Rapture of the church
“The Rapture and The Second coming of Christ ARE NOT the Same Event”
THE LIVING WORD CENTER, INC.
We will explain these 2 differents events in their own biblical context, and correct any confusion that exist because of fallacies, and false interpretations. Throughout the years satan has quenched the flame for studying the scriptures, this had made many believers to lose interest in reaching a stronger spiritual growth.
By Rev. Jay Werman
The rapture and the second coming of Christ are not the same event:
Text Based: 1 Thess. 4:13-17
Luke 21:36 “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to ESCAPE (Greek word “ekpheugō”, which mean “to flee out of, flee away”) all these things (The judgments of God upon the earth) that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
These two events are totally different in every sense of the word, because both are covered by different purposes, time, the people involved in them and the prophecies that surrender these two distinct events. Many have come up with theories and fallacies throughout the years, bringing confusion into those that are seeking the truth. This is why we MUST rely on the Word of God at all time, instead of seeking answers in books, which in most cases twist the context of the Scriptures to justified their theories and fallacies. We must exam every passage according to his own context and line of thought of the writer, without forcing the Scriptures to say something that is not written in them. Let’s begin our journey through the Scriptures and find out what it really says about it.
The confusion about these two distinct events is because of the wrong use and application of the passages in which these events are based. The bible separate both events without any confusion, if we are willing to handle the prophecies in their proper context, language and chronological order in which each prophecy was given by God. If we don’t respect these elements then we are going to either create a fallacy or support one. Here is a common mistake that confuses both events:
The church is “Spiritual Israel”. This doctrine has absolute no scriptural support. The identity of the church is expressed very clear in the New Testament as “The body of Christ“. Romans 12:4-5, 6-8; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 12:12-31; Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:4, 11-16, 25; 5:29-30; Colossians 1:18, 24; 2:19; 3:15; Galatians 3:27. Israel is the nation that was “CHOSEN” by God to be His people and through them to show His glory and power.
“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has CHOSEN you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt”. Deuteronomy 7:6-8 Compare also: Deuteronomy 14:2; 26:17-19; 2 Samuel 7:23-24; 1 Kings 8:53; 10:9; 1 Chronicles 17:20-21; Psalm 105:8-15; 135:4; Isaiah 43:1-3; 44:21; Jeremiah 31:1-4, 9-11; 46:27-28; Ezekiel 36:24-28; 37:21-25; Joel 3:1-2; Amos 3:1-2; Romans 11:1-2; Hebrews 8:8-13. Israel and the church are in two distinct lines of prophetic events. Israel has existed from Abraham’s covenant and they will continue until the millennial kingdom of Christ, in which all promises to the nation of Israel will be fulfilled. The church came into existence when Jesus resurrected from the dead and will continue until “The general rapture” 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Tess. 4:13-17. The church period is with the purpose of providing salvation to “The gentiles” through God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Mark 16:16; John 3:16-17; Acts 2:38; 4:12; Romans 5:8; 10:9; Ephesians 2:8-9. Some Jews people are saved by receiving Jesus, as Lord and Savior in the period that cover the church but that doesn’t mean that Israel and the church are the same. The bible identify 3 distinct ethnic groups:
“Give none offence, neither to the JEWS, nor to the GENTILES, nor to the CHURCH of God.”1 Corinthians 10:32
The Jewish nation was chosen among the nations to bring salvation into the rest of them, through the birth of “The seed of the woman” Gen. 3:15. The Gentiles nations are well known by living according to the own lust desires, which is rooted in a sinful nature since Adam’s transgression. Rom. 3:23; 5:12; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; Psalm 51:5. The church or body of Christ came into existence to provide salvation to Jews and Gentiles. Rom. 1:16:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
“What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that THEY are ALL under SIN.”Romans 3:9
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye GENTILES, with HIS PEOPLE.”Romans 15:8-10
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.”Acts 9:15
“That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto THE PEOPLE (Israel), and to THE GENTILES”Acts 26:23
