Is the Secret Rapture Wrong?

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Is the Secret Rapture Wrong?

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Many Christians trust they will be raptured to heaven during a coming time of crisis. But what does scripture really teach?

Transcript

[Steve Myers] Doctrine must come from the Word of God, not by man’s word. So what does God’s Word say when it comes to the secret Rapture?

Many Christians believe that in the near future they’ll be going about their daily business of working, shopping, at school, or even driving and then they will suddenly disappear! Gone—raptured away to heaven.

But is this what your Bible teaches?

On Beyond Today , we’ll explore the truth of the rapture theory by examining what Scripture really says regarding what will happen at the end of the age and the return of Christ. So stay with me as we discuss: “Is the Secret Rapture Wrong?”

[Announcer] Join our host Steve Myers and his guests as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !

[Steve] Many Christians think that people around the world will be shocked by the strange and sudden disappearance of fathers, mothers, and even children. Planes will crash because pilots will vanish. Driverless cars will collide in the streets. Only clothing, sinners and even unworthy loved ones will be left behind.

Now have you asked yourself: Is this really what the Bible teaches? Is the idea of a secret rapture wrong?

Now, I’m not referring to the resurrection, because the Bible clearly speaks that a resurrection will take place. I’m talking about the idea that many churches teach as “the secret Rapture.” Now we’ll see on this program that these are two very different concepts. One is biblical, the other is not.

Now you know that books, and movies and many preachers even teach the notion that somehow Jesus will secretly snatch believers away to heaven for safety.

Now I hope you’ll think about that for a moment. Are you comfortable just accepting a belief because it’s popular or just because someone you may like promotes that idea? Don’t get your knowledge and understanding of the truth secondhand. Authentic Christians should never allow a movie, or a novel or a video define their beliefs.

God’s loyal people—they always take personal responsibility to look into a teaching and prove the truth! So be sure to go beyond entertainment and take a careful look with the right starting point, in fact the only true starting point—that’s the Holy Word of God.

So let’s see if the secret rapture theory stands up to the scrutiny of the Bible.

Many are pretty sure that the idea of the rapture must be recorded in the book of Revelation. But, if you check it out for yourself, you’ll find the truth is—there is no mention of a secret rapture anywhere in the book of Revelation.

So, as we begin, let’s define this idea. Now this belief includes the concept that Jesus won’t actually return to the earth—but will secretly come near, and take true believers, and transport them to safety in heaven.

Now during this time the raptured people will wait out the terrible trouble and tribulation that will be happening on the earth. The only evidence that the Rapture has actually happened is that Christians are suddenly gone. Supposedly they’ll be taken secretly, snatched up from the earth years before Jesus actually returns.

So, let’s see if the Bible validates the tenants of the rapture.

Does Scripture really teach that Jesus will secretly come and take Christians away to heaven?

Now we can learn something from the way Jesus returned to heaven after His crucifixion and resurrection. Now at that time, the disciples watched as He rose into the sky, “While they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men [now these were angels] they stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:9-11 Acts 1:9-11 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 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 like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.
American King James Version×
, NKJV).

Notice two important facts in these verses. First, the Jesus who will return to Earth, that one who comes a second time—He’s the very same Christ who lived here on Earth and who went back to heaven after His resurrection. The second fact is that He will return to Earth the same way—“in like manner”—as He went back to heaven. So, how did Jesus go to heaven after His resurrection? Was it a secret? No. The disciples watched Him literally rise into the air until a cloud hid Him from their sight. So these verses tell us plainly that Jesus will return to earth the same way—it will not be a secret.

Another Bible passage makes it absolutely clear that Jesus will not secretly return—in the book of Revelation. It says, “Behold, He is coming with clouds,”—now, that’s talking about Jesus—“and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him” (Revelation 1:7 Revelation 1:7Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
American King James Version×
). You see, when Jesus comes every eye—everyone on earth—will see Him come. That certainly doesn’t sound like He’s coming secretly, does it?

The Bible also disproves this idea of a secret rapture with this statement directly from Jesus Christ in the book of Matthew: “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 24:27 Matthew 24:27For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
American King James Version×
). Jesus’ second coming will be as visible as lightning that flashes during a storm. And we’ve seen those flashes—from one end of the sky to the other.

And so God’s Word makes it very clear that Jesus’ coming is anything but secret!

