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Is There a Secret Rapture?

This question has been confusing many theologians and others in Christendom; thousands around the world are in belief of a secret rapture. According to this view, the coming of Jesus will be in two separate events. First, He will come secretly to take His church to heaven, which is before or during the seven year tribulation period, during which the Antichrist is to reign over the Earth. Secondly, after the tribulation, Christ comes in an open demonstration of power and glory with His church. But nowhere in the bible can we support this teaching of the secret rapture. What does the bible reveal to us about this secret?

How is this doctrine being circulated now?
It has been taught in movies, shows, tracts and many other places, but is now gaining more popularity through a recent series and movie called “Left Behind.”

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Plot description:
“Based on dispensationalist interpretation of prophecies in the Biblical books of Revelation, Daniel, Isaiah and Ezekiel, Left Behind tells the story of the end times (set in the contemporary era), in which true believers in Christ have been “raptured”, (taken instantly to heaven) leaving the world shattered and chaotic. As people scramble for answers, a relatively unknown Romanian politician named Nicolae Jetty Carpathia rises to become secretary-general of the United Nations, promising to restore peace and stability to all nations. What most of the world does not realize is that Carpathia is actually the Antichrist foretold of in the Bible. Coming to grips with the truth and becoming born-again Christians, airline pilot Rayford Steele, his daughter Chloe, their pastor Bruce Barnes, and young journalist Cameron “Buck” Williams begin their quest as the Tribulation Force to help save the lost and prepare for the coming Tribulation, in which God will rain down judgment on the world for seven years.”1

Continue to Study, as we take a look at the bible truth to this topic!

Will Christ come to take the church first, then return 7 years later to earth?
“But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:29-30

How then is this parable explained?
“The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39  The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” Matthew 13:38-39

Answer: We see here the tares are the unrighteous, the wheat are the righteous or God’s people and the harvest is the end of the world. There is no separation of the church spoken of until the end of the world, which tells us that to believe Christ is coming for his church 7 years before the world ends is an error.

When will the righteous dead be resurrected?
“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

Answer: We can now all agree, that the righteous will be raised or resurrected at the last day of the world.

When would Christ come for his church or his saints?
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of 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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Answer: We notice here, at the same time Christ is coming for the dead in Christ or righteous dead, he is coming for his people who are alive as well. Remember the righteous dead is raised in the last day of the world, or at the end of the world, which means Christ’s church, which is alive, will also be raised the same time, and not 7 years before the world ends. This is why Paul said, “so shall we ever be with the Lord”.

How is Christ coming described in the Bible?
Visible to everyone, and not secretive- Matthew 24:27, Revelation 1:7
Audible, Loud that we may all hear- 1 Corinthians 15:52, Psalm 50:3
Coming with clouds-  Matthew 13:37, Revelation 1:7
Christ Gathers his saints at his coming- Matthew 24:31

second coming

What text is often quoted to support the theory of the secret rapture?
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Matthew 24:40-41

What is the full context of this verse, that we may understand its meaning?
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38  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, 39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Matthew 24:37-41

Answer: As we read the context, it unlocks to us the true meaning of this scripture. A Parallel is drawn between Noah’s day and the second coming.  In the days of Noah, those taken, were taken into the ark of safety and those left, were destroyed by the flood which brought about their death.

What will happen to those that are “left” ?
“Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 37  And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” Luke 17:36-37
Answer: The disciples asked where will the others be left, and Christ answered them; “where so ever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered”.

What does this text imply?
“For wheresoever the carcase (dead body) is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” Matthew 24:28

Answer: Those who are left will be dead at the coming of Christ or destroyed by his brightness, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, and the righteous will be taken to safety.

But, wouldn’t Christ come like a thief in the night?
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10

Answer: The Answer is yes! But wait; we have to understand what the bible means when it says He comes as a “thief” in the night. How can this be taken to mean “in secret” when it says “the heavens will pass away with a great noise”? Also we see here, this disproves the theory of the rapture which says He will come 7 years before the world ends, because when He comes like a thief in the night, afterwards, the heavens will pass away which means His coming will bring about the end of the world.

Why then did the bible say, Christ will come like a thief?
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” Matthew 24:42-43

Answer: We see that the day of Christ’s coming will be as a thief to those who are not watchful, it will be sudden or unexpected to them.

Why is Christ coming unexpected to some?
“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

Many use revelation 3:10 to prove the righteous will be taken out of the world before tribulation:
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10

How then is this reconciled?
“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  John 17:6,15

Answer: Notice the similar language from verse 6, where it says “they have kept my word”, referring to the same group of people in revelation, then verse 15 reveals to us our answer. Keep us from the hour of temptation, is not taking God’s people out of the world, but keeping us from evil. Simple, and plain!

What else is inconsistent with the rapture theory?
It is taught that the Antichrist will not appear until after the saints are caught away, seven years before the end of the world.

Is this what the bible teaches?
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2  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 of Christ is at hand. 3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition [Antichrist]; 4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. ” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

Answer: With all our preconceived ideas or theories laid aside, we can all agree the Antichrist will be revealed before Christ comes. The Antichrist is described as one who exalts himself, that is worshiped and showing himself that he is God.

See study, “Who is the first Beast of Revelation 13?” for more information on the Antichrist.

Lastly, the rapture theory states, “We will have second chances after the rapture, during the tribulation.”; what does the bible say?
As we have learnt thus far, first, there is no secret rapture to begin with, this is totally unbiblical, and when Christ comes again, our decisions would have already been sealed, there are no chances after Christ returns.

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:11-12

Answer: Our choice to be filthy (sinful) or righteous (sinless), will be determined and sealed  prior to Christ coming. There is a Hymn which goes, ” How shall we stand in that great day? Shall we be found before him wanting? Or with our sins all washed away?” The choices we make now, until the judgment, will determine our destiny when Christ comes. What choices are we making today?

What happens to the unjust, or filthy at Christ second coming?
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” 2 Thessalonians 2:8

The wicked are not given a second chance, but they shall be destroyed by the coming of Christ, for their decisions have already been sealed. The bible tells us, “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart” Hebrews 3:15 We have seen through the bible the truth concerning this topic; nowhere does the bible support the rapture, for this teaching is a distraction to the people of God. In this day and age, what is most important is ensuring our lives are in order, that we may be able to stand when Christ comes the second time. Will you surrender your life to Jesus today?

End Notes:
1 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Behind>

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