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The Rapture

 

Introduction.

 

There is great uncertainty amongst the children of God concerning the Second Coming of Christ and in which time relationship this glorious event stands with regard to the Rapture and the Tribulation. 

 

Will the Christian believers be raptured by the Lord and taken into heaven before the Great Tribulation comes upon the earth, and then return back to earth with Him when it is allover? Or will they pass through the Tribulation, and then be raptured to meet him in the air while He is coming down to reign on earth?

 

The first view of course immediately creates the necessity that there should be two phases to the Second Coming of Christ:

1)     a secret coming for His saints,

2)     and then a visible return to earth with His saints. 

We cannot find a confirmation of this view anywhere in Scripture. 

 

The Origin of the Secret Rapture Theory.

 

Learned Historians state that ten million Christians died a martyr's death during the time of the Heathen Roman Empire.  That is, during the first three and a half centuries of the Christian era, until the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine. 

These horrible atrocities committed against the Christians during that period were however surpassed by far by the carnage wrought amongst the Christians by the Church of Rome under the Pope, during the 1260 years from 606 to 1866 AD. 

 

It is estimated that directly, or indirectly as a result of the persecution of the Christians and Protestants by the Church of Rome, 50 million lost their lives, some of them in the most gruesome way.  We still learn today in our history lessons of the cruel Inquisition with its torture racks and so on, where the Protestants were forced in the cruelest way to recant and return to the Roman Church. 

 

Sometimes complete villages with men; women and children were put to the sword of the soldiers of the Roman Church, with not a single survivor.  The St.  Batholomew’s Night and the flight of the Huguenots from France, is part of our own South African History.  Even today the Church of Rome will still not hesitate for a moment to do the same if it has it in its power.  Only a few years ago there were people put to death in South America by the Roman Catholic Church because they had accepted the Protestant Faith. 

 

These gruesome atrocities opened the eyes of the old Reformers and their predecessors, and they started to point the finger at the Pope of Rome and said: “There is the Man of Sin, of 2 Thessalonians 2, the Antichrist. 

 

Come let us have a closer look at this portion of God’s Word.  Bear in mind that during this time (54 AD) the Young Church was already going through a period of intensive martyrdom under the cruel Roman Caesar’s.  Numerous believers had already fallen prey to the lions of the Roman Arena, while the pitch covered burning bodies of many others served as torches to light up the places of revelry of the cruel heathen. 

 

They therefore had a very deep longing for the Coming Again of our Lord Jesus.  It was the hope and expectation of the first Christians that Jesus would come in their time.  It was then that Paul wrote the words of 2 Thessalonians 2 to them, to remind them that certain things had to happen first before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus could take place and “our gathering together unto Him.” (v. 1). 

Where can one look for a greater apostasy from the Primitive Christian Faith than that which took place after the conversion of Constantine? This developed steadily until the time of the so-called Dark Middle Ages, and we have still even today not yet completely emerged from it. 

It was against this very apostasy that Paul warned, and that Man of Sin the Son of Perdition, the Opposer (2 Thess. 2:3-4) is none other than the Pope himself.  He does not talk here of an individual, but of a system, a religious one, and not a political that would last from Paul’s time until the Second Coming of Christ. 

 

He sits in the temple of God as God, showing himself that he is God (v. 4).  He therefore is not an atheist.  The Pope still sits in the Church even today (he still says that the Church of Rome is the only true Church) as the Vicar of Christ on earth, with the power - according to himself - to forgive sin.  One of his titles is: “My Lord God the Pope”.  His “Crown” is in three layers and represents the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. 

Compare Daniel 7:24. 

The Roman Church took over from the Fourth Empire of Daniel, which was the Roman Empire and exercised complete and absolute power for 1,260 years (3½ “times” = 3½ x 360 = 1260), from 606 to 1866, over the same area as the previous Roman Empire. 

The word “ ANTI” in Greek means “in the place of,” and that is exactly what the Pope claims to be: the Vicar of Christ the Son of God, on earth. 

In Latin it reads: VICARIUS  FILII  DEI. 

In Rev. 13:18 it is stated that the number of the beast is the number of a man and that his number is 666. 

In verse 17 it says that his name has a number.  

Verse 18 says that him that hath understanding can count the number of the beast.  Let us do it as follows:

 

V

5

I

1

C

100

A

-

R

-

I

1

V  (U in Roman writing)

5

S

-

 

F

-

I

1

L

50

I

1

I

1

 

D

500

E

-

I

1

Total

666

 

Further marks of identification of the beast from Rev. 13:3-7 is:

Revelation 13:3, “ All the world wondered after the beast”. 

