Those who do not believe in the biblical doctrine of the Rapture of the Church, usually argue that there is only one Coming or return of Christ to the earth to judge the nations. Some hold that this One Coming is simply for taking the believers home to heaven, with a judgment to follow.
Those who hold to the Rapture of the Church are far more careful to observe what the Bible says in context. They can observe the simple fact that there is a difference between up and down. Believers go up to meet Christ in the air. The Second Coming is indeed truly a “coming” of the Lord down to the earth physically to establish the millennial kingdom promised to the Old Testament prophets.
Below is a list of verses and points, as shown in the Bible, highlighting the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming of the Lord to reign on earth. Some wonder why there is a heated discussion about this issue. It is important for the following reasons:
First, if the Rapture truly is in Scripture, that is enough to make it important. In other words, every doctrine the Lord has given us has a purpose and is important, simply because He has given it to us!
The Rapture is called the Blessed Hope. It promises redemption from the terrible seven year Tribulation so detailed in the book of Revelation.
Generally speaking, those who deny the Rapture of the Church interpret the Bible in a “spiritualized” or “allegorical” way. They also fail to consider “contexts.” They deny certain passages of Scripture in the normal sense. By letting the Bible speak plainly in its teachings to us, we honor the Lord. We take His Word at face value!
Some general rules to note:
Rapture passages are addressed to believers in the body of Christ. They are verses that speak of going directly back or up to the Lord in heaven.
Second Coming passages have to do with the Lord coming down to earth to bless Israel, judge the nations, and rule the earth with a scepter of iron!
Comparison Of Rapture And Second Coming Verses:
|Rapture:||Christ prepares a place for us and takes us back to heaven. “I will come again and receive you to Myself” (John 14:1-3).|
|Second Coming:||Coming to reign and rule in Jerusalem, Christ’s feet touch upon the Mt. of Olives. “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount will split in its middle” (Zech. 14:4).|
|Rapture:||Christ prepares a place in heaven. “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).|
|Second Coming:||Christ becomes a ruling king on earth. “The Lord will be king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9).|
|Rapture:||The Church is with the Lord in heaven. “Where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).|
|Second Coming:||The Jewish people are with their king on earth. “And people will live in [Jerusalem], and there will be no more curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security” (Zech. 14:11).|
|Rapture:||Announced by the trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16).|
|Second Coming:||Announced simply by a great trumpet (but not called the trumpet of God) (Matt. 24:31).|
|Rapture:||Those “in Christ” are gathered “to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17).|
|Second Coming:||The “elect” gathered (of Jews and the nations) (Matt. 24:31) to come before the king on His earthly throne (Matt. 25:31).|
|Rapture:||The Lord descends from heaven with a shout (1 Thess. 4:16).|
|Second Coming:||The Lord does not shout (Scripture gives no indication of such).|
|Rapture:||The voice of the archangel is heard (1 Thess. 4:16).|
|Second Coming:||Many angels sound a great trumpet but their voices are not heard (Matt. 24:31).|
|Rapture:||No sign given for His coming.|
|Second Coming:||A sign is given (Matt. 24:30).|
|Rapture:||Called the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:9).|
|Second Coming:||Called the Son of Man. A distinct messianic term used to describe the earthly Davidic king who shall reign in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:30).|
|Rapture:||Comforting words for the Church. The Church will not mourn. “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18).|
|Second Coming:||The nation of Israel will mourn. “Those who pierced Him will mourn” (Rev. 1;7).|
|Rapture:||The Scriptures do not indicate that the lost of the world will see His Rapture coming.|
|Second Coming:||The entire world will see the Son of Man coming. “All the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky” (Matt. 24:30).|
|Rapture:||The Church saints (those in Christ) will be caught up alive “to be together (with the resurrected Church saints) in the clouds” (1 Thess. 4:17).|
|Second Coming:||The Messiah, the Son of Man, comes with the clouds (Matt. 24:30) to gather the elect to the place of His earthly throne (25:31).|
|Rapture:||Christ’s power is not necessarily displayed openly to the world.|
|Second Coming:||He comes “with power and great glory” as the Son of Man to rule on earth (Matt. 24:31).|
|Rapture:||Called the Day of Christ (Phil. 1:6, 10; 2:16). Day of blessing for the believer.|
|Second Coming:||Called the Day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5:2). Day of judgment for the world, “When they (the world) says ‘Peace and Safety!’ then destruction comes upon them” (v. 3).|
