I received an e-mail today from an old friend and brother in Christ. He was asking for prayer for his wife and him, and as a bonus, sent a copy of an article he wrote about the "Pre-Rapture Coming of Christ." I must admit I didn't get the thought he was trying to express, because as most of us do from time to time, I simply misunderstood the wording. I believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, meaning that Jesus will come for His Church prior to the seven year Tribulation. I have previously written several posts to present what the Word of God says about the event, so I will refer you to them if you need to be convinced. Jim's wording needed a closer look, and I thank God for my eventual understanding of what he was saying. He was referring to the time when Jesus comes into each individual's life and "knocks at the door of his heart" (an often used interpretation of Rev. 3:20). But because Bible students think of His Second Coming as when He returns to rescue Israel and establish His one thousand year Kingdom, it is strange to think of something in between His Incarnation as the Lamb of God two thousand years ago, and His future return as King of kings and Lord of lords, as another "Coming." So, what on Earth are Jim and I saying?
Well, everyone who believes in Jesus is aware that He came the first time to save the lost (Lk. 19:10). Jim suggests, and I agree, that Jesus comes to individuals, not in a physical sense as He does at the First Coming and the Second Coming, but in the form of the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9). He is still seeking to save the lost, thank God! So then, we have His Incarnation (Jn. 3:16), His Coming to individuals spiritually (Rev. 3;20), His coming in the clouds to take His Church out of the world before the wrath of God is poured out upon it (1 Thes. 4:13-18; 5:9), and His Second Coming to establish God's Kingdom on Earth (Rev. 19:11-21).
Jim's point makes a lot of sense, but there is an obvious problem: Christ's Incarnation is known as His First Coming or Advent, and His return to establish His Kingdom is known as His Second Coming or Advent. The Church is confused enough because of the fact that the majority of Christians know little to nothing about the Word of God. Due to that fact, I am not sure how many of my small number of readers will understand any of what I have already said. When I suggest that there are four "Comings," even I, as a Bible College and Seminary graduate, have to stop and think about what is being said. So when I say that perhaps for clarity sake we think of His Incarnation as "One;" we call His appeal to individual heart "One A"; we call the Rapture "One B"; and we call His permanent return, His Second Coming, "Two"; I probably have lost my last reader. If you stop and think about it, "One," "One A," and "One B" all have to do with the Church, while "Two" refers to the Earthly Kingdom promised to the nation Israel.
For you regular readers, I apologize for the confusion I am sure I have caused some of you; think of it as just one of those days when I have lost my mind, and tune in tomorrow; I may have recovered. Until then....