How the Scriptures present the details of Christ’s Second Coming is far different than the picture we get from those who persistently want to avoid mentioning the Rapture as a viable end-time expectation. In this article, we will see and quote Scriptures that detail that event of His Second Coming and thereby establish the fact there is a coming “ingathering of the saints” prior to that Second Coming.
The promises of God in the Bible are facts, established truths, because of the Person who made the promises. We see that in 2 Corinthians 1:20: “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God….” The facts, then, testify of the truth of the Word regarding the Second Coming of Christ.
How Jesus told of His Second Coming, first of all, in Matthew 24:29-31, He says this: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 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.”
Some specific things to note in that passage that are placing the timing of the Second Coming correctly:
1.It is after the tribulation of those days. It has not been a time of “eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage,” indicating a time of easy-going life without any turbulence and difficulties. In those days before the Lord comes to the earth to reign as Lord of Lords and King of Kings, as told in Revelation 13 to 19, conditions will be such that people will have as their number one concern a need for survival. The impact of the Mark of the Beast will have brought death to many (see Rev. 7), and lack of food will be magnified horribly. Remember Christ authorized famine to occur when He opened that third seal in Revelation 6 and a black horse and rider appeared?
2.Note who is already in heaven—the Elect: “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.” The passage in Matthew 24:37 and following tells of “two men who are together; one is taken, and the other one is left,” an action not fitting into the likeness of the glorious Second Coming of the Lord with His Elect, as depicted in Revelation 19:9, following the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is a clear contradiction to have the Lord “taking one and leaving the other” when His Elect are already in heaven with Him. It is clear that such a one-on-one selection is more properly placed in the Rapture setting, as also described in Luke 17:26-30. After all, we just saw that His saints were already in heaven, those places He has prepared for them, according to John 14:1-4.
3.Jesus comes to the earth with His body of believers, and a final battle is fought with Jesus, the One who conquers the Antichrist and his false prophet, then casts them alive into the lake of fire. This is revealed in Revelation 19 and is testimony that He has not remained in heaven and is now managing the Millenium from His throne there. The claim that we are now experiencing the Millennium here on earth is a fallacy the Reformers did not take with their Reformation from the Roman Catholics, apparently.
The picture the Scriptures show of the Second Coming in Revelation 19 is far more vivid with grandeur, glory, and power that will be seen worldwide than that of the Rapture. That is because at the Rapture, the audience is limited to the redeemed, and it is more likely that only the believers will hear the trumpet’s blast. The parable in Matthew 22:1-14 identifies those who will be at the marriage supper of the Lamb. It will be those who have accepted His invitation to come, those who will have believed in Him during this age of grace.
There are more details of His Second Coming in Zechariah 14:4 and following. Verse 4 says, “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.”
Zechariah goes on to describe the events of the Millennium rolling out, and it is defined as a period of only one thousand years. Revelation 20 speaks of “a thousand years” six times, emphasizing more specifically that the Millennium is not now occurring in its second thousand years. In refuting that belief, Satan does not appear to be bound in the bottomless pit at all; any control over evil from heaven is obviously missing as we see the growing evidence of a “falling away” from faith, lawfulness, justice and moral integrity. Truly, God is now allowing these things to continue until He comes at the right time, for the Scripture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 tells us that the “falling away” must come first, then the One who restrains—holds back—the pressing onslaught of evil is taken out of the way. That, dear believer, is the Rapture, the “snatching” out those who have received Christ as their Savior.
When the Reformers take up the beliefs of the Roman Catholics that the Book of Revelation is not worthy of any consideration in their understanding of God’s plan of redemption and that it is a collection of myths and allegories, they leave out major events that are yet to come.
One major event that is not addressed by those who want to skip the prophecies of the last days is the matter of the calling forth the 144,000 witnesses or messengers from the twelve tribes of Israel. Revelation 6, at the opening of the fifth seal, Jesus authorizes and previews their ministry, and in Revelation 7, John tells of the results of their preaching the gospel of the kingdom to “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands….”
These are believers who have rejected the Mark of the Beast in Revelation 13 and following. They are killed, and it says more are also to be killed. They are not of the church, which has been taken to heaven already. They have a service role during the time of the tribulation, as the Elder assisting John seems to indicate.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit, as John told us in John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
Does He lead us into false doctrines? Does He create doctrines on His own? Does He not tell us things to come? Will He reveal anything that is not in the inspired Scriptures? We have the whole counsel of God in the Bible, the Word of God. It is not laid out like an encyclopedia, one subject after another, in detail. We must search it out, rightly dividing that Word of Truth without contradictions.
In my experience in the Word, I find that a chronological following of the roll-out of the events of the Bible is readily apparent and that such an approach to the prophecies of the last days eliminates much confusion and false doctrines that arise in these last days. For example, I am criticized as a “dispensationalist,” and thus, I must believe that the Rapture doctrine was invented by one John Darby in the mid-1800s. Dispensationalism means the belief that events have occurred one after the other that identify God’s pattern of the revelation of His plan for the redemption of mankind to the extent that can be accomplished. At least, that is how it comes across to me in its simplest form, and I scratch my head and wonder how that is any different than the following of a chronological roll-out of God’s program in the same way.
Finally, the picture in Revelation 19 of Jesus returning to earth the Second Time shows Him on a white horse, charging forth, as the Apostle John tells it: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns” (verse 11). Then, in verse 14, he says this: “And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”
“And on His head were many crowns.” When did He get those crowns? They were cast at His feet when the saints, represented by the twenty-four elders, appeared before His throne as John so reported in Revelation 14—before the seven years of tribulation.
Does this appearance give the implication that He will be dealing with those who are taken while others are being left behind?
Two reminders come to mind: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), and “Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10b).
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org