The Dangers of Date Setting

By: Evangelist Donald Perkins

"In this study we will examine the Biblical perspective concerning the setting of dates. We will also look at some of the claims made and how Scriptures were pulled out of context to support these claims. The Word of God commands that we study to show ourselves approved that we may be able to rightly divide the Word of truth."

"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." Matthews 25:13,

The church has gone through another date-setting episode, the dates that were set have come and gone. History has proven throughout the course of time that those who claim to know when Christ would return to Rapture the Church, have all missed it, and the tragedy of it all is, that there will be others to follows.

In September of 1988, around the 11,12,13, Christ was supposed to Rapture the Chruch out of the world. The author of this theory was Mr. Edgar C. Whisenant, who wrote two books entitled "On Borrow Time and The Rapture 1988, and 88 Reasons Why?" In his books he graphically mapped the last days by dates. Since this episode in 1988 there have been at least 3 major date-setting, dates that have all come and gone, but Christ never came on the dates.

In 1994, another datesetting prophet came to prominence, his name is Harold Camping,

Mr Camping's predictions were based on a complicated mathematical formula that tied Christ's return to the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which ended on Sept.27th. He published a book entitled "1994?"

In this book he dated the Rapture of the chruch and many other things in prophecy.

Why? were these dates false? Because God said in His Word that no man, nor angel would know the actual date of Christ's return. This date is reserved only for God Himself, for any man to claim to know this date is to is to make himself equal with God.

The Word of God is clear on this subject of Date-setting. To set dates on the return of Christ is to err. Because of these recent events, the church has become a laughingstock and many Christian faith were shaken by it; some had their hopes raised to high levels, only to have them come crashing down to the truth. Many even quit their jobs, and still others closed their businesses.

Why have so many been shaken?

1.) Because they didn't take the time to search the Scriptures.
2.) Because they followed many church leaders and not the Word of God.
3.) Because they didn't question what was being taught by the Word of God.

In this study we will examine the Biblical perspective concerning the setting of dates. We will also look at some of the claims made and how Scriptures were pulled out of context to support these claims. The Word of God commands that we study to show ourselves approved that we may be able to rightly divide the Word of truth.

Many of the Scriptures that were used in the teachings of Mr. Edgar Whisenant were Scriptures that pointed to the Second Coming of Christ and not the Rapture. The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are two different events that will take place at two distinct times in the future. In a nut shell, the theory of Mr. Whisenant was that Christians could know the date of their Lord's return, but not the unsaved. He used Scriptures like the following:

"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." Amos 3:7,

"For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." 1 Thessalonians 5:2

The theory seemed to be a logical one but not totally sound doctrine. In his books he dated the Rapture of the church, the Battle of Armageddon, the 1,000 years reign of Christ, and the date of the beginning of eternity with the New Heavens and New Earth.

Although the Scriptures clearly places the occurrence of the these prophetic events in the near future, God had reserved the right to keep secret the dates on which they will occur. We can know that the end is close because Jesus gave us the signs of the last days (Matthew 24:3-51), but the actual dates of the events are not for us to know.

The Biblical Perspective on Date Setting

Now we will look at the soundness of the Scriptures and what they teach. There has always been a fascination in the hearts of God's children regarding when their Lord would return. For example, the disciples questioned Jesus concerning the time of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. He replied by saying:

"It is not for you to know the times or the season, which the Father hath put in His own power." (Acts 1:6,7)

The coming of Jesus is known only by God No man, no angel, nor Jesus Himself knows the time of His return. Note the following Scriptures:

1.) "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Matthew 24:36,

2.) "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." Matthew 24:42,

Here Jesus gives clear evidence that the Christian will not know the actual date of His return. So according the teaching of Christ, neither the Christian nor the sinner will know the date.

3.) "The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of." Matthew 24:50

4.) "Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not." Luke 12:40,

5.) "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh." Matthew 24:44,

6.) "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." Luke 21:34,

7.) "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." Mark 13:22,

8.) "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." Mark 13:33,

The Word of God, gives strong credence to the fact that the date of the return of Christ will not be known, nor will men be thinking of the actual day at the time of His return. This will be a day for prepared people, for those who want the be with Him. They know not the day of His return, but are ready for it whenever it comes.

The Scriptures narrow it down even more when Jesus used an analogy of a man taking a far journey, comparing Himself to this man.

"For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch."

"Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:"

"Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping."

