"It's No Secret!"
Most everyone enjoys learning a secret. Indeed secrets are usually a fun thing, but I want to tell you about a secret that has done more to damage the truth of God's Word than any other. Most Christians today have been taught to believe in the doctrine of the 'secret rapture' instead of the Bible truth about the second coming of Jesus. Even though the word rapture is not in the Bible, it is an excellent word to describe the experience of the redeemed at Jesus' appearing. Webster's dictionary defines rapture as: a state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion; and a manifestation of ecstasy. The second coming of Jesus will indeed be a rapturous event for His true and faithful people. They will be carried away, and there will certainly be ecstasy!
The doctrine of the secret rapture has taught that Jesus will return secretly and steal away the saved people, leaving the rest here to wonder what happened to them. This is not only wrong, but it is a very dangerous teaching. Jesus has warned us against being deceived about His second coming. My prayer for you is that you will take time to carefully consider this very important subject.
1. What question is asked by the disciples of Jesus in Matthew 24:3?
Notice that Jesus is asked about His second coming and the end of the world. Obviously the subject of this chapter of Scripture is the answer to these important questions.
2. What is Jesus' very first response to this important question? Matthew 24:4
The very first words of Jesus here fitly set the stage for the message He will leave for His people. "Take heed that no man deceive you."
Jesus warns us over and over, in this chapter, to beware of false Christs', false prophets, and concerning the nature of His second coming.
There are eight times in this chapter where Jesus warns us directly about being deceived about His second coming, and most of the other
verses are telling us what His coming will be like so that we will not tricked by the false Christs and prophets. Matthew 24 should make us
aware that there is danger of our being deceived concerning the second coming of Jesus.
3. What "days" does Jesus compare the second coming to? Matthew 24:37
"Noe" is simply the Greek translation of the name Noah as you can see in verses 38 and 39. If you read Genesis chapters 6&7, you should realize that not only did Noah build an ark for the saving of the animals and his family, but for over a hundred years Noah also preached to the wicked people about the soon coming destruction; (See 1 Peter 3:19-20 & 2 Peter 2:5). Every person who heard this righteous preaching of Noah, could have repented of their sins and been saved with Noah and his family. But these wicked people were consumed with the cares of this world: "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage." They were not interested in God or the truth about His soon coming judgment.
The false doctrine of the secret rapture is based on the misinterpretation of two Scriptural statements. One is found in Luke 17:36 "Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left." The other is found throughout the writings of the New Testament as the Bible writers refer to the second coming of Jesus as a "thief in the night." We will look at how the Bible explains this.
4. Does the Apostle Paul say that the second coming would be like a thief in the night? 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
Notice the reasoning behind this statement: "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."(1 Thessalonians 5:3) The whole idea of the thief in the night is wrapped up in the element of surprise. The second coming will take place at a time when most of the world, (even the preachers and church folk), will be saying peace and safety. They think that everything is just fine, and that all things will continue on for quite some time. But the solemn truth is that time is almost gone. Judgment has come to the world and must begin at the house of God.
5. What does Paul proclaim about the true children of God? 1 Thessalonians 5:4
Paul makes this statement very plain now. To those who are children of the light, the righteous followers of Jesus, His coming will not be a surprise. But to those who are crying "peace and safety," and who are not preparing themselves for that great day, will indeed be caught unaware.
6. How does Jesus use this illustration in Matthew 24:42-43?
If you knew exactly when a robber was coming to your house, you would not go to bed and sleep right through the robbery! This is all that Jesus is trying to tell us about His coming. We must watch and be ready for the second coming of Jesus to take place at any moment! If you have ever come home to find that your house has been broken into, you know that there is a feeling of shock and helplessness. Jesus is compassionately trying to warn us so that this will not be our experience at the end of time.
7. What happens to the beast, Satan, and all of their followers at the second coming of Jesus? 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10, 12
8. Please read Luke 17:34-36. Is there anything in these verses to suggest that the persons are left alive?
For many years, Bible teachers have taught that two people would be standing together; one would be taken in the secret rapture, and the other would be left to wonder what happened to the missing man. But this text makes plain what is being talked about (Luke 17:32-37). In verse 32 we are reminded of Lot's wife who was destroyed and turned into a pillar of salt when she turned back toward Sodom. In verse 33 we are told that one class of people will seek to save their lives, but will actually lose them, while another class willingly give their lives (for the gospel's sake), and in fact preserve their (eternal) life. But the clearest of all, is found in the last verse. Here, the disciples ask Jesus where the second class of people would be left. Jesus plainly answers them: "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." We know that the eagles (vultures, buzzards) certainly do come to finish off the dead bodies when they are left out on the ground. Jesus uses this illustration to answer the disciples as to the condition of these ones who will be "left" at His second coming.
At the second coming of Jesus, all of the wicked are slain by the brightness of His coming. It is true then that "one shall be taken and the other shall be left" (dead upon the ground!).
There are many places in the Bible where the second coming of Jesus is described in great detail. Let's look at several of these passages and see if the description seems to be that of a secret rapture or that of a literal, visible, audible and quite noticeable second coming. Some preacher will try to tell you that the rapture and the second coming of Jesus are two different events. They might tell you that this study is confusing the two, but make no mistake about it; There is not one word of Scripture that indicates that there are two separate events, but God's Word makes it clear that the resurrection of the righteous, and the rapture (carrying away of the church to heaven) both take place at the second coming of Jesus. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
9. What does Jesus warn us about in Matthew 24:5?
Jesus tells us that many would come saying "I am Christ," and deceive many. How does he expect us to know the true from the false? The answer is found in verse six: "but the end is not yet." The second coming of Jesus will not take place until the very end of this world. All of the business and activity of this world will come to a stop and the attention of the entire world will be brought to the coming of Jesus.
10. What should we do when confronted with the arising of false Christs? Matthew 24:23
We are plainly told not to believe these false Christs who tell us that Jesus has come and he is here or there, in the desert or in secret chambers (see verse 26), but how are we to know that they are false Christs? The answer is very simple. Jesus will not appear as a man on this earth! A list is given here in Matthew 24:27-31 of the very "un-secret" nature of Jesus' coming.
a. "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." -- The lightning is certainly not a secret thing, yet Jesus uses it to describe His coming.
b. "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together." -- Again the wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming, so that every one will either be caught up with the Lord, or they will be lying dead on the ground.
c. "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." -- Here we are told that Jesus will come in the clouds, (not on the earth) and that all the tribes or nations of the earth will see Him and mourn (because they are not ready to meet Him).
d. "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." -- The sound of a trumpet is certainly not secret! But He also tells us that the holy angels will gather the redeemed from all over the heaven (sky).
11. How many of the people of earth will see Jesus when He comes? Revelation 1:7
Notice again in this text that Jesus comes in the clouds!
12. How does Paul describe the second coming when the righteous dead are resurrected? 1 Thessalonians 4:16
Again we find the trumpet and along with it the shout of the archangel, surely this cannot be the description of a secret event. When all those who sleep in Jesus are raised and are caught up along with the rest of the redeemed (see verse 17), it will be no secret that the end of the world has come.
13. How does John describe the second coming? Revelation 6:14-17
Does this event sound secretive?
"And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man,... said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
It is very plain to see from God's Word that the second coming of Jesus will not be a secret. It is also very plain to see that Satan will use this important event to try and deceive God's true and faithful people. May God help us all to see and accept this truth so that we will not be deceived by Satan!
Is it any wonder that we are right now being flooded with books and movies which portray the rapture of the church in this way? These books and movies are NOT from God, these men are being led by the devil to spread this false message!