It is believed by some that there is a secret rapture of the Church and seven years tribulation before the return of Christ. But does the Bible really teach a secret Church rapture?
The book of Revelation ends with a severe warning telling us not to add or take away from the prophecies written in this book. Revelation 22:18-20 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
This means that everything we need to know about end time events will be stated in the Bible and we will not have to add extra doctrine or our own interpretations or fill in the gaps, for we are told not to add to it.
Where is the Secret Rapture in the Bible?
The question arises then, where exactly does the teaching of the secret rapture of the Church appear in the Bible? Revelation gives us in symbolic language the predictions of all the events surrounding the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. It gives an account of the history of the churches from the time He ascended into heaven all the way through to His Appearing at the Second Coming. It gives us the political history of the nations that would rule over God’s people, looking back over Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Pagan Rome and then looking forward to the religio-political power of Papal Rome, which would endure until the end of time. Amid all the myriad of details given there is clearly shown to be an amazing, extremely loud, highly visible appearing of the Saviour surrounded by a cloud of millions of angels, with the intensity of His coming so bright that the wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. It tells of the largest earthquake this world has ever seen, and speaks of islands being swallowed up by the sea and cities falling. Just before this huge convulsion of the earth all the dead saints will be raised, miraculously transformed into their new heavenly bodies, and all the believers who are still alive and have stayed faithful to Jesus and not taken the Mark of the Beast will also be caught up to meet Jesus in the sky and their bodies also will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye.
The account of Revelation is what the movies would call the ultimate Climax. It is BIG and LOUD and VISIBLE. There is not one word, or even hint of a secret rapture.
What is the Secret Rapture?
Much of the Christian world today believe in a secret rapture of the Church seven years before the Second Coming of the Lord. They believe that Jesus quietly raptures them up to heaven and that when His Second Coming occurs, that the church comes back from heaven to earth with Him.
Did Jesus teach of His return with the Church?
Jesus never said there where three ‘comings’ He only ever spoke of His Return as a singular event. He also told us that He was going to prepare a place for us, and that when He came again He would receive us to Himself. John 14:2-3 “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 ye may be also.” He is clearly showing here that He will receive us when He comes again, and He only ever teaches that He comes again once.
When did Jesus say He would gather the Church?
Jesus always spoke of His return as being at the last day. He never once said He would come before the last day to do a secret rapture. John 6:38-40 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The Bible clearly teaches of the Resurrection of the dead in Christ at the Second Coming of Jesus and Jesus also clearly preached the Resurrection to eternal life would occur at the last day, when He returned to gather all the believers off the earth, both the living and those who “slept in Christ.” John 6:43-44 “Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
It is obvious also that Jesus’ followers were well aware of the teaching of the resurrection on the last day, because when Lazarus had died and Jesus told Martha that He would raise him from the dead, she immediately thought He was referring to raising him at the last day.
John 11:23-26 “Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
On many occasions Jesus spoke of the resurrection at the last day. John 6:53-54 “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
When is the last day?
Paul clearly shows us that the last day occurs when Jesus returns and the resurrection of the Saints takes place. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
There can be no dispute then that the Second Coming of Jesus and the Last Day are the same timeframe. As well as that Jesus says that He will receive us to Him when He comes again. As we have just established that He comes again at the last day then the only logical conclusion is that the Church rapture occurs at the time of His Second Coming at the Last Day.
There is no room for confusion here. If we believe what Jesus said and we believe what Paul said, then it is impossible for there to be a secret rapture of the Church prior to the Second Coming of Christ.
