Does the Bible say Jesus will return to earth twice? Does the Bible say Jesus will come secretly to take all authentic Christians to Heaven for seven years to avoid the great tribulation? When does the rapture occur? Let's see what the Bible says.
In the 19th Century a young Scottish girl named Margaret McDonald prophesied about a great "catching away" of the church. She believed God was going to secretly "rapture" the church to Heaven at any moment. Some churches at the time began to assimilate her belief of this great catching away doctrine. It should be noted that this is a relatively new doctrine and was not taught by Jesus, the Apostles, or the early church.
Did Jesus ever pray that God would take believers out of the world to save them in the safety of Heaven? No! In fact the Bible says the exact opposite. It says Jesus asked God NOT
to protect them by taking them out of the world! Why would Jesus take believers from the earth in some secret rapture when He had asked God to protect them right here on earth?
John 17:15 "I pray not that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil."
The pre-tribulation rapture is not spoken of in the Bible as a separate, specific event. The verses people use to support the pre-tribulation rapture belief are private interpretations
of prophetic Scriptures concerning the second coming of Jesus
and the resurrection of the saints.
2 Peter 1:20 "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. "
The Biblical teaching concerning the resurrection of the dead believers and of living Christians is not to be interpreted privately. Margaret McDonald did not obey God. The Bible, our only authority, speaks very clearly on this subject of the rapture for those willing to listen.
Let's look at a few scriptures that people claim support the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53, "Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up
(Greek word "harpazo" meaning to seize) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord."
Matthew 24:31 "And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."
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Do the scriptures say Jesus is coming back in two stages? Do the scriptures say he is returning secretly? Do they say Jesus will quietly return part of the way, stop short in the clouds, and then return to heaven? Do the scriptures say believers will return to Heaven for seven years with Jesus? No. The Bible says none of this. These are all private interpretations of the scriptures used to support a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine.
Rather than simply allowing these scriptures to say what they say, referring to the one and only return of Jesus, they have been privately and erroneously interpreted by some to be about a pre-tribulation rapture. What does the Bible say about the one and only return of Jesus?
Acts 1:9, "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
How did Jesus go to heaven? He was seen publicly
by a multitude of men of Galilee as he ascended.
Acts 1:11, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
The Bible plainly tells us Jesus will be seen
coming down from Heaven through the clouds. It will be difficult for anyone not to see Him.
Matthew 24:27, "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."
1Thessalonians 4:16, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout ...."
Matthew 24:30, "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. "
We don't have to wonder about some secret return of Jesus and the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. We don't need to interpret these verses to mean something else. The Bible says Jesus will return to earth the same way he went to heaven, openly and in plain sight for all to see. He won't return secretly or quietly, but with much fanfare.
Matthew 24:30, "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."
The Bible says Jesus will be bright and shining like lightning, for all the world to see. It will be a worldwide event witnessed by " all the tribes of the earth".
It will occur with trumpet blasts and loud shouts. This clearly eliminates the argument of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4
supporting a secret return of Jesus and a pre-tribulation rapture of the saints.
1 Thessalonians 4:13, "....even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord."
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The key to the entire question of when
dead believers are "raised imperishable"
, or living Christians "will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air"
, is all a matter of timing. When does this resurrection occur? When do believers rise from their graves? When do those living Christians, changed from living flesh and blood to spirit beings, ascend into the clouds to meet Jesus? When does the Bible say Jesus will .... "send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds"
When will believers "all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye"
When will "the dead be raised imperishable, and we will be changed"
When will "we who are alive and remain will be caught up....together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air"
When "shall we always be with the Lord"
The Bible tells us in Matthew 24:29, "Immediately after the tribulation....."
Matthew 24:29-30, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 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."
This does NOT occur before
the tribulation, not before
the last trumpet, not before
the beast and the antichrist bring destruction upon the whole earth, and not before
the persecution of the church by the devil.
"We will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" ...... after the tribulation at the blast of a great trumpet.
1 Corinthians 15:21-24 "For since death is through man, also through a Man is a resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruit; afterward those of Christ AT HIS COMING. Then is the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God, even the Father, when He makes to cease all rule and all authority and power."