"And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." Mark 13:34-37,

In this story, authority was given to the servants, and every man was left to his work. The porter was commanded to watch for his return. The message here implies that each servant and every man was to work until the master's return, for he might come in the evening, or at midnight, or maybe at dawn at the cockcrowing, or in the morning. They would not know the time of His coming, so their work had to be done. The warning was that He might come and find them sleeping and their business undone. Only those who had their work done would find peace. Here Jesus was stating that He would depart and leave the work of the ministry in the hands of His servants until His return. But when He would return He wanted to find us so doing His will. We are commanded to watch, but this does not mean that we should quit our jobs, or close our businesses, and go on a mountain top and look into the Heavens for His return. The watching here is referring to an attitude of heart, a heart that is ready to meet its Lord, that's been washed in the Blood of Jesus and has a full assurance of faith. A person with such a heart is doing the will of God. The Word of God speaks a blessing on the man that is found so doing at His Lord's return. (Matthew 24:46; & Luke 12:43,).

In Luke 19, verses 12 through 27, Jesus spoke a parable of a certain nobleman who went into a far country. He left ten servants with ten pounds and told them to occupy till he come. In this parable, Jesus was the nobleman who was going to journey to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. We are the servants with the ten pounds. We are commanded to occupy till He return. The word occupy here in the Greek is Pragmateuomai, which means, "To busy oneself with, to trade: occupy." We are to be about our Father's business. When Jesus returns to Rapture His Church, we are to be busy for the kingdom. Again, Jesus is coming back for His will.

Noah left us a good example, for God warned Noah of the coming flood and commanded him to build an ark. The Word of God declares, in Hebrews 11:7,

"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."

Here we see that after Noah was warned, he began to prepare the ark. Noah didn't know when God would send him into the ark, so he kept busy working. Noah had to be ready with the ark of God. Noah had respect and reverence for God's judgement; this is what kept Noah working on the ark all those years. Only eight souls were ready for that day. as it was in Noah's day, so shall it be at the time of Christ's return (Matthew 24:36-39).

"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, but may Father only."

"But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be."

"For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,"

"And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be." Matthew 24:36-3

When the flood came, it fell on those who were not ready. Those who were obedient to God's will were saved (1Peter 3:20). If Noah had been disobedient to the will of God, he and his family would have been judged with the rest.

A Word of Warning!

The Apostle Paul warned the Thessalonians, exhorting them not to be soon shaken by what they were hearing.

David Allen Lewis: In the section called "Predicting Christ's Return: The Dangers of Date Setting" From the book entitled: Shock Wave 2000!," Stated: Bang-Ik Ha and his misguided Korean followers spent vast sums of money in 1992, announcing to the world that Jesus would rapture the Church on October 28, exactly at midnight. Large advertisements appeared in USA Today and other publications, telling that Jesus would come during the Feast of Trumpets and their fyugo (rapture) to heaven would take place.

A South African newspaper carried a Reuters report telling of adverse reaction in Korea: "Parent groups demand that the government act quickly for fear of mass suicides across the country if the predictions prove wrong." A Mr. Lee was quoted; "in outrage and despair, these believers, especially the young ones feeling betrayed, are very likely to end their lives blaming themselves."

In an article by Associated Press, dated October 29th, 1992, titled "Believers go home grumbling as deadline for 'rapture' passes". This article brought to light the true Dangers of Date Setting.

"Seoul, South Korea - For months, thousands of believers proclaiming the "Rapture is coming!" stood on street corners and predicted the end of the world".

"Believers had quit jobs or school and sold everything to prepare to ascend to heaven late yesterday. But early today, 15 minutes after the midnight deadline passed, worshipers were told heaven could wait. "nothing has happened," said the Rev. Chang Man-ho of Seoul's largest doomsday church, the Mission for the Coming Days. "Sorry, let's go home. Let's go back to a normal life." "God lied to us," an angry congregant said as he left another church".

"There was an error. We don't know what kind of error, but there was one," one weeping woman said, clutching her 4-year-old daughter as she walked from one church".

"Some 2,500 believers filed out to the Mission for the Coming Days church in disappointment, walking under the big yellow chrysanthemum arch at the entrance, pass the loudspeakers that earlier blared hymns and "hallelujahs!" There was no immediate word on whether 10,000 to 20,000 other believers at 200 other churches across the country also had gone home calmly. But anger did surface in Taegu, where the Rev. Hwang Bo-Kwan was beaten by a man who said the church had kidnapped members of his family, the Yonhap national news agency said,"

"In this book, on the title page it reads, "The Lastest messages from our Lord Jesus Christ through Bang Ik Ha, A 16 year old Korean boy" "Rapture October 1992" This book was printed here in the United States, I guesss to reach the U.S. Christians. Their were very strong and bold statements made in this book.

Lest look at four statements made by Bang Ik Ha:

On page 11, he writes, 1.) "It is time to wake up, and realize that we must prepare the oil and lamp to greet our Lord. The wind that brings forth the tribulation has already started to blow. Because of the hard and difficult times we are living in, we must prepare moreover for this coming October".