Once the church is rapture, the Jews and the Gentiles will continue on earth and the fulfillment of the prophetic events that involve each ethnic group. Once the church is caught up in the air by Jesus (1 Tess. 4:13-17) the Jews nation will become the primary focus of God’s purpose, in which God will renew again His covenant with His People in a period known as “Daniel’s 70th week”. The purpose of this prophetical week or 7 years is to clearance or purges Israel of any rebels within Israel. Daniel’s 70th week doesn’t have nothing to do with the church as many have wrongfully suggested. Most of the Gentile nations will be under the antichrist ruling, especially the nations under the Old Roman Empire territory. By the way, the bible DOES NOT support the fallacy about the antichrist as the worldwide ruler, but instead the bible limited the kingdom of the beast to “ten kingdoms”. Compare Daniel 2:42-44 “ten toes”; Daniel 7:24 “ten horns”; Rev. 13:1; 17:16 “ten horns”. The antichrist won’t rule neither North America nor South and Central America and some other countries outside the Old Roman Empire territory. The only one that the bible predicts of worldwide ruling the earth is Jesus Christ and not the beast, who is killed by Christ personally in His second literal advent. Rev. 19:11-21. Also the kingdom of the antichrist is limited to “seven years” as it is stated in Daniel 9:27. These “seven years” are divided into two sections: the first three and a half years, the beast will defeat “three of the ten kingdoms or horns” Dan. 7:20-24; Rev. 17:17. At this point the antichrist will break the covenant with Israel and he will invade them which will fulfill Daniel 9:27; Mat. 24:15-21; 2 Tess. 2:4. And the other three and a half years or forty two months, he will go to war against the nations “east and north” of the ten kingdoms, in which he conquered them and completed the seven years of tribulation stated in Daniel 9:27; 11:40-45. Most people get confused in the separation of the events that involve the great tribulation period but once we separated the events of the first three and half years, the other events belong to the second part of the three and a half years. which by the way is also refers as “time, times and time and a half” in Dan. 7:25 and 42 months in Rev. 13:5 and 1,260 days of Rev. 12:5-6. All these events are related to the nation of Israel and not to the church.
The rapture of the church IS NOT a “Phase or stage” of the second advent of Jesus. Both events are separated by “seven years” period, in which God will deal directly with the Jewish people and NOT with the gentiles. The gentiles will persecute Israel, lead by the antichrist. Mat. 24:15-20.
Are any gentiles saved in the tribulation period? Of course, Salvation doesn’t end with the rapture for it is stated in Acts 2:19-21:
“And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: (Mat. 24:29) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The general rapture of 1 Tess. 4:13-17; 2 Thess. 2:7; John 14:1-3; will take of out the way to those who are part of the body of Christ and are ready to be rapture but won’t change salvation. In Rev. 6:9-11 refers to a group of people killed by the beast for the testimony, which they held:
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were SLAIN for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Rev. 20:4
First, let’s define each event separately:
The Rapture of the church:
This event involve all “The members of the body of Christ”, which is also known as “The church”. By the way, the Greek word used for “church” is “ekklēsia”, which mean “an assembly of people”. It does not refer to a “building or material structural”. The general idea in the used of “ekklēsia” is to “Call out people” with a specific purpose. Even Israel is called by Stephen “the church in the wilderness” in the sense of “called out” and not in the sense of body of Christ.
Acts 7:37-39 “This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel (God) which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt.”
In fact, the Hebrew word “hâlak” which is used for “to go or called out” in the Old Testament, it has the same meaning as the Greek word “ekklēsia”. The used of “hâlak” carried a purpose in itself with a specific person or group of people. For instance, like the calling out of Abraham in Gen. 12:1.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out (hâlak) of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.”
The word “hâlak” is used 507 times in the Old Testament. The parallelism between Israel being called out and the body of Christ, to separate those who are called out to be God’s people. Israel was called out through Moses and the church through Christ. So, the body of Christ was called out with a specific purpose and plan, which is separate from Israel purpose and plan. Because we are focus on the church, we are not going to get into Israel called out purpose in this section.
