The term “rapture” cannot be found in the bible, but it represents when Jesus returns, transforms our bodies, and takes the dead and the living that are worthy up into a cloud. There are many differring opinions on when this will occur. 1. Some say Jesus will come secretly before the tribulation, and then again after the tribulation. 2. Some say Jesus will come secretly in the middle of the tribulation and then again after the tribulation. 3. Yet others say that Jesus comes openly at the end of the tribulation only once. I’ve read in depth into these three major doctrinal arguments on each side, and found that there is only one (#3) that finds overwhelming support in God’s word in the bible. After all, Apostle Peter said that the bible is of no private interpretation. Of these three popular beliefs though, most Christians believe in the first description, that Jesus will come before the tribulation and true believers will escape this tribulation time. Towards the end of this page, we will explain where the secret rapture doctrine originated so that you can study further on your own.
The widely accepted doctrine among Christians (#1 from above) was expressed in the famous “Left Behind” series of the 90’s, giving three pillars to this belief:
Pillar 1 – The Rapture, when the Church is “caught up” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), does not take place at the visible Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but seven years before it (before the beginning of the tribulation).
Pillar 2 – Those who miss the Rapture will have a second chanceduring the seven years of Tribulation to be saved.
Pillar 3– The true Church of today will escape the Tribulation and will not have to face the Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast.
After studying where all of this lines up with scripture, the following are some findings. YFT urges you not to take our word for it, but rather search your bible to see the truth:
The Rapture, when the Church is “caught up” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), does not take place at the visible Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but seven years before it.
The idea of the rapture comes from the verse 1 Thessalonians 4:17:
“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.”
It comes from this idea of being caught up together with Jesus in the clouds. The distortion has come that this is a “secret” rapture and people will just disappear with the world wondering what happened. According to the bible, there is nothing secret about the coming of Christ. When you read the entire verse in context from
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
“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.”
As you can see, when we are caught up in the clouds with Christ, it is not quiet- rather it comes with a shout, and a trumpet call. All of the world will plainly see it happening. Does this sound like a secret event?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, Paul also indicates that those that are left behind experience sudden destruction and “they shall not escape”:
“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.”
This isn’t saying that Jesus will come quietly and secretly, rather everyone will know and sudden destruction (death) will come upon them. There are numerous other texts in the bible that refer to Jesus return, and none of them calls it a “secret”, nor does the bible indicate that Christians avoid the tribulation. Many aren’t going to be prepared.
Apostle Peter also warned us about the day of the Lord: 2 Peter 3:10-14
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; (suddenly) 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. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Again, does the “Day of the Lord” sound like a secret? Based on what I see in the bible, Christians will have to suffer through the tribulation, Christ will come, and everyone will know when he is here. It will be as in the days of Noah, many will be eating and drinking, and swift distruction will come upon them.
Jesus also had something to say in Matthew 24:4, 24-31 about the end:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 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. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those daysshall 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 heavenwith 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.”
If the elect are already gathered at a “secret rapture”, then why would Jesus have to again gather them from the four winds and from one end of heaven to the other after the tribulation of these days? Notice that Jesus is alone on the cloud, there is no mention of him returning with the saints on the cloud with him. Notice that this is immediately after the tribulation, not before. Again he comes with a trumpet, lot’s of noise, and everyone one sees him at his coming. Lightning isn’t invisible, you see it and it startles you when you do. It is sudden and startling. He is also saying here, there is no “secret” to his coming and don’t be deceived by those that say “he is in the secret chambers”- but rather his coming will be loud, startling, unexpected like a thief in the night and everyone will see it. There is no indication at all of anything happening in secret.
Those who miss the Rapture will have a second chanceduring the seven years of Tribulation to be saved.
This is a dangerous doctrine in that it involves second chances. Any time human beings know they will have second chances, they are very slow to do what they ought to do in the first place. They figure, “I’ll just wait to see if the rapture happens, and then I’ll know God is real- I’ll still have a chance in the tribulation”. This is a dangerous doctrine and many will be lost because of this. In the times of Noah, the people didn’t have second chances, rather they were swept away in the flood.