Now there’s a second idea that we must compare to the Bible and see if it is factual.

Is it true that believers will actually be taken away from the tribulation and distress to come, and only the wicked will be left on earth to suffer?

Now there’s no doubt, the Bible does foretell of a soon coming “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time” (Daniel 12:1 Daniel 12:1And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your 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 your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
American King James Version×
). That’s before Jesus’ return. But does that mean that Christians will be raptured and taken away from that tribulation?

Jesus Himself clearly tells us about this monumental event that will be like none other before it. He said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×
).

Did you notice something important here? You’ve got to ask yourself, if the elect—if God’s people are secretly raptured before the great tribulation, why would they need the days shortened? You see, those ideas totally disagree with each other.

If you turn to the Word of God, you’ll find that all throughout the Bible, there are example after example of God’s people being saved in the middle of tribulation, not being saved out of it or before it. This includes Daniel in the lion’s den, Israel and the plagues of Egypt, and of course, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace.

God saved Daniel while he was going through that tribulation. The children of Israel, they were delivered from bondage after the plagues. And in that blistering furnace, God saved those three men miraculously.

Now these examples are important because right before Christ returns, true Christians will likewise be the target of the ungodly, because of their faithfulness. There will come a time of persecution and great tribulation, But there will not be a rapture, a removal of the faithful.

Now it is true, that just as in all of biblical history, God will preserve His elect. But did you notice how? The same Jesus that was with Daniel in the lion’s den, and with the children of Israel, and with the men in the fire, will not remove the faithful from every trial and tribulation. Instead, He will go with us through the trials. God will shield true believers who follow Him with all their heart and mind.

So it becomes obvious from Scripture that the idea of removing believers to heaven for protection, well that’s contrary to the teaching and example of the Word of God. It’s just not biblical.

But you may ask, isn’t there a place in the Bible where they base the teaching of the rapture? Well, yes. So let’s look at that one passage that forms the basis for the Rapture. Well that’s right, the main argument is based on just one scripture and it’s found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 1 Thessalonians 4:17Then 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.
American King James Version×
.

Here’s what it says: “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

This is from where the basis for the word rapture comes. When translated into Latin, the word used for “shall be caught up” is the Latin word “rapere”—that’s where we get our English word “rapture.” Now in Latin, the word means “to seize” or “to abduct” or to “snatch.”

Now the question is this: Does the original Greek word for “caught up” express the same sense of abduction or secret rapture? No, it doesn’t. Scholars say “[it] combines the ideas of force and suddenness seen in the irresistible power of God” (Leon Morris, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Revised Edition, 1984, p. 94). So rather than secretly whisked away, it refers to the sudden and forceful return of Jesus Christ.

Let’s dig into the context of this passage so we can gain an even better understanding.

Do you know why the apostle Paul wrote this section of Scripture? It was to answer the concerns of Christians in Thessalonica. They were grieving over the unexpected deaths of some of their faithful members. You see, they thought Jesus would return in their lifetime. They didn’t think that any faithful Christians would die before Jesus’ return. So they were caught unprepared for their death.

Now they weren’t worried about whether Christ would return to rescue them. They weren’t worried about their own safety in the end-of-the-age tribulation. And they weren’t neglecting their spiritual readiness.

Verse 13 shows this: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [died], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 1 Thessalonians 4:13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
American King James Version×
).

You see, the topic is clearly those Christians who were asleep, who had died. God is going to bring the dead back to life in a resurrection. Notice it: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14 1 Thessalonians 4:14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
American King James Version×
).

Now did you see the time reference? It says: “God will bring with Him.” That is, they’ll come with at the second coming of Christ. Could he have meant a secret rapture? No, it could only be referring to Jesus’ second coming to earth and the resurrected faithful will be with Him.

Now that’s why they could have hope! All Christians, living and dead are included those verses: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet 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. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17).

So it’s no secret: The return of Christ is heralded by the seventh trumpet and a shout. True Christians both dead and alive will meet the returning Christ in the atmosphere of the earth, not in the heaven of God’s throne (1 Thessalonians 4:17 1 Thessalonians 4:17Then 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.
American King James Version×
). The Bible doesn’t call this a rapture—the Word of God calls this the first resurrection.

Paul used strong words so that people would be reassured that, at Jesus’ return, God would reunite believers who were still alive with believers who had died. The dead Christians won’t be left behind in any way!

