I hope you love the products and resources I recommend here at Foundational. It is possible that I get a commission and collect income from the links on this page. Click here for more info.
The question I am asked most often these days is, “Pastor, what do you think is going on… really going on?”
Others ask, “Do you think we are close to the second coming of Jesus?”
These are sincere people who are committed believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
They are not kooks or extremists; but believers who are sensing something that is alerting their spirit.
They wonder if Jesus may be coming sooner than many are expecting.
Addressing their very sincere questions I ask, “What does the Bible say?” I am compelled to share with you.
What does the Bible say about the nearness of Jesus’ second coming?
This blog will be the first in a short series addressing this question I believe to be very relevant and timely.
It is very important to understand Scripture teaches the second coming of Jesus has two phases that are separated by a short period of time.
During the first phase, Jesus appears in the sky and resurrects all His disciples, dead and living, to Himself.
This event is commonly referred to as the rapture. We will address this experience in detail in this blog.
Part two of the second coming of Jesus Christ takes place when He physically comes to planet earth, with all of His saints.
He arrives at the Mount of Olives, confronts the armies of the earth, sets up His throne in Jerusalem, and establishes an earthly kingdom for one thousand years.
That will be the subject of the next blog.
Let us take a careful look at the first phase of Jesus’ second coming.
Why it is important to you?
Is the rapture a biblical teaching?
What is the rapture?
What is the purpose of the rapture and when does the rapture take place?
There are a few of Bible teachers who speak against the doctrine of the rapture and even mock the teaching as irresponsible escapism.
The Holy Scripture clearly teaches this is very real rapture event that is soon to take place.
Scripture provides the reasons God has established this amazing end time event.
Those reasons reveal it is not irresponsible escapism, rather it should be the hope and anticipation of every born again child of God.
Some of the anti-rapture teachers boldly declare, the term rapture is not even in the Bible.
While it is true, the English word “rapture” is not used in Holy Scripture, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (NKJV).
The words “caught up” in this passage of Scripture is the Greek word, harpazoo that means to seize or to carry off by force.
It is used in Matthew 12:29 to seize on, claim for oneself eagerly and again in Matthew 11:12 to snatch out or away.
When Scripture was translated into the Latin Vulgate, the translators used the Latin word rapio to translate harpazoo.
The English word “rapture” is derived from the Latin word rapio.
Even though the actual word “rapture” is not in the Holy Scripture, the biblical principle is very much there.
Similarly, the actual word “trinity” is not found in the Holy Scripture.
The biblical principle of one God existing in three persons, is found in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible (Genesis 1:26) and in the first book of the New Testament (Matthew 3:13-17), as well as many other passages of the Word of God.
Both biblical principles are in Holy Scripture even though the words “trinity” and “rapture” are not used, thus both are very much accurate biblical teachings.
The Apostle Paul addressed both phases of the second of Jesus Christ in 1Corinthians 15:20-28.
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (NKJV)
The apostle used the analogy of a harvest season to describe the rapture. Then he wrote about the importance of Jesus establishing His kingdom on earth, “He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet” (1Corinthians 15:24-25).
A harvest has three basic components, the first fruits, the main harvest, and the gleanings.
That is how the rapture takes places.
Christ rose from the dead on the third day and led the Old Testament saints out of the upper compartment of Sheol (He called it Abraham’s bosom in Luke 16:19-31) and took them to heaven to be with Him (Matthew 27:50-53, Ephesians 4:7-10, Colossians 2:13-15).
The Apostle explained this was the first fruits of the rapture.
The main harvest will take place when Jesus Christ appears in the sky with all the righteous ones who are with Him in Heaven.
He will raise their bodies from the grave and He will raise the righteous who are still living off the earth to meet Him in the sky (1Thessalonians 4:13-18).
The gleaning is a series of raptures that take place during the Great Tribulation.
The two powerful witness are raptured before all the world (Revelation 11:11-14).
The 144,000 Jewish missionaries are raptured after they have carried the Gospel to the world (Revelation 14:1-5).
Those who are born again during the Great Tribulation and are martyred for their faith are raptured near the end (Revelation 20:4).
Scripture provides three important reasons for the rapture of the believers. I will not write the text of each Scripture, for brevity, but simply provide the references.
I strongly urge you to look them up and carefully read each text within its context.
You will discover the biblical accuracy, wonderful hope, and glorious experience that is ahead.
The first purpose Scripture gives for the rapture is to remove the righteous from the earth during the season God is pouring out His wrath and vengeance on the nations who have rejected Him and who are persecuting “the apple of God’s eye,” the Jewish people (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10; Revelation 3:10-11).
The second purpose of the rapture is to bring the Bride of Christ from her house to His Father’s house and celebrate their wedding (Matthew 26:27-29; Mark 14:22-26; John 14:1-6; Revelation 19:1-10).
At this time the saints, the Bride of Christ, will be clothed in their glorious bodies and in their wedding garments, pure white robes which is the righteousness of the saints (Romans 8:22-23; 29-30; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5; Revelation 19:1-9).
The rapture of the church also brings every child of God before the bema of Christ, the judgment seat of Christ.
They come before Him not to be judged for their sins and whether they enter into Heaven, that was completed when they received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The bema of Christ is to reward them for works done for the Kingdom of God while they were living on earth (1 Corinthians 3:11-14; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Matthew 25:14-30).
At that time, the saints of God become the army of God.
They will return to earth with Jesus Christ when He defeats the nations, sets up His throne in Jerusalem, and establishes the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 19:11-21).
Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
He did give us some markers to the know the nearness of His second coming and the rapture of the church.
Matthew 24:31-33 – When you “see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors!”
Matthew 24:1-15 Jesus gave four sets of these sign markers, each one letting us see His coming is getting nearer.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 the rapture will take place at a time of great apostasy and just before the “man of sin, the son of perdition” appears.
In other words, it will be just before the Great Tribulation takes place on earth.
Jesus gave a parable in Matthew 25:1-13 regarding the rapture and the marriage supper of the Lamb.
It is a warning each of us should carefully read and examine ourselves asking, “Do I live everyday rapture ready?”
The answer to that question is clarified by asking a second question. “Have I allowed myself to become distracted?”
This self examination will only provide benefit if you are candid and honest in your own heart.
There is a rapture! Jesus is coming in the clouds, very soon… ready or not.
 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved
Check out my eCourse on Jesus’ second coming as viewed through the lens of history!
More articles on Jesus’ second coming