As we draw closer to the return of Christ I feel it’s important that I share the difference between the “Rapture” and the Second coming of Christ or “The Day of The Lord”. If you have a bible app on your tablet or smart phone you can do a search using “Day of the Lord” and you will see many verses in the Old and New Testament. The basic difference between the two is that that Rapture or catching away of the church can come at any time and the ‘Believers’ (ones who have accepted Christ) will meet the Lord in the air or clouds.
In 1Co 15:50-54 the apostle Paul writes; I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true. “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
Paul also writes in 1Thes 4:15-17; According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The term “Day of the Lord” or what Christians refer to as the second coming of Christ is found in several verses of the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ testament and here are a few verses we can look at and see what will happen as this great event draws near. In Zech 14:1-5 we read; A day of the Lord is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. Notice in this verse that Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives just as the two men (angels) dressed in white said in Acts 1:9-11. Jesus gives a good description of what it will be like before His return in Matthew 24 and Luke 21:20-22.
The key difference between the two is that in the rapture we will meet the Lord in the air/clouds and at the Second Coming He will stand again on the Mount of Olives and fight against Satan and his armies. So when do these events happen?
With the ‘Rapture’ there is no prerequesites that have to take place as it can happen anytime. When you get past the third chapter of Revelation there is no more mention of the church and John the revelator starts Rev 4 by writing; After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to like a trumpet (1Th 4) said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. In other words, John, who represents the Church, will be in heaven as tribulation starts. Having said all this about the timing of the “Rapture” let me say that I do not believe that that this will be the first event or sign and that the church will just skip out of here and we will watch it all take place from heaven as this is what the Pre-Tribulation theory suggests. Years ago I had a fellow believer approach me and share a dream that he felt God had given him about the “Rapture.” While I normally don’t use other people’s dreams but I feel that part of the dream gives us some insight about timing. The interesting part about my friend’s dream was that it occurred as a large storm was approaching and as he and his wife were ‘going up’ the wind was starting to blow with storm clouds rolling in. The storm suggests that there will be signs and/or events that happen before the Rapture takes place and I agree with this. God is going to rattle this world’s cage. Our priorities will change and there will be a great revival for lost souls. We as the Church of Jesus Christ better get ready. We are so caught up in our social media that even something as simple as the loss of our cell phones would cause great havoc.
With the ‘Second Coming’ there are a few things that must take place before this can happen.
The biggest was that Israel had to be a nation again and that happened in 1948.
Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies (Luke 21:20-22)
The Jewish temple will be re-built and sacrifices will be re-instated in Jerusalem. This creates problems because the ‘Dome on the Rock’ is in the way. We will have to see how this plays out.
There will be wonders in Heaven above and signs in the earth beneath. (Acts 2:12)
There are other things as well that I won’t mention but the bottom line is that we need to keep our eyes on Israel as everything revolves around this nation. It is interesting that Donald Trump, the incoming American president, has said he supports moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. This would indicate that the U.S. would consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel which no president in the past would dare to do because of being politically incorrect and inciting the Palestinians. As I’ve said before we do not want be on the wrong side of the fence in battle when Jesus comes back. He will deliver Israel from her enemies.
A final word. As I write these posts and comments I sense that some question my motives as to why I do this. It is because I am so grateful to God. Until I gave my heart to Jesus Christ I was lost and going to hell. I drank way too much as this was the only way I could sleep. You cannot imagine the transformation that God did in me. Did I change all at once? No, it took time but there was a heart change. I am so grateful for God for not only saving my soul but delivering me from the enemy. When I heard His voice for the first time speak to me it brought an awareness that He not only loved me but that He was very real. I didn’t study my way into Christianity. I simply met Jesus. How did it happen? I was going down the wrong path and I couldn’t fix it by myself. A friend at work told me to ask God to reveal Himself to you. I went home, sat down in my living room and did just that. How long did I wait? I sat there a long time and absolutely nothing happened, that night. In time I listened to a television preacher and asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me. It wasn’t an earth shattering event but it changed the course of my life. That’s when the dreams started. If you’ve never asked Jesus to come into your heart and be Lord of your life do it today. Remember this. The closer you draw near to God the closer He will draw near to you. Spend time in the Bible and you too will hear that voice that will change everything. Have a Great 2017!