2.) "The world's greatest blessing is participating in the glorious rapture which will occur in October 1992. The rapture and the tribulation which is te greatest tribulation that has been since the formation of any nation, is beyond our imagination and I know that I lack much knowledge I this great work of God. I also know that the Christian denominations talk of all this as being a pervert theory and also calling it a doctrine that has onlya limited time".

3.) "When this book is published, I know that many people and denominations will denounce this book and call this a false doctrine. On the other hand, there will still be many devout ministers who will come forth with many books and sermons that lead fellow Christians to the right path. I am not writing this book to book to be part of the crowd that fills bookstores with writings for their own honor and vanity. I don't have the ability, or the ealent to write a book of that nature".

4.) "I would like to emphasize once again that as this book's theme which is "Prepare for 1992," I also believe that my earthly life and ministry is prepared for and will end in 1992."


Judging from the statements made by the author, I believe he really believed that the Rapture was going to occur in October of 1992. This is why we must search the Scriptures for ourselves to see if what is taught is sound doctrine. We should judge everything we see and hear on the authority of the Word of God. When the whole thing failed on October 28, 1992, There were reports of a few suicides. It was truly a tragedy."

"Date setting is not new. From the time of the Early Church until now, there have been thousands of date-setting, date-suggesting, and date-hinting schemes. All wrong. Even now, there are books and pamphlets circulating proving that Jesus will come in every year from now until the year 2001."

" Date setting is a curse to the Bible Prophecy message and may prove to be more destructive to the soundness of it's teachings, than all external enemies put together."

Apostle Paul warns us again from the Scriptures:

"that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day Christ is at hand."

"Let no man deceive you by any means...

2 Thessalonians 2:2,3

Judging from these verses, those of Thessalonica had been troubled by the teaching that Christ has already come. Paul told them to let no man deceive them. This is my warning to you also. Try every spirit and study every doctrine. If it is truth, it will stand the test of God's Word.

Many have been hurt because of this. Many have lost crediblity in their ministry. Many have lost all hope; many hearts have become hardened to the truth. But a powerful lesson has been learned also, and it is this: we can never do contrary to the truth of God's word and be a success. Our safety is found in the Word of God and What it teaches.

In closing I want to say that the coming of our Lord is soon. by the signs of the times we know that it is at hand. But the date of His return is unknown to us, so we must stay always ready. He may break through the clouds today even as you read this article. My friend, it is a fact that He will return.

Lastest Update on Mr. Edgar C. Whisenant

Mr. Whisenant, the author of the Rapture '88 theory, has been quoted by Christianity Today magazine in a interview. Mr. Whisenant says his prediction of September 11,12,13, 1988, was just the "shout for the Bridegroom." This, he claims, was to prepare God's children for Christ's imminent return. He has also revised his predictions on his Rapture theory. He stated that the Rapture should occur approximately one year from his last prediction. This would have made the Rapture, occur in September of 1989. Today as I revise this article it is now December 1st, 1996. We need to pray for those who would claim to know the return of Jesus. This message has really hurt the Church, when men cry wolf to many times, people become harden or instinctive to the truth of the message being taught.


By: Evangelist Donald Perkins

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice if the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first."

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

13, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope."

14, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."

15, "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep."

16, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice if the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first."

17, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

The Rapture of the Church is the next major glorious event to take place in God's prophetic plan. In this book, we will look at this doctrine in depth. Today, there are many views on the subject. Many in the Church have taken a "let's wait and see" attitude because they have been confused by so many teachings.

In our approach to understand, we will examine:

A. The meaning of the word Rapture.

B. A verse-by-verse look at I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

C. Different views on the Rapture.

D. The difference between the Rapture and the Second coming of Christ

E. The results of the Rapture of the Church.

F. The promise and warning regarding the Rapture.

The meaning of the word Rapture

The word "Rapture" is borrowed from the Latin Vulgate Bible and appears in the English Bible as "caught up." "Caught up" in Greek is "harpazo", which means "to snatch or catch seize, pluck up, pull, take by force." The verb "harpazo" means "to seize upon or take to oneself," "to seize upon with force." It is also used generally as meaning to "forcibly seize upon or take to oneself." The English word also means "to transport to a state of happiness" which comes from a Latin word "rapio." Rapio means "to seize quickly or suddenly or to snatch away."

Webster's Dictionary defines Rapture as: (1) the state of being carried away with joy, love, etc. (2) a carrying away or being carried away in body or spirit.

As described in the definition, the Rapture will be the physical taking out of the saints by Jesus. He will seize upon His Church with force. We will be caught up to the joys of our Lord.

A verse-by-verse look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."

"...which are asleep..." The word "asleep" in Greek is "koimao." In the New Testament this always refers to the Body that is asleep and not to the soul. It means "to put to sleep, pass or reflex, to slumber, to decrease, be a fall, a fall on, sleep be dead."