The Scriptures mention three ethnics groups that God are dealing with today:
1 Cor. 12:32 “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”
The distinction and separation of each ethnic group according with God’s purpose is very important to comprehend the Scriptures. Many had mixed Israel’s plan and purpose with the church’s plan and purpose, creating confusion and fallacies. 1 Cor. 10:32 made the separation very clear. Here is the sequence that covers these three ethnic groups:
→ Israel: Called out to be God’s people and to bring through her “The seed of the woman” to redeem mankind. Gen. 3:15. At the time when God’s was dealing with Israel, there were only two ethnic groups: Israel and Gentiles. The church or body of Christ was not established until the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
→ Gentiles: The meaning word “Gentile” in the Scriptures relates to: “Pagans, sinners (Rom. 3:23), those are of the covenants, non-Jews”. Even the word “dogs” are used in reference to the gentiles in Mat. 7:6, in which passage “dogs” has 9 different figurative classes. Observe how the gentiles took place replacing the nation of Israel in God’s plan: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you (Israel), and given to a nation (race or gentiles nations) bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Compare with Acts 13:46-49; 15:13-18
→ The body of Christ: It’s formed form Jews or Gentiles converted to Christianity through the experience of being born again. John 3:3-6; Rom. 1:16. Observe this passage: “And that he (Christ) might reconcile both (Jews and Gentiles) unto God in one body (The church) by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” Eph. 2:16
To understand the differences between the rapture and the second advent of Christ we must understand and separate the above ethnic groups, and put each event in their proper order according to God’s purpose for these groups. This is why I took the time to explain the differences that has been drawn in the Scriptures.
The three ethnic groups throughout the Scriptures:
→ The Jews were called out as God’s people and to be ruled by God, but instead they choose to be like the gentiles nations that were ruled by kings. 1 Samuel 8. God’s plan will eventually extend to the gentiles by the rejection of the Messiah from the Jews nation. John 1:11-12. Israel covenant with God was paused temporary to give place to the period called “Grace”, in which the gentile nations will have the opportunity to be blessed by God through the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. The paused in the covenant with Israel was predicted in Daniel’s 70th week. The pause become in effect when Jesus died upon the cross and “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” Mat. 27:51. When the Jews covenant will be renew? Right after the rapture of the church, which involve the 7 years of great tribulation period. Compare Daniel 9:27. What Israel is receiving today are blessings, which are part of the promises to them, even though the full covenant as nation is paused.
→ The Gentiles were outside of the blessings of the covenant of Israel but God will provide a way for them to be blessed and saved, which is the period called “Grace” under Christ’s sacrifice. The gentiles in the Old Testament were oppressors of Israel and always will be that way until the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” When this prophecy will be fulfilled? When the antichrist will surround Israel at the end of the seven years of great tribulation period and Jesus Christ will return for the second time and will destroy the beast, the false prophet and all the nations that persecuted Israel. The salvation of the gentiles under God’s program is through Jesus as it is stated in John 3:16-17; 14:6. The gentiles that would reject the three brands of the antichrist stated in Rev. 13:17 “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” these gentiles will be allowed to enter into the Millennial kingdom of Christ and based on the way they help the Jews nation. Mat. 25:31-46
→ The body of Christ was called out of gentile’s nations and the Jewish nation, to preach “Grace” through which they can be save. Many people are teaching that the commission of the church is preach “The kingdom”, but we are not announcing no kingdom but salvation through the grace of God. Jesus will establish His kingdom at the Second Advent and not at the rapture of the church. The confusion comes from the mixed of both events but when we read the passages under their correct context, we find no confusion but harmony in them. There is no doubts that God will establish His kingdom upon the earth but we were not called out to preach no kingdom, unless you are a Jehovah witness that are blinded by confusion. The message is very simple: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15-16. I rather believe what Jesus said than what others are teaching based on their own benefits. The church or the called out started with the apostles and the rest at the upper room. Acts 1:13-15 and had kept going for over two thousand years through preaching the gospel. Once the church is raptured, God will resume His plan with the nation of Israel while the church is rewarded in the Bema or seat of judgment of Christ. Rom. 14:10-11; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-10; 1 John 2:28; Rev. 3:11-12. Also we will settle in our mansion, which was promised by Christ for those who are raptured and all the saints of all ages. John 14:2-3 and the celebration of “The marriage supper of the lamb” as it’s stated in Rev. 19:9 “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” After that we will come with The Lord Jesus in His second Advent to the planet earth to kill the antichrist and his armies as it’s stated in Rev. 19:11-21; 2 Th. 1:7; Mat. 24:29-31; Isa. 63:1-6; Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 14:1-5; Jude 14 and to establish the kingdom of heaven or millennial kingdom of Christ on earth. Zech. 14:9; Mat. 13:40-43; Luke 1:32-33; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 1:5; 5:10; 11:15; 20:1-10.