Now there is another critical factor to consider about this verse. Recognizing the meaning of the word “meet.” It’s a very important word. One biblical scholar says, “the special idea of the word was the official welcome of a newly arrived dignitary” (Moulton, Greek Test. Gram., Vol. I, p. 14 ; and 1985, “Meet”). Another commentary says that this word “meet” refers to “when a king enters his city the loyal go forth to meet him…” (Jamison Faucett Brown).

Yet another states that the word “meet” is used “of the official reception given to a visiting governor, whom his citizens escort into the city from which they have come to meet him” (1986, notes on 1 Thess. 4:13-18; F.F. Bruce’s International Bible Commentary).

What does it mean? Well when we put it all together it becomes clear. When Jesus returns, true Christians will be resurrected and rise to meet the King of Kings! As an escort of honor, they’ll officially welcome the newly arriving King and accompany Him back to the earth where He will rule from Jerusalem.

That’s what this passage is all about. So imagine the celebration and the excitement. No wonder God’s people would be encouraged with this amazing truth.

Another important aspect is that trumpet blast that Paul wrote about. The book of Revelation tells of trumpets sounding at the end of the age. When the seventh and final angel sounds, the announcement is the finale, the last and greatest event: The return of Jesus Christ to initiate the Kingdom of God on earth.

“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×
).

I hope you see the significance. Scripture doesn’t allow for a quiet secret rapture of Christians to heaven for several years! Instead, that “last trumpet” announces Christ’s return to rule over the earth.

Now there is one other passage that we should consider. It’s used to support the idea of a secret rapture. In fact, you may be familiar with the verse that says, “Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:41 Matthew 24:41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
American King James Version×
). It’s found in Matthew 24 and in Luke 17.

Now to understand this passage—we’ll need to step back and look at the context of the verse. Have you ever noticed that Jesus says something remarkable right after that statement?

He says, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together” (Luke 17:37 Luke 17:37And they answered and said to him, Where, Lord? And he said to them, Wherever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
American King James Version×
). In Matthew it says “wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together” (Matthew 24:28 Matthew 24:28For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
American King James Version×
). Now, that sounds kind of odd, doesn’t it? Yet it is significant. So let’s sort it out.

Jesus is paraphrasing the inspired words of Job. He says: “Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high? On the rocks it dwells and resides, on the crag of the rock and the stronghold. From there it spies out the prey; its eyes observe from afar” (Job 39:27-30 Job 39:27-30 27 Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make her nest on high? 28 She dwells and stays on the rock, on the crag of the rock, and the strong place. 29 From there she seeks the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. 30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.
American King James Version×
).

The symbolism in this story helps unlock this mysterious statement that Jesus Christ gave many years later.

What do these eagles represent? Well other scriptures show “eagles” can symbolize God’s faithful people. Notice: “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 Isaiah 40:31But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
American King James Version×
).

Next, let’s notice where Job said those eagles dwell: “On the rocks it dwells and resides, on the crag of the rock and the stronghold” (Job 39:28 Job 39:28She dwells and stays on the rock, on the crag of the rock, and the strong place.
American King James Version×
). You see that symbolism points to God’s people as eagles dwelling in the rock. In other words, relying on Jesus Christ, who is our spiritual Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4 1 Corinthians 10:4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
American King James Version×
).

Then the verse speaks of “prey,” which is “afar off” that the “eagles” are seeking. In other words, what are God’s true people looking forward to in the near future?

The answer is found in Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×
, “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

So if we summarize that passage, we find that the eagles, who are God’s faithful people, are spying out, or seeking first, the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.

And by unlocking that symbolic meaning in Job, we can reread Christ’s statement in context.

He said, “For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day…Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left” (Luke 17:24 Luke 17:24For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
American King James Version×
, Luke 17:35-36 Luke 17:35-36 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
American King James Version×
).

So we see this is referring to the end of the age. The context is about the coming Kingdom of God on Earth. Christ is predicting events that will occur just before His return to this earth and the resurrection of God’s faithful people.

Now the important question: Will God’s faithful people be whisked away? Or will they be resurrected at the end of the age and gather around the “body” of the returning Jesus Christ?

Well let’s notice it: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet 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. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
American King James Version×
).

