I am getting some thoughts together for our last 4 days…Revelation. I cannot wait to unpack this so that you can see this is NOT a hard book. I will provide visuals and printables (if you choose) to help. Here is my first “prep” post.
The timing of the rapture in relation to the tribulation is one of the most controversial issues in the church today. The three primary views are:
- pre-tribulation-(the rapture occurs before the tribulation),
- mid-tribulation (the rapture occurs at or near the mid-point of the tribulation),
- post-tribulation (the rapture occurs at the end of the tribulation).
The rapture and the second coming of Christ are often confused. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a scripture verse is referring to the rapture or the second coming. However, in studying end-times Bible prophecy, it is very important to differentiate between the two.
- The rapture is when Jesus Christ returns to remove the church (all believers in Christ) from the earth. The rapture is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. Believers who have died will have their bodies resurrected and, along with believers who are still living, will meet the Lord in the air. This will all occur in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye.
- The second coming is when Jesus returns to defeat the Antichrist, destroy evil, and establish His millennial kingdom. The second coming is described in Revelation 19:11-16.
1 Thessalonians 4: 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
It states that all living believers, along with all believers who have died, will meet the Lord Jesus in the air and will be with Him forever. The rapture is God’s removal of His people from the earth.
A few verses later, in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul says,9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Corinthians 15:50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
Revelation 3 is a confirmation of the rapturing of believers:10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
The important differences between the rapture and second coming are as follows:
- At the rapture, believers meet the Lord in the air.
- At the second coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth
- The rapture occurs before the tribulation
- At the second coming occurs after the tribulation
- The rapture is the removal of believers from the earth as an act of deliverance
- The second coming includes the removal of unbelievers as an act of judgment
- The rapture will be secret and instant
- The second coming will be visible to all
- The rapture is imminent; it could take place at any moment
- The second coming of Christ will not occur until after certain other end-times events take place
Make sure you are ready for the rapture. Believe in Him, and you will not perish. The Lord knows who are His, and He will leave none of them behind.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.