1 Corinthians 15 – His Coming and The End
1Co 15:23-24 ESV But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (24) Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
Paul here is giving us an order of the Resurrection/Rapture then he says the end comes. So Christ was first raised. Then the firstfruits were raised, possibly referring to:
Mat 27:52-53 KJV And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, (53) And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
The last to be raised are those at His coming which includes all the other bodies, whether alive or in the grave, “at His coming”…AT HIS COMING….AT HIS …..COMING. I believe this is very clear language that they will be raised “at His coming.”
But Paul doesn’t stop the story there. He tells what will happen after the resurrection by using the word “then.” “Then comes the end,” so there is the resurrection, then there is the end. So we must ask ourselves the question, what is “the end” he is referring to?
What Is The End?
“the end” in Scriptures:
Mat 10:22-23 KJV And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (23) But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Mat 13:38-42 KJV The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (39) The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. (40) As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. (41) The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; (42) And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
So, here, very clearly it says that the harvest is the end. This speaks not of the harvest of good people but the harvesting of the wicked by slaughter. “The end” is the time of God’s Wrath.
The Bible speaks of the harvest being reaped like grapes and the blood will flow up to the horses bridle in Rev 19. When does this happen? At the end of His return right before He sets down on the Mount of Olives. So it would still seem to coincide with the idea that He will have a rapture of all saints on the earth at His coming sometime after the last 3 1/2 years, during the 7th trumpet, then eventually the wicked armies are destroyed, and then He sets down on the mount of Olives. This is consistent with the verse 24 in 1 Cor 15. The Day of the Lord starts with a rapture and continues several months culminating in Jesus destroying His enemies and setting down on the Mount of Olives.
Mat 13:49-50 KJV So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, (50) And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 24:3 KJV And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Notice, the disciples knew His coming and the end were one and the same. He did not correct them on this. He answered their question.
Mat 24:6 KJV And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet .
He tells them first what the end is not.
Mat 24:13-14 KJV But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved . (14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
A condition for the end to come is the Gospel being preached for a witness unto all nations.
Heb 6:11 KJV And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end :
The hope of resurrection/rapture associate with being up until the end.
Rev 2:25-26 KJV But that which ye have already hold fast till I come . (26) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end , to him will I give power over the nations:
The coming of Jesus starts the Day of the Lord, a time of God’s wrath, and the touch down of Jesus on the earth completes it. This time period is known as “the end.”
2 Thessalonians Chapter 2
He Comes Then Gathers Us; Doctrine of Immanency Destroyed
2Th 2:1 KJV Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
Wow! Paul mentions Jesus’ coming then he mentions our gathering together unto Him. The Second Coming and the Rapture! They clearly are not spoken of as two separate things but as one. He is not beseeching them for one and not the other. He is broaching the subject of the coming of the Lord and shows us here clearly that the coming and the rapture are together. Notice also the order is that He comes then raptures us, not the other way around as Pre-Trib teaches.
One part of the doctrine of immanency says there are no events that are to happen before the rapture. But Paul says there is a condition before the rapture in verse 3:
2Th 2:3 KJV Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Paul just sunk the doctrine of Immanency to the bottom of the ocean. The doctrine of immanency says nothing will happen before Jesus returns to rapture His saints. But the Bible clearly says here that there are two things that will happen BEFORE He comes and we are gathered unto Him (raptured) …a falling away (apostasy) AND the man of sin, Antichrist, revealed. The doctrine of Immanency holds no weight with this Scripture in the Bible.
Then It says…
2Th 2:8 KJVA And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
So Jesus comes and from far above the earth He raptures us and starts the Day of The Lord. Eventually as the wrath is being poured out, toward the end, Jesus draws very close to the temple in Jerusalem and His very presence destroys those that are near including the Antichrist. At that point this verse will happen:
Rev 16:13-14 KJVA And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Their bodies were destroyed so the spirits of the Antichrist and the False Prophet are loosed to go gather the nations to battle for Armageddon. Apparently, Jesus gets so close at this point so that their bodies are destroyed by His glory.
John Chapter 14
We Will Be Where He Is
Joh 14:2-4 KJV In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (4) And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
This verse is often cited to prove that we are going up in the Rapture but He is not coming down to the earth. This is partially true – He will not immediately descend when He raptures us. However, pre-trib doctrine teaches that it says He will ONLY come to take us back to Father’s house for seven years. But it does not say He is coming to get us to take us to Heaven. It says He is coming to get us to take us to Himself. There are places in Heaven that He has made for us as well but the fact is He is coming to get us to take us unto Himself. There are places in Heaven for us but it is adding to the text to make this say He is coming just to take us there. That is an assumption. The only thing He actually said was He was coming to take us unto Himself.
It falls right in line with what I believe will happen based on the Scriptures I’ve quoted. He will come and receive us unto Himself. We will be where He is. He will come, rapture us, and start the Day of the Lord. We will be with Him the whole time. The second heaven and the earth will be cleansed by the angels from the demonic entities. We will inhabit those places in the second heaven where the demonic principalities, powers, spiritual rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places once controlled. We will have a residence in the second heaven (above the earth) [2 Tim 2:11,12; Rev 20:6; Rev 5:10] and one in the third Heaven (where God dwells). When He returns to the third Heaven, we will go with Him. It would seem He does go back to third Heaven some time after the rapture begins for a time to fulfill:
Rev 7:9-10 KJV After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; (10) And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
The throne is obviously in the third Heaven. Then we all go back to the earth to finish the Day of the Lord and Jesus lands on the earth. So He does come and eventually take us to the Third Heaven but we cannot know when during His coming this takes place or when we return to the earth to touch down with Him.
James Chapter 5
Brethren At His Coming?
Jas 5:7-9 KJV Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. (8) Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (9) Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
Why would he tell the “brethren” to be patient unto the coming of the Lord if they will have already been gone in the rapture seven years prior? He is speaking to Christians telling them to be patient and wait until the coming of the Lord. Why? Because they will be here when He comes.
He also tells the “brethren” not to grudge one another because the Judge is coming. When He comes is when He will do the Judgment Seat of Christ judgment.
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come , who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. (1Co 4:5 KJV)
The Judgment Seat may take place in second heaven above the earth. So, he is not talking about the world’s judgment in James because he clearly exhorts the brethren there. His coming will rapture the Church at which time He will judge us and give us our reward. So it talks about the coming of the Lord when He will do the judgment, no mention of a rapture alone. Just His coming is mentioned because His coming and the rapture are the same event. When He comes He hands out His reward to make us rulers over cities [Luke 19:11-27; Matt 16:27; Rev 22:12]. We will take the place of those vacant demons that used to rule the earth in the second heavens and WE will rule the earth with Christ!
1Thessalonians Chapter 1
Delivered From Wrath
1Th 1:10 KJV And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
This verse is clearly talking to Christians saying they are delivered from the wrath to come. The question is, is the entire seven year tribulation the wrath of God? Pre-tribbers would say absolutely because it fits their theology. But we cannot make a conclusion to fit our theology; we must find out what the Word says and allow the Word to create our theology before we conclude anything.
Are there any Scriptures that say the seven years of tribulation are the wrath of God? (There really is not seven years of tribulation. The Great Tribulation lasts 3 1/2 years according to the Bible but let’s just humor the argument for a moment.)
NO. The answer is definitely NO.
Are there any Scriptures that show us when the wrath of God does begin? And if so, where is it in the end-time scheme?
Rev 15:1-7 NASB Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished. … (6) and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. (7) Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever.
The timing of God’s wrath is AT the Seventh seal, which is when the Seventh Trumpet sounds and the Seven Bowls of Wrath are poured out. All of these are after the Great Tribulation, not during.
2 Thessalonians Chapter 2
1Th 2:17-19 KJV But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. (18) Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. (19) For what is our hope , or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
It talks about being in the presence of the Lord at His coming. Notice the word “hope” there. That is a word in the New Testament synonymous with the Resurrection/Rapture. Again, it is in context with the coming of the Lord. The Rapture and Coming of the Lord are the same event.
Philippians Chapter 3
The Rapture and Second Coming
Php 3:20-21 KJV For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (21) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Paul is talking about our citizenship being in Heaven. Amplified says it this way:
But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior, Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself. (Php 3:20-21 AMP)
Again, the coming is clearly associated with the rapture or resurrection.
