The Rapture Doctrine 
Thoughts on the Secret Rapture
Copyright BRI 1985,1997
All Rights Reserved Worldwide
“CHRIST HAS DIED; CHRIST IS RISEN; CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN.”
The Australian Anglican Prayer Book cannot be more forthright. These are cherished statements of faith that ought to be held dear to all who profess
the name of Christ, to all who truly believe that they are born anew by God’s holy Spirit. I firmly believe that Our Lord Yeshu haMashiach is coming again. I tenaciously hold that the Messianic Community will be “caught up” into the upper atmosphere at His Second Advent -- literally “raptured” to be
with Him as He returns to RULE this Earth and to usher in His own unique salvation-oriented New Word Order!
Yet today, frighteningly, many believers in Christ’s salvation no longer have any conviction concerning His return! Still others deny Yeshua's own statements concerning His return by exchanging the truth for a vision of a demonically-inspired peasant Scots-woman and which was quickly adopted by the sect of the supposedly “holy” Plymouth Brethren! Born in Scotland, the doctrine was reared in England, and nurtured in the U.S.A. It soon became a global belief shared by millions of adherents to the Christian Faith.
The extraterrestrials who ventured into dialogue with His Initiated students as The Master ascended into the atmosphere above them, said:“You men
of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into the heavens? This same Yeshuawho is taken up into the heavens from you, SHALL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER as you have seen Him go into the heavens” (Ac 1.11).
The Lord Yeshu ascended into the heavens from the Mount Olivet (Ac 1.12). The prophet Zechariah, as a result of an ecstatic vision, testified that he saw the personification of the Eternal God descending from the sky to this very same region, near Jerusalem. “Behold, the day of the LORD comes...I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle...Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations...AND HIS FEET SHALL STAND in that day UPON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the MOUNT OLIVET SHALL SPLIT in the midst...the LORD my God shall come -- all the saints with you...and the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one LORD, and His name One” (Zech 14.1-5,9).
Yes, I believe firmly in the second coming of my Lord Yeshu. With no apologies to Seventh Day Adventists, the prophet Zechariah is describing the Advent of Our Lord Yeshufrom the skies above -- he is decidedly not designating the coming of the Antichrist, as they popularly teach from their effeminate pulpits! Some SDA’s will deny that their church teaches this, but I have heard them with my own ears!! I believe Yeshua is coming again. I
have grave reservations, however, about a so-called two-stage return taught popularly from various Protestant pulpits. Yeshu’s feet left Mount Olivet almost 2000 years ago, and they are prophesied to again touch Mount Olivet at His return for His saints. “He will come in the same way he left,” says
The saints return with Him, for they have been caught up into the air as He descends to the Mount. When He left planet Earth from Olivet, He didn’t ascend in two stages! So, as He comes again, He doesn’t get half-way here, stop mid-way, and return to heaven, in order to come back again (the third time -- the “second coming” is nowhere referred to as the “third coming” of Christ). This idea of the two-stage “rapture” (that the Lord returns for His saints some three and a half years -- some say a full seven years -- before the appearing of the Antichrist and/or the start of the Great Tribulation) is a ludicrous proposition which made its first appearance with the diabolic utterances of a nineteenth-century Scottish woman of Pentecostal
persuasion. It does not appear in the early traditions of the historic church but was absorbed into Darbyite theology with amazing enthusiasm. It is a highly dangerous notion for reasons which will become apparent a little later in this lecture.
Judah, the Lord’s brother, quoted from a document quite popular in Essene circles, and proclaimed the coming of the Lord (Jude 9) verifying the authenticity of the Work of the prophet Enoch, as well as the vision of Zechariah. Wrote John, “Every eye shall see Him,” and he added, “He comes with clouds” (Rev 1.7 Greek). Yeshua Himself had affirmed that He would return. “In my Father’s house are many mansions [positions and offices, Stephen’s Received Text]...I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN [Christ’s promised second coming] and receive you unto myself [we will be raptured up to meet our LORD in the air as He descends to Jerusalem and specifically toward Mount Olivet] that where I am [Yeshua will be reigning from Jerusalem] there you may be also [with Yeshua reigning with Him in His kingdom]” (Jn 14.1-3).
