The Christ in Prophecy Journal

The Inbox: Is the Rapture and Second Coming the Same Event?

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Jesus wraps up the Bible with a promise that one day He will return: “Surely I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22).

The fulfillment of this promise stands out as one of the most prolifically talked about events in the whole Bible. Nearly 500 prophecies in the Old Testament and one out of 25 verses in the New Testament concern Jesus’ Second Coming.

There are so many verses about this topic, it’s enough to make one’s head spin!

Second Coming Verses

John 14:1-3; Romans 8:19; 1 Corinthians 1:7-8; 15:51-53; 16:22; Philippians 3:20-21; 4:5; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19; 4:13-18; 5:9,23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1,3; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 1:7,13; 5:4; 1 John 2:28-3:2; Jude 21; Revelation 2:25; 3:10; Daniel 2:44-45; 7:9-14; 12:1-3; Zechariah 12:10; 14:1-15; Matthew 13:41; 24:15-31; 26:64; Mark 13:14-27; 14:62; Luke 21:25-28; Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2:8; 1 Peter 4:12-13; 2 Peter 3:1-14; Jude 14-15; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-20:6; 22:7,12,20

But, when you start reading all these verses about Jesus’ return, you’ll notice something very peculiar. They appear to tell two very different stories. It’s as if these verses could be divided into two camps.

Rapture

Second Coming

John 14:1-3; Romans 8:19; 1 Corinthians 1:7-8; 15:51-53; 16:22; Philippians 3:20-21; 4:5; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19; 4:13-18; 5:9,23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1,3; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 1:7,13; 5:4; 1 John 2:28-3:2; Jude 21; Revelation 2:25; 3:10

Daniel 2:44-45; 7:9-14; 12:1-3; Zechariah 12:10; 14:1-15; Matthew 13:41; 24:15-31; 26:64; Mark 13:14-27; 14:62; Luke 21:25-28; Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2:8; 1 Peter 4:12-13; 2 Peter 3:1-14; Jude 14-15; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-20:6

Let’s title the first column “Rapture” after 1 Thessalonians 4:17’s use of the Latin word “rapio” which means “to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out.” And, let’s also thin the list out a little to concentrate on the most descriptive passages.

Rapture

Second Coming

John 14; 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4

Zechariah 14; Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; Revelation 19

What does this mean then? Is the Rapture and Second Coming the same event?

To answer this question, let’s look at 20 ways in which the Rapture and the Second Coming verses differ.

#

Rapture

Second Coming

1

Jesus appears in the sky and then ascends up to Heaven.

Jesus appears in the sky and then descends down to the earth.

2

Jesus gathers those who are saved, called the Church, from the earth.

Jesus gathers those who are saved, called the Church, from Heaven.

3

Jesus leaves behind those on the earth who are not saved, the Unrighteous, to begin enduring the wrath of God.

Jesus returns and confronts those on the earth who are not saved, the Unrighteous, to finish enduring the wrath of God.

4

The resurrected Church meets Jesus up in the clouds.

Mortal believers, called the Tribulation Saints, meet Jesus down on the earth.

5

The destination of the Church is Heaven.

The destination of the Church is Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom on earth.

6

Only the Church, not the Unrighteous, will see Jesus.

Every eye, both Church and Unrighteous alike, will see Jesus.

7

The Rapture takes place as fast as a blink of an eye.

The Second Coming is drawn out over a number of days.

8

The Church instantly obtains glorified bodies which last forever before Christ’s Millennial Kingdom is instituted.

Tribulation Saints remain in their same earthly bodies and await their glorified bodies at the end of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

9

The Church is gathered to receive their rewards while the Unrighteous are left behind to face their punishment.

The Unrighteous are gathered to receive judgment and be sentenced to Torments while the Tribulation Saints are left behind on earth to enter into Christ’s rewards.

10

Jesus appears as a Bridegroom ready to receive His Bride the Church.

Jesus appears as a warrior ready to execute judgment against His enemies.

