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Will I be secretly raptured away before the tribulation? Is the rapture really a secret event where people will just disappear? Will Jesus sneak away His people? What is the rapture?
Article: The Secret Rapture
There is a theological question that
has disturbed millions of Christians and has lent untold doctrinal
confusion to the modern religious world. That question revolves around the
manner of Christ's coming back to this earth at the end of the world.
Multitudes have been led to believe that Christ will return secretly. What
about the so-called secret rapture? A large number of Christians have been
exposed to this "dispensationalist" or "futurist"
interpretation of prophecy and have been hopelessly confused.
According to this view, the coming of Jesus
will be in two separate events. First, He will come secretly to take the
church to heaven, and then, seven years later, He will come in an open
demonstration of power and glory. In between those two events, the
Antichrist is supposed to come into power and the great tribulation period
But the truth is that the Bible nowhere
speaks of these two separate comings of Jesus. There is no second stage of
His coming that occurs seven years after the so-called
"rapture." By the way, that word "rapture" is also an
invention of theologians. It can't be found in the Bible in even a single
instance. It is a word coined for the second advent of Jesus.
Now here is what we find in the Scriptures:
Christ's coming, the resurrection, and catching up of the saints to meet
Jesus in the air, all take place at the same time, at the end of the
world. This is why Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto
the end of the world." Matthew 28:20. Now why would Jesus promise to
be with the church until the end of the world if He intended to come seven
years before the end to take them out of the world? The promise would have
rapture doctrine contradicts the words of Christ in Matthew chapter 13
when He said that the wheat and tares would grow together until the
"end of the world" and then would be separated. According to the
two-stage teaching of His coming, both groups would not grow together
until the end of the world. The righteous would be separated from the
wicked seven years before the end. And what about the promise of the
resurrection? Christ said, concerning the righteous, "And I will
raise him up at the last day." John 6:40. No one denies that this
means the last day of the world. Yet Paul declares that the saints are
caught up to meet the Lord at the same time the dead in Christ are raised.
He says, "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: Then we which are alive and remain shall
be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the
air." 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.
in mind that Jesus called this resurrection the "last day." But
how could it be the "last day" if this gathering of the saints
takes place seven years before the end of the world? And how could the
"last trump" sound if it really wasn't the very last moment of
imagine the graves opening and the righteous rising and no one knowing
that it had occurred? And consider this additional testimony of the Word
6:16, 17 When the wicked see Christ come, they cry out to the rocks and
mountains, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth
on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his
wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
24:27 "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even
unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Corinthians 15:52 "For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be
"Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence."
1:7 "Every eye shall see him."
24:30 "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
24:31 "He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and
they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of
heaven to the other." (This is clearly the time when Christ comes to
gather His saints.)
To say that
the second coming of Christ to gather His saints will be secret, in view
of these clear texts of Scripture, and in the absence of any text that
even hints at His coming being secret, is to deny the Bible as the Word of
God. In an attempt to uphold their contrived theory, the rapturists quote
Matthew 24:40, 41 out of context. Notice this entire passage:
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. Then shall two be in the
field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be
grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
Matthew 24: 37-41.
clearly drawing a parallel between the second coming and the days of Noah.
Those who entered the ark in Noah's day were saved, and those who refused
to enter the ark were left outside. But what were they left for? For
another chance? No, obviously they were left to be destroyed by the Flood.
So, says Jesus, will it be when He comes at the end of the world. One will
be taken to heaven with Jesus, and the other will be left for destruction.
Verse 51 makes clear what will happen to those who are left: "And
shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites:
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Read Luke 17:26-37 for
Luke's parallel account of these same words of Jesus. In verse 36, this
statement is made: "Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be
taken, and the other left." Now notice verse 37 and the question the
disciples asked: "And they answered and said unto him, Where,
Lord?" They wanted to know where those who didn't go to heaven were
going to be left. Notice Jesus' clear answer: "And he said unto them,
Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered
how Jesus taught that the bodies of the wicked are going to be left on the
ground for the eagles to consume. Scripture is too plain to be
misunderstood. Only as we accept all that the Bible says can we be safe
from such deceptive teachings that are confusing millions of sincere
Christians today concerning this most glorious event of all ages, the
second coming of Jesus Christ.
realize that the rapturists hang onto the texts which liken the Lord's
coming to "a thief in the night." They assume that this must be
a quiet, secret coming. But does it really mean that? Let's show that it
definitely does not. Here is one of those texts in 2 Peter 3:10: "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." Obviously the "thief" part has nothing
to do with secrecy because the heavens will pass away with a great noise!
