Focus on Jerusalem, in its continuing
endeavor to make available interesting and doctrinally sound articles associated
with Bible Prophecy is pleased to present this scripturally sound article
entitled, “The Rapture and the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ,” by
Dr. Ed Hindson of The king is Coming prophecy program. Mr. Hindson is an
excellent expositor on Biblical themes, and is one of the most-plain spoken
expositors on Bible Prophecy I have ever run across. FOJ hopes that its
presentation will inspire your further interest in the study of the things of
our Lord, and his Second Coming. (11-01-2005)
The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus Christ will "come again" (John
14:3) and "appear the second time" (Hebrews 9:38). At least nine biblical terms
are used in the New Testament to describe the return of Christ.
erchomenos. "The coming one," as in Hebrews 10:37, "For yet a little while, and he
that shall come will come."
Erchomai. The act of coming. Used often of Christ's return. Cf. Matthew 24:30;
John 14:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Jude 14; Revelation 1:7; 22:20.
Katabaino. To "come down" or descend, as in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, "For the Lord
himself shall descend from heaven with a shout."
Result of one's coming, to have "arrived," as in Revelation 3:3, "I will come as
Parousia. Denotes arrival and presence (of a ruler), as in 1 Thessalonians 2:19,
what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not you in the presence of
our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?"
Apokalupsis. Meaning to "unveil" or "uncover." Rendered "appearing" (1
Peter 1:7) or "coming" (1 Corinthians 1:7) or "revelation" (Revelation 1:1).
Involves the unveiling of His divine glory.
Phaneroo. To "appear" (John 21:1) or be "manifest" (1 John 3:5). As in 1 John
3:2, "It is not yet made manifest what we shall be. but we know that, if he
shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is."
Epiphaino. To "appear" in full light or visibility. Denotes the "brightness" of His
coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8) and the glory of "that day... unto all them that
love his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).
Horao. To "see with the eyes," or to "appear" visibly, as in Hebrews 9:28, "and unto
them that look for him shall he appear the second time."
The Nature of His Second Coming
Bible predicts the literal personal return of Jesus Christ to rapture His
church, to judge the world and to establish His Kingdom on earth. At times this
is described as one grand event. At other times it is clearly divided into
Personal. The intensive pronoun "himself" means the Lord and no other, as in 1
Thessalonians 4:16, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven."
Literal. He will return as He ascended literally. Acts 1:11 promises: "This same Jesus,
who is taken up from you, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go
into heaven." Revelation 1:7 promises that "every eye shall see him."
Glorious. He will return in the glory of His deity. Matthew 16:27, "in the glory of his
Father." Matthew 25:31, "in his glory." Matthew 24:30, "...in great glory."
Powerful. Jesus will return in the "glory of his power" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). He will
employ angels of power (1:7) to establish His Kingdom on earth as He comes with
His angelic heavenly escort (Matthew 25:31).
The Time of His Coming
evangelicals agree as to the nature of Christ's return, but there is substantial
disagreement on the time of His coming. Notice these key aspects of the time of
our Lord's return:
Future. The entire emphasis of the New Testament points to a future return
He promised "I will come again" (John 14:3). The angels promised He would return
(Acts 1:11). The apostles taught the certainty of His future return (Philippians
3:20; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:3-8; 1 John 3:2-3).
Progressive. The present tense of "cometh" in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 indicates
that He is
in the process of coming again, marking the steady, uninterrupted movement of
time toward that certain day. Hebrews 10:37, "For yet a little while, and he
that shall come will come, and will not tarry."
Imminent. The return of Christ is always described as potentially imminent
hand" (Revelation 1:3; 22:10). Every generation of believers is warned to be
ready for His coming. Luke 12:40, "be... ready also: for the Son of Man comes at
an hour you think not." Believers are constantly urged to look for the coming of
the Lord (see Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 9:28; Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6).
Distant. From God's perspective, Jesus is coming at any moment. But from the human
perspective it has already been nearly 2,000 years. Jesus hinted at this in the
Olivet Discourse in the illustration of the man who traveled into a "far
country" (heaven) and was gone "a long time" (Matthew 25:19). Peter also implies
this in his prediction that men will begin to scoff at the second coming after a
long period of time (2 Peter 3:8-9).
Undated. While the Rapture is the next major event on the prophetic
calendar, it is
undated as is the glorious appearing of Christ. Jesus said: "But of that day and
hour knoweth no man, not even the angels of heaven" (Matthew 24:36). Later he
added: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons" (Acts 1:7).
Unexpected. The mass of humanity will not be looking for Christ when He returns
(Matthew 24:50; Luke 21:35). They will be saying, "peace and safety," when
caught unprepared by His return. So unexpected will be His return that, "as a
snare shall it come upon them that dwell on the whole face of the earth" (Luke
Sudden. The Bible warns that Jesus will come "as a thief in the night (and)
destruction" will come upon the unbelieving world (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). His
return for the Bride will occur in a flash: "in a moment, in the twinkling of an
eye... for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead (believers) shall be raised
incorruptible, and we (living believers) shall be changed" (1 Corinthians
Two Aspects of His Coming
Second Coming of Christ is a series of events fulfilling all end-time
prophecies. These include predictions of Christ's coming for His Church and with
His Church. Pretribulationalists generally divide the Second Coming into two
main phases: the Rapture of the Church and the Glorious Appearing of Christ. The
Rapture (or translation) of the Church is often paralleled to the "raptures" of
Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:12) or the ascension of Christ (Acts
1:9), all of whom were "taken up" into heaven. The Bible clearly states: 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 (Greek,
harpazo) with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be
with the Lord forever" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, italics added).
