What is the Secret Christian Rapture?
One of the most controversial subjects in relation to the second coming of Jesus is whether or not there will be a secret rapture of Christians seven years prior to His return.
The doctrine of the secret rapture says that the second coming of Jesus will be in two separate stages. The first stage, a secret rapture of the Christians at the beginning of a seven year tribulation period followed by the second stage which is His glorious and triumphant return to Earth, accompanied by His Church at the end of the seven year tribulation.
This doctrine of the rapture is amalgamated to Francisco Ribera’s teaching of the seven years of tribulation, where an Antichrist will come into power and sit in a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, declaring to the planet that his is God. It also says that the battle of Armageddon is a literal war of nations against literal Israel, which occurs near the end of the seven year tribulation period and is ended abruptly by Christ’s return to earth with His Church. It says that the literal nation of Israel accepts the Lord as their Messiah and enters with Him as His covenant people into a 1000-year reign here on earth. And that finally those who ultimately reject Christ’s rule will be judged and destroyed at the end of the Millennium.
Where is the Seven year tribulation found in the Bible?
Many Christians will be surprised to find out that “seven year tribulation” period is found nowhere in the Bible. Revelation does definitely speak of the tribulation before the second coming of our Lord, but it does not specify anywhere the time period of this tribulation.
Where did Ribera get the seven years from?
The background to the teaching of the seven years of tribulation is very interesting.
Francisco Ribera was a Jesuit Priest who lived from 1537-1591. He was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church to write a counter interpretation of the prophecies of Daniel 9 and Revelation as part of the Catholic Churches Counter Reformation. This counter reformation was deemed necessary as the 16th century Protestants who had been studying the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, and who had been enlightened by God with the truths that Salvation comes through Christ alone and that the Bible, which is the Word of God has precedence over church traditions and laws, had discovered that the “Little Horn, antichrist beast power” that was described in Daniel and correlated to the First beast of Revelation, could be none other than the Papacy. Specifically the following attributes corresponded precisely with the Antichrist beast power described in Daniel and Revelation:
- It would be a great power that arose after the fall of the pagan Roman Empire (after 476 A.D.)
- Geographically it would be a small nation (a little horn). (Daniel 7:8)
- It would rule over many people, nations, and tongues (a universal power). (Revelation 13:7)
- It would have its headquartered in the city of seven hills, Rome.
- It would be a religio-political entity - a political city-state ruled by a priest-king (different to the four powers that came before it Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Pagan Rome).
- Its priest-king would make great and blasphemous claims. (Revelation 13:1, 6)
- It would claim authority over all kings. (Revelation 17:18)
- It would claim it had the power to change the holy times and laws of God as its mark of authority. (Daniel 7:25)
- It would be an apostate (going against the Word of God) church that would make the nations drink her cup of apostate doctrine. (Revelation 14:8)
- It would be a “mother” harlot church, with apostate daughters coming from her. (Revelation 17:5)
- It would be a persecuting power, killing the faithful saints of Jesus Christ as heretics. (Revelation 13:7)
The other criteria for the antichrist beast power which had not yet been fulfilled in the time of the early reformers were as follows:
- It would hold power and authority for 1260 years following the fall of pagan Rome. (Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13:5)
- It would suffer a deadly wound that would end 1260 years of dominance and persecution. (Revelation 13:3)
- It would be revived after the deadly wound, and all the world would wonder at its revival. (Revelation 13:3)
The Protestant reformers, coming out of centuries of Catholic rule, where anyone who did not bow down to all of the precepts and traditions of the Church had been tortured or killed, recognised that this power fitted all the criteria of the Antichrist. As well as the literal millions of people who were killed during the “Inquisitions” of the dark ages, for being heretics (choosing for oneself what to believe), they saw that the Church had instituted many unbiblical doctrines. They knew that the scriptures taught that Jesus is our only mediator, but the Church said that the people should confess their sins to priests, and pray to Mary. They knew that the Bible said don’t bow down to idols, but the Catholic church taught that people should bow down and pray to statues of the saints (which were mostly statues of Jupiter and other pagan gods that had been relabelled with Christian names). They knew that salvation comes through Christ alone, but the church was teaching salvation through works.
