When the Trumpet Sounds and the Secret Rapture is Exposed
Growing up Roman Catholic and Methodist, I had never heard of the secret rapture. My conversion experience at a Fundamental Baptist church, coincided with the release of the “Left Behind” book series. A few years later, I left for seminary at Dallas, Texas. There, the secret rapture was known very well, anticipated, and promoted as the next event on the Christian calendar.
I have learned that it is better for a doctrine to have been debated for two thousand years, than for one group to own proprietary rights to a doctrine that nobody else is interested in talking about. Evangelical Dispensationalism has a corner on the market, regarding this concept of Christ’s return for His church, before His third return, to judge the world at His Second Coming, on the Day of the Lord. Christian cults also have rapture notions prominently displayed, derived from the evangelical theologians, which is never a good sign for a Bible teaching.
The secret rapture theory evolved during the century of proliferating American apostate church groups (cults). Prior to the 19th century A.D., no one was talking about such things. The secret rapture theory is like the new, popular kid on the block, theologically. Were the Reformers of the 16th century discussing the rapture of the church? The Roman Catholics before them? How about the Puritans in the 17th century, or Moderates (early Liberals) of the 18th century?
The secret rapture theory is the teaching that Jesus Christ will come and rapture His church, that is, He will snatch them away at His next coming. This is not considered an actual return, by rapture theorists, because He will not set His feet on the earth. He will meet His saints in the air. The rest of humanity will be “Left Behind” to suffer under the Great Tribulation, which Evangelical Dispensationalism, and its Pentecostal friends claim will last seven years. Why seven years?
The eschatology of the Pretribulation (Christ’s rapture of His church before tribulation), Premillennial (Christ’s second coming before His one-thousand-year reign on the earth) is like a jigsaw puzzle, with pieces from different boxes, to be solved. There are untold numbers of end times pieces that must be made to fit the scheme.
Why is the Great Tribulation seven years? Why is the supposed reign of Christ on earth 1000 years? These are number pieces from Bible texts (in this case Daniel and Revelation), prophesying the advents of Messiah. The uncertain formulation, of last things interpretations of the Bible, has led to an ever-growing, ever-more complex system. The scheme is famous for its intricate, pictorial charts. The variations, of this one interpretative system of eschatology, themselves, add to the confusion.
The reason given for Christ’s removal of His church is that He loves His people, and He would not want them to suffer during the tribulation troubles, caused by His judgments. This, of course, would be a new thing for God’s people — as they have suffered in every generation since Cain slew Abel. There are many more inconsistencies with the secret rapture theory and the eschatological scheme that invented it.
Proper interpretation of prophetic passages in the Old and New Testaments, as they pertain to Christ’s first or second advent, must come with a tenable hermeneutic (way of interpreting a text). For instance, and one suggestion, for those who believe in the secret rapture of the church: consider all the Bible passages that one might employ to argue for the rapture, and simply read them as part of either one of Christ’s two advents (i.e. read 1 Thessalonians 4 as Second Coming, not rapture). Instead of presuming an eschatological scheme upon the text of Scripture, start with the text itself.
The prophecies of Christ’s second coming, reveal that troubles in the past, replete with prefigured anti-Christs, all support a return of our Savior, to deliver His elect saints from amidst the Great Tribulation…not before it.
Instead of double visions of His return (rapture and return), and double resurrections, and double thrones (bema and great white), read the simplicity of unified end times events. See the one time return of the Lion of Judah. See the one time gathering of the elect and reprobate (wheat and tares). See the one resurrection of the saved and damned. See the one judgment that sentences each resurrected body and soul to its eternal home in heaven or hell. And you will heed the trumpet blast (nothing secret about that) that exposes the secret rapture as a hoax.
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 16, 2021