One of the invectives employed to denigrate the pre-Trib Rapture view continues, and grows more angry in expression. The charge is that we who believe the pre-Trib view as truth from God’s Word claim there will be a secret Rapture.
We are, those who oppose the pre-Trib view say, ignoring the prophecy that “every eye shall see him” when Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation (Daniel’s seventieth week). It is clear, they proclaim, that God will gather the elect from the four points of Heaven upon the Second Advent. There is, they adamantly declare, only one Second Coming of Christ, not two phases of that great event as we believe Scripture teaches.
While listening to a TV preacher the other day, I heard this charge and a number of others. But the scriptural basis for his accusation that we who believe and teach the pre-Trib Rapture are false teachers came primarily from one premise. We, he–like others of the post-Trib teachers–proclaimed that we “pre-Tribbers” have no understanding of the use of trumpets in prophecy yet future.
These who clutch the post-Trib view on the Rapture of the Church angrily propose that we who hold the pre-Trib position say the Lord will quietly slip into the clouds above the planet. He will then, in a very stealthy manner, sneak believers into His presence. This would be, they inveigh, totally in contradiction to the “every eye will see” Christ prophecy, regarding when He returns in power and glory at the end of Armageddon.
Like those who hold to the mid-Trib view (that the Rapture will occur at the midpoint of the Tribulation) and to the pre-wrath view (that the Rapture will take place immediately before God’s wrath in the great Tribulation begins), the post-Trib purveyors declare that those of us who teach the pre-Trib view endanger Christians. We are false teachers and will cause them to not recognize Antichrist when he comes to power. Christians, therefore, will be in danger of falling for the beast’s lie of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. They might then accept his number-and-mark system and take the mark of the beast of Revelation 13:16-18.
Of course, the question in all of this first comes to mind, as expressed in the title of this commentary: “What Secret Rapture?”
Jesus, Himself, we are told, will shout “Come up here!” (Revelation 4:1). His voice will be like the voice of an archangel. It will be like a trumpet or shofar. Every living believer–and even the dead believers of the Age of Grace (Church Age) will hear the Lord’s call.
There is nowhere in Scripture regarding Paul’s prophecies on the Rapture where this call will be without loud acclamation. The world of rebels might not know what it means, but no Scripture says it will be a secret.
Much more than this, I am persuaded in the deepest reaches of my spiritual heart that Jesus speaks to this very fact in His Olivet Discourse. Christ will make His insertion into the affairs of mankind known! We have looked at it many times. Here are the most relevant scriptural references in trying to make the point.
Jesus foretells precisely the conditions at the time of His next intervention into human history. He first instructs believers about the “twinkling of an eye” moment when He will intervene:
- “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).
- “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42).
Notice that this intervention into human history will be completely different from the Second Advent (Revelation 19:11) when “every eye will see” Him. For this great event (the first phase of Christ’s Second Coming), there is no notice. No one knows the time of its occurrence. In the case of the Second Advent (the second phase), the exact number of days until its occurrence can be calculated.
Then, Scripture records Christ’s most profound prophetic indicator to prove the point that this will not be a secret Rapture:
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. (Luke 17:28-30)
Again, notice that this could not be the Second Advent at the end of Armageddon. Things are going along relatively normal at the time described in Jesus’ prophecy in this case. The horrors as described in the seals, trumpet, and bowl judgments are not in view. People are going about business as usual.
Jesus says this will be a time when the Son of man is revealed.
Get it? This is not a secret Rapture! It is a tremendously explosive time in human history–like when Sodom and Gomorrah were judged! Here is how we know the pre-Trib Rapture is the truth and not the demonic, imaginative figment of some young witch in the 1800s. God, Himself, tells us precisely that this removal of His people–believers–will happen an instant before His judgment falls.