The Reformers unanimously and courageously accepted the truths of the scriptures as being sacred and were led by conscience to take their stand against Papal Rome. The Reformation split Christendom in half.
To counteract the Protestant movement, Papal Rome developed the blueprint for their counter reformation. Their response included:
- The formal recognition of the order of Jesuits
- The actions and decrees of the Council of Trent
- The Catholic counter systems of prophetic interpretation
- The widespread revival of persecution
The Council of Trent commissioned several Jesuit priests to write counter interpretations of prophecy that would point to the Antichrist being in a different time period, so as to take the focus off the Catholic Church.
Francisco Ribera of Salamanca Spain and Robert Bellarmine of Rome put forth the futurist interpretation saying that Antichrist prophecies were to be fulfilled in a seven year tribulation period somewhere in the distant future. This futurist theory is now the most widely accepted theory and is accepted by most Fundamentalist churches today. Francisco Ribera published his 500-page commentary on Revelation around 1590.
The other interpretation was done by Luis De Alcasar (1554-1613), who also wrote a commentary called Investigation of the Hidden Sense of the Apocalypse, which was about 900 pages long. In it he proposed that all of Revelation applied to the past, to the era of pagan Rome and the first six centuries of Christianity. Alcasar put forward the Preterist interpretation, which identified the Antichrist as being Nero.
How did Ribera develop the idea of seven years of tribulation?
There is a beautiful Messianic Prophecy in Daniel 9, which pinpointed even to the season when Jesus would be baptised, when He would die for our sins and when the gospel would begin going to all the world.
The prophecy in Daniel 9: 24-27 reads:
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 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, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
When Daniel was given this vision he had been earnestly praying for his people, the Jews, who were in captivity in Babylon.
This prophecy predicts with amazing accuracy the year of the coming of the Messiah. The timeline begins in 457 BC with the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild the temple. Ezra 7:8-17 shows that the decree went out in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, so historical documents can easily confirm this year.
Bible prophecy works on the day for a year system, as shown in Ezekiel 4:6 “...I have appointed thee each day for a year” so therefore 70 weeks, 490 days is 490 years.
This prophecy is split into three sections. Seven weeks (49 years, which is the time it took to rebuild the temple), 62 weeks (434 years) till Messiah the Prince. This takes the timeline to the year AD27, which is the year when Jesus was “anointed” and began His ministry, and finally there is another one week (7 years).
Daniel wrote that in the midst of the final seven years the Messiah will be “cut off, but not for himself” (showing that Jesus would die after 3 1/2 years of ministry) and would cause the “sacrifice and oblation to cease.” Jesus' one time perfect sacrifice on Calvary did forever put an end to the need for the animal sacrificial system, as the animal sacrifices had been a ‘type’ for the work that Jesus would do. They had shown that salvation came through repentance and through the blood of the lamb.
In the final 3 1/2 years of this prophecy the gospel message was still preached exclusively to the Jews, (Daniel’s people) but at the end of this period, Stephen was stoned, marking the final decision of the Jewish leaders to reject Christ as the Messiah and from that time on the gospel was taken to the gentiles. Therefore as predicted 70 weeks was cut off for the Jewish people to put an end to their disobedience to God and to accept their Messiah whom God would send.
This prophecy also predicted the destruction of the Jewish temple “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” which occurred in AD70, and signified the final “desolation.” The destructions of both the first and the second temple were both as a direct result of the people’s rejection of and disobedience to God.
When the Jewish leaders formally rejected Jesus as the Messiah this ended the sacred appointment of the Jewish people as God’s chosen ones. Through Christ a new covenant was made, that all who followed Him would be called the children of God and seed of Abraham. Galatians 3:29 “And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
This prophecy is an awesome display of the power of God in foretelling almost 600 years ahead of time, exactly when He would send His son to this world to die for our sins and how Jesus would “confirm the covenant” and cease the need for performing the sacrifices that had been put in place as a shadow of the His fulfilling work on the cross.
