THE FIRST RESURRECTION
"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." [1 THE 4:16-17]
The first resurrection takes place at the second coming, and it affects only the righteous -- the numerous angels of the Lord shall go out and gather up all those that "awake" at the sound of the voice of the Son of God, and the angels bring them up off the earth. This even has been termed "the rapture."
Now, it seems that a sizable group of today's Christians have come to believe in a "secret rapture" -- a "two phase" coming of Christ. They read that the Lord's coming will be "as a thief in the night," and they assume it must be a quiet secret coming. But 2 Peter 3:10 goes on to say that "the heaven's shall pass away with a great noise." That's not quiet nor very secret.
Just because a "thief" tries to be quiet, we can not get that from this passage; "as a thief" is speaking directly of not knowing when. The thief illustration based on context does not reference snatching but instead the suddeness or surprise.
Secret rapturists "cut off" the last "week" from Daniel's 70 week prophecy, and move it 2,000 years down to the last days -- they call this 7 year period "the tribulation," and say that good Christians shall vanish at the beginning of this period, then Christ visibly returns at the end of the 7 year period. This would contradict the not-knowing when principle.
This two-phase "secret rapture" idea orignated back in only 1830, and it spread to the United States in the 1860's, but it's just another ploy to get Christians from identifying the Papal church as "the beast" and "the anti-Christ." What's totally incredible about this "secret rapture" is that there's really not a single verse in scripture that supports this view! Christ said the wheat and the tares would grow together till the "end of the world," then be separated. On that same day, "one is taken, the other left." [MAT 13:30 & 24:40-41]