WHEN JESUS COMES HE IS NOT GOING TO BE COMING SECRETLY BY ANY MEANS, but the whole World is going to know it! For He will come with a lot of noise, a lot of light! It will be like lightning shining from the East even unto the West, like continuous lightning! The whole sky is going to be lit up! And there are going to be several big noises! For it said there in Thessalonians that 4th chapter, that the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel!--There's two big noises! And the trump of God shall sound, there's the third!
NOW, I DON'T SEE HOW YOU CAN HAVE THE WHOLE SKIES LIGHT UP, Jesus Himself descending from Heaven with a shout and the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God and not have the whole World know it! In fact, John later over in the first Chapter of Revelation tells us, 7th verse, "Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him"--meaning the Jews. "And all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him."
DOESN'T SOUND VERY MUCH LIKE A SECRET RAPTURE, DOES IT?--A secret coming? But that's what the false prophets teach, "a secret Rapture before the Tribulation to whisk you silently, secretly and unobserved out of this World! You just suddenly disappear and nobody knows where you went!" Well, it's just not going to happen that way! Because every place in the Bible that you read about the coming of the Lord, there's a lot of commotion going on, lots of light, a regular light show!--Stars falling from the heavens, sun and moon darkened and whatnot!--Big noises, earthquakes, voice of the Archangel, shout of the Lord, trump of God, all kinds of things!
AND THE GRAVES OPEN and THE SAINTS ARISING FROM THE DEAD! All these bodies coming out of the graves!--Not ghosts, mind you now this time, not just spirits, but actual bodies, the new bodies of the resurrected. And we Saints who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the air, right in front of the eyes of the whole World!
NOW WHY SHOULD GOD WANT TO MAKE THAT A SECRET? Why should He want to hide that great final triumph of His Bride and His Church as she rises in victory?--Finally out of reach of her enemies in great triumph in the bridal march to Heaven to join her Bridegroom! Why should He want to hush it all up and make it a secret and hide it for some reason? Is He ashamed of it? Is He ashamed of His coming? Is He ashamed of His Bride? Is He ashamed that He's rescuing her right in front of all of His enemies and their enemies? Of course not!
THIS IDEA OF THE SECRET RAPTURE BEFORE THE TRIBULATION IS SOMETHING THAT WAS ONLY COOKED UP BY SOME FALSE PROPHETS ABOUT 200 YEARS AGO! Up until that time the Church had never heard of a secret Rapture, never even dreamed of a Rapture before the Tribulation! The Catholic Bible and all the Bibles from the very beginning taught that the Church at the Last Days was going to have to go through a period of terrible Tribulation. Every Prophet of God in the Old Testament taught it. Every Prophet of God in the New Testament taught it, that the Church was going to have to go through the Tribulation in the very End.
IT WAS ONLY WHEN THESE FALSE PEACE PROPHETS STARTED PROPHESYING A COUPLE HUNDRED YEARS AGO to tickle the ears of the Church with what they wanted to hear, that they wouldn't have to go through the Tribulation after all--as they'd always been taught and always believed and the Bible had always said--but that now Jesus was going to come secretly, quietly and nobody was going to know when He came and no one was going to know when they left!
IT WAS ALL GOING TO BE A BIG SECRET and all quiet and done so secretly and quietly and so slick that they used to illustrate that you'd be driving down the street and you'd just suddenly disappear!--And your car went on careening driverless down the street! Well, you're not going to just suddenly disappear, but you are going to leave your car!
YOU'RE JUST GOING TO GRADUALLY RISE RIGHT UP THROUGH THE ROOF OF THAT CAR IN GLORY, seeing the approach of your Lord Jesus Christ, and you're going to just sail right on up through the air right in front of everybody, and everybody will know where the driver went! "Where'd the driver go? What caused this accident?" the police will want to know. "Well, you saw where all the rest of them went!" Although I doubt if there are going to be too many who are going to be leaving any particular scene, because He says, "One will be working in the field, one will be taken and the other left. Two will be lying in the same bed, one will be taken, the other left." (Mt.24:40,41.)
SO NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE SAVED. " Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to salvation, but few there be that enter therein. Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." (Mt.7:13,14.) So by comparison, the number of saved to the number of unsaved is pretty small. But there's going to be enough of us.
I BELIEVE BY THAT TIME PROBABLY STILL SEVERAL MILLION BELIEVERS WILL HAVE SURVIVED THE TRIBULATION and the persecutions of the Antichrist and his orders that no one can trade without the Mark of the Beast in their forehead or their hand, and no one can worship anybody else except the Antichrist and his Image.
--BY WHICH TIME EVERYBODY WILL BE BRANDED WITH THE MARK OF THE BEAST, 666, and you won't be able to cash any checks or do any business or buy or sell--as God's Word says in the 13th Chapter of Revelation which we'll get to later--without that Mark. And they're already getting ready for it!
