The Rapture Of The Church
When are we Caught Up?
Many Christians today have been led to believe that the rapture is a secret that occurs either before, after or in the middle of a seven year tribulation period. Firstly, the word rapture does not occur in the Bible and secondly, while scripture does speak of tribulation it does not say specifically how long it will be. And thirdly, nowhere is the Bible is the so called rapture spoken of as being secret. This entire theory was actually deliberately manufactured with the intention to deceive by a Jesuit name Francisco Ribera towards the end of the dark ages, and was intended to take the attention of the true identity of Antichrist. The purpose of this document is to reveal that 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is actually a description of the second coming of our Lord, and that it is then that those who have been truly faithful will be caught up.
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:4 NKJV, “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. 17 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. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. 5:1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”
In the above passage we see Jesus come down from heaven, faithful believers being caught up together, and then sudden destruction coming upon the lost. Everything in this passage takes place on “that day,” which is “the day of the Lord.” These words are found near the end of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. Paul also wrote a second letter to these same Christians, which taught precisely the same thing. Thus in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 we find he wrote to them a second time about “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.” (Note how this is a perfect parallel to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
And in the chapter before this being chapter one, Paul wrote about this same gathering together. After describing the “persecutions and tribulations” which these early believers where enduring Paul said, “And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 NKJV.
Careful comparisons reveal that all three passages, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1 describe the very same day when Jesus Christ comes down from heaven, when His faithful people are gathered together, and when sudden destruction comes upon the lost.
It becomes very clear when all three passages are compared that 1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:3-2, Thessalonians 1:7-10 and 2:1 all describe the same event of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and that He is coming with a shout, a voice, a trumpet, with His angels and in flaming fire to catch up all true believers and to destroy the lost.
All the Same Event?
There are also some who use other Bible passages to try and claim that there is a secret rapture of the Church but careful examination of these passages also reveal that they are also speaking of the same event. The following tables help illustrate that the glorious second coming of Christ in all cases is not speaking of a secret rapture. Comparing point by point in table format, we can observe that the following two chapters are referring to the same event. Please observe the perfect parallels below.
1 Thessalonians 4
1 Corinthians 15
|4:16 - the Lord Himself shall come||15:23 - are Christ’s at His coming|
|4:14 - sleep||15:51 - sleep|
|4:16 - shout, voice, trump||15:52 - the trumpet shall sound|
|4:16 - dead in Christ shall rise first||15:52 - dead shall be raised|
Now compare 1 Thessalonians chapters 4 and 5 and Matthew 24 with the above events since some believe that Matthew 24 is talking about the glorious second coming of Christ which they claim is a different event to the above chapters which they erroneously claim to be a secret rapture.
1 Thessalonians 4 and 5
|4:15 - coming (Parousia)||24:27 - coming (Parousia)|
|4:17 - clouds||24:30 - clouds|
|4:16 - shout, voice trump||24:31 - sound of a trumpet|
|4:17 - caught up together||24:31 - gather together|
|5:1 - times and seasons||24:36 - day or hour|
|5:2 - a thief||24:43 - a thief|
|5:3 - sudden destruction||24:39 - took them all away|
|5:6 - watch||24:42 - watch|
As you can see, there is no doubt these are the same event as they not only perfectly parallel each other but are even in the same order. It is called the second coming of Christ because that is what it is. There is not a third coming and the theory of a secret rapture and a second chance to be taken is a doctrine from our adversary to have us left behind.
1 Thessalonians 4
1 Corinthians 15
|Jesus coming||Jesus coming||At His coming|
|Dead saints raised||Angels gather saints||Dead saints raised|
|Living saints caught up||Angels gather saints||Living saints changed|
|Coming in the clouds||Coming in the clouds||Not mentioned|
In the Twinkling of an Eye?
What event was Paul referring to when he wrote, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye...” 1 Corinthians 15:52.
Once again there are those who try to apply this to Christians suddenly disappearing in what they call the rapture. The theory is that this verse is saying that in less than the time it takes to blink that true Christians will be raptured away before the Tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist. But is this what Paul meant or is this one of the many “fables” (see 2 Timothy 4:4) taught as in these last days?
Reading the entire passage reveals the real truth that Paul was trying to convey in easy to understand words, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.
The following facts provide the real truth:
- Paul says this takes place “at the last trump,” and not seven years before.
- At this time “the trumpet shall sound.” Hence it will be quiet but VERY loud!
- Paul did not say it was the return of Christ that happens in the twinkling of an eye.