Jesus will rule the earth and all the saints of all ages along with Him!
Passages in reference to the rapture before the great tribulation start:
Luke 21:36 “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to ESCAPE (Greek word “ekpheugō”, which mean “to flee out of, flee away”) all these things (The judgments of God upon the earth) that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
1 Th. 4:13-17 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we, which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” We will meet Jesus on the air and from there to the third haven to meet The Father as well. Col. 4:4; 1Th. 5:23; Jas. 5:7-8; Rev. 5:8-10; 19:1-10
1 Th. 5:9-10 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath (anger, wrath, indignation), but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”
The following passage expressed the transformation of our bodies at the moment when we are taking out of this world:
Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
A reference to the rapture:
Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”
The big change at the moment of the rapture:
→ “For our conversation is in heaven.” v.20 The Greek word used for “conversation ” is “politeuma”, which mean “the commonwealth of citizens or a state”. What the expression is expressing is that “our citizenship is on the third heaven: and not on this corrupted system. Which is also empathized in the context of the text: “who mind earthly things.” v.19
→ “from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” v.20 this sentence states that the place or location from where our Lord Jesus depart at the moment of the rapture, which is the third heaven. We find numerous times about Jesus being sat down at “The right hand of God”, which is in the third haven. Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33; 5:31; Rom. 8:34; Col. 3:1; Heb. 10:12; 12:2; etc. There is only one time in the Scriptures where Jesus is STANDING at the right hand of God and it is in the following passage: “But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven (Third), and saw the glory of God, and Jesus STANDING on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man STANDING on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56. Why Stephen saw Jesus standing? Honoring his death. 1 Sam. 2:30
→ “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” v. 21 The Greek word used for “change” is “metaschēmatizō”, which mean “to change the figure of, to transform”. What will be change? Our vile bodies. The word “vile” connected to the body implied “the low state and shame in which our physical bodies become”. After Adam rebelled, he lost his perfect state and become mortal, sinful, degraded, and took Satan’s nature, which is spiritual death. Rom. 3:23; 6:23 the word “fashioned” used in the same passage and connected with our natural bodies, come from the Greek word “ginomai”, which mean, “to become or be made”. According to the next sentence in the passage we will become “like unto HIS GLORIOUS BODY”. In other words, at the moment of the rapture our bodies will be transform in the likeness of the glorified body of Jesus. Even more, the words “like unto” from the Greek is “summorphos”, which mean, “having the same form as another, similar, conformed to”. One more point on the word “summorphos”, is not only express the form in which our bodies will looks like but also the essence in which the body is made of. This event will take place at the moment of the rapture, which is a great display of God’s power.
Let’s breakdown the following passages:
Col. 3:1-4 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
→ “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” v.1-2 the context of this expression is found in Col. 2:20-23, which refers, to refrain from all religious ordinances that opposes to the truth. “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances.” Col. 2:20 we are dead to “the rudiments of the world system, which is corrupted through sin. In Col. 3:1 stated that we are “Risen with Christ”, When this happened? When we were born again we were made free, but there is the possibility of backslide if we are not diligent. Gal. 3:1-4
→ “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Col. 3:1. Here is a passage for those that are teaching about material blessings. This section of the passage is connected with Mat. 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
→ “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” v.3 We are dead to: “The law, Sinful life and to the rudiments or elements of this corrupted system.”
