The Other Left?
Secret Rapture of the Church
Today, there is a doctrinal issue that has confused many sincere Christians. This issue involves the second coming of Christ. The Rapturists believe in the two phase coming of Christ, one secret and one literal. Some honest Christians have been tricked into believing that there is a "secret" coming of Christ, or it is also known as the "secret rapture." Does the Bible talk about a "secret rapture?" Where did this doctrine come from? Who spread this doctrine around? Why is it taught today? As you will see, the answers to these questions will surprise and even shock those who believe this theory!
Let's go through the Bible and history to see if we can find the "secret rapture." The apostle Paul talks about the second coming of Christ. "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. Let's go through this verse carefully. When Jesus comes the second time, He descends from heaven with a SHOUT! Now, if I come into your home and shout with a loud voice, you would definitely hear me, but it does not stop with a shout, for it says that a TRUMPET shall sound. So, if I SHOUT and blow a TRUMPET in your home, you would definitely know that I was there. Also, those that died in Christ will be resurrected in the last day (See John 5:25,28,29; John 11:24), and when they are resurrected they meet the Lord in the air. As the resurrected dead meet Jesus in the air, the living righteous are also caught up together with them in the air, not seven years apart. There are not two phases to the coming of Christ!
The apostle John writes about the second coming of Christ, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." Revelation 1:7 John saw that when Jesus comes, EVERY EYE will see Him, and ALL KINDREDS of the earth will wail because of Him. Is there anything secret about this verse? Paul wrote, "in a moment, in the 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." 1 Corinthians 15:52. The patriarch David proclaimed, "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous." Psalms 50:3. The disciple Matthew proclaimed that after the physical signs of the last days, "... 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. And 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 another." Matthew 24:30,31. Notice, the angels of God gather His elect during this literal, visible coming and not before.
Those who advocate the "secret rapture" theory take Matthew 24:40,41 out of context. "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For 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 24:3741. Jesus is drawing a parallel between the second coming of Christ and the days of Noah during the time of the flood, and there was nothing "secret" about the flood. Those who entered the ark were saved, and those who refused Noah's offer of safety were left. But what were they left for? Another chance? NO! They were left for destruction! "And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 24:51. Luke 17:34-37 talks about the same thing and in verse 37, the disciples asked Jesus, "Where, Lord?" and Jesus replied, "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." Those that are left will be bird food for the eagles. One of the most well known Rapturists, John Walvoord, wrote, "... the rapture isn't found anywhere in Matthew, Mark, or Luke (or any part of the Olivet discourse)." John Walvoord, Christ's Olivet Discourse on the end of the Age, Bibliotheca Sacra, cxxviii, 1971, p. 114.
The Rapturists hang upon the theory that "the Lord will come as a thief in the night," and they think this means a "secret rapture." The apostle Peter wrote, "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." II Peter 3:10. It is obvious that the "thief" means that those who aren't ready for Jesus to come, will be surprised, and, along with this surprise, there will be a GREAT NOISE, and the ELEMENTS WILL MELT WITH FERVENT HEAT, and the WORKS WILL BE BURNED UP! Does this sound like a "secret rapture?" Friends, this doctrine does not exist anywhere in the Bible! Don't be fooled! There will be nothing but great noise and turmoil when Jesus returns to the earth.