You see, now we can understand that Jesus Christ is the “body” that the “eagles”—His faithful people, the Church—will be gathered at the resurrection. That’s when He returns to rule over the nations as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

So you see, when we allow the Bible to interpret itself, it’s unmistakably clear that Christ fully returns to the earth to fulfill the countless prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, the King of Kings, to save the world. It’s unreasonable to think that He would come and briefly be there to only leave and not return for years!

Remember what Jesus Himself prayed: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15 John 17:15I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil.
American King James Version×
).

Now that’s just the opposite of a secret rapture! The Bible doesn’t promise that God will take believers to heaven to protect them from the troubles to come. Jesus prayed for just the opposite—our protection from evil while we’re here on the earth.

There is no doubt—Christ will return, but be careful not to read into those prophecies words and ideas that just aren’t in Scripture. There is a second coming and a resurrection of the faithful, but there is no secret rapture.

In Jesus’ true teaching there is also an admonition. The challenge for all of us is to be sure that we’re considered by God to be His worthy “eagles” at His return. That at the resurrection, we want to be with the “body” of Jesus Christ when He returns in power to set up His Kingdom on Earth, and to rule over all the nations with His faithful people.

So what should we do? Get into that Bible! Prove it for yourself. Don’t take my word for it. Go to the truth of the Word of God. Get out your Bible, and open it up and read it for yourself. Then you can really begin to understand the truth.

Now I hope you’ve been challenged to look further into the truth of Scripture. I’d like to help you by offering you a special, free Bible study aid: The Rapture vs. the Bible. This valuable study guide will help you better understand that the secret Rapture teaching simply doesn’t come from the Bible. It will also aid you in discovering the wonderful hope of the resurrection that God has planned for you and all humanity.

To request your free copy of this important study aid, just call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632. Or you can go online at BeyondToday.tv or write to us at the address shown on your screen.

When you order your study aid, we’ll also send you a free subscription to Beyond Today magazine. Each issue of Beyond Today includes educational and inspirational articles on practical Christian living, on prophecy, on doctrine and current events in relation to the Bible.

Again, to order our study aid: The Rapture vs. the Bible and your free subscription to Beyond Today magazine call us: 1-888-886-8632. Or go online to BeyondToday.tv to read or download your copy.

If you’d like to learn more about the fascinating truths of the Bible, please join my fellow Beyond Today hosts and me, every other Wednesday night, for our live, online Bible studies at BeyondToday.tv . In each of them we discuss key biblical topics in detail. Of course, if you can’t join us live, you can still find all of these special Bible studies archived on our BeyondToday.tv website.

Now when you visit BeyondToday.tv , be sure and join us throughout the week for our BT Daily online videos. These short videos cover many Bible topics in addition to breaking news and prophecy—all in the light of Holy Scripture.

Remember, you can watch Beyond Today and BT Daily anytime on YouTube, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and on our Roku Channel and other streaming-enabled devices.

[Steve Myers] Hi, I’m Steve Myers. I’m the pastor here at the United Church of God Cincinnati East congregation. We have hundreds of congregations around the United States and across the world. I’d like to welcome you to come and join us on this great spiritual journey. Click on the Congregations tab to find a church near you.

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[Darris McNeely] America is at a crossroads. You’ve seen the world go through dramatic changes. What’s God doing and what’s His plan and purpose for you? How can you take control of your life and meet the challenges of our day? You need to hear our message of hope and understanding. Come see Beyond Today live as we present America: The Time is Now . Join me along with Steve Myers and Gary Petty. We’ll give you answers to understand today’s world events and hope for what God has planned for you. Check our website for details and get your free tickets today. Come hear a message of help for today and hope for tomorrow! America, the time is now!

[Steve] The idea of Christians being secretly raptured to heaven is a false teaching. Remember, just because many believe it, doesn’t make it true.

Now your Bible does teach there is a frightening time of world trouble ahead. But more importantly, it also teaches that Jesus will come again to set the world right. He will resurrect His loyal, obedient people.

Be sure you are loyal. Be sure you’re obedient to God, because now is the time to obey. Now is the time to repent, to change. It’s not too late. So, don’t get caught up. Don’t get caught up in that idea of a secret rapture. Always turn to the Bible so you can understand the true teachings of Jesus Christ.

