by Paul Benson
As I have stated many times my mission statement as one called to be a teacher to the Body of Christ is centered around getting believers to adopt a policy of founding their beliefs only upon what is plainly and clearly stated in the Bible, and to exercise great caution over embracing ‘truths’ which have little or no foundation in Scripture. But although I see this practice as a prerequisite to abiding in the truth of God’s Word, and most would attest to the good sense of such advice, I actually meet very few who hold true to such a practice.
Although most everyone would claim their beliefs come right from the Scriptures very few can actually show where the various elements of their doctrinal beliefs are firmly stated in the Bible. The average Christian just believes what they are told to believe. And thus the Body of Christ is awash with false doctrines and fantastical extra-biblical tales that are being promoted (and merchandised) as truth revealed from Heaven.
Let’s look at what the Bible REALLY says about one of the most popular concepts being pawned off as ‘Bible Truth’ in this day: An invisible coming of Christ for the Church.
The Invisible Coming Of Christ
Multiplied millions are anticipating an any-minute-now departure of the Church through a non-visible coming of Jesus to this world in which he instantly disappears his followers and whisks them away to Heaven. They claim that when Jesus returns for his Bride the world will NOT see him, nor even realize he was here!
But… is there any biblical foundation at all for this idea of an ‘invisible visitation’? Absolutely NOT!
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him… Revelation 1:7
When we search the Scriptures and examine the MANY passages on the coming of our Lord, and the gathering together of the Church unto him, there is a theme quite evident throughout: Every eye shall see him! In all the years I have been searching the Scriptures I have not once seen a verse that says: Behold he comes invisibly; and the world will not see him, nor even know he was here! (If you know where that verse is would you please let me know?)
Throughout the Bible the event of Christ’s Coming is clearly described as a highly visible event! Anyone who would teach otherwise is speaking contrary to the truth. Let’s check out some of those portions of Scripture that discuss this upcoming event.
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Job 19:25-26
In the book of Job (possibly the earliest writings of the Scriptures) he ties our resurrection to the day the Lord will stand upon the earth. What else did Job have to say about our resurrection from the dead?
But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? 11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: 12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Job 14:10-12
Since Job clearly prophetically declares that this resurrection will not take place ’till the heavens be no more’ (an event directly tied to the visible appearance of Christ at his Second Coming) we can discount any invisible appearance in association with our resurrection here.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. 4 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. 5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. 6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. Psalms 50:3-6
Here, in another prophetic O.T. passage we see this return of our Lord described as fiery tempest in which he calls the Church and gathers them unto himself. No invisible return associated with our resurrection here! This jives perfectly with Paul’s description of Christ’s rescue of the persecuted Church as he gives them rest when he: shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Thessalonans 1:7-8). Let’s look at a familiar resurrection passage and highlight a key point there;
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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 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. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1Corinthians 15:52-55
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul described the day of our resurrection as the day death will be swallowed up in victory. He clearly stated this was a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy. Let’s look at that prophecy in Isaiah 25 and see if there is possibly any clue as to an invisible coming of Christ to resurrect and ‘rapture away’ the Church to be found there.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the *rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. 9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 10 For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. 11 And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands. 12 And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust. Isaiah 25:8-12
Here, in Isaiah 25, the Bible describes the day death is swallowed up in victory as the day his people have waited for in which the Lord will appear in the midst of his enemies and vanquish their pride. Doesn’t sound like an invisible (or pre-trib) event to me! Those who claim this passage is just speaking of the salvation of Israel in the time after the rapture choose to ignore this was the day Paul’s quote (1Cor. 15:52-55 above) from the ‘resurrection chapter’ was in reference to. The day Jesus will both resurrect the Church and vanquish his enemies. (In case you don’t know, Jesus will not vanquish his enemies until his Second Coming!)
*FOOD4THOUGHT: Also in direct association with death being swallowed up in victory on this day, is the promise that likewise the rebuke of God’s people shall also on that day be taken from off the whole earth! These promises must find joint fulfillment in the same events of THAT DAY (verse above). Think of the great rebuke and persecution of God’s people that will evidenced on earth in the final 3 ½ years of this age. If the resurrection/rapture took place before the time of great tribulation (instead of at the Second Coming) the promise of God that the rebuke of his people would be removed from off the earth on the same day that death is swallowed up in victory would not be true! This is just one of the many places the pre-trib theory turns the word of God into a lie.
Let’s look at another passage from Isaiah:
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. Isaiah 26:19-21
Here we have the Church resurrected and then hidden away safely under the wing of our Lord as he appears as Judge of all the Earth. We will be ‘caught away’ safe and secure as the Bride of Christ at the Second Coming as he then pours out God’s wrath. For years the pre-trib crowd has misapplied verses 19-20 of this chapter to promote the concept of a rapture before the tribulation; but they deliberately ignore the reference in verse 21 to the appearance of Christ to punish the wicked transpiring along side of this ‘hiding away’.
