Dr. Renald Showers Explains 8 Differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming
By: Dr. John Ankerberg
Alright. Now, what we’ve been talking about in these last few programs is the differences between the rapture and the second coming, because a lot of folks think they’re just one and the same event. But we’ve talked about eight differences, and let me just review them quickly. And I’ll put them on the screen for you.
First, there’s a difference in the place Christ will meet believers. For example: at the rapture, Christians will meet the Lord in the air, as Jimmy said. And at the second coming Christ is going to descend all the way to the earth, step on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and take the believers then into the millennial kingdom.
Second, there’s a difference in who removes people from the earth, according to the Bible. At the rapture it says the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, okay. Christ Himself comes and takes believers out of this world. At the second coming, the passages, if you read them it’s very interesting; Christ sends His angels to take the wicked off the earth to hell, to judgment.
And then third, at each event there’s a difference in those who are taken from the earth and those who are left. And this is very interesting. At the rapture, the believers are the ones that are taken, and it’s the ones that are the unbelievers that are left on the earth. At the second coming, believers are left on the earth to go into the millennial kingdom, and unbelievers are taken to judgment.
Fourth, there’s a difference of when Jesus comes in relationship to what Rennie said, the seven year tribulation period in between. At the rapture Jesus comes to rescue Christians before the hour of trial, the tribulation. At the second coming, Jesus comes after the tribulation to inflict final punishment, conquer His enemies, and to begin to rule and reign from Jerusalem.
The fifth difference, the Bible indicates there’s a difference in the number of signs given for each event. As Rennie said last week, there are no signs that have to happen before the rapture. But at the second coming, if you go to Matthew 24, I think we looked at 19 different signs that it says must happen, must take place, before Jesus’ coming back at the second coming.
Sixth, there’s a difference between the two events as to when judgment takes place. At the rapture, there’s no mention of judgment that takes place, only promises connected with believers going back to heaven and enjoying the Father’s house with Jesus. At the second coming, you’ve got judgment that’s going to take place.
Now, seventh, is what I want to look at today. Seventh and eighth, there is a difference in the timing of the resurrections which will take place. The Bible says at the rapture a resurrection of the dead in Christ takes place when Christ descends to above the earth and we meet Him there in the air and He takes us to heaven. At the second coming, a resurrection of the righteous dead who died during the tribulation takes place only after Christ has descended to earth. Now, Rennie, I want you to talk about this one. There’s a difference in the timing of the resurrections; what takes place. Talk about the rapture. What happens there?
Showers: Well, time-wise it’s a blink of an eye, any moment, instantaneous. Christ comes down from heaven with a great archangel. There’s a loud shout. He brings down the remains of the Christians who have already died. Their bodies were buried when they died. Their souls and spirits went to heaven. They’ll come back, their soul and spirit. Christ will resurrect their bodies from the dead, reunite the returning souls and spirits with those bodies. And then the Christians who are alive on the earth at that time, they’re Christians, their bodies will be immediately transformed into an immortal body as well. And together they’re caught up from the earth to meet the Lord Jesus in the air.
And in contrast with that, at the second coming, after the tribulation period where Christ is coming down to restore God’s kingdom rule to planet earth again, the people who God saved during the tribulation period and either had died by being executed by the Antichrist, etc., or died of just natural means, and everything, their bodies will be instantly resurrected from the dead. But then they’re going to stay in those bodies with Christ for the whole 1,000 year reign of His upon planet earth.
Ankerberg: I want to follow that up. And number eight in our differences: The kinds of bodies believers will possess is different at the rapture versus the second coming. Now, let me explain this one a little bit, and then you can add to it. At the rapture, believers are given glorified bodies. How do we know that? We’ve already talked about 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 which says, “Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep,” we’re not going to all die, “but we shall all be” what?
Showers: Transformed. Changed.
Ankerberg: Transformed, changed, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” So the fact is, how are we going to be changed? What kind of bodies will we have at the rapture?
Showers: At the rapture it’ll be a body which will never die again. It’ll just go on throughout eternity.
Ankerberg: Alright, and the fact is, so you’ve got this immortal, wonderful new body, okay. But in heaven they neither marry nor are given in marriage. Interesting that at the second coming, the believers that make it through and live through the end of the tribulation, when Jesus comes at the second coming, what happens to them?
Showers: They will go immediately into the kingdom with Christ. And because they’ve not died during the tribulation period, they’ll go in with mortal bodies such as we have now. And as a result they’ll be able to marry and give birth to children. And so the Bible talks about children being born during the 1,000 year reign of Christ upon planet earth.
Ankerberg: Yeah. And, Jimmy, if you’re a post-tribulationist, you’ve got a big problem with this point right here. Because if you believe that the rapture happens after the tribulation, Jesus would come to the air above the earth; we would be raptured up to meet Him; but then we’d immediately come back down. But when He raptures us, the Bible says we’re all going to be changed; we’re going to be transformed. Everybody that would come down then would have a glorified body that’s going to live forever that doesn’t have children. So how do you get people having children in the millennium?
DeYoung: Well, the Bible does promise that that is going to be the case; Isaiah 65:20, they will have children. A child will grow to be 100 years of age and have to either receive or reject Jesus Christ at that time. Remember, it’s going to be a theocracy during that 1,000 year period of time. But if the post-tribulational rapture is correct, that’s not going to be a possibility. They are not going to be able to see the fulfillment of Bible prophecy unfold. And it’s almost ludicrous for me to think about that. Hey, if the rapture takes place, you go up, get on a white horse, you come right back down. It’s not a part of the whole prophetic scenario laid out in God’s Word. This is not their only problem. They have many more problems, and especially in light of what we’ve been talking about.