Revelation 13:5, The beast did it for 42 months, or 42 x 30 = 1260 days,

that is years.  (One day for a year according to Ezek.  4:6).

Revelation 13:6. The beast blasphemes against God and against his name.

Revelation 13:6.  And against his tabernacle. 

Revelation 13:7.  The beast makes war with the saints (50 million martyrs).

Revelation 13:6.  Is it not blasphemy by the Pope to call himself “My Lord

God the Pope” and the vicar of Christ on earth?)

 

2 Thessalonians 2:5; Paul could not put everything down on paper, because the danger always existed that his letters might be intercepted and brought to the notice of Caesar.  He therefore reminds them about what he has passed on to them orally while he was yet with them.  (See also verse 15). 

 

2 Thessalonians 2:6; History shows us that not long after the fall of the Heathen Roman Empire and the disappearance of the Caesar’s, that the Roman Church with its Popes came into being, and wielded greater power than even the Caesar’s of Rome.  But because it appeared in the guise of the Christian Faith, it could not come into being until the Caesar’s first disappeared from the scene.  It is very clear from the writing of the old Church Fathers and the Historians of the first four centuries AD, which the powers that would subject the believers to one human authority on earth, were already then at work.  The moment the authority of the Caesar’s therefore disappeared from the scene that power came to the fore in the Pope. 

The restraining power therefore, was the Emperor and not the Holy Ghost as the protagonists of the secret Rapture aver.  By the way, is it not the Holy Spirit who must convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment? - (See John 16:7-14).  How then will there be conversions during the 3½ years of so-called Great Tribulation, if the Church and the “Holy Ghost” “be taken out of the way?”

 

“The mystery of iniquity” of verse 7 that was already at work in Paul’s time, was the spirit that produced the Papal system, the spirit of Antichrist, namely Satan, that comes as an angel of light and a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  In my study on the “Book of Revelation” I give more facts from history to prove my statement. 

 

During the Middle Ages the Roman Church performed all kinds of false “miracles” to fool the illiterate superstitious masses, exactly as predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10.  These are the things that the Old Reformers and their pious predecessors saw so very clearly, and pointed their finger at the Pope and said, “there is the beast, the Man of Sin”.  

 

To throw dust into the eyes of these men of God, the Jesuit Priest Ribera devised the theory in the year 1558 that a wicked infidel would appear at the end of time as an individual with all those miraculous and sinister powers and do those things.  According to Ribera he would then reign for 1260 days (3½ years) and during this time the whole of the Book of Revelation from Chapter 4 to 22 would be fulfilled. 

 

The old Reformers, however, exposed this theory as a wicked trick inspired by the Pope, and were not misled by it.  During the following 200 years or more this theory therefore became completely forgotten. 

 

Between the years 1826-30, Dr .S. Maitland, the librarian of the Dean of Canter-bury, unearthed this Jesuit miss-representation, had it translated by Edward Irving, and then published it.  Some preachers fell for it, and this theory became known as the: -


Futurist Interpretation of Prophecy.

 

Then a person by the name of J. N. Darby, the founder of the Plymouth Brethren, grasped it and carried it further. 

To make it correspond with Daniel chapter 9 and the 70 weeks or 490 days = 490 years, they detached the last week from the previous 69 weeks and inserted a gap of 2,000 years (the period between the 1st and the 2nd Coming of Jesus) between the 69th and the 70th week.  That became known as the “Great Parenthesis” or the “Gap Theory” in which the Prophetic Clock is supposed to have stopped. 

Since then, 1830, it spread like a veldt fire from one movement to the other, with the result that today practically all organizations preach it.  Very little do they realize that it originated in Rome to divert the eye of recognition of the Reformers from the Pope, as the Beast of the Apocalypse and the Man of Sin, of Thessalonians. 

We see the interpretation according to the “Historicist interpretation of the Prophecies”, which keeps the 70 weeks of Daniel together and that they were completed at the time of the Baptism of Jesus, his Death and Resurrection, the stoning of Stephen and the preaching of Peter at the house of Cornelius.  (We will go into this thoroughly in a study to follow).  This method of the interpretation of the Scriptures has always been that of the Martyr Church.  The following is a list of a few of the eminent men of God throughout the ages who saw it in the same way:

John Wycliffe, Bishop J. C. Ryle, Martin Luther, Johannes Calvyn, Bishop Barnes, Hugh Latimer, Bishop Wordsworth, John Knox, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Finney, John Foxe, Bishop Newton, Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, John Bunyan, Charles H. Spurgeon, John Wesley, Dr. F. B. Meyer, Dr. Hudson Taylor, Dr. Dinsdale Young. 