The 7 years tribulation period doctrine comes from Daniel 9 and the “70 weeks prophecy”. Many doctrines declare that we are waiting for the last week (7 year time period) of Daniel’s 70 Week Prophecy to come, and during that 7 years will be the “tribulation period.” As explained on the “Daniel’s 70 Week Prophecy” page of this site, Daniel’s 70th week has already been fulfilled when Christ died as the sacrifice for sins and three years later salvation came to the gentiles (Please read this “70 Weeks Prophecy” page of our site in it’s entirety to understand). Many Christian doctrines today haven’t recognized this, and have inserted a huge gap of 2,000 years between the 69th and 70th week.
Many Christian doctrines involve the antichrist making a covenant with Israel for 7 years, and breaking it in the middle of the week. When you understand Daniel’s 70 week prophecy, you will see that all of these events have already taken place, and these cleverly created end times doctrines aren’t based on sound biblical doctrine. The bible indicates that Christians will have to live through the great tribulation and yet maintain obedience and faith.
Many might argue that “Our God loves us too much to let us go through the tribulation”, but does he love us more than the original Apostles that were murdered with the exception of John? Does he love us more than the millions of Christians that died for their faith during the dark ages of the beast’s first rule 1,260 years? Does he love us more than the Russian and Chinese Christians that have been persecuted, tortured and killed due to communism? American Christians only seek convenience, and tribulation isn’t convenient. The advice of the bible is “love not your life even unto death”, because this life means nothing. He has for those that are the elect, wonderful plans of new life, a new heaven, a new earth, and an amazing future. Many fear the tribulation for one reason- they love their life. Because of this fear, many strange doctrines were created to ease the minds of men. Jesus said if you lose your life you will find it, and if you find your life you will lose it.
The true Church of today will escape the Tribulation and will not have to face the Antichrist or the Mark of the Beast.
This also doesn’t match up with scripture. When looking at Revelation and the mark of the beast- it advises the Saints not to take the mark. If the Saints are secretly raptured, then what are they doing on earth during the tribulation. The bible mentions the saints during the tribulation:
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
During the seven trumpets- which is also during the tribulation it reads in Revelations 9:1-4:
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
This again shows you that the saints will be present, and a part of the tribulation. It shows us that because of the Seal of God on our forehead, God will provide us with some protection from these events though. In this case of the locusts, they will only harm those that don’t have God’s seal. Regardless, God’s own saints will be present during these things. To what extent, only God knows. Some will die in the Lord and some will live in the Lord, but all must bear what is to come. This requires a preparation on the part of every soul. Because of these doctrines that have been created, many will not be prepared to handle the things that are coming and will lose faith when pressure is applied. Prepare to live for the Lord, prepare for persecution and even death- so that we can awaken into new life in and through Jesus Christ.
According to the bible, we will be raptured at the last trumpet, and all the world will witness it. Whether we are dead or alive, that day is what true Christians prepare and wait for. We will all meet with Jesus in the air on that day, or we will become a part of the swift distruction of the earth. Don’t be fooled by the cleverly devised fables of our time and don’t take our word for it, rather search your bibles and study so that you can see what God wants and needs you to see to be prepared for the times that are coming. Prepare and make yourself ready for the last tribulation that is coming upon the earth. Prayerfully study God’s word in the bible, and seek cleansing in the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. We urge you to call into remembrance Peter’s words:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. ~ 2 Peter 1:16, 20
There is also overwhelming biblical evidence against a secret rapture doctrine
-We can read the warning from Paul below. According to the secret rapture doctrine, the man of sin isn’t revealed until after the secret rapture. Paul tells us the opposite:
2 Thess 2:1-4, 8 “Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, “that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ had come. Let no man deceive you by any means: for THAT DAY (the parousia) SHALL NOT COME except there come a falling away FIRST, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
-Jesus mentioned that his coming will be as in the days of Noah. When we study the story of Noah in Genesis, the flood was no secret. It came upon them swiftly and suddenly, and they weren’t expecting it.
Matt 24:37 “As in the days of Noah, so shall also the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man be.”