IT'S NOT GOING TO BE LONG UNTIL THE ANTICHRIST IS GOING TO BE REVEALED, and his seven-year kingdom begun, the last three-and-a-half years of which are going to be the Great Tribulation! But these Pre-Trib Rapturists who teach that Jesus is going to catch His Church out of this World before the Tribulation and you're going to float to Heaven on flowery beds of ease and not have to suffer any persecution, no torture, no tribulation, God's going to relieve you of all that, you won't have to suffer it, are liars! It's not true! It's not according to the Word of God! I'm reading to you from the Bible!
JESUS IS NOT GOING TO COME SECRETLY SO THAT NOBODY KNOWS IF HE CAME and WENT and nobody's going to see you leave except you suddenly disappear. It just isn't going to happen that way, because that's not what the Bible says! He's going to come with a lot of noise and a light show and fanfare of trumpets and all kinds of racket going on! Tremendous! The greatest spectacle the World has ever seen!
Well, I'm sure some of you will probably throw up to me that Scripture, "But what about the Scripture in that next chapter, there in Chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians?" In 1 Thessalonians 5:1 and 2, Paul has just been describing the coming of the Lord and he says, "So shall you ever be with the Lord. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." "Aha!" Pre-Trib Secret Rapturists will say, "See there! He's going to come as a thief in the night and nobody's going to know when He came, nobody's going to know when He left. He's gonna steal in and steal you and steal out and it will all be very secretive and quiet!"
WELL, THEN WHY IN THE NEXT VERSE DOES HE SAY, "FOR WHEN THEY SHALL SAY, PEACE and SAFETY; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." How can sudden destruction come on them and they don't know it? How can sudden travail come on a woman who is having a baby, how can she be having labour pains and not know it? You'd have to be dead or unconscious or something! No, that's not what He means by, "as a thief in the night".
HE MEANS THAT THE LORD WILL COME BY SURPRISE! It will be sudden, that's for sure! And it will be a surprise like the sudden coming of a thief. A better word might have been a robber, there's a slight difference. Thieves sometimes do sneak in and out, but robbers, you know, they let you know they're there and they take it at gunpoint! But what he was saying in the 2nd verse here is simply that the Lord's coming will be a surprise to the World! It will be a shock!
IT WILL BE LIKE A SUDDEN DESTRUCTION, SUDDENLY, WITHOUT WARNING! Because their false prophets have been telling them all the time: "Everything's peace, now, everything's safety, everything's OK now, you don't have to worry about anything now. We have our government, we have our Antichrist, we have our False Messiah, we have our Superman to run the World now and everything's going to be OK! You don't have to worry anymore, you can be as wicked as you want, sinful as you want!
"WE DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD! WE'VE DONE AWAY WITH THE CHURCHES! We've done away with all religions, we've burned their Bibles, we've killed their worshippers and we've stopped all other worship and now there's just one-World religion, the worship of our Superman, the Antichrist, the god-man and his Image in the Temple area!" Well, it's going to be a shock to them, and a surprise, like the sudden coming of a thief in the night! But it doesn't mean it's not going to be observed. It doesn't mean they're not going to see it when it happens at all!
FOR HE SAYS, "BUT YE, BRETHREN"--FOURTH VERSE--"ARE NOT IN DARKNESS, THAT THAT DAY SHOULD OVERTAKE YOU AS A THIEF!" In other words, it shouldn't take you by surprise! "Ye are all the children of light, the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." We're not in the dark, Beloved! We're not in the night on this question, we're not in darkness. We know Jesus is coming, and we know how He's going to come!
Matthew 24:29: "IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS!" What comes first? Tribulation! See it right there in your Bible? Glue your eyes to that, stay with it, because I've got two or three verses to read here: "Immediately after the Tribulation of those days"--when?--After the Tribulation! Is that clear enough? "Shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from Heaven." Jesus is speaking, mind you now, can you believe Jesus? "And the powers of the heavens shall be shaken!" Does that sound like He's coming secretly?
"THEN SHALL APPEAR THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN!" Are they going to see it? How can a sign appear if they don't see it? "And then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn." What are they mourning about if they don't even know what happened? What are they crying about if they don't even know what happened? Huh? What are they mourning about? What are they crying about if it was so secret that nobody knew what happened?--If just suddenly a lot of Christians disappeared and they don't even know what became of them? That's a lot of baloney! That's not the way it happens.
"AND THEY SHALL SEE"--Who? "All the tribes of the Earth mourn"--why? "They shall see"--Who? Just the church? Just the Christians? No! The whole World is going to see Jesus come! Everybody on Earth! It's going to be the biggest Light Show that ever happened!