|Rapture:||The Day of the Lord. “That day should not overtake you like a thief” (1 Thess. 5:5).|
|Second Coming:||The Day of the Lord. “Shall come [on them, the world] like a thief” (1 Thess. 5:2).|
|Rapture:||Believers in this Church age will be Raptured out of the Tribulation because they are sons of light, sons of the day (1 Thess. 5:5).|
|Second Coming:||Unbelievers left behind to face the Tribulation (the Day of the Lord) because they are of the night, of the darkness (1 Thess. 5:5).|
|Rapture:||Believers will be Raptured because they are not destined for wrath (1 Thess. 5:9).|
|Second Coming:||Unbelievers will face the Day of the Lord because (implied) they are destined for wrath (1 Thess. 5:9).|
|Rapture:||The Dead “in Christ” are raised (1 Thess. 4:16).|
|Second Coming:||No mention of the Dead “in Christ” being raised.|
|Rapture:||The Rapture takes place with no mention of the issue of sin.|
|Second Coming:||The Second Coming of Christ to judge because of the wickedness of the world.|
|Rapture:||No mention of Christ coming to rule on earth.|
|Second Coming:||Mentions that He comes to establish His earthly kingdom (Matt. 25:31-34).|
|Rapture:||No mention of believers “inheriting the kingdom prepared for you” (Matt. 25:34).|
|Second Coming:||The righteous “inherit the kingdom” (Matt. 25:34).|
|Rapture:||Christ does not do battle with His enemies at the Rapture.|
|Second Coming:||Christ does battle with His enemies at His Second Coming (Rev. 19:17-21).|
|Rapture:||Christ does not come to earth as a conquering warrior.|
|Second Coming:||He comes to earth as a conquering warrior (Rev. 19:11-16).|
|Rapture:||He comes as the Head of the Church.|
|Second Coming:||He comes as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 19:16).|
|Rapture:||No earthly reign takes place.|
|Second Coming:||He reigns for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-5).|
|Rapture:||Those Raptured resurrected are taken up to meet the Lord in the clouds (1 Thess. 4:17).|
|Second Coming:||Those in the resurrection at the beginning of the thousand year kingdom, “will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).|
|Rapture:||When the resurrected Church saints, and we the living Church saints, all together are taken up in the clouds, it is said “we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17). Therefore, when Jesus comes to reign on earth for one thousand years, the Church Age saints will return with Him.|
|Second Coming:||Those resurrected at the beginning of the one thousand year reign are apparently those who died during the great Tribulation (Rev. 20:6).|
|Rapture:||Resurrection and Rapture only for “those in Christ.”|
|Second Coming:||A resurrection for Old Testament saints, that takes place after the “time of distress” (the Tribulation) (Dan. 12:1-2).|
|Rapture:||The unsaved people of the nations are unaffected and unchanged at the Rapture.|
|Second Coming:||The nations are judged and/or blessed when the Messiah comes to reign.|
|Rapture:||The nation of Israel is left unchanged when the Rapture takes place.|
|Second Coming:||The nation of Israel is gathered, judged, and the righteous Jews inter kingdom blessing.|
|Rapture:||No herald goes before to announce the Rapture.|
|Second Coming:||Elijah comes to announce the coming of the Messiah (Mal. 4:5).|
|Rapture:||Can happen at any moment.|
|Second Coming:||Comes at the end of the seven year Tribulation.|
|Rapture:||Not before revealed that Paul had to reveal (1 Thess. 4:13). That’s why Paul says he must tell believers about the Rapture so that they would not be ignorant of the fact.|
|Second Coming:||Throughly revealed in Old Testament promises and by Christ in the Gospels.|
|Rapture:||Called a “mystery,” something not before revealed (1 Cor. 15:51).|
|Second Coming:||The Second Coming is a well known fact taught throughout the Old Testament prophets.|
|Rapture:||Believers are changed (1 Cor. 15:51).|
|Second Coming:||Believers are not said to be changed, that is, those who believed during the Tribulation and are alive to enter the kingdom when the Messiah comes.|
|Rapture:||Before the Rapture, the believers are called those “in Christ” (1 Thess. 4:16).|
|Second Coming:||Those believing who are in the Tribulation (Rev. 6-19) are not called “Church saints” nor “those in Christ.”|
|Rapture:||Before the Rapture, the believers are called those “in Christ” (1 Thess. 4:16).|
|Second Coming:||Both Jew and Gentile who enter the kingdom in their natural body are never called “the Church” nor “those in Christ.”|
|Rapture:||When the Rapture takes place those in Christ are “changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:51-52).|
|Second Coming:||Though the Second Coming happens quickly, the event is still pictured as something that unfolds over (even) a short period of time. A sign in heaven is given, an earthly gathering takes place, both Jews and Gentile mourn at His coming, He steps onto the Mt. of Olives, He enters the city of Jerusalem.|
|Rapture:||When the Rapture and/or the resurrection of “those in Christ” takes place, the believer is given “the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” over the issue of death (1 Cor. 15:57).|
