Why the Need for a New Name?
(This is commentary from 'The Rapture Theory' by Paul Benson
For nearly two thousand years the Scriptures, the body of Christ, and even scoffers, have referred to the event that brings us the fullness of our salvation, and the redemption of our body, as the Resurrection at the Last Day. Why was there a necessity to invent a new name: The 'Rapture'? Have you ever thought about that?
Did anyone really need to rename our promise of the Resurrection? Do we need a new name for salvation? For healing? For the Cross? No! How about for Heaven? No, but how about if I came up with a new doctrine of a paradise that is a little different that what has been commonly believed for all this time, and what if I said getting there is a little easier than what we've been taught. I couldn't call it Heaven. Folks might look into what the Bible really teaches on Heaven and call me on it. I'd need a way to get them to turn loose of long held beliefs; maybe some subtle distractions.
First I would have to invent a new name for this new revelation. Then I could say I'm not talking about that concept of paradise but this other one. Then I could start pulling snippets of Scripture out of context that kinda sorta sound like my theory; and go to work devising all kinds of clever 'proof texts' about my new doctrine. Altered renderings of Bible verses all with no real foundation in God's truth; but so cunningly devised that my unsuspecting followers will be totally convinced they are 'Bible Truth'! I can probably even get them to finance a book series!
Where could I find a really appealing name? I know! I'll take a word for Heaven from the Greek, translate it into an obsolete dialect, then render that word into English and I'll have a new name for my new doctrine. (don't laugh, that's exactly how they came up with the name 'Rapture'!) And I can say it's from the Bible because it is - kinda sorta. Let's call this other concept of paradise 'Ecstasy' shall we? Now I've got a catchy name that will appeal to the senses of the carnal: 'Ecstasy'! ('Rapture' anyone?)
And good news! You can get into this Kingdom of Ecstasy much easier than was previously believed. New revelation shows us you can escape all that 'suffering for Christ' business. You don't have to identify with his death. You don't really have to turn away from your sin or live a life of holiness. And you don't have to suffer persecution for taking a stand for Jesus in this world. Have it your way! Just accept my new teaching of escapism and all will be well. Wouldn't you rather go hassle free to the realm of Ecstasy than to suffer aggression and hardship along the path to that other place? (Wouldn't you rather go in the Rapture and escape the end-time trials and persecutions to be endured by those awaiting the Resurrection at the Second Coming?) OK. Enough about my new name for my new doctrine. Please forgive me for jesting.
But seriously have you wondered why the preaching on an event called the Resurrection for close to twenty centuries now becomes a focus on the 'Rapture'? Why? Because many in this day have turned aside to believe in a fable. This was prophesied to happen and this erroneous modern theory is a direct fulfillment of that prophesy. Maybe there is some truth to people saying the rapture theory is in the Bible. Here it is; in this prophesy!
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
I hear people all the time say, “It's just a matter of timing; some just believe differently about when the same event will happen in relation to end time events.” This in itself is a false belief and a distraction from the truth. The rapture theory, and the Resurrection that is actually taught in the Bible, are not the same event! I am surprised at how many people don't understand that Scripture plainly teaches a Resurrection at the Return of Christ; even if there was an earlier 'rapture' event there would still have to be a Resurrection and catching away at the Second Coming.
It's not the timing of one event, but the introduction of another that is the issue; folks now claiming the Scripture is teaching two resurrections and two catchings away. This is an 'adding to' of the Word of God and is a very dangerous practice.
If you believe in the rapture theory you are believing a theory that says there are two (or more) catching aways. Even theologians who promote the rapture freely admit there is a resurrection at the Second Coming, but say the rapture is another separate event seven years earlier. Since it's easier to pass off a false doctrine if people believe it's the only game in town, most rapture teachers don't say a lot about the Second Coming's resurrection. It causes conflict in those who, searching God's Word for both, find instead truth which denies the rapture theory. Better to leave the impression there is nothing there to study out,
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end... 1 Corinthians 15:20-24
I know I've used these verses a number of times, but this passage gives us a clear biblical order of the Resurrection. Doesn't sound much like two different 'catching aways' does it? And there is also a doctrinal safeguard built into this passage; a second witness of the types/shadows of the Old Testament painting portraits of N.T. truths. Let's look at that second witness.
Notice the term 'firstfruits'; this is a reference to the Old Testament practice, commanded by the Law, in which a man would ask God to sanctify, or bless, the harvest of his fields, orchards, or vineyards etc.. He was to harvest the first small portion of his crop and take it to the priest as an offering to God. The priest would lift it up before God as a wave offering, and this 'firstfruit' offering would sanctify the remainder of the crop; which the husbandman would then go harvest. Do you see now why Paul called Jesus the 'firstfruits'? The offering up of Christ was a firstfruit offering to God; this sacrifice sanctified the rest of God's harvest, namely us the believers. (The day Jesus rose from the dead was not called Easter by God's people; it was the Feast of Firstfruits; which always fell on the Sunday following Passover)
What a beautiful image of Christ's work on our behalf found there in the Law. And just what is the pattern given to us here? God gave us his order: Christ the firstfruits; then the rest of us at his Coming! Christ was raised first and now the rest of the crop shall be made alive; the harvest of all believers down through the centuries will take place at one time: the Second Coming! The rapture theory divides into two events what the Word tells us takes place all at once: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (1 Cor. 15:23).
So we see it's not simply a disagreement over timing, but the introduction of a myth about a second prior event which has no foundation in truth. There is only the Resurrection of the Just at the Second Coming. Anything else is a fable.