HE'S GOING TO SWEEP RIGHT AROUND THE WORLD GATHERING TOGETHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS! Think of it! Everybody on every side of the Earth is going to see it happen! Think of that! How do I know? Because on one side of the Earth the sun's going to be darkened! The other side of the Earth, the moon won't give its light! He's going to go right around the World and collect us all! Praise the Lord? Isn't that wonderful?
"AND THEY SHALL SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN WITH POWER and GREAT GLORY!" What good's it going to be if all this power and great glory are going to be a secret and nobody's going to see it? All that secret Rapture, Pre-Trib Rapture is a bunch of malarky! It's ridiculous! It's unscriptural!
IT'S A LIE, A DOWNRIGHT LIE THESE PREACHERS HAVE BEEN HANDING YOU ALL THESE YEARS!--Those Fundamentalists and Evangelicals that follow the Moody school of interpretation which came straight from the Brethren, which came straight from a bunch of false prophets in England 200 years ago who began preaching that false doctrine of a secret Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church, secretly caught out by the Lord in a secret coming before the Tribulation. That's a lie!
IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN THAT WAY! It's going to happen just as Jesus said and just as Paul said, "after the Tribulation", as plain as day! And with all this light show and great things happening, and earthquakes, and earth shakin', heaven shakin', clouds of heaven, seeing the Son of man coming!--In great power and great glory!
"AND THEY SHALL GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS, FROM THE ONE END OF THE HEAVEN TO THE OTHER!" He's going to gather all the saved together! You know what they try to teach here? "Some of them try to say, "Well, that's just a special elect, just the best of the saved people, just the best church people He's going to take out first." Some of them teach a partial Rapture!--"And the rest of them that were naughty and weren't ready and weren't serving the Lord are going to have to stay through the Tribulation!" That's the way some of them try to explain it: "The elect are just a special elite that are going to get raptured beforehand, and only just a special elect."
WELL, I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT THIS WORD "ELECT" HERE COMES FROM EXACTLY THE SAME GREEK ROOT WORD, "EKLECTOS", the same word that "ecclesia" comes from, which means "the called-out ones" or "the separated ones", or the same word that's interpreted in your Bible as the Church, the saved, the Christians, same thing! So this word simply means the saved, His saved, His Church, His Christians, His Children! And if He starts collecting His Children, He's certainly going to collect them all and not leave some behind!
WHAT KIND OF A PARENT WOULD THAT BE?! If you saw the storm coming, Beloved, and you ran out there to rescue your children from their play and their work or whatever, what would you do?--Just rescue some of them and leave the rest behind to go through the storm? Or if you saw the war coming and the enemy coming, would you just run out there to grab up some of the kids and leave the rest behind? No sir, you sure wouldn't, would you? You'd go out there and collect them all and make sure you got every one, not one left behind! TYJ! Hallelujah!
ISN'T THAT WONDERFUL? HE'S NOT GOING TO LEAVE ONE OF YOU BEHIND THAT LOVES JESUS!--No matter how good or how bad you've been, if you love Jesus.--No matter if you've been faithful or unfaithful, if you love Jesus. No matter if you have even sometimes been wicked, if you love Jesus and are saved and have Jesus in your heart, even though sometimes you've been disobedient, He's going to take you too up to be with all the rest of us. "Some shall rise to everlasting glory, but some are going to rise to everlasting shame and contempt." (Da.12:2.) But we're all going to rise!
ALL THOSE THAT ARE SAVED, DEAD OR ALIVE, ARE GOING TO RISE TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR IN THE CLOUDS AS HE COMES! Praise God? Hallelujah! That's what it says, plain as day! I read you that Scripture before, but I want to show you how noisy the coming of the Lord's going to be and what a tremendous Light Show it's going to be, with all these tremendous things happening that we read you from the 24th Chapter of Matthew, 29th-31st verse. You can jot it down and mark it. And in that 29th verse it couldn't be any plainer: "After the Tribulation of those days."
"INTO MY HEART, INTO MY HEART, COME INTO MY HEART, LORD JESUS! Come in today, come in to stay. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus!" Hallelujah! And if you meant that, He has come in, and He's going to make you a new person, a new creature in Christ Jesus, "old things passed away, all things become new" (2Cor.5:17) and you're going to want to tell everybody about Him!--Your family, your friends, your neighbours, the whole World! You'll want to go into all the World and preach the Gospel! (Mk.16:15) That's what you're going to want to do, I warn you--if you take Jesus into your heart.
IF YOU'VE TAKEN HIM INTO YOUR HEART, YOU'RE GOING TO WANT TO OBEY HIM! You'll want to love everybody, and tell everybody and shout Hallelujah till Jesus comes! Praise God! -Are you ready?