When does this happen? "Those of Christ"
are resurrected, if dead, or rise up to meet Him if they are living, "at His coming"
, not seven years earlier. When are all "made alive?" "At His coming"
, When "the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,"
believers will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye. When the "end"
comes, the Kingdom of God is established on the earth, and all human rule and authority ends. This is when "We will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" ......
, not seven year earlier before the great tribulation begins.
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Don't believe what men tell you. Don't believe the relatively recent dream of a young Scottish girl about a pre-tribulation rapture. Believe what the Bible has plainly said for two thousand years, without requiring any private interpretation or explanation.
Does the Bible say in Matthew 24:30 that we will see Jesus return "in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven"?
Jesus went up into the clouds in glory at His ascension and He will return the same way. ALL the earth will see Jesus coming openly and in power and glory in the clouds. There is nothing secret about this at all.
What occurs at Jesus' return? The Bible says this is NOW when, "we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye".
It says this is NOW when, "the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed"
and "this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality".
The Bible says this all occurs after the tribulation when the world sees Jesus return in power and glory. This is when the dead believers rise from their graves and the living Christians rise up to meet Jesus in the clouds. This isn't a pre-tribulation rapture. It's the resurrection! All the verses people claim are a separate rapture event are really about the one and only return of Jesus to set up His Kingdom on earth with His elect, the resurrected saints.
Matthew 24:31, "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."
When do we find this great harvest of the living and dead believers from the four winds? It occurs after the seventh and last trumpet sounds and announces the return of Jesus is imminent! There can be only ONE
This is an important point to remember before moving on. The Book Of Revelation is not entirely in chronological order. Parts of Chapters 11 through 18 contain inset history spanning hundreds and even thousands of years that have no bearing on the flow of end time events in this book. Many events in these chapters already occured, some in the last few years and others thousands of years ago. The context clearly shows that Chapter 19 just picks up where chapter 11 verses 15 to 18 left off.
Revelation 11:15-18, "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
The great harvest of the Elect (Christian believers) occurs when Jesus returns in the clouds crowned with glory. This is His second coming
when the kingdoms of the world become our Lord's. In Revelation 19 you see Jesus returning from Heaven.
Revelation 19:11, "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war."
Revelation 19:14, "And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
This is the returning of Jesus Christ in power and glory with all His armies of angels, after the seventh and last trumpet, after the tribulation, and at the time of the resurrection of the believers. Jesus is coming to the earth in power and glory to establish His kingdom and judge the nations as "the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ" just like Revelation 11:15 said. He will now "destroy them which destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:18)
Revelation 19:15, "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 God."
When Jesus comes on His white horse in power and glory, the Bible says believers rise up to meet Him
in the clouds. Believer rise to meet Jesus on His way back to earth to establish His Kingdom! What happens to them? Do they go to Heaven while Jesus continues to the earth to reign for one thousand years? (Revelation 20:4) The Bible says "we shall always be with the Lord". If you believe the Bible, and always means ALWAYS, then where Jesus goes, believers go, that very day!
1 Thessalonians 4:17, "Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord."
Where does Jesus go with the resurrected believers after meeting them in the clouds? Where will they always be with Him? Where does Jesus go that day? Zechariah tells us something about this in his prophecy concerning the second coming of Jesus.
Zechariah 14:4, "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, ..."
The Bible plainly says Jesus, and therefore the believers who rose to meet Him in the clouds as He returned, who "shall always be with the Lord"
, will stand on the Mount of Olives on that very day.
Jesus will bring those who have fallen asleep in Him to the Mount of Olives after they rise and meet Him in the air.
"God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus."
(1 Thessalonians 4:14)
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, "we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
When the last trumpet sounds Jesus meets the believers in the clouds who have been resurrected and changed, AFTER the great tribulation is over. (Matthew 24:31) He brings them with Him and His armies of angels when he returns to the earth.
The believers all return to the earth with Jesus the very day
they rise from their grave, are changed, and meet Him in the clouds.
No one goes to heaven for seven years. The reign of Jesus and the resurrected saints begins the very day of His return in glory. The believers return with Jesus to the Mount of Olives and the Kingdom of God is established upon the earth. This is where believers rule with Jesus as Kings and Priests.