And if coming "as a thief" is the secret rapture which takes
place seven years before the end of the world, how can the heavens and
earth "pass away," as Peter describes it? The heavens and earth
could not pass away seven years before the world ends-that is the end!
The fact is
that Jesus Himself explained clearly just how a thief's coming could be
related to His coming: "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour
your Lord doth come. 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.
There it is, so plain and simple! The thief would come unexpectedly when
the owners were not looking for a thief. In the same way, His coming would
take people by surprise. They would not be watching or looking for it.
dispensationalists teach that the two separate stages of Christ's coming
are indicated "in the Greek." They argue that there will first
be the rapture (parousia), a secret coming; then seven years later will be
the revelation (apokalupsis), His coming in power and glory. But,
actually, instead of teaching two separate events, the Greek terms are
used interchangeably in the Bible. They give no indication of a seven-year
example, Paul uses the word "parousia" in the famous rapture
chapter of 1 Thessalonians 4 in speaking of the coming of our Lord and our
gathering together unto Him. He then goes right on to show that this
"parousia" will destroy the man of sin. Speaking of the
Antichrist, Paul says, "whom the Lord shall ... destroy with the
brightness of his coming [parousia]." 2 Thessalonians 2:8. These
texts clearly describe the coming (parousia) of Christ as taking place
after the reign of the man of sin, not as an escape rapture before the
reign of the Antichrist begins.
other Greek word "apokalupsis" (revelation) is used in a way
that indicates it is not a separate coming from the time the believers are
gathered up. Peter said to "be sober, and hope to the end for the
grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation [apokalupsis] of
Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:13. Why would Christians be exhorted to keep
hoping to the very end of the world for the grace brought through the
revelation of Christ if their real hope was a secret rapture seven years
before the revelation?
look at some verses which prove beyond a doubt that the two words "parousia"
and "apokalupsis" refer to the same event. In Matthew 24:37 we
read, "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming [parousia]
of the Son of man be." Luke's account of the same passage says,
"As it was in the days of Noe ... Even thus shall it be in the day
when the Son of man is revealed [apokalupsis]." Luke 17:26, 30. This
shows that the coming (parousia) of Christ and the revelation (apokalupsis)
of Christ are the same event. There is absolutely no basis for placing
seven years in between.
dispensationalist teachers actually claim that the rapture is not really
the "coming" of Jesus at all. They say His coming is when Christ
returns in power seven years after the rapture. But what a contradictory,
confusing explanation that is! The fact is that there are many Scriptures
which admonish Christians to wait and watch for the coming of the Lord.
For example, James 5:7 says, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto
the coming of the Lord." But why should Christians need to be patient
unto the coming of the Lord if there is to be a secret rapture to take
them to heaven seven years before His coming?
as it may seem, this whole counterfeit secret rapture is built upon a
constant repetition of words and ideas that are not found in the Bible at
all. But they have been repeated so often that millions have assumed that
they must be soundly biblical. Let's take a look at some of the texts
which have been used to support the doctrine of a two-phase coming of
Christ. And please notice that none of the verses actually say what some
try to read into them. In fact, it is only after a person has already
assumed that Christ will return in two separate comings that these verses
could even suggest the idea.
3:10 is often quoted to try to prove that the righteous will be taken out
of the world before the 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." It is immediately obvious that this text does not speak of
the righteous leaving this world at all. Jesus completely clarified the
meaning by something He said in John 17:6, 15 which sounds very similar.