hope of the Church is the Rapture. She awaits the Savior who is coming for His
bride. The Church does not await the destruction of the world as unbelievers do,
she awaits a Person. Peter explains that the present world is "reserved for
fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Peter
3:7, italics added). While the Church is warned to prepare for suffering and
persecution throughout the Church Age, she is not as the object of God's final
Church is promised that the "coming of the Lord" will result in her being
"gathered together" (Greek, episunagoges) into him" (2 Thessalonians 2: 1). It
is this promise of the Rapture, not the Wrath, that is in view in Revelation
3:10, "I will keep you from (Greek, ek "out of") the hour of trial that is going
to come upon the whole world." Notice that the Church is to be kept from not
through, the hour of tribulation. We are to wait for Jesus to come from heaven
to "deliver us form the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
Rapture will take up those who have died in Christ over the centuries and those
believers who are alive when He returns. This will occur in the future. Jesus
said: "A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and
come out" (John 5:28). Believers are pictured as being raised to life (first
resurrection) to reign with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-5). There
can be no doubt that the Bible teaches a Rapture ("caught up," or "gathering
together") of the Church. Amillennialists and Post-millennialists miss this
point altogether. There will be a Rapture, or 1 and 2 Thessalonians need to be
removed from the New Testament! The only real question is when will it occur?
The Order of the Rapture
combining John 14:13, I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, Tim
LaHaye suggests the following sequence of events:
Jesus Christ descends from heaven (John 14:1-3; I Thess. 4:16).
comes to receive us (church) unto Himself (John 14:13).
comes in the "twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52) with a shout and the trumpet
call of God (1 Thess. 4:16).
resurrects those believers who have "fallen asleep" in death (1 Thess. 4:14-
Those who are alive at that time will be "caught up" (Rapture) with the
resurrected Church in the clouds (1 Thess. 4:17; 1 Cor. 15:51-53).
Rapture will be followed by:
Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:20; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10) and
Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9).
two events precede the return of Christ in power and glory at Armageddon (Rev.
The Contrast Between The Rapture And
the Glorious Appearing
Christ comes for His own (John 1. Christ comes with His own
14:3;IThess. 14:17;2Thess.2:1). (1 Thess. 3:13; Jude 14; Rev. 19:14).
comes in the air (1 Thess. 4:17) 2. He comes to the earth
claims His bride 3. He comes with His bride
Removal of believers (1 Thess 4:17). 4. Manifestation of Christ (Mal. 4:2).
His own see Him 5. Every eye shall see Him
Thess. 4:13-18) (Rev. 1:7).
Tribulation begins. 6. Millennial Kingdom begins.
Saved are delivered from wrath 7. Unsaved experience the wrath of God
Thess. 1:10; 5-9) (Rev. 6:12-17).
signs precede Rapture 8. Signs precede glorious appearing
Thess. 5:1-3). (Luke 21:11, 15).
Focus: Lord and Church 9. Focus: Israel and Kingdom
Thess. 4:13-18). (Matthew 24:14).
World is deceived. 10. Satan is bound
Thess. 2:3-12) (Rev. 20:1-2).
Reasons For A Pre-Tribulations Rapture
Christ promised to keep the Church from the Tribulation. In Revelation 3:10, the
said the Church would be kept from (Literally, "preserved" or "protected out
hour of trial, or divine retribution, that is coming on the whole world.
Tribulation judgments are the "wrath of the Lamb." Revelation 6:16 depicts the
cataclysmic judgments of the end times as the wrath of Christ. Whereas,
Revelation 19:7-9 depicts the Church as the bride of the Lamb. She is not the
object of His wrath which is poured out on an unbelieving world.
Jesus told his disciples to pray they would escape the Tribulation. In Luke
21:36 He said:
"Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is
about to happen. Remember, even Lot was given a chance to escape Sodom before
divine judgment fell.
coming in the clouds means the Church's deliverance has come. Jesus told His
disciples: "Lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke
21:28). The hope of the Church is not in surviving the judgment of Tribulation,
but escaping it.
will call His ambassadors home before declaring war on the world. In 2
believers are called "Christ's Ambassadors" who appeal to the world to be
reconciled to God before it is too late.
Moral restraint will disappear when the Church is taken home. 2 Thessalonians
that after the "coming of the Lord" and "our being gathered to Him," the "man of
lawlessness" (Antichrist) will emerge on the world scene. The Church's
restraining ministry of "salt" and "light" will no longer hold back the tide of
Rapture will happen in the "twinkling of an eye." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
"in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye... the dead shall be raised imperishable
and we (living at the Rapture) will be changed." This instantaneous
disappearance will terminate the Church's earthly ministry.
Rapture will take place in the air. Unlike the glorious appearing when Christ
descends to earth, splits the Mount of Olives, overthrows Antichrist and binds
Satan, the Rapture will occur when we are "caught up together... to meet the
Lord in the air" (1 Thess. 4:17).
Woman who suffers persecution during the Tribulation symbolizes Israel. This is
important point. The woman who delivers the male child (Christ) represents the
nation of Israel. Israel, not the Church, brought forth Christ, and He in turn,
brought forth the Church. He is the founder of the Church, not its descendant.
Therefore, the persecuted "saints" of the Tribulation are Jewish - the remnant
of the woman's seed (Revelation 12:1-2, 5-6, 17).
Marriage of Christ (Lamb) and His Bride (Church) takes place before the Battle
Armageddon. The Bible describes the fall of "Babylon" (Kingdom of Antichrist) in
Revelation 17-18. But before it tells of Christ's return to conquer the
Antichrist, it tells us "the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has
made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7-8). This clearly indicates the Bride has been
taken to heaven earlier and that she returns with Christ and the host of the
"armies of heaven... dressed in fine linen, white and clean" (Rev. 19:8, 14).