Nothing in these words about a two-stage second -- third? -- coming. We have to read that doctrine into these words of Yeshua! Search the annals of the early church, and the church of the Dark Ages, and the Medieval church, but you will not find the doctrine expressed, or hinted at, anywhere in the records. It first appears in 1830.
THE SECRET RAPTURE POSITION SIMPLIFIED:
Paul wrote that there would be a “gathering together” of Christians at Christ’s coming to meet him in the clouds of heaven (2 Thes 2.1). The word “gather” as a verb in the Greek language is episunago which means “to gather together, suggesting stress upon the place at which the gathering is made (epi, to), is said of a hen and her chickens, Matt 23:37; and so of the Lord’s would-be protecting care of the people of Jerusalem...Luke 13:34; of the gathering together of the elect, Matt 24:31” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 1952 one volume ed.,142 N.B. This lecturer has utilised “Vine” only due to its common popularity). The noun, used in 2 Thes 2.1,is episunagoge. The word “rapture” is from the Latin of this same Greek term (rapere, the very word from which “rape” comes and which means to seize or take away).
In essence, some Christians believe that prior to the end-time appearance of the Antichrist (or, Beast) of the book of Revelation, Yeshua will come secretly to “snatch away” his true believers. Still others who hold to the secret rapture doctrine believe that Antichrist will reign for three-and-a-half years of his expected seven year tenure on planet Earth and that at that time Christ will secretly come for his elect. Then, according to them, the final cataclysmic “Great Tribulation” will be unleashed by Satan onto this planet in all of the fury of his hate for mankind. In other words Christ removes his church to heaven leaving the Jewish people and the rest of the nations on Earth to go through the Great Tribulation.
Popular evangelist De Haan claims that Christians will be caught “up into heaven” prior to the tribulation period and says “this is the teaching of Revelation and of the entire Bible.” Oswald Smith disagrees. “There is not a single verse in the Bible that upholds the [secret coming of Christ pre-tribulation] theory...There is no scripture for a pre-tribulation rapture,” he says.
It is not an uncommon sight to see car bumper stickers which read “The Rapture: The only way to fly!” or “In case of the Rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned.” Such sentiments convey to the pagan public (and to Christians who do not care for the doctrine) an arrogant triumphant attitude which was quite decidedly the opposite displayed by Our Lord (Jn 11.35; Lk 19.41,42).
Up until a few short years ago it was my privilege to visit Christian congregations with diverse denominational backgrounds deputised as the
representative of the largest international missionary radio organisation on the face of the Earth. This was an organisation many Christians once believed was actually capable of fulfilling the Great Commission of Our Lord in reaching all nations with the Gospel of Christ’s salvation. But it was astonishing to me just how many people in the denominations which I visited who were sucked in -- “hook, line and sinker” -- to the travesty of the two-stage rapture doctrine. So powerful was this teaching even when they had the truth of the matter explained to them simply (as a child would be capable of understanding) they remained firmly entrenched in their stupid doctrinal nonsense -- and for a good reason, which I will come to in a moment.
As I travelled from church to church, I aimed at focusing the attention of those to whom I was speaking on the great need to pray intelligently, as well as to encourage them all to support financially that same ministry, in reaching the lost of humankind. At the same time, I was eager to convey my desire that all of God’s people most certainly have need to experience their own intimate and personal outreach in their own immediate community. The lost exist here in our own country as well as overseas in foreign lands. Underscoring all my sermons was a sense of genuine urgency as I am one of those “fools for Mashiach” who believes that the coming of Our Lord is near.
Christian Apostasy, Here Now
One day I was invited back to a particular denomination by its pastor, a well-known man of the cloth (who shall remain anonymous). Having heard me
speak before he gave me free rein to speak on any subject I desired. Yet, not a mere two minutes before I was to take the pulpit, as the final lines of the pre-sermon hymn wafted into the belfry, this ‘man of God’ leaned across to me from the pew directly before me and whispered soberly, “Brother, you know that you can speak on anything you want, but please do me a favour.”
