We have continually, over the years, had professing Christians and false teachers, predict when Christ would return to Rapture Christians. Every time those dates have come and passed, nothing unusual happened. When are they going to read Scripture that says in Matthew 24:36–39 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”

He could come at anytime and when he does it will be in an instant. No one will expect it. II Peter 3:10a – “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief”. The rapture can take place at anytime. For those of us who believe in pre-tribulation, we do not have to see the signs preceding the tribulation or the lawless man to know Christ can come at anytime. However, when all of the things leading up to the building of the Temple haven’t happened, it only assures us He hasn’t come yet. But none of that has to occur for Jesus to return and Rapture the church as most Christians believe.

There will be two times when Jesus returns. When He first comes it will be at the Rapture when He comes through the clouds to snatch or lift up Christ’s followers instantaneously. He will not touch the ground. Those left behind will go through the great Tribulation, which will be the worst of times. There will have never been anything so severe and devastatingly disastrous before in the history of the world. After the Tribulation Christ will return to earth and rule for a 1000 years. He shall rule a righteous government from Jerusalem. During this time Satan will be chained for those many years. Those who will rule with Jesus are those coming from Heaven and those having been Raptured.

Matthew 24:4–25 warns us to let no one deceive us. We will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Nation will rise against nation. There will be famines and earthquakes. We will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death. We will be hated by all nations because of our belief in Christ. There will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now and will never be equaled again. There will be false prophets. They will perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the strongest and most faithful Christians. II Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.”

I Thessalonians 4:16–18 “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (This has been called the Rapture.) I Corinthians 15:52 “For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (We are told we will have an imperishable body, will become immortal and will have the mind of Christ.”) 1 John 3.2b “But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

II Thessalonians 2:1–5 “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?”

A number of theologians believe that the Rapture will not occur and the Lord will not come until a rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed. The rebellion will be a massive rebellion against God. It is believed this means at the time of the Rapture. Many will abandon God or giving up one’s faith or belonging to a Christian cult, calling themselves Christians but not believing in the same Christ that most Christians believe.

The lawless one is the Antichrist and during the rebellion a person will appear having considerable power from Satan and will personify evil. He will oppose laws established by God. He will promote immorality and anarchy. Revelation 13:5–8 describes him.

God will allow him to rule for 3½ years. He is allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to overcome them. There will be a one-world government and he will rule over everyone. Most everything relating to God could be destroyed. He will demand that everyone worship and pledge their allegiance to him. He proclaims himself to be the messiah and promises to do what the Israelites believed Christ should have done but did not do. He will rule from the Jewish Temple that has yet to be built. Thus: the term the Antichrist. A number believe he will precede Christ’s return for the Rapture.

Here is where many theologians disagree. Will Christ come two times; the first to Rapture the church, prior to the rebellion. Or, will Christ return to Rapture Christians after the rebellion and the revealing of the lawless one? If it is true the Rapture is prior, He will then return again to defeat the Antichrist and his followers and then rule for those 1000 years.

Many believe the Rapture will occur prior to the rebellion and it is when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn, at the time of the Rapture, that the world will become complete chaos. Their belief is the rebellion and the Tribulation will happen only after the removing of the Holy Spirit from earth and that occurs with the Rapture. Scripture says: It is the Holy Spirit that is holding the Antichrist back.

Most believe the Rapture precedes the revealing of the Antichrist. Others believe it will happen after the Antichrist rules for 3½ years. Others believe it happens after seven years of his ruling or the Tribulation. A Christians responsibility is to be prepared spiritually to be ready at all times.

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