up” (“harpazo”) in verse 17. Harpazo means "to carry off," "snatch up," or “take away.”
Another popular argument against the rapture is that Christians in years past have suffered and been martyred for their faith. That’s poor reasoning when you consider there are believers today (mostly in the 10/40 Window) being imprisoned, tortured, and even beheaded. Whether or not the Lord continues to tarry, I believe we will see increased persecution in the U. S. and other Western nations.
For those of you who strongly feel the modern-day church should go through the tribulation, why not set an example right now? You could move to a Muslim-controlled country and show the rest of us how we should respond to real persecution.
As for myself, I will not let rapture bashers rob me of the crown available for those who long for His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8). In the meantime, I will continue preaching the gospel here in America and wherever else the Lord sends me until I die or hear the trumpet call to heaven. I also pray the new “Left Behind” movie will be used as a tool to bring many sinners to salvation before the Second Coming.
One of the weakest reasons critics denounce the catching away of the saints is because the word “rapture” isn’t found in the Bible. The word “trinity” isn’t in Scripture either yet most Christians agree the Godhead is a three-part being (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). The word “Bible” is also not part of God’s word but can be found on the cover and added notes by the translators.
“looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” - Titus 2:13