→ “When Christ, who is our life, shall APPEAR, then shall ye also APPEAR with him in glory.” We have received “eternal life” through Jesus. John 14:6; 17:2-3; Rom. 5:10 and this is a direct reference to the rapture of the church, when He will appear in the air and we will be transform. 1 Th. 4:13-17. The Greek word used for “glory” is “doxa”, which is used 170 times in the New Testament, which mean among others “the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity.” it’s also used as the third heaven in 1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:17. Besides expressing splendor, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace and majesty, also is connected with the place where God lives. Places like “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” John 14:2; “For he (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Heb. 11:10; “But now they desire a better country, that is, AN HEAVENLY: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he (God) hath prepared for them (The Old Testament saints) a city.” Heb. 11:16; and “For here have we (New Testament saints) no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Heb. 13:14
Three things promised in the passage below: “I go to prepare a PLACE for you”, “I will COME BACK again”, and observe that Jesus connected a preparation of a place to “Lives” with this coming. There is not mention of Judgements related with this coming, which separate the event in the passage and the second literal coming of Christ to destroy God’s enemies. Also promised, “I will receive you UNTO MYSELF”. Right after have been raptured, all the resurrected saints and all those who were transformed will go to heaven to be rewarded while here on earth the great tribulation period starts. John 14:1-3 is the first reference of the rapture given by Christ.
John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME BACK AGAIN, and RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
The rapture of the church detailed:
1 Th. 4:13-17 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”. Many modern bible students are denying the rapture because the word “rapture” does not appear in the Scriptures, but that it’s just technically, because the word “Caught up” is used in relation with the “taking out this world of the church” in 1 Th. 4:17. If you’d like to know more about the 10 different raptures taught in the Scriptures just click on this link: 10 different raptures
In 1 Th. 4:13-17 there no reference of judgements in this event, which connect these passages with John 14:1-3. Instated of “Receive you unto myself” which was used by Jesus in John 14:3, Paul used “Caught up” in 1 Th. 4:17 but both expressions are detailing aspects of what will take place at the moment of the rapture. Paul was very familiar with the used of the word “Caught up”, since he experienced rapture to the paradise, which is located in the third heaven. 2 Cor. 12:1-3. Another passage that expand and connect the idea of the rapture and it’s in complete harmony with “Receive you unto myself” of John 14:3 and “Caught up” of 1 Th. 4:17, is found in 2 Th. 2:1:
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM.”
What the language of these passages is saying is that the rapture will gather all the saints in one place, which is in THE AIR. 1 Th. 4:17. Jesus will no descend on the earth at this time, but just to gather the saints and take them to the third heaven. Jesus will be landing on the Mount of Olives at the Second Advent, which will take place after the great tribulation period.
The rapture will take place before the fall judgements of God upon the earth:
1 Th. 5:9 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The following passages are one of the most important passages related to the “timing” of the rapture and the second advent of Christ.
2 Th. 2:2-8 “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
Let’s analyze them:
→ “Let no man deceive you by any means” v.3 this clear warning to believer. Why? Because of the confusion that will rise as the result of man and demons replacing what the Scriptures says about it. Compare with 1Tim. 4:1-2. The warning was given by Paul to the church of Thessalonians because of a letter that was used by false teachers confusing the believers. So, Paul wrote to corrected such confusion and to conform them by affirming them that the day of The Lord had not yet happen, which is preceded by two things: “The apostasy” and “The antichrist”. In other words, The Second Advent cannot happen until these two things occur first. These false teachers used a false letter as if Paul wrote, which was a lie. Also, in this chapter Paul explained that before “the apostasy or a falling away” and “The manifestation of the antichrist” take place, the rapture must come first before these to things.
→ “for that day shall not come” v.3 what day is refer in here? read verse 2, which says “The day of Christ”, which is the second literal advent of Christ to kill the antichrist and all the rebels at the Battle of Armageddon. Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-21. Paul wrote: ” for that day (second coming of Christ) shall not come, except (unless) there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” v. 3. So, it’s very clear that these two things must happen before the Second Advent can take place. Let’s explain in the next section the two things that precede the day of Christ, which basically are two signs.
→ “except there come a falling away first” v. 3 The Greek word used for “falling away” is “apostasia”, which mean “a falling away, defection and apostasy”. The reference here applies to the “seven years” of great tribulation, where everything will be corrupted by the antichrist system. Observe what Jesus said in Mat. 24 related to this falling away: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Mat. 24:24. By the way, “the very elect” in Mat. 24:24 are in reference to Israel and not to the church, for the church has already been raptured at this point. Please read the complete explanation of Mat. 24 and 25 in my blog page. This period of “falling away” starts in Rev. 6:1 and ends in Rev. 19:21.