The Apostle Paul was giving understanding to the Thessalonians about their dead loved ones. He wanted them to know that only their bodies were asleep or decease, but not their souls or spirits. So there was no need to be sorrowful. He went on to explain:

"...which have no hope..." In the latter part of this verse, Paul explained that the Church need not sorrow as the world does when it loses a loved one. The Church has a hope of seeing their dead loved ones again. This hope is locked in the resurrection of the Just. (Note John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15; Daniel 12:2.)

14, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."

The condition of those who are Raptured will be on the basis they believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The scripture teaches that those who believe are saved. (Romans 10:8-11.)

For those who have died in Jesus, their spirits and souls will, at the time of the Rapture, be brought with Him. Their spirits and souls will be reunited with their physical resurrected bodies and at that time their bodies will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible bodies. (I Corinthians 15:50-57.)

Paul went on to explain:

15, "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep."

"...we say unto you by the Word of the Lord..." The message of the Rapture was given to Apostle Paul by the Word of the Lord. This doctrine was a mystery for the Church from God. (I Corinthians 15:51.)

J. Dwight Pentcost sums up the mystery like this: "The Church and Israel are two distinct groups with whom God has a divine plan. The Church is a mystery unrevealed in the Old Testament. This present mystery age intervenes within the program of God for Israel because of Israel's rejection of the Messiah at His first advent. This mystery program must be completed before God can resume His program with Israel and bring it to completion..."

"...we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord..." Here we have another condition given to those who are alive at the time of the Rapture. Those who remain are those who are still remaining in Christ and have kept their faith. These will be caught up to meet Jesus. Our Lord is coming back for a prepared people; that is, only for those who are ready. Those who have back-slid will not be raptured. Those who are separated from sin will be raptured. Paul gave the warning in his letter to the Corinthians. (IICorinthians 6:14-18.)

17, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."

At the time of the Rapture, if you are separated from sin, Jesus will receive you unto Himself!

"...shall not prevent them which are asleep."

The word "prevent" in Greek means "to anticipate, to be before, or to precede."

Here the scripture gives reference to the fact that we which are alive shall not go up before those who have died in Christ before us, because the Word of God declares that "every man in his own order" after the death of Christ. (ICorinthians 15:23.)

23, "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."

Thus the dead in Christ will be raised first, every man in his own order. Then shall those who are alive be caught up and changed. But we all, both the dead and alive, shall meet Christ in the clouds together.

16, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first."

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven..." Our Lord Jesus Himself will come to receive us unto Himself. Here the scripture indicates that our Lord will physically come to get us. In the Gospel of John 14:1-3, our Lord stated in verse three:

3, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also."

Our Lord promised that He would come and receive us unto Himself. Many today teach that Jesus will never physically come again. But the scriptures prove differently. Our Lord will come again and receive His Church unto Himself.

The phrase "coming of the Lord" in verse 15, explains the beginning of verse 16, Jesus' descent is called His coming. The coming is translated: "parousia" which means "presence or arrival." Our Lord will physically be here to meet us.

"...with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel..." The shout, the announcement of victory for the Church. The voice of the Archangel to proclaim that Christ is here, as He promised to take those who are ready for His gathering. The voice of shout will be Michael, the Archangel. Archangel in Greek means:

Archaggelos- A chief angel - Archangel

Arch- To be first (in political rank or power): reign (rule) over

Aggelos- To bring tidings, a messenger:esp. an "Angel"

The chief angel of Heaven will announce the coming of our Lord for the Church.

"...with the trump of God..." The trump of God will sound. This blast will sound the alarm of the Rapture. This sound will get the attention of the world, living and dead. The trump of God at the Rapture has been confused with the trump of the seven trumpet judgment of God in Revelation 8;2, 6-13, 9:1-21 and 11:15. As a result, many would use these verses to claim that the Church will be raptured at the middle of the Great Tribulation Period. The scriptures are clear that these are two different trumpets sounding. The blowing of the trumpet in IThessalonians 4:13-18 is a trump of victory and the trumpet of Revelation 8:13 are trumpets of woe and judgement in the Tribulation.

"...and the dead in Christ shall rise first..." After the Archangel sounds the trump, the dead in Christ will be raised. Note: The emphasis is on the dead in Christ. At the Rapture those who have died in Christ will be risen first. The scripture declares "Blessed are the dead." (Revelation 14:13.)

13, "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, 'Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."

"...Then we which are alive and remain..." As stated earlier, a condition was given for those who are alive at the point of Rapture. The saints of God that hath continued with Him will be caught up; those who have overcome the world and the devil. Many that are not saved and are in a back-slid condition will not be raptured.