Francisco Ribera took the last week of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy, threw it down to the end of time, and then put forward the idea that instead of Jesus putting an end to sins and confirming the covenant, that it would be an antichrist that would go into a rebuilt temple and confirm a covenant with the Jews and stop a sacrificial system which would have had to have been restarted again. These seven years are also then denoted as being a seven year period of tribulation.
The Bible clearly shows that Jesus confirmed the covenant with His people Galatians 3:17 “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”
The antichrist on the other has never made a covenant with anyone that he could “confirm.” Only God can make covenants with His creations.
This teaching also overlooks the fact that in the New Testament the Church is no longer a building (Temple), but the body of Christ, being all of the Christians. No building constructed by the Jewish people would ever be called God’s Temple, because they are no longer God’s people because they rejected His son.
There are no time prophecies in the Bible that are disjointed. When a prophecy says 70 weeks, it means 70 weeks. It does not mean 69 weeks, an unidentified amount of time and then the 70th week. Even a child can understand the simple logic that requires that the 70th week follow immediately after the 69th week. If it doesn’t, then it cannot properly be called the 70th week!
Did Ribera teach about a Secret Christian Rapture?
Again many Christians may be surprised to find out that the idea of a secret rapture is not depicted in the Bible and in fact, even though it has now been attached to Ribera’s seven year tribulation teaching, it was almost three hundred years from the time Ribera published his work, until the notion of a secret rapture was ever attached to it.
Where did the Secret Rapture Theology come from?
In 1830 a 15 year old Scottish Girl named Margaret McDonald claimed to have had some visions. One of them was of a secret rapture of believers before the appearance of the Antichrist. (She was already familiar with Ribera’s teaching of the seven years of tribulation). Her Presbyterian pastor Edward Irving (1792-1834), who was a forerunner of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements, spoke at prophecy conferences in Dublin Ireland at Powerscourt Castle and promoted the doctrine of the secret rapture as per her vision.
John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), a minister of the Church of Ireland and who later became a member of the Plymouth Brethren, also promoted the secret rapture doctrine, after attending the same Powerscourt Bible Prophecy meeting in 1830, where he learned of Margaret McDonald’s vision.
Darby altered Margaret’s views and then taught them as his own. He developed “futurism” into a system of prophetic teachings called “dispensationalism” which had the secret rapture at its centre. He visited Margaret McDonald at her home in Scotland and then later went to America several times in the 1850s and 1860s, where this rapture theology had started gaining a large acceptance.
Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921) was greatly influenced by the teachings of Darby and incorporated this false doctrine into the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible, published by Oxford University Press in 1909. One million copies had been printed by 1930, firmly establishing this futurist theory into different denominations and Bible schools in the 20th Century.
Does the Bible show us a Secret Christian Rapture?
In Matthew 28:20 Jesus said “…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” If He had intended to come seven years before the end to take the Christians out of the world why would He promise to be with the church until the ‘end of the world’?
The Bible clearly shows that God’s people will still be on earth when Jesus returns. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “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.”
We are told in Paul’s writings that at the last trump, when the trumpet sounds the dead in Christ will rise first and all the believers on earth will be changed in an instant and receive new immortal bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
If there was going to be a secret rapture seven years before Christ’s coming, why would Paul be telling them that he expects them to still be on earth when Jesus comes (remembering that Paul did not know the timing of the Lord’s return and wrote with the expectation that perhaps it would be during his lifetime)?
Paul states clearly that these events all take place “at the last trump,” and not seven years before it. He shows that, “the trumpet shall sound.” So this will be loud, audible, glorious return, not quiet or secret.
When Jesus returns His angels will gather His people from all corners of the earth. Matthew 24:31 “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.” If the Church had already been taken off the earth secretly and were coming back with Him when He comes, as taught in the secret rapture theology, then how could the angels gather the church from the earth?
The Bible teaches that every eye will see Jesus when He returns. This includes not only all of the non-believers but also all of the believers. Revelation 1:7 “Behold, he cometh 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.”
The scriptures show that Jesus second coming will be sudden, and unexpected for unbelievers and even for believers who have not studied His prophecies. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 says “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” As well as depicting the suddenness of His Coming this verse also shows that the lost will be utterly destroyed when Jesus returns.
