RAPTURE AND THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
RAPTURE AND THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
Is there any difference between the rapture and the second coming of Christ?
The rapture of the church of Jesus Christ is not the second coming of Christ. They are two events separated in time by seven years. The rapture takes place first before the second coming. In a sense, the rapture may be regarded as part of the Lord’s second coming since they are both end-time events. One of the contrasts is the fact that the rapture will be a secret affair whereas the glorious appearing of the Lord will be a public event. All eyes shall see Him. In the rapture only those qualified members of the church, dead and alive, will meet Him in the atmospheric heaven. There are significant contrasts between two events. In this post, I will use the term ‘Glorious Appearing’ to describe the personal, visible return of the Lord to the earth. The following are some of the characteristics.
The rapture will take place in the atmospheric part of the first heaven. There are three heavens: the first heaven is the clouds or atmosphere above the earth. The second heaven is the stellar region above the first heaven – the domain of the stars. The third heaven is the heaven of heavens, the area where the throne of God is located. The Lord will leave the heaven of heavens and appear in the atmospheric heaven to receive His saints.
Venue: Glorious Appearing
The Lord, His saints and the holy angels will descend from heaven riding white horses and land at various points on the earth. The Lord Himself will land at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Those who will be raptured are dead Christians who were ‘in Christ’ at the point of death and living born-again believers who qualify to be ‘caught-up’ when the Trumpet of God sounds. Those who are in Christ, dead or alive shall be transformed with glorified bodies and lifted up to the skies to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him forever.
Participants: Glorious Appearing
Jesus Christ, the Saints of the Lord and Holy Angels all riding on white horses shall descent from heaven to the earth like a cloud.
This will happen when the trumpet of God sounds first for dead saints and almost immediately for living saints. The day and hour of the rapture is not disclosed in the Scriptures because God has put that in His own authority. However, Christians who are watchful, have made themselves ready for the occasion and above all are looking forward to the evacuation, will have an idea of the times and seasons. Qualified living saints will have an idea that the time is approaching. It will be like ‘birthpangs’ on a pregnant woman for Christians who have sufficient oil in their lamps and those full of the Holy Spirit. They will be the ones to hear when the trumpet of God sounds, which can be any moment from now.
Time: Glorious Appearing
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mt 24:29-30). It is from the venue of the Marriage Supper that the Lord with His saints and holy angels will visibly appear like clouds as they cover the whole earth. The time of Christ’s visible return to earth shall be exactly seven years, eighty-four months of thirty days each or two thousand five hundred and twenty days after the rapture of the church. All eyes shall see Him.
Nature of Event: Rapture
“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.” 1 Thess 4:16-17.
Nature of Event: Glorious Appearing
“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.” Zech 14:4
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