"...shall be caught up together with them in the clouds." Those that die in Jesus, and those that are alive and remain, shall be gathered together in the clouds. At this time we will be seized, caught up, taken by force to meet Jesus in the air.

"...And so shall we ever be with the Lord." Those that are raptured will forever be with the Lord. The door of Rapture will be the end of struggle for the righteous and they will be delivered from temptation and test from the devil.

"...Wherefore comfort one another with these words." The Doctrine of the Rapture is a message of comfort. The Apostle Paul commanded us to comfort one another with these words. The Rapture should be taught in every church to give the blessed hope and comfort of the soon return of Jesus for His Church.

Different views of the Rapture

There are many views being taught on the subject of the Rapture. The four different views addressed here are:

1. Post Tribulationist

2. Pre-wrath Tribulationist

3. Mid-Tribulationist

4. Pre-Tribulationist

Post Tribulationist view: Teaches that the Church will be raptured at the end of the Great Tribulation Period. They believe that at the Second Coming of Christ, the church will be caught up to meet Jesus and then simultaneously return with Christ.

Pre-wrath Tribulationist view: Teaches that the Church will be raptured at the middle of the last three and a half years of the Great Tribulation Period. This is the newest view on the scene.

Mid-Tribulationist view: Teaches that the Church will be raptured in the middle of the Great Tribulation Period.

Pre-Tribulationist view: Teaches that the Church will be raptured before the Tribulation Period. This view, I believe, stands the test of the scriptures for many reasons:

The Church has not been called to the wrath of God. The scriptures teach that the events of the Great Tribulation Period is the wrath of God. (Revelation 6:16, 17; 15:7, 8.) Christ hath delivered us from the wrath to come. (IThessalonians 1:10; Romans 5:9; John 3:36; Luke 21:36.) The Church will not go through the Great Tribulation Period.

The difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ

I believe the reason there are so many views on the Rapture is because many Bible students don't know the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. These are two separate and distinct comings of our Lord. At the Rapture of the Church, Christ will not touch the earth, but will be met in the air by the saints. (IThess. 4:17.) At the Second Coming, He will touch the earth at His coming. (Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:11.) At the Rapture, He will come as a deliverer of the Church in joyous splendor. In the Second Coming, He will come back to deliver Israel physically and fight against the anti-christ and his fouls. (Rev. 19:11-21.)


I Thessalonians 4:17: "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

Second Coming-

Zechariah 14:4: "And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and the half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south."

Acts 1:11: "Which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

The results of the Rapture of the Church

The Rapture of the Church will accomplish many things in the plan of God.

1. It will take the Church out of the world before the Great Tribulation Period begins. (IThessalonians 4:13-16; 1:10.)

2. The Rapture will cause the resurrection of the righteous dead and the catching up of the living saints to life immortal. (IThessalonians 4:15, 17; John 5:28, 29; Daniel 12:2; ICorinthians 15:50-57.)

3. The Rapture of the Church will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation because after the Church is taken out, the anti-christ will come on the scene. (Revelation 6:1, 2.)

4. The Church will be taken so the Lord can finish His prophetic dealing with the nation of Israel. (Daniel 9:26,27.)

5. The message of the rapture produces comfort and gives a strong foundation of hope to the saints. (IThessalonians 4:18.)

The promise and warning regarding the Rapture

From our study, we know that the Lord has promised to come for the Church. Jesus said that He would receive us unto Himself, and where He is we would be with Him. (John 14:1-4.)

3, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

Just as our Lord gave the promise, He also gave warnings regarding the Rapture. Those who will be raptured will be those who are saved and washed in the Blood of Christ. The Church has to be separate from the world. Those who are, Jesus will receive them. (IICorinthians 6:14-18.)

17, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you."

Jesus gave a warning to the Church as a whole when he sent the seven letters to the Churches. In one of his letters, he warned the Church called Thyatira by telling them to repent from their sins. If not, they would be cast into the Great Tribulation Period. Those who are cast will not be raptured. (Revelation 2:18-23.)

22, "Behold I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into Great Tribulation except they repent of their deeds."

Christians have an obligation to warn back-slidden Christians and sinners that Jesus is coming back to take our glorious Church. (Ephesians 5:26, 27.)

27, "That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such things; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

The Reality Of Hell

By: Evangelist Donald Perkins

"The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all nations that forget God." (Psalm 9:17)

Hell, is it a real place? Will the wicked really go there? Will there be fire in Hell? Do you know what the Word of God has to say about this place? Hell is our topic of discussion.

The teaching of Hell in the local church is a forgotten doctrine. It either watered down or not taught at all. Hell is not a popular message for any preacher who wants fame or notoriety. But this message must be taught, and taught with clarity. This study is designed to help Christians and non-Christians to better understand the eternal judgment of God.