That’s our program for today. Thanks for joining me and don’t forget our free offers. Be sure to tell your family and friends about us, and tune in again next week for another edition of Beyond Today . And join me in praying, “Thy Kingdom come.” For Beyond Today I’m Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.

[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today’s program, go online to BeyondToday.tv . Please join us again next week on Beyond Today !

Comments

  • fireoftheholyghost
    Let me ask you something..Is God a God of Divine order? Did he create the Heavens in Divine Order? The Earth, Man and Woman, The animals, all of creation in divine order? Did the Prophets give their prophecies in divine order? If you answered no, then you have not studied the bible. God gave Moses the Feasts of Israel, as a EVERLASTING covenant with the People of God, his chosen and his elect. Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Feast Of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, Tabernacles. 7 Feasts that will all be fulfilled by Christ. The First 4 have already been fulfilled as scripture declares by the Apostle Paul. If God is a God of Divine Order, then he will also Fulfill the final 3 in his Son. Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) is next..the Only Feast in Israel known as "of that day and hour knows no man" A 48 hour window where 2 witnesses are to watch for the sliver of the new moon..and when it is seen, blow the Shofar to announce the Feast of Trumpets has commenced. It is a blowing of the Shofar for a gathering and an assembly of People. This is the NEXT Feast to be fulfilled by Christ...the removal of his bride, the body of Christ, for a wedding Feast in Heaven...your wrong.
  • jcreech6
    Continued.... 1 Thessalonians 15-18, "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet 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. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." God has given us detailed signs both visually and audibly that will be recognizable at His return. Another thing to note would be that both the living and dead in Christ will be resurrected at His return. Using the verses I quoted along with others, we can see that it will not be a secret rapture where some people just disappear before Christ's return, but a resurrection of the living and dead who are faithful at His return which occurs at the seventh trumpet.
  • jcreech6
    Michael, I'm confused about the questions that you present in the first few sentences of your comment, and what you are actually asking. My inclination is that you are stating that the next step in God's plan is a secret rapture. We believe God have given us His Holy Days as representations of what will occur, and yes, the Feast of Trumpets does represent the return of Jesus Christ. You mentioned how orderly God is. If a secret rapture occurred, chaos would be created. One possibility would be that unmanned cars would create devastation after the drivers were raptured. There's many other examples of critical situations that would be created if people just disappeared from their positions. Christ's return is going to be well know. Luke 21:25-27 states, "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." We are given additional details in
  • Sirsilius
    Rev. 15:2 - And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. The Sea of Glass is before the throne of God (Rev. 4:6) and the throne is in heaven (Rev. 4:2). Also see Rev. 7:9-15, in regards to the Great Multitude that came out of the Tribulation and stands before God's throne in heaven. I always thought that the resurrection would occur after the tribulation, where Christ would meet us in the air and then escort us back to heaven in order to avoid God's Wrath on earth's inhabitants that shortly follows the tribulation. Scripture says we are not appointed to wrath. Afterwards, we would all come down to earth with him to establish his Kingdom and 1000 year reign. Please explain the above verses. Thanks!
  • Steven Britt
    Hi Sirsilius - the scriptures are clear that the resurrection of the saints takes place after the tribulation at the same moment when Jesus Christ returns to the earth for a 1000 year reign. For example, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 plainly identifies the resurrection of the saints with Christ coming down from Heaven (notice: not coming down and then disappearing and coming back down again later). Matthew 24:29-31 pictures these same events taking place "after the tribulation," and Revelation 20:4-6 puts it at Jesus' return and rule over the earth. You quoted from 1 Thessalonians 5:9 which says, "God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." This doesn't mean that Christians will not suffer in the tribulation, but rather speaks to being saved from the God's wrath - that is, the death penalty we deserve for sin. Revelation 6:9-11 shows that God's Church will face persecution and even martyrdom in the end times, and Revelation 12:17 says that Satan will "make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ."
  • Skip Miller
