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Secret Rapture

Updated: May 27

I have always listened to people when they speak about their beliefs, even if I disagree. I will then, go and search it out for myself to see if there is truth found in scripture or if the idea is absent from scripture. I have learned a lot over the years by doing this, and I recommend to everyone else that you do the same, as scripture states in Philippians 2:12, that we must all work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.


There have been times in my walk when I and another believer have had to peacefully agree to disagree. This issue usually only arises with me if I cannot find scripture to back up the belief. I do not feel the need to make anyone believe as I do. I do not think that people should become angry and argue over their beliefs. Discussions is one thing but bitter verbal engagements is totally different. I think this is where offenses arise over beliefs because people want to feel connected to those who are just like them in every way. When our probable differences are accepted before hand, it is easier to agree to disagree.


With some things, where the information can be confusing, though we may each have our own ideas, we have to agree to wait and see how it plays out. It may play out as one or the other thought, or it may play out completely different.


HOW THIS SEARCH BEGAN

I was raised believing in a rapture that would occur suddenly and quietly, one leaving many left behind to suffer through a seven year tribulation. Unbelievers and lost souls who would scramble in confusion to figure out what had just happened to their loved ones, while managing the grief of loss and realization that maybe they were wrong about everything.

It was about ten years ago that I saw a video of someone talking about how the secret rapture was not biblical and stating that the early church did not hold these beliefs. This fellow Christ follower said that scripture does not speak of Christ coming back twice, but only once. This video was backed with several biblical scriptures. Not gonna lie, I did feel a tad bit offended by this person's beliefs but his teaching took root in my thoughts.


Regardless of my feelings at the time, a seed was planted. It was a few years later when I started thinking about it. No longer offended but curious about what scripture did say. If I was wrong in my belief, it would be important for me to correct that belief. What if I was to be around when all these things start happening?


We know that Satan confused people about the prophecies of Christ the first time, which is why many did not recognize him. The people of Jesus' day thought he was coming as a lion and as a king to rule forever, but instead, he came as a lamb. What if Satan is once again complicating the scriptures and subtly mixing up the truth. Think how many people are putting off knowing Christ now or playing a game of wait and see, with the thought that they will turn and be saved through the seven year period, after the saints have been removed.

And how about those that are ready, what if the great tribulation starts and martyrdom and persecution becomes world wide? Will those who have remained in the faith think that they wrongly believed in Christ and turn away?


We must also ask, is it prideful to think that I would never have to be a martyr or to suffer for my faith? People who do not study the word of God for themselves with much prayer, are the easiest for Satan to snare and deceive. Seeing the value of knowing the truth, I went seeking it.


In this study, I am going to take you on that journey.


WHAT THE SECRET RAPTURE SAYS

I started off with the evidence that affirmed my belief, because I wanted to be able to stand against anything that came against it. Following is what I found:


This belief has sparked series such as “Left Behind” by Tim LaHaye and is a treasured favorite movie genre with most Christians. It is preached behind many pulpits, and televised Christian programs. Those who believe in the rapture of the church, have the faith that Christ will come for his church, at this time he will appear in the clouds and the church will go up to meet him. The dead in Christ will rise first and then the church. But no-one left will see him.

At that time, the Holy Spirit will be removed from earth and the church is judged according to the deeds they did in the flesh and what you failed to do. The saints will be rewarded and there will be five different crowns handed out according to those rewards, saints will be assigned their mansions, and then attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. Saints will rejoice in heaven for a period of seven years.


Meanwhile on earth, there will arise an Antichrist, who will set up ten men to run groups of nations under his authority. These leaders will be dictators over the people, and the people will be forced to take a mark. With this mark every commercial exchange will be recorded. You will not be able to do anything without the permission of the Antichrist. This is when the seven year treaty is signed with Israel and the Antichrist will break that treaty in three and a half.

In this period, there will be seven trumpets, seven seals, and seven vials/bowls (which are judgments).


John Hagee asserts that those who teach that people will be here are wrong, because Christ is our blessed hope, and there is nothing blessed about living through seven years of hell on earth. He is adamant with certainty that Christians will miss all the chaos that is going to come upon the earth.


Christ will return after the tribulation, which is seven years later with his church. There will be a battle at Armageddon with Christ, the saints, and the angels. According to John Hagee, next will follow a 75 day gap, then the nations will be judged based on how they treated Israel. He claims that Matthew 25:31-36 is speaking of how the nations have treated Israel.

The new Jerusalem will come down and Christ will reign. John Hagee is joined by many who teach this doctrine from Dr. David Jeremiah, Joel Osteen, and many others.

They hold to Thessalonians 5:9, that says that God has not appointed believers to wrath but to obtain salvation through Christ.


IS IT TRUE?

I encourage you to study the word and read for yourselves whether or not it is true. For scripture says that we do not need man to teach us anything, for the Holy Spirit teaches us all things, 1 John 2:27.


