Let me throw out a slightly different perspective, one I have studied in Footsteps of the Messiah, App IIIB, by Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
In Jewish tradition, well used in the time of the first advent, when our Lord Christ Jesus was here prior to the Cross, marriage was known as a 4-stage event.
It might be noted that the Church is referenced as the Bride of the Messiah, and Israel as the wife of Jehovah.
The Marriage begins with the Espousal (2Cor 11:2), where the Church as an engaged Bride, not yet joