One of my favorite events in the life of Jesus is found in Luke 4:16-21. Here the Lord Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah in the Nazareth synagogue. He read a prophecy (Isaiah 61:1-2) about the coming Messiah. He was reading about Himself, and when He finished He proclaimed, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Jesus announced His first ministry on earth. When we read this story in the New Testament, we do not realize that Jesus stopped reading in mid-sentence. The prophecy in Isaiah actually continues with, “and the Day of Vengeance of our God.” This foretells the second ministry of Jesus, when He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Many of the Jews at the time of Jesus thought that there would be two different Messiahs because of the diverse prophecies of both a suffering Messiah and a ruling Messiah. When Jesus came the first time, the Jews were hoping for the ruling Messiah to deliver them from the hands of the Roman Empire. Even His Disciples, at His last appearance to them, asked Jesus if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel at that time. (Acts 1:6)
We look back at the Jews of that time and marvel that they could not see the two different prophecies of the coming Messiah. But many Christians today suffer from the same blindness to Scripture.
The Apostle Paul tells us; “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (First Corinthians 15:51-52) Paul gives us more information in First Thessalonians 4:16-17. In this passage Paul describes how the Church will be “caught up” (harpazo –Strong’s G726), or “raptured”, to meet the Lord in the air, and to be with Him forever. This is our Blessed Hope. The Lord Jesus told us that that Day would come “like a thief in the night.” (Matthew 24:42-44) The Rapture agrees with Paul’s “mystery” event.
However, the Lord Jesus also told us that His Coming would be like the lightning shining from east to west, and the world “shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:27 & 30) The wars, pestilence and plagues delivered upon the earth through the righteous wrath of our Heavenly Father will culminate with the very visible Return of Jesus. When the Lord Jesus returns and brings an end to war and destruction, it will not be a secret, mysterious event. It will not be as a thief in the night. Further, He will set foot on the earth; specifically upon the Mount of Olives. (Zechariah 14:4)
Many Christians have been misled to believe that the “catching up” of the Church coincides with the visible to all Return of the Lord Jesus as described in the Revelation 19:11-16. These are two different events. In one we (the Church, His bride) meet the Lord Jesus in the air; in the other He stands on the earth. One event comes as a thief; the other to the overwhelming acclaim of Jesus as Prince of Peace, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Do not depend on the opinions of men; mine own included. (Please see Acts 17:11) Study the Bible. Rightly divide the Word of God. You will be blessed. Praise the Lord for His Holy Word which shows us the Truth!