- He says it is the changing of the bodies of true believers from mortality to immortality.
- So 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 is not teaching the sudden disappearance of Christians at all but the LOUD return of Christ when the final trumpet sounds and at the “instant” true believers put on immortality at the end of this world.
Do we go through the Great Tribulation?
The question should be is when have God's people ever escaped tribulation. From Genesis to Revelation all God's children have always gone through tribulation. If you search for the word tribulation in the New Testament, you will find that almost every reference is about what Christians go through, rather than what they escape from.
The Apostle John said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Paul told Christians, “We through much tribulation must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
And God’s faithful people “came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14) They did not escape tribulation but endured through it and were purified.
We also find in Revelation that when Jesus returns unexpectedly as a thief at His second coming that the angels have just finished pouring out the sixth plague upon those who received the mark of the beast. So this also reveals that we are here during the tribulation. God’s faithful ones who did not get the mark of the beast are of course protected from the plagues. “And the sixth angel poured out his vial (sixth plague) upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Revelation 16:12, 15)
And what about the elect described in the passage below? The elect are the true and faithful believers and Jesus assured us that the time of tribulation will be shortened or no one would survive. There would of course be no need for the great tribulation period to be shortened if His people were already in heaven now would there?
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. 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.”
Note what Paul said about going through tribulation in Romans 5:3-4 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
So Paul states that times of tribulation build strength and character. It is Satan that desires to impede this by having us focus on escaping trouble and persecution instead of preparing to go through persecution even to the point of death. When soft Christians are confronted with end time persecution, Satan will be ecstatic as he will watch these soft Christians all fall like dominoes. Once again the lies of Satan will have been successful if we are not prepared.
Jesus said to His church, “I know your works and tribulation…” (Revelation 2:9) And again Jesus said to His church, “YOU shall have tribulation…” (Revelation 2:10)
So the Biblical evidence reveals that Christians have always gone through tribulation and that we will all endure tribulation until the very end. However, we do not need to fear what man can do as Christ promised in Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Did you note that Jesus said until the end, not until tribulation begins?
One Taken, One Left?
What did Jesus mean when He said, “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Matthew 24:40?
Thanks to fictional movies there are large numbers of Christians that apply this again to the sudden vanishing of true believers while their clothes, shoes and anything else they were wearing are found left in a heap where ever they were at the time they disappeared. It is “Left Behind: The Movie” that is responsible for planting this non Biblical idea in the minds of those who watched this fictional movie, and of course our adversary has perpetuated this lie as he loves to do. There are also many books on prophecy being written where unbelieving partners are described as waking up in the morning only to discover that their believing spouses are missing and supposedly have been raptured to heaven. The remainder of this fiction teaches that all who are left behind must endure seven years of Tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist but then have a second chance to be saved.
You can understand why this would be a popular interpretation but what did Jesus actually mean in what He said in Matthew 24:40?
Jesus said in Matthew 24:27 NKJV, “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
This verse describes the glorious return of Jesus Christ at His Second Coming, which few disagree.
Jesus continues in Matthew 24:30-31 NKJV, “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
The Second Coming of Jesus is once again clearly described where His coming will be loud, visible, glorious and literal. In other words, it will be seen by the entire world.
Matthew 24:36 NKJV, “But of that day [Second Coming] and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” The Second Coming is once again revealed. Parentheses are added.
Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Here Jesus compares the days Noah and the flood with His Second Coming. Please note carefully who is taken away. It is those who were living sinful lives that were taken as the flood suddenly came upon the lost and took them all away. Hence the lost had no second chance and they all perished. And Jesus said, “...so shall the coming of the Son of man be.”
Matthew 24:40 NKJV, “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.”
Now noting the above verse. When is then? Where in the above verse or any of the previous verses for that matter does it describe the sudden vanishing of millions of Christians before a seven year tribulation period as taught in the fictional Left Behind series? It is not hard to see that the above text is referring to the salvation of one and the destruction of the lost at the end of the world when Jesus returns a second time. So according to the preceding verses of Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:30-31, Matthew 24:36 and Matthew 24:37-39, “one shall be taken” and “one shall be left” at the visible (verse 27), glorious (verse 30), audible (verse 31), unknown time (verse 36), flood like event (verses 37-39) of the second coming of Jesus!
So just like in the days of Noah when destruction came, Jesus said there will be no second chances. All faithful believers need to be ready now as Jesus will come like a thief in the night when we do not expect Him (as a thief is not expected) so we will not be caught out and found naked and our shame seen. (Revelation 16:15)
The Rapture exposed - Page 2