→ “and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” v.3-4 This is the Beast of Rev. 13:1-18; 14:9-11; 15:2-4; 16:2-12; 19:20. Also Daniel spoke of this in Dan. 9:27; 11:35-45; 12:7; and Jesus confirmed what Daniel predicted in Mat. 24:15. The next passage expressed clearly what is “holding back” the manifestation of both things, especially the man of sin to be revealed.
→ “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” v. 6 it says “and ye know”, because Paul previously told them the details of these events. (v. 5) Now, what is “withholdeth” the manifestation of the man of sin? The Greek word used for “withholdeth” is “katechō”, which mean “to hold back; keep back; restrain”. There is something that is restraining the beast to manifest. What is it? Let’s find it in the language of the text expressed in verse 7.
→ “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only HE who now letteth will let, until HE be taken out of the way” v. 7 The word “letteth” or “withholdeth”, which mean “to restrain or hinder” is apply to He, who is “Holding back or hinder” the manifestation of the man of sin. Who is He in verse 7? Many fallacies have been circulated throughout the years but what the passage really expressed? I had read many books that said that He from 2 Th. 2:7 is “The Holy Spirit”, who is going to be taken out of the world before the manifestation of the man of sin, but that IS NOT what the verse refers to. Why I’m saying that? Because The Holy Spirit is not that one refers to in here and He is not going to be taken out of the world, that will contradict the Scriptures. Jesus said about the Holy Spirit “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that HE MAY ABIDE WITH YOU FOR EVER.” John 14:16. Also, The people that are going to be saved in the great tribulation period are going to be converted through the work of the Holy Spirit. Israel is going to be born again in one day (Isa. 66:7-8) after they are brought back to repentance through the message of the two witnesses of Rev. 11. Noticed that Isaiah 66:15-17 revealed the “Purged” of Israel of the false Jews, who are killed by the beast when Jerusalem is taken by the antichrist. Mat. 24:16-21. The gospel will be preach in the great tribulation period by an angel (Rev. 14:6-7) because the church has already been taken from the earth and many people are going to be save by the divine message. In Acts 2:21 says “ And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved”, which by the way is under the context of the great tribulation period. The Holy Spirit is the divine agent that perform the miracle of being born again, so He will never be removed from earth and He is not that one spoken in 2 Th. 2:7 as to be “taken out of the way”. So, the question remains, who is HE that is “Holding back” the manifestation of the man of sin? It’s the body of Christ, which presence here on earth is hindering or obstructing the manifestation of the man of sin. The Scriptures identify the church (which mean “Called out”) as the body of Christ, that’s the identity of the church, never as “female”. For example, in Ephesians 2:14-15 “For he is our peace, who hath made both (Jews and Gentiles) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one NEW MAN, so making peace”. Also in the same book of Ephesians 4:12-13 “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of THE BODY OF CHRIST: Till we all (The body of Christ) come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto A PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. The church is NOT a female or woman as many had said. In fact, there is no reference in the Scriptures of such doctrine and yet many had taught about it and still do today. What about the bride of Christ? You may ask. I hate to burst your bubble but the church IS NOT THE BRIDE. So, with this in mind, let’s read again 2 Th. 2:7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only HE (The body of Christ) who now letteth will let, until HE (The body of Christ) be taken out of the way (Raptured). This also proves that the rapture will take place before the manifestation of the man of sin. If you read Rev. 21:9-10 it will tell you who is the true bride of Christ. If you’d like to know about it click on the link: “The church is not the bride of Christ”
→ “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” v.8 The destruction of the antichrist at the second literal advent of Christ with all the glorified saints. Rev. 19:11-21
One more note on the manifestation of the man of sin: No one will know the identity of this person until AFTER the formation of the 10 kingdoms predicted by Daniel. He CANNOT come until the church is raptured and these kingdoms be formed inside the Old Roman Empire territory. According to Daniel 7:24 “And the ten horns (10 kingdoms) out of this kingdom (out of the Old Roman Empire territory) are ten kings that shall arise: and ANOTHER (Kingdom) shall rise AFTER THEM (after the 10 kingdoms inside the Old Roman Empire Territory); and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” The antichrist cannot be manifested until AFTER these 10 kingdoms are formed. Any person that has been called “antichrist” is just speculation or fallacy.
