Ever hear those words before? Usually when we’re driving toward an anticipated vacation location, someone in the car will ask, “Are we there yet?” (usually one of the children). We may only have been driving for thirty minutes or so, but the excitement of arriving at the campground, hotel, or relatives’ home can be tremendous.
It’s no exaggeration to say that this past year, 2020, has been a year like no other in most of our lifetimes. Many of the events seem to be pointing us toward a cataclysmic culmination of our world, as we know it. Many are wondering if we are at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, as described in the Scriptures.
Let’s take a brief look at both the “Rapture” and the “Second Coming.” It won’t be and exhaustive study, as it would take many, many articles to do that type of study. But I will give some excellent resources to help you with your own study of this fascinating aspect of future events that the Bible tells us about.
There are two prophetic events, described in Scripture, that the Church has been waiting for, literally, since the time of Jesus’ ascension back to heaven: (1) the Rapture, or the “catching away” of the Church (the Bride of Christ) up to heaven to be with the Lord; and (2) the Great Tribulation, the outpouring of God’s wrath and judgment upon the earth’s inhabitants, (following the Rapture) for those who have rejected Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ.
Here is a chart that will be helpful in keeping these two events separated with clarity:
Christ comes for His own:
(John 14:3; 1 Thes. 5:28; 2 Thes. 2:1).
Christ comes with His own: (1 Thes. 3:13; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:14-ff).
Christ comes in the air: (1 Thes. 4:17).
Christ comes to the earth: (Zec. 14:4; Acts 1:11).
Christ claims His bride: (1 Thes. 4:16-17).
Christ comes with His bride: (Rev. 19:6-14.)
Removal of believers: (1 Thes. 4:17).
Manifestation of Christ: (Mal. 4:2).
Only His own see Him: (1 Thes. 4:13-18).
Every eye shall see Him: (Rev. 1:7).
Tribulation begins: (2 Thes. 1:6-9).
Millennial Kingdom begins: (Rev. 20:1-ff).
The saved are delivered from wrath: (1 Thes. 1:10; 1 Thes. 5:9).
The unsaved experience the wrath of God:
No prophetic signs precede rapture:
(1 Thes. 5:1-3).
Prophetic signs precede Second Coming:
(Luke 21:11, Luke 21:15).
Focus is on the Lord and the Church: (1Thes. 4:13-18).
Focus is Israel and the kingdom: (Matt. 24:14).
World is deceived: (2 Thes. 2:3-12).
Satan is bound so he cannot deceive:
Believers depart the earth:
(1 Thes. 4:15-17).
Unbelievers are taken away from the earth:
Unbelievers remain on earth.
Believers remain on earth: (Matt. 25:34).
No mention of establishing Christ’s Kingdom on earth.
Christ has come to set up His Kingdom on earth: (Matt. 25:31, Matt. 25:34).
Christians taken to the Father’s house: (John 14:1-3).
Resurrected saints do not see the Father’s house: (Rev. 20:4-ff).
Imminent: could happen at any moment.
Cannot occur for at least 7 years.
Precedes the career of the man of sin: (2 Thes. 2:1-3).
Terminates the career of the man of sin: (Rev. 19:20-ff).
This article is only meant to show the differences between the “catching away” (Rapture) of the Church and the Second Coming of Christ to the earth. Here is a list of resources that will further explain the details of both of these prophetic events still to come in world history:
· The Rapture Questionby John F. Walvoord
· The Moody Handbookof Theology by Paul Enns
· Major Bible Themesby Lewiis Sperry Chafer, revised by John F. Walvoord
· Things to Comeby J. Dwight Pentecost
· There are others but these are a few of my favorites
As the events of this past week, month and year have unfolded, try to keep in mind that Jesus IS coming back for His bride, the Church. That includes every person who has believed and received Christ as their personal Savior. The Church will not go through the Great Tribulation. Jesus loves His bride and she is safe from judgment because He paid the price for all our sins.
His second coming will be at the end of the Great Tribulation. He will come at the end to rule and reign as King of kings, from Jerusalem. He will lock Satan up so the he will not have influence on humanity for 1000 years. Jesus will rule on the earth for 1000 years (the Millennium). At the end of the Millennium, Satan will be released to try to defeat Jesus but He will cast him into the Lake of Fire forever.
Then, a new heavens and a new earth will come and there will be peaceful life with God and His people forever and ever, without sin, suffering, sorrow, pain or evil of any kind. Won’t that be wonderful!
As Dr. Mal Couch used to say about the rapture, “Perhaps today!”
Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D., D.Min.