 

No Secret Rapture in Scripture.

Let us read:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.  Here we see very clearly that we which are alive and remain unto the Coming of the LORD shall not precede them, which are asleep.  We shall not be caught away in clouds to meet the LORD in the air before the Resurrection of the Dead.  Please note the “then” of verse 17. 

 

The dead again, will not arise before the Lord descends with a shout with the voice of the Archangel, and with the Trump of God.  That certainly is No Secret Coming, and every eye shall see Him according to Revelation 1:7. 

 

Our change will come in the twinkling of an eye, but only at the last trump and when the dead shall be raised incorruptible according to 1 Cor. 15:51-52. 

 

The theory of the Secret Rapture is contrary to these Scriptures.  According to this “any moment” teaching the Rapture will take place 3 1/2 years before the First Resurrection and that cannot happen, as the Scriptures we have just quoted show. 

When we come to our study on the Great Tribulation, we will show from Scripture that the Second Coming of Christ will take place only after or towards the end of the Tribulation. 

See: Dan. 12:1-3; Matt. 24:27-31; Mk. 13:24-27; Matt. 13:30,38-43; Lk. 21:25-28. 

Thus if there is to be no Resurrection before the (visible) Return of Christ, and no Rapture before the Resurrection (as we have proved), it means that the Church will pass through the Tribulation. 

 

Are we better than the 10 million martyrs under Nero and the others, or the 50 million under the Pope, the Man of Sin? But you will be more intimately informed on this in our study on the “Great Tribulation” and on the “Second Coming of Christ”. 

 

The theory of the “Secret Rapture” is based on a wrong interpretation of the Scripture “I come as a thief”.  In several places the Lord compares his coming with that of a thief - (see Matt. 24:43; Rev. 3:3; Rev. 16:15).  But it is very clear that this comparison refers to the unexpectedness and not the secrecy of his coming.  The thought is, that just as a thief does not previously announce his arrival to the “good-man of the house,” so the Coming of the Lord is unexpected by the unheeding world - (Matt.  24:43). 

 

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” - (1 Thess. 5:1-4).   There is no suggestion that the world will not see and know all about the Second Coming, but simply that it will take them unawares.   (N.B.  Paul here talks about the Day of the LORD, which is not identical with the Second Coming of Christ.  We will devote a separate study to this). 

 

The fact that the Second Coming is not previously announced does not contradict the fact that it will be accompanied with audible and visible signs:

“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” - (1 Thess. 4:16).

And again:

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him - - - - - -” - (Rev. 1:7).  

 

We believe that the fact that Christ comes unexpectedly “as a thief”, fits in very well with the description of his coming with “a shout” and “with power and great glory” - (Matt. 24:30).  The whole scene is of one who comes suddenly, and in such a way that the whole world will know of the event, both those who are ready and those who are unprepared.  Under which category do you find yourself? There is no Scriptural justification to separate the Second Coming into two events or phases. 

 

When we look at the other Scriptures concerning the Tribulation, we see even more clearly that it does not take place after the Rapture, but before it. 

See Luke 21:26-28.  

But the clearest Scripture of all confirming the sequence - Tribulation and Second Advent -are the words of Our Lord, quoted by both Matthew and Mark.  

In this wonderful prophecy He said in:

Matthew 24:29-31;

29        Immediately after the tribulation of those days - - - - - the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30        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.

31        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. 

Read with this:

Mark 13:24-27.  

From these two accounts we can tabulate the events as follows:

1) The Tribulation. 

2) Signs in the heavens, culmination in,

3) The sign of the Second Coming

4) Mourning on earth (by the unsaved?)

5) The Second Coming, visible to all on the earth, with power and great glory. 

6) The Rapture or catching up of the saints, from the four winds, from the utter-most part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. 

 

(Write for my study on Flying Saucers).

 

Concerning his Second Coming, Our Lord said to his disciples:

Matthew 24:40-41;

40           Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left.  

41           Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken and the other left. 

It has been assumed that those who are “taken” are the saints, and that their “catching-up” is referred to here.  But an examination of the context proves exactly the opposite to be true.  In the three preceding verses, reference is made to the unsaved of Noah’s day, who were “eating and drinking and knew not until the flood came, and took them away”. 

