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The Secret Rapture that is not supported by Scripture



This is a subject that will unfortunately upset many sincere Christians who profess they are 'Born Again' and believe in the doctrine of the Secret Rapture. As the Host of Maranatha Web, I have a duty before God to proclaim the Truth, In love, so that those who have ears to hear the Truth might be warned and not be deceived in these last days before the return of Jesus Christ. When God saved me at the age of eighteen, I fellowshiped at the local Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church in Bramley, Leeds,  in the UK. The Church, as part of the Assemblies of God, had in their Statement of Faith the Secret Rapture as one of its fundamental doctrines and as a new born babe in Christ, I was taught this doctrine. I note to this day that whereas the Holy Spirit gave me a witness to other doctrines, He gave me no witness to the Secret Rapture doctrine. Jesus said concerning the Holy Spirit: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." Gospel of John 16:13. The Holy Spirit can never bear witness to a lie, that would make the Holy Spirit a false witness and because I received no witness, I did not hold on to the Secret Rapture doctrine even though I felloshiped at the Church.

For those not familiar with the Secret Rapture doctrine, it is what could be describe as The Great Escape from the Great Tribulation at the End of This Age. It is a very comforting doctrine and I'm am not surprised that many hold on to it, as if it were life and death. Many believe that Jesus will secretly come and 'Rapture' His Church out of the Earth and take them back with Him to Heaven, either before the Tribulation (Pre-Tribulation Rapture), or half way through the Tribulation, the final three and a half years (Mid-Tribulation Rapture). They believe that they will escape all the evils and horrors of the Tribulation, the Anti-Christ mark of the beast system, the plagues of God, the time of war and destruction on the Earth. In Heaven they enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb with Jesus while those left on the Earth, who are saved during the Tribulation have to endure all the trials and suffering to the very end of the Tribulation. After the Tribulation Jesus then comes back with His Saints, resurrects the remnant of His Church and they all reign with Him on the Earth for a thousand years. It all seems too good to be true, that we escape from it all, but the fact is, that those who hold on to this belief will not be ready for what is to come upon them. They will not be ready because they have believed in a lie. The Beast system is unfolding before our very eyes and we are still hear! We have not been Raptured!

Let us now take a  look at the history behind the Secret Rapture teaching: It is a known historical fact that It wasn't until the early or mid 1800's that there was any significant group of believers around the world that looked for a "rapture" of the Church prior to a seven-year tribulation period. The "secrete rapture" teaching was NOT taught by the early Church, it was NOT taught by the Church of the first centuries, it was NOT taught by the Reformers, IT WAS NOT TAUGHT BY ANYONE (except a couple Roman Catholic theologians) UNTIL ABOUT THE YEAR 1830!

The Roman Catholic Church had to come up with a view of prophecy to counter the Historic view of prophecy that the Reformers had used to identify the Church of Rome as the ‘little horn’ and the Harlot of Revelation 17.

This new scheme of prophetic interpretation became known as FUTURISM.... It was a Jesuit priest named Ribera who, in the days of the Reformation, first taught that all the events in the book of Revelation were to take place literally during the three and a half years reign of the Antichrist away down at the end of the age.

Later, Emmanuel Lacunza, also a Jesuit priest, built on Ribera's teachings, and spent much of his life writing a book titled "The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty." Lacunza, however, wrote under the assumed name of "Rabbi Ben Ezra," supposedly a learned Jew who had accepted Christ as his Saviour; he did this so that the unsuspecting Protestants would accept his book; for the Protestant world then wanted nothing from a Jesuit. His book was published in 1812.

Now enter the name of Edward Irving. Born in Scotland in 1792, Irving discovered Lacunza's book and fell in love with it, translated it into English, and it was published in London in 1827. Then Irving began to hold Bible Conferences throughout Scotland, emphasizing the coming of Jesus to rapture His Church.

Later, J.N. Darby then was introduced to the "secrete rapture" doctrine by the Irvinites (Followers of Edward Irvin), as well as the famous book by Rabbi Ben-Ezra [Jesuit priest Emmanuel Lacunza]! Darby was himself a prolific writer and from that time a constant stream of propaganda came from his pen. His writings on biblical subjects number over 30 volumes of 600 pages each. Darby developed and organized "futurism" into a system of prophetic teaching called "dispensationalism".