I have a natural tendency to be more than a little hesitant about agreeing to do people favours before I know what they are. “What’s the favour?” I asked responsively.
What proceeded from his mouth at that point engulfed me with dismay. “Please don’t mention the Second Coming! I don’t believe in it...about 60% of my congregation no longer believes in it either, and I’d like to keep them!” I could hardly believe what I had just heard. I sat there in my pew like a stunned mullet in a fish shop window. I was swallowed up in turbulent thoughts. I did not realise the hymn had finished. The congregation was waiting somewhat impatiently for me to take the pulpit, and I was still standing in the pew with an opened hymn book in my hands. Peter’s words were flooding into my brain: “There shall come in the last days scoffers...saying, Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet 3.3,4). I could hardly believe what I had just heard. Here was a minister of God DENYING what was once the central hope of the Christian Community -- the Second Advent of Christ -- “our blessed hope.”
Friends, over the years I have discovered that this was not to be an isolated incident. Doubt about the second coming, and disbelief in it, seems to be an alarming trend among a growing number of ministers not only in Australia but around the globe.
For 2000 years we Christians have proclaimed the (single second) coming of the Lord in glory. We have been consistent in our teaching that the Lord
would one day appear in the clouds above in power and majesty to “catch us up” -- to RAPTURE us -- to be with Him AT His second Advent.
We proclaimed this belief faithfully in the days when Nero burned the dying, screaming, crucified bodies of wretched, writhing saints in his palatial gardens in order to throw light on his debauched, decadent evening sexual orgies.
We cried it loud and long in the second century as mad emperors martyred Mashiach’s faithful, obedient servants. Men like the brilliant Ignatius, and the holy priests Polycarp and Polycrates and others. Yes, we were consistent in our preaching of His (single second) coming.
As the church elevated by the pagan Constantine to “orthodoxy” began to “eliminate” all “heresies” our central message was still one of hope. We did not spare. Yeshua (Iseou) was coming to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
We announced His (single second) coming was near as the unfortunate Trinitarian controversies rocked the universal church to its very foundations.
In the Dark Ages, when the light of the glorious Gospel had faced near extinction we faithfully sealed the truth of Yeshu’s (single) Second Advent in the shed blood of multiple millions of martyrs for the Faith.
In the days of the universalist Wycliffe and his Lollards -- when every second man in England saw himself as a new creature being prepared for a new creation by virtue of a new birth -- we were faithful in preaching and teaching that Christ was coming again.
During the days of the great missionary awakening of the 19th century, when Hudson Taylor took the life-giving Gospel to pagan China, we were again found to be trustworthy stewards of God’s holy word. The (single second) coming of Christ was not considered a mere doctrine, but a fundamental reality.
The twentieth century has witnessed that reality degenerate from a living hope and confident trust into nothing more than a sometimes required
doctrinal tenet (open, of course, to modern interpretation) of the Christian belief system. The last major voice raised up by the living Jesus Christ, and
who boldly proclaimed His soon appearance, was Billy Graham. We do not apologise for our mention of Billy Graham even though some would insist that he has become a 33° Mason in these his twilight years. But I first came to an intellectual knowledge of “Jesus Christ” through one of Graham’s mighty evangelistic crusades in the mid ‘fifties. Brian Booth, a famous international Australian cricketer, gave me a gift of a particular New Testament around 1959. Later, in 1981, I was to meet the Messiah on my own Damascus Road. But today Graham’s golden, appealing voice is silent. Where are
the Billy Graham’s of today? His son is no patch on the Old Man.
Now, as Yeshua prepares to intervene in the affairs of our rebellious planet and war-weary Earth -- at a time when the nations have amassed enough nuclear fire-power to destroy all life more than 50 times over (though once would be sufficient) and man has cleverly devised and stockpiled more than 50 different and effective methods of cosmocide -- we hardly ever hear the really good news of Christ’s soon return. It would appear the church may have lost interest in the reality of our Saviour’s (single) Second Coming.
