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Sometimes the Lord’s coming for the Church is referred to as a “secret rapture”, but in 1 Thessalonians 4.16 it says that “the Lord shall descend...with a shout, with the voice of the archangel”.

We have to state that “secret rapture “is not a Scriptural description of the descent of the Lord to the air to catch up the Church. I have heard of one who rejected the truth of the rapture saying that 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18 was the noisiest passage in the Word of God! As touching the rapture there is no evidence from Scripture that it will be openly displayed. The second stage of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus will be in His manifestation on earth. This of course will be public and universal as seen in Revelation 1.7 and therefore will be a contrast to the event of the rapture of the church. 

I doubt very much that the voice of the Lord will be heard by the world, but, if it is, there is an interesting passage in our Lord’s life which may help here – John 12.28-30. There we find God speaking to His Son. Some standing by supposed they had heard thunder, others distinguished a voice, but evidently did not catch the words and supposed an angel spoke to the Lord, while others still may have heard not only the voice, but also understood the message. It does not follow that all in the world are sure to hear the shout, the trumpet, and the voice. We certainly do not believe, however, that the rapture will be secret in the sense of the world being ignorant that it has taken place. It is likely that in many different parts of the world people will be aware of the fact that multitudes of believers have disappeared. The shout will only be heard by those for whom it is intended, namely every born again believer. This will be one of the miracles that will take place at the rapture.

John J Stubbs

What is the best way to deal with young people in fellowship who regularly go to public houses, clubs, and other places of worldly entertainment? In some cases they are following the example of older saints also in fellowship who behave in the same manner.

When a young believer who has been baptised desires to be received into the fellowship of the local assembly, it should be made clear to him that his “conversation”, i.e. his whole manner of life and conduct, will no longer be merely a reflection upon his own personal testimony, but upon the testimony of the assembly as a whole.

It is a very sad state of affairs when older believers in an assembly set such a bad example by frequenting places of worldly entertainment. If this be the case, it is not surprising that younger believers follow that example.

John gives to us the spiritual analysis of “all that is in the world” (i.e. this world system): i) “the lust of the flesh”, ii) “the lust of the eyes”, and iii) “the pride of life” (1 Jn 2.16). In the context of the question it would be appropriate to consider the first two of these features. In “the lust of the flesh” we have a suggestion of what is so prevalent in the world today. This age is almost completely given over to vulgarity. Although believers normally avoid the worst aspects of impurity, lust has become so pervasive that a Christian may become insensible to it and thereby become vulnerable.

As to “the lust of the eyes”, the eyes are the main means of communication between the things apparent in the world and the inward passion of a fallen nature. Some things seen may be considered good, artistic, aesthetic, or beautiful, but if they alienate the heart from Christ, rob the believer of his love for Him, or cause him to turn aside, then they are certainly “not of the Father”.

Separation to God and from the world is the Scriptural pattern for the believer. The enemy, however, has ever sought to blot out the clear line of demarcation between the believer and the world. The death of the Lord Jesus had, among others, this object, namely, to deliver His redeemed from this present evil world (Gal 1.4). Paul writes later in this epistle, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom (or whereby) the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal 6.14). Thus there cannot be the least common ground between the Christian and the world.

Young believers who are known to frequent places of worldly entertainment regularly should be challenged by overseers as to their loyalty to Christ and hence to the assembly.

David E West


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