The day of Christ, the Rapture is to be looked forward to, the Day of the Lord, the Second Coming, is to be greatly feared.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
There is an old adage that says “things that are different are not the same”. As Christians, we have a nasty tendency to read everything from Matthew to Revelation and try to apply it all to the Church. This will not work, because all the New Testament is not written to the Christian Church. The Church is only one part of it. Much of the New Testament is written to the Jews of that time, and to the Jews that will be living during the time of Jacob’s Trouble, otherwise known as the Great Tribulation. And some of it is written to the unbelieving Gentiles. This is why Paul commands Timothy to teach people how to “rightly divide” their Bibles to know which of the three groups God is speaking to at any given time.
So we see many Christian churches today, who do not rightly divide their Bibles, are teaching their people that there is no difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming. They say that these are one and the same event. But we will show you conclusively in this article that, because of the manifold differences between the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, that it is impossible for them to be the same event.
#1: The Rapture is the ‘blessed hope’ while the Second Coming is a Day to be greatly feared.
We start with this one first because it is the one difference most overlooked in a study of the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming. In Titus 2:13, talking about the Rapture, Paul calls it “the Blessed Hope”, a day of great comfort and joy. But in Amos 5:18, talking about the Day of the Lord, which is in fact the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, God tells us that it is a day of “great woe”, and greatly to be feared! Now, how can the Rapture and the Second Coming possibly be the same? Read Joel 3 for more on the ferocity and woefulness of the Second Coming. Paul calls the Rapture of the Church the “day of Christ”. The Second Coming is called the “day of the Lord”. The day of Christ is to be looked forward to, the Day of the Lord to be feared. If you are someone who believes the Bible, then I could stop this article right here as I have established my case well beyond the shadow of any doubt, reasonable or otherwise. But for you who are ” fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” then we have added another 9 rock-solid reasons why the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ cannot be the same event.
- “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” 2 Thessalonians 2:2 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.” Amos 5:18 (KJV) – The Second Coming
- “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9 (KJV) – The Second Coming
#2: In the Rapture, Jesus comes for his Church, at His Second Coming He brings the Church with Him.
Paul teaches over and over again that at the Rapture, the Church is taken up and out from off the face of the Earth. But at the Second Coming, Jesus returns with His saints. Another fatal difference when trying to reconcile the two events as one. The first it’s a “going up”, and in the second it’s a “coming down”.
- “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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Revelation 19:24 (KJV) – The Second Coming
#3: In the Rapture, the Church is taken to Heaven, at the Second Coming Jesus sets up earthly rule.
In both John and Paul’s writings, the promise of a “heavenly home” awaits for the born again Christian. We call this the Kingdom of God. But in the Second Coming, a thousand year kingdom is established on Earth, known as the Kingdom of Heaven. Christians are never promised an earthly home, but an heavenly one. The Jews and Tribulation saints were never promised that, they get instead a home on the Earth.
- “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2,3 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4 (KJV) – The Second Coming
#4: The Rapture happens before the Antichrist and the Tribulation, while the Second Coming happens after both.
Paul stresses repeatedly that one of the incredible benefits of being taken out in the Rapture is that you get to miss the entire wrath of the Great Tribulation. But Matthew tells us that the Second Coming is “after the Tribulation of those days”. Well, which is it? If the Rapture and the Second Coming are the same event, then these verses represent an irreconcilable difference. But there is not a conflict because, obviously, they are two separate and distinct events.
- “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:29,39 (KJV) – The Second Coming
#5: In the Rapture, only the born again Church sees the Lord come for them, at the Second Coming the whole world witnesses it.
Mockers of the doctrine of the Pretribulation Rapture like to call it a “secret” Rapture, like that is somehow an insult to people who believe it. The apostle Paul, who the Holy Spirit used to write that doctrine, also viewed it as a secret, he called it a “mystery”. In the Rapture, only the redeemed hear the Shout of the Lord and He calls us up to be with Him in the air. At the Second Coming, Jesus appears in JUDGMENT to the whole world.
