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A Secret Rapture?
Two Words - Two Comings
compiled by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, 2015
Scripture is from New King James Version unless otherwise noted
Thousands of Christian believers today are waiting to be “raptured”. They expect to be caught away in an instant, to be with Christ in Heaven. They will simply disappear - all of them at the same moment. Seven years will follow, with great trouble on the earth. At the end of 7 years, Christ Jesus will return in glory, to judge and to rule. Does the Bible teach this doctrine of a secret invisible “coming in presence” to rapture only His church, to be followed 7 years later by a glorious coming?
Like a thief in the night
Luke 12:39-40 “But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Luke 21:34-35 describes those who will be surprised by Christ's coming. But notice. Only the wicked will be surprised. To them, He will come like a “thief in the night.” God's people will be expecting Jesus, and they will be ready.
1 Thessalonians 5:2&4 “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”
Revelation 3:3 “... if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”
2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, 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.”
NOTE: This coming will be sudden and will be a surprise to the majority,
but it will definitely NOT be secret!
What other Bible verses describe the Second Coming of Jesus?
Matthew 24:27 “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
1 Corinthians 15:52 “for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised...”
Psalm 50:3 “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence,”
Revelation 1:7 “... every eye shall see Him...”
Matthew 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.”
Doesn’t sound very “secret”.
Those who believe in a “secret rapture” say there will be “two comings.”
- first: a secret coming “in presence” to rapture true believers
- second: His coming “in glory,” when He will save some of those who were “left behind” at the rapture, and have since repented. He will also slay those evil doers who have managed to survive the plagues.
NOTE: No one will survive the 7 vial plagues. (Please see “A Secret Rapture - Part III”.)
Two Greek words - parousia (#3952) and apokalupsis (#601)
BOTH are translated into the English KJV, as “coming.”
parousia: Those who teach a “secret rapture” say that the “parousia”
will be the secret coming - in presence only.
The Greek word “parousia” is translated as: “coming” - 22 times, and “presence” - 2 times.
apokalupsis: Those who believe in a “secret rapture” say that “apokalupsis”
refers to the visible, glorious, coming - in power.
To study the use of these words for yourself, go to a Bible concordance.
Notice carefully the use of these words, “parousia” and “apokalupsis” in context.
Matthew 24:37 “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man be.”
Luke 17:26,30 “As it was in the days of Noah ... so it will be also in the day when the Son of Man is revealed (apokalupsis).
Matthew says the “parousia” will be like the days of Noah. Luke says the “apokalupsis” will be like the days of Noah. Both apostles were quoting Jesus. Do you think BOTH apostles were describing the SAME event? And by the way, Noah’s flood was no “secret”.
2 Peter 3:12 “looking for and hastening the coming (parousia) of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat.”
If “the heavens will be dissolved” at this “parousia”, this cannot be the “secret coming” -“in presence” only.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 “Now, brethren, concerning the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Wait! Those who teach the secret rapture say that the “man of sin” (the Antichrist) will be“revealed” (come to power) AFTER the saints are gathered to the LORD at the rapture. But Paul writes that the “gathering together to Him” will not come UNTIL AFTER the Antichrist is revealed sitting in the Temple of God.
It can’t be both ways.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 continued: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (parousia).”
The Lord will destroy the Antichrist with the brightness of His secret coming?
Brightness doesn’t sound very secret .....
Aren’t there verses that speak of one being taken and another left behind?
Matthew 24:40-42 “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” ( Also Luke 17:26-37)
Remember! Those who teach a pre-tribulation rapture say that those who are “left behind” will have the opportunity to repent during the tribulation period.
Matthew 13:36-42, 47-50 Read this passage carefully. One harvest is described - not two.
Notice: (A) “Let both grow together until the harvest” (v.30).
(B) “The harvest is the end of the age” (v.39).
It will be like the days of Noah (Matt 24:37, Luke 17:26).
“The flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:27).
It will be like the days of Lot.
“The same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:29).
The “harvest is the end of the age.”
After the harvest, the fields were burned - not left for another seven years (Matt. 13:39).
“One is taken and the other left” (Lk 17:26-37) . Yes - but where are they left?
They are left where “vultures gather” (v.34-37).
Revelation 14:14-16 and 17-20.
These verses describe the final “harvest of the earth.”
First: God's harvest (v.14-16);
Second: The “vine of the earth” is left to destruction.
Matthew 25:1-13 Study the parable of the 10 virgins.
Notice: Those who did not go in with the Bridegroom were left in darkness.
continued next page
Doesn't Paul say that some will go first and others follow?
Yes! The righteous DEAD are raised to life and ascend FIRST. The LIVING follow.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “ For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them, in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.”
Notice: This passage is speaking only of the righteous. And everything happens on the SAME DAY - the day that Christ returns. A shout, the trumpet of God, and the voice of the Archangel will not be“secret”.
“Rapture” versus “translation.”
I personally do not like the word “rapture,” because it is not in the Bible. The word describes the way that the people will feel who are caught up to be with Jesus - rapturous. I prefer the word “translation”. It means “to go up”.
“Enoch was translated without seeing death” (Heb. 11:5). He was a “type” or symbol of those living people who will be “caught up” to meet Jesus in the clouds. Elijah was also a type of those who will go up into the sky.
Didn't Jesus say that He would keep us from the final “hour of trial” ?
Revelation 3:10 “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
All parties agree that Jesus promised preservation. The question that divides us concerns the nature of that preservation. Yes. Jesus promised to keep us. But He will “keep” us by the power of His Spirit, not by removing us physically from the trial.
John 17:15 [Jesus prayed to His Father] “I do NOT pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”
In the Bible are many stories of God’s people who were sustained through times of trouble, great believers like Daniel and his three friends, Queen Esther, Joseph, Job, Elijah, and Jeremiah. God did not remove them from the hour of their trial. They are examples for us in the last days to come.
In “A Secret Rapture? - Part II”, we will consider the history of the “secret rapture” doctrine. Click here for Part Two of this study.
We pray this study will prove a blessing.
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