If Not The Rapture, What Then?
by Kent Heaton
The doctrine of men suggesting the Lord will return to earth a second time for a “rapture” disregards the nature of the second coming of Christ described by the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 9:27-28. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” The first time Christ appeared was when He came as a man (Philippians 2:5-11). The Hebrew writer says Christ will “appear a second time” and this time it will be for salvation. The Bible nowhere teaches Christ will appear a third time (as taught by those who believe in the “Rapture”).
The second appearing of Christ will be the final appearing of Christ. Paul told the church at Thessalonica, “and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). The day Paul speaks of is the final day of man’s existence on earth — the second coming of Christ.
There are numerous passages that show how things will be when Christ returns. “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32). The coming of the Lord will be a time of great noise (unlike the teaching of the silent rapture). “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” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
When we see the nature of the second coming of Christ it is clearly evident with the “shout,” the “voice of an archangel,” the “trumpet of God,” and the “last trumpet” (which suggest no more trumpets) this event will be accompanied by a great deal of noise. Jesus declared upon His return that “all who are in the graves will hear His voice” (John 5:28). This last day event is deafening to the measure of Heaven’s power being brought to bear upon the earth and all mankind.
The apostle Peter spoke of the last days and how the coming of the Lord will be characterized. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). The coming of the Lord will be like a thief and it will come with a “GREAT NOISE.” At the coming of the Lord the earth will be burned up. Judgment will take place and the lake of fire will receive its recipients and Heaven will fill with the saints of God. People of God will be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12).
Are you ready for the second coming of Christ? He is only coming one more time!
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