It’s become fairly well known that I do not believe in a “future rapture” of the Church in any way, shape, or form. I believe that we’ve been raptured already, that nearly all so-called “end-time” events happened already on the cross (and, like a Jenga puzzle, in 70AD). I’m not overly fond of labels, but I think most folks would call me a postmillennial not-quite-full preterist (I seem to have gone a bit further toward the full mark than most partial preterists I know, but certainly not in the realm of what might be called a “full preterist”). I believe I’ll call it Kingdom Preterism, with the understanding that there are many variations among people who believe this way, and that’s a good thing indeed.
I get asked all the time, usually by fear-filled people, “What if you’re wrong? What if there really is a rapture?” and my reply is, invariably, “I’m really okay with that. What if you’re wrong?”
Let’s contrast the two views:
Rapture theorists propose that we should work to be “ready” because Christ could come at any moment to whisk us away. One must be very, very careful, because the Church is supposed to fall away, and we don’t want to be one of those people. If we’re not “ready” we could be left behind to face the torture that God will pour out during the Great Tribulation. Our job is to convince others to work to “be ready” and to share that fear with others. We must be very, very careful to not make a mistake, because we might be judged unworthy to be raptured. Work for the sake of future generations is undermined because there is a belief that it is all going to be destroyed imminently. God’s plan is to utterly destroy the earth and all that’s in it, and make a new one, because man has corrupted it so badly it can’t be redeemed. Granted, in many rapturists, these tendencies are masked (not all are fear-stricken people) … but when one examines the roots of their belief system, it’s in the fear that they might be one of the virgins who failed to keep her lamp full … the one left behind in the field … the one left standing, rejected by God.
Preterists (of all sorts) believe that in Christ, we are ready for any challenge, and that we have been given a commission by Jesus to disciple nations and dispel darkness from the earth. He did not set us up to fail, but we will grow and expand the Kingdom of God until that day when the knowledge of the glory of the Lord covers the earth like the waters of the sea. We believe that there is no need to escape the world because the power to transform it (the fullness of the Godhead) resides bodily within us. We believe that, rather than teaching fear, we should be teaching people love and empowered relationship with Father, with Jesus, and with Holy Spirit….and rather than teaching that one must work, we must lead people to an encounter with the Risen Lord and the finished work of the cross; we co-labor with God from a place of absolute rest. We don’t fear mistakes, sin, or death. We believe that creation longs to be freed from its bondage, and the manifestation/revelation of the sons of God (us) is what does that. God’s plan that we are walking out and bringing to pass right now is the restoration, not the destruction, of all things. Therefore, we plan and build sustainably, so that future generations can enjoy the fruits of our labors and can make our ceiling their floor.
So – if a rapturist is wrong, they have lived a life of fear, failed to build a legacy, waited for Heaven and the benefits of salvation, and failed to redeem the earth. They’ve not made the world a better place. They’ve made the salvation of individuals their goal. They’ve created dichotomy that separates. The fear of rejection and the identity of sinner has kept them at a distance from Father. If the rapture doesn’t happen, death is the only thing that frees them from this world.
If a Kingdom preterist is wrong, they’ve lived a fear-free life, built a legacy, lived in Heaven now, and worked to disciple nations and redeem the earth, making it as it is in Heaven. We’ve created a unity that draws people from the outside to come in, be saved, healed, and delivered, raised up and released to the same purpose. Acceptance in the Beloved makes us one with Father. We’ve lived lives free of the bondage of sin and death. If something were to happen that caused us to cease in those endeavors, like getting whisked out of here, we would continue resting in Him.
So again … what if I’m wrong? No problem. But I believe what I believe because Scripture bears out the truth that there is no rapture, and that the theory of a rapture runs completely contrary to the truth of the Kingdom of God, and that we have been commissioned with purpose to transform the world. We will not fail in His purposes and plan!