THE SECRET or PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE
The word “rapture” does not appear in the Bible, but it is a term frequently used to mean the “2nd Coming of Yahushua." The term “secret rapture" refers to the idea that the coming of Yahushua will take place in two separate stages. The first stage will be a secret rapture – or carrying away of the “saved” to heaven – at the beginning of a seven year period of tribulation, during which time the “Antichrist” will appear. At the close of this time of tribulation, Yahushua will return to earth in triumph and glory. Is the idea of a “secret rapture” supported Biblically? Let us see what the Bible has to say on this subject. Many refer to this Secret Rapture as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
Yahushua promised that He would return to this earth to take His people to be with Him. He said, “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in Elohim, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:1-3). Did Yahushua say that He would return “secretly” and “rapture” His people from the earth before the "time of trouble" mentioned in Daniel 12:1 begins, leaving behind those who are not yet saved left to wonder where their friends and relatives have gone? This is what those believe who hold to the idea of a secret rapture. In these verses, Yahushua does not say how He will return – secretly or otherwise. But other Bible texts make it plain what will happen when He returns.
Forty days after His resurrection, Yahushua returned to heaven, and His disciples witnessed it as He rose into the sky. The Bible says, “While they [the disciples] beheld, He [Yahushua] was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men [angels] stood by them in white apparel; which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Yahushua In like manner, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11, emphasis added).
Two points stand out in these verses. First, the Yahushua Who returns to earth the second time will be the very same Yahushua Who lived here on earth with mankind and went back to heaven following His resurrection. And second, He will return to earth the same way – “in like manner” – as He went back to heaven. How did Yahushua go to heaven following His resurrection? Did He go back secretly? No. The disciples watched Him rise from the earth, literally, bodily, into the air until a cloud hid Him from their sight. So these verses tell us that Yahushua will return the same way – visibly and not secretly.
Another Bible text is even clearer in showing us that Yahushua will not return secretly. “Behold, He [Yahushua] cometh with clouds: and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindred of the earth shall wail because of Him” (Revelation 1:7, emphasis added). In the book of Daniel we are told about a special resurrection which will take place “prior” to the return of Yahushua for the purpose that those resurrected will be able to behold for themselves the spectacle of His return. “And many of them that sleep in the earth (what happens to mankind when they die – see our article on the State of the Dead by clicking on shaded words) shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). Among those that are raised “to shame and everlasting contempt” will be those who “pierced Him” and will who “see Him, and they also which pierced Him." If every eye shall see Him – everyone on earth – will see Him, is it a secret? That does not sound like He is coming secretly!
In the book of Matthew, Yahushua said His coming will be as visible as the lightening that flashes from one end of the sky to the other. “For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27). Lightning where I live comes from the west and moves towards the east, but when Yahushua returns He will be coming from the east.
The Bible says that Yahushua will come in glory with the angels. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). He shall reward every man at His coming and not just those who are going to be saved.
He will come with the shout of the archangel and a blast from the trumpet of Elohim. “For the Master Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Master” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
The wicked shall see His coming and cry for the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from His face. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was an earthquake; and the sun became as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heavens 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, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and 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?” (Revelation 6:12-17). Sounds like there is a lot of visible things happening when He returns!
He will return as King of kings, leading the armies of the heavenly angels. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name was called The Word of Elohim. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty Elohim. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).
All these portions of Scripture make it clear that Yahushua’s coming is anything but secret!
Does not the Bible say that Yahushua will come like a thief in the night? Yes it does. “But the day of Yahuwah will come as a thief in the night; in the which the HEAVENS SHALL PASS AWAY WITH A GREAT NOISE, AND ELEMENTS SHALL MELT WITH FERVENT HEAT, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). When we examine this verse we see “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise," and so on. Visible occurrences and the acoustics to go along with it. This will not be a secretive event!
So what does it mean when it says Yahushua will “come as a thief in the night?" The Apostle Paul says “but you, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-7). Yahushua's coming will be unexpected, as when a thief comes in the night, for those who are not watching and waiting for Him. It will come upon them as a thief in the night. But His people – who are “not of the night, nor of darkness” – will be looking for Him. They will be aware of the signs of His coming and will know when it is near. Yahushua's coming will not overtake them like the unexpected appearance of a thief. The second coming of Yahushua will be unexpected for those who are not watching and waiting for Him.
Does not Matthew 24:37-42 say that when Yahushua comes, some people will be snatched away and others will be left behind? Let us take a look at what it does say in the book of Matthew? “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the days that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:37-42).
Those who teach the idea of the secret rapture say that these verses show that when Yahushua comes, there will be people working side-by-side, and one will be raptured to heaven while the person beside him or her will be left, unsaved on earth. Is this what it is saying in Matthew 24:37-42? Let us look at these verses more closely.
It says in Matthew that when Yahushua comes it will be like it was in the time of Noah and the worldwide flood – some people will be saved and other people will be destroyed. It also says in Matthew that before the flood people were going about their daily activities just like they will be before Yahushua returns, unaware that His coming is near. Then it says that when Yahushua comes one person “will be taken” away and another beside him be “left." What does that mean?
