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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - What Is The Difference Between The Rapture And The Second Coming?

Robert Jeffress - What Is The Difference Between The Rapture And The Second Coming?

Robert Jeffress - What Is The Difference Between The Rapture And The Second Coming?
TOPICS: Are We Living In The End Times?, End times, Rapture, Second Coming

Hi, I am Robert Jeffress and welcome again to "Pathway To Victory". No event in biblical prophecy has caused more confusion among Christians than the rapture of the church. Today I'm going to clearly outline what the Bible says about the rapture and the second coming of Jesus. Two distinct end times events with two very different purposes. My message is titled, "What Is the Difference Between The Rapture and The Second Coming in The End Times"? On today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".

I think against that turmoil is how the antichrist rises to power. He starts with a peace treaty with Israel. The first three and a half years are relatively peaceful of the tribulation, but halfway through that seven years Daniel says, "He turns his back on Israel, he breaks the peace covenant, he instigates a war against the Jewish people and against Christians who were being converted during that time". The world forces tired of his dictatorship, decide to try to topple the antichrist. They meet for battle at the plane of Megiddo. Many of us have been there before.

Napoleon said, "It's the most natural battlefield in all the world". The world forces are lined up to do battle with antichrist when suddenly the clouds part, the trumpet sounds and the Lord Jesus Christ appears along with his armies, which we'll see in a moment are you and I. That's the second coming of Jesus. Let me mention four reasons why a literal visible second coming of Christ is important. First of all, a second coming is necessary to fulfill the prophecies of scripture. Did you know there are 1,800 prophecies in the Old Testament about the second coming of Christ. Not the first coming at Bethlehem, 1,800 prophecies about the second coming of Christ and his kingdom. In fact, for every one prophecy about his first coming at Bethlehem, there are eight about his second coming. Twenty five out of 27 books in the New Testament deal with the second coming of Christ or some aspect of it.

One out of every 30 verses in the New Testament is about the second coming. It is the theme of the New Testament. And if Christ doesn't come back, then all of those prophecies go unfulfilled and really you can't trust scripture at all. Secondly, a second coming is necessary to judge unbelievers for their sin. If Christ doesn't come back, then sin and wickedness will increase and will intensify. Thirdly, Christ's second coming is necessary to depose Satan from his earthly dominion. Make no mistake about it. Jesus was right when he said Satan is the prince of the power of the air. Paul was right when he called Satan, "The god of this age". Satan is in temporary control of what is happening in this world right now, but the key word is temporary. Now, if Christ doesn't come back and topple Satan, if God simply says, "You know Satan, you wanted the earth so badly, you keep it and I'll keep heaven and we'll just stay in our own corners".

Do you think God's going to do that? God is lost if that happens. No, God is coming back to reclaim and remake the world that has been lost. And finally, Christ's second coming is necessary to establish God's kingdom on earth. Remember the Abrahamic covenant we looked at a couple of weeks ago? God made an unconditional eternal promise to Abraham and his believing descendants. The promise was, first of all, I'm going to give you a land. And he outlined exactly what that land was. Today, Israel is dwelling in a part of that land, but they're not dwelling in all of the land, but one day they will, one day they will. God made a promise to Abraham and his descendants and he said, you're gonna be a nation that endures forever and you'll live in peace with your enemies one day.

Well, God's, these people, the Israelites, they're in the land right now, they've been reconstituted as a nation but are they at peace with their neighbors? Hardly, hardly, but one day they will be. God said to Abraham, "Abraham through one of your descendants, the entire world will be blessed". And of course, that was a reference to Jesus Christ. Paul said in Galatians 3, "And Jesus did come and he did secure salvation for those who believe". But God promised more than that. He said, "One day, Messiah, the Lord Jesus will sit on the throne of God in Jerusalem and rule the world in perfect peace and righteousness". Jesus has come, but is he ruling over the world in truth and grace? Not yet, but one day he will. And that one day is the period we call the millennium, the thousand year reign of Christ on the earth.

When God fulfills his promise to believing Israel. Ladies and gentlemen, God has some unfinished business left on planet earth to do and the millennium, the second coming of Christ and his kingdom are the time when God will finish his business with Israel and with the world. By the way, do you know that's what the song "Joy To The World" is about? Many people don't know that when Isaac Watts wrote that hymn in 1719, he didn't have Christmas in mind. It wasn't used as a Christmas carol. It was a hymn, not about the first coming of Christ so much, but about the second coming of Christ. Just look at the lyrics, the big conclusion, "He rules the world in truth and grace". Is he ruling the world in truth and grace today? If he's trying, he's doing a pretty lousy job of it. No, he's not talking about the first coming. "He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glory of his righteousness and the wonders of his love".

Are the nations around the world today reflecting the righteousness of God and the wonders of his love? No, they're reflecting the rebellion, the depravity of man's heart. But one day the nations will reflect the glory of our God. That's what "Joy To The World" is all about. And that's why Jesus is coming back again. Now, look at the details of his second coming in Revelation 11 through 16, John says, he's picturing what is happening in the war at Armageddon. "And suddenly I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems". That's where we get, "Crown him with many crowns". The diadem, the crown that is the right to rule. "And He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood". Not his blood, the blood of his enemies. "And His name is called The Word of God".

