Joel Richardson was right about the pre-trib rapture, but wrong about the Antichrist

‘The Rapture of One in the Field’ etching


Are Protestants who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture wrong? They are according to Joel Richardson. Notice the following:

Is everything you know about Second Coming wrong?

Filmmaker, evangelist and renowned bible prophecy teacher Joel Richardson says it is a time of change for the church, especially when it comes to teachings about the End Times and the rapture. The author of the New York Times bestseller “The Islamic Antichrist” recently appeared with Joe Schimmel on Rick Wiles’s TruNews radio program to discuss the what he believes is the false doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture.

Wiles himself supports the pre-tribulation position, stating, “I personally do not believe that by the year 2020, any credible person will be teaching the secret pre-trib rapture doctrine. I think the events that are coming in the next five years will utterly destroy the doctrine.”

The pre-tribulation school of thought has been an important force in American Christianity for decades, with proponents such as Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice. This school holds believers will be raptured before the great tribulation during the End Times, thus avoiding it. In contrast, Richardson believes the rapture will not occur until during the tribulation period. Thus, believing Christians will not be spared the persecution and calamities of the End Times.

Joel Richardson is right that the Bible does not teach a pre-tribulation rapture. Whether or not any ‘credible person’ will teach that after 2020 can be debated, but the arguments in favor of it are simply biblical disprovable.

Pre-tribulation “rapture” proponents essentially teach that certain verses that refer to Christ returning cannot be referring to the same return, hence they believe that theirs is the only biblically defensible position. Notice the following from ‘Left Behind’ authors Dr. LaHaye and J. Jenkins:

There are far too many conflicting activities connected with His return to be merged into a single coming…

Since we know there are no contradictions in the Word of God, our Lord must be telling us something here (LaHaye T, Jenkins J. Are We Living in the End Times? Tyndale House, Wheaton (IL), 1999, pp. 98.100).

Between the two statements above is a page listing 24 scriptural passages that the book indicates supports the pre-tribulation rapture and 22 ones supporting the second coming. However, the passages are not actually quoted, just listed.

To show that those supposed “pre-tribulation rapture” scriptures are NOT in conflict with a single return, I have all of them in an article titled Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?

The first few of which are in this post. Dr. LaHaye and J. Jenkins listed John 14:1-3 as a “Rapture Passage.” It states:

1 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

The above passage simply states that Jesus has a place for His followers, that He will return, and that His followers will be with Him. This has no discussion of when.

The next listed “Rapture Passage” was Romans 8:19:

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

The above does not mention any rapture and is not in conflict with occurring at the Second Coming.

The next listed “Rapture Passage” was 1 Corinthians 1:7-8:

7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, the above does not prove a pre-tribulation rapture is not in conflict with being associated with the Second Coming, because it clearly is.

The next listed “Rapture Passage” was 1 Corinthians 15:51-53:

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Again, the above does not prove a pre-tribulation rapture is not in conflict with being associated with the Second Coming, because it clearly is.

Now, while Joel Richardson is correct about the fact that the pre-tribulation rapture theory is wrong, his book about the Islamic Antichrist is also wrong.

Years ago, someone forwarded me the following that Joel Richardson wrote:

EU collapse: Doom for popular Bible prophesies?
WND – May 30, 2010
By Joel Richardson [author of “The Islamic Antichrist“.]

Nearly 20 years ago, I intently watched as a very popular Christian television prophecy teacher declared, “The present formation of the European Union is literally the fulfillment of Bible prophecy right before our eyes!”

According to this teacher, the creation of the European Union represented a biblically prophesied revived Roman Empire. Because the last-days empire of the Antichrist, as described in the books of Daniel and Revelation, is portrayed as a 10-nation alliance, this teacher confidently declared that when the number of EU member states reached 10, this would signal the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

Soon, the number of EU member states reached the magic number 10, just as this teacher had predicted. Then the number reached 11, and then 12. Soon there were 20. Today there are 27 member states. The teacher’s very confident predictions failed.

There are many problems with the above. But the one to mention here is that the Bible does not say that the Beast power will only have ten nations. Notice what the Bible actually states:

12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. (Revelation 17:12-13)

The above prophecy is clear that the Beast power will be composed of ten kings who did not previously have a specific kingdom. Or in words, the prophecy in Revelation 17:12-13 is most certainly not teaching that the Beast power will be composed of ten nations in the form that they existed prior to some type of structural reorganization. The fact that some prophecy “experts” may have indicated otherwise does not in fact change the actual prophecy from the Bible.

Joel Richardson also wrote:

Since 1993, with the official formation of the European Union, many prophecy teachers have set their prophetic imagination like flint on Europe, confident that someday soon, the EU would invade the Nation of Israel and actually dominate the whole earth.