-Jesus indicates in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, that the wheat and tares grow together until the end, the harvest. It doesn’t indicate two harvests, rather one:
Matt 13:24-30 In the parable of the wheat and tares, Jesus said “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.”
-Jesus never taught Christian that they would avoid persecution, rather he taught the opposite:
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you. A servant is not greater than his Master. They persecuted Me, they will persecute you.”
-In Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, these are separated at the time of his coming. This doesn’t indicate two events, rather a one time event.
Matt 13:24-30 “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of glory. . . and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”
-Jesus also promised us tribulation:
John 16:33 “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
-Jesus didn’t ask God to remove us from this earth, but rather to keep us from the evil one:
John 17:15 Jesus prayed, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”
There is one promise- that was given to the “Church of Philadelphia” that those that obey God’s commandment to persevere will be kept from the “hour of trial” that comes upon the earth.
Revelation 3:10 “Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
There are two possible meanings here. First, remember that this won’t be the first time that God has kept His people from an hour of trial. When the Israelites were in captivity in Egypt in the book of Genesis, God preserved His people through the plagues that he sent upon Egypt. Though all of the Egyptians were suffering under the plagues, God’s people were immune and were not harmed. Notice that God didn’t remove them from Egypt before the plagues, but rather they fled Egypt after the plagues had happened and God had “kept” them from these things. This is where the “Passover” comes from. On the other hand, please note about this verse in Revelation 3:10, that this comes from the letter to the “Church of Philadelphia”, or the 6th of the 7 churches. There were 7 warnings issued at the beginning of the Book of Revelation to 7 churches. Some view these letters as being written to all people of the Church of God at any time throughout history. Others believe that each of these letters was written to the Church of God for separate and specific consecutive time periods of history, or “church ages”. If this would be the case, the 6th church is already deceased (i.e. spared from the hour of trial) and we would be in the 7th and final church age. When reading Revelation 1-3, all of these warnings are beneficial to Christians as they give a strong indication to the condition our souls should be in. Regardless of interpretation of the seven letters, there is clear biblical prophetic evidence that the saints at the end of the age will live through the period of the last plagues, yet the seal of God will keep us from being effected by these things.
“And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” ~ Isaiah 11:16
This “Use of the Seal of God” on the forehead is not a new concept only presented in Revelation. This also was given in a prophecy by Ezekiel in the Old Testament, where he prophesied about the soon to come Babylonian invasion and destruction of Jerusalem- Let’s take a look at what Ezekial had to say about this “mark” or seal of God:
Ezekiel 9:2-6 …’And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.’
This mark of God was given to those that “sighed and cried for all of the abominations being done around them.” Today’s Christianity seems unaware of what these abominations are all together, yet they can be seen everywhere you look, even in the churches. As you can also see from this prophecy, God’s judgment of men began in His sanctuary. As we study what God has done for His people in the past, he also prophecies of doing the same or similar things in our future. This is why it is so important to study scripture, as it opens our eyes to the ways of God. Please remember, with the Day of the Lord, there are no second chances. Transform your life for Christ today.
Where Did This “Secret Rapture Doctrine” Come From?
As you study your bible and seek God’s truth in His Word, you will begin to see overwhelming evidence that Christ comes once, he comes loudly and all will see him, and the saints of God will not be spared from tribulation. So where does this secret rapture teaching originate. Martin Luther, the man that started Protestantism, did not believe in a secret rapture, rather he believed what is clearly written in the bible about Christ’s coming. Martin Luther also already identified who the antichrist was- a system that met all of the criteria of the biblical antichrist in prophecy- The Roman Catholic Church of which he was a part of for many years. Today, so many “Protestant” churches have accepted the secret rapture doctrine, but this is something foreign to the reformation.