The Secret Rapture teaching was introduced into the United States and Canada between the 1840's and 1870's. A Congregationalist preacher by the name of C. I. Scofield came under the influence of Darby and the Plymouth Brethren. Scofield became a strong promoter of the teaching that had been promulgated by Darby, whom he considered "the most profound Bible student of modern times." He incorporated this teaching into his SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE. Three million copies were published in the first 50 years! Through this Bible Scofield shrewdly carried the teaching of the Secret Rapture into the very heart of Evangelicalism.

There is one final link in the chain of the development and spread of the rapture theory that should be mentioned in passing. Scofield and Darby influenced D. L. Moody, and Moody influenced the early PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENT. How? you ask. The Assemblies of God is today by far the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world. In 1914 they ordered their Sunday School and study materials from the Moody Press. So the Assemblies of God believed what the Moody Bible Institute taught, which included the "Secrete Rapture".

Let us now take an in-depth look at the subject of the Secret Rapture from the point of Biblical Scripture, including those Scriptures that are used to defend the Secret Rapture doctrine and show through Scripture that there is only one return event of Jesus Christ and not two:

First of all, the word 'Rapture' is not found anywhere in the Bible. It is a man-made term to define an event and that event, as I will show,  is not supported by the Scriptures.

Jesus did not mention a Secret Rapture when He revealed to His Disciples what will take place at the end of this age. He told them that He would come after the Tribulation: "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." Matthew 24:29-31. Instead of a Secret Rapture, Jesus told His Disciples that the Elect would have to endure to the end: "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Matthew 24:13. In fact, Jesus made it clear that we will suffer Tribulation, not be saved from it: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Gospel of John 16:33. To really bring home the point, Jesus praying to His Heavenly Father shortly before He was betrayed by Judas and Crucified, prays that we should not be taken out of this World, but be kept by the power of God from the evil of this World: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." Gospel of John 17:15.

The two Angels (the men in white apparel) who were present when Jesus was taken up into Heaven, after His death and resurrection, never mentioned a Secret Rapture but declared to those witnesses who were there that Jesus would return the same way as He went up. In other words, just as they had seen Jesus go up into Heaven, people will see Jesus come down from Heaven: "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:9-11. The Angels did not mention two comings of Jesus Christ. An interesting point to mention with regard to the cloud, is that Jesus will return with clouds: "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." Revelation 1:7. The clouds appear to be a form of transportation between Heaven and Earth.

The Apostles of the early Christian Church did not teach a Secret Rapture, but believed that Jesus will return at the end when the last Trumpet sounds: "¶ Behold, I shew 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." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. They believed in one return of Jesus Christ for His Church and not two: "¶ But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The teaching of the early Church was that Jesus came the fist time as an offering for sin and would come again a second time for those who are looking for him: "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Hebrews 9:28. If there was a Secret Rapture, there would need to be a third time, a third appearance of Jesus and there is no mention of such a  teaching in the early Church, as recorded in the epistles of the New Testament.

The early church never taught that the elect will be save from tribulation, but the opposite: ".... and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22. "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." Revelation 2:10. "... 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. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Revelation 7:14-17.

Why will we have to go through the Tribulation? The Tribulation will purify His Church, as by fire and will glorify God when Jesus returns: "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" 1 Peter 1:7. A Secret Rapture would invalidate this Scripture and would rob God of the Glory that is due to Him.

One of the arguments used to support those who believe in the Secret Rapture is that Scriptures say that Jesus will come like a thief in the night and no one knows but the Heavenly Father when Jesus will come: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 2 Peter 3:10. "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matthew 24:36-42. These Scriptures does not support a Secret Rapture but warns us that if we are not ready, if we are not watching for His return, the event of His coming will come on us by surprise, unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. We might not know the exact day or the hour of His coming, but that doesn't mean to say that we cannot know the season, or the week, or have a real sense of how close we are to His appearing. This is why Jesus commanded us to watch: "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." Mark 13:35-37.

