Editor’s Note: We are receiving interesting questions from new people in response to our advertisement campaigns. We recently answered one of the many questions, regarding the biblical teaching on a secret rapture. We are sharing parts of our response with you:
The bible nowhere teaches two comings of Christ – or a secret rapture to heaven. The passage alluded to by some, that He will come as a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:1-4), describes the timing of His coming – the world will not expect His return at that time. It does not talk about the manner of His coming (visibly or secretly). Compare also Matthew 24:36-44.
The bible is very consistent in describing Christ’s Second Coming as one and the same event. When He visibly returns, He will gather His elect – not before then (Matthew 24:27-31).
Please note, too, 1 Thess. 4:16, and 2 Thess. 1:3-10. The events described will happen at the time of the last trumpet, when Christ visibly returns. At that time, the dead in Christ will be resurrected, and those alive will be changed – this does not happen before His visible return (1 Cor. 15:51-52). There can only be ONE last trumpet, and it is then – not prior to then – when Christ will gather His elect.
We read in 1 Thess. 4:17 that we will meet the returning Christ, at His coming, in the air. This is not referring to the third heaven, but to the atmosphere of our earth, which has air and clouds. We read that we will be with Christ from that time on. We read that Christ will descend on that same day to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4), and we will be with Him (Zech. 14:5). The angels had told the apostles that Christ would come back in the same manner as He had left them. They were on the Mount of Olives, and He left them visibly on a cloud (Acts 1:9-11).
2 Thess. 2:1 also talks about the coming of Christ and our gathering with Him. At that time, when He comes, He will take care of the “lawless one.” (verse 8). Again, this is one and the same event – here are no two comings described.
This is not to say, however, that God will not protect His elect, on this earth, during the terrible times to come very soon. A new booklet is being prepared which will address that question more fully.