Jesus warned us of end time deceptions
Jesus warned us that there would many deceptions in the end times that would “deceive even the elect, if possible.” Revelation speaks of a false prophet, which means that He knew there would be issues of false prophecy in the end times also. In His Revelation, given to John, Jesus tells us that those who received the mark of the beast where deceived. Revelation 19:20 “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
Paul made it clear to the Thessalonians that he wanted them to be aware of what would happen in the end times. He did not want them to be ignorant. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
He also further clarified this to the Corinthians. He wanted them to know that death had no string, because God gives us victory through Jesus and all who have died in Him will be raised with new incorruptible bodies at the Second Coming. 1 Corinthians 15:48-57 “As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which is His message to His Church to prepare it for His Coming is filled with warnings and instructions to be prepared. The three angels who give the end time message to the world begin by saying ‘fear God and give glory to Him.’ End time issues revolve around worship. Who we worship determines whether we will be lost or saved. We are warned not to take the Mark of the beast or worship the beast or his image. The first angel says, Revelation 14:6-7 “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
The Second Angel says, Revelation 14:8 “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
Revelation 14:9-12 “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
As we previously saw, those who take the Mark of the Beast were deceived. How much more deceived will people be, if they are expecting to be raptured away in a secret Church rapture, before Tribulation and before the issue of the Mark of the Beast occurs. How can people be prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus and the tests and trials that Christians will have to endure prior to His return, if they don’t see the need to study the prophecies in the Word of God as they assume they won’t be here, so won’t have to worry about it.
The secret rapture doctrine is a dangerous false prophecy that Satan has somehow managed to infiltrate into most of the Christian world.
Many Christians are believing a lie. They are expecting Jesus to come and secretly rapture them sometime before the Second Coming (which then would really make it a Third Coming) when Jesus returns, instead of believing what the Bible says. The Bible tells us that when Jesus returns once and only once, at the last day that the wicked will be destroyed with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” The Bible says that the dead in Christ will rise and those who are alive in Christ will join Him in the air. It also says that earth will melt away in fervent heat. 2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” This means that there will be no one left alive on the planet. There will be no neatly folded piles of clothing left where the Christians have disappeared from as depicted in some end time movies. This is purely fiction and 100% not what the Bible teaches. The Bible tells us that the resurrection of those who were dead in Christ is the First Resurrection and that all of the wicked, those who had died before the Second Coming and those who had died at the Second Coming will not rise until after the thousand year reign of the Christians in heaven. Revelation 20:5-6 “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 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.”
Do Christians reign over the wicked for 1000 years?
There is a common misconception that after the Second Coming the Christians will reign over the wicked on earth for 1000 years. We have seen however that this cannot be correct, because all the wicked are destroyed with the brightness of the Coming of Jesus and also the earth is destroyed and melts away with fervent heat. It is only after the 1000 years that God Creates the New Heaven and New Earth that are so often spoken of in the Bible. See 1000 year millennial reign of Christ for more.
We are told that during the thousand years we will have the Books opened to us and will judge the wicked and judge the angels. We are told that we will reign with Jesus (in Heaven) for 1000 years, as that is where He comes to take us to. Later on in Revelation when it is describing the New Heaven and New Earth it also tells us that we will reign there forever and ever. We know that there will be no wicked in the New Earth to Reign over, so we can conclude that when we reign in Heaven for 1000 years, again there is no necessity to have wicked people to reign over. Revelation 22:2-5 “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
Christians need to be ready.
Christians need to be ready for the end time events Revelation 1:1-3 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
We must be prepared to stand up even to death for the faith of Jesus. Many will lose their earthly lives, but will inherit eternal life. Revelation 20:4 “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, 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 Christ a thousand years.”
In the end times we are told to expect many false teachers, false prophets and prophecies, deceptions, false miracles, false signs and wonders. The only way to determine what is true and what is false is to verify everything by the Holy Word of God. If it does not line up 100% with the scriptures then it should be discarded as false. We cannot afford to be deceived, because deception will lead to the destruction of many. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Revelation reiterates this again. Revelation 13:13-14 “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”
What are the Beasts of Revelation?
The symbols of Revelation are interpreted either in Revelation itself or elsewhere in the Bible.
Beast = Kingdom/political power/government. Daniel 7:17 “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” Daniel 7:23 “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.”
Horn = King or kingdom. Daniel 7:24 “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.”
Heads = Major governments/powers/rulers/kingdoms. Revelation 17:9-10 “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.”
The First Antichrist Beast.
