The "Secret Rapture" -- Biblical or Not?
The idea of a “Secret Rapture”, in which the “Church” is whisked away to heaven and “Israel” (the Jews) are once again reinstated as God’s “CHOSEN” people who will have the duty of Evangelizing the world during the Tribulation (which evangelicals claim is the 7 year period just prior to Christ’s visible “Second Coming” during which the “Antichrist” will be revealed), has gained tremendous momentum within the Christian Church – to the point where MOST evangelical Christians (of many varied denominations) have come to accept it as FACT . Is it???
Many of the things I am writing here are hard to write. I do not wish to attack anyone personally. I do not doubt the sincerity of those who teach these things – but I do attack their method of Biblical Interpretation and the conclusions they are advocating. We are not to judge the person but we are to judge the teachings . These “teachings” are dangerous – and when accepted lull countless millions into a false sense of security which leave them totally unprepared for the things that about to come upon our world. They are “Doctrines of the Devil” and need to be addressed as such. If accepted, they will lead sincere Christians to behave and act in ways, which actually oppose God instead of fulfilling his purpose for us. Jesus put it this way: “An hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think that he is offering SERVICE TO GOD. And these things they will do, because they have not known the Father, or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them.” (John 16:2-4 emphasis added).
When you build a house, if you lay the Foundation wrong the whole house will be out-of-kilter and eventually will crack and crumble and fall. The same is true when establishing Biblical Doctrine -- if you start with a faulty foundation and then build upon it – eventually, that which you have built will crumble and fall. Such is the case with the whole “Doctrine” of the “Secret Rapture”. This entire doctrine has been built on a faulty premise which has as its foundation the idea that there are Different Dispensations involved in the New Testament era. If you do NOT understand what this means or WHY this premise is so wrong and so dangerous – Please go back and read
The Israel of God
Under the “Dispensationalist” model, the Plan of Salvation is broken up into THREE different ERAS beginning with a JEWISH era followed by a CHRISTIAN era and then followed by a return to a JEWISH era. These ”Dispensations, however, are not BIBLICAL and have resulted in a whole host of UNSCRIPTUAL and CONFUSING doctrines including the one we are looking at now – the RAPTURE. As I pointed out in the study on “The Israel of God, and the Error of Dispensationalism”; New Testament “Israel”(Biblically Speaking) does NOT refer to the Physical sovereign NATION of Israel (the “Jews”) but to the CHURCH – “Spiritual Israel,” to whom the promises of God are to be fulfilled (when I use the terms “physical Israel” and “Spiritual Israel” I do so only in order to make a clear distinction between the “Nation” of Israel which we view as consisting of literal Jewish people, and the “Nation” of Israel which is comprised of the “CHURCH” (1 Peter 2:9). In using the phrase “Spiritual Israel” it should in no way be construed that I am speaking allegorically or euphemistically. I am NOT suggesting that “Spiritual Israel” is not a REAL, PHISICAL entity – it is. It is made up of REAL people like you and me and is every bit as REAL as the “Physical Israel” consisting of the Jewish peoples of Palestine. Real things happen to real people and real things are happening with the very real Church (Spiritual Israel). We are involved in REAL events and trials – and these things should not be “Spiritualized” away so as to suggest that the things spoken of in the Bible are not “CONCRETE” experiences that are, and will be, felt and lived through).
The application of Old Testament prophecies concerning the physical Nation of Israel (which were conditional in nature – see Jer. 18:6-10) to the nation of Israel TODAY is without merit, un-Biblical, exegetically unsound, and DANGEROUS! Such teachings may ease our minds and calm our fears by conveniently removing us from the reality of having to face the things that are soon going to transpire on this Earth – but they are simply untrue and will leave us totally unprepared for the perilous times ahead. They also remove any responsibility duly belonging to the Church to Evangelize the World (take the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ to the world) – INCLUDING THE PHYSICAL NATION OF ISRAEL – THE JEWS – and relegates that responsibility to Jews instead. Could anything be more absurd? How are those who deny that Jesus Christ is the Messiah going to teach others that He IS the Messiah? Would this not be “the blind leading the blind”?
WHY would God evangelize the world, since the coming of Christ, through TWO different methods (or “Dispensations”) – one by the CHURCH and then later by the JEWS (Israel)? When the “Nation of Israel” was the appointed “messenger” of God (who’s purpose it was to Evangelize the World and make known to the world the “only TRUE God”) Stephen (a Jew) understood Israel to be “The Church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). Israel was God’s chosen “Church.” They failed to live up to their responsibility, even though they were given chance after chance to do so, and God established a “New Covenant” with the Spiritual nation of Israel – the CHRISTIAN CHURCH (comprised of any and all believers – Jew or Gentile) to accomplish His purposes. The “Kingdom” was “taken from them” (literal Israel) and was given to “another People” (the CHURCH) who would produce “the fruit of it” and would fulfill God’s purpose in evangelizing the world (see Matthew 21:43). If there were to be “TWO” dispensations in the New Testament era, it would have to be literal Israel first (which is Why Jesus said that He had been sent for the lost sheep of Israel AND Why He sent His disciples to the Jewish Nation first – see Mat. 15:24 & Mat. 10:5,6) and then the New Testament Church second – and this is how it has been. It would NOT be, as Dispensationists believe: the Church first and then Israel after the church is gone – or, more accurately, National Israel (Old Testament), then the New Testament Christian Church, then National Israel again. They have it all backwards! We will examine this more, but I must say here and now that there is to be no “Second Chance” offered to the Jewish peoples “as a whole”. “Today is the day of Salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). NOW is the acceptable time to accept Christ and His gift of Salvation. Israel has had all the chances it is going to have – as a nation – and their house has been “left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:38). ANY Jewish person may still accept Christ as their Savior (Messiah) and be saved, but probation for the nation of Israel has closed.
