Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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.
God Is Faithful
Our heavenly Father is a God of plan, purpose and objectivity. ‘Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world’ (Act 15:18). God has an agenda for the dispensations of His creation. The coming of the Seed of the woman, the Messiah of the world is in two phases. Phase one is to pay the price of redemption. Jesus the Christ accomplished that about two thousand years ago. He is currently seated in heaven at the right hand of God Almighty from where He will come the second time to complete His assignment. In the last seven years of this dispensation, four raptures will take place beginning with the rapture of the church. Rapture is the only way to enter heaven and be part of the ruling class. It concerns only the Church of Jesus Christ and eligibility criteria for participation are the same for dead and living Christians.
All First Coming Prophecies And Signs Have Been Fulfilled
The promise made to fallen Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that is being fulfilled as planned. “So the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you will be punished. … From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen 3:14-15).
The coming of the Messiah as the Seed of the woman is in two parts. In His first coming Jesus Christ was “the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn 3:29). About two thousand years ago, Jesus completed the first coming assignment. All the Old Testament prophecies regarding His first coming were fulfilled meticulously. The second coming is for judgment and punishment of the wicked and the exaltation of the righteous. Both Old and New Testaments of the Bible have several prophetic signs of Christ’s second coming, which are still future.
Signs Of Christ’s Second Coming
The Second Coming of Christ has two aspects: the first aspect is the rapture of the church. Christ will assemble members of His Body in outer space, the atmospheric heaven. The second aspect expected to take place seven years later, will be visible. Christ in person will return to earth with His saints and holy angels. The signs enumerated by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse point to the second coming of Christ. Rapture is not the second coming of Christ, although it is part of it. Indeed, it is one of the signs that will herald the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ with His saints and the holy angels. It will be a public event and all eyes will see Him land on the grounds of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
There are no specific signs for the rapture of the rapture. The imminence of rapture means that it is ‘any-moment’ event. All the signs that should precede the 70th heptad have taken place, and continue to recur progressively with greater devastation in effect. This trend will continue until rapture takes place. The similitude is birthpangs for a woman in labor. Birthpangs began in May 1948 with the reestablishment of the state of Israel which fulfilled our Lord’s parable of the Fig Tree. The frequent earthquakes and tsunamis, terrorism, air disasters, fires and pestilences and more recently Islamic insurgency are the evidence of the birthpangs pointing to the expected event.
Rapture is not the visible appearing of Christ on earth but part of it as the latter will happen exactly seven years after the former has taken place. Of the five raptures mentioned in the Scripture, the next one is the rapture of the Church. Note that the rapture of the Church is not the same as the second coming of Christ, the Battle of Armageddon, end of the world or physical alteration in the topography of the world. The rapture also is not the end of human government; it is neither for non-Christians nor Christians who are disqualified for one reason or the other.
The Purpose Of The Rapture Of The Church
The Lord Jesus is coming to earth a second time. His Coming will coincide with the end of the dispensation of grace. Two comings are involved, encompassing a period of at least seven years. The herald of His second coming is the rapture of the Church. The main purpose of the rapture is to take saints to heaven for a period of seven years to prepare for Christ’s one thousand-year reign on earth. There will be joyful activities in heaven and catastrophic events on the earth. These activities will occur contemporaneously during the seven-year Tribulation Period that will end in heaven with the wedding feast and the battle of Armageddon on earth. The importance of the rapture is underscored by the following purposes:
1. To cause the hinderer of lawlessness to be removed so that the Antichrist will manifest to carry out his end-time program. The Holy Spirit and Church of Jesus Christ together currently restrain the explosion of lawlessness in the world.
2. To resurrect “sleeping” saints from among the wicked dead and cloth them with robes of righteousness.
3. To complete the salvation of saints, by making their inward and outward personalities to be perfect and fit to dwell in heaven. Saints will receive glorified bodies, since flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, thus changing the bodies of saints from mortality to immortality.
4. To enable Christ receive saints both sleeping and living to be with Him and be glorified in them as He promised.
5. To ensure that living saints do not pass through the Tribulation Period.
6. To allow for the revelation and reign of the Beast, the Antichrist.
7. To bring to light the hidden things of darkness.
8. To present the saints before God the Father.
9. To reward the saints for faithfulness and judge the Jews for rejecting the Messiah at His first advent and the Gentile world for their treatment of Jews and Christians, including the martyrs.
10. To reign with Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords on the earth under the Davidic Covenant.
The significance of Christ’s second coming stems from the fact that His assignment on earth spans three dispensational epochs with three finishing points. Christ has carried out the first phase of His assignment successfully. Without the second phase the plan of redemption for what God lost on earth would be meaningless. Therefore, Jesus must return to earth during the tenure of the generation that witnessed the rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948 – the Fig Tree generation. About two thousand years separate the completion of first coming activities and the Second Advent that covers a period of one thousand years.
The second coming of Christ is in two phases: the first phase is the ‘catching-away’ of saints of God who are abiding in Christ when the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven to the air and dead and living saints will be transformed and lifted to Him in a twinkling of an eye. In this first phase, the Lord Jesus Christ will come for His saints dead and alive in the atmospheric region. The second phase is when the Lord Jesus Christ will descend on the earth with His saints. He will land at the Mount of Olives in Israel and begin a series of activities leading to the establishment of a literal kingdom of God on earth.
Seven years separate the first from the second phase. By the mid-tribulation of seven years, the Jews will realize their mistake about the Antichrist who they presumed was the long-awaited Messiah. They will go through three and a half years of tribulation described by Jesus as the most horrendous period of wickedness and human humiliation and destruction in human history. Left completely incapable of defending themselves, the Jews will look to the hills and cry out to the Lord for deliverance.
Knowledge of end-time doctrine, times and seasons and how to prepare for the second coming of Christ whether quick or sleeping is important to benefit from God’s plan for His children. As it is written: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (NKJV).
The next event in the Plan of God is the Rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ. Have you made yourself ready for Christ’s return?