Two Phase Coming
Rapturists believe that there will be two phases to the second coming of Jesus, one secret and one literal. They believe that the "church" will be raptured at the beginning of the Seven Year Tribulation to escape persecution, and after seven years, Jesus will come in the clouds in bright glory for all to see. Let's see what the Bible says about it. John the Revelator writes about a group of people called the 144,000, and says, "And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Revelation 7:13,14. The 144,000 came out of great tribulation, and they were not "secretly raptured before tribulation." Jesus said, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I Pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." John 17:14,15. Our Lord's prayer was to keep them from the evil and not to remove them from the world. The prophet Daniel wrote, "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Daniel 12:1,2. Friends, the only escape from tribulation is during the time of the resurrection of the dead at Christ's literal, visible coming. The apostle Paul wrote, "Yea, all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." II Timothy 3:12. Persecution is the lot of every true Christian, for John said, "... that the world hath hated them." John 17:14. The theory of the "secret rapture" is well accepted by those who love this world and the things of this world. Most people shun anything that involves a cross in their experience, so they search for the easy way out of their trials. The last generation of Christians upon the earth before Jesus comes will be "... gold tried in the fire..." Revelation 3:18, and tribulation and trials is what brings us forth as gold. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Matthew 5:10-12. Put your trust in Jesus now! "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and he knoweth them that trust in him." Nahum 1:7.
Where did the doctrine of the "secret rapture" come from since it did not come from the Bible? Are you ready for a SHOCK? "The idea of a two stage coming of Christ first came to a Scottish lass, Miss Margaret MacDonald of Port Glasgow, Scotland, while she was in a 'prophetic' trance." M. L. Moser, An Apologetic of Premillenialism, p. 28. This doctrine came from a woman, in the early 1830's, who claimed to have the "gift of prophecy" and as she was in "vision", she described a literal, visible appearance of Christ, but as the "utterance" continued, she spoke of a secret rapture of the church before Christ would come in the clouds with great glory. She was a member of Edward Irving's church in Scotland. He was a prominent Presbyterian minister who had, with others, been praying and preaching for a restoration of the prophetic gifts -- healing and tongues in particular. Irving can be considered the forerunner of the Charismatic Movement.
Seven Year Tribulation?
The time period of the seven year tribulation, that the Rapturists twist and teach, came from Daniel 9:24-27. Let's see what the Bible really says in this prophecy! These scriptures describe a prophetic period of 70 weeks, or 490 prophetic years. In all prophetic time periods, a day equals a year according to Ezekiei 4:6; Numbers 14:34; Leviticus 25:8; Genesis 29:27,28. This prophecy is divided into three sections. First of all, in Daniel 9:25, he speaks of "7 weeks" which equals 49 years (7 x 7 days = 49 days/years), and this part of the 70 week prophecy began at the decree of King Artexerxes in 457 B.C. to restore and build Jerusalem (See Ezra 7:1-26). 457 B.C. - 49 years 408 B.C. Jerusalem was restored in 408 B.C. The next part of this prophecy is "three score and two weeks" (vs 25), or 62 weeks which equals 434 days or prophetic years. If you add 7 weeks to 62 weeks, it equals 69 weeks or 483 years which brings you to the autumn of 27 A.D. This is the time of "Messiah the Prince," (vs 25) or Jesus Christ. At this time, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was "annointed" by the Holy Spirit to start His ministry. Messiah means "the annointed one".
"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..." Daniel 9:27. One week equals 7 years. So, if you add 7 years to 27 A.D., you will end up with 34 A.D. which was the final period of probation for the Jewish nation with the stoning of Stephen (See Matthew 21:43; Matthew 23:38; Acts 7:58-80) when the Gospel went to the Gentiles. But the most wonderful part of this one week prophecy happened in the "midst of the week" (vs 27). In the middle of the 7 year prophecy, Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins! His death ended the sacrificial system of types and shadows. "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross;" Colossians 2:14. "And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom..." Matthew 27:51. It is a crying shame to see how the Rapturists twist and destroy this beautiful prophecy, especially the last week. Instead of the middle of the last week representing Christ's death on the cross, the Rapturists apply it to the reign of the Antichrist. What a tragedy!