Revelation Chapter 22
The Church Raptured and Judged
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Rev 22:12 KJV)
We will be raptured and judged. THIS is why we are exhorted to be ready at His Coming, it is because we will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Rapture will happen so fast we will not even have time to repent. The Judgment Seat of Christ is set after the end of the 3 1/2 years giving the maximum amount of time available to harvest more Christians from the earth.
The Blessed Hope Is His Coming With The Rapture
Tit 2:13 KJV Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
The blessed hope is the same as the Rapture/Resurrection. Again, it is associated with the appearing of Jesus. The Bible says all will see Him:
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Rev 1:7 KJV)
When they see Him they will wail because it begins the Day of the Lord. It is a blessed hope because our tribulation will forever be over.
1 John Chapter 2
His Coming in Judgment
1Jn 2:28 KJV And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Why would we be ashamed at His coming? Because it is the time of the Judgment Seat. The readers during the time of this writing knew His coming meant the time of Rapture to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.
1 John Chapter 3
The Hope of Being Like Him
1Jn 3:2-3 KJV Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
The hope is the earnest expectation of His return. Then we shall be resurrected to be like Him. When we expect Him, we will purify ourselves. Why? Because of the Judgment Seat of Christ – NOT because we think we’ll miss the Rapture. We do the works of righteousness and obedience that He has called us to do by faith and love then we will be found pure in our deeds. We are already pure in our spirits but the reward is based on our actions of faith and love; our salvation is strictly based on God’s grace.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 3
He Comes With His Saints
1Th 3:13 KJV To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
He is coming with all of His saints in Heaven. We will be raptured before God’s wrath is poured out. Then we will be with Him. For a time, He will be in the heavens above the earth implementing the Day of the Lord. Then He will take us back to Heaven for a time then we return to earth all as one body to “take over” the earth.
1 Timothy Chapter 6
1Ti 6:14 KJV That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
We must be ready at His coming so that we can be without spot at His coming. The Immanency doctrine may seem more logical and people will be more likely to stay clean because they don’t know when He is coming but Immanency is not true. We are told to watch for we cannot know the day or hour but there are prophecies that must be fulfilled before His coming, namely the apostasy and the revealing of the Antichrist. Just because Jesus’ appearing is not imminent does not mean verses like these, that tell us to walk in righteousness being ready for His coming, would be less valid outside of immanency.
Great Tribulation Begins Then Comes The Resurrection/Rapture
Dan 12:1-2 KJV And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a (*FIRST) time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (2) And (*SECOND) many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (*Article author added parenthetical comments.)
The time of trouble comes FIRST. Since is it described as more trouble for Israel in particular than ever before it must be the Great Tribulation. NEXT, is the Resurrection / Rapture. The order is crystal clear here. First the Great Tribulation begins, next the Rapture.
You would have to be taught a Pre-tribulation rapture by scholarly-sounding men to see it. The Pre-trib rapture certainly is NOT in the Scriptures if we read in a regular historical-grammatical literal reading of the Bible which is the correct way to do Bible hermeneutics.
Luke Chapter 21
Luk 21:36 KJV Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
The verse before this says the following:
Luk 21:35 ESV For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
So the things mentioned previously in Luke 21 (which is, at least in part, the Great Tribulation and His coming) will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth. But it is clear that if you are standing before the Son of Man, you have escaped these things that are going to happen as a consequence of His coming to all who dwell on the “face of the whole earth” (not the heavens where we will be for a time.) The question is what things shall we escape? We cannot say for certain but I believe it to be the wrath of God.
What we can see in the context of the verses is that we can tell when His coming is near and we can miss Him if we get caught up in the cares of this world and drunkenness. If we are not awake, in other words not born-again or saved (Rom 10:8-10), we will miss Jesus and it will be too late. Make sure you don’t miss Him. Prayer is what Jesus says to do. The root of prayer is to bind oneself to another like a wife binds herself to her husband. We must bind ourselves to our Lord Jesus Christ and seek His will at all times that when He appears we will not be ashamed. We want to be found doing His will when He returns then great will be our reward!
A thought on the Great Tribulation: tribulation is for believers, not unbelievers.