Those who believe in the idea of a secret rapture say that those who are “taken” are those who are taken to heaven, while those who are “left” are those who will be left on earth to suffer “tribulation” for seven years. But what does it say in Matthew 24? In these same verses – describing the time of Noah and the flood – it tells us people were unaware that a flood was coming until it “took them all away." So who are the ones who are “taken away” when Yahushua comes? And who are the ones who are “left?" If we follow the scenario in Matthew 24, those who are “taken away” when Yahushua comes are those who are lost. They are taken away, and destroyed by the brightness of His coming – like those who were taken away and destroyed by the flood. Those who are “left” when Yahushua returns are those who are left alive and who go to heaven with Yahushua, saved from the destruction which falls on the wicked – like those who were left alive when the flood came. So we see that these verses in Matthew chapter 24 do not support the idea of a secret rapture of the saved.
Those who hold to the idea of a secret rapture also believe that there will be seven years of tribulation following the rapture and that during that time individuals who were left behind on earth will have another opportunity to accept Yahushua and be saved. Is there any Biblical evidence for this belief? Where do they get that seven year period?
There is no Biblical evidence for a seven-year period of tribulation following Yahushua's return to earth. This seven year period they use is taken from the context found in Daniel 9:24-27 which was fulfilled at the time of Yahushua's first coming and tells us of His crucifixion and the eventual destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70. See our study on Daniel chapter 9 by clicking on the shaded area. The Bible is clear that when Yahushua returns, every person’s fate has been decided; individuals who are lost will not be given a second chance to be saved. Yahushua says, “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, To give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). The reward for the wicked and the reward for the righteous are given at the same time. The Bible presents Yahushua's second coming as the great climatic event of the ages when men and women are either saved or lost for eternity. There is no seven-year period to reconsider and change our destiny. People will for the most part will have had a lifetime to make their decision.
Yahushua pictured the separation that will take place at His coming between the righteous and the wicked – the saved and the lost – in these words: “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 His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, you blessed on My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . . then shall He say also unto them on His left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:31-34, 41). No mention of a second chance!
However there will be a "time of trouble" as the Bible describes it (Daniel 12:1) before the return of Yahushua, but not for seven years. The Bible certainly foretells a soon coming “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time” (Daniel 12:1) before the return of Yahushua. However the Scriptures do not support the interpretations that Christians will be raptured, and taken away before the "time of trouble," leaving only the wicked to go through it.
Yahushua does not leave us in the dark and sheds light on the event that will be like none before it. “For then shall be a great tribulation (Daniel 12:1), such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elects' sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Messiah, or there; believe it not. [Yahushua will do all things openly and known by all. He will be completely transparent just as He was when He walked upon the earth.] For there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect [If the ‘elect’ are already raptured they wouldn’t be in any danger of being deceived.]. 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 lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:21-27, emphasis added). Nothing will be done secretly in an underhanded manner. It is a very pleasant teaching to be told that you will not have to face tribulation. We are told in 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." (New American Standard, emphasis added). Throughout the Bible, we are given examples of Elohim’s people being saved in the middle of tribulations; not being removed from the tribulation.
1. When the Israelites were captive in Egypt, Elohim preserved them in the midst of the plagues that devastated Egypt. Just as Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage after the plagues, so Elohim's church will be protected through the plagues and be delivered from the hand of the oppressor. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). See Psalms 46 and 91 for great promises to those who are going through trial and tribulation!
2. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego entered the flames when they refused to yield to the universal death decree of Babylon’s king. Their death-defying faith forced them to face the flames of tribulation, and in those flames Elohim miraculously delivered them. See Daniel 3:16-28.
3. Daniel's decision to be faithful in his daily prayers caused him to be tossed into the lion's den. Elohim saved Daniel while he was going through tribulation, not before it came. See Daniel chapter 6.
Similarly right before Yahushua returns, the faithfulness of the elect will cause them to be the target of the ungodly and of Satan himself during the time of persecution and “time of trouble." However, just as throughout all Biblical history, Elohim will preserve His elect even though some will fall to the headman’s axe. “I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Yahushua, and for the word of Elohim, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Messiah a thousand years [in heaven]” (Revelation 20:4). The same Yahushua that was with the Hebrew men in the fire and in the lion’s den, will go with us through our trials. When the last judgments are poured out on the world, Elohim will be a shield to those who follow Him. “Neither shall any plague come high thy dwelling” (Psalm 91:10).
"For Thou, O Yahuwah, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou laidest affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through water: but Thou broughtest us into a wealthy place" (Psalm 66:10-12). "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isaiah 48:10).
The notion that the tribulation will occur after Messiah comes for the church is glaringly inconsistent with 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, which makes it plain that anti-Christ (Messiah) (Satan) is revealed before Yahushua comes and is destroyed by the brightness of His coming. “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Master Yahushua Messiah, 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 Messiah is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first [Many will fall away who have been taught a lie and when things do not play out like they have been falsely told.], and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition [Satan appears on the earth during the last half of the New World Order’s reign in power which is forty-two months in length, See our study on Revelation 13 by clicking on the shaded area.]; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called Elohim, or that is worshipped; so the he as Elohim sitteth in the temple of Elohim, shewing himself that he is Elohim” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). Satan’s greatest deception is when he takes and places his throne in the city of Jerusalem at the end of time and is referred to as the Abomination of Desolation. Click on shaded area for the study on the Abomination of Desolation.
I hope that from what has been presented, you will see that the “secret rapture” is not sustained by the Word of Elohim, the Bible. The second coming of Yahushua will be a literal, audible, and the most glorious event climaxing at the end of the “time of trouble” spoken of by Daniel the prophet. Elohim has promised us that He will give us His Spirit to guide us into all the truth and show us things to come. John 16:13. “Let no man deceive you by any means” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:2).