Doesn’t Jesus take away the Christians before the Antichrist comes?
The popular doctrine of the secret rapture says that Jesus comes secretly and takes away all of the Christians prior to a seven year tribulation in which the antichrist appears and sets himself up in the rebuilt middle eastern temple. However this doctrine clearly contradicts the prophecy of Paul, who plainly told us not to be deceived, that the antichrist ‘man of sin’ would be revealed BEFORE Jesus comes back. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin 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.”
It should also be noted here that the Greek word that Paul uses for temple is the same word that he used every time he refers to the people being the church.
He is therefore telling us that the ‘man of sin’, the head of the antichrist beast power would actually be within the Christian church, but would claim to have the power of God, or to be in fact, God on earth. Again this precisely describes the Head of the Roman Catholic Church, as the Pope calls himself the “Vicar of Christ” and claims that he is “God on earth.”
- “The Pope holds the place of the true God,” Pope Innocent III (AD 1198-1216).
- “What can you make me but God?” Pope Nicholas (AD 858-867)
- “The Pope, is as it were, God on earth.” Ferrar's (Roman Catholic) AN ECCLESIASTICAL
- The Lateran Council (AD 1123) acclaimed the Pope as “Prince of the Universe.”
All of the Protestant Reformation leaders, Luther, Knox, Wesley, Calvin, Zwingli, etc., clearly identified the church-state system of Papacy as the ‘Man of Sin and Antichrist’. In 1 John 2:18-19, John explains that “Antichrist” came from the Church and defines “Antichrist” as “in the place of Christ,” not “against Christ.”
So again the Historicist viewpoint of the timing for the appearance of the antichrist lines up with the Bible far more readily than the secret rapture doctrine, which expects him to appear after Jesus comes to get the church. Paul tells us that the antichrist comes before Jesus does.
Is there anything Secret about Jesus’ return?
When the Lord returns there will be nothing secret about it. The dead in Christ will rise first. Those Christians who have overcome the time of tribulation and persecution and are still alive will be caught up to meet Him in the sky. All of the unbelievers on earth will be destroyed and the earth will melt away. 2 Peter 3:12 “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
The believers will then go with Jesus to heaven where we will reign for a thousand years and the books will be opened and we will judge the nations. Revelation 20:4-5 “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus (clarifying again that they were on earth during the tribulation), and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”
As well as judging the nations for the thousand years we will also be judging the angels. 1 Corinthians 6:3 “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”
To recap, after Christ gathers His people, the lost are all destroyed and are not raised again until the end of the millennium. The believers reign in heaven for a thousand years, as the earth has been destroyed, then at the end of the millennium God creates a “new heaven and a new earth.” The new city of Jerusalem then comes down to earth with Jesus and His people.
Won’t Jesus come in the twinkling of an eye?
Some teach that Jesus Christ will return secretly ‘in the twinkling of an eye’, but that is not what Paul said. He actually says it is the changing of our bodies from mortality to immortality that happens in the twinkling of an eye. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 does not teach of Christians mysteriously vanishing at all, but rather it reveals an extremely loud, audible return of Jesus Christ during the final sounding of the last trumpet and the instant transformation of the bodies of believers into their new immortal bodies at the end of the world.
Paul also wrote 1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:4 “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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write to you. For yourselves know that the day of the Lord so cometh like a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then cometh sudden destruction upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.”
He again confirms that the church will be on earth when Jesus comes back. He also tells them that they should be ready for his return, so that it will not be unexpected the way it will be for the unbelievers. He describes a loud audible return of the Lord and the Christians meeting him in the air. He says that Jesus comes down from heaven, the true believers are caught up together, and sudden destruction comes upon the lost. Again there is nothing here to depict a secret rapture. To the contrary he is saying that the Christians will still be on earth at the final trump.
Aren’t Christians taken in a Secret Rapture before the Tribulation?
Today many people are teaching that Christians will be taken away in the secret rapture, seven years before the return of Jesus, and that they will escape the Earth’s final tribulation period.
Is this what the Bible really says?
