When we look and speak with those who fight against the Rapture of the Church. Most don’t understand the differences of many these events. The origin of the word Rapture comes from the Latin translation (Vulgate) when Jerome translated the Greek word (ἁρπάζω harpazō 1Th 4:17). Rapture critics like to claim that the word “rapture” is not located in the Bible. It may not be in the King James, but the word “rapture” is found in the Bible if you have the Latin Vulgate produced by Jerome in the early 400s. The Vulgate was the main Bible of the medieval Western Church until the Reformation. It continues to this day as the primary Latin translation of the Roman Catholic Church.
Scriptures Listed on 2nd Coming & Rapture Compared
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Rapture vs. Return
Notes by Dr. Mark Hitchcock
Some students of Bible prophecy strongly object to the notion that the rapture of the church and the return or Second Coming of Christ are distinct events separated by at least seven years. They contend that this is teaching two future comings of Christ while the Bible only presents one event.
However, the New Testament teaches that Christ will come for His church to escort her to His Father’s House (John 14:3). And also teaches that He will come with His saints when He descends from heaven to judge His enemies and establish His glorious 1,000-year kingdom on earth (Zech 14:5; Rev 19:14). I view this as one coming that will occur in two distinct phases or stages separated by at least seven years.
The distinct differences between these two phases of Christ’s coming are harmonized successfully by the pre-trib view, while other views of the timing of the rapture are unable to accommodate the differences. Here are some of the main verses that describe these two stages of Christ’s future coming.
Rapture Passages Listed ( Hover over Scriptures to Read)
1 Corinthians 1:7-8; 15:51-53; 16:22
Philippians 3:20-21; 4:5
1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19: 4:13-18; 5:9, 23
2 Thessalonians 2:1, 3
1 Timothy 6:14
2 Timothy 4:1, 8
1 Peter 1:7, 13; 5:4
1 John 2:28—3:2
Revelation 2:15; 3:10
Second Coming Passages Listed ( Hover over Scriptures to Read)
Daniel 2:44-45; 7:9-14; 12:1-3
Zechariah 12:10; 14:1-15
Matthew 13:41; 24:27-31; 26:64
Mark 13:14-27; 14:62
Luke 17:20-37; 21:25-28
Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21
1 Thessalonians 3:13
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2:8
1 Peter 4:12-13
2 Peter 3:1-14
Revelation 1:7; 19:11—20:6; 22:7, 12, 20
The only sure-fire way to fully resolve this issue is to set what the Bible says about these events side-by-side to see if they are describing the same occurrence.
The Rapture The Return (Second Coming) Side by Side
Christ comes in the air (1 Thess 4:16-17) Christ comes to the earth (Zech 14:4)
Christ comes for his saints (1 Thess 4:16-17) Christ come with his saints (1 Thess 3:13; Jude 14)
Believers depart the earth (1 Thess 4:16-17) Unbelievers are taken away (Matt 24:37-41)
Christ claims His bride Christ comes with His bride
Christ gathers His own (1 Thess 4:16-17) Angels gather the elect (Matt 24:31)
Christ comes to reward (1 Thess 4:17) Christ comes to judge (Matt 25:31-46)
Not in the Old Testament (1 Cor 15:51) Predicted often in the Old Testament
There are no signs. It is imminent. Portended by many signs (Matt 24:4-29)
It is a time of blessing and comfort (1 Thess 4:18) It is a time of destruction and judgment (2 Thess 2:8-12)
Involves believers only (Jn 14:1-3;
1 Cor 15:51-55; 1 Thess 4:13-18) Involves Israel and the Gentile nations (Matt 24:1-25:46)
Will occur in a moment, in the time it takes to blink.
Only his own will see His (1 Cor 15:51-52) Will be visible to the entire world (Matt 24:27; Rev 1:7)
Tribulation begins Millennium begins
Christ comes as the bright morning star (Rev 22:16) Christ comes as the sun of righteousness (Mal 4:2)
John Walvoord concludes that these “contrasts should make it evident that the translation of the church is an event quite different in character and time from the return of the Lord to establish His kingdom, and confirms the conclusion that the translation takes place before the tribulation.” Both events mention clouds symbolizing a heavenly role in both, but other differences demonstrate that these are two distinct events.
