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There is Bible prophecy concerning Jesus’ return to earth. However, a distinction must be drawn between Jesus coming for His saints at the Rapture, and Jesus coming with His saints at His Second Coming to reign for a thousand years (Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 19:28; 25:31; Rev. 19:11-21). Jesus is now in heaven preparing a place for us to be with Him there (John 14:1-3). Paul describes Jesus’ return for the church in which we shall be caught up (Grk. ἁρπάζω harpazo; Lat. Rapturo - to seize, catch up) to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Paul explains to the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 15:51-53) that the changing of our bodies at the Lord’s return is a mystery (μυστήριον musterion – something not revealed in the OT, but is revealed here for the first time). Below are the various views on the rapture of the church:
- Pre-Tribulation Rapture: The church is taken out of the world before the Tribulation begins (1 Thess. 1:9-10; 5:9; Rev. 3:10). Partial Rapture: Only believers who faithfully watch for the Lord’s return will be raptured out of the world before the Tribulation (Matt. 24:40-44). This view confuses the Second Coming of Christ with the Rapture of the Church. Mid-Tribulation Rapture: The church is taken out of the world in the middle of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:1-15). This view—and the Pre-Wrath Rapture view— ignores the biblical passages that teach God will spare the church from wrath and tribulation (1 Thess. 1:9-10; 5:9; Rev. 3:10). Pre-Wrath Rapture: The church is taken out of the world just before God’s wrath is greatest (Rev. 14:10; 16:1). Post-Tribulation Rapture: The church is raptured up as Christ is returning to earth at His Second Coming (John 16:33). This view seeks to merge the rapture of the church with the Second Coming of Christ.
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