After Paul described the “persecutions and tribulations” which the early believers where enduring, He wrote: 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”
This shows that Paul was expecting the church to be enduring persecution and tribulation right up until the coming of Jesus at the very end of the world.
The notion that the church will be taken away in a secret rapture before the period of tribulation sounds good, because no one wants to go through persecution or hardship, but the fact is that throughout history Christians have suffered for their faith, and there is no promise of relief from that until the end of the world.
Almost every time the word tribulation is used in the New Testament it is referring to things that Christians go through, not things that they escape from.
Matthew 24:21-22 “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.”
This shows that God’s people are here through the great tribulation, and the God will shorten the time for our sake.
Revelation 2:10-11 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”
Paul is showing clearly that Christians must ‘overcome’ the tribulation and remain faithful even unto death. Overcoming tribulation means to stand steadfast in our faith, no matter what the cost.
Revelation 7:14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to 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.” This again clearly shows that Christians will be enduring persecution and even death until the second coming.
All of these verses and many others unmistakably signify that the church will have to endure and overcome the time of tribulation.
During the final period of tribulation the thing that the church will be protected from is the seven last plagues, because the angels seal all of God’s people before the plagues are unleashed. Revelation 7:3 “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
Just as it was in the time of the ten plagues in Egypt, where God did not allow His angels to harm any of His people, and where the angel of death passed over the Jews who had marked their doorposts with the blood of a lamb in obedience to God’s instructions, so shall God’s people be saved from the plagues that befall the unbelievers.
Doesn’t Revelation 3:10 depict a Secret Rapture?
Many followers of this false doctrine quote Revelation 3:10 as proof of a secret rapture. This verse reads “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.” They say that this verse backs up their belief that the Christian Rapture takes place, because this verse says that the people will be “kept from the hour of temptation.” Is this really what Jesus is saying?
Most Bible scholars agree that as well as these letters applying to the seven original churches to whom they were addressed, those seven churches also symbolic and represent seven periods in time in the history of the Christian church.
The words in Revelation 3:10 were written to the church in Philadelphia, which was number six out of the seven churches. Bearing this in mind, and knowing that it is the church of Laodicea that will be on earth when Christ returns, then we can only conclude that this verse is not depicting a secret rapture, it is simply saying that the people who were alive during the time period of the “Philadelphian Church” would not have to endure the tribulation, because they would not be alive when the tribulation occurs. It is the era depicted by the church of Laodicea that will be here at that time.
Therefore this verse shows that the reason Jesus told the Philadelphians He would keep them from the tribulation was not because they would be raptured, but because they would not be living on earth during the final time of trial.
We are now living in the time of the Church of Laodicea and the message of Revelation to us is: Revelation 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” The Greek word for overcome translates also to “subdue (literally or figuratively): - conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.” It in no way implies that we escape from tribulation, or are raptured out of it. How could we overcome the tribulation if we are not here?
Doesn’t Luke tell us about a Secret Rapture?
Many people have taken the words of Luke, “one shall be taken, and the other shall be left” as meaning that Christians will suddenly disappear and be raptured away before a seven year tribulation, but if we look at these verses in context we see that they are definitely relating to the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the world.
Luke 17:24-37 “For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; (These verses describe the end of the world. When Jesus comes there will be no second chances. The fate of the unbelievers will be sealed forever, and they will be destroyed, just as God destroyed the wicked in Noah’s time) But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it (This alludes to the fact that there will be many Christian martyrs in the final days). 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 left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.”
These verses are speaking of the Second glorious coming of the Lord, where His people will be gathered from the four winds by the angels to meet Him in the sky, and the non-believers will all be left behind.
Jesus tells us that the unbelievers will mourn when they see Him coming. Matthew 24:30 “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.”
So again the Bible says that when Jesus comes everyone will see Him.
Doesn’t Luke say we will escape the tribulation?
Another verse that people use to show that we will escape the tribulation is Luke 21:36 “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
Again this verse needs to be taken in context. The preceding verses show that Jesus was talking about the need to be prepared for His coming at the end of the world in making sure we are living righteous lives.
This is how it reads in Luke 21:33-35:
“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.”