There are two main beasts spoken of in Revelation, the First Beast of Revelation 13:1-8 “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
This Beast power also correlates to the fourth beast in the Old Testament prophecy of Daniel 7:3-8 “And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
The Second Antichrist Beast
The Second beast of Revelation 13:11 makes an image of (acts in the same way, has the same characteristics, enforces the same laws) as the First Beast. Revelation 13:11-17 “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
Who do these beasts represent?
As explained in Daniel, the four great beasts were four kingdoms. Babylon (Lion), Medo-Persia (Bear), Greece (Leopard) and Pagan/Papal Rome represented by the terrible beast. Then he saw the Little Horn power arise, which was diverse from all the rest. This is because Papal Rome was a religious/political power, as opposed to the previous ruling powers which were all merely political. In a subsequent vision, giving Daniel more details the kingdoms of Media-Persia and Greece are named outright Daniel 8:20 “The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.” And when Daniel had interpreted the previous dream of King Nebuchadnezzar he had named the golden head of the statue as being the current kingdom of his time, Babylon. Select for very detailed information on who is real the antichrist.
To identify who this First Beast power corresponds to, we need to look in more detail at what criteria it needed to meet to fit. It had to have the following attributes:
- Rise to be a great power after the fall of the pagan Roman Empire after 476 A.D.
- Be geographically a small nation (a little horn).
- Rule over many people, nations, and tongues (it will be universal).
- Be headquartered in the city of seven hills (Rome).
- Be a religious/political entity - a political city-state ruled by a priest-king.
- Its priest-king would make great and blasphemous claims.
- It would claim to have authority over all kings.
- It would claim it had power to change the holy times and laws of God as a mark of its authority.
- Be an apostate (non-scripturally based) church that makes the nations drink her cup of apostate doctrine.
- It would be a "mother" church, with apostate daughters coming from her.
- Be a persecuting power, killing the faithful saints of Jesus Christ as heretics.
- Hold uninterrupted power and authority for 1260 years following the fall of pagan Rome.
- Suffer a deadly wound that would end 1260 years of dominance and persecution.
- It would be revived after the deadly wound, and all of the world would wonder at its revival.
In this “Historical” interpretation, the antichrist was plainly not just a single individual, but instead a religious/political system of apostasy and persecution that would hold control over the people of God for more than twelve hundred years.
All of the early protestant reformers such as Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin, John Huss, Charles Spurgeon, as well as Sir Isaac Newton, the translators of the King James Bible, and many others all clearly stated that the fourth beast or “little horn” power of Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation could ONLY be identified as the false religious system and persecuting power found within Papal Rome. The non-biblical (antichrist) doctrines instituted by the Roman Catholic Church had replaced many scriptural doctrines with traditions instituted by man and intermingled many pagan beliefs into church doctrine. During the dark ages literally millions of people were tortured and killed as ‘heretics’ for not bowing down to all of the precepts of the Roman church. This is a matter of history. It was also known as the ‘Inquisition’. The book ‘Foxes book of Martyrs’ gives a clear and horrific depiction of the torture and murder techniques employed by the Catholic Church on anyone who chose to follow their conscience and the Holy Scriptures.
The early reformers saw that Roman Catholic Church fitted precisely and fulfilled every point of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. It was a ruling “beast power” that had arisen out of the Roman Empire, had blasphemed God, by claiming that their priests had the power to forgive sins and that their Pope was Christ’s representative on earth and it had made war on the saints. It had also claimed to have the power to change God’s laws and altered the fourth commandment to instruct people to worship God on the pagan sun worship day of Sunday instead of the Holy Seventh Day Sabbath and had totally omitted the Second Commandment that forbade worshipping idols. They then split the tenth Commandment in two to keep the number of Commandments as per the original.
The unavoidable conclusion of those who had studied these prophecies in the Scriptures, before and during the Protestant Reformation, was that there was only one entity that could fit all of the above characteristics for the antichrist beast power and that was the Roman Catholic Church.
