THE RAPTURE vs THE SECOND COMING Part 1
It’s an age old discussion, the question, when will Christ return? There are varying opinions with labeled timelines. Today as in no other day though, there is a difference! Within most views, the return of Christ is anticipated as could happen at any time. The difference has become by some opinions, is it the Rapture or the Second Coming of Christ?
In this posting, the first of several, we are going to examine the difference in the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ and what scripture says.
Regardless of your or my opinion, the main thing is to simply be ready – for in a day you know not Christ will return, when according to scripture, we least expect it!
Jesus stated in Matthew 24:42 & 44 to watch for no one knows the hour when Christ will return. Indeed His return is imminent!
Matthew 24:42 (KJV)
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Matthew 24:44 (KJV)
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Other verses indicate no one knows when Christ will return. (mat 24:36, 42, 44, 50; 25:13; 1 Thess. 4:18; Tit. 2:13; 1 Jn. 2:28; 3:2-3)
The Second Coming, is preceded by many events, such as the rise of the Antichrist (Rev. 12:13-17; Zech. 13:7-9), a treaty with Israel (Dan 9:27), the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple (Mat. 2:15; 2 Thess. 2:3-4; Rev. 11:1-2), as well as plagues, judgments, and persecutions destroying most of the world’s population (Rev. 6 – 18)
The Book of Revelation reports these events occurring during the 70th week of Daniel or the seven year great tribulation as it is called, which Revelation reveals precedes the Second Coming.
The Rapture is imminent and could happen at any moment and without warning and the Second Coming is preceded by many signs, then the Rapture and the Second Coming must be different events.
The Rapture occurs before the seven years of wrath (orge) and the bride is called to look, watch, and wait for the Lord’s return. The bride is not looking for the antichrist and signs of his arrival.
Once tribulation events begin, then the seven year countdown begins towards its end with Christ returning at the Second Coming.
THE RAPTURE AND THE RESTRAINER
The Rapture and the removal of the Restrainer occur at the same time.
In 2 Thessalonians, the church of Thessalonica were afraid due to a false report that they had entered the Day of the Lord (Tribulation) and had somehow missed the Rapture. The Apostle Paul assured them that the Antichrist would not be revealed until a restraining force would be taken out of the way so that the Man of Lawlessness could be revealed.
Because the revealing of the Antichrist coincides with the beginning of the seven year Tribulation starting with his peace treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:27), then the Restrainer has to be removed before the Tribulation.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-7 (KJV)
3 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;
4 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.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
He who letteth, the Restrainer, must be the Holy Spirit. All other suggestions fall short of meeting the requirements.
The Wicked One is a personality, and his operations include the realm of the spiritual. The restrainer must likewise be a personality and a spiritual being… to hold Antichrist in check until the time for his revealing. Mere agencies or impersonal spiritual forces would be inadequate.
To achieve all that is to be accomplished, the restrainer must be a member of the Godhead. He must be stronger than the Man of Sin and stronger than satan who energizes him. In order to restrain evil down through the course of the age, the restrainer must be eternal. The theater of sin is the entire world: therefore, it is imperative that the restrainer be one who is not limited by time or space.
This age is in a particular sense the “dispensation of the Spirit,” for He works in a way uncommon to other ages as an abiding Presence within the children of God. The church age commenced with the advent of the spirit of Pentecost, and will close with a reversal of Pentecost, the removal of the Spirit. This does not mean that He will not be operative – only that He will no longer be resident.
The work of the Spirit since His advent has included the restraint of evil (John 16:7-11; 1 John 4:4). It will be unbelievably different in the tribulation.
Although the Spirit was not resident in mankind during Old Testament days, He still exerted a restraining influence. (Isaiah 59:19)
To be continued…