Monday, February 15, 2010


Much of the confusion about the timing of the Rapture of the Church has to do with a failure to recognize the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. There is a very clear clue that can only be seen by those who are convinced that the Rapture occurs prior to the Tribulation, and that the Second Coming happens following the Tribulation. In Titus 2:13, a verse which evidences the imminence of Christ's return, a single word provides further support that there are two phases of His return: and. The verse says, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." As the Church, our hope is His return for His Bride, when we shall meet our Lord in the air (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 John 3:2). On the other hand, His glorious appearing will be seen by the entire world (Matthew 24:24-27).

Another difference is that no one knows when the Rapture will occur. But, those converted during the seven year Tribulation will know that exactly seven years after the Antichrist signs the peace treaty with Israel, the Lord will return to establish His kingdom. Daniel's Seventieth Week is divided into two equal halves of 1260 days, 42 months, or "a time, times, and half a time" (Revelation 12:6; 11:2; 12:14). Israel will experience peace for three and a half years, before they suddenly recognize that their "peace maker" is not the Christ, but is the Antichrist (Matthew 24:15-16).

Still another difference is the location of each event. The Rapture occurs in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) while the Second Coming occurs on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:11). There are also two separate judgments associated with these two events: The Judgment Seat of Christ occurs during the Tribulation in heaven where the Christian's works are judged (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). The other is the judgment of the Gentiles based upon their treatment of His brethren following the Tribulation (Matthew 24:31-46).

At the Rapture, believers are removed from the world while unbelievers remain (John 14:3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). At the Second Coming, unbelievers are removed and the Bride returns with Christ (Matthew 13:30, 30-43, 49-50; 25:36-51). This last passage has mistakenly been understood as being about the Rapture. However, Christ, in using the illustration of Noah, is picturing the "faithful" remaining alive on earth, while the rest are removed by the flood. The ones left on earth will remain alive, in their physical bodies, to enter the Millennium Kingdom of Christ (Matthew 25:21, 23).

Study of the Bible requires work. And, just as Jesus used parables to teach those who were His and confuse those belonging to the Enemy, He has made His Word to be understood by faithful stewards who are willing to study to show themselves approved of God (2 Timothy 2:15). I have been studying it for nearly forty years, and have barely scratched the surface. It is making new discoveries in His Word that keeps me joyful and humbles me, at the same time. Praise God for His infinite wisdom.

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