Surely we are witnessing the emergence of the restored Roman Empire that will ultimately come to be controlled by the Antichrist himself, they would declare. But the present harsh realities in Europe may soon cause all of this Euro-centric, restored Roman Empire prognosticating to come crashing down…

As the world watches, the European Union seems to be teetering ever closer toward the brink of collapse with its massive debt crisis. Member nations are fighting to prop up the euro and maintain European unity through, you guessed it, a mega-billion dollar bailout. Meanwhile, Greece’s economic failure continues to metastasize across its borders. Numerous headlines across the globe are asking if the EU can survive.

However, it is precisely because there will be problems in Europe that it will need a powerful leader to rise up and lead it. The Bible is clear that the union in the Beast’s territories will be “fragile” (Daniel 2:42-43). It also is clear that the Beast leader will be successful from a military perspective (Revelation 13:1-4). While the Bible does tell of a power from currently Islamic nations in North Africa and the Middle East, it also shows that the forces that support the final Antichrist will defeat it (Daniel 11:40-43).

For more details about why Joel Richardson is wrong about this, check out the article Can the Final Antichrist be Islamic? (there is also a related sermon online titled: Is the Final Antichrist Islamic or European?)

So why bother to post about any of this?

Because there are many false and heretical leaders that lead people astray on biblical prophecy (see also Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?). And it is not just Protestant-type rapturists or those who misunderstand about Islam and Bible prophecy.

The Sardis and Laodicean Church of God groups do not understand prophecy, the work, enough of the truth, etc., and that is part of why they will have to go through the Great Tribulation. CG7, a group believed to represent Sardis, takes a preterist view that basically most end time prophecies were fulfilled long ago and are for the past. The Laodiceans have so many prophetic misunderstandings, that unless they repent and change (Revelation 3), they will not possibly know when the Great Tribulation will start until it is too late (a listing of 30 prophetic errors that are held by Laodicean groups are included in the article The Laodicean Church Era).

Now, getting to a major part of the subject of this post, it needs to be understood that the Bible does not teach a pre-tribulation rapture of the church nor a mid-tribulation one as Joel Richardson seems to advocate. Notice that the Bible shows that Jesus will return AFTER the tribulation, not before it:

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

Yet, the pre- and mid-tribulation rapturists ignore or try to reason around these scriptures. More details, including some the scriptures they tend to claim support their view, are documented in the article Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?.

Many fail to realize that the Bible teaches that Jesus ONLY promised to protect the Philadelphian Christians from the ‘hour of trial’ (Revelation 3:7-10), the rest of the Christians will go through the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord (Revelation 12:17), and the place the Philadelphians are protected is in the wilderness (Revelation 12:14-16). Heaven is not a wilderness and Christians are not going to be there during the Great Tribulation as the rapturists teach.

Those who wish to know more about the truth about end time prophecies may wish to study the following:

Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind? There is also a YouTube video with information Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
This is PETRA! This is a 1962 Good News article by the late Dr. Hoeh.
Can the Final Antichrist be Islamic? Is Joel Richardson correct that the final Antichrist will be Islamic and not European? Find out. A related sermon is titled: Is the Final Antichrist Islamic or European?
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture? Did the Bible teach that Jesus raptures Christians prior to the start of the Great Tribulation? What did Jesus Himself teach? Do the scriptural passages that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins point to prove their left behind pre-tribulation rapture assertions? Do all Christians get protected from the Great Tribulation? Who does the Bible teach will get protected? Is the Great Tribulation the ‘wrath to come’ that Christians are promised protection from? This is a video.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven? What do the Bible and scholars teach? What about ‘near-death experiences’? Here is a link to a related sermon: Heaven and Christianity.
World War III: Steps in Progress Are there surprising actions going on now that are leading to WWIII? Might a nuclear attack be expected? Does the Bible promise protection to all or only some Christians? How can you be part of those that will be protected? A related video would be Is World War III About to Begin? Can You Escape?
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of “the false prophet.” Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy. You can also watch a video titled What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?
Protestant and Church of God views of the United States in Bible Prophecy Is the USA mentioned in Bible prophecy? Some Protestants say yes, while others say no. What does the Bible really teach? Learn the truth about this. There is also a video available: Is The United States Mentioned In Bible Prophecy?
Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors What are some errors that various Protestants hold to that will tend to prevent them from knowing when the Great Tribulation will begin? A related video is titled Ten Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors.
Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation discusses the largest church since the second/third century, which in a real sense is the eighth church mentioned in the Book of Revelation (it also endorses “eighth day” worship). What church would support the Beast? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous? A related sermon video is titled Preterism: You’ve Gotta Be Kidding…Right?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
Laodicean Warning for God’s People Is there really a place of safety? Do God’s people need to be warned? Warned for what?
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?

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