I am tempted to adhere to the adage, “If you cannot say something nice, do not say anything at all,” but that wouldn’t make for much of a blog, now would it? What I will do, however, is say a nice thing or two about the film Final: The Rapture before getting to the real critique of the movie. For starters, I’m convinced those who star in the film are sincere and well meaning. And I am sure that all people involved in this film project believe the message they are promoting. As well, I understand the purpose of the film is to win people to Jesus Christ. All good and well.
But there are some objections I have to this film, beginning with the disjointed scenes. The movie purports to follow the lives of four individuals and how each handle the apocalyptic event at the end of the world known as the Rapture.
For those who are not familiar with Christian Dispensational Theology, the Rapture is believed to be the time when Christians suddenly disappear, perhaps by the millions, in a single day, and in a brief moment of time. Planes crash because pilots are suddenly raptured, or caught up in the air, and disappear, to heaven. Cars crash as drivers disappear causing massive disruption in transportation. Panic and fear sets in as loved ones are gone forever. Multitudes from every walk of life, rich and poor, young and old, intellectuals and the uneducated have been raptured because of their faith in Jesus Christ. It is, no doubt, a sensational concept.
The Orlando Sentinel calls this film a “Christian horror film.” The movie does try to scare the audience. Conceptionally, I am not opposed to such an approach. I would rather try to scare someone into heaven than to laugh a person into hell. But that’s another conversation altogether.
With that being said, let it be known that the movie is hard to follow. The storyline tries to trace the lives of four individuals who are left behind at the Rapture. That is not easy to do because first one character, and then another, experiences a flashback, each one time and again, causing great confusion as to the person and the time under consideration.
If that is not frustrating enough, a large portion of the dialogue is printed on the screen. Unless the audience knows English, Spanish, and Japanese, having to read the dialogue will take the eyes away from the action. Reading most of a movie’s script is not the best way to enjoy a film, in my opinion.
I will spare making a lot of comments about the acting in the film other than to say that much of it, ahem, most of it, from start to finish, by any objective standard, is, well, silly and immature. The acting is painful to watch.
But my greatest objection to the movie is that it is essentially unbiblical. It is a movie that should never have been made because it is presenting a theory as the true Word of God. It is not.
The theory of the Rapture of millions of people, leaving the rest of humanity to endure seven years of great tribulation under the rule and reign of an anti-Christ, is simply not part of the historic Christian faith. The concept of the Rapture is not found in any of the Creeds of Christendom. It was never discussed in any Church Council. The Rapture is not part of any historic Confessions of Faith—any of them!
Until around 1830, the world had never heard of the Rapture and for good reason. There is not a single text in the Bible that plainly teaches the Rapture of the Church, let alone a seven year tribulation period. In the movie, several passages from the Bible are alluded to, but the audience is never allowed to read any text from Scripture. For those who are familiar with Dispensational Teaching and methodology this is not surprising.
When the Bible is opened, when the historic faith of the Christian church is faithfully taught, it can immediately be seen that the Bible teaches that Jesus will come again to earth the second time for all who believe.
Hebrews 9:28, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
The Rapture theory injects a third coming of Christ into church dogma.
1st 2nd 3rd
The First Advent (Virgin Birth) + Rapture + Second Advent = Three comings of Christ.
There is something else. The Bible teaches that Christ will return in the same manner in which He went away. After His resurrection Jesus met with His disciples. The disciples had a question for Jesus which He answered and then began His ascension into heaven. The story is told in Acts 1.
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 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.”
As the Rapture theory is presented, as the movie portrays this unbiblical and unhistorical teaching, Jesus does not return slowly and visibly to earth in the same manner as He went away. Rather, Jesus comes suddenly and disappears with millions in the blink of an eye. In contrast, the Bible says, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:7).
In the movie, people are given a second chance to repent and believe in Christ and be saved. That is not a biblical concept. When Jesus Comes the second time for all who believe the lost will be confirmed in their unbelief. The Bible teaches that now is the time to repent and trust Christ as Savior. “For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2, NIV).
Let the truth of God’s Word go forth: today is the day of salvation. There will be no second chance. “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion’” (Heb. 3:12-15, NIV).
When Jesus comes individuals who have rejected Him will be confirmed in their sin. There will be no second chance to repent and be saved as the movie teaches. In contrast to the movie, in contrast to The System known as Dispensationalism, read the Scriptures, and tremble if you are an unbeliever.
“Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.’ 12 ‘Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.’ 17 The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” (Rev. 22:11, NIV).
My heart goes out to those who make Christian movies because it is right and proper that believers be involved in all the arts and sciences. But what is portrayed on film must be biblical or, in the end more harm will be done than good. Teaching individuals that they will have a second chance to be saved is one great harm that this movie, and the Rapture theory, perpetuates. May God forgive all who are doing this in ignorance.
I would love to see a movie produced about the true Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but only as it is taught in Scripture. That would be a movie worth supporting by all Christians.