"They have kept thy word ... I pray not that thou shouldest take them
out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
Don't miss the significance of the term "kept the word" in both
these texts. Both statements are talking about the same group of
people-the faithful ones.
if those who "kept the word" can be "kept from the
evil" of the world without being taken out of the world, why should
we suppose that a special coming and secret rapture is required for those
who "kept the word" to be "kept from the hour of
temptation"? Whatever else may be taught in Revelation 3:10, it is
evident that no extra coming of Christ is indicated.
biblical doctrine must be based upon clear statements of what the entire
Bible teaches on a subject and not upon verses which offer only veiled
inferences. Luke 21:36 is an example of that very thing. Jesus said to His
disciples, "Pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape
all these things that shall come to pass." How? By a secret rapture
to take them to heaven seven years before the end of the world? Definitely
not, for in the prayer of Jesus we read, "I pray not that thou
shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them
from the evil." When He told them to "pray ... to escape,"
He must have meant the same as when He prayed, "I pray not ... take
them out of the world but ... keep them." This rules out a secret
rapture entirely. The text that is used to prove the rapture is seen
actually to forbid the saints being taken out of this world during the
time of trouble.
so much rapturist theology revolves around the seven-year period, one
would assume that the Bible must speak frequently of such a time period.
But not so. There is not one single scriptural reference which ties the
seven years to the end of the world or the coming of Christ. Most
rapturist literature mention the seven-year tribulation period without
offering any Bible proof or explanation. Millions have assumed that it
must be so well documented that no proof is needed. In fact, the opposite
is true. There just isn't any evidence to give.
Bible students are amazed to learn that the rapturists try to justify
their seven years by lifting a prophecy of Daniel completely out of its
context. In Daniel 9:24-27 God made a daring prophecy concerning the
probation of the nation of Israel. He said to Daniel, "Seventy weeks
['weeks of years' RSV] are determined upon thy people ... to finish the
trangression, and to make an end of sins." Verse 24. Please notice
that God was going to allow Daniel's people seventy weeks to see what they
would do with the Messiah when He appeared. The seventy weeks are
prophetic time, and each day represents a literal year (Ezekiel 4:6). So
the seventy weeks would be a literal period of 490 years, after which the
Israelites would no longer be God's people. They would be rejected as a
nation because of their rejection of the Messiah.
miss the point in Daniel 9:25 that the prophecy of the seventy weeks was
to begin with the decree to restore and build Jerusalem. That well-known
date is 457 B.C., when Artaxerxes sent out the decree (Ezra 7:13). From
that date, 457 B.C., the Jews would have exactly 490 years to finish
filling up their cup of iniquity by rejecting the Messiah. That 490-year
probation ended in A.D. 34, and the Jews ceased to be God's chosen people.
Daniel 9:25 says that the Messiah would be anointed after sixty-nine of
those prophetic weeks had passed by. That would be 483 years from the
decree date of 457 B.C. It takes no mathematician to figure the end of
that prediction. It brings us to the year A.D. 27, the very year that
Jesus was baptized by John and the Holy Spirit anointed Him for His
ministry. Since "Messiah" means "Anointed One," this
had to be the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy that the Messiah would
appear in A.D 27.
mark this fact: seventy weeks were assigned to the Jewish probation, but
Christ appeared as the Messiah after sixty-nine weeks. That leaves the
seventieth week for Christ to minister before the Jews' probation ended.
What was to happen in the seventieth week? Daniel 9:27 tells us, "And
he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of
the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease."
midst of the week would be three and a half prophetic days (literal years)
from His baptism. And according to the Bible, the ministry of Jesus lasted
for three and a half years. In the spring of A.D. 31 He was crucified. The
veil of the temple was rent (Matthew 27:51), signifying the end of
sacrifices. By His death He caused them to cease. Another three and a half
years would lead up to the end of the seventy weeks and the end of Jewish
probation. During that three and a half years the disciples labored
largely for the Jews. But in A.D. 34 the seventy weeks ended; Stephen was
stoned and the gospel began to go to the Gentiles (Acts 8:4). The Jews had
rejected the gospel message and were no longer God's people-just as Daniel
had predicted. Henceforth they could be saved only as individuals, in
exactly the same way as the Gentiles. As a nation, they had been rejected
as the chosen people. Here is the way the Bible describes that rejection:
21:43 "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you."
21:19 "And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and
found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit
grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered
away." (The fig tree was a symbol of the Jewish nation.)
23:38 "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free,
there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ
3:29 "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise."
10:12 "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for
the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him."