Many of the early Protestant reformers met their death, burnt at the stake for preaching that the papal system was the antichrist, and that people should follow only the Bible and the doctrines taught in the Holy scriptures, instead of those imposed by the Papal rule.
The Second Beast which comes out of the earth (an unpopulated area) also arose in the prophetic timeline shortly after the first beast received it’s deadly wound in 1798 (when Napoleons General Berthier arrested and imprisoned the Pope who subsequently died, ending the 1260 year uninterrupted reign of the Papacy).
The prophecy says that the beast had two horns like a lamb so originally there was a distinct division between two types of leadership, in this case a separation between religious power and political power. The lamb like qualities imply that it had to be a Christian nation and Revelation 12 shows that it was a nation where God’s people fled to in order to escape the persecutions.
Revelation 12:14-17 “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
There is only one major political power in the modern world that meets all of this prophetic criteria and that is the United States of America or more specifically Protestant America. This was the place where many of the Christians from Europe who fled persecution made home. It also officially became a nation in the correct timeline to match the prophecy. It is a country that was discovered and not conquered and was a haven for civil and religious freedom.
The prophecy in Revelation 13 goes on to say that the beast “spake as a dragon”, meaning that at some stage in the future the nature of the beast will change, and it will begin to exercise the same powers as the first antichrist beast.
We can expect to see it ‘cause’ (enforce by law) people to worship the papal power making it the One World Religion. It will make an image to (act in exactly the same way, do the same things) as the first beast (in other words begin to persecute and kill anyone who does not bow down to it’s false system of worship). It will cause everyone to take a mark in their right hand (symbolic for their actions) or in their forehead (symbolic for their thoughts, or decisions) and anyone who does not take their mark will be not be permitted to buy or sell and will be persecuted, thrown in jail or killed. The prophecy goes on to speak of those true followers of God, who do not take the mark of the beast, but have the Seal of God. Revelation 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the Commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
This shows the distinguishing factor between the two groups is that those who are saved will be “keeping the Ten Commandments.” It is highly significant then to remember that the papal system claim that the “Mark” of their authority is that they changed the very Commandments of God, the fourth Commandment of the Holy Sabbath they changed to Sunday and that they deleted the Second Commandment about not committing idolatry.
Prophecy shows that this Second Beast will again unite religion and politics just like the First Beast did. There will be some unspecified disaster that will act as a catalyst and will precede this uniting of religion and state. Something will transpire that will make all of the leading protestant churches of the United States unite on some form of common ground, putting aside doctrinal differences, and that they will influence the government to enforce decrees to exalt Sunday sacredness in a desperate effort to create peace.
Just as papal Rome enforced Sunday worship back in 321AD the Second Beast will also enforce by law the day of worship (Sunday) and hence will unwittingly make an image to the first beast, for the Mark of the Papacy's authority was to make up its own laws and change the Sabbath to Sunday. Those who do not bow down and follow these decrees, but who choose instead to follow the Commandments of God and the Scriptures will be most probably be labelled as terrorists, have their assets frozen and be jailed or killed. The enforcement of these laws will be more than just nationwide, as God’s people are now in all corners of the world; this means that there will be a One World Government, with one single religious leader at the head.
How did the Papacy react to being called the Antichrist?
In response to the protestant recognition that they were none other than the antichrist beast power of Daniel and Revelation the Roman Catholic Church leaders schemed to produce a counter interpretation of scriptures, that would point the focus of these prophecies away from the Catholic Church and onto an individual identity somewhere else in time. They commissioned several Jesuit priests to write counter interpretations to point the heat away from the Catholic Church. There was one interpretation, known as “preterism” done by Luis De Alcasar (1554-1613), who proposed that all of Revelation applied to the past, to the era of pagan Rome and the first six centuries of Christianity. Alcasar identified the Antichrist as being Nero.
Francisco Ribera and Robert Bellarmine both wrote counter interpretations, known as “futurism” because they projected the timeline of the prophecies right down to the end of time, and claimed that the antichrist would be one man, a terrible individual who would go into a rebuilt Jewish temple and claim that he was God.
