One of the most controversial subjects in relation to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus, is whether or not there is a Secret Rapture of Christians seven years prior to His return.
We know from Paul’s writings that at the last trump, when the trumpet sounds the dead in Christ will rise first and those believers on earth will be changed in an instant and receive our new immortal bodies 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
This raises the question, if there had already been a Christian rapture seven years earlier, why would Paul be telling them that he expects them to still be on earth (remembering that Paul did not know the timing of the Lord’s return and wrote with the expectation that perhaps it would be during his lifetime)?
Paul states clearly that these events takes place “at the last trump,” not seven years before it. He shows that, “the trumpet shall sound.” So it will be loud, not quiet or secret.
Some teach that Jesus Christ will return secretly in the twinkling of an eye, but Paul actually says it is the changing of the bodies of believers from mortality to immortality that happens in the twinkling of an eye. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 does not teach of Christians mysteriously vanishing at all. Rather, it reveals an extremely loud, audible return of Jesus Christ during the final sounding of the last trumpet and the instant transformation of believers into their new immortal bodies at the end of the world.
Paul also wrote 1 Thessalonians 4:16 – 5:4 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write to you. For yourselves know that the day of the Lord so cometh like a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then cometh sudden destruction upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief”
So as well as again telling the people that they will be on earth when Jesus comes, he is also telling them that they should be ready for his return, so that it will not be unexpected the way it will be for the unbelievers. It describes a loud audible return of the Lord and the Christians meeting him in the air. He says that Jesus comes down from heaven, true believers are caught up together, and sudden destruction comes upon the lost. Again this does not depict a secret rapture in any way, and he is saying that the Christians will still be on earth at the final trump.
We need to study the Word of God so that we are prepared for what will happen in the final events of Earth’s history.