The Rapture of the Last Week
The Rapturists break off this last prophetic week from the seventy week prophecy, and they toss it way into the future. The Rapturists claim that the "church" will be raptured from the earth, and this event marks the beginning of the last week, and that Jesus will come seven years later. Where did this doctrine come from? Why would someone want to alter the prophetic code which reveals to us the truth? Read this next part very carefully! "Through the Jesuits Ribera and Bellarmine, Rome put forth her futurist interpretation of prophecy." H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformafion from the Standpoint of Prophecy, p. 268 (1887). Why would the Roman Catholic Church want to come up with another way of interpreting the Bible? "So 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." Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, p. 16. All the Reformers believed, in their original writings, that the existing Church of Rome is the seat of the biblical Antichrist, for example, the Waldenses, Sir Isaac Newton, Martin Luther, Philipp Melancthon, John Wesley, John Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale, John Knox, Alexander Campbell, etc., believed that the pope is the Antichrist. Rome, after the Council of Trent, in the mid 1500's developed two schools of prophetic interpretation, in answer to the Protestant movement issued by Martin Luther, which are called Preterism and Futurism. Preterism places the Antichrist before the popes ever ruled, and Futurism puts the Antichrist way in the future. "Accordingly, 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 preterists method of interpretation,... and thus endeavoring to show that the prophecies of Antichrist were fulfilled before the popes ever ruled in Rome, and therefore could not apply to the Papacy. On 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 Alford says, the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580, may be regarded as the founder of the futurist system of modern times." Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 16, 17.
It is a shame to see the professed Protestant churches of today interpret the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation according to these Jesuit scholars. "It 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." Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, p. 17. I am just amazed as I ask professed Protestant ministers about the heritage of what their forefathers believed doctrinally! Friend, we have nothing to fear for the future except we forget how the Lord has lead us in the past! What was the main avenue in which Futurism along with the "secret rapture" came into the Protestant world? "At first a historricist in his approach to the prophecies, Irving came to adopt futuristic views... Irving never detected the imposture and gave credence to these new revelations of 'the Holy Ghost' by other tongues,' a new aspect was added to the expectation of a future antichrist -- the rapture of the church before the advent of Christ." M. L. Moser, An Apologetic of Premillenialism, p. 28.
Irving was the major beginning channel in which Futurism and the secret rapture would flow into the Protestant Movement, and it was John Nelson Darby, a Plymouth Brethren preacher, who spread this Jesuit concept even further. "Secondly, Darby and almost all the Plymouth Brethren advocated a futuristic rather than a historicist interpretation of the book of Revelation... Darby introduced at Powerscourt the ideas of a secret rapture of the church and of a parenthesis in prophetic fulfillment between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth week of Daniel. These two concepts constituted the basic tenets of the system of theology since referred as dispensationalism..." Earnest R. Standeen, The Roots of Fundamentalsim, British and American Millenarianism 1800-1930, pp. 36-38. (University of Chicago Press - Chicago 8 London). As these Catholic concepts made their way over to "the land of the free," America, it was Cyrus Ingerson Scofield and his followers today who have blanketed these Jesuit concepts all over America, especially the Southern states.
Finally, since there is NO SECRET RAPTURE in the second coming of Christ, and since there is NO SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION in the Bible, there can be NO SECOND CHANCE! Rapturists claim that during the seven year tribulation those not raptured will be given another chance to be saved. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." II Corinthians 6:2. Friend, don't be deceived by the trickery of Roman Catholicism! They have altered the thinking of the world at large by their wily Jesuits. Listen to the testimony of a Presbyterian minister who lived during the mid 1800"s. "Yes, Popery has well nigh destroyed every country in which it has been predominant. The liberties and national prosperity of a people cannot co-exist with such a system. Let then Americans - Americans, who have never witnessed a Court of Inquisition, or an Auto-da-fe (burning of heretics), on their virgin soil; Americans, whose national liberties are still fragrant with the blood of revolutionary forefathers, Americans, whose proud eminence in the civilized world, gives them more to lose than other nations; let Americans especially examine this subject well... Samuel J. Cassels, Christ and Antichrist. pp. 152, 153.
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