Today, there are many views on the subject. Some teach that Hell is a state of mind and others teach that Hell is not a real place at all. Some would go further and say that our loving God, who created all things, would never make such a place. But as you study this teaching of Hell, you will have a deeper understanding about this place of eternal judgment.

My prayer to God is that the reader will gain a true burden for souls and in each heart a strong love and compassion will ignite for the lost souls. To the preacher that studies this material, I pray that this will not just be information to brow beat those who would hear this message, but that a reality of Hell would be birthed in the preacher's heart to deliver this message in fear and trembling, having care and concern for the lost.

Dwight Moody once wrote:

"When we preach on Hell," he says, "we might at least do it with tears in our eyes."

Pastor Mark Rutland wrote:

"None should be allowed to shout about Hell who hasn't whispered in terror, 'God save me!' "

"None should be allowed to mention Hell to the lost without tender, desperate concern in every word. And none should be allowed to preach a sermon on Hell unless it ends with an invitation to choose heaven."

The Reality of Hell

What is this place called Hell?

Hell is a place of torment, sorrow and loneliness for those who would choose to rebel against God. Hell is place where the wicked will go. Hell is a place of literal pain and agony, a place of endless suffering from a burning fire. Hell is the place of eternal judgment on those who reject God!

Note the Websters New World Dictionary definition of Hell:

1.) In the Bible, the place where the Spirits of the dead are.

2.) The place where fallen angels, devils, etc. reside

3.) To which sinners and unbelievers go after death for torment and eternal judgement;"

The Zondervan Pictorial Dictionary gives its meaning of Hell:

"1.) The existence of Hell is irrefutably taught in scripture as both a place of the wicked dead and a condition of retribution for unredeemed man.

2.) The word carries the connotation of doom, hopelessness and futility.

3.) ... it may be translated, its meaning is clear, it represents the place of future retribution. The abode of the wicked, a place of punishment.

4.) Hell is, therefore, both a condition of retribution and a place in which the retribution occurs. In both these aspects, the three basic ideas associated with the concept of Hell are reflected: A.) Absence of righteousness, B.) Separation from God, C.) Judgment."

Throughout our study of Hell, we will examine:

1.) Who created Hell?

2.) Luke 16:19-31, the Rich man and Lazarus.

3.) Who goes to Hell?.

4.) The Five Compartments of Hell.

5.) The Spirit, Soul, and Body in Hell.

6.) The Scriptural mandate of Hell

Who created Hell?

Many today have a false idea about Hell. Some think that Satan created Hell and has control over it. But in fact, Satan did not create one flame in Hell. Hell was created by God. That's right, Hell is a creation of God! Are you surprised? Don't be. The Word of God declared that this place was prepared for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Many think that Satan will be down in Hell with a red suit and pitch fork in hand. Not so. In Hell Satan suffer face the judgment of God.

"And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever."(Revelation 20:10, Isaiah 14:9-19).

God created Hell to destroy the rebellion of Satan and to put an end to sin. In the beginning, Hell was not created for man, but when man first sinned in the Garden of Eden, God had to accommodate man's fall. Hell was created to rid God's creation, (meaning God's heavens and the perfect earth,) of sin.

Hell is the eternal home of all sin and rebellion. Is Hell a place of pain? Today, it is taught that Hell is not a place of actual suffering. The reasoning behind this is that many do not want to believe that the God of love in which we serve would ever make a place of suffering such as this. But we will see that Hell is a place of sorrow, weeping, torture and torment. There are many who teach that when a person dies, without Christ, he goes to the grave and that's it. But not so. Those who die without Christ will face the wrath of God in the pains of Hell.

Luke 16:19-31, The Rich man and Lazarus

This Scripture records the account of a certain rich man and a poor beggar named Lazarus. In the account, Lazarus died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's Bosom. The rich man died also and was buried. In verse 23, the rich man lifted up his eyes in Hell, being in torment.

The word torment means: 1.) Extreme pain or anguish of body or mind 2.) A source of vexation or pain.

In verse 24, the rich man stated that he was tormented in the flames. The flames of Hell are very real. Let me make it clear that the rich man was not in Hell because he was rich, but because he did not repent. He wanted his five brothers to know about the pains of Hell, in the hope of causing them to repent.

There are some who would call this account a parable, thus trying to explain the suffering of the rich man in more symbolic terms. But I submit to you that in this account, Jesus, used real people not ficticious ones. He spoke of father Abraham, Moses and the Prophets, none of these men are ficticious. This is not a parable. This is a real account of a man in Hell!

Here are other Scriptures that declare the truth about the pains of Hell.

* Revelation 14:10, 11 "...and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone..."