I sat in the pew with this man’s words of sheer unbelief ringing in my ears -- “60% of my congregation no longer believes in it and I’d like to keep them” -- and the longer I stood there the angrier I became. I must be quite candid about it. A white-hot righteous indignation began to swell higher and higher
into my throat. This was my Messiah and soon-coming King this self-indulgent pious parasite was pompously denying, yet a man who clearly knew what the Scriptures plainly taught. No mental mutant he; although the same could not necessarily be said of his congregants, many of whom I had previously met, and a few of whom still believed in the coming of the Lord -- although in two stages. I left the safety of the pew slowly and deliberately, and then walked with a steady, purposeful gait up to the imposing mammoth pulpit. I had actually prepared an innocuous sermon on prayer. It was no longer relevant! This was war! When I finally took the pulpit, I opened my Bible, and that church got a rock solid hour of the Second Coming!
I never expected to ever be invited back there to preach, and frankly lost absolutely no sleep over it. Before I had finished the minister had hurriedly fled the scene. I let myself out, shaking hands with only a few who hung about the church door. I might add, too, that I preached that day one of the most convicted sermons I have ever given, before or since. And it was a single Second Advent that was preached -- in the tradition of Charles Spurgeon, William Booth, George Muller, B.W. Newton, John Wesley, Thomas Newton, Isaac Newton, John Knox, John Calvin, Edwin Sandys, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, John Foxe, William Tyndale, Philipp Melanchthon, Huldreich Zwingli, Martin Luther, John Huss, John Wycliffe, Irenaeus, Lactantius, Cyprian, Hippolytus, the Canaanite Tertullian, and Justin Martyr -- to name a few who also taught a single Second Coming!
For, had not the angels instructed the disciples on the day of Our Lord’s ascension that He would come back again “IN LIKE MANNER [in the same
exact way] as you have seen him go into the heavens”? (See Acts 1.11 in any version or translation of the Bible). It is apparent, even to the dull of intellect, that Yeshua decidedly DID NOT ascend into the heavens in two stages. Please forgive my devastating logic but the disciples watched His ascension IN ONE STAGE from the moment His feet left Olivet until clouds received Him out of their sight (Acts 1.9). Their eyes never left Mashiach. Their eyes were riveted to Him. There was no up-and-down-and-up-again feat aimed at entertaining the local imagination. The Lord did not utilise such a ploy to give “inside” information to His elect apostles about a two-stage return to this Earth. And He did not keep them in the dark about His coming again, only to reveal the precious “Secret Rapture” doctrine to an obscure Scottish-Edomite peasant woman centuries later somewhere in the British Isles!
Secret Two-Stage Advent “Rapturists” Soon to be Martyred!
G. Campbell Morgan, a Christian author who originally accepted the doctrine of the Secret Rapture, was asked near the conclusion of his ministry
whether he still accepted the idea of a two-stage coming. His reply was interesting to say the least: “Emphatically not! I know this view very well. In the earlier years of my ministry” [he had been a chief follower of J.N. Darby and Edward Irving of the Plymouth Brethren movement] “I taught it and
incorporated it in one of my books” [God’s Method With Man].“But further study so convinced me of the error of this teaching that I actually went to the expense of buying the plates from the publishers and destroying them. The idea of a separate and secret coming of Christ is a vagary of prophetic
interpretation without any Biblical basis whatsoever” (quoted in William Kimball, The Rapture, A Question of Timing, 1985, 179).
No less a scholar than Philip Mauro, who died in 1952, said this of the “two stage secret rapture” theory, “It is mortifying to remember that I not only held and taught these novelties myself, but that I even enjoyed a complacent sense of superiority because thereof, and regarded with feelings of pity and contempt those who had not received the ‘new light’ and were unacquainted with this up-to-date method of ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’...The time came...when the inconsistencies and self-contradictions of the system itself, and above all, the impossibility of reconciling its main positions with the plain statement of the Word of God, became so glaringly evident that I could not do otherwise than to renounce it” (ibid, 177,178).