Unlike the doctrine of the Secret Rapture, where the view is that nobody will know before it happens (ie. the Rapture), the Bible makes it clear that the return of Jesus Christ will be anything but a secret. It is going to be a World-wide event and everyone will see Him come and the people of the Earth will hide in fear, because they know that their day of judgment is come: "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Revelation 6:12-17. Also, consider the following verse: "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." Revelation 1:7. Every eye, the Bible says, will see Him come. Fifty years ago this would have been impossible, but with today's sophisticated technology, television, hi-tec digital communications and satellites, the whole World can see an event that is taking place somewhere in the World and watch it live with their own eyes. Remember 9/11? When the planes crashed into the twin towers and the towers of the World Trade Center collapsed? The World was watching the event live on their televisions. Every eye will indeed see the coming of the Lord in that great and fearful day and what a great and joyful day it will be for those who have been faithfully waiting, watching and looking for His return.

Another argument that has been used to support the belief of a Secret Rapture, is the reference in the Scriptures to one taken and the other left, referring to the ones taken as those who are Raptured and the ones left behind as those who suffer and go through the Tribulation: "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." Luke 17:34-37. Those that hold this argument have not fully understood the Scriptures. Consider also the following passage about the parable of the wheat and the tares: "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn"... "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 13:30, 40-42. It is the ones who are left behind are left alive, the ones who are taken are those who God finds offensive and are taken to be destroyed in a furnace of fire. The Disciples asked Jesus "Where, Lord?" and Jesus tells them where the eagles will be gathered together. In other words, the eagles will fly over the dead carcases and will no doubt feed on their flesh. There can be no other interpretation, it is the ones who are taken that are killed and destroyed. Jesus will take vengeance on those who have caused offence: "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;" 1 Thessalonians 1:7-9.

Then there is the argument of the ten virgins, where the bridegroom comes (ie. Jesus) and takes those who are ready (the wise virgins, the believers who have made themselves ready to meet Him) and the rest are left to go through the Tribulation with the rest of the World, The wise virgins are married (ie, the Church to Christ) and feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb (with Jesus their Bridegroom): "¶ Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." Matthew 25:1-13. Also: "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." Revelation 19:6-9. Even common sense can answer this question: If you have a Secret Rapture, you end up with part of the Church (Christ's Bride) Raptured up to Heaven, leaving the rest of His Bride (those that get saved during the tribulation) on Earth to go through the Tribulation. Does the Bridegroom marry all of His Bride, or just part of her? All of course. Does the Bridegroom marry the part of the Bride on one occasion and the rest of the Bride on another occasion? Of course not, the Bride is married once to the Bridegroom. To believe the Secret Rapture doctrine, one has to have just part of the Bride of Christ (the Saints who are saved and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb) at the marriage supper, instead of the whole Bride that is His Church. Can you imagine only having part of the Bride at a Wedding? Do you think God would be satisfied with that? Has God suddenly become less then God not able to present the whole Church? Has God suddenly become unrighteous by sparing part of His Church, leaving the rest to suffer through the Tribulation? Absolutely not!

The problem is not with God but with man's false doctrine. God is using the Tribulation to purify His Church, He is able to see us through the Tribulation and we need to have faith in Him. Many of the Saints will be beheaded as foretold in Revelation, but the dead will be raised, we will see Jesus when He comes, we will be caught up to be with Him as He comes down from Heaven as King Kings and Lord of Lords, of all the Earth. The only way one can hold on to the Secret Rapture is by twisting the Scriptures, splitting the return of Jesus Christ into two comings, instead of the one Glorious return proclaimed by the Word of God. If you hold on to the Secret Rapture doctrine, then you are believing a lie and not the Truth as revealed in the Word of God. Remember what God Word says: "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12. You have been warned! It's time to stop believing this lie and get oneself ready to meet the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. "¶ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1. God Bless you as you make yourself ready and with Faith and patience, watch for His return. Jesus is coming soon and we have only a little time to get ready to meet our Lord and Saviour.




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