* Matthew 13:42, 50 "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

* Mark 9:44, 46-48 "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

* Revelation 19:20 "These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."

* Isaiah 66: 21-24 "...for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."

* II Peter 2:9 "...and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"

*Revelation 2:11 "...He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."

The second death is the Lake of Fire, the place of everlasting hurt and pain. (Revelation 20:14-15, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43).

I received an article, entitled "When Hell Burns Out." In this article, it was stated that when the fires of Hell have finished their destruction, Hell will burn out. The article also stated that sinners will not be eternally punished by the flames of Hell.

My friend, Hell, is not a comforting message. For so long, we have watered down this message. When our Lord preached Hell, He preached the agony and horror of this place.

Hell is so horrible, that it caused Jesus to leave Heaven and come down to earth to die for us, so that we could miss such a place. Hell's judgments will never burn out! Such watered down teaching takes away the desired result that God wants this message to have. Hell is an eternal place, and the flames of Hell are eternal also. Here's proof:

* Mark 9: 43-48 "...and the fire is not quenched."

* Matthew 18:8 " be cast into everlasting fire."

* Matthew 25:41 "...Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels"

* Matthew 25:46 "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment..."

* Revelation 20:10 "...and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever."

* Revelation 14:10, 11 "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night."

* Isaiah 66:24 "...neither shall their fire be quenched;"

* II Thessalonians 1:7-10 "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord,..."

Man in his wisdom and reasoning tries to explain away the judgment of God. But, if God can cause a bush to burn and not be consumed like he did in Exodus?, and God can place a sun in space to give us light and warmth, surely He has the power to keep Hell burning for eternity, and cause those who rebel to burn forever.

Who goes to Hell?

The Word of God gives us the answer to this question in such detail that there should be no doubt as to who goes to Hell.

* The wicked (Psalm 9:17).

* The harlot or prostitute (Proverbs 7:5-27, 9:13-18, 2:18).

* Those with a lack of knowledge (Isaiah 5:13, 14).

* Those that have transgressed against God (Isaiah 66:24)

* The fearful, unbelieving, abominable, idolaters, murderers, sorcerers and all liars (Revelation 21:8).

There are many more that the Word of God reveals. If you find yourself listed in one of these categories, repent today and give your life to Jesus Christ.

The Five Compartments of Hell

The word of God speaks of five different compartments of Hell. Knowing these compartments will help us to understand more about Hell and rightly divide the Scriptures on this subject. Many people have taken Scriptures out of their context and have created a false doctrine on the subject of Hell.

What are the five compartments of Hell?

1.) Tartarus

2.) Abraham's Bosom (The Paradise of old)

3.) Hades or Sheol

4.) The Abyss (Bottomless Pit)

5.) The Lake of Fire (Gehenna)


Tartarus is the Greek form of the word Hell. It is the compartment where fallen angels are kept, reserved in chains of darkness until they are judged by God and cast into the final Hell, the Lake of Fire (II Peter 2:4, Jude 1:6).

"For if God spared not the angles that sinned, but cast them down to Hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;"(II Peter 2:4)

Abraham's Bosom

Abraham's Bosom is the place referred to as the Paradise of old. It was the compartment where all the righteous dead of the Old Testament were kept. There was no torment or suffering in Abraham's Bosom. It was simply a place of holding until the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus paid the price by shedding His blood. At the resurrection of Jesus, Abraham's Bosom was emptied and removed from the heart of the earth and is now located in heaven. All the captives were set free and resurrected (Matthew 27:51-53). The account of Abraham's Bosom is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 16 verses 19-31.

"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angles into Abraham's Bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried."(Luke 16:22, 23, 25).

"And in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

(Luke 16:23).

"But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented."

(Luke 16:25).

Hades or Sheol

This is the place for the wicked after death. When the sinner dies, his spirit and soul go immediately to this place of torment.

The term Hades is the Greek form of the word Hell. The definition of the word Hades is as follows: the place (or state) of departed souls; the grave; Hell.

Because the word grave is mentioned in the definition of Hades, it is said by some that Hell is the common grave; and from this, the doctrine of soul sleep is derived. My friend, Hades is more than the common grave. The rich man of Luke chapter 16 was in Hades and his soul was not asleep; it was in much turmoil.

The term Sheol is the Hebrew word for Hell. In the Hebrew language the word Sheol is defined as: Hades or the world of the dead (as is a subterranean retreat). It's accessories and inmates: grave, Hell, pit.

Hades or Sheol are the Greek and Hebrew terms for the word "Hell." Don't let those who try to impress you with theological terms throw you off track and teach you that Hell is just the common grave. Note some Scriptures where they are used:

1.) Hades - Luke 16:23; Revelation 20:13.

2.) Sheol - Isaiah 14:9; Psalm 9:17.

