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The second coming of Christ

Here is a simple explanation of the Bible verses leading up to Believers being caught up to meet the Lord in the air (The Rapture) and how they fit with other Bible verses.

All true Christians affirm that Jesus will return bodily to earth at the end of time.  He will judge all people from every nation and age and only those who received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour while living on earth will make it to heaven.  The end times events of the Word of God are certain, but interpreting their correct order is difficult and no-one can claim infallibility.  Please do your own thinking and keep the Word of God as your only sure guide as you read this commentary.

The coming of Jesus for His saints   1 Thessalonians 4:13 -17

13
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep,
Apostle Paul is writing to Christians (saints) at Thessalonica:  they are to know what happens to deceased saints.  Through these Bible words, God's love shines to us today to bring us comfort and encouragement of future blessings.
lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
We are not to be overly sorrowful for family members or friends who have died in Jesus.  Saints who have died have a glorious future and hope, as opposed to those who have died without Jesus; their opportunity for eternal life has closed.

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, ...  
John 3:36

14
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
These are essential beliefs of every Christian: Jesus' death on the cross for sin and His triumph over death in His resurrection .
even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
Because Jesus rose from the dead, those who have died believing in Jesus will return with Him.

Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,                          Jude 1:14

Deceased saints are alive right now, living as spirits with Jesus.

... while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.         ... well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.         2 Corinthians 5:6, 8

15
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord,
This teaching is not the opinion of men but the sure Word of God.
that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord
The last generation of saints living on earth.

will by no means precede those who are asleep.

Will not have an advantage or privilege over saints who have died previously.
16
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven
The Lord Jesus Christ will return in power and glory from the sky.  The Bible tells us that everyone will see His return: the saints and unbelievers on earth, the saints that return with Jesus and even deceased unbelievers, presumably from their place of torment.  This great event will be welcomed by the saints and mourned by unbelievers.

... 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.                               Matthew 24:30

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.                                        Revelation 1:7

with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
Jesus' return will certainly not be secret. The shout from the archangel, the trumpet of God and accompanying fire all announce the coming of our Lord Jesus.

…  when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire …     2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8

Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him.             Psalm 50:3

And the dead in Christ will rise first.
The deceased saints will be the first to receive their glorious resurrected eternal bodies followed by the saints on earth.  This last generation will not see death but be transformed directly to their eternal bodies.

Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52

No mention is made here of the resurrection and terrible judgement of the unbelievers… the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.             John 5:28,29

... when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven ....
in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These shall be punished with everlasting destruction ...
when He comes in that Day, to be glorified in His saints ...     2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
which also occurs when Jesus returns.  It is God's design here to assure His saints of their great future.

17
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds
Caught up here is called the rapture by some Christians.  This last generation of saints will not die but will be forcefully taken from wherever they are on earth, joined with the deceased saints in the clouds and taken to meet the Lord in the air.

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 (sky) to the other.         Matthew 24:31

Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.   ... etc.                 Matthew 24:40-41

to meet the Lord in the air.
All the saints will be forcefully taken to a friendly meeting with the Lord in the air.  The Greek word for "air" here means ground level air. The Lord Jesus Christ will be on earth, physically and bodily and the saints will be with Him in their eternal bodies. Saints today can hardly imagine how great this celebration will be, seeing Jesus face to face and their reunion with deceased saints.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;                   Job 19:25

... This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.                 Acts 1:11

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east.  ...               Zechariah 14:4

... we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.                I John 3:2

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.  ...                               1 Corinthians 13:12

And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God,                               Job 19:26

And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
This is the beginning of a glorious future for God's people.

 

If you don't know for sure that you belong to Jesus and have a future then click on this link before it's too late.  It's really stupid to do nothing now and experience God's wrath on that great Day.  Submit to the Lord Jesus today and ask Him to save you!

w_endthe end of the world ...
know for sure you will go to heaven ...
Christianity Explained ...
find a good church ...
The Secret Rapture ...
Is God angry in the OT and loving in the NT? ...

Produced by Monash Christian Fellowship, Melbourne, Australia. Author Pastor Bill Wheaton 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and used for non-profit evangelism provided that it is unchanged and carries this credit. Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Translation of the Bible.