    Hello Sirsilius, There are at least two clearly delineated Resurrections. The first occurs when Jesus returns to earth: Rev 20: 4. All who have received the free gift of God's Holy Spirit and died without losing it will be resurrected then. Rev 20: 5, last sentence makes this clear. The words in that sentence of Rev 20: 5 obviously allude to or logically require that there be a second Resurrection. When will that second Resurrection occur? It will occur after the Millennium. All those who never really had the opportunity to understand the Truth (that the gift of Eternal Life is available to each and every human being) will be resurrected at that time. (The details of his massive resurrection are not spelled out in Scripture.) But by getting and reading our Holy Day booklets you can see and understand a great deal!
  • bartels.doug
    I'm with you 100% on the difference between a rapture and a resurrection. However, the one question that seems to press upon my mind is the order of events as outlined in Rev. 19:20 - 20:1ff; Armageddon, Beast/false prophet thrown into Lake of Fire, Satan bound 1000 years in abyss, 1000 year reign of Christ, Satan Loosed, Gog/Magog, Great White Throne Judgement, New Heaven/Earth...how would we know if we were living in the period when Satan was loosed, after the first resurrection and the1000 year reign of Christ, to device the nations (if even possible, the elect) just prior to Gog/Magog? Some saints will live through this period, so how would we know if was us or a yet future generation, if not us in this age?
  • Skip Miller
    Hello Doug, I'm with Ivan; could you clarify that point? But I think I can answer part of your question. After Satan (and the demons) are restrained that will allow the millennium to be the time of peace that all the prophets have predicted! That perfect peaceful period will extend 1000 years (or a little less; the exact timing of the release of Satan and the other demons is not exactly defined.) BUT , apparently , it is only Gog and Magog that rush to encircle the camp of the saints. (Someone seems to have missed doing their job!) This aberration in what otherwise has been about 1000 years of perfect peace should be seen by most humans then alive as, well, an aberration! However, to my way of thinking, it is absolutely necessary so that these 2nd fruits have at least some small opportunity to declare clearly their firm fidelity to the Truth that they and their ancestors have been taught during the millennium. Please understand, this is my explanation for several points that are not strictly explained.
  • Ivan Veller
    Hi Doug, could you clarify the question please? For instance, do you believe that the 1,000-year reign of Christ has already occurred (postmillennialism) or has yet to occur (premillennialism)? Our understanding is that many prophecies have yet to be fulfilled prior to Christ's return: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-television-program/seven-prophetic-signs-before-jesus-returns
  • bartels.doug
    Let me try to clarify, assuming a correct time line of events as follows, based on Rev. 19:20 - 20:1ff; 1) [Armageddon, Beast/false prophet thrown into Lake of Fire, Satan bound 1000 years in abyss]; 2) 1000 year reign of Christ; 3) Satan Loosed; 4) Gog/Magog; 5) Great White Throne Judgement; 6)New Heaven/Earth. When Satan is loosed to deceive the nations, after the 1000 year reign of Christ, then how would anyone know that they would be living in that period, the time when Satan is given time to deceive the nations, prior to Gog and Magog? There will be a generation that goes through this period of time, correct? So then, since a generation will be born after the first resurrection, having already occurred after the 1000 year reign of Christ was concluded, they would live in a time of great deception, the time when Satan is loosed for a short time…how would that generation know and could it be us in this generation?
  • Steven Britt
    I have a hard time believing in such an extrapolation of the deception spoken of in Revelation 20:7-9 - though we aren't given a time scale for that prophecy, the focus is clearly on deceiving them into fighting against "the camp of the saints," not trapping them in a matrix-like delusion for decades. The vision in Daniel 2 makes it clear that we cannot be living in that time period of deception after the 1000 years. Specifically, Daniel 2:44 states that "the God of heave will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed." In other words, once Jesus Christ begins to rule over the earth, He will continue to rule from His throne in Jerusalem forever.
  • pgfracing
    Christ kingdom began when he came at his first coming, Christ kingdom does not start in the future. The kings being referred to in Daniel 2 are the Roman 10 Kings starting with Augustus Caesar who was in rule when Christ was born. Google "Daniel 2:44 And The Kingdom Of Christ Does Not Start In The Future" for my video response. So yes we could be living in the time of Satan's deception.
  • bartels.doug
    Besides, it would only take a few decades to complete the deception, to garner the support of all the atheist to assist in the public and nefarious activity of teaching the wisdom of men apart from the knowledge of God, through the public school system to actually help establish, perpetuate and even foist the matrix, which is the construct for the deception, upon the masses through the use of technology, artificial intelligence, space exploration, etc., and to use such in an effort to “surround the camp of the saints.” Of course he’s going to lie to people who will believe the lie…they will be his minions who run with it, despising, more and more the saints of God, as Gog and Magog looms imminently.
  • bartels.doug