The following is an exerpt from a piece written by Dr. Lorraine Day explaining where these doctrines came from:
“It is not surprising that the Catholic Church was so violently opposed to the Bible being available for everyone to read for themselves. To control what they considered a heretical doctrine, the Catholic Church called for a special meeting, known as the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1517), which FORBADE anyone to publish a book without prior censorship. It also prohibited anyone from preaching on the subject of antichrist! The leaders of the Council and their governing body, the Catholic Church, also attempted to ban or burn all the Bibles, heretical books, and the heretics that owned or preached from them. One major characteristic identifying the antichrist power was this 1260 days prophecy (interpreted as 1260 prophetic years) of persecution of the “saints”, which appeared to be fulfilled in the Catholic Church’s persecution of Christians throughout the dark ages, beginning in 538 A.D., after the fall of the pagan Roman empire, and extending to 1798, when the Pope was taken prisoner by Napoleon (considered by some to be the “deadly wound”). In order to divert attention AWAY from the Catholic Church as the antichrist power, a new interpretation would have to be found for this twelve century papal rule of the middle ages. This was done by rejecting the “Historical” interpretation, and instead accepting the “Futurist” interpretation proposed by a Jesuit doctor of theology, Francisco Ribera (1537-1591). In his book, entitled In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij, he postulated that the 1260 day prophecy (Rev 12:6) (42 months (Rev 11:2, 13:5), or time, times and half a time (Rev 12:14) – 3 1/2 times) were not 1260 years, but a literal 3 1/2 years, or 1260 actual days, and therefore NONE of the book of Revelation had any application to the middle ages or the papacy. It applied to a future period just prior to the Second Coming of Christ, hence it was called “Futurism” or the “Futurist” interpretation. Manuel De Lacunza (1731-1801), a Jesuit priest from Chile, also advocated futurism in his manuscript entitled La Venida del Mesias en Gloria y Magestad (“The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty”). Writing under the assumed name of Juan Josafa (Rabbi) Ben-Ezra, Lacunza hoped to obscure the fact that he was a Catholic, in order to give his book better acceptance in Protestantism. To make the prophecy fit its new interpretation, the 70 Weeks prophecy of Dan 9:24-27, beginning in 457 B.C. with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Ezra 7:1-27) had to develop a “gap.” Arbitrarily, the 70th week (7 days = 7 years) of Daniel’s prophecy is detached from its context and placed at the end of the age, 2000 years later. This “week” will, according to its proponents, constitute the “seven year tribulation period,” prior to which the Secret Rapture will occur. This “gap” theory states that all fulfillment of this prophecy is suspended until the Christian era is over. Then the last week of the 70 weeks prophecy becomes operative again, constituting the 7 year (a day is a year in prophecy*) period of tribulation. The “Rapturists” teach that the first sixty nine weeks of this seventy-week prophecy (490 years) reached from 457 B.C. to 27 A.D., the year that Christ began His ministry. The “Historical” view teaches that the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 began in 457 B.C. and ended when Stephen was stoned to death in 34 A.D. It was at that time that the gospel went to the “Gentiles” and the “Jewish” people lost their place as those “Chosen” to spread God’s message to the world. They had rejected Christ by calling for His crucifixion in the “middle of the week,” in 31 A.D. and then rejected Christ’s followers by stoning Stephen 3 1/2 years later, at the end of the 70th week (34 A.D.). *(1 day in prophecy = 1 year: Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6)”
As you can see, when looking at history these doctrines originated from the Roman Catholic Church protecting itself from being labelled as the “Antichrist” system. For those that don’t know who the Jesuit’s are, we encourage you to research this. The Jesuit’s were a group commissioned by the Pope during the time of the reformation to infultrate the Protestant movement, subvert it, and bring these Protestant churches back to the Pope. Notice that the originator of this teaching, Francisco Ribera, was a Jesuit Doctor of Theology. The Jesuit order has grown since the 1500’s to infultrate the politics of the entire world, and religion as well through the World Council of Churches. Through the WCOC, they have rallied hundreds of mainstream Protestant churches to come to some sort of eccumenical unity (Maybe not realizing that the WCOC is carefully being run by the heavy influence of the Roman Catholic Church). Wake up, and don’t be fooled by the many false doctrines that have been taught and accepted by so many. We urge you to prayerfully search God’s holy scriptures daily so that you too can see the clear truth, that is, the only truth- from God- that will never contradict itself. Many are asleep today to these facts, not by their own fault, but because these cleverly created doctrines have been passed from generation to generation over the past 500 years. We encourage you to seek to become ready to endure the things that are coming.