Remember John 1, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God". "And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in the linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses". Who is this army? It's you, it's me. How do I know that? Back in verse 8, John talks about the church being clothed in white linen, which is the righteous acts of the saints. That is us who will be following the Lord Jesus. "And from his mouth," look at verse 15, "From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty".

This is an extension of the allusion in Revelation 14 where he's trampling out the vineyard where the grapes of wrath are stored. Remember, sinners are compared to being grapes that are bursting forth with sin, not anything good but with sin and they're ready to be judged by God. And then look at verse 16, "And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, 'KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.'" This is the second coming of Jesus and it's a fulfillment of what Jude wrote in Jude 14 and 15, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him".

Now, some Christians believe that the rapture of the church and the second coming are all the same thing. It's the same event described in a different way. And they will point out the fact that the same words in the Greek New Testament are used to describe both events, which is by the way, true. "Parousia," we translate it, the appearing, the coming of our Lord. Is used of both the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and the second coming Matthew 24:27. "Apocalypses," you know that word, the unveiling of Jesus. Well, Jesus is unveiled at both events in the rapture, 1 Corinthians 1:7, at the second coming, 2 Thessalonians 1:7. And then the third Greek word "Epiphaneia," which means manifestation. It's used of the rapture in 2 Timothy 4:8 and the second coming 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

See, people say same word, both events, they're the same thing. May I remind you that just because some things are similar doesn't mean they're the same. For example, my car has a motor in it. Amy's washing machine has a motor in it. No, it's my washing machine too. I'm just throwing that in there, not trying to be chauvinistic. We have a motor in our car, we have a motor in our washing machine, we have a motor in our garage door opener. But even though all three items have motors, does that make them the same? No, and it's the same between the rapture and the second coming. There are some similarities, but there are some major differences in the two events as well. Let me just point out nine of them, and we're going to put on our tennis shoes as we do this. Go through these nine differences, one sentence for each difference. Look at it.

First of all, what's the difference between the rapture and the second coming? "Many prophecies must be fulfilled prior to the Second Coming. However, no prophecies must be fulfilled before the Rapture of the church". The second coming has to have a regathering of Israel, a building of the new temple. Lots of things have to happen before the second coming. The rapture could happen at any moment.

Second, "At the rapture, Christ's feet never touch the ground". Remember, we meet him in the air. "But at the Second Coming, the Lord's feet will touch the earth". Zachariah 14:4 says, "When he lands on the Mount of Olives, it will split that giant mountain in two".

Number three, "At the Rapture, Jesus returns to heaven with His believers, but at the Second Coming, Jesus returns to earth with believers".

Number four, "The Rapture is a mystery that's not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament. But the Second Coming is predicted many times as we saw in the Old Testament".

Number five, "After the Rapture, believers will be judged, evaluated, at the Bema, the Judgment Seat of Christ". 2 Corinthians 5:10. "But after the Second Coming, unbelievers will be judged later at the Great White Throne Judgment".

Number six, "After the Rapture, there's no physical change in the earth". In fact, it gets worse throughout the tribulation. "But after the Second Coming, part of the curse against the earth is removed". Remember during the millennium, it's not the new heaven and new earth, but it is a renovated heaven and earth. The curse is partially removed because Satan has been bound.

Number seven, "After the Rapture, Satan runs rampant on the earth for seven years". Imagine the field day he's going to have when all believers who are called restrainers of evil, they've been removed, 2 Thessalonians 2. And Satan is free to do whatever he wants. After the Rapture, Satan runs rampant on the earth for seven years. But after the Second Coming, Satan is bound for a thousand years. That correspond to the millennium.

Number eight, the Rapture will occur instantaneously. It will be at a moment, in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. But the second coming will be the climax of a seven-year-long worldwide conflict. And ninth finally, "At the Rapture, only believers will see the Lord Jesus Christ". They'll see him when they meet him in the air. "But at the Second Coming, unbelievers will 'Look on [Him] whom they have pierced," Zachariah 12:10, "and 'Every knee will bow,'" and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God.

Does the second coming really make a difference? Does it really make a difference? I remember reading the story about a group of seminary students who were playing basketball after class one day and while they played, the custodian sat in the bleachers waiting for them to finish so he could lock up the gym. And while he sat there waiting, he was reading his New Testament. When the game ended, one of the students passed by, saw him reading his Bible and said, "What are you reading"? The janitor said, "Revelation". "Oh," the student said, in his most condescending way, "Do you understand what Revelation means"? He said, "I sure do. It means Jesus is gonna win". Jesus is going to win, but it doesn't seem like he's winning right now, does he? We look at all the chaos in the world. We look at the heartache, a heartbreak that many Christians are feeling.

This year there'll be some perhaps people missing from your Christmas table who were here last year. It looks like Jesus isn't winning right now. The pain you may be feeling right now, the disappointment in God you may be experiencing is very real, but it's also very temporary. One day Jesus is coming back again to recreate, to reclaim the world that has been lost. Remember in the book of Revelation, God gave to John a panoramic view of the future, and in Revelation 11, verse 15, John looked beyond the tribulation and saw something great that was about to happen. He says in Revelation 11:15, "And the seventh angel sounded; and I heard loud voices in heaven saying, 'The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever". Amen and amen.
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