Many friends associated with the BRI know me personally. They know where I stand on this issue. As anyone can tell from my comments in this lecture, my view is that people who claim to know their Bible and yet accept the “secret rapture” idea ought to have their heads examined. I stated this in my original writings on this subject during the period 1981-1986 when the BRI Newsletter was circulating around the world, and thousands were receiving it. Yet I do not wish to be unkind to these believers in the two-stage rapture doctrine. I am sure the vast majority of them do not even realise where and when the notion was first espoused in Christian history. Above all else we all need to recall that while there may be some doctrinal differences in the faith, it is still the one same faith. It makes no difference to our assured salvation whether one accepts the doctrine or not. For, our salvation is not in some belief system, but in the Jewish Messiah and Son of God, Yeshu.
This is what makes the IMCF so unique -- brethren of different opinions can still live, work and rub shoulders together, hold to different doctrinal
perspectives and persuasions but share a common communion, in Messiah. As a prime example of this spiritual unity, I have shared moments of deep joy with a number of high-ranking theologians of markedly different theological paths to mine, and I have corresponded closely with others over many years. Many of them have shared with me a Reformed position. But, I happen to recognise that I am charismatic (I did not say Pentecostal). Yet I can delight in the spectrum of writings of Karl Barth, T.F. Torrance, Calvin, Brunner, and the Catholics Hans Kung and Karl Rahner. The IMCF is living evidence that it is more than possible, indeed it is vitally imperative, to integrate positive charismatic renewal with traditional Reformed and Catholic theology.
At the same time this lecturer denies emphatically “the second blessing” bequeathed by mainline Pentecostalism. There is only ONE salvation, an
integrated unity in Messiah. When we are saved we are saved wholly. There is NO second experience subsequent to salvation-experience. It is when we are saved that we receive “the baptism of the holy Spirit.” God, and all that God is, and all that God has, are given as gifts to us, in the Incarnation of Himself as Our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. The One gift of Himself is in His Son. ALL else is contained in that One Personal gift. For some of us it may take a little longer to appreciate and apprehend what is already ours by virtue of the new birth. But if the conversion we experienced was indeed a genuine new birth, then the realisation will ultimately dawn that the Real Presence is within us demanding a dynamic, edifying and practical expression of God’s love toward, and for us, and in courageous outreach to others.
Time is terribly short. Well-documented moves have been afoot since at least the days of Cecil Rhodes, to unite our troublesome world in a federation
of sovereign-less nation-states -- nothing short of WORLD GOVERNMENT. It is a fact that any who oppose its eventuating will be removed from any position of influence in the coming NEW WORLD ORDER. One-time President of the awesome Edomite republic, George Bush, has talked a lot about the coming New World Order. So has one-time Prime Minister of another Edomite nation, Rhodes scholar Bob Hawke. In fact the New World Order has been discussed at length by a curiously growing number of international statesmen, diplomats, politicians and scientists. We are, in fact, heading rapidly into a period of time, the like of which the world has never seen -- and during which time a massive lie and monstrous deception and distortion of the truth of God will be foistered on an unsuspecting world. There is more to Edomite interest in intergalactic civilisations, and ever since Roswell in particular, than we presently realise (2 Thes 2.3,4,9,11 cf Dan 11.36-39b).
If you accept the two-stage rapture doctrine, ask yourself this simple question. What IF the secret rapture does not occur? What IF one day you are to
find yourself face-to-face with a special agent or a tribunal of the New World Order on a charge of TREASON -- for holding to views considered offensive to the ideology of the new humanism, thus impeding internationally agreed social goals?You will not be prepared for any of this! You will have been seeking to save your own skin all this time (Mk 8.35). The secret rapture theory is sheer fantasy, a doctrine of escapism (Jn 17.15). When the eschatological Caligula arrives on the scene, multiple millions of Christians (who expect to be safe in heaven) will actively oppose him. Will YOU be one of the multiple millions who will be martyred by “the beast and his false prophet” needlessly?
Time to think very seriously about your theology.
Time is short!
The fabled Mount Olivet, upon the apex of which the LORD will set His feet, has begun to split and seismographs indicate the split in some places is already twenty-five feet wide (Zech 14.4b,5a).
We trust this lecture is at the very least thought-provoking!
And we at BRI/IMCF thank you for allowing us to serve you in this manner.