The return of Christ is otherwise known as the Rapture. The Rapture is the Blessed Hope of every Christian. This is the event in which Christ returns for His Bride, the Church. On a side note, the word Rapture is not in the bible and represents a state of emotion or feeling, not an event.
The prevailing teaching is that the Rapture will take place unknown to any but the redeemed. In other words, the Church will vanish from the earth in a moment and without anyone knowing.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” ~ 2 Peter 3:10
A Misunderstood Rapture Verse
We should understand that this does not mean you will not know the thief came and left. Sometimes a thief will come while you are home, right? What Peter was stating is that the thief comes when you are not looking for or expecting him. Luke 12:40 says the Lord will come when you are not thinking about it, not come and go without a trace. He does not need to sneak around. He is God! Even Luke 17:34-36 is not proof of a ‘secret rapture’. This passage notes the two types of people on the earth; the saved and the lost:
- Two in the field – One is alive, saved and taken; the other is also alive, yet left and lost.
- Two in the bed – Sleep in scripture denotes death. One is dead in Christ and taken; the other died in their sins and lost.
- Two women grinding – The grain denotes the Word of God thus two types of churches. One is true and taken; the other false and lost.
This is another misunderstood verse – 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
It seems that most people think this verse says the Church vanishes in a moment. Let’s look at what’s written. “But we will all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump…” See the difference? The Church will change in a moment, not taken in a moment. And it will happen in the twinkling of an eye! That’s how fast the change takes place. It will happen at the last of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation.
How Will Jesus Come Back?
“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.” ~ Matthew 24:27
According to Matthew 24:27, His return will be like lightning in its brightness. We are not talking about the speed here. The word ‘shining’ gives us the context. Jesus was talking about how His return would appear. We know that lightning is bright. It lights up the heavens when it strikes. Not only that, the phrase coming out of the east and shining to the west denotes the coverage. It's visible from one end of the earth to the other at the same time!
In Acts 1:9-11, the Apostles watched Jesus ascend to the Father. An angel told them that He would return the same way He left. How did He go? He was SEEN leaving! All will see Him when He returns. Revelation 1:7 says He comes with clouds and every eye will see Him. A host of angels is sometimes seen as clouds in scripture. Jesus said Matthew 24:30 His sign will appear in heaven. The people of the earth (the lost) will mourn as He returns in a cloud of angels with power and great glory!
It will not be a quiet event either!
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God…” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
The Lord will make his presence known by shouting! Yes, He will shout to His people He has returned and the trumpet will herald His presence to the universe! Look at Jeremiah 25:30 and Psalm 50:3 as other verses describing His return. When He came the first time, was it a secret? No! The Word revealed it. Angels appeared to men and an angel (the star) pointed to His arrival. The world knew when He arrived and when He left. Why should His return be a secret?
What Will During The Rapture?
We already stated that the tribes of the earth will mourn. Scripture states that men’s hearts will fail them because of fear (Luke 25:9), but His people will rejoice (Isaiah 25:9). There is no mystery about why. Graves will open at His return. In fact, even before the living saints, the dead will rise first! Jesus will NOT return to the earth. In other words, He will not touch the earth but will wait in the heavens for His people to meet Him in the air! So watch for people stating the Jesus has returned to earth and is in some town or country. That would be a deception from Satan!
Another thing misunderstood in the Rapture teaching. The Lord’s return will be destructive to the earth. That’s because He returns in all His glory and power. Remember when God met with Moses on Mt. Sinai? What happened to the mountain? It quaked and burned!
“And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” ~ Revelation 16:18-20
Finally, mankind will be judged at His return. In other words, their final state will have been decided by they own life choices and He will reward everyone accordingly (Matthew 16:27).
The State of the Lost
After this takes place, the belief is that there will be a second chance to get ready, seven years in fact. Sorry but this is not biblical. There is no ‘left behind’ scenario. There will not be a Seven Year Tribulation Period. This isn't anywhere in scripture. There will no second chance for salvation. Here is why…
“And as it was in the days of Noah, 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.” ~ Luke 17:26-29
“And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” ~ Jeremiah 25:33
There will be NO ONE left behind when the Lord returns for his people! So that means no tribulation period afterward. There will be a time of trouble BEFORE His return. God will protect His people through these times as necessary the way he brought…
- Noah through the flood
- Israel through the plagues
- Daniel out of the lion’s den
- Daniel's companions through the fiery furnace
These were for our example that God is a present help and a shelter in times of trouble!