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The Invisible Return of Christ is found nowhere in the Bible


Pre-Tribulation advocates insist that Jesus Christ will return invisibly and only believers will see Him. John Darby, who invented this doctrine some 170 years ago, taught that the Lord’s return would be secret. The problem with this teaching is that it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. There is not even a hint of an invisible event like this anywhere in the Word of God.


The Scriptures describing the Rapture and Return specify a visible appearance of Christ only


1. “Behold He is coming on the clouds and EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM…Revelation 1:7.


2. “But immediately after the tribulaton...they will SEE the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with great power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Matthew 24:3.


3. “Then they will SEE the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great power and great glory. But when you SEE these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up you heads, because you redemption is drawing near.”  Luke 21:27-28.


4. “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 will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to met the Lord in the air.” I Thessalonians 4:13-17


5. “…Looking for that blessed hope and the APPEARING of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Titus 2:13.


6. “We know that when He APPEARS we will be like Him, because we will SEE Him just as He is.” I John 3:2.


7.  “And give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when Lord Jesus will be REVEALED FROM HEAVEN WITH HIS MIGHTY ANGELS IN FLAMING FIRE…when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.” II Thessalonians 1:7-10.


Where is an invisible return spoken of in these verses or any other verses of the Bible?


Even His enemies will see Him


Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" And Jesus said, "I am; and you shall SEE the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven." Mark 14:61-62.


A visible, bodily Ascension can only mean a visible, bodily Return


“He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight…” ‘This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:9-11.


Jesus did not ascend into the clouds invisibly but bodily, and the Word of God clearly states that He will come back in just the same way as He left, so He certainly will not return secretly or invisibly.   


The prophetic pictures of the Rapture also depict this event as definitively visible and watched by both believers and unbelievers


“’If you SEE me when I am taken from you it (Elisha’s request for a double portion of his spirit) will be so.’ …Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha SAW it…” II Kings 2:9-12.


“After three and a half days the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were WATCHING them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ Then they went up into heaven in a cloud and their enemies WATCHED them.” Revelation 11:11-12.


The Lord made a point of warning us not to expect His Coming to be hidden or secret but seen across the entire sky.


“Behold I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes (is seen) even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:27.


The Lord adamantly taught that His Return will be a visibly spectacular event to warn against false teachers, false prophets, sects and cults that often teach an invisible, secret or false return of Christ.


“See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” Matthew 24:4-5.


The true identity of the Church will also be revealed to all the world when the Lord appears on the clouds


“When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you will also be revealed with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4


This direct statement of Scripture contradicts the popular depiction of the Rapture as being instantaneous and invisible without the world realizing what happened to all the Christians. The mystery of who God’s people really are will be revealed to all the world because every eye will see the Resurrection/Rapture as it unfolds at the Lord’s visible Coming.  


The Scriptures make it clear that the Rapture will occur at the Last Trumpet at the end of the seven year Tribulation


“Behold I tell you a mystery, we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” I Corinthians 15:51


The Seventh Trumpet of Revelation 11 is the last trumpet in all the Bible. Unless the rapture happens at the Seventh Trumpet, it cannot honestly be described as a Last Trumpet event.


“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God (Christ and the Church) is finished (no longer a mystery because every eye will see the Coming/Rapture), as He preached to His servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:7


The Lord Jesus Christ will return to reveal Himself to all the world and resurrect the dead in Christ and Rapture us believers who are alive; visibly, gloriously, loudly, on the clouds in flaming fire with His mighty angels when the Seventh Trumpet sounds at the end of the Tribulation.




The Scriptures describing the Rapture and Second Coming of Christ specify a visible return only. Not only is a secret or invisible Return not found in the Bible, it contradicts what the Bible says about Jesus Himself returning as He left: bodily and visibly. The prophetic types of the Rapture also clearly show a Rapture event that is visible to believers and unbelievers alike. The entire planet, will witness the Appearance and Rapture as it unfolds, as neither a secret nor instantaneous event. The Lord warns us not to believe a secret return of any kind, but only a Coming that will be visible across the entire sky. The popular Invisible Return of Christ teaching is a complete fabrication of John Nelson Darby, a nineteenth century cult founder, and it clearly contradicts Scripture.


© Daniel Speck 8.14.12


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