More references to the rapture:
1 Cor. 1:7-8 “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in THE DAY OF our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Cor. 1:14 “As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are our’s in THE DAY OF the Lord Jesus.”
Phil. 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until THE DAY OF Jesus Christ.”
Phil. 1:10 “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till THE DAY OF Christ.”
Phil. 2:16 “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in THE DAY OF Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain
Compare also: 1 Th. 1:10; 2:19-20; 3:13; 5:23; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:5-13; 4:13; 5:1-8; 2 Pet. 1:3; Jude 24; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Rev. 5:8-10; 11:7-12; 12:5; 14:1-5; 15:1-4; 19:1-10; 20:4-8.
The second literal advent of Christ to the earth:
“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
According to the language expressed in the above passages, Jesus ascended to heaven in a literal and visible form, in a cloud, and the disciples saw Him when He ascended, which mean, that Christ will return in the same fashion as He left. The angels told the disciples “This same Jesus, which is taken you from you into Heaven, SHALL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER (same way) AS YE SEEN HIM TO GO INTO HEAVEN.” v. 11. The reference here is to the second advent of Christ to the earth in the clouds of heaven.
Parallel passages related to the second literal advent of Christ to the earth:
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Mat. 24:27
We need to make a correction with reference to Mat 24 and 25, which many teach as related to the church, but they are NOT related to the church. In fact, there is not even one Scripture that suggest that the rapture is followed by any signs. The Scriptures Do Not teaches about any prophecy that needs to be fulfilled before the rapture can take place. In the contrary, the rapture can happen at any time, without any prophecy to be fulfilled. The rapture is also known as the imminent return of Jesus for the church. The confusion about the application of Mat. 24 and 25 with the church, it comes from the lack of distinguishing the two events. The rapture is neither one phase of the second advent of Jesus nor a second part of it; both events are distinct in every prophetic aspect. I have to repeat this again but the confusion is the result of people mixing: “The prophetic events”, “The timing of the events”, “The people involved in the events”, “Replacing the chronological order of the events placed by God on His own word”. All you need to do is find where God had spoken about the subject in Hi Word and what He had said it. Nothing more! Don’t rely on books to find answers, rely on God, who is the writer of His own Word.
Rev. 1:7 “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
The following passage reveals the second advent of Christ with all the saints, who were previously raptured:
Rev. 19:11-21 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which WERE IN HEAVEN FOLLOWED HIM upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh”.
If we read the Scriptures and believed what we read wouldn’t so much confusion about what God had said in His Word.
Mat. 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
The 12 original Apostles will judge Israel under the Messiah’s Kingdom:
Mat. 19:28 “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Mat. 24:27-28 “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”
Mark 14:62 “And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven”.
Luke 21:25-28 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things (the signs of v. 25) begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Second literal advent prophesied by Jesus himself:
Luke 17:22-37 “And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.”
→ Luke 17:22-25: expressed the means of His second literal advent
→ Luke 17:26-30: expressed the unexpected or anticipated destruction
→ Luke 17:31-33: expressed the warnings about His second literal advent
→ Luke 17:34-38: expressed the Battle of Armageddon
In Zechariah 14:1-7 expressed the details of Jesus landing on planet earth. Let’s underline the key sentences and break them down and extract what exactly it means:
“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.”
⇒ “the day of the Lord”: Is a reference to the second literal advent of Christ to judge the gentiles nations lead by the antichrist in the battle of Armageddon and to establish the kingdom of heaven, which is also known as the Millennial kingdom of Christ on earth. Compare with Zep. 1:7-8; Isa. 34:6; Jer. 46:10; Ezek. 39:17-21; Rev. 19:11-21
⇒ “I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle”: This refers to the gathering of all the gentiles nations that had persecuted Israel at the Battle of Armageddon, where the Lord will deliver Israel out of their hands and destroy the antichrist and his armies. Ezek. 38-39; Joel 3; Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-21
⇒ ” the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished”: This will happen when the antichrist will come against Israel at the very end of the great tribulation period. To clarify the sequence of the events, The antichrist will come against Israel at the end of the first three and a half years of the great tribulation, as it was prophesied by Christ in Mat. 24:15-20. The city will be taken by the antichrist and his armies and Israel at the point would have been eradicated but God interfere and raised a new war against the antichrist’s armies in order to protect Israel, who fled to Jordan. This new war brought up by God to protect the Jews nation is prophesied by Daniel in chapter 11:44-45 “But tidings out of the east and out of the north (Nations north and east of the 10 kingdoms) shall trouble him (The antichrist): therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he(after he conquered them) shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end (at the battle of Armageddon), and none shall help him (Not even satan).” So, after the antichrist defeated all these nations, which took him about three and a half years, he will return to finish what do he came to do the first time, to annihilate Israel but that’s when Christ will return with all the glorified saints to save Israel and to destroy the antichrist and his armies.
