Christians all over the world are being taught the concept of a secret rapture. Is the rapture a biblically based concept or a concept based on misinterpreted verses? The concept of a rapture boils down to two theories. They are as follows:
- Jesus Christ will return to earth to secretly take His servants to heaven before the tribulation.
- Jesus Christ will return to earth after the tribulation to publicly take His servants to heaven before the Day of the Lord.
Mainstream Christianity is separated into two feuding factions over which one of the previously mentioned is correct and sound doctrine. It is not our goal to support either claim. Our goal is to explore what the bible has to say about the second coming of Jesus. Let’s explore the evidence presented by the proponents of these ideas.
First, it is important to note that the word rapture is not found in the bible yet many ministers and theologians claim that the bible teaches about a rapture. It is difficult to support an idea that isn’t mentioned by name. In addition, it is dangerous to try to given names of our own design to concepts presented my the inspired word of God. Despite this fact, many try to find verses to support their own ideas.
Look at the following verses:
“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.” (I Thes. 4:16-17 KJV)
Based on this verse, we know that it is true that Jesus will return and will gather His servants to meet Him in the air. Those who believe in the concept of a rapture support and confess this idea. It is this gathering that many call the rapture. The bible call this event the first resurrection in Rev 20:5. Notice Jesus is to come with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God. How could He come to gather His servants secretly with shouting and trumpets? It should be clear that Jesus doesn’t intend to return to earth quietly. So what’s the likelihood of His return being a secret?
“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.” (Matt 24:17 KJV)
Matt. 24:27 shows us that the second coming of Jesus Christ shall be seen like lightning from east to west. There is no secret when lightning flashes. It is written that all tribes of the earth shall mourn and see Christ coming in the clouds.
Let’s look at other verses used as rapture evidence.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.And he shall send his angels with 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.” (Matt 24:29-31 KJV)
This is to happen “immediately after the tribulation of those days.” There should be no question of whether or not Jesus gathers His servants before the tribulation. These verses (which are from the mouth of Jesus) say that this gathering will follow a worldwide sighting of Jesus. So there will be no secret rapture before the tribulation!!! The entire world will see Christ at His second coming.
This raises the question of whether or not Christ is coming to bring His servants back to heaven with Him. Biblical evidence will make this clear.
On Mount Sion
Included in the teaching of the rapture, there is a misconception that Jesus is coming to take the saved to heaven. Careful reading of the verses that refer to His second coming will make this clear. Do not be offended by this article. Let the verses of the bible be your guide into understanding.
Recall that the bible says the saints will meet Christ in the air in I Thes. 4:16-17. In the air cannot refer to heaven because verse 16 says Christ will descend from heaven therefore the saints will literally meet Christ in the air.
Does this mean Christ and the saints return to heaven? Look at the following verses:
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…” (Zech 14:4 KJV)
This verse is referring to the return of Christ to this earth. His feet shall stand on the mount of Olives and “the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee [Christ].” (Zech 14:5 KJV) So Jesus will return to earth to resurrect the saints and stand on the mount of Olives. It is not His intention to rapture the saved to heaven and leave the world to its own devices!!! Understand that God the Father is coming to rule the universe from earth, “but he [Jesus] must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” (I Cor. 15:25 KJV) Read Rev. 20 to understand what I Cor. 15:25 is explaining. Then read Rev. 21 and 22.
Read the following:
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” (Rev 14:1 KJV)
Read Rev. 14:2-5 which explains that the 144,000 individuals that this verse refers to are those who are redeemed of the earth. These are the people Christ will resurrect to meet Him in the air. Then they shall stand together on mount Sion as the book of Zechariah explains. There is no indication that the saved will return to heaven with Jesus.
Read Rev. 5:10. This group is to be made kings and priests to reign on earth not heaven!!! The very idea that the saved are going to heaven goes against what Jesus said Matt 5.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5 KJV)
Christ is quoting a Psalm of David in this verse. If it was not true, why would Christ quote him? Christ knew that the reward of the saved was to rule with Christ on earth. Read Rev 20:4-6 and Rom 8:17. This is a very important concept to understand and is connected to the true gospel Christ came to preach. The bible mentions that Christ traveled teaching that the kingdom of God was at hand. The kingdom of God is to be established on earth!!! We must stress that you read Rev. 20, 21, and 22 to understand this.
There is No Rapture
Do not be fooled by false doctrine and teachings that are not biblically based. Jesus Christ is not returning until after the tribulation is over nor is He coming before the Day of the Lord is over. The combined total of these events (the tribulation and the Day of the Lord) is prophesied to be the duration of three and a half years. Read Dan. 12:7, Rev. 11:2, Rev. 13:15, and many other verses referring to the time of Jacob’s trouble, tribulation, and the time of the gentiles.
Now note the following verse:
“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.” (I Cor 15:52 KJV)
The final process of conversion will take place at the last trumpet which is at the end of the Day of the Lord. Rev. 11:15 shows us that, “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord,” when the seventh angel (last of the angels with trumpets) sounds his trumpet.
The bible must be carefully studied to understand its outline of events. We encourage you to look into what the word of God says rather than believe what we or any other person claims the bible says.