The confusion caused by the Rapture theory is compounded by their insistence that Christ’s Coming is “a single event in two phases” – “One involves Jesus coming for His church; the other concerns His appearance in power and judgment to the earth” (see Tim LaHaye, “The Rapture” p. 36). A “single event in two phases” taking place over the course of at least 7 years?!?! Why would His Second “COMING” be done in TWO parts(?) – First, by secretly coming to take away His Church and second, by coming back physically and openly to receive the Jews (and those whom they have evangelized during the “Tribulation” period)? To further muddy the waters, Tim LaHaye in his book “The Rapture” states “that few, if any, believers will still populate the earth when He [Christ] comes with power and great glory at the end of the Tribulation”! (pp.49-50). What then, has become of all the “believing Jews” and those whom they have supposedly “converted” during this time when “Israel” has been “reinstated” as God’s “Chosen People”? To suggest such a thing is to suggest that the Devil “WINS” in his battle with God for he will have succeeded in persuading the whole world (during the Tribulation time) to rebel against God. God would have “NO PEOPLE” left on this planet to refute the Devils claim to the ownership of this world and with which to “Vindicate” His [God’s] Holy Name! Not only is it “illogical” it is also unbiblical and stretches the imagination! Perhaps that is why the whole “Left Behind” series of books is classified as FICTION. That is precisely what it is! But it is DANGEROUS FICTION – for thousands of people all over the world are accepting it as FACT – without the benefit of Biblical scrutiny.
We will examine the “TRIBULATION” period – in detail -- in another study as we will the exact nature of “Christ’s Second Coming” and when and how that will happen. But let’s take a look now at the doctrine of the Secret Rapture and see exactly what the BIBLE has to say about this. Let’s let the BIBLE show how dangerous and deceiving this doctrine really is – and how it lulls those who choose to believe it not only into a sense of false security but also into neglecting their responsibility to Christ to tell the world (Jewish peoples included) about Him and about His soon coming.
Rapture Proponents Believe:
Those who teach and believe the rapture believe it for several reasons: First, they believe that the Nation of Israel (the Jews) are still God’s favored people and that His Old Covenant promises to them must meet a LITERAL FULFILLMENT to them at the end of time. They fail to understand that “Israel” under the New Covenant is “The Church” and that God’s promises to “Israel” are to be fulfilled in and through them -- Spiritual Israel – the The Church of Christ. They have taken the 70th week of Daniel 9 (described in verse 27), ripped it from its proper place at the end of the 69 weeks (and the continuance of that time), placed it at the end of time and have called that the Tribulation period. The Bible nowhere speaks of how long the “Tribulation” period will be – it only says that it will be “cut short” for the sake of the “elect” (Matthew 24:22). It is the “invention of man” that has made the “Tribulation” a 7-year period and it is an “invention of man” that has ripped the 70th week of Daniel 9 and placed it at the end of time. They have twisted the plain meaning of scriptural texts such as Matthew 24:40,41 and 43 -- in which words like “thief”, “taken,” and “left” are claimed to insinuate a Secret Coming of the Lord for His Church prior to the Tribulation. They then have to take the words of verses 13, 22, 27, 30-31, 39, 42, & 44 which speak of the “elect” needing to be “ready” and which speak of Christ’s “Coming” as a very “Loud,” “Visible,” and “Glorious” event and apply those verses to the nation of Israel and the world after the “Church” has been removed.Secret Rapture proponents like to suggest that the different Greek words the Apostles used to describe Christ's Coming imply a "Two-Staged" coming of the Lord (One, Secretly for His Church; and Another Visibly at the end of the supposed 7 year Tribulation period when Christ is supposed to set up His Kingdom here on Earth). I'll deal with this argument right here. There are actually SIX Greek words that are used by the New Testament Bible writers to describe Christ's Return -- but the TWO that Rapture proponents tend to focus on are: "Parousia" and "Apokalupsis". Parousia, they contend, refers to his "presence" and is associated with His "Secret" coming. Apokalupsis, they say, refers to His Visible Coming when He will be "Revealed." However, any serious Bible Student will immediately recognize that this type of reasoning falls apart when one actually studies the different places where these words are used. For instance, if "Parousia" actually refers to Christ's "SECRET COMING", then how do we explain its usage in Matthew 24 -- where the disciples ask Jesus "what will be the sign of Your coming (Parousia) and the end of the age (or "consummation" - Mat. 24:3 - see margin)? JESUS also uses the word "Parousia" to describe his Visible Coming in Mat. 24:27 - "For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming ("Parousia") of the Son of Man be." PAUL also used the Greek word "Parousia" to describe his own coming or the coming of other disciples to places like Philippi and Corinth (see Phil. 1:26; I Cor. 16:17; II Cor. 7:6,7). Obviously these were not "SECRET COMINGS"! The Bottom-Line is that ALL of the Greek words used to describe Christ's "COMING" refer to a visible, audible, and otherwise "felt" and "witnessed" Physical Appearance. NO "Secret Coming" is even remotely implied!
All of these supporting suppositions are without Scriptural Foundation. All of these positions are in ERROR and utterly FALSE. And all of these teachings are extremely DANGEROUS and DECEPTIVE. Let’s take a look at these teachings and compare them to what the Bible actually teaches.
We have, I think, adequately examined supposition number one in
The Israel of God
. While advocates of this view may feel that they are being faithful to the Word of God by applying the promises of God to “Israel” and expecting a literal fulfillment of those promises to them – they have erred greatly by not recognizing the CONDITIONAL nature of the promises made to Natural Israel which were dependant upon their response in meeting the conditions laid down for their fulfillment. Advocates of this view have also erred in their denial of the New Testament teachings regarding who actually comprises “Israel” today – which is anyone who accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, regardless of “nationality” or “bloodline” (“For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation [we are a “new Creation” in Christ – see 2 Corinthians 5:17]. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:15,16). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:29). “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him” (Romans 10:12). “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him, -- a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:9-11). “But you [those who are in Christ] are a CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD’S OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD” [1 Peter 2:9-11]).
Mr. Lahaye, and others, states that: “separating Israel and the church is one of the major keys to rightly understanding Bible prophecy.” He also says that: “Few scholars who do not make that distinction see a pre-Tribulation rapture of the church.” (LaHay, p. 43). He is absolutely in error in his first assertion and absolutely correct in his second! It is only as we understand that the “Israel of God” today IS THE CHURCH that we can “rightly understand Bible prophecy.” And those who DO UNDERSTAND this would NEVER come to the conclusion that there is any such thing as the “pre-Tribulation rapture of the church!”