11

Jesus appears as a Deliverer, rescuing spiritual refugees.

Jesus returns as King, installing subjects to rule over His Kingdom.

12

The Rapture depicts the deliverance of the Church from God’s wrath.

The Second Coming depicts the deliverance of Tribulation Saints who have endured many years of God’s wrath.

13

The world remains left unjudged and still living in the horrible condition of sin.

The world receives final judgment and righteousness is established.

14

The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem remains unchanged.

The impact of Jesus landing on the earth splits the Mount of Olives in two, forming a whole new valley.

15

Satan remains free to cause havoc and slaughter billions.

God’s angels capture Satan, bind him, and throw the Devil into a bottomless pit.

16

Revealed clearly in the New Testament.

Revealed clearly in both the Old and New Testaments.

17

An imminent event in that no signs or events need to precede in order for it to happen.

Over seven years’ worth of signs and events must precede in order for it to happen.

18

Deals only with the Church.

Deals both with the Church and the Unrighteous.

19

The end purpose is to bring God’s judgment on this world.

The end purpose is to install Jesus’ Kingdom over this world.

20

The Rapture is an idyllic scene of God’s love, mercy, and grace to His Church.

The Second Coming is a terrifying scene of God’s wrath and judgment against the Unrighteous.

So, the answer is no, the Rapture and the Second Coming clearly are not the exact same event. But, the answer could also technically be yes, but only in the respect that the Rapture and Second Coming are two separate stages of the same event — the final return of Jesus Christ.

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Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones

Assoc. Evangelist and Web Minister for Lamb & Lion Ministries, reaching out to the nearly three billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

21 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Great article!! I have had to defend the rapture many times. This gives me even more verses and arguments for the two events. Never doubt the rapture. It’s the only explanation for all of these verses.

  • This has great potential to resolve the confusion to a large degree. I cannot wait to sit down and dive into scripture to add context to each argument. A pity that each of the 20 points aren’t set against its own relative bible verse(s).

    Thank you Nathan!

  • Hi,
    So is the rapture before or after the great tribulation? please state biblical reasons and refernces.
    Thank you
    Stan

  • I have a question about the comparison of the Rapture versus the Second Coming. On the Rapture List number 6 states that “Only the Church, not the Unrighteous, will see Jesus”. I have searched all the scriptures listed in this article and see nothing that says Only the Church will see Jesus. Could you please clarify this for me? What scripture states this?

    • I Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 describe the Rapture occurring “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” The speed at which it happens would mean than only those believers who are being called up to Jesus will see Him in the clouds. To the rest of the world, we’ll be here one second and gone the next.

      • According to 1 Corinthians 15:52 “In the twinkling of an eye…
        “the text points out that the dead shall be raise incorruptible and also our body shall change into glorified body. I don’t see the text stating that the rapture will be seen only by church and not by unrighteous. Could you please clarify me?

      • The speed at which the Rapture happens only allows for those who are being Raptured to witness it. It is the believers in Christ who will hear the Archangel’s call and the trumpet and see Jesus in the clouds – all within less than a second.

  • Thanks to Lamb & Lion for massive clarification. Many people confuse the two events. Clearly, the Rapture and the Second Coming are being discussed with alot of interest and sincerity, glad Nathan and David Reagan have put out the scriptures of description for both events. The Bride needs to be ready at all times.

  • (I have a question for Nathan. or Dr. Reagan:). 1 Thessalonians 4:16. 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. 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.

    Will the TRUMPET call be heard by the whole world, or only believers who are saved? Obviously a trumpet call is an announcement of something Spectacular. I also wondered if it could be similar to the sound of the shofar that the Jewish people used to announce big events. Thanks.

    • Because the Rapture happens so fast “in the twinkling of an eye” it is speculated that it’s unlikely unbelievers will witness the Rapture, other than the aftermath.

      • Yes, It will be instantly. All of sudden millions and millions of people will be gone, and those left behind will be wondering where everyone went, some will know though and know the truth.

