Ten years ago, over 90% of mainstream Christians believed what a myriad of preachers and evangelicals were teaching at that time, that they would be caught up to Heaven to avoid tribulation. With the advent of the Internet (where a positive and dedicated exchange of Bible data and other research has been ongoing by devoted Berean types) many Born Again believers are starting to question that doctrine and are sensing that something is alarmingly awry with that notion.
Due to much self-study and genuine "iron sharpening iron" discussions on the rise, many Christians are beginning to believe they have been mislead by proponents of the Rapture doctrine; but they feel helpless in countering those theories, especially in debating with many who profess varying polemics of the Rapture doctrine, which includes the Pre, Mid, Post and most recently the Pre-Wrath doctrine. The main reason for this confusion is that students of the "Rapture to Heaven" phenomenon have been so inundated by the incessant pounding of Dispensational Premillennialism that while they conduct their own independent studies, they automatically and instinctively incorporate much of the bedrock tenants of that doctrine, such as the heavenly minded traditions they have been taught since they were babies.
This theory has been at the crux of a heated debate among the church since 1917 (and maybe even longer than that, according to some proponents of this doctrine), around the same time that a preacher named Cyrus Ingersol Scofield published his "New Scofield Bible" which has become the preferred version of evangelical seminaries (primarily) in the United States for the last 100 years.
The seeds to this doctrine were actually planted in the mid-1800's by a former priest from the Anglican church of Ireland by the name of John Nelson Darby. His doctrine was shared with many American evangelicals, especially those who already believed in the Premillennial doctrine which claims that Jesus Christ would eventually return to set up His personal Kingdom on earth. According to renown theologian, Dr. Timothy P.Weber, President of Memphis Theological Seminary and the author of On The Road To Armageddon, Darby "developed a new variety of futurist premillennialism. He called it dispensationalism, after the division of history into dispensations or eras."
"These periods are marked off in Scripture by some change in God's method of dealing with mankind, in respect to two questions: of sin, and of man's responsibility," explains Weber. "Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment—marking his utter failure in every dispensation, states Weber."
Weber added that "Dispensationalists quibbled over the number and names of the dispensations, but most American dispensationalists followed Scofield's seven-fold scheme: Innocency (before the Fall), Conscience (Fall to the Flood), Human Government, Promise (Abraham to Moses), Law (Moses to Christ), Grace (the church age), and Kingdom (the millennium).
In 1878 Fundamentalists sign the "Niagara Creed," which includes premillennial teachings.
There was nothing especially radical about dividing history into periods. What separated dispensationalists from everybody else was their novel method of biblical interpretation. Everything in the dispensationalist system seemed to rest on the conviction that God had two completely different plans operating in history: one for an earthly people, Israel, and the other for a heavenly people, the church."
To Darby, he believed the plan for God's earthly people had been revealed through a series of covenants with Israel: the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, the law-oriented Mosaic Covenant, the royal Davidic Covenant, and a new Messianic Covenant. Until Messiah's coming, however, God's earthly people must suffer Gentile domination, prophesied by Daniel. This Gentile hegemony would end at the coming of Messiah, 70 weeks after one of the Gentile rulers issues a decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to repair its broken walls. But when the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, God suspended the prophetic timetable at the end of Daniel's sixty-ninth week and began building a new and heavenly people—the church.
For example, if it can be proven that there is no such thing in the Bible that there will be a seven year period of tribulation, there obviously could be no Pre, Mid, Post nor Pre-wrath notions. Those who cling to or adopt one of these four positions in essence are saying that the timing of Jesus' catching His church to Heaven is based on there being a specific seven-year period of great tribulation in the future before the advent of Christ to rule and rein on earth for 1000 years. Basically, if there is no specific seven-year time of tribulation, how can there be any pre, mid, post or pre-wrath doctrines? Whichever position one takes between these four notions, they are all based on their belief of various theories that there will be a specific, seven-year time frame they call "The Great Tribulation."
Obviously we cannot present the totality of our research that biblically proves there will be no seven-year period of tribulation, but we have explained it in the prologue to our book, The End Times Passover, by presenting the various Rapture to Heaven positions, as well as providing Bible evidence that the period that theorists call "The Great Tribulation" is based primarily on several unproven theories (such as A Prophecy of Seventy Weeks), which have been debunked by many other Bible scholars.
We believe the information in the prologue (as well as the exhaustive research included in The End Times Passover) will provide the student with sufficient information to counter any notions put forth by Rapture devotees. It took over 20 years of intense Bible study and research to glean this information. It does not provide new information nor new interpretations that are not already contained in the Bible. But it does provide greater and more in depth studies and examinations of key words in the Bible that have been misinterpreted in the past by students and teachers alike.
Lastly, life is tough right now, and it's getting worse each passing day. Getting to Heaven as soon as we can (to avoid the looming persecution) is probably the foremost thought in the Christian's mind. We can't blame them! We are all experiencing Hell on Earth like never before in the history of mankind!
However, as we also prove in our book, the believer's destiny is really not heaven. We are not waiting for the Lord to takes us out of this world, we are waiting for Him to come and set things straight! Yes! Just as Anglican Bishop and top-selling author, N.T. Wright, has written in his profound book, he biblically proves that Heaven is not the destination for Christians: Surprised By Hope, Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church.
What did Jesus tell us about the meek inheriting the earth? Did He not also tell us what should be our most important prayer, and how we should pray what He told us in Matthew 6:9, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven?"