Wesley, Spurgeon, and Luther all believed in a rapture after the tribulations. If you look into the history, the evangelical church before 1830, had very few who believed in a secret rapture. In 1850, a man by the name of John Nelson Darby had claimed to be the father of this doctrine. He was one of the leaders of the Plymouth Brethren Movement, and his teachings became known as dispensationalism.


He was soon joined in this new doctrine of a pre-trib rapture by Margaret McDonald, and CI Scofield. Scofield then made his own translation of the Bible with this new found belief. Which in turn was used by Author, Preacher/Teacher Hal Lindsey in one of his earlier books, “The Late, The Great Planet Earth” where he had predicted the secret rapture to occur in 1981 and for the seven year tribulation to end in 1988. He was obviously wrong.


It is said that this belief gained traction based on the fear that people had for suffering such great turmoil and distress for the sake of Christ. With our advancements today, it would be even more difficult for people to choose Christ over the modern conveniences that we have all grown accustomed to.


However, if we look at 2 Thessalonians 2, it is clear to see that some of these teachings were being taught in the times of the apostles because Paul had stated, that no one should be deceived because that great day of the Lord's return when we shall be caught away with him will not come until the man of sin sets himself up in the temple and declares that he is god. If you are a follower of Christ Jesus, then you can agree that the word of God is true and infallible because He preserved His word for us and generations to come. Therefore, we will turn to scripture for the answers.


HE COMES LIKE A THIEF BUT...

2 Peter 3:10 is often used as scripture of evidence for the rapture because it starts off saying that “Christ comes as a thief.” We all know that thieves can be quiet but also usually strike without warning. BUT.. they often fail to read the rest of the verse or the ones after, which says, “In 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. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.”


1 Thessalonians 5:4, “But you brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should over take you as a thief.”


Matthew 24:29-31, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with the sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.


1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an arch angel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 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.”


Psalm 50:3, “Our God shall come and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.”


1 Corinthians 15:52, “In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”


Matthew 24:42-44, “Watch therefore, for you do not know the hour that your Lord comes. But know this, if the good man 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. Therefore be ready: For as such an hour that you think not the Son of man comes.”


We see a similar warning with the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.

Notice how everything surrounding Christ returning is very noisy, nothing secret about it. Every eye will see him. Several verses say that a trumpet will sound and this one in Corinthians said it would be the last trumpet that sounds. We know from Revelation that there are seven trumpets. We also read how everything burns up, so there would be nothing left for anyone to continue living on earth. Also, from all these biblical verses, it does not seem like “a thief in the night” is not speaking of a “secret”, but suddenly and without warning.


This was a turning point for me, but I still dug deeper.


I STILL WENT SEEKING...

I still continued my research to see if there was some kind of “secret rapture”, one that only caused an earthquake and a bit of noise. I scanned through the scriptures looking for a passage or reference to a catching away in the sky that was different from his actual return. I knew that if there was a secret rapture, it would have to be in God's word.


Revelation 1:7, “Behold, he comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”

Acts 1:9-11, “While they beheld, he (Christ) was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly towards heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, you men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in a like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.”


In Revelation 16, we read about the seven vials/bowl judgments. In verse 17, the seventh angel pours out his vial/bowl and a voice from heaven says, “it is done”. Then in verses 18-20, we read, “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since man was upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and Great Babylon came into remembrance before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”


BUT I LIVE IN THE WEST

Matthew 24:7-8, “For nations shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”(you should read all of this from Matthew 24:3)


He does not say that he returns yet, but continues to tell them that they will be delivered up and killed, and hated of all nations. Many will be offended and betray one another, hearts will wax cold, and this gospel will be preached unto all nations for a witness and then, the end will come. (also see Revelation 11:3-13, I believe the two witnesses will be the one to spread the gospel throughout all the world. That is their purpose, as there are places and tribes that no one is allowed to go or able to get to.


Christ then goes on to speak in Matthew 24 about the prophecy of Daniel, saying that when you see the abomination of desolation, flee. In verse 21, it says for then there will be a great tribulation as was not since the beginning of the world. Many say this is when the anti-Christ stands in the holy place and calls himself god.


Christ then says in verse 22, that except those days be shortened, there would be no flesh saved, but for the elect's sake, those days will be shortened. For as lightning comes out of the east and shines unto the west, so shall the coming of man be.


In revelation 7:9-14, John sees a large group of people from every tongue, nation, and kindred standing before the throne. When he inquires of who they are, he is told that they are them which came out of the great tribulation.


Furthermore, Christ never promised us that we would not suffer. In John 16:33, Christ said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”


Even though I looked, I could not find a verse saying that the believers in Christ would escape from suffering the great tribulation but I found verses that state the opposite. We also need to consider how Paul and a lot of the apostles died, and how our fellow brethren are suffering in foreign lands, by murders, tortures, famine, theft, and being chased through the lands as they flee for their lives. Some have seen their children tortured and slaughtered because they refuse to renounce Christ, and they still hold steadfast to their faith, but we in the west are too good to suffer? Why do we feel or teach that we are so much more loved by God than the rest of the world? Is our faith of greater value?