Since this foundational belief of dispensationalists is incorrect (that physical “Israel” must be the recipients of God’s promises and predictions) the rest of the doctrine of the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” falls apart. They have built their house on “Sand.” What need would there be for Christ to come back “Secretly” for His Church and then later “openly” for believing Jews when His “Church” and “believing Jews” are one in the same thing? It is the Dispensationalist’s unswerving persistence to the belief that God must fulfill His promises to the Physical Nation of Israel that has caused them to err in their interpretation of the prophecies of Scripture regarding the End Times (such as the Tribulation period, the Antichrist, the Millennium, and the Second Coming – all of which will be examined on other pages of this site). This “Core Belief has caused them to see things backwards. It has caused them to force interpretations of Scriptures from their rightful context into elaborate, yet false doctrines. While supposedly learned pastors/teachers and scholars, they have become “untaught [of God] and unstable” distorting, “as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). They “have need again for someone to teach [them] the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and [they] have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12). Unfortunately, the average Christian is not usually a very good “Student” of the Bible and is oblivious to the fact that they are being fed a plateful of error instead of the Truth!
An excellent example of this kind of “distorting” is found in the Rapturist’s interpretation of Daniel 9:27. This verse is perhaps the “kingpin” of the Dispensationalist doctrine of the Secret Rapture and the 7 year period of Tribulation in which, they believe, the Antichrist will be revealed and do his dirty work. To be fair, I suppose that I should say that Daniel 9:27 gives proponents of the Secret Rapture their reason for believing in the Rapture. It absolutely provides their basis for believing in a 7-year Tribulation period (which they want desperately to avoid) and has caused them to invent the Rapture doctrine in order that they might believe that they will “escape” going through this terrible time. Since this 7-year period does refer to the physical Nation of Israel (the Jews) they believe that the CHURCH must be removed during this time and exist only in heaven (we shall see in a moment why this is not the case). Subsequently, they have built up an elaborate collection of texts that they suggest “prove” that the Church of Christ will be removed from Earth just prior to this time and shows that the Nation of Israel will once again be reinstated as God’s “chosen people” and will evangelize the world during this, the most tumultuous time of Earths History. But is that correct?
In Daniel 9:27 those who subscribe to the Rapture Doctrine claim that the Antichrist will make a pact of peace with the nation of Israel. They teach that during this time the Temple will be rebuilt at Jerusalem and that the system of Old Testament “sacrifices” will once again be established (and this is supposedly all sanctioned, prescribed and acceptable to God?!). In the middle of this 7-year period the Antichrist will supposedly break his peace treaty with the Jews and will cause the “sacrifice” and offerings to cease. ALL of the things spoken of in this one verse in the book of Daniel are attributed to be the work and accomplishments of the Antichrist. Nothing could be further from the Truth!
Here is what Daniel 9:27 says: “"And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate" (NASB).
Now if you take that verse all by itself, and if you didn’t have any of the rest of the chapter to consider, one might see how the Rapturist’s theory could make sense. HOWEVER, we must consider this verse in the context of the rest of this “time prophecy” contained in Daniel 9. The “week” spoken of in Daniel 9:27 is actually the last week of the 70 week prophesy presented in verses 24 through 27. Historically, this 70 week period has been understood to refer to a period of “probation” (or a second chance) for the Jewish peoples; to “rebuild” their Temple, “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy” (that is, to accept and usher in their Messiah [Jesus Christ] – see Dan. 9:24). This IS the correct interpretation of this prophecy and it is really quite plain just as it is presented in the Bible.
Using the “day-for-a-year” principle of prophetic time interpretation (as found in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6) we can total up the number of years involved in this prophecy by multiplying 70 weeks by 7 days (or years): 70 x 7 = 490 years. Daniel 9:25 tells us the beginning point of this time period: “know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.” That is 69 weeks ”until Messiah the Prince” would come. In Ezra 7:21-28 we find that the decree to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” While there were several “decrees” made to “rebuild” Jerusalem, this is the only decree that “RESTORED” Jerusalem and the nation of Israel with the power to enforce law. King Artaxerxes made the decree. This happened in the year 457 BC and can be confirmed by almost any reputable Biblical historian (even many of those who teach the “Rapture” theory teach this beginning date for the 70-week period and agree that Jesus, the Messiah, did indeed come at the end of the 69th week – just as predicted. They then depart from logic and proper principles of Biblical interpretation and “cut-off” the 70th week – moving it down to the end of time and applying the events of that “week” (7 years) to the modern day Nation of Israel and the Antichrist). Sixty-nine weeks equal 483 years (69 x 7 = 483). Counting from 457 BC and moving ahead 483 years we come to 27 AD (Note: There was no “zero” AD so we must add a year to take the place of zero in the ordinary math equation [that is, to take the place of zero AD since zero AD does not exist]: 453–483=26AD +1yr = 27AD). This was the EXACT YEAR that Jesus was baptized and began His public ministry!!! “Messiah the Prince” had come – just as predicted!
Now comes the “rub.” I would defy ANYONE – Scholar, Pastor, Teacher, sincere Bible Student – ANYONE, to show me what gives us the RIGHT to “cut-off” the 70th week of this prophecy and move it down to the end of time and apply everything that happens during this week to the Antichrist! It defies every rule of proper Biblical Exegesis, Eschatology, and Biblical Hermeneutic (The Bible says that the ENTIRE 70 weeks were “determined” (literally “cut-off”) for the Jewish peoples – NOT just the 70th week (see Dan. 9:24 margin)! And there is NOTHING in any of these verses that would suggest that we should take that 70th week, move it to the end of Earth’s history, and make it applicable to the Jews at the end of time). There is absolutely NO precedent for it (you will see why it is so wrong in a moment). The ONLY reason that can possibly be given for doing this is so that it will fit into the interpretation of Scripture that Rapturist’s wish it to fit into. Unfortunately, that is no reason at all. We cannot twist Scripture to fit our own wishes or preconceived ideas. At least, not without God’s instruction and sanction (blessing) to do so!
