Order of the Second Coming II Thess. 2:1 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
We know that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth because he said he would. His return is in two parts; “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “our gathering together unto him,” [2 Thes 2:1]. Jesus said, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also,” [Jn 14:3].
First, Jesus will come to gather us together unto him [1 Thes 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:50-55]. This is when “our vile body” is “fashioned like unto his glorious body,” [Phil 3:21]. Notice these unique characteristics of the rapture:
- The Lord himself will descend from heaven – 1 Thes 4:16
- Some of us will be alive and some of us will be dead when he comes – 1 Thes 4:15-17
- Those who are alive will be changed – 1 Cor 15:51-52; these are the mortal 1 Cor 15:53-54
- Those who are dead will be raised – 1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thes 4:16; these are the corruptible
- Those who are dead come with Jesus – 1 Thes 4:14 – these are the souls and spirits which “sleep in Jesus” [Eph 5:30-32].
- We all “meet the Lord in the air” – 1 Thes 4:17 – neither he nor we are on earth at this time. So, this isn’t his return when “his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives,” [Zech 14:4].
- This is when we go to “inherit the kingdom of God,” [1 Cor 15:50] – he will sort out our inheritance at the judgment seat of Christ [1 Cor 3:11-15; Col 3:23-25]
- This is when we go to the place Jesus has prepared for us – Jn 14:1-3
- This is when we go to “the marriage of the Lamb” – Rev 19:7-9
If you aren’t saved, you won’t be going up in the rapture. If you haven’t served the Lord, you will have nothing rewardable to inherit at the judgment seat of Christ [2 Cor 5:10]
Second, following all of these events, which take place while those on the earth are going through the Tribulation, Jesus will come to the earth to rule.
- Jesus’ return follows the marriage of the Lamb – Rev 19:11-16 – the marriage takes place in heaven in Rev 19:7-9
- We will come with him on white horses – Rev 19:14 – the church age saints are “the armies which were in heaven” [contrast Jn 18:36].
- Jesus will defend Jerusalem – Zech 14:2-4 – against the nations of the world [Ps 83]
- The Lord will destroy the antichrist – Dan 8:23-25; Dan 2:31-45
- The Lord will destroy those “that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ [2 Thes 1:7-10]
- The devil will be bound in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years – Rev 20:1-2
- The Lord will set up his earthly rule – Zech 14:4-11; Is 9:6-7
- We will rule on earth as kings and priests for 1,000 years – Rev 20:4-6; Rev 5:9-10
- Our home will be in New Jerusalem – Rev 21 – where he has prepared the place for us.
Conclusion: don’t be fooled into believing that the rapture and the return of the Lord to rule on the earth are the same event. Don’t miss the rapture by refusing to believe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God [Jn 3:3-7]. And you must serve the Lord and suffer with him to be joint-heirs with him in his kingdom [Rom 8:17].