A List of Reasons Why the Rapture of
the Church is not the Second
Coming of Christ
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 respect the simmple 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
First, if the Rapture is truly 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 (or a rescue) 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 either ignore or fail to respect the context of the Bible. 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 during His Millennial Kingdom.
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 departs (leaves the earth) to be 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 is given.
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 unbelieving world will see the 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.
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 the Church Age will be Raptured away from the Tribulation because they are sons of light, sons of the day (1 Thess. 5:5).
SECOND COMING: Unbelievers are 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: Church Age 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 sin or God's judgement against it, since Jesus has forever removed - and no longer imputes - the sin of the Church Age believer who is "in Christ" (Romans 4:4-8, Romans 6:14, 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, Philippians 3:9).
SECOND COMING: The Second Coming of Christ judges sin because of the wickedness of the world.
RAPTURE: No mention of Christ coming to rule on earth.
SECOND COMING: Proclaims that Christ 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 (or Tribulation Saints) “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: 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 enter kingdom blessing.
RAPTURE: No special announcement occurs before 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 Period.
RAPTURE: Not previously revealed in Scripture (1 Thess. 4:13). That is why Paul had to tell believers about the Rapture (or "catching away") 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: Also called a “mystery”, which is why it is not previously revealed (1 Cor. 15:50-55).
SECOND COMING: A well known fact taught throughout the Old Testament prophets.
RAPTURE: All believers are changed from mortal to immortal (1 Cor. 15:50-55).
SECOND COMING: Those who believe on Christ during the Tribulation (also known as Tribulation Saints) are not changed. They enter the kingdom alive in their natural bodies when the Messiah comes.
RAPTURE: Before the Rapture, believers are declared to be “in Christ” and members of the Church of Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 4:16, Col. 1:18, 1 Cor. 12:27, Eph. 5:28-32).
SECOND COMING: Those who come to faith in Christ after the rapture and during the Tribulation (Rev. 6-19) are not part of the Church and do not hold the position of being "in Christ". Jews and Gentiles who enter the Millennial kingdom in their natural body following the Tribulation are never referred to as “the Church” in Scripture ... and only the Church (also known as "the Body of Christ") holds the unique position of being "in Christ".”
RAPTURE: When the Rapture takes place all those who are "in Christ" are changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:50-55).
SECOND COMING: Although the Second Coming happens quickly, the event is still pictured as something that unfolds over 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: 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 “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 about Christ coming to earth, and not about the Church being gathered to heaven to be with the Lord (2 Thess. 2:2).
RAPTURE: Christ does not destroy the antichrist.
SECOND COMING: Christ destroys the antichrist at His coming (2 Thess. 2:8).
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: The term "caught up" is not used to describe the Second Coming.
RAPTURE: For those who are now looking for the Rapture, a hope is given - which also causes a moral purification (1 John 3:2-3).
SECOND COMING: This is not said about those looking for the Second Coming.
Proofs of the Imminency
of the Rapture
According to Paul, imminency meant 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 are now to look for this catching away! (Sometimes these pronouns are not in the English Bible versions but they are implied through the verbs Paul uses.)
The “you, we, us” passages addressed
to the body of Christ, the Church
(John 14:1-3) I go to prepare a place for you. I will receive you to Myself. Where I am, there you may be also.
(James 5:7-9) [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 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.
(Phil. 3:20-21) 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).
(Titus 2:13) [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.