I do not believe that it was a mere “coincidence” (or that Jesus picked a number out of the air) when Peter asked Jesus how often we should “forgive” those who sin against us -- Jesus told Peter that we should forgive them “up to seventy times seven” (Mat. 18:22)! Interesting? Sound familiar? It should. Jesus was pointing to the patience with which God had dealt with the children of Israel. That was EXACTLY the number of “times” (years) that He had given the children of Israel to “repent” and to fulfill their “calling” as His special people -- 490 times (years)! That was their “PROBATION.” Failing that, they must suffer the consequences and forever lose their favored position as God’s messengers.
But the 490 years was not finished at Christ’s Baptism (the end of the 69 weeks). There was still one week (the 70th week of Daniel 9) left to go. Daniel 9:27 says that “he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week ( It should be noted that the Bible always uses the word “covenant” in connection to the “Messiah.” All covenants mentioned are “Messiah” centered – NOT Antichrist centered!), but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." What happened during that 70th week – that 7-year period from 27AD to 34AD? The Truth will astound you!
Jesus’ public ministry lasted exactly 3 ½ years. At the end of that 3 ½ years – or in “the midst” of that period – Jesus was crucified – that is “cut-off”. This happened in the spring of 31 AD. When Jesus was crucified – the very moment that He died – “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split” (Matthew 27:31; see also Mark 15:38 and Luke 23:45). So what does the tearing of the veil in the Temple have to do with anything? It has EVERYTHING to do with the topic at hand. When the veil in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom (that is, without human hands) it signified that the system of sacrifice and “Typical” offerings (which had pointed to Christ and to His Sacrife on our behalf) had met their fulfillment IN HIM. Those “Sacrifices” and “offerings” no longer had any meaning. “Type” had met “Antitype.” Any system that would continue to offer sacrifices would be a system that DENIES that Jesus came and that Jesus is the Messiah, for those Sacrifices pointed to Him – as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”! (John 1:29 cf. verse 36). In the system of “Types,” the Nation of Israel had been given a system of “sacrificial” rites that taught and signified the work of Christ and which pointed forward to His coming as our sacrifice, intercessor and atonement (our Messiah). The Jews of Christ’s day (the Nation of Israel) did not recognize Christ as their Messiah and, instead, crucified Him (they were looking for a “Glorious Appearing” of the Messiah). God’s patience is GREAT, and He gave them an unmistakable “sign” to confirm that Jesus was indeed the Messiah by showing that the “sacrificial” services were at an end through the tearing of the veil in the Temple. He also was faithful in His promise and did not “cut them off” right then. Instead, He bore with them for 3 ½ more years.
In the Tabernacle services the Priest would take the blood (or the flesh) of the sacrifice into the Holy place to make atonement for the sin(s) of the people (See Leviticus 4:16-18,20 NOTE: This should not be confused with the work of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement – a significant and important work which is better left to another study). In this way the sins of the people were transferred from the people to the Sanctuary where the priest made intercession for them in the presence of God. When Christ died on the cross, following His Resurrection and Ascension to heaven where He “anointed” the Heavenly Sanctuary for service (Before the “earthly” Tabernacle’s symbolic services were instituted, Moses was told to “Anoint the Tabernacle and all that is in it . . . and it shall be holy.” (Ex. 40:9). Christ performed this same “Anointing” of the Heavenly Tabernacle “in heaven” [the “Patern” after which the Earthly Tabernacle was made – see Ex. 25:40] just prior to beginning His work there as our High Priest. This is one of the reasons why Daniel 9:24 speaks of “anoint(ing) the Most Holy.” CHRIST became our High Priest at this time and every believing sinner would now have direct access to God the Father through Jesus Christ who would now minister the benefits of His shed blood in the Heavenly Sanctuary (see Heb. 8:1-6 along with Hebrews 4:14-16). The whole system of earthly Priests and offerings and sacrifice was at an end. If we were to continue to offer blood sacrifices to God, or to start offering sacrifices again (as Rapturist’s believe the Nation of Israel must once again do), we would be showing that we do not believe that the blood-of-Christ was all-fulfilling and all-sufficient. We would be denying His Sacrifice, which has already been made, and would be showing that we are still looking for a Savior to come and shed his blood for us. But friends, Christ is not to die a second time. To continue to offer blood sacrifices today, or in the future, would be commit the most serious of BLASPHEMIES! It would deny that Jesus is the Christ – “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Are any bells going off in your head right now? They should be! Things ought to be falling into place in your mind right now as you see how the Word of God aptly and accurately predicted and explains these things. Jesus, the Messiah, “came” right on schedule at the end of the 69 weeks. He confirmed His covenant with the Jewish Nation for one final week (or 7 years). “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him” (Jn. 1:11). He was, indeed, “cut off, but not for himself” (Dan. 9:26) -- in the “midst” (or middle) of that “week” and HE [Jesus Christ] “put a stop to Sacrifice and grain offering” but He confirmed His covenant with the Nation of Israel for another 3 ½ years (Daniel 9:27)! This was not some future work of the “Antichrist” – it was the work of Jesus Christ!! In Matthew 15:24 Jesus states that He was sent “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” In other places He indicated that His disciples were to work for the salvation of the Jewish Nation before they were instructed through the Holy Spirit to turn to the non-Jewish peoples of the world (Mat. 10:5-7). The twelve were to labor for the Nation of Israel first because their time of probation was not yet complete. They were to deliver a message of utmost urgency – “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”! Mercy and Divine patience was drawing to a close for the Nation of Israel. But His Mercy still bore long with the Jewish Nation and, in keeping with His Word (given in the prophecy of Daniel 9:27) for 3 ½ years after they crucified Him (the time remaining in this final 70th week) they still had the opportunity to repent, to return to God and fulfill their mission.
