In our first part of this study we established that the Rapture of the Church and the Glorious Appearing or Second Coming are indeed two separate events. As we continue to look at this subject, in order to defuse any possibility of confusion we need to first understand the fact that the Bible is to be translated literally (here I refer you to our article Biblical Prophecy ~ Part 4 ~ Teaching, posted on April 17, 2014). If we apply a systematic, analytical approach to interpret the Word of God literally, we will see that it makes perfect sense. The Holy Spirit did not deliver the Word of God to the writers of the Old and New Testaments in an ambiguous or allegorical way, God means what He says and says what He means. Therefore, as we examine the passages of Scripture delineating the Rapture and Second Coming we can discern the truths taught of the two events.
For instance, in the first part of this study we saw that in the Rapture Christ comes for His Church (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and at His Glorious Appearing or Second Coming He comes with His Church (Revelation 19:14). In other words at the Rapture we meet Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17), and at the second coming, Jesus literally comes down to the earth setting His feet on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4, 9; Matthew 25:31-32). In the Rapture, the Church leaves the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and at the Second Coming the Church comes back to the earth (Revelation 19:14).
The Rapture is the removal of the Church from the earth for deliverance (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:9) whereas the Second Coming involves the removal of unbelievers in an act of judgment (Matthew 13:36-43; Matthew 13:47-51; Matthew 24:40-41).
The Rapture will happen in an instant and only those who are looking for Him will see Him (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 John 3:2), yet the Second Coming will be visible to all the world (Matthew 24:29-30; Revelation 1:7).
There are no signs that precede the Rapture, it is imminent and could take place at any moment (Matthew 24:36; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13) while there are many signs which precede the Second Coming (Matthew 24:15-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 6:1-Revelation 19:10).
The Rapture of the Church precedes the time of Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10) and the Second Coming will be the culmination of the Tribulation (Revelation 19).
At the Rapture of the Church, Jesus gathers His Bride in preparation for the Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9) and at the Second Coming, Jesus establishes His Kingdom (Zechariah 14:3-4; Revelation 19:11-21).
After the Rapture of the Church the Antichrist will appear and go forth conquering (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9; Revelation 6:1-2) but at the Second Coming the Antichrist will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).
At the Rapture peace will be removed from the earth (Revelation 6:3-4), because the Holy Spirit is all that is restraining Satan at this time (2 Thessalonians 2:6-12), but peace will be restored to the earth at the Second Coming (Isaiah 9:6).
At the Rapture Satan’s activities on Earth increase (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 12:12; Revelation 13:2) but at the Second Coming Satan will be bound and cast into the Bottomless Pit (Revelation 20:1-3).
Clearly when we read the Scriptures in a literal way we find there are no contradictions or confusion regarding the Rapture and Second Coming (Glorious Appearing) of Jesus Christ. In each event the nature of Christ’s return is different. At the Rapture Jesus is the Bridegroom calling out His Bride, the Deliverer calling out His Church, while at the Second Coming He returns as conquering King to exact judgment, by pouring out the wrath of God on the wicked nations and peoples who rejected His free gift of grace. At the Second Coming, His Bride follows with Him as He establishes His Kingdom. So even though a comparison of 1 Thessalonians 4 and Revelation 19 display an emphasis on Jesus Christ, in truth they have nothing else in common.
The Rapture is the Blessed Hope of the Church, and the Second Coming is the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ as King of Kings, Lord of Lords as He establishes His Kingdom.
The Blessed Hope is imminent, Tribulation and the end of days is at hand, His Glorious Appearing will follow, for;
Jesus is Coming Soon!