What is the Rapture?
The word Rapture is not mention in the Bible. But the Bible tells us that all believers since the birth of the church in Acts 2 both dead and living will someday disappear instantly. Why? The purpose is so believers will avoid the horrifying disasters that will occur during the Tribulation – things like earthquakes, fire, and all kinds of natural disasters like the chaos referred to in Revelation 6-18.
Jesus will descend with a shout and the trumpet of God will sound. Believers will immediately meet Him in the air and be taken into heaven to be with Jesus. Unbelievers will remain on the earth to experience God’s wrath. This will happen before the Tribulation breaks out all over the world.
“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 together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” – 1 Thess. 4:16-17. This sounds like Jesus is coming back then, but He is not coming back at this time. As Jesus sits on the right hand of the throne of God, He will get up off the throne and initiate the Rapture just at the right time. He Himself will draw believers into heaven.
The dead believers will rise first, while the unbelievers will remain in their graves until judgment. The believers’ spirits are already in heaven, but as their bodies rise they will be united with their spirits. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” – 1 Cor. 15:52.
The Rapture can happen at any time. There are no events that must occur before the Rapture. Are you prepared for the Rapture?
Once believers are in heaven they will be rewarded according to what they have done on the earth. This is called the Judgment Seat of the Christ. (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom 14:10). Another event called Marriage Supper of the Lamb (2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:6-8) will occur later to celebrate the fellowship with Jesus in heaven.
What is the difference between the Rapture and the Jesus’ Second Coming?
The Rapture occurs first. Then as in the book of Revelation at Jesus’ Second Coming, Jesus will return with all the saints (all those who were Raptured). The Rapture will be witnessed by believers only, but the Jesus’ Second Coming will be witnessed by all people. “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him: even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of earth will mourn because of Him.” – Rev. 1:7.
Christ’s Second Coming will happen 7 years after the Rapture. His coming will be at the end of the 7 year Tribulation. When He returns the Old Testament saints will be resurrected, which marks the end of the Tribulation. The Tribulation will usher in the Millennium.
What is the Tribulation?
The Tribulation is the 7 year period described in Revelation 11-18. During the first 3 ½ years life on earth will get worse. The second 3 ½ years is known as the Great Tribulation when God’s anger against the wicked will be the greatest. The Antichrist will be empowered and will be the center of evil. It will be a time of great deception by the Antichrist. It will be a time of devastation, disease, disasters, death, and many false prophets who will deceive many people. There will be greed, immorality and all kinds of wickedness. During this time there will be those who will come to believe and be saved, but many will not believe.
There will be natural disasters that occur. These are found in the book of Revelation. The sun will turn black, the moon will turn red, and there will be great earthquakes. The stars will fall from the sky. Mountains and islands will move. The oceans will become blood. The water will become poisoned. This will be a time of great suffering and persecution. During this time more than half of the world’s population will die.
Who is this Antichrist?
He is the person who is against Christ. There have been many so-called antichrists, but this Antichrist will be “The Antichrist”. He will be controlled by Satan. He will be the most powerful dictator who persecutes, tortures and kills God’s people. He will promise world peace and security. People will flock to him and do anything he asks. The book of Daniel calls him the prince that shall come, a fierce king and a master of intrigue, and a despicable man. (Dan. 8:23; 9:21; 11:21). In 2 Thessalonians he is referred as the one who brings destruction, the lawless one, the evil man. (1 Thess. 2:3,8,9). In Revelation he is referred as the beast. (Rev. 13:1). He will set himself up as god. All people will worship him. (Rev. 13:8).
Helping the Antichrist is the false prophet. Satan attempts to be like god and presents himself as a false trinity which Satan is god, the Antichrist poses as the Messiah and the false prophet is like the Holy Spirit. (Rev. 13).
What is the Millennium?
At the end of the Tribulation Christ will return as He promised, which is called the Second Coming. He will bring with Him all the believers who were Raptured. The Antichrist and his armies will wage war against Him. This is called the Battle of Armageddon. (Rev. 14:20; 19:15). But we know who wins – God of course. The Antichrist and the false prophet will be captured and thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Christ will bind Satan for 1,000 years then Satan can no longer deceive the people. Christ will set up His 1,000 year reign on earth called the Millennium. He will rule over the earth as King of the New Jerusalem. All the believers will rule with Him. There will be 1,000 years of peace. During this time all the believers who survived the Tribulation will of course have earthly bodies. They will continue to marry and have children, and their descendants will need salvation.
When the 1,000 years is over, Satan will be released for a short time to go out and deceive those who were born during the 1,000 year kingdom. Some of these people will be influenced by Satan and choose to reject Jesus as the Messiah. Then Satan will be stopped by God and thrown into the Lake of Fire. All those who has ever died, from the beginning of creation and throughout all of history, and has not trusted God’s provision as the atonement for his sins, will be resurrected and stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment. They too, will be thrown into the Lake of Fire as their final judgment.
What are the New Jerusalem, New Heaven, and the New Earth?
God will destroy the old creation (earth) that has been corrupted by sin and replace it with a New Heaven and a New Earth that is pure and holy and will stand forever. The capital will be the New Jerusalem. There will be no need for the light of the sun and the moon, because Jesus Himself is its light (Rev. 21:23). All believers throughout history will live in God’s eternal kingdom and will serve Him forever and ever. (2 Peter 3:3-13; Rev. 21-22; Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Matt. 24:35)
Living on this New Earth will be the Old Testament Saints, believers who died and were raptured, believers who did not die and were raptured, believers who came to faith and died as martyrs during the Tribulation called Tribulation Saints, survivors of the Tribulation with earthly bodies, the remnant of Israel who were saved at the return of Christ, and the Gentiles who came to faith during the Tribulation and survived until Christ’s return.
All believers who returned with Jesus and those resurrected to life have been given new bodies. They will serve the Messiah. They will be both Jew and Gentile.
Now you know the future. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, will you consider it now? Turn to God in prayer and confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you. Believe in Him now before it’s too late. See more on “How to be saved” at the bottom of this page.
Wow! I know there is a lot to take in and I’ve only touched on this topic. To dive into this in more detail, you must read your Bible. See Daniel 7; 8; 9; Matthew 24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation.
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