Vital words to the body of Christ
Teaching the Everlasting Gospel of God's Kingdom
George and Jeannie Kirkpatrick, Authors
and the Harvest Team at New Foundations Ministries
Dear Body, April 1, 2007
An Open Letter to the Body of Christ, Re: The Rapture
The teaching of the rapture came into existence around 1832. It has been taught as fact since that time in many well meaning, ill-informed denominations. It is well that we note that for the first 1800+ years of the church age, there was no mention of a rapture. When this teaching began, the Spiritual leaders of that day shunned the idea. It was the Irvinites who taught this false doctrine, and the Brethren Church and the Scofield Bible brought it to this nation.
We live in the time when it becomes very dangerous to believe in man's false doctrines instead of the true Word of God. The word rapture does not appear in the Bible, and Webster's dictionary defines the word as "a good feeling." Those who trust in their good feeling that God is going to wisk them away before the Great Tribulation, or in the middle of the Great Tribulation, or at the end of the Great Tribulation are going to be caught unprepared for the Great Tribulation. Maybe it would be good to look at a few facts, and ask ourselves some very important questions.
Since childhood we have all heard about Jesus' twelve disciples. Except for Peter, James, and John very little is said about the other nine apostles. We have always thought how wonderful it would have been to have lived in the time when Jesus walked the earth, to have heard Him speak, or even to have been one of His disciples. But what happened to these twelve apostles? Let's take a look at how they died.
The Apostle Peter, who was given the keys to the Kingdom, was crucified in Rome during Nero's reign in 67 A.D. Legend states he was crucified upside down.
Peter's brother Andrew was scourged and tied to a cross to prolong his suffering. Andrew died two days later on the last day of November, 69 A.D. in Patras.
By God's Word, we know James was murdered by King Agrippa I around 44 A.D. This was shortly before Herod's death recorded in Acts 12:1-2.
John the Beloved was the only Apostle who died a natural death. He was exiled to the Isle of Patmos. Patmos was a barren island with no trees, so John had no leaves to make a bed. His home was a cave with an uneven floor. Historians tell us when John was taken off the island he was crippled, having to be carried from meeting to meeting. John died around 100 A.D.
The Apostle Philip was stoned, then pierced through the thighs, and hung upside down in Heropolis at the age of 87.
The Apostle Barthalomew's life was not easy. He died in India when barbarians flayed him alive and then beheaded him in 68 A.D.
Thomas the Apostle was killed while on his knees praying. He was thrust through with a spear on December 21st, 63 A.D. in India.
Matthew was bound hand and foot, then covered with papyrus, and soaked in dolphin oil. His killers poured brimstone, asphalt, and pitch on him. They then heaped up wood and set it on fire. We are not sure of the date of Matthew's death, but he is believed to have died in Persia.
James the Less, the son of Alphaeus, was stoned by the Jews in Jerusalem. We do not know the date of his death.
The Apostle Jude, the half brother of Jesus, suffered martyrdom in 50 A.D. in Armenia. He was tied to a cross, then killed with a javelin or arrows.
Simon the Canaanite was crucified by the Romans at Caistor, Lincolnshire, May 10th, 61 A.D.
Judas Iscariot, we know by Scripture, hung himself after he betrayed Jesus, and then was thrown upon the plot of ground, where the Scriptures said he burst open. He was probably bloated when they found his body.
Matthias was the thirteenth Apostle, appointed to replace Judas. He was martyred in 64 A.D. at the hand of the Jews by either lance or ax.
There were other great men of the early church we also need to consider.
John Mark, who wrote the book of Mark, came to his death in 68 A.D. Mark was dragged through the streets of Baucalis, then thrown in jail. The next morning, he was dragged through the streets; again torn and bloody, he gave up the ghost.
Luke was crucified with Andrew at Patros.
Paul was beheaded in Rome around 60 A.D.
Stephen was stoned.
We need to ask ourselves, why were those who were closest to Jesus not spared terrible deaths? Were they lesser Christians than we are today? Does God think more of this generation, than He did of those who He chose to walk with Him and spread the gospel all over the earth?
What about the day in which we live? When Mao took over China, thousands of Christians were murdered. Watchman Nee was imprisoned for years before he died in prison. His writings were smuggled out of China, and have enriched many Christian's lives today. Why was not one of our Chinese brothers or sisters not raptured?
It is said of Edie Amin, when he took over Uganda, that he murdered thousands of Christians, loading them in trucks, and dumping them in the river. Their bodies were ground up in the generators, which stopped the generators until these bodies were removed. Why were these Christians not raptured?
What about our brothers and sisters rotting in Russian prisons, and in prisons in Romania? Why were they not raptured? Does God think more of us than He does them? If He does, then my Bible is wrong when it says God is no respecter of persons. Paul informed Timothy:
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." II Timothy 3:12
The rapture teaching is a direct contradiction to this fact. The Foxes Book of Martyrs is full of those who were not raptured, but suffered for their faith. All the early translators of the Bible suffered horrible deaths to give us the Bible in our own language.
Luke tells us:
"As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." Luke 17:26
Noah was not taken out of God's wrath. He was taken through it.
As we consider all those down through the ages who have suffered and have been killed for their convictions, it is unthinkable to believe God is going to rapture this lukewarm, half-committed, untaught, and untrained generation of Christians.
The author of this letter would suggest to all who receive this letter to show it to your pastor. If he is teaching the false rapture, and if he refuses to correct his false teaching, I would recommend you find a church that is teaching the truth.
No one who is led by the Spirit of God could even consider the rapture teaching. You may think this is a strong message and a strong warning. It is, and it was intended to be. We are coming to the end of the age, and God is looking for His overcomers who will inherit all things.
Those who believe the rapture teachers will never inherit until they come to the knowledge of the truth.
To those who want further proof of the falseness of the rapture teaching, order our book "Rapture! False Hope!"
As always in Christ,
George and Jeannie Kirkpatrick and the Harvest Team at New Foundations Ministries
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call us at 207 - 476 - 5248
New Foundations Ministries
110 High Street
Fort Fairfield ME 04742