Only after this time, and only after a very moving and strong appeal to the Jewish Peoples by Stephen (found in Acts 7) did the Jews (as a NATION) seal their fate by stoning the Lord’s messenger to death. This happened in 34 AD at the end of the final 3 ½ years of the 70th week of Daniel 9:27 -- exactly 7 years after Messiah had come. EXACTLY AS PREDICTED Jesus had “confirmed [His] covenant” with the Jews for exactly one week!! The “Kingdom of God,” according to Matthew 21:43, was then taken from the Nation of Israel and given to the Gentiles (signifying that the CHURCH of Christ, consisting of ALL believers, Jew or Gentile, was now considered the “ISRAEL OF GOD” and that His purposes and promises would be fulfilled in and through and to them). Only after 34 AD was the Gospel to go to the Gentiles (Note: Gentile Peoples were certainly invited to accept the gospel prior to 34 AD (see Christ’s invitation to the Samaritan woman in John 4:7-23) but in accepting this invitation they were to join and be counted with the believing Jews in the Nation of Israel (see v.22). Only after the persistent rejection in recognizing Jesus as “the Christ” and the close of probation for the Jews to do so, was the responsibility for preaching the Gospel handed over to Gentile believers (those, who through faith, would become the “Children of Abraham” – that is, Spiritual Jews). The Church, Spiritual Israel, would now include both Gentile believers AND believing Jews, but the “Nation of Israel” was to be favored no more. The Church of Christ would now become the “A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD’S OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). It was not until this time that Peter was given a very graphic vision in order to teach him that he “should not call any man unholy or unclean” (Acts 10:28). Only after stoning of Stephen in 34 AD and the fierce persecution that followed did believers flee from Jerusalem and spread the Gospel of Christ to the world. Only after the stoning of Stephen in 34 AD was Saul (Paul) converted on the road to Damascus and became the “Apostle to the Gentiles” (Acts 9:3-15 cf. Romans 11:13 and 1 Timothy 2:7). The man Saul – a “natural Jew,” became Paul – a “Spiritual Jew”! This shows that Jewish peoples since the time of Christ still have an open invitation to accept Christ and be saved just as a person of any other nationality does. There is still hope and mercy and forgiveness extended to the Jewish people! Let no one tell you differently. But this mercy, forgiveness and hope is offered on an individual basis only. It is not a corporate offer. Only after the 70th week of Daniel 9:27, in 34 AD, was probation forever closed for the physical Nation of Israel. We should look for no other opportunity or circumstance in which this “Nation” will again become the “chosen” or “elect” of God.
To wrap up our look at the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 let’s look at the final part of Daniel 9:27 which shows that the fate of the Nation of Israel was doomed to failure. I would like to remind you that the entire 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9 was aimed at the Physical Nation of Israel. It was a “grim” foreshadowing of what was to come should they reject Jesus Christ – the “Son of God” – as their Messiah. It was a time of probation for them, and every opportunity was provided for them to corporately repent and remain God’s chosen people for the spreading of the Gospel. Sadly, they failed – and they failed miserably! They crucified their own Messiah – the only hope for their Salvation! I cannot imagine failing more miserably than that – can you?
The final part of Daniel 9:27 states: “on the wing abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate” (or causes Horror). Several things should be noted here. First, someone “will come who makes desolate.” This means that the one who “will come” cannot be the same person spoken of in the first part of the verse – that is, the Messiah. Second, this person (whoever it is) will make a “complete destruction.” Since this prophecy begins with (and focuses on) the restoration of Jerusalem, it makes sense that the “complete destruction” that is spoken of here also refers to Jerusalem.
The verses we have been considering (esp. Daniel 9:26-27) are written in Hebrew poetry. There are two events spoken of in each of these verses and these two events parallel each other when we compare the two verses. In Theological circles this is known as a “Chiasm” or a “Chiastic Structure” (The parallel thoughts expressed in each verse compliment and help to further explain the thoughts expressed in the other. That is, the first half and the second half of each verse complement each other and express the same thought). The first part of verse 26 expresses one event while the second part of verse 26 expresses another. The same thing is done in verse 27. If we take the first part of both verses (vs. 26 & 27) we find they are talking about the same thing – that is, the coming of the Messiah and His confirmation of His covenant with the Jewish Nation which was about to expire (and did expire) in AD 34 as discussed above. Likewise, we find that when we consider the second part of verses 26 and 27 that they are talking about another event in the same fashion. The first part of each of these verses focuses on the indictment of the Nation of Israel – it points out the events that will mark the ending of the 490 year probation given to the Nation of Israel to return to their God, accept Jesus as the Messiah, and to continue on as God’s appointed messengers to the world (see Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 49:6; 56:7 cf. Acts 13:47). Having failed in doing that (having Crucified Jesus the Christ and having rejected His Mercy and Forgiveness) the second part of verses 26 and 27 focuses on the sentence to be executed on Jerusalem for their failure to fulfill their part in the Covenant made with them.
So who is (or was) this one who will come and make “desolate, even to a complete destruction”? Does history record such a man? Does the Bible speak of this “Judgment” anywhere else in its pages? The answer is a resounding YES!
History records that the Roman army under the leadership and direction of Titus laid siege to the city of Jerusalem and overthrew it in the year 70 AD. The “Horror” of this siege (The words translated “makes desolate” in Daniel 9:27 literally means “causes horror”) is described by many and can be read about in almost any History book. The city and the Temple were completely destroyed. The words of Christ were completely fulfilled: “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day [in this day, while the opportunity for repentance still exists], even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.’" (Luke 19:41-44 – see also Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5-6). Again and again Jesus had tried to warn them. If they had only believed Him AND His Prophets before Him, had they only recognized and accepted Him for whoHe was – The Messiah – they would have found “peace” – instead, they crucified Him and would be the recipients of His Judgments instead.
Titus and the Roman army rode in “on the wings of abominations” – “with a flood.” This implies that the “abominations” were already functioning in the city and in the Temple. The Jewish peoples had continued to offer sacrifices upon the alter in the temple even though type had met antitype and they were now meaningless. Their continuation of these sacrifices confirmed their denial of the truth that these things were designed to convey. Such a denial of the True Messiah could only be considered an abomination. Also, during the siege of the city, Titus attempted to spare the destruction of the Temple. But the Jews used it as a fortress in their resistance against the Romans (something it should never have been used for). This use of the Temple – as an instrument or fortress of “War” – polluted and perverted the purpose of the Temple. It “destroyed” the Temple’s rightful designation of a “house of worship for all peoples” and its usefulness for the people in their service to God. The great Jewish Historian, Flavious Josephus, in his book “The Wars of the Jews” recorded how wicked the city of Jerusalem had become before the Romans besieged the city. Every kind of wickedness existed there. Horrific mass slayings, murder for gain and position, trials where no defense was permitted and whole families were killed, extortion, bribery, robbery, all matter of sacrilegious acts including the defamation of the Temple. During the Roman siege of Jerusalem matters only became worse and the defamation of the Temple increased. Temple furniture, utensils, bowls, dishes, even the tables were pillaged. The sacred vessels were emptied of their wine and oil to be used by the people in anointing themselves. Josephus writes:
“had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains. . . the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been overflowed by water, or else been destroyed by such thunder as the country of Sodom perished by, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical than were those that suffered such punishments; for by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed” (Flavious Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 13, Section 6 – emphasis supplied).
