Have you ever seen a bumper sticker that says, “In case of rapture car is yours”?
Let’s take a look at what this (false) interpretation of Scripture teaches. According to those who believe in this “rapture” theory, they say that suddenly and secretly Christians who are upon the earth will suddenly vanish at Christ’s second coming. Cars will suddenly be found without drivers and mass collisions on the highways will result. Planes, now without pilots, will crash, killing their occupants. Couples walking together in conversation will suddenly find themselves talking to themselves as the second person vanishes. Wives and husbands will wake up to finding their spouse missing and parents and children will be left alone. The resulting chaos will make news headlines like never before seen. After the Lord supposedly removes the righteous from the earth in this manner there will be a seven-year period on earth known as “The Great Tribulation.” (They get this from Revelation 7:15. But the phrase “the great tribulation” is not The Great Tribulation. It is merely a phrase just as if someone were to say, “there is much happening in the great chaos below.” It’s ‘“the great chaos”, not “The Great Chaos”). During this “tribulation” period, they say, God will pour out great wrath and vengeance upon earth and its remaining inhabitants. After this seven-year period, Christ will come yet again to fight a final battle against the armies of the earth. He will be victorious and execute judgment on the ungodly. He will then usher in His kingdom, a 1,000 period in which Christ reigns on earth. After this 1,000 reign of Christ on earth, there will be one final attempted uprising of evil against good, which of course, will fail. Then there will be a second resurrection and all who have lived will rise to receive their reward or punishment.
Now, let’s examine what the Bible really says regarding Christ’s second coming:
First, much of the error of this teaching can be cleared up by simply examining what the Bible says will be the events on the last day. There is no 1,000 year “lull” between Christ’s return and the final Judgment and the resurrection of the dead.
#1.) There will be one resurrection, which will include both Christians and non-christians alike:
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”
#2.) This resurrection will occur on the last day:
“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,
and I will raise him up at the last day.”
“Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
#3.) The judgment will occur on the last day:
“There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.”
Now, having firmly established that the resurrection occurs on the last day, let’s look at what else happens when the dead rise--
#4) At the resurrection (which occurs on the last day), Christ shall return!
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring
with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those
who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
Having already examined John 12:48 in (#3 above), we can further reinforce that judgment day occurs when Christ returns (which occurs on the last day, accompanied by the resurrection of the dead):
“All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the
presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”
#5) When Christ returns (along with the Judgment), it will bring the destruction of the heavens and the earth:
2 Peter 3:3-14
”First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look
#6) The last trumpet occurs at the resurrection:
to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor
does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We
will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling
of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be
raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe
itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the
perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with
immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has
been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
#7) The Lord’s return shall not be secretive. Every eye shall see Him!
he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
So in conclusion, the Bible says that when Christ returns several events will occur:
àIt will be the last day
àIt will be Judgment Day
àThe dead will rise (both the righteous and the unrighteous)
àThe last trumpet and shout of the archangel will be heard
àChristians who are living at the time will instantaneously receive their new, glorified, immortal bodies and will rise in the air to meet Christ and be with Him forever
àThose disobedient to Christ’s gospel will receive eternal punishment
àThe destruction of the heavens and the earth will occur
àGod will bring about the new earth-- the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21)
When Jesus Christ returns, there will be no “second chances”. It will be the end of time. The lost will be horrified and terrified beyond belief, knowing that inescapable, eternal damnation in the fires of hell is upon them. There will be no more tomorrows. There will be no way out. The end will be here--finally and at last. Are you ready for His return? If Christ were to return at
this very moment, would you be found in Him? Are you ready right now? Or would you be found to be in disobedience to His gospel? If you want to be sure, if you want to know for certain what you must do to be saved, if you want to know whether you are saved or not, follow the plan of salvation God has given us in the Bible:
To escape the condemnation of this judgment and to be saved, we must:
1.) Hear the “good news” of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:14)
2.) Believe (Hebrews 11:6; Acts 8:37; Mark 16:16; John 8:24)
3.) Repent of our sins (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30; Mark 10:15, Galatians 5:19-21, Colossians 3:5-10)
4.) Confess faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 8:36-37; Romans 10:9)
5.) BE BAPTIZED (immersed) in water for the purpose of having our sins forgiven and washed away (being reborn). (Acts 2:37-41; 1Peter 3:21; John 3:3-5; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-8; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:26-27; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8:34-39; Ephesians 4:5) In baptism, we become clothed with Christ, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and are added to his body—the church. See also Ephesians 1:22-23; 1Corinthians 12:13.
6.) Remain faithful for the rest of our lives and carry our cross daily We must continue to hold to Christ’s teachings and walk with Him in His ways until the end (Revelation 2:10; Matthew 24:13; Luke 9:23; Hebrews 10:25: John 8:31)
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