  • I am a Pre Trib believer for the event of the Rapture and agree with all that your article provides to support it… and there is even more reference in scripture. However, the comments made on #4,8,9 and specifically 12 which quotes “The Second Coming depicts the deliverance of Tribulation Saints who have endured many years of God’s wrath.” seem inaccurate. None of the comments speaks of the Second Coming as “Zion the Deliverer” who saves “all of Israel” (final remnant in the nation who cry’s out to Jesus at last) from unrighteous gentile nations. Many if not most Trib Saints, are martyr during the 7 years and while some may survive, it is secondary to Christ primary mission… Redeem Israel the nation and judge a defiant world in their unbelief. The Gentiles “Church” was and is saved by Grace and God will also save “Israel the Nation” by Grace at Christ Second Coming. Such is God’s righteousness at work before all men.

    It is in this context that I find your reference to the Tribulation saints while not technically in error somewhat not quite accurate and perhaps contradictory. Most of what Apostle John sees of this group are “souls in heaven” seeking vengeance and told to wait a little longer. Deliverance is not the issue but vengeance is! Can you clear the air on this?

    • A scene from the Millennial Kingdom as prophesied in Zechariah 8:23 – “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’” Since many Gentiles will exist in that age, they must be founded by Gentile Tribulation Saints.

      • This could be somewhat speculative on my part but I tend to think of this group in Zechariah 8:23 as representing Jesus separating the “sheep from the goats” among many of gentile nations. And these are the “sheep” coming to Jerusalem during the millennium period. While I agree there will be survivors of the tribulation period, tribulation saints are specifically identified during the 7 year judgement. Splitting hairs I suppose….thanks for your time Nathan.

  • This kind of obscurantism on the part of Dispensationalists is what makes me so sad. I answer this approach to the two elements of the same event in my book, “Trapped by the Pre-Trib Rapture.” You finally admit the truth in the last sentence: two descriptions of one event at the end of the tribulation. It is very simple. You give not one example wherein the two descriptions contradict each other. Rigid and dogmatic Dispensationalists are sadly focusing on a non-salvation issue and setting their followers up for possible loss of faith when they find themselves in the tribulation. See the parable of the sower. So sad. Dogma first, logic 2nd.

  • YeHoVaH’s inspired words are so multi-layered and intricate that more than one interpretation appears reasonable. I believe He uses this technique to prevent us from knowing with a great deal of certainty when important prophecies will be fulfilled. If we knew we would become complacent rather than constantly being vigilant and endeavoring to save souls. Joel Richardson’s books “Mideast Beast” and “The Islamic Antichrist” make sense to me. Richardson recommends Nelson Walters’ book “Revelation Deciphered” which convinced me the Rapture takes place at the beginning of Tribulation year 7 on Yom Teruah followed by the trumpet judgements ending on the next Yom Teruah, followed by the Wrath of God (the bowl judgements) during the 10 Days of Awe. Then the Second Coming occurs on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Daniel’s day 1260. Five days later, after finishing Armageddon, Yeshua will stand on the Mount of Olives on His birthday (see Michael Rood’s “The Chronological Gospels: The Life and Seventy Week Ministry of the Messiah”) on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, after which He will tabernacle (dwell) and reign on earth for 1000 years.
    The sheep and goat judgement of the surviving humans will take place on the date Noah entered the ark, Chesvan 10, Daniel’s day 1290. The cleansed third Temple will be rededicated on Kislev 25, Hanukkah, Daniel’s day 1335. Finally, the new and final Temple may be dedicated on Elul 1, Daniel’s day 2300.
    Since the books I have cited upset the traditional “applecart”, I hope you will choose to read and test them carefully. There is a lot of material here so please take your time before responding.
    I highly value the work that Dr. Reagan and you, Nathan, do in the name of Yeshua. Even if we disagree on some details, we are one in the Body of Christ.

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