Bible Study 4-14-2020
The RAPTURE and the SECOND COMING of Christ
Although the phrase “the rapture” is not used once in the Bible, it is the name that has been given to the occasion when Jesus will descend from heaven to fetch those who have loved Him more than anything on this earth and been His faithful disciples.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.
The disciples of Christ who have already died will be resurrected first, and will be joined by those who are still living in Christ. They will all be raised up together in incorruptible bodies to meet Jesus in the air.
“For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Corinthians 15:52-53.
The SECOND COMING of CHRIST
At the end of the Great Tribulation the Antichrist will gather all of his armies from all over the earth to go and attack Jerusalem(Zechariah 14:1-2).
They will begin slaughtering the Jews without mercy. This will be the Jews’ greatest hour of need in their entire history. In his bitterness and anger the Antichrist intends their complete destruction.
But then Jesus and the saints will descend from heaven to save them!
“Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east.” Zechariah 14:3-4. See also Revelation 19:11-16.
Then all of the wicked soldiers of the Antichrist will be consumed in a plague! They will dissolve completely away. (Zechariah 14:12) God’s judgment over the beast and the Antichrist will not be light. You can imagine His righteous fury over the ones who have tried to hurt and destroy and corrupt His beloved creation right from the beginning. Both the beast and the Antichrist will be thrown into the lake of fire to burn for all eternity (Revelation 19:20-21) and Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-3)
What’s the difference?
Those who hold to the view of a RAPTURE that is separate from the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST emphasize the many apparent differences listed between these two events. Those who believe both events refer to one return of Christ attempt to reconcile their differences to prove Jesus will only return one time at the end of the TRIBULATION PERIOD. A look at the key differences helps to clarify these concerns.
1.) At the rapture, believers will meet Christ in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). At the second coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth (Revelation 19:14).
2.) A second difference is that the rapture is an any-moment event (1 Corinthians 15:50-55; 1 Thessalonians 5:2). The second coming will clearly take place at the end of a seven-year tribulation (Revelations 6-19).
3.) A third difference is that believers will be removed from the earth in the rapture before it is judged (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 5:9). At the second coming, unbelievers will experience judgment (Matthew 24:40-41).
4.) A fourth difference is that the rapture will be instant and secret (1 Corinthians 15:50-55). The second coming will be visible to all (Matthew 24:39-41).
These differences are of great importance. If the rapture can take place at any moment, then believers are urged to live holy lives with a sense of urgency to share Christ with other people.
In addition, an any-moment rapture shows that God will rescue His people prior to His judgments upon the earth (Romans 8:1).
This perspective resembles the pattern of God rescuing Noah and his family in the ark prior to His judgment of the earth by a flood.
Another argument to support a pretribulation rapture is that the tribulation period described in Revelation 6-19 does not once mention the church. The most likely explanation for this omission is that believers have already been rescued from this time of judgment through the rapture.
Both events are important, yet distinct events. When Christ returns at the rapture, He will come in the air FOR his people to be with Him. When He comes at the second coming, He will return in judgment WITH his people and defeat the Antichrist and those with him.