Ribera published his 500-page commentary on Revelation in around 1590. As there is absolutely no scriptural backup for this interpretation he took and distorted a section of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy (a beautiful Messianic prophecy that accurately predicted when Jesus would begin His ministry, confirm the covenant, die for our sins, rise again to forever put an end to the animal sacrificial system and also when the gospel message would start to go to the gentiles) and threw it down to the end of time, turning it into a seven year tribulation. Ribera took the one week (symbolic for seven years) which in Daniel’s prophecy correlated to Jesus’ death and confirmation of the covenant with the people of God, and turned this into the coming of an antichrist during seven years of tribulation at a nondescript period in time somewhere in the future.
In the 1830’s a 15-year-old girl names Margaret McDonald who had been taught and accepted the Ribera teaching, claimed to have a vision where she saw a secret rapture of the Church before the seven year tribulation. This became the birth of this false rapture prophecy.
Ribera’s interpretation of prophecy initially had no effect, because in his day the protestant world was well aware of the truths of the scripture, and knew that the antichrist beast power was the Roman Catholic Church. However over several centuries numerous people became aware of Ribera’s interpretation and the memories of the reason for the reformation began to fade. This teaching was picked up by one person after another and then through Darby altering Margaret McDonald’s views of the secret rapture of the Church, teaching them as his own and developing “futurism” into a system of prophetic teachings called “dispensationalism” which had the secret rapture at its centre, this deception began to spread through much of Christendom.
Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921) was greatly influenced by the teachings of Darby and incorporated this false doctrine into the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible, published by Oxford University Press in 1909. Over one million copies had been printed by 1930, firmly establishing this Futurist secret rapture theory into many different denominations and Bible schools in the 20th Century. From here Hal Lindsey popularised it in his book the “Late great planet earth” and finally it found its way into the fictional “Left Behind Series”, which most Christians accept as fact. Through this sequence of events one of Satan’s greatest deceptions has been accomplished.
Are there any second chances?
The idea of seven years of tribulation with a secret rapture, but then a second chance for anyone who then realises that there really must be a God, because all the Christian’s have disappeared, is an extremely dangerous deception that Satan has managed to propagate, because some people may put off making a decision to follow the Lord, and as there will be no second chance they will miss their opportunity to be saved.
The Bible clearly tells us that once probation closes there will be no second chances. Revelation 22:11 “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
Just as it was in the days of Noah when he and his family went into the Ark and the door was closed, there was no more opportunity after that for people to change their minds. Their fates where sealed. The Bible clearly shows that the same thing will be the case before Jesus comes. Luke 17:26-30 “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”
Rapture of the Church Conclusion
The Bible teaches us that the Second Coming of Jesus is a one-time event at the last day, not in two stages. The Bible shows that Jesus Return will be vividly visible, tremendously audible and that the dead in Christ will rise from their graves and meet Him in the air, followed by the rest of His people who are still alive being transformed and gathered to Him by the angels. A huge earthquake will then ravage the Earth and the planet will melt away in fervent heat. The wicked will all perish and not be raised again until after the 1000-year reign of the Christians in heaven.
The Bible teaches that there will be no second chances for the wicked once probation closes and anyone who has taken the mark of the Beast is forever doomed.
We are warned over and over again that deception is going to be one of the major issues in the end times and that we must stand firm on the Word of God and check everything against it for confirmation of the truth.
The secret rapture is an apostate doctrine created by the First Beast of Revelation in order to deceive the world.
Watch Excellent Prophecy Seminars
If you have a reasonably fast internet connection and would like to watch an online Prophecy Seminar that reveals who the little horn of Daniel 7 and the Beast of Revelation 13 is that changed the Sabbath to Sunday, you will find Revelation Reveals the Antichrist very enlightening. You may want to start about 17.5 minutes in to bypass singing items etc. You can also watch Revelation’s Rapture for more truth on the rapture of the Church. To watch more from this and other Prophecy Seminars you will find the Prophecy Code here. Be prepared to discover many mind blowing, lost Bible truths.