|Second Coming:||When the Second Coming takes place, Christ comes as the victorious king and general. Following the kingdom and the Great White Throne Judgment, certainly all saints of all the ages past are given eternal life. But this is not mentioned as such at the Second Coming.|
|Rapture:||The exhortation to look for “the glorious appearing” of Christ for His own, the Church (Titus 2:13) loses its significance if the Tribulation must first intervene. Church believers, then, should look for signs. But they are not told to.|
|Rapture:||Creation is unchanged.|
|Second Coming:||Creation is changed by the blessings of the kingdom (Isa. 65:25). “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox, … They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain, says the Lord.”|
|Rapture:||At the time of the Rapture, or before, there is no indication that the Church saints will see the antichrist or the “power, signs, and false wonders” of Satan (2 Thess. 2:8-9).|
|Second Coming:||After the Rapture and sometime before the Second Coming of Christ, the antichrist will “display himself as being God” in the temple (2 Thess. 2:4; 8-9).|
|Rapture:||The Rapture is not the Day of the Lord which holds terror for the world.|
|Second Coming:||The Day of the Lord is a terrible event that the believers in the Church do not fear. “Do not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed … to the effect that the day of the Lord has come” (2 Thess. 2:1-2).|
|Rapture:||The “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” is not the Second Coming (2 Thess. 2:1).|
|Second Coming:||The Day of the Lord is “a coming” to earth, not our being gathered to heaven (2 Thess. 2:2).|
|Rapture:||Christ is not said to destroy the antichrist “with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming (2 Thess. 2:8).|
|Second Coming:||Christ destroys the antichrist at His coming (2 Thess. 2:8).|
|Rapture:||The Rapture is not called the Second Coming.|
|Second Coming:||This is virtually called the Second Coming in Hebrews 9:28. Christ “shall appear a “Second time” for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.|
|Rapture:||In the Rapture “we” are “caught up” into the clouds (1 Thess. 4:17). “Caught up” in Greek means to suddenly “snatch, jerk away, remove quickly.”|
|Second Coming:||This is not said of the Second Coming.|
|Rapture:||For those who are now looking for the Rapture, a hope is given and causes a moral purification (1 John 3:2-3).|
|Second Coming:||This is not said of those looking for the Second Coming, though that is a glorious event in itself!|
Proofs of the Imminency of the Rapture
Imminency means that Paul taught that the Rapture could happen at any time to those to whom he was writing. The key to Rapture passages is Paul’s use of “we, you, us.” In other words believers now are to look for this catching away! (Sometimes these pronouns are not in the English Bible versions but they are implied in the grammar of the verbs Paul uses.)
The “you, we, us” passages addressed to the body of Christ, the Church saints
I go to prepare a place for you.
I will receive you to Myself.
Where I am, there you may be also.
[You] strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
[You] behold, the judge is standing right at the door.
1 Thess. 1:9-10
You wait for His Son from heaven.
Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1 Thess. 2:17-19
You [our hope], in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming.
1 Thess. 3:13
That [He may] establish your hearts … before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.
1 Thess. 4:13-18
We who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.
We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds. We shall always be with the Lord.
You comfort one another with these words.
1 Thess. 5:1-11
You are not in darkness, that the day [of the Lord] should overtake you like a thief.
You are all sons of light and sons of day.
We are not of night nor of darkness.
But since we are of the day, let us be sober.
God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation (deliverance) through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thess. 5:23
May the Lord sanctify you … without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thess. 2:1-2
With regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.
[You] be not quickly shaken … to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
1 Tim. 6:14
You keep the commandment … until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor. 15:51-52
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
The dead in Christ will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
Our citizenship is in heaven.
We eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
[Christ] will transform the body of our humble state (or humiliated body).
[We are] looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
1 John 2:28
We may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
1 John 3:2-3
We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
A Key Passage: 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
The Thessalonian church was “serving” and “waiting for God’s Son from heaven.” (They were not just serving; they were not just waiting! They were doing both!)
“Jesus who ‘rescues’ us away from the wrath (that is certainly) coming” (Greek)