Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Loud Verse and the Secret Rapture

A key verse beloved by all dispensationalists is Paul's statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:16: "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 shall rise first." This verse is the foundation stone to dispensationalism's unique doctrine of the "Secret Rapture."

Dispensationalists hold that the Church Age will end just before the Great Tribulation, when Jesus will return and secretly Rapture his saints into heaven. Their view is not only premillennial, but pre-tribulational premillennial. This verse in Paul's letter to the Thessalonians teaches, according to dispensationalism, that the Lord will rescue his people from the world before the outbreak of the Great Tribulation. This event will be "secret" in that only believers will hear the call.

Meanwhile, those on earth, who are "left behind" will notice the Christians are gone, but will not know what happened. The Antichrist will create a lie to account for the sudden disappearance of millions of people from the world.

Unfortunately for dispensationalism, their doctrine of the Secret Rapture is not only unheard of in Church history prior to 1830 (maybe that explains why is is a secret!), but is also established on a verse that contradicts the very idea itself.

Note that this "Secret Rapture" verse is the noisiest verse in Scripture. Paul went out of his way to declare the dramatic, public nature of Christ's return. Not once, but three times he presents its public nature. Christ will descend from heaven "with a shout." In case you miss that, he adds: "with the voice of the archangel." And if you slept through all that, he adds: "with the trumpet of God."

1. The shout. Here he uses a word that speaks of loudness. He could have used the word for "command," if he had not wanted to emphasize its audible nature. Look anywhere in Scripture: a "shout" is always used as a publically audible, dramatic sound.

2. The voice of the archangel. This is not simply a voice of a lowly angel (if there be such!), but the voice of a mighty archangel, the "ruling" (arch) angel. Again, the emphasis falls on the dramatic nature of the voice. It is not a "still, small voice," but "the voice of the archangel."

3. The trumpet of God. Like shouting, a trumpet emits a loud, publically audible sound. In fact, when the Israelites surround Jericho, they are commanded to both shout and blare trumpets to publically show that the walls of Jericho will fall at their audible "command."

How can a "Secret" Rapture be founded on such a dramatically public sounding? If I were going to create a new theology, I certainly would try to make it at least appear to match the verse upon which it is based. The Antichrist will really have his work cut out for him, when he tries to lie about such a dramatically public blaring sound. Perhaps he will use the whole phenomenon to impose a world-wide noise ordinance on all men and nations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Because, you deceiver, no-one ever called it a 'Secret Rapture' EXCEPT anti-dispensationalists like yourself. You have created a straw man. knocked it down and proved nothing.