    So I guess the question then is this: Is Christ NOT reigning in the world today? If we conclude that He does reign, His church is apostate (which prophesy calls for—“the falling away” - 2Thes. 2:3) but this does not mean His rule over the earth does not continue, rather His rule is only unrecognized by the apostate church as they follow a false christ. Unrecognized reign does not negate the reality of the reign of the true Christ (Rev. 11:15-17; and 19:1-6). His elect—those not worshiping the dragon (as they are not deceived, though the deception is so great that if it were possible even the elect would be deceived)—yet yield the Lordship to the sovereign reign of the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lord’s Christ (Rev.11:15) even if the rest of the apostate church does not, but rather worships the beast.
  • david from tx
    Hello Doug, Christ is not reigning today. In fact, if you look at Revelation, before Christ's second coming (which is a thousand years before Gog and Magog, see Rev 19:11-Rev 20:9) is preceded by the great tribulation, which is itself preceded by the four horsemen. These four horsemen (false religion, war, famine, and pestilence) will kill a fourth of the world's population (read Rev 6:8). That hasn't happened yet. Also Rev 20:1-3 (when the devil is bound) takes place after Christ's return (Rev 19:11). The devil has not been bound at any point since Eden. Please remember that it's very important to look at the timing and context in Scripture before reaching a conclusion about such matters. I hope that this clears things up for you a little.
  • d.bestphotographer
    You are absolutely correct. I believe the secret rapture was invented or adopted by the Baptist. Tim LeHaye in his multi million dollar best selling series just promoted this fantasy Hollywood style. No one wants to go through rought times. The Lord never said He would keep you from bad times but would be with you through them. I believe it is one of Satans great deceptions using half truths to fool even the elect. Less than one quarter of the US now know what is in the Bible no less read and believe it, so deception is quite easy . I don't feel it makes any difference on salvation this point, just that if you are fooled it would be easier for you to lose your faith when the tribulation does arrive. Even Amir Tsfarti the Messianic evangilist has bought into this lie, but he is a good man, and still brings people to the Lord. So lets concentrate on the thigs that bring us together as Christians rather than those things which divide us as long as it does not negate your salvation. Keep up the great work. Pray for the U.S. the Government, and God's church around the world, He is watching over it. Yes we will destroy ourselves, the earth will burn upin Nuclear war which is coming.
  • lisak
    There is one thing that I have never really understood. Since Jesus return is supposed to be at a time we dont expect, and suddenly, wouldnt most people be looking for Him due to the two witnesses activity? I would think that the two witnesses and the miracles that they will be performing would be impossible to miss and Jesus coming not to be "as a thief" but as something many would be watching for because of them. Can someone help me understand this? Thank you so much!
  • Steven Britt
    Hi Lisa - 1 Thessalonians 5:2-8 says that Jesus will come "as a thief in the night," but it also explains that the Church of God is "not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief" and it instructs us to "watch and be sober." The miracles of the two witnesses can only benefit those who believe - consider how many people refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah even after seeing His miracles firsthand! Revelation 12:9 says that Satan "deceives the whole world," and Satan's influence through the Beast government system in the end times will be very strong. Only God can open a person's understanding - Paul called it a "veil" in 2 Corinthians 4:2-3, saying "the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers." The amazing conclusion is that God is going to lift this veil when Jesus returns to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth! Then "at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow... every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father" (Philippians 2:10-11).
  • lisak
    Hi Steven- Thank you for your response! I guess I have had a hard time thinking that there is and will be so many people blinded to truth that even through the events that are coming they still wont believe or understand what is going on. I shouldnt be surprised based upon the way people vehemently object to anything about God or the Bible. Thank you again and Happy Sabbath!
  • r33ce99
    Sorry Steve, but you need to give us the full context. Those verses you mention are referring to the second coming. The second coming and rapture are two separate events, unless it doesn't bother you there are contradictions. You are also wrong about no mention of rapture in Revelation, it is right there in Revelation 12, clearly. And Noah entered the ark 7 days before final judgement came, Joseph and the famine lasted for 7 years, Lot's family escaped before judgement... etc. So I don't know how you can cherry pick scripture, and claim a rapture in the middle of judgement. I have loads of Biblical evidence of a rapture (pre-trib), so contact me for it.
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