It occurred to me that the message in the scriptures was one of endurance and strife. It was one that sent a message to prepare for engagement. 2 Thessalonians 1 speaks about how our day of relief will come when Christ comes in flaming fire.


2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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. Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”


Again, we see a message of endurance and preservation. We are told to not be deceived because that man of sin will be revealed first and he will sit in the temple claiming to be God and showing himself that he is God. (the abomination of desolation). This chapter then continues with encouragement to stand fast and not be moved.


DIVIDING THE RIGHTEOUS FROM THE UNRIGHTEOUS

Matthew 25:31-32, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”


Luke 17:34-37, “I tell you in that night there shall be two men in one bed; one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken and the other left. Two men shall be in a field; one shall be taken and the other left. And they answered, and said unto him, where Lord? And he said unto them, wherever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”


This has always been taught that it is the righteous that are removed but the disciples asked where the ones taken would be taken to; and Christ basically says that the eagles will eat their bodies. That doesn't sound like something that would happen to those in Christ. Before you get offended, there are other places in scripture that back this up.


Revelation 19:17-18, “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God. That you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of the mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both great and small. “

Matthew 24:27, speaks about Christ returning and then we read in Matthew 24:28, “For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagle be gathered together.


We can also read the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30. There was good seed sowed into the ground but an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat. The servants of the household asked if they should go pull up the tares, and the master said no, lest while rooting up the tares that they also root up the wheat.


In Matthew 13:30, “Let both grow together until the time of harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, gather you together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” The tares are gathered first, not the wheat.


It seems as if the wicked will be destroyed from among the saints, and then the saints will be caught up with him.


CHRIST RETURN

A portion of believers will point out that some passages state that Christ returns in the Clouds, while others say with the clouds. Tell me the difference in these two sentences: 1. I seen an airplane up in the clouds. 2. I seen an airplane up with the clouds. There is no difference. It is the same thing. And both of these verses say that people mourn because of his return.


Jude 1:14-15: Christ returns with10,000 of his saints,

Matthew 25:31 : The Son of Man will come in his glory and all the holy angels with him.

Deuteronomy 33:2: We read that The Lord came from ten thousand holyones.

Acts:1:11: He will return in the same manner that he left. In/with the clouds.

1 Cor. 15:51-53: we shall not all sleep. The last trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised and we shall be changed..


Rev. 8:1: the 7th seal is opened and there is silence in heaven for thirty minutes. If Christ brings 10,000 holy ones with him than its possible that the silence in heaven is when Christ and his holy ones have come to earth to gather his people. Though I have heard some teach that it is after the 6th trumpet where there are tribes and nations standing before the throne that have come out of the great tribulation. As I will admit that I do not understand everything, I will have to say that is a possibility but its also possible that those are the souls that were under the altar, aka the martyrs.


Some conclude that people will mourn because they are left behind. That is not what scriptures say; they will mourn because the day of his wrath has come and they run and try to hide themselves in the rocks and caves.


Rev. 6:15-16: all kings of the earth, the great men, rich men, chief captains, mighty men, every free man, every bond man, hid themselves in rocks and in mountains, and said to the rocks and to the mountains, “fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the lamb.”


Rev. 19:17-18; 21: the fowls of the air are called to the supper of the great God, to eat the flesh of kings, great captains, mighty men, horses, all men both free & bond, both small & great; and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.


Revelation 10:7: in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets.


1 Corinthians 15:51-52: Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we will all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.


CONCLUSION

It is clear from searching the scriptures that the secret rapture and escaping the great tribulations is not in the word of God, it is a false teaching that we were told to be weary of. Matthew 24 says that Christ returns after the tribulation and not before. I searched and could not find a scripture to back up a secret carrying away.


It also makes no sense that if such a teaching were true then why did Christ or the disciples ever speak of it? Believers of this teaching, assert that it is "hidden" in scripture. Why would Christ tell us that he has told us all things and then hide the day of his return or tell us that he comes back twice. Some say that it only counts as his return when he sets his feet down on the earth. Is a bird no longer in or of the earth when it is in flight?


This secret rapture doctrine's assertion that the Antichrist will not come until the church is removed contradicts scripture. Again, I believe this doctrine was born out of people's fear of suffering.


Matthew 25:31-36 Hagee took this passage way out of context. It is not a judgment based on how well you treated Israel. It is a judgment on how well we treat one another.


Let me take you to Matthew 12:47-50, Christ was informed that his mother and brother were without and sought him. Christ asked, who are my brethren and who is my mother? Then in verse 50, “For whosoever, shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” When Christ referred to the people treated harshly as his brethren in Matthew 25, he was referring to the believers who do the Father's will, not the tribe of Judah.


Once Christ returns, prophecy will be finished. There will be no second chances to make heaven. I can say with certainty that he only returns once. The closer we get to the great tribulation, the more wolves come out to deceive the sheep. They subtly mix the lies with the truth and many sheep take their word for it instead of seeking the truth out for themselves. This is very dangerous. You must study the word for yourselves and not trust one because they have a large following and say they believe in God. Even Satan's teachers will appear as teachers of light.








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