Are the Rapture and the Second Coming the same?


By BibleAsk Team

The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are typically thought of as distinct events in Christian eschatology, particularly within premillennial dispensationalism. However, the Bible states that they are the same event, as seen in passages like 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Matthew 24:30-31. These scriptures describe the gathering of believers to meet Christ in the air and His visible return with great glory, which some believe happens simultaneously, thus merging the concepts of the Rapture and the Second Coming into a single event.

The secret rapture theory

The proponents of the secret rapture theory teach that Christ’s visible and audible appearance with power and great glory will happen after He first comes secretly and invisibly to rapture His saints. The rest of the inhabitants of the earth (the wicked) will live on through a period of seven years marked by a tribulation under the rule of Antichrist. Thus, the wicked will have a second chance to be converted.

The rapture takes place at the Second Coming of Christ

However, the Bible teaches that the gathering, rapture, or carrying away of the saints to heaven will take place at the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus said, “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31).

Also, Paul confirmed that the rapture will not be a secret event but will take place at the Second Coming of Christ. He wrote, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

There is nothing in the phrasing of Matthew 24 that in the least suggests that the coming of Christ is different from that described in 1 Thessalonians 4. Hence, both references describe one event happening at same time.

The Scriptures teach that:

  1. The rapture is not silent but rather is extremely loud (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Psalms 50:3; Jeremiah 25:30, 31).
  2. The rapture is not invisible. It will be seen by all (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 16: 27; 24:27; 25:31; 28:2-4).
  3. The rapture does not leave the wicked alive. They are destroyed by the Lord’s coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:17, 18; Isaiah 11:4; Jeremiah 25:33).
  4. The Lord does not rapture the righteous from tribulation, but rather protects them through it (Psalms 91:5-12, Revelation 17:14).
  5. The seven-year period between the two second comings of Christ according to the secret rapture theory is not supported by scripture.
  6. The Antichrist does not appear 3 1/2 years after the second coming of Jesus. For he has been active since the beginning of time (1 John 4:3).
  7. The wicked will not have a second chance to be saved after the second coming (Matthew 16:27; 5:28,29; 25:31,32). Instead, all sinners will be destroyed by Christ’s second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8; Jeremiah 25:33; Revelation 19:17, 18).

Thus, Christ’s second coming will not take place in two different stages – one secret and the other seen by all. For there is only one second coming where Jesus will take His people home to heaven (Matthew 16:27; 5:28,29; 25:31,32). May we be ready to meet him very soon.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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