The Second Coming of Christ is an event that has always drawn a variety of responses, ranging from joy to fear. For those who have never heard of the Rapture or the Second Coming, the response is sometimes one of unbelief when the topic is introduced. The idea that millions of people will be removed from the earth at a single moment seems inconceivable to the natural, carnal mind. However, understanding the Second Coming is vital to developing faith, and not fear, regarding end-time events.
The Second Coming of Christ is an event that will take place in two distinct installments, according to biblical teachings. The first phase is the Rapture. Though the word “rapture” is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, the term used to describe what will take place during this event is “caught up.” The Rapture is the “catching away “of the body of Christ from the earth before God unleashes judgment on those who have rejected Him.
There are twenty-six passages of scripture that mention the Rapture. This is an event that is reserved for the Church—the true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an event that will completely elude the world—they won’t even know it happened until the Church is gone. It is designed to protect and deliver Believers from the wrath of God that is coming upon the earth (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
The Apostle Paul describes exactly what will happen during the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. He says, "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." Christians who have died will be resurrected from their graves at the sound of the trumpet and will be raptured along with Believers who are currently alive and in expectation of the Lord. The people of the world will not see or hear the Lord when He calls for His people during the Rapture. When the catching away of the Church takes place, it will usher in seven years of the greatest tribulation the world has ever seen.
The second phase of the Second Coming of Christ is His Glorious Appearing, which will take place after the Tribulation. This is the actual physical appearance of Christ before the entire world when He returns to the earth with His saints. It is an event that will affect all humanity, and will be seen by every person under the sun (Matthew 24:29-30). When Jesus physically returns, He will set up His kingdom on the earth.
The catching away of the Church can literally take place at any moment, which is why we must always be prepared for it. Christians must make sure they are aligning their lives with the Word of God and walking in love. Obedience and cultivating a spirit-led lifestyle are the keys to being prepared for the Rapture. It is not a fictitious event; it will actually happen.
Only God knows the day and hour of the Rapture, which is why we can discard any false prophecies foretelling the specifics of its occurrence. The Glorious Appearing can only take place after the Rapture, which is why we want to be in position to be “caught up” every moment of our lives. By living our lives according to the Word, we can ensure that we are on the winning side of the Rapture and the physical appearing of Christ. There is nothing to fear when the Bible is our final authority.
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