Titus had truly come upon “the wings of [an] abomination” already in progress. Much of the slaughter against the Jewish peoples was instigated and carried out by the leaders of the Jewish peoples themselves! The Jewish Nation had filled her cup with iniquity and the words of the prophet Micah would now be fulfilled: “Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins” (see Mica 3:9-12). Even against the wishes of Titus (and yet true to God’s Word), the Temple was destroyed and not one stone was left upon another. Josephus writes, “in reality it was God who condemned the whole nation, and turned every course that was taken for their preservation to their destruction” (Josephus, Book 5, Chapter 13, Section 5). Christ’s warnings had gone unheeded and the result was catastrophic! The sentence – long predicted, strongly confirmed, and continually warned of by Christ personally -- was carried out. It is no wonder that Jesus, the Christ, shed tears as He looked upon Jerusalem and warned of what lie ahead because of the Nation’s rejection of Him (see Luke 19:41-44 and Matthew 23:1-38).
As we have seen, the final (70th) week of Daniel 9:27 is the continuation of the 70 week prophecy found in verse 24 which outlined, in detail, the final 490 year period of probation that was to be granted to the Jewish Nation to return to God and to fulfill their purpose in evangelizing the world about the true nature of God and His Messiah. This final 7-year period clearly points to the experience of Jesus Christ, His Sacrificial death, His confirmation of His covenant with the Jewish Nation, and to His inauguration as our High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary. This period is confirmed by both the Bible and by the History books. Nowhere in these verses is there a mention of a “future Antichrist” and nowhere does it speak of his work. There is NO INDICATION or instruction that we should “rip” this final 7-year period out of its proper context and place it at the end of time. There is nothing in these verses that should cause us to equate this period with the final “Great Tribulation” or to the work of the Antichrist at the end of time. Such teaching is careless and complete rubbish. It is Blasphemous and an “Abomination” in itself. The deception that this teaching has succeeded in propagating among “Christians” is nothing short of astounding. And, sadly, millions of Christians have swallowed this lie -- hook, line and sinker.
Do you see Why, without this 7-year period in which Dispensationalists claim the Antichrist will do his work – the WHOLE RAPTURE THEORY COLLAPSES? If this 7-year period does not exist at the end of time, then there is no Biblical basis on which to teach or believe that our Lord is going to secretly return to rescue His church seven years prior to His “Glorious” Second Coming! When we couple this fact with the fact that the “Israel of God” today is made up of all the Messiah believing peoples now comprising Christ’s Church (Spiritual Israel), and that the Old Covenant promises made with the physical nation of Israel will meet their fulfillment through the New Covenant Nation of Israel (His Church) -- there is very little left for the Rapture Doctrine to stand on. And what IS left is so weak that even a beginning Bible student can readily see how miserably it fails and how it twists what the Bible actually says and teaches.
Why anyone would teach that there is going to be a return to the “Old Covenant” is beyond me! Let’s face a few facts here: The “Old Covenant” did not work or else there would have been no need for a “New Covenant” to be established! Read Hebrews 8:7-13! It was because physical Israel failed to keep the Covenant that the New Covenant was established with ALL WHO WOULD BELIEVE (Jew or Gentile). GOD did not fail, His people failed. God’s promises are sure and they will be fulfilled. But because the Nation of Israel rejected Him, He will now fulfill those promises to Spiritual Israel on a worldwide basis. Now, there can be no boasting based on national heritage. Now, our only reason to boast is in CHRIST and in the things pertaining to GOD (see Rom. 15:17)! Christ made this “New Covenant” with “the house of ISRAEL.” Don’t miss that. Even those who hold to the Rapture Theory acknowledge and teach that the "New Covenant" was made to Christ's CHURCH! In other words, His “New Covenant” is a SPIRITUAL COVENANT made with a SPIRITUAL PEOPLE – Spiritual Israel – Christ’s Church. And this “Covenant” is made with and includes all who will allow Christ to write His Law upon their HEARTS. That is the New Covenant and there will be NO RETURN to the “Old Covenant.”
Regarding those that TEACH these strange Dispensations and who propagate the Secret Rapture – those pastors and teachers who should know better – all I can do is repeat what Jesus told the religious teachers of His day:
“In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, 'YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.'” (Matthew 13:14,15, emphasis supplied).
We have been doing some pretty deep Bible Study here. It has been necessary and important for we must study for ourselves those things that are being taught or we will be deceived. We must be like those in Berea whom Luke says “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11). You must study “to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) if you are to be included with the disciples of Jesus of whom He proclaimed: "blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear” (Matthew 13:16).
Let’s move on now and study some things more easily grasped. They are just as important and serious as the things we have looked at so far, but they are more glaringly apparent and obvious and will be much easier to comprehend. These are the arguments that “Rapturist’s” use to show that the “Rapture” is “secret” (or not seen, heard or felt by anyone except the Church) and which will only be “noticed” by the “unsaved” after it has happened. These are the Bible texts, which Rapturists say must indicate a secretive “coming” of our Lord and His “snatching” away of His Church prior to the Great Tribulation. The objective here is not to personally criticize the proponents of this theory (although their thinking and study about this subject is incredibly illogical and shallow), but we must confront the teaching itself for it is full of lies and error, and will only serve to deceive any Christian who accepts it. Let’s see if we can make sense of these arguments and texts.
"One TAKEN, One LEFT":
Mat 24:40-44 "Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be takenand one will be left. "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. "For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
This is perhaps the quintessential passage used to “Prove” that there will be a “Secret Rapture”. Here we find that some people will be “taken” at Christ’s return and others will be “Left” – that we do not “Know which day your Lord is Coming” – and that His coming is here referred to as a “Thief” coming in the night. Sounds like a pretty convincing argument that Christ is going to return “secretly” and “take” some people out of the world while leaving others “behind” doesn’t it? These same themes are repeated in Luke 17:34-36, so we have TWO places in the Bible saying the same thing. Surely this must be evidence that the “Secret Rapture” IS taught in the Bible and is a reality, Right? And we can add to these verses the one found in Luke 17:20 "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed”. Surely this “PROVES” that there will be a “Secret” coming – “unseen” to those who are “left” behind – DOESN’T IT?!