9:6-8 "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither,
because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, In Isaac
shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are ... the children of the
promise are counted for the seed." (The New Testament teaches the
acceptance of spiritual Israel, and the rejection of physical Israel and
the children of the flesh.)
2:28, 29 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is
that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which
is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and
not in the letter."
13:46 "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been
spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves
unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."
rapturists get their seven years' tribulation by lifting that seventieth
week of Daniel's prophecy completely out of its context and shoving it far
into the future. They claim it will be fulfilled after Christ comes to
snatch away the righteous secretly. Incredible? Absolutely! But they must
grasp desperately for some text to support their seven years. They agree
that the sixty-nine weeks of Daniel 9:25 refer to the period before
Christ's first advent, but then they insert a 2000-year gap before the
seventieth week is fulfilled. They allot 69 weeks plus 2,000 years plus
one week, or a total of 2,490 years. By this devious manipulation of God's
Word, the rapturists believe they have extended the Jewish probation; and
based upon this, they teach that all the fleshly Jews will be saved in a
great second chance after the "secret rapture" takes place.
tragedy of the rapture theory is that it takes these beautiful verses of
Daniel 9:24-27 that predict the coming of Jesus, His baptism and
crucifixion, and apply them to Antichrist. They do this by stating that it
is Antichrist that causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease after three
and one-half years. But Daniel states that it is Jesus who caused the
sacrificial system of the Jews to cease when He died on the cross. A
misinterpretation that confuses something Christ has done, and applies it
to the devil instead, is certainly a tragic occurrence. And yet this is
the only way one can arrive at a seven-year tribulation period. How sad!
we are brought to focus on the most glaring inconsistency of the rapture
theory, and that is that the Antichrist will not appear until after the
saints are caught away-seven years before the end of the world. Paul
settles the entire matter for us in the first few verses of 2
Thessalonians chapter 2. "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 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. Let
no man deceive you by any means: for that day [of our gathering together
unto Him] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that
man of sin [Antichrist] be revealed, the son of perdition; 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." Verses 1-4.
words of Paul are so plain that it is difficult to comment on them. How
can they be plainer? Christ's coming will not take place "except
there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed."
Show these words to any child who has learned to read; show them to anyone
not prejudiced by "private" interpretations, and he will say,
"These verses say that the man of sin (Antichrist) is going to be
revealed before Jesus comes."
is not referring to some superman suddenly to appear 2,000 years after his
epistles. He wrote, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already
work." Verse 7. While Paul lived, he combated the emerging spirit of
the Antichrist. By the sixth century A.D., Antichrist had matured. The
crowning act in the great drama of deception, however, occurs just before
the return of Christ: "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." Verse 8. This clearly states that
Antichrist will be destroyed when Christ comes. He does not arrive after
the second advent.
here's the crowning clarification in this whole thing. Revelation 20:4
assures us that some of those who are raised in the first resurrection
will be those who refused to worship the beast and receive his mark! How
completely this demolishes the futuristic school of prophetic
interpretation is evident, for they claim that the emergence of the
Antichrist and the imposition of his mark are to be looked for after the
first resurrection and what they call the secret rapture. Recently a radio
preacher expressed this belief: "I don't expect to be here when the
beast is enforcing his mark upon the people. I expect to go up in the
rapture and be in heaven during the great tribulation time." But
these verses declare that some of those who come up in the "first
resurrection," when Christ comes the second time, have already
refused to worship the Antichrist or receive his mark! Thus, the
Antichrist must have already been on the stage of action carrying on his
oppressive work before the "first resurrection" and well before
the second coming of Jesus.
attempting to establish the identity of Antichrist at this point, let us
notice how this teaching-that the Antichrist will come in the
future-originated. At the time of the Reformation, most of the reformers
understood the prophecy of the Antichrist to refer to the great apostate
system of Romanism that developed during the Middle Ages. Of course, Rome
did not appreciate this interpretation. Please notice Rome's course of
action to nullify this interpretation:
great a hold did the conviction that the Papacy was the Antichrist gain
upon the minds of men, that Rome at last saw she must bestir herself, and
try, by putting forth other systems of interpretation, to counteract the
identification of the Papacy with the Antichrist.