Here we must first explain the word “taken” and translated in the Afrikaans Bible as “aangeneem”.  

The word “taken” as given in the English Bible has a very different meaning to the word “aangeneem” as used in the Afrikaans Bible. 

We find these words also in Luke 17:34-37. 

The original Greek word from which the Afrikaans word “aangeneem” and the English word “taken” was translated, is “paralambano” and according to “YOUNG'S ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE” it means “to take alongside” and occurs only in these two texts in the Bible. 

Weymouth translates it as “taken away” and Panin as “taken along”.

There are many other texts in the Afrikaans Bible where the word “aangeneem” or “geneem” occurs, but the original Greek from which it is translated is “Iambano”. 

For example:

John 1:12;

            But as many as received - - - - -

(“lambano” - to take, receive – Young’s An. Conc.)

- - - - - him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 13:30;

He then having received (“Iambano” - Do.) the sop (bread); went im-mediately out and it was night.

 

To take or receive to one’s self is translated in the Bible from the Greek word “proslambano” according to YOUNG. 

For example:

Romans 14:3;

Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

(“proslambano” = to take or receive to one’s self - YOUNG'S Analytical Concor-dance.)

Romans 15:7;

Wherefore receive (proslambano = Do.) ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. 

Philemon 1:12;

Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive (proslambano = Do,) him, that is, mine own bowels.

Philemon 1:17;

If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.” (Proslambano = Do.)

 

The word in Matt. 24: 40-41 and in Luke 17:34-37 translated as “left” is “aphiemi” in the original Greek. 

According to YOUNG it means “to let go, or to send away”. 

 

To illustrate, look at the following two texts in which it occurs:

Matthew 4:11;

Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Matthew 4:20;

            And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

 

Summary:

From both the context of this Scripture - (Matt. 24:40-41), and the meaning of the original Greek words, it is clear that those who were “taken” in Noah’s time (i.e. destroyed by the Flood) were the ungodly , and those who were left alive to pass unharmed through the Flood, were the righteous Noah and his family. 

 

It will be exactly the same in these days, when the Judgements of God begin to break upon this earth in the last drama of the ages before the return of Jesus, the judgement by fire will “paralambano,” that is “take along” the wicked and “aphiemi,” i.e. leave untouched, the righteous, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the fiery oven.  ,

 

This is also confirmed by Psalm 91 and the parable of Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, where the tares are gathered out first, and afterwards the wheat is garnered. 

It also agrees with the end phase of the Tribulation which comes before the Rapture, because it is in this judgement by fire where the great slaughter is going to take place, where the slain of the LORD will in that day lie from one end of the earth even unto the other. 

See Jer. 25:31-33; Jer. 30:23-24; Isa. 2:10-22; Rev. 19:11-21; Rev. 16:14. 

 

Then immediately after this judgement Jesus comes with clouds and then those that are worthy will go up to meet Him in the air, together with those from among the righteous dead who qualify for the first resurrection.  They go out to wel-come Him back and reign with Him on the earth for one thousand years. 

 

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years - (Rev. 20:6). 

 

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him: he also will deny us - (2 Tim.  2:12). 

 

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit WITH me in my throne even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne - (Rev. 3:21). 

 

See also: Philippians 3:10-14; Heb. 11:35; Rom. 8:14-17; 1 Cor. 15:24-28.

 

I believe that just as only those from among the dead who have lived the over-coming life and did not love their lives even unto the death, will alone have part in the first resurrection and reign with Christ here on earth for one thousand years. 

In the same way will only those from among the living who remain unto the Coming of the LORD who live the Overcoming Life and are prepared to lay down their lives for Jesus, if necessary, share in the Rapture and so also reign as kings with Jesus on earth.  They also will never die. 

See also: Revelation 12:11; Rev. 2:7, 10-11, 17, 26-28; Rev. 3:5, 12, 21. 

 

Those who are saved and remain alive until the Coming of the LORD but who do not live the Overcoming Life will not receive immortality, but will form part of the earthly people in the Millennial Reign on earth.  They will still die during that period to be resurrected at the Second Resurrection together with the other blessed dead who did not take part in the First Resurrection, but whose names have been written in the Book of Life by the Blood of the Lamb, to be judged according to their works.  The wicked whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be cast in the lake of fire - (Rev. 20:15). 

 

Where will you be in that day?

 

“- - - - - Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation - (2 Cor. 6:2). 

 

 

Amen.

Daily Quotes

Joh 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

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