At the Rapture, the Lord comes for His saints (1 Thess 4:16); at the Second Coming the Lord comes with His saints (1 Thess 3:13). At the Rapture, the Lord comes only for believers, but His return to the earth will impact all people. The Rapture is a translation/resurrection event; the Second Coming is not. At the Rapture, the Lord takes believers from earth to heaven “to the Father’s house” (John 14:3). At the Second Coming believers return from heaven to the earth (Matt 24:30). The rapture is an imminent, signless event that from the human perspective could occur at any moment; whereas, the Second Coming will be preceded by all kinds of signs (Matt 24:1-29). The same event cannot logically be both signless and yet portended by numerous signs. This is contradictory. The best harmonization of these two different events supports a pretribulational rapture (which is signless and could happen at any moment), while the many events taking place during the Tribulation are best understood as signs leading up to the Second Coming.
Conclusion of Scriptures
While both the rapture and the return describe a coming of the Lord, these dramatic differences demand that they describe two very unique events at two separate times. It is simply impossible to merge the rapture and second coming into a single event that makes sense of the passages that describe them. John MacArthur provides an excellent summary of this point in favor of the pre-trib viewpoint.
Scripture suggests that the Second Coming occurs in two stages—first the Rapture, when He comes for His saints and they are caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:14-17), and second, His return to earth, when He comes with His saints (Jude 14) to execute judgment on His enemies. Daniel’s seventieth week must fall between those two events. That is the only scenario that reconciles the imminency of Christ’s coming for His saints with the yet unfulfilled signs that signal His final glorious return with the saints. -Dr. Mark Hitchcock
Origin of the word Rapture
It was Protestants who introduced the word “rapture” into the English language from the Latin raeptius. It was Jerome’s Vulgate that translated the original Greek verb harpazo used by Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in 1 Thes. 4:17, which is usually translated into English with the phrase “caught up.” The leading Greek Lexicon says that harpazo means “snatch, seize, i.e., take suddenly and vehemently.” This is the same meaning of the Latin word rapio “to seize, snatch, tear away.” It should not be surprising to anyone, that an English word was developed from the Latin which we use today known as “rapture.”
The teaching of the rapture is most clearly presented by Paul in the first books and Thessalonians and Corinthians:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thes. 4:16-18).
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:51-53). (Source RR)
It is the blessed hope and the Resurrection promised to The Church. List of Scriptures implied by the Resurrection by our Lord Jesus: List here
Differences Between The Rapture And The Second Coming
|At the Rapture, Jesus will remain in the air or clouds (I Thess. 4:17).||At the Second Coming, Jesus will come down to the earth and stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4, 9; Matt. 25:31-32).|
|At the Rapture, the Church will meet Jesus in the air (I Thess. 4:17).||At the Second Coming, the Church will follow Jesus to the earth (Rev. 19:14).|
|At the Rapture, the Church will go up to meet Jesus (I Thess. 4:17).||At the Second Coming, the Church will come down with Jesus (Rev. 19:14).|
|At the Rapture, the Church will leave the earth (I Thess. 4:17).||At the Second Coming, the Church will come back to the earth (Zech. 14:4; Rev. 19:14).|
|At the Rapture, Satan will be very active on earth (Rev. 12:12; 13:2).||At the Second Coming, Satan will be bound and chained and cast into the Bottomless Pit (Rev. 20:1-3).|
|At the Rapture, peace will be removed from the earth (Rev. 6:3-4).||At the Second Coming, peace will be restored on earth (Isa. 9:6).|
|At the Rapture, the Antichrist will appear and go forth conquering and to conquer (II Thess. 2:7-8; Rev. 6:1-2).||At the Second Coming, the Antichrist will be seized and cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20).|
|The Rapture and Tribulation Period will come like a thief in the night to unbelievers (I Thess. 5:2-4).||At the Second Coming, every eye will see Him (Rev. 1:7; Luke 21:27).|
|At the Rapture, the Church will be removed from the earth (I Thess. 4:17).||At the Second Coming, the Lost will be removed from the earth (Matt. 13:36-43; 47-51).|
|The Rapture will before the Marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-10).||The Second Coming will be after the Marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:11-15).|
|At the Rapture, Jesus will come to receive His Church (John 14:1-3; I Thess. 4:13-18)||At the Second Coming, Jesus will come with His Church (I Thess. 3:13; Rev. 19:14).|
|There are no signs of the Rapture (Matt. 24:36).||There are many signs of the Second Coming (2520 days after covenant is signed, 1260 days after Antichrist defiles the Temple, after the Mark, after the Battle of Armageddon, etc.|
|The Rapture will take place in the twinkling of an eye (I Cor. 15:52).||At the Second Coming, Jesus will remain to reign on earth (Isa. 9:6; Jer. 23:5-6; Zech. 14:9; Hos. 3:4-5; Matt. 6:9-13).|
|At the Rapture, Israel’s enemies will try to destroy Israel (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:16; Rev. 12:13-17).||At the Second Coming, Jesus will destroy Israel’s enemies (Rev. 19:17-21).|
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