- “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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Revelation 1:7 (KJV) – The Second Coming
#6: In the Rapture, no angels are sent to gather the Church. At the Second Coming, angels do all the gathering for judgment.
Paul says that it is Jesus Himself who comes to gather His Church up and out of here. We hear His Shout, and “in the twinkling of an eye” we are gone. No angels mentioned anywhere. Compare this with His Second Coming where only angels are sent to gather God’s elect, the Jewish remnant who made it through the Tribulation. Again, major difference.
- “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.” 1 Corinthians 15:52 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:30,31 (KJV) – The Second Coming
#7: The Judgment Seat of Christ follows the Rapture while the Judgment of Nations follows the Second Coming.
Immediately after the Rapture of the Church, Paul says that we will be appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is not a judgment on sin, which was taken care of at Calvary, it is a judgement on the works we did or did not do for Jesus Christ after we got saved. But immediately after the Second Coming, the judgment that takes place is a public judgment, not of individuals, but of the nations.
- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:44-46 (KJV) – The Second Coming
#8: Famine, war and pestilence follow the Rapture while 1,000 years of world peace follows the Second Coming.
Again, the differences here could not be more apparent. After the Rapture, a time of unbelievable suffering is ushered in, the time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). But after the Second Coming, a 1,000 reign of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem brings a world peace so amazing that even poisonous animals are no longer dangerous. The verse in Matthew 24 where the apostles ask Jesus about the “sign of thy coming” is a direct reference to the Second Coming. The doctrine of the Rapture was unknown to them at this time and would not be revealed until Paul, 30 years from the writing of Matthew.
- “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:3,6-8 (KJV)
- “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:6-10 (KJV) – The Second Coming
#9: No one in the bible knew of the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church until it was revealed by the Lord to Paul.
This is one of the greatest proof-texts for why the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming cannot be the same event. Paul, in Corinthians 15, is the very first to tell us of the Rapture of the Church, and lets us know that it is a “mystery” revealed by God to him alone which he then was charged with teaching the Church. Nearly every bible chronology places the date of the writing of Matthew at around 35 AD, and the writing of Corinthians at around 66 AD.
Why is this important? Because if no one knew of the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church until Paul, then Matthew 24 and 25 cannot be, under any circumstances, referring to the Church and the Rapture because no one knew of any Rapture. In fact, at the time of Matthew the Church itself was not even formed. If Matthew knew and wrote about the Rapture of the Church, then Paul was lying when he said it was a MYSTERY that he was revealing for the first time in Corinthians.
- “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.” 1 Corinthians 15:51,52 (KJV) – The Rapture
#10: At the Rapture, believers are given a glorified body, at the Second Coming they remain in earthly bodies as they enter the Millennial Kingdom.
At the Rapture of the Church, great personal and physical change takes place for the believer. The Bible says that the born again believer receives a new body that is fashioned just like the “glorious body” that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself was given at His Resurrection. Wow, imagine that! How exciting for the believer to be able to look forward to that day. But at the Second Coming, as Jesus sets up His earthly government from Jerusalem, the people who made it through the Tribulation have no special bodies, and it is possible for them to die. Christians who get glorified bodies can never die.
- “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:20,21 (KJV) – The Rapture
- “But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.” Isaiah 65:17-21 (KJV) – The Second Coming
If you are not only a Bible believer but also intellectually honest, then you must admit that we have proved completely that the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are two very different events with two very different results. In this article we have given 10 reasons as to why, but could easily provide another 20 examples of the differences between the two events.
Things that are different cannot be the same. Case closed.
NTEB is run by end times author and editor-in-chief Geoffrey Grider. Geoffrey runs a successful web design company, and is a full-time minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to running NOW THE END BEGINS, he has a dynamic street preaching outreach and tract ministry team in Saint Augustine, FL.