There is NO secret or invisible coming of Christ detailed in any fashion here in Isaiah 26. It has to be presupposed and then inserted into the text; all the while disregarding the entire context and the description in verse 21 of Jesus leaving Heaven to punish the wicked people of this planet (which takes place at his Second Coming).
But that is how a secret invisible coming of Christ is taught using the Bible. It is deceptively inserted into text that says no such thing; while completely ignoring the fact this notion contradicts much Scripture that plainly refutes it. For example the following:
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1Peter 1:13
What is plainly stated here for us to grasp is that the fullness of our salvation will be brought to us when Jesus is REVEALED to the world (not at an imaginary event seven years earlier). It takes some serious wresting of Scripture to extract any other notion from this passage. And pre-tribbers must stubbornly ignore many such verses to hold to their invisible Coming of Christ idea.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, 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. Acts 1:911
Here we have a plain and simple description of the coming of Christ we are to be watching for! It will be a perfect reverse image of his departure! Even a minuscule amount of common sense ought to tell us that if the Church was going to be whisked away by an invisible coming of Christ these angels would NOT have told his followers to be looking for him returning in the same physical visible manner as his ascension!
What sense would it make to tell the Church to be looking for something they would never see?
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Hebrews 9:28
Here the writer of Hebrews informs us the second appearance of Christ will bring us the salvation that we have obtained by him bearing our sins at his first appearance. Okay, that is easy enough to grasp. We are awaiting salvation at Christ’s second appearance!
Let’s think about that a minute here. Hmmm…
For nearly twenty centuries the Church has believed and taught the second appearance of Christ is his physical visible Return to rule and reign as so vividly portrayed by Scripture. And we have been preaching about, and awaiting, this Second Coming to Earth all these years. BUT…
Now in this generation we are expected to believe that it is not his actual Return to this planet at his Second Coming that brings us our salvation; but it is a non-visible coming seven years earlier that is the ‘second appearance(?)’ that the writer of Hebrews was speaking of which bring us our salvation?
Gee, how wonderful the pre-trib crowd has finally corrected this gross error the Church has been promoting all these years. We have been for 2,000 years foolishly calling his Return to this planet ‘the Second Coming’ instead of properly referring to it as it supposedly really is – his Third Coming! And HELLO! It seems we also are dutifully informed that, contrary to good grammar and proper word definition, someone can have an ‘invisible appearance’ in regard to Hebrews 9:28! (Not quite sure how someone can appear yet be invisible, but I guess we will just have to take their word for it.)
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Mark 13:24
This description in Mark 13 (as well as in Matt. 24) of Christ’s coming, and his Church being gathered unto him, clearly shows Jesus as appearing visibly in the clouds; just as the angels in Acts chapter 1 also described. And this is consistent throughout the Bible! Of the scores of passages in the Bible that speak of the coming of Christ there is no indication of anything but a visible appearing for all the world to see. Not in so much as even one place does it anywhere indicate a non-visible visitation of Jesus to remove his people!
NOT EVEN ONE PLACE!
Does it stand to reason we should set aside a 2,000 year old belief that we will be gathered unto Christ at his physical appearance (as is so clearly stated in Scripture), and instead hold to some modern misconception of this gathering transpiring at some non-visible coming of which there is absolutely NO biblical description? That would be crazy! Absolutely nuts! We would have to be either completely unfamiliar with the Scriptures or under some sort of a deluding satanic spell to teach or believe such a thing!
I am quite curious here. Where do YOU fit into this equation?
I challenge anyone promoting the pre-trib rapture fable to show me an invisible coming of Christ clearly portrayed in the Bible. The notion is not so much as even hinted at. In fact the Lord Jesus himself refuted such an idea!
Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 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. Matthew 24:25-27
Why do so many refuse to heed these words of our Lord? He said folks would come along saying this or that about his coming, but we should be wary of deception. He totally refuted the notion of a secret or out-of-sight coming. He said that like a flash of lightning is vivid and visible to all, so also will his coming be! When it comes to people teaching anything other than a visible-for-all-to-see coming of Christ what are we to do? Believe it not! Jesus knew there would be great deception afoot in the last days, and he gave us those words that we might avoid that deception. Have you heeded those words; or given place to the deception?
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: 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. 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. Matthew 24:19-31
If you are promoting the concept of an invisible coming of Jesus to rapture away the Church I earnestly exhort you to return to the true teachings of the Bible.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him… Revelation 1:7
Let’s base our beliefs and teachings upon what is clearly and plainly stated in the Bible; and not upon the foundationless fables the deceived among us are promoting. Read your Bible and believe what it says; not what people claim it says! And PLEASE! For your own sake, and the sake of those who are impacted by your words, demand a foundation in Scripture for ALL concepts being presented to you as ‘Bible truth’!
This series continues here in Part 2.
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