The Abyss

This place is also known by the name "The Bottomless Pit." This compartment of Hell is where Satan will be bound for 1,000 years during the reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:1-7). Also during the time of the Great Tribulation period, it will be where the locust-like scorpion creatures will come and torment mankind for five months, (Revelation 9:1-11). The Abyss will not be the eternal home of Satan. He will be loosed from this prison to be judged, then cast into the eternal Hell, the Lake of Fire forever, (Revelation 20:10).

The Lake of Fire

The Lake of Fire is the eternal home of all sin and rebellion. Another name for this place is called "Gehenna." At the close of the White Throne Judgment of God, this will be the home of the wicked (Revelation 20:11-15). The Lake of Fire will be the home of those who rebelled against God. There fallen man will be, for all eternity, to suffer the pains of an eternal Hell.

Satan will be there for all eternity to suffer also. According to the Scripture, Satan will be tormented day and night forever and ever, having no rest. Also, Hades and Sheol will be cast into the eternal Hell. Those who inhabit Hades and Sheol will be resurrected to face God's Judgement, then cast into the Lake of Fire. In the very end of God's judgements, the wicked, Satan, fallen angels and sin will have their home in the Lake of Fire.

The Spirit, Soul, and Body in Hell

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, exhorted his brethren and prayed that God would sanctify them wholly and that their spirit, soul and body would be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (I Thessalonians 5:23).

Paul's prayer was that the total man be saved. Many think that once you die, that's it, but not so. Some even think that their physical body will not feel the fires of Hell. The truth of the matter is that, when men are cast into the eternal Hell (the Lake of Fire) they will be cast as a total, complete and physical man. When an unrighteous man dies, his spirit and soul are separated from his body. His body goes back to the dust of the earth, and his spirit and soul go to Hades and Sheol to be tormented there until the White Throne Judgment of God. Many think that the body will stay forever in the dust (grave) of the earth. The Word of God declares that those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and contempt (Daniel 12:2).

Another account states that those that are in the graves shall hear God's voice, those that have done good and those that have done evil. The righteous awake to everlasting life, and the wicked awake to everlasting damnation (John 5:28, 29). There is coming a time when the lost will be physically resurrected to face God. In the eternal Hell, man will be in his physical, resurrected body to face the pains of Hell. Paul's prayer was that you be preserved blameless spirit, soul and body. Men that die without Jesus will be judged spirit, soul and body. The reason for this total judgment of man is because on earth man sinned in his total body. God will judge the total man. Many try to reason and figure in their mind how the physical body of a man can stand the eternal flames of Hell and not die or be destroyed?'

The Word of God speaks of the judgment of the last enemy called death (I Corinthians 15:26). The Spirit of death will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14). When death is cast into the Lake of Fire, the power of death will be broken. Death will no longer be able to touch man after his resurrection, man will never die again; and since death only affects the body, man will live in the eternal flames of Hell in his physical body forever. Just think of in his body will burn forever.

Have you ever been burned before? Think of that being multiplied many, many times all over your entire body forever. Please give your life to Jesus today. Hell will not be a house party, as some would like to beleive. Hell, my friend, is a serious place of eternal judgment for all that are lost. Note other Scriptures that declare the resurrection of the dead: Isaiah 26:19; Hosea 13:14; Acts 24:15.

The Scriptural Mandate on Hell

Throughout our study of Hell, we have given you what the Word of God teaches on the subject. I hope now that you can see the reality of this place of judgment on sin. We have not shunned to give you the whole counsel of God. Now let's go back to see the scriptural mandate given in this study. 1.) We learned that Hell will be a place of pain and sorrow for the lost, (Luke 16:19-31).

2.) We learned that Hell was created by God and not the devil, (Matthew 25:41).

3.) We noted that the flames of Hell are forever and will never burn out, (Mark 9:43-48; Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 12:8).

4.) We saw those who are candidates for this place, (Psalm 9:17; Proverbs 7:5-25; Revelation 21:8).

5.) We learned about the five compartments of Hell: (1) Tartarus (2) Abraham's Bosom (3) Hades or Sheol (4) The Abyss (5) The Lake of Fire.

6.) We learned that the sinner's complete body will be in Hell's fire, never to die or to be physically destroyed, (after his resurrection and judgment at God's White Throne.) (Revelation 20:11-15; John 5:28, 29).

In closing, I know that this message is not a pleasant or an uplifting one, but it is one that is needed today in the Body of Christ and in the world. The Word of God is straightforward in its doctrine on Hell. It is people who watered it down. We need to know the reality of God's judgement on sin. For so long, we have been deceived with false teachings that try to convince us that this is not a horrible place. Let's preach the truth that men and women can miss such a place. Beware, my friends. Don't forget the reality of Hell!