toward the close of the century of the Reformation, two of the most
learned doctors set themselves to the task, each endeavoring by different
means to accomplish the same end, namely, that of diverting men's minds
from perceiving the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Antichrist in the
papal system. The Jesuit Alcazar devoted himself to bring into prominence
the preterist method of interpretation, ... and thus endeavored to show
that the prophecies of Antichrist were fulfilled before the popes ever
ruled in Rome, and therefore could not apply to the Papacy.
the other hand, the Jesuit Ribera tried to set aside the application of
these prophecies to the papal power by bringing out the futurist system,
which asserts that these prophecies refer properly, not to the career of
the Papacy, but to some future supernatural individual, who is yet to
appear, and continue in power for three and a half years. Thus, as Alford
says, the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580, may be regarded as the founder
of the futurist system of modern times. ...
is a matter for deep regret that those who advocate the futurist system at
the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are really
playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from
detection as the Antichrist."1
the whole theory of the secret rapture with its future Antichrist had its
origin with the Jesuits in an attempt to take the blame off the Papacy.
origin of the two-phase coming of Christ has an equally unsavory history.
It was not until around the year 1830 that this view began to be taught.
In the Scottish church pastored by Edward Irving, a Miss Margaret McDonald
gave what was believed at the time to be an inspired utterance. She spoke
of the visible, open, and glorious second coming of Christ. But as the
utterance continued, she spoke of another coming of Christ-a secret and
special coming in which those who were truly ready would be raptured.2
it was John Nelson Darby-a Brethren preacher and diligent writer of the
time in England-who was largely responsible for introducing this new
teaching on a large scale. The teaching spread to the United States in the
1850s and 1860s, where it was to receive its biggest boost when Cyrus
Ingerson Scofield, a strong believer in Darby's teachings, incorporated it
into the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible, which was published in
1909. Since that time, this view has been widely accepted-often by people
who are completely unaware that this was not the belief held by Christians
over the centuries. Many fine Christians hold his view today who have
never questioned its authority.
Smith, noted minister and author of Toronto, says in his booklet
Tribulation or Rapture-Which? that he once held the two-stage teaching,
but that when he began to search the Scriptures for himself, he discovered
that there is not a single verse in the Bible to uphold this view. He
confessed: "I had been taught that the Greek word 'parousia' always
referred to the Rapture and that other words were used for the coming of
Christ in glory ... but I found that this is not true ... We might go
through all the writers of the New Testament, and we would fail to
discover any indication of the so-called 'two-stages' of our Lord's coming
... That theory had to be invented by man. Search and see. There is no
verse in the Bible that even mentions it."
the secret rapturists claim that during the tribulation those not raptured
will be given another chance to be saved.
Let it be
categorically stated that nowhere does Scripture speak of a second chance,
nor does the Bible anywhere speak of people being saved after Jesus comes.
This is just another manmade doctrine that is indeed pleasing to the
carnal heart of man. Actually, the Bible teaches the opposite. Notice
these clear texts of Scripture:
Corinthians 6:2 "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the
day of salvation."
22:11, 12 "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. And, behold,
I come quickly; and my reward is with me." (Evidently probation
closes just prior to the second advent.)
8:20 "The harvest (day of second coming) is past, the summer is
ended, and we are not saved."
comes the second time, He carries "in his hand a sharp sickle."
Revelation 14:14. This is the reaping time after sixty centuries of the
sowing of the seeds of sin. This is the harvest time, and "the
harvest is the end of the world." Matthew 13:39. "And he that
sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was
reaped." Revelation 14:16. Truly did Jeremiah say, "The harvest
is past ... and we are not saved." Jeremiah 8:20. There can be no
saving after the reaping of earth's harvest at the coming of Christ.
and His holy angels appear, then "before him shall be gathered all
nations." Matthew 25:32. There will only be two classes in that great
company. The destiny of each has been set by what he did before the coming
stand firm on the Word of God alone and reject these manmade, man-pleasing
ideas that form the bulk of the whole secret rapture theory. As we have
noticed, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ will come the second
time in glorious majesty to take His redeemed home with Him. It will be a
personal, visible, and earth-shaking event that everyone alive will know
about. The righteous will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1
Thessalonians 4:17), whereas the wicked will be slain by the brightness of
that coming (2 Thessa-lonians 2:8). Let us carefully study our Bibles that
we will not be deceived concerning this most important and wonderful hope,
the second coming of Jesus.