Revelation 5:10 "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."
There are no references to the return of Christ anywhere in the Bible alluding to or stating that Jesus will come back to earth more than once. Believing that He is only returning in the air to "catch away" the saints to go to Heaven is a misinterpretation of Scripture. It is a private interpretation of the scriptures based upon the dream of a young woman and her human reasoning. It is not what the Bible actually says. At His return, the anger of God will be upon His enemies. Every reference in the Bible indicates the one and only return of Jesus is a final judgment on the wicked. There isn't one scripture that states the Church will be caught up to Heaven before the wrath of God comes upon the earth.
The pre-tribulation rapture is a belief that is not based upon what the Bible actually says. When we listen to what the Bible says, it is clear that Jesus only returns once to this earth. He does this in the sight of all in His great power and glory with the resurrected saints, AFTER the tribulation.
Where did this idea that Christians would not have to suffer through the tribulation come from? The Bible does not teach it. The Bible actually says Christians must suffer through tribulation to get into the Kingdom of God. Christians will be persecuted right here on earth. Christians will be hated by all nations. Christians will be overcome by the forces of evil. Christians will be killed!
Acts 14:22 ".....that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God"
John 16:33 "In the world ye shall have tribulation:....."
Luke 21:12 "But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake."
Matt 24:9 "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake."
Rev 13:7 "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them ."
Yes, Christians will persecuted and may even have to suffer and lose their lives for the sake of Jesus. In the end, Christians who die for Christ in the Great Tribulation receive the ultimate reward of eternal life with God in His Kingdom. This is not a pleasant message but it is the truth! Churches teach what is easy to hear. They teach a false doctrine about a pre-tribulation rapture to heaven to make people feel good and give them false hope. The reality is this. Jesus plainly said....."If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you."
(John 15:20) Will you believe Jesus or will you believe men? The Bible says Christians will die for Jesus DURING the Great Tribulation.
Rev 7:13-17 "And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. "
Matt 10:22 "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."
If we endure the persecution and tribulation and remain faithful to God even unto death we will be given the gift of eternal life! True Christians are persecuted! Jesus said so. He said the His followers would even be hated and killed by their own families.
Luke 21:16 "You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death;
The life of a true Christian is not an easy one. When you choose to be faithful to Jesus and obey His commandments you will be persecuted. If you are alive during the Great Tribulation you need to be spiritually prepared to endure ALL persecution and remain faithful even unto death.
Will all Christians have to die in the Great Tribulation? No. God may choose to save some believers from the ultimate sacrifice. Many may suffer persecution but not die. Some may suffer very little. God doesn't need to take Christians to heaven to protect them if He chooses. He is fully capable of protecting His children right here on earth. He doesn't need to rapture them to heaven for seven years. God may choose to completely protect some Christians right in their own home! If they are in a right relationship with God He may have mercy on them and spare them from the worst of the Great Tribulation.
The biggest concern about the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine is the reaction of millions of sincere God loving Christians when they find themselves on earth in the middle of the Great Tribulation. Imagine how they will feel. What will they think when they find themselves ALL left behind surrounded by all the trials, persecution, and suffering? Think about what will happen to their faith and trust in God who apparantly let them down. God didn't do what the churches said He promised to do. He didn't Rapture them and take them off to Heaven for 7 years. Millions will fall away and turn their back on God. They will be lost and confused, all because of a misunderstanding and misapplication of a handful, yes just a handful of Scriptures about the return of Jesus and the resurrection.
So what does the Bible say about a pre-tribulation rapture of the church? Nothing! If you choose to believe a girl's dream rather than what the Bible says you will be totally disillusioned when you see the Great Tribulation begin and you are a believer still on earth. You now know the truth about these Scriptures. Don't be confused and lose faith in God when you are not raptured to Heaven during that time. God can protect you right here on the earth if He chooses, but if not, remember what Jesus promised!
Matt 10:22 "he that endureth to the end shall be saved."
Don't believe a young girls pre-tribulation rapture dream. Believe what THE BIBLE SAYS!