This line of reasoning may be what you have heard from the pulpit or from the books and movies you have been reading and watching – but it is “Foreign” to the BIBLE! My dear Friends, you cannot afford to allow yourselves to have your spirituality OR your understanding of Bible TRUTH “spoon-fed” to you by someone else – regardless of how knowledgeable, educated, popular or important that person may seem to be! Your “Pastor” may be kind and gentle and honest. He may be a “Powerful” speaker and able to quote chapter and verse from memory. He may be as sincere as Peter and STILL be as WRONG as SIN! That is why the Bible tells us that we must “study” these things for ourselves and make sure that whatever we believe or are being urged to believe squares with the Word of God. The Bible must be our only standard of “TRUTH” – and we are never safe when we “force” it to conform to our opinions or say what we would like it to say.
When we set out to “study” the Bible and are searching for “Truth” we must: First: ask the LORD to teach us. Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He has given you the promise that His Holy Spirit “will guide you into all truth”, if you will seek Him with an honest heart that is willing to obey (John 16:13). Second: when you study the Bible you must study what you read in the “context” in which it is written. That means that you must read the verses (and sometimes even the chapters) before and after the one that you are interested in understanding. MUCH confusion would disappear if you would only do this. Third: you must search out ALL the texts that deal with a particular subject and put them together, in order to achieve a clear picture of what the Bible actually says on the matter. ONE text is NEVER sufficient to build a doctrine on. And I might also add this one: you must never simply believe what someone else “tells” you – you may literally be “betting your life” on it. So, with that in mind, let’s look at these passages once again.
If we only had the passage in Matthew 24:40-44 to work with we might be left wondering about whether some are going to be whisked away and others left behind to suffer tribulation. BUT, we are NOT left with only this passage. There is a parallel passage in the Gospel of Luke that explains and answers the question as to where those who are “left” are and what their fate will be. It is found in Luke 17 and it could not be clearer as to “what” the words “Taken” and “Left” refer to. Here is what Luke says: ”And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed…."I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left. And answering they said to Him, "Where, Lord?" And He said to them, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered." (Lk. 17:26-30, 34-37).
Two points should be evident in this passage: FIRST: Christ makes the comparison between His Coming and the days of Noah and Lot. It is evident that Christ is saying that when He comes MANY will be taken by SURPRISE and that they will be DESTROYED by His coming. This is in perfect harmony with 2 Thes. 2:8-12 where the “Wicked” ones are destroyed by the “brightness of His Coming.” There was NO SECOND CHANCE for those in the days of Noah or in the days of Lot! SECOND: Christ goes on to repeat the same scenario that we read in Matthew 24 – that “one will be taken and the other left”. But here in Luke we have some additional information. Apparently the disciples were wondering about WHERE these people were to be “left”. Jesus answers quite plainly: “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.” You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that Vultures feed on DEAD bodies! Again, we see that Christ’s teaching concerning His “Coming” is consistent: When Christ comes to “gather His elect” they will go with Him to Heaven while the wicked will be destroyed and left unburied (no-one will be left to bury them) here on this earth where the birds will prey on them. That is pretty clear isn’t it? Do you see anything SECRET here? The final “Separating” of the Saved and the Lost will NOT be done in Secret but will be done at the time of the HARVEST which is described as “end of the world” (see Mat. 13:39,49). If this is done at the end of the World – if the wicked are slain by the brightness of His Coming – and if they are left Dead upon the earth ---- How can there be any second chance for them? There is no one left "alive" to "evangelize” or to do the "evangelizing". How can anyone deny these plain words of scripture and force a “Secret Rapture” in here anywhere?
The Lord will come as a "thief" in the night:
This is another Favorite term used by proponents of the Rapture Theory. They argue that the fact that the Lord's Coming is described as coming like a "THIEF" proves that He is going to Return "SECRETLY". Is that REALLY what the Bible means when it uses the term "Thief"? Let's take a look.
1Th 5:2 is often quoted as a proof text by those who believe in the Secret Rapture -- it says: "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." What is most surprising about the use of such texts is that they are usually easily disproved and their meaning understood clearly if we will only read the test in context. You can't simply lift ONE VERSE out of the Bible and establish a DOCTRINE on it! If you really want to understand what the Bible means when a certain word is used you need only to go to a concordance and look up that word -- then go to ALL THE TEXTS in which that word is used and read the entire CONTEXT. This will eliminate more than 90 per cent of Most misunderstandings. And it is certainly the case here.
If you were to simply read the above verse in Context you would SEE that the description "as a THIEF" has NOTHING to do with a SECRET COMING. Here is the text "in context": "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 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. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief" (1 Thes. 5:1-4).
Paul isn't saying anything about the Lord coming in a SECRET manner at all! Paul is simply saying that the Lord's Coming is going to take most by SURPRISE - at a time when they are thinking that everything is alright and they are in Peace and Safety. They will not be READY for His Return and it will catch them off guard. TOO LATE they will realize that they are LOST, that they have missed out on Eternal Life, and that they will be DESTROYED. This is all that Paul meant when he described the Lord's Coming as a "Thief".
If you want to see how LOUD and VISIBLE Paul actually describes this coming "as a thief" is, you need only turn back one chapter and read 1 Thes. 4:15-18! Here is what it says: "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 not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
Now let me ask you something. If you wanted to sneak over to your neighbor's and secretly snatch something from his house, would you do it screaming at the top of your lungs and blowing a trumpet while your husband or wife announced it with a bull-horn from the top of your house? Would your neighbor be oblivious to what was happening? Would he wake up in the morning and say "someone must have Secretly crept in here and snatched away my son"? It might be true that your neighbor would be SURPRISED, STARTLED, and SHOCKED; but he would hardly be under the impression that you had done anything SECRETLY!
