Many believers have been taught that the Lord will return twice, once for his church and then again at the end of the world, but is this true? When I learned that this teaching was based on dispensationalism, which teaches that the church and the cross were not in God’s original plan, I knew something was very very wrong.
Here are two older posts on this topic…
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In the 1800’s a heresy was popularized by a man named John Nelson Darby, and later further popularized by a Cyrus R. Scofield through what is known as the Scofield Study Bible. The theology promoted in the study notes of the Scofield Study Bible is called Dispensationalism, and many of it’s doctrines are still firmly entrenched as Bible truth in the minds of believers today. An unbiblical distinction between the church and Israel is at the core of this teaching.
Dispensational theology has broken the second coming of the Lord into two parts. The teaching is that the Lord will come secretly for the church (the secret rapture) and then come again at a later time when… “the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up”. In other words when the Lord comes for His church in the “secret rapture” unbelievers will be left behind on earth for a season.
One of the dangers of this teaching is that people will think that there is a second chance to receive salvation after the coming of the Lord. Satan has a purpose for every false doctrine, and that purpose is the destruction of souls. I used to believe this teaching myself until I learned the source and the reasoning behind it. It made me search the Scriptures for the truth.
Dispensational theology teaches that Jesus’ original plan was to set up an earthly kingdom, but the Jews rejected His offer.
Because of this rejection by the Jews, God’s original plan was interrupted and an alternative plan (plan B) was put into effect.
Plan B was unforseen by God and would not have gone into effect if the Jews had accepted Jesus’ original offer of an earthly kingdom.
Plan B is the cross and the church. Since the church is an interruption in God’s original plan, it will be taken out in a secret rapture, and Gods original plan will resume.
Can you imagine a teaching that tells us the cross of Christ and the church were not in God’s original plan? Clearly this is the exact opposite of what is taught in Scripture. The cross of Christ was foreordained by God, and the expectation of an earthly kingdom was a serious error of the Jews causing them to miss their Messiah.
Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
I don’t know many Christians that would say they believe the “plan B” portion of Dispensational teaching, but many have ingested at least one of the fruits of this heresy. That fruit is believing that there will be a secret rapture. This teaching has been further promoted by the fictional Left Behind series.
We know from Scripture that one day Christ will return. He came once, the first time, and now we believers look forward to His second coming. That is when living believers will be taken up, or raptured, to be with the Lord. Then the wrath of God will come upon the earth and all “shall be burned up.” One event. No one will be “left behind” for another chance to be saved. It will all be over.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.