Jesus was not depicting Christians escaping in a secret rapture. He was telling us to be faithful and prepared for His return at the end of Earth’s history.
Do we escape Tribulation as the Secret Rapture teaches?
No, the Bible shows God’s children always go through tribulation. So what exactly is the tribulation that Christians and non-Christians will go through at the end of time?
Revelation clearly shows that when Probation closes there will be no more second chances. Everyone will have been marked accordingly, either with the Mark of the Beast or the Seal of God and their fates unalterably determined. Revelation 22:11 “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.”
Once the angels have sealed the people of God then the seven angels will pour out the seven final plagues onto the world, which will only affect those who have taken the mark of the beast. All of God’s faithful followers will be saved from the plagues, as the Jews had been in the days of the Egyptian plagues. Revelation 7:3 “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
Are the seven last plagues the only tribulation spoken of in Revelation?
What does the Bible say about the great Tribulation?
The Following verses reveal a portion of the expected tribulation.
Revelation 13:15-17 “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
This text depicts an enormous time of persecution of the saints, as anyone who does not bow down to or worship the Beast Power will be hunted down and killed. They will be financially ruined and unable to purchase food or the essentials in life. The following scripture gives even further insight into the tribulation.
Revelation 20:4 “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
These texts show us two things very clearly.
- There will be a terrible time of persecution
- This persecution will be on those who have not taken the mark of the beast, but who have obeyed the Commandments of God. Revelation 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” In other words this persecution and tribulation will be upon Christians.
In conclusion then, the idea that Christians will be taken away in a secret rapture before the time of persecution, so that they escape it does not make any logical sense for two reasons. Firstly because Christians were always going to be protected from the seven last plagues, so the plagues can’t be deemed to be the great tribulation and secondly because all of the other things that will happen that do make up the great tribulation like being killed, thrown in jail and financially ostracized could only occur if the Christians were on earth. Prophecy could not be fulfilled and none of this could happen if they had been raptured away.
The Biblical evidence seems clear. The scriptures tell us that when Jesus returns, it will be sudden and unexpected for the wicked, but that as Christians we should be prepared and ready.
It shows that Jesus will come in glory in the clouds and with a loud shout at the last sounding of the trumpet the dead in Christ will rise first, and then the rest of us who are alive and have endured through the time of persecution and tribulation will have our bodies transformed in an instant and the angels will gather us up to meet Him in the air.
At His coming the wicked will all be destroyed and the planet will melt away in fervent heat. We will live and reign in Heaven with Christ for the millennium The books will be opened and we will judge both men and angels. After the millennium we will return with Christ to a newly created ‘New Heaven and New Earth” and will live inside the city of New Jerusalem.
The tribulation and time of persecution depicted in Revelation could not occur if the church had been taken away in a secret rapture.
Paul and the other Bible writers made it clear that they expected the church to be on earth at Christ’s return and expected us to be enduring persecution until that time.
The idea of a secret rapture and seven year tribulation period was manufactured by a non biblically based system of religion that the Bible labels as the ‘Mother of Harlots’. Revelation 17:5-6 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”
Jesus Himself, when speaking of His return warned us not to be deceived, showing clearly that there would be many end time delusions. Paul told us to be ready, and we can only be ready if we understand the truth about what is going to happen, for Revelation clearly shows that those who take the Mark of the Beast were deceived. Revelation 19:20 “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” When it says the beast and the false prophet were cast into the lake of fire, this should ring alarm bells, because it demonstrates clearly that many of the deceptions will relate to prophecy, because you cannot have a false prophet without FALSE PROPHECY and the fabricated secret Christian rapture theology is just that.
Watch Excellent Prophecy Seminars online
If you have a reasonably fast internet connection and would like to watch an online Prophecy Seminar that reveals who the little horn of Daniel 7 and the Beast of Revelation 13 is that changed the Sabbath to Sunday, you will find Revelation Reveals the Antichrist very enlightening. You may want to start about 17.5 minutes in to bypass singing items etc. You can also watch Revelation’s Rapture for more truth about the Rapture. To watch more from this Prophecy Seminar you will find the Prophecy Code here. Be prepared to discover many mind blowing, lost Bible truths.