Revelation 1:7 says: " 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." Jesus also described His coming like this: "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." Obviously the Lord is NOT coming back SECRETLY!
In almost every instance where the Bible speaks about the Lord returning "as a THIEF" -- the meaning is that He is going to return SUDDENLY and UNEXPECTEDLY and that He is going to catch the wicked UNPREPARD! The whole idea, and the whole meaning for us here is that we should be PREPARED for His Coming so that it does not take us by surprise or catch us unprepared. Here are a few more verses that stress this point.
"See, I come as a thief. Happy is he who is watching and keeps his robes [is prepared], so that he may not go unclothed, and his shame be seen" (Rev. 16:15 -- emphasis and parenthetical note mine).
There is a particularly good summation of "How" the Lord is "coming as a Thief" and "what" that should mean for all of us who claim to be Christians found in 2 Pet. 3:9-14, Almost everything is explained in this one passage -- HOW Jesus is going to come and what will happen here on earth when He does come AND what our attitude and behavior ought to be in order for us NOT to be caught unawares. Here it is:
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his word, as he seems to some, but he is waiting in mercy for you, not desiring the destruction of any, but that all may be turned from their evil ways. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; and in that day the heavens will be rolled up with a great noise, and the substance of the earth will be changed by violent heat, and the world and everything in it will be burned up. Seeing then that all these things are coming to such an end, what sort of persons is it right for you to be, in all holy behaviour and righteousness, Looking for and truly desiring the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will come to an end through fire, and the substance of the earth will be changed by the great heat? But having faith in his word, we are looking for a new heaven and a new earth, which will be the resting-place of righteousness. For this reason, my loved ones, as you are looking for these things, take great care that when he comes you may be in peace before him, free from sin and every evil thing" (2 Pet. 3:9-14).
Obviously the Lord is described here as waiting in mercy for people to turn from their evil ways because He does NOT desire their destruction! But His PATIENCE should not be mistaken for any kind of "license" on behalf of CHRISTIANS or JEWS to continue living life in ways that unfit them for the KINGDOM OF GOD. Jesus, in His ministry here on this Earth, made it CLEAR that He had been sent for the purpose of proclaiming the Kingdom of God (Lk. 4:43), that "the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mk. 1:15), and that "This gospel of the KINGDOM shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Mat. 24:14). His Final Commission to His disciples was to "make disciples of all the nations" (Mat. 28:19). Christ obviously intended that His Gospel would be preached to ALL NATIONS and His intention was that everyone should become His disciples (citizens of the Kingdom of God) before He returned -- because His Return would be the END of of things! Christ never put any "GAPS" in the Plan of Salvation OR in the method of His Second Coming. How, then, can WE contradict Him and teach that His CHURCH will be Secretly whisked away, before the "END", and that a SECOND CHANCE will be given to those (Jews and Gentiles) who had REFUSED HIS INVITATION and SPURNED HIS WARNINGS?! The logic of such a brazenly defiant teaching evades me! JESUS certainly did not teach such a thing as this! So "WHY" are we? Whose word do you think we should believe, JESUS'WORD? or the word of men who would rather speak "smooth things" to us?
The ONLY reason I can find for teaching a doctrine that Christ never taught is because we KNOW that we are NOT living up to all that the "Gospel" requires and we want some way of ESCAPING the horrible things that are predicted as happening on this Earth prior to Christ's Return! It is interesting to me that ALL of the men who teach the Rapture Doctrine ALSO TEACH that we "CANNOT STOP SINNING! In other words, they don't believe that the POWER of CHRIST is sufficient to produce perfect obedience in HIS PEOPLE! Instead, they teach that we will keep on sinning right up to the moment that Christ Returns and that HE will then "Change us" and whisk us away to Heaven -- leaving all the "Other" sinners here on this earth to go through the time of Great Tribulation -- after which He will return again to establish His Kingdom on this Earth. What a crock! If Christ can change "US" (Sinning Christians) into obedient citizens when He comes back "Secretly" -- Why can't He change EVERYONE into obedient subjects? WHY does He need to "wait" until He returns (Secretly or Not) to enable us to render complete and obedient service to Him? And does the fact that we merely "Name the name of Christ" somehow make us better than everyone else and entitle us the privilege of avoiding the climax of this Earth's history? Are we so VAIN as to think that just because we call ourselves "Christians" that this, in any way, absolves us from rendering obedient service even during (and ESPECIALLY DURING!) the closing hours of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan? Jesus showed how ludicrous such an idea is when He said: "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and DO NOT THE DO THE THINGS THAT I SAY?" (Lk. 6:46)!
Didn't CHRIST Say: "In the world ye shall have tribulation" (Jn. 16:33)?
Didn't CHRIST say: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (Jn. 17:15)?
Doesn't CHRIST SAY "you will be hated by all for My name's sake, but he who perseveres and endures to the END will be saved" (Mat. 10:22)?
Doesn't CHRIST say:"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7)"He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death" (Rev. 2:11)"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Rev. 2:17)"he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations" (Rev. 2:26)"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" (Rev. 3:5)"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name" (Rev. 3:12)"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son" (Rev. 21:7)?!!!
The Rapture Theory flies in the face of ALL of these CLEAR statements and effectively does away with any need for Obedience while, at the same time, it assures people that if they simply "profess Jesus" as their Lord that He will rescue them out of the world to the safety of Heaven before the Great Tribulation that is about to come upon this World.
The Bible predicted that this very kind of Doctrine would be taught by False Teachers just prior to Christ's Return: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Tim. 4:3,4)!
So I HAVE to ask you in all seriousness: How can you accept a Doctrine that so grossly contradicts the Word of God? How can you accept a Doctrine that does away with Overcoming and the need for Obedience and instead offers smooth and easy things? How can you safely accept a doctrine that Denies the plain teaching of Jesus Christ and His Disciples regarding the manner and time of His Return?
The FACT IS that you CANNOT! Not if you intend to be a follower of Christ! IF you have accepted the Doctrine of the Secret Rapture, I pray that you will reconsider your choice. PLEASE: Take your stand on the WORD OF GOD and put your trust in no man's theories, no matter how "pleasing" or "nice" they may sound! There are Troublesome times ahead, but they can be faced with peace and assurance if you have truly accepted Christ as your Savior. "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6).
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