FAITH: Understanding Earth’s final conflict
The book of Revelation is not designed to mystify us or confuse us, but to compel us to read it; to compel us to repent.
I wrote last week about the different sections in Revelations. This week, we will be discussing the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming.
I did not know there was a difference between the two events, but there is. After a lot of studying, this is what made sense to me. At the Rapture, Jesus will return for His saints. At the Second Coming, He will return with His saints.
At the Rapture, Jesus will not descend to earth. At the Second Coming, He will descend to the Mount of Olives as a prelude to His earthly reign.
At the Rapture, Jesus will bring a blessing for His saints. At the Second Coming, He will bring judgment for those who have rejected Him.
The Rapture could occur at any moment. The Second Coming will occur seven years later.
When the Rapture occurs, Christ will take every deceased and every living Christian to heaven with Him with a lot of people never seeing death like Elijah and Ennoch. Food for thought – The second coming might last up to 24 hours because it says every eye will see Him. The earth rotates in a 24-hour period, which means every eye could literally see Him in that 24 hours.
Unless God has a different plan like zapping everyone to see all at once, which He could. When Christ returns, He will appear as the exalted King of the universe, surrounded by His saints. The powers of evil will be quickly defeated at the Battle of Armageddon no matter where it is, and then Christ will establish His everlasting kingdom on earth.
is mentioned only onetime in Revelation 16:16 and is believed by some to be a place called Mount of Megiddo. Napoleon called it the perfect battlefield. The Valley of Megiddo is not large enough for all the Chinese army to have an “all out war”, so I’m unsure why some think the battle of Armageddon will take place there.
As of 2020, China has the largest active military with 2.1 million soldiers, but the United States has spent more than $732 billion on the military. The U.S. has the technology and the weapons, and the Chinese have the manpower.
Paul describes the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 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.”
Can I get an Amen! Come Lord Jesus, come!
The Rapture will protect God’s saints from the Tribulation—the seven years of judgment that will be poured out on earth between the Rapture and the Second Coming. There are some who argue the Tribulation period will begin before the Rapture.
However, the Bible says that “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1), which suggests the Church will not experience God’s judgment during the Tribulation.
No matter how you believe the end time to happen, these are the times to draw closer to God, and when it says don’t forsake the assembling together, don’t! We should ratchet up our spiritual life as we see the time drawing near.
Don’t be afraid to read Revelations. It’s a fascinating book that will bless you. It’s like a fiction novel that is actually non-fiction, and tells us all about the final conflict.
Karen Y. Stevens is Executive Director at Meals on Wheels