Reverend Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 16, 17. (See
also L. E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 2, Review and
Herald Publishing Association, 1950, pp. 484-510.)
Dave MacPherson, The Incredible Cover-Up, Logos
In the early 1500s, the Aztec empire
was one of the most powerful and sophisticated civilizations in the
western hemisphere. However, within one year's time this mighty nation of
over two million people was conquered and enslaved by just six hundred
men. How did it happen?
The Aztecs had a prophecy about Quetzalcoatl (k购s䬴ko-䭴al), a legendary feathered god-king who was light skinned and bearded. It
predicted that he would return to Mexico from across the sea and that he
would come in the clouds from the east to save them.
Well, in 1519 Spanish galleons arrived in Mexico carrying a group
of conquistadors led by Hernando Cortez. When the Aztecs saw these ships
with their billowing sails, they thought it looked like clouds. Cortez
heard about the Aztec legend from some Indians who lived on the shore and
decided to use the situation to his advantage. He astutely assumed the
mantle of deity to befuddle superstitious King Montezuma II.
While the king was waiting to receive him with honor, Cortez
marched his army right into the center of the Aztec capital. By the time
the people realized that Cortez was not the savior they were expecting, it
was too late. The conquistadors proceeded to plunder, enslave, and kill
the Aztec people. An entire nation was deceived and destroyed-in part
because the prophecies of their god's return were so ambiguous that almost
anyone could have served as a counterfeit.
In the near future, Satan will attempt to personate Jesus and
counterfeit His return to earth. But God's people need not be deceived.
When the disciples asked Jesus for the sign of His coming and the end of
the world, the very first thing He told them was to be on guard against
impostors. He said, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many
shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."
Matthew 24:4, 5.
Christ then proceeded to give His followers a wealth of
information about His second coming so there would be no doubt as to how
He would return. Jesus not only wants us to know that He is coming and
that He's coming soon; He wants us to understand the manner of His coming.
The reason this is so important is because Satan will soon
attempt to personate Jesus and counterfeit His return. And to pave the
way, Satan has introduced a strong delusion to the Christian world that
has been almost universally accepted in mainline churches. I am speaking
of the popular teaching regarding a "secret rapture."
The secret rapture theory was designed to lull God's people into
a false sense of security and to prepare them for this final master
deception. Jesus warned, "If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is
Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and
false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if
it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:23,
Satan's deceptions will be strong and convincing, but Christ has
given us ample information to help us discern truth from error.
Not a Secret
Although the secret rapture scenario may appear comforting at
first glance, there is absolutely no scriptural support for it. The Bible
plainly teaches that when Jesus comes again, every one of our senses will
be bombarded with evidence!
His Coming Will Be Literal
Heaven-sent messengers told the disciples that Jesus would return
to this earth in the same manner He left. Christ left in the clouds, and
He will come back in the clouds. He was visible when He left, and He will
be visible when He comes again. He had a real body when He left, and He
will return the same way.
His Coming Will Be Visible
"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth
even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
"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." Matthew 24:30.
When Christ comes, it will not be merely a local sighting or an
isolated event. It will be visible across the entire world.
His Coming Will Be Audible
"The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from
his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall
give a shout." Jeremiah 25:30.
"Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire
shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about
him." Psalm 50:3.
Christ's second coming will be loud! There will be shouts and
trumpets and all kinds of noise. No one will accidentally miss it or be
able to read about it in the newspaper the next day.
His Coming Will Be Emotional
"And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we
have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited
for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Isaiah 25:9.
When Christ returns, it will be an emotional day for the wicked
and righteous alike. The lost will experience indescribable fear and
anguish, while the saved will experience the perfect joy of eternal
His Coming Will Open the Graves
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made
alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward
they that are Christ's at his coming." 1 Corinthians 15:22, 23.
"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: 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,
This is the Bible's description of the rapture. The dead in
Christ will rise by His power and will meet Him in the air. Afterward the
faithful who are still alive will also be caught up. It will not be a
His Coming Will Destroy the Earth
"And the heaven [sky] departed as a scroll when it is rolled
together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their
places." Revelation 6:14.
