TWO DISTINCT PHASES OF
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

A comparison between the rapture
(PRE-TRIBULATIONAL COMING)
and
the second advent
(POST-TRIBULATIONAL COMING)

TIME

RAPTURE - BEFORE the tribulation (Revelation 3:10). The church will be kept out of that hour or time of testing which will come upon the whole world.

SECOND ADVENT - AFTER the tribulation (Matthew 24:29-30; Revelation 19:11-16).

QUICKNESS

RAPTURE - In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52). It is very sudden. It will happen before people will realize it is happening (even as it was with Enoch, see Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5). An example of a man being raptured away suddenly so as to be seen no more is found in Acts 8:39

SECOND ADVENT - Slow enough for people to realize and see what is happening (Matthew 24:27; Revelation 1:7; Psalm 2:2; Revelation 19:19). The second coming of Christ to the earth will be visible and obvious to all. No one will miss it

DATE (The day on which it will take place)

RAPTURE - UNKNOWN DAY. The Lord Jesus will surely come for His Church but we do not know when (while the fact of His coming is sure, the time of His coming is unsure). The rapture is imminent which means that He may come at any time.

SECOND ADVENT - KNOWN DAY. The date of the second coming can be calculated to the very day. It will occur 2520 days (7 years, or 84 months, each month made up of 30 days) from the time that Antichrist makes a treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27) and it will occur 1260 days (3-1/2 years) from the time of the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15). See Revelation 11:2,3; 12:6,14; 13:5 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (Antichrist is destroyed at the 2nd coming).

PRECEDING SIGNS

RAPTURE - NONE. He may come for His Church at any time and nothing needs to be fulfilled before He comes. The only thing we are waiting for is the completion of the church (Matthew 16:18; Romans 11:25), and only God knows when this will be.

SECOND ADVENT - MANY (Matthew 24:3-28). There is much that must be fulfilled before Christ returns to the earth (such as all the events in Revelation 6-18).

ILLUSTRATION: The rapture can be likened to Thanksgiving (a holiday without signs) and the second advent can be likened to Christmas (which is preceded by all kinds of signs). When you see the signs of Christmas (decorations, lights, trees, etc.) then you can be sure that Thanksgiving will take place at any time. If Christmas is near then Thanksgiving must be even nearer!

VISIBILITY

RAPTURE - Christ seen only by the church (1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 John 3:2).

SECOND ADVENT - Christ seen by every eye (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:24-27).

LOCATION

RAPTURE-In the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

SECOND ADVENT - On the earth (Zech. 14:4)

ASSOCIATED JUDGEMENT

RAPTURE - The judgment seat of Christ (2 Timothy 4:1,8; 1 Peter 1:7).

SECOND ADVENT - Destruction of the wicked armies (Revelation 19:17-19) and the judgment of living nations (Matthew 25:31-46).

IDENTITY (Of those removed from the earth and those remaining on the earth)

RAPTURE - Believers are removed; unbelievers remain (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; John 14:3).

SECOND ADVENT - Unbelievers are removed; believers remain (Matthew 24:37-41 and Luke 17:34-37). See Matthew 24:38 where the unbelieving world in Noah's day was taken away in judgment.

PURPOSE OF CHRIST'S COMING

RAPTURE - To receive His bride (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

SECOND ADVENT - To receive His kingdom (Luke 19:22; Revelation chapters 19-20)

THE BODIES OF LIVING BELIEVERS

RAPTURE - Church age believers are raised (those who have died) and are translated and changed (those who are living) with the result that they have immortal, resurrection bodies (1 Corinthians 15:52-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

SECOND ADVENT - Believers who survive the tribulation enter the kingdom in natural bodies (Matthew 25:23), and these believers will eventually bear children and re-populate the earth.