→ “Then”: when everything seen lost for the Jews nation, the return of their Messiah to save them.
→ “shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle”: Just as The Lord fought the Egyptians to saved Israel. Exo. 14:14 “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” After all God’s attention will be upon the Jews nation.
→ “his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives”: Christ will land upon the mount of Olives and as results of it, changes will be upon Palestine’s landscape to set up the stage for the battle of Armageddon. → “ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah”. Compare with Amos 1:1. Israel will run away as they did when the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.
→ “the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee”: This might surprise you but the reference in here is to God, The Father, who will come along with Christ and all the glorified saints. Compare with Daniel 7:22; Titus 2:13; Jude 14-15; Rev. 19:11-21. In fact, the Scriptures mentioned two advents of God, The Father and Christ to destroy the enemies of God. In 1 Cor. 15:24-28 expressed that God The Father, will give to God The Son all dominion, power and all things shall be subdued unto him, except God The Father, Until” all the enemies of God are completely destroy.
→ “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light”: This section expressed the “Time and duration” of the Battle of Armageddon. What time it will happen? At the evening time. How long will the Battle of Armageddon last? One-day battle.
To concluded our subject, here is a summary of the events as their are expressed in the Scriptures:
⇒ The rapture of the church: which is imminent. There is no sign that precede this event.
⇒ The formation of the ten kingdoms inside the Old Roman Empire territory: symbolized by the “Ten toes” of Dan. 2 and by “Ten horns” of Dan. 7
⇒ The raising of the antichrist: Daniel 7:24. Who is coming from Syria? According to Dan. 8:8-9
⇒ The antichrist will defeated three kingdoms of the ten kingdoms. Dan. 7:24, which will take him three and a half years and after this he will raise against Israel as it is stated in Daniel 9:27:
“And he (The Antichrist) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (7 years): and in the midst of the week (three and a half years) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
→ The antichrist at this point wanted to exterminate Israel but God interfere bringing another war against him and his 10 kingdoms. The nations north and east of the ten kingdoms will declare war against the antichrist and he will go against them “with great fury”. Daniel 11:44-45
→ After defeating them, He will return against Israel as “The prince of the north” of Dan. 11:36-39 and “The Gog” of Ezekiel 38-39.
→ The antichrist will take the city of Jerusalem for the second time (Zech. 14:2) and he will try against to annihilate the Jews nation but then Christ return visible to save Israel and to kill all the enemies of God. Zech. 14:1-7; Rev. 19:11-21
Rev. 1:7 “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen”.
Everyone that had gathered to fight against Israel shall see Christ returning visibly in the clouds and land upon the Mount of Olives. Zech. 14:4
Mat. 24:30 ” And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and THEY SHALL SEE the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
The rapture of the church will occur at any moment, while the second literal advent of Christ will be follow by signs.
Jesus will come to take all the saints of all ages before the great tribulation period, while the second advent of Christ will take place at the end of the great tribulation period.
For the rapture of the church, Jesus will descend in the air (1 Th. 4:17), while in the second literal advent, Christ will land at the mount of olives. Zechariah 14:4
At the rapture Jesus will take the saints to be rewarded, while the second advent of The Lord will bring destruction upon all the enemies of God and Israel.
The whole mixed up about these two different events is the misinterpretation of the Scriptures.
Later I will add a list of fallacies related to these two events.
I pray that The Lord enlighten the eyes of your understanding as it is expressed in Ephesians 1:17-18:
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”
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