The Rapture vs the Second Coming, do you know the differences? Many people believe that the rapture and the second coming of Yeshua (Christ) are one and the same. This has led many to doubt that the rapture or second coming will even happen at all and has led even more people to err on this important doctrinal issue. However, in studying end-times Bible prophecy, it is very important to differentiate between the two. In this article, we will take a look at some key bible verses that distinguish the rapture from the second coming of Christ.
The difference between the rapture and the second coming of Yeshua Jesus Christ is that the rapture refers to when Jesus will return to remove all believers from the earth. This event is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 where Paul states that when the time comes “the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout and those that are dead in Christ shall rise first and we who are alive will be caught up in the cloud to meet him in the air.”
The clear distinction between the rapture and the second coming is further emphasized in 1 Corinthians 15:52-54 where Paul describes the elimination of mortality and death when the trumpet sounds and those alive and dead will exchange corrupt mortal bodies from the incorruptible spiritual ones. These events will happen in a twinkling of an eye and occur before the great tribulation.
The Second Coming
The second coming is described in Revelations 19:11-16 where John describes a vision of the Lord he had seen from his imprisonment on the isle of Patmos. John’s visions are well known for being apocalyptic in nature and their telling of the end of times. The vision found in Revelations 19 is no different. Here he describes a vengeful God coming to bestow truth and justice on the earth. His clothes are dripped in blood and the armies of heaven follow Him to mete out justice. These events occur after the great tribulation.
The Key Differences Between the Rapture and the Second Coming
The key differences between both end time prophetic events are as follows:
- In the rapture, the believers will meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) while in the second coming believers will return with the Lord to the earth (Revelations 19:14).
- The second coming occurs after the Great Tribulation (Revelations 6-19) while the rapture occurs before the Great Tribulation (Revelations 3:10). This explains why you don’t see the word “church” between chapters 6-19.
- The rapture will be a private event that will occur in an instant (Matthew 24:27) while the second coming will be public event seen by all (Revelations 19:11-14).
- The rapture is the delivering of believers from the earth while the second coming will deliver judgement on the earth.
- In the second coming, Yeshua (Jesus) will return to defeat the Antichrist and establish his Messianic Kingdom on earth (Revelations 19:7-9) while this will not be done in the rapture.
- The second coming will not occur until after certain end-time events take place (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15-30; Revelations chapters 6-8) while the rapture could happen at any time (Titus 2:13).
- At the second coming the Antichrist will be cast into the Lake of Fire and Satan will be bound for a thousand years (Revelations 19:20; 20:1-3). This will not happen in the rapture.
- At the second coming, Christ will reign and his kingdom will last for a thousand years (Revelations 20:2, 4-6)
Rapture vs The Second Coming Myth
It is important that as Christians we are aware of the differences between the rapture and the second coming. Let’s look at what happens when no distinction is made between the rapture and the second coming:
Myth: All people, believers or not will have to go through the great tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelations 3:10).
It is not God’s will for believers to go through the great tribulation or the day of God’s wrath. God has not chosen us for wrath but for salvation through Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9). We who have kept the word of the Lord through patient endurance will be kept from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world; the great tribulation.
God’s Promise To Those Who Believe
An important aspect of being a Christian is that we believe in the promises of God. On the last day, God promises to wipe away every tear from our eyes. He promises that there would be no more mourning or pain because the old order of things has passed away (Revelations 21:4). Belief in these promises means believing that Jesus would not cause us to suffer unnecessary misery and trauma here in this broken world when He can change that for us. And He will. When the new Heaven and the new Earth are created for us after the great tribulation (Revelations Chapter 21) we will no longer know pain or suffering.
As a result, as Christians, it is beneficial for us to keep these two events separate in our minds. Because knowing that any day now we might be raptured to Heaven, brings comfort for the weariest of souls (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).
Sources: all scriptures are from the Contemporary Jewish Bible taken from BibleStudyTools.com unless otherwise noted.
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