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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 5

The Two-Stage Theory of the Second Coming of Christ

BY DR. GEORGE B. FLETCHER

The Two-Stage theory of Christ’s Second Coming teaches that Christ will descend from heaven to the air, raise the righteous dead and translate all the living saints, who will be caught up together to the “secret chambers” there to remain WITH Christ for a period of approximately seven years. The fulfillment of this view of Christ’s Second Coming neither the waiting Church, nor the unbelieving world, is to have a moment’s warning, the saints being appraised of it by their heavenward flight, and the world by their realization of the “missing ones.” After the outpouring of judgments upon the earth during the seven years of the Church’s absence WITH Christ -- somewhere in space, he and his immortalized saints with the angelic hosts are to be manifested to the world by their visible descent in great power and glory to establish the kingdom of God upon the earth for a thousand years in a predominately Jewish world power kingdom, which is to be followed by a “little season” of universal rebellion -- the greatest of all time -- before the final consummation of all things.

This Two-Stage theory is a perversion of the Second Coming of Christ and involves a manifest contradiction, viz., two Second Comings of Christ which is an absurdity. Nowhere does the New Testament teach two future comings of Christ, first FOR his saints to the AIR, and then WITH his saints to the EARTH some seven years later. Those who hold this view seek to harmonize it with the New Testament by asserting that the coming FOR and WITH the saints several years later are not two comings, but two stages of the one Second Coming of Christ. This attempt to justify the theory cannot overthrow the testimony of the senses that the coming FOR the saints is a FIRST Second Coming and the subsequent coming WITH the saints some seven years later is a SECOND Second Coming of Christ. But this cannot be, Christ has come once the FIRST time, and he will come yet once again “... the SECOND TIME (and not in two stages) without sin unto salvation” Hebrews 9:28.

WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURE?

The Two-Stage theory of Christ’s Second Coming is based upon an erroneous interpretation of Daniel’s prophecy of Seventy Weeks DETERMINED “upon thy people” (the Jewish people) and “upon the holy city” (Jerusalem) -- Daniel 9:24. The Two-Stage theory as popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible says the seventy weeks of Daniel’s prophecy are an INDETERMINATE period of time, because the seventieth week is separated from the sixty-ninth week by this present dispensation, or Christian era of some 1970 years duration already. Whom shall we believe, -- the Bible or Scofield? These seventy weeks are CONSECUTIVE, and to separate the seventieth from the sixty-ninth week is to destroy the time period given. This breaks the CONTINUITY of Daniel’s seventy weeks. This is as if I were to saw off a yard stick at the 35th inch and attach a piece of elastic to the two pieces and stretch it to my liking. By so doing I destroy the measurement of a yard, and just so does the Two-Stage theory wrest the Scripture with reference to Christ’s Second Coming. Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled at the FIRST Advent of Christ, and ran its full course in CONSECUTIVE FULFILLMENT. The Seventy Weeks of Daniel’s prophecy are BEHIND US, and not before us; they are now HISTORY, not prophecy; they belong to the PAST, and not to the future; they have been FULFILLED and are not awaiting fulfillment. In the middle of the last or seventieth week the Messiah was cut off (Daniel 9:26). He caused the sacrifices to cease (as the book of Hebrews so clearly shows), confirmed the New Covenant with His disciples (which Christians commemorate every time they observe the Lord’s Supper), declared the judgment that would overtake the Jews in the destruction of their city Jerusalem in 70 AD and terminated forever the Mosaic economy of things under the Old Covenant.

THE TESTIMONY OF CHRIST

Christ warned his disciples against a two-fold aspect of his Second Advent, (Matthew 24:26-27), “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth; behold he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The Noahic civilization “knew not until the flood came, and took them ALL away; SO SHALL ALSO THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN BE.” IF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST TAKES ALL THE WORLD OF THE UNGODLY AWAY, WHO WILL BE LEFT TO ENTER ANY SUPPOSED EARTHLY MILLENNIUM OF TIME AFTER CHRIST’S SECOND ADVENT? Christ also taught that at his Second Advent the goat nations (individuals) shall go away into everlasting destruction (nations as nations do not go into hell), but the righteous into life eternal. IF THE GOAT NATIONS (PEOPLES) GO INTO EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT WHEN CHRIST COMES AGAIN THE SECOND TIME WHO WILL BE LEFT TO ENTER ANY SUPPOSED CONTINUATION OF TIME WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF HUMAN HISTORY OF A THOUSAND YEARS PLUS A LITTLE SEASON AFTER THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST?

In the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) the tares -- the children of the wicked one -- are to be burned and ALL things that offend shall be gathered out of the kingdom. IF SO, WHO AMONG THE CHILDREN OF THE WICKED ONE WILL BE LEFT TO ENTER ANY SUPPOSED EARTHLY REIGN OF CHRIST AFTER THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST FOR A THOUSAND YEARS DURATION PLUS A LITTLE SEASON?

THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

The apostle Paul declared a SHOUT, the VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, and a GREAT SOUND OF A TRUMPET are all to precede the gathering together of Christ’s elect (I Thessalonians 4:16, 17) from the four corners of the earth at his coming. There is no secrecy here, It is open, visible, audible, noisy and agrees with the apostle John’s statement in Revelation 1:7. Nowhere in the New Testament are we exhorted to look for a SECRET RAPTURE and open REVELATION some seven years apart to be followed by any earthly millennial kingdom of Jewish Supremacy AFTER the Second Advent of Christ, but rather we are to look for that “blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13), and for the fulfillment of the promise of a New Heaven and a New Earth at his Second Coming (II Peter 3:13; Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Revelation 21:5). Christ’s Second Coming ushers in ETERNITY, and not a continuation of time for an additional thousand years plus a little season. The Second Coming of Christ will be the END OF ALL HOPE FOR SINNERS as Paul makes so abundantly clear in II Thessalonians 1:7-10. The time of deliverance for the saints in the consummation of the redemption of the total election of grace of all ages will be the time of retribution for the eternal destruction of the total number of the wicked of all time. IF THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST (II THESSALONIANS 1:7) IS GOING TO BANISH WITH EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION ALL WHO KNOW NOT GOD AND OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL, WHO AMONG THE WORLD OF THE UNGODLY WILL BE LEFT TO ENTER ANY SUPPOSED MILLENNIUM AND PROPAGATE THE RACE FOR ANOTHER THOUSAND YEARS PLUS A LITTLE SEASON OF TIME AFTER THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST?

The apostle Paul reveals that Christ is reigning NOW and “must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet.” (I Corinthians 15:25), and the LAST enemy that shall be destroyed is death (I Corinthians 15:26), which will be at the one and only Second Coming of Christ (Corinthians 15:54, 55). IF THE LAST ENEMY IS DESTROYED AT THE ONE AND ONLY SECOND COMING OF CHRIST (and not in two stages), HOW CAN ANY OTHER ENEMIES ARISE AFTER THE LAST ENEMY HAS BEEN DESTROYED?

THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLE JOHN

Revelation 3:10 is often cited as a proof text for the SECRET PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH before the so-called Great Tribulation erroneously based on a fallacious interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27. This text lends no aid to the false Two-Stage theory, for the natural and obvious meaning is THE SAFEKEEPING OF THEM IN THE MIDST OF WORLD WIDE TRIAL, BUT NOT EXEMPTION FROM IT BY BEING CAUGHT UP TO HEAVEN. The preposition “out of” (ek) signifies exactly this, and not rapture before the trial begins. John 17:15 is a passage parallel with this verse in Revelation 3:10: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” The Philadelphia saints were to be in the trial, but safeguarded in it. The word, “keep” is the same in both passages and means “observe, watch over, keep” but never “take out.” This explanation is confirmed by the words that follow: “Behold, I come quickly; hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown.” Christ lays upon them the responsibility of vigilance, of continual effort, and does not promise them a false escapism from trouble but of being “watched over” in it.

If righteousness prevails for a thousand years AFTER the Second Advent of Christ under the personal “rod or iron” rule of Christ sitting on an earthly throne in Jerusalem, where will the wicked “as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:8) come from?

THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLE PETER

The apostle Peter also does not appear to have known anything about the Two-Stage theory, for he says nothing about such a concept in his gospel (the gospel of Mark), or in his sermons (in the book of Acts), or in his epistles (1 and 2 Peter). Note the order of prophetic events as found in II Peter 3: (1) The world will grow worse (vs. 3); (2) Christ will come (vs. 4); (3) The final (general) judgment follows at once (vs.7); (4) at which time the world and the works therein are to be burned up (vs.10,12); and (5) to be followed at once by the New Heavens and New Earth (vs.13). The uniform testimony of Scripture is Christ’s second Advent will usher in the ETERNAL state, and not a millennium of Jewish or Gentile supremacy in a world-wide kingdom maintained by force -- the rod of iron rule -- in a mixed state of mortals and immortals, the mortals living, dying, and begetting their kind for a thousand years plus a little season AFTER the Second Advent of Christ. THERE WILL BE NO MORE OPPORTUNITY OF SALVATION FOR JEW OR GENTILE AFTER THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST THAN THERE IS AFTER DEATH (Luke13:24-30).

IN CONCLUSION

There are two outstanding signs of Christ’s Second Advent: (1) “... many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4); (2) “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). About all the false doctrines in the world can be summed up under two heads: (1) Some other way but Christ (John 14:6), and (2) Some other time than now (II Corinthians 6:2).

From the foregoing considerations, the so-called Two-Stage theory of the Second Coming of Christ to be followed by a thousand years of time plus a little season must be rejected as one of “the divers and STRANGE DOCTRINES” of the last days (Hebrews 13:9). They who preach it are preaching a false hope for Jews and a false escapism from tribulation for Christians. God grant that you, dear reader, shall be ready for Christ’s glorious appearing (Matthew 25:13). Repent of sin by forsaking it (Proverbs 28:13), and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Romans 10:9, 10). confessing him before men (Mark 8:38; Matthew 10:32, 33). Beloved, the end of all things is at hand (I Peter 4:7); be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. Prepare to meet thy God (Amos 4:12).

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