"And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and
there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were 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 in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the
wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the
mountains were not found." Revelation 16:18-20.
This world will be uninhabitable by people after Christ comes.
His coming will shake the very foundations of the earth.
His Coming Will Mean Final Judgment
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to
give every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:12.
It is at Christ's return that we will receive our final reward.
Each person's decision will have already been made; there will be no
second chance to convert. The time to make a decision to follow Christ is
Basis for Confusion
As with most deceptions, the secret rapture theory is based on a
few texts which have been taken out of context. There are two main
concepts in Scripture that have been used to substantiate a
The primary one is that Jesus will come as "a thief in the
night." The secret rapture theory assumes this means that Christ will
come secretly to steal away the righteous and carry them quietly to
Christ's coming is described as "a thief" several times
throughout the New Testament. Let's look at one of these passages and see
if it describes a secret rapture. "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.
That doesn't sound like a secret event to me!
In describing His return as a thief, Christ did not intend to
show that it would be quiet, but that it would be sudden and
unexpected-that the wicked would be taken by surprise. He said, "If
the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he
would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye
think not." Luke 12:39, 40. Likewise, Paul told the Christians in
Thessalonica, "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day
should overtake you as a thief." 1 Thessalonians 5:4. God does not
want His followers to be surprised. He wants us to be watchful and ready.
The second concept used to support a "secret" coming is
found in Luke 17:34-36: "I tell you, in that night there shall be two
men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two
women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other
left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other
Secret rapture proponents say this passage proves that the saints
will suddenly disappear from the earth when Jesus returns. But let's take
an honest look at the evidence and see what these verses actually teach.
In Luke 17:34-36, Jesus employs some of His favorite symbols to
illustrate a simple point. At the end of time, there will be just two
groups of people living upon the earth-the lost and the saved.
The Devil's Hidden Agenda
Satan is not an ugly, grotesque, bat-winged creature wearing a
red leotard. He's an angel-a beautiful, powerful angel. And the Bible
makes it clear that he is able to transform himself and appear in
different forms. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for
Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 2 Corinthians
11:13, 14. We must not underestimate how convincing and overpowering
Satan's final deception will be. I'm sure he will even quote Scripture, as
he did while tempting Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-6).
The devil also has the ability to create the illusion of
miracles. You will remember that when Moses went in before Pharaoh to
plead for the children of Israel, the magicians of Egypt were able to
duplicate the first few signs from God (Exodus chapters 7, 8). Satan is in
the business of deception. And we know that he is saving his greatest
deception of all for the last days. We need to know how Jesus is coming,
or we will be deceived.
The Bible is very clear that when Jesus comes back, His feet
never touch the ground. It says the righteous will be caught up to meet
Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). This is why Jesus emphatically
warns us, "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!'
do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. For
as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will
the coming of the Son of Man be." Matthew 24:26, 27, NKJV.
Satan cannot replicate a worldwide, cataclysmic event the
magnitude of the real second coming. But if he can seduce Christians into
believing the secret rapture theory, he won't have to. He can simply show
up around the world in various places, perform great miracles, make TV
appearances, and thereby deceive the entire world.
Every general knows that the key to victory in battle is to
maintain an element of surprise. Many battles have been won because of a
clever diversionary tactic. While one army was distracted and looking at
the diversion, the enemy came up from behind to conquer them. In the
devil's final assault, he will do the same thing. The archdeceiver has
always wanted to be God. Now he knows that he is doomed, but his last
taunting gesture against heaven will be to personate Jesus and receive the
worship of a lost world.
Sadly, the devil is not the only one who likes to masquerade as
God. Many people who claim to be Christians have never come to the place
where they are willing to make a complete surrender and allow Jesus to be
Lord of their lives. They still want to be in charge. They call him,
"Lord, Lord," but do not obey Him.
Friend, is Jesus your Lord? Are you submitting to His will now,
or are you masquerading as your own master? No man can serve two masters
(Matthew 6:24). It must be Jesus or yourself. He will soon come in glory
for all to see. Will you give Him the crown, throne, and scepter of your