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. (Luke 17:29-30)
It will be just like that judgment, Jesus forewarned. There will be great, planetary troubles beginning at the very time of the Rapture of the Church. Judgment will begin falling that very day. While it will become increasingly more destructive as the time approaches the confirming of the covenant of Daniel 9:26-27 and beyond, God’s judgment will begin at the moment (twinkling of an eye–atomos of time) He next reveals Himself to this rebellious planet of earth dwellers.
And, about the pre-Tribbers–as the TV preacher I heard called us in a scathing tone–who are, he says, ignorant or deliberately misleading in consideration of the term “last trump,” I will add a few concluding words.
The charge is that there is only one “last trump” or “trumpet” in prophecy yet future. The post-Trib view most often concludes that it is found in Revelation 11:15-19. This, they declare, is the same “trumpet” found in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52–even though the word “trumpet” isn’t mentioned in Revelation 11:15-19.
In fact, that passage says:
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.
I will let you, the reader, look these up for brevity’s sake. Just consider that this is the chief point of their argument against the pre-Trib view, which is based upon many scriptural references, all within specific context.
Dr. Thomas Ice has quoted Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost in tearing apart that post-Trib argument regarding the last trump. He first presents facts about Biblical trumpets.
Throughout the Bible there are a number of trumpets being blown. For example in Numbers 10 there are trumpets being used in order to give commands to the people of Israel. For example, a trumpet is used to assemble the people for their journey and another trumpet that signals the start of their journey. There were trumpet sounds that would tell the people to stop and another sound telling them to assemble. Depending upon whether the people were moving are getting ready to move, the last trumpet would signal them to move or if moving, a second last trumpet sound would tell them when to stop. So even in this context, for example, there are multiple “last trumpets.” (“The Last Trumpet,” by Thomas Ice, raptureready.com)
Dwight Pentecost cites the following reasons as to why the “last trumpet” in 1 Corinthians 15:52 is different from any of the trumpet judgments in Revelation.
There seems to be a number of observations that make it impossible for one to identify these two trumps.
(1) The trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52…sounds before the wrath of God descends, while…the chronology or Revelation indicates that the trumpet in Revelation 11:15 sounds at the end of the time of wrath….
(2) The trumpet that summons the church is called the trump of God, while the seventh trump is an angel’ s trumpet….
(3) The trumpet for the church is singular. No trumpets have preceded it so that it can not be said to be the last of a series. The trumpet that closes the tribulation period is clearly the last of a series of seven.
(4) In 1 Thessalonians 4 the voice associated with the sounding of the trumpet summons the dead and the living and consequently is heard before the resurrection. In the Revelation, while a resurrection is mentioned (11:12), the trumpet does not sound until after the resurrection, showing us that two different events must be in view.
(5) The trumpet in 1 Thessalonians issues in blessing, in life, in glory, while the trumpet in Revelation issues in judgment upon the enemies of God.
(6) In the Thessalonians passage the trumpet sounds “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” In Revelation 10:7 the indication is that the seventh trumpet shall sound over a continued period of time, probably for the duration of the judgments that fall under it, for John speaks of the angel that shall “begin to sound.”…
(7) The trumpet in 1 Thessalonians is distinctly for the church. Since God is dealing with Israel in particular, and Gentiles in general, in the tribulation, this seventh trumpet, which falls in the period of the tribulation, could not have reference to the church without losing the distinctions between the church and Israel.
(8) The passage in Revelation depicts a great earthquake in which thousands are slain, and the believing remnant that worships God is stricken with fear. In the Thessalonians passage there is no earth quake mentioned.
(9) While the church will be rewarded at the time of the rapture, yet the reward given to “thy servants the prophets, and to the saints” cannot be that event. The rewarding mentioned in Revelation 11:18 is seen to take place on the earth after the second advent of Christ, following the judgment on His enemies. Since the church is rewarded in the air, following the rapture, these must be two distinct events. (J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), pp. 189-91)
The trumpet blast (Christ’s voice) that calls us into His presence for an eternity of joy and glory will be the most profound ever heard! It will not be a secret, but Jesus Christ being revealed as the Savior who keeps promises without fail.