The Second Coming of Christ - Is this the Rapture?
The Second Coming of Christ and the event known as the Rapture are often confused. When reading the Bible, it is occasionally difficult to discover if a verse is talking about the Second Coming or the Rapture. It is very important to know how to differentiate between these two events.
The event known as the Rapture is when Jesus will return to remove all believers in Christ from the earth. You can find these events described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. The bodies of believers who have died will be resurrected. The believers who are still on earth will meet Jesus in the air. This event will happen quickly - the Bible says it will happen in the twinkling of an eye.
The Second Coming is the event when Jesus will return to destroy evil, defeat His enemy the antichrist. He will then establish His Millennial Kingdom. You can read about the Second Coming in Revelation 19:11-16: "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
There are several important differences between the Rapture and Second Coming:
During the Rapture, believers in Christ will join the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). During the Second Coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth (Revelation 19:14).
The Second Coming will take place after the great Tribulation period (Revelation 6-19), while the rapture occurs before the Tribulation. (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10).
The Rapture is time when believers will be removed or delivered from the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 5:9), while the Second Coming will remove unbelievers as an act of judgment (Matthew 24:40-41).
The Rapture will be happen in an instant (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). The Second Coming will be visible to all (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:29-30).
The Second Coming of Christ will not happen until after certain other specified end times events take place (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15-30; Revelation 6-18). The Rapture is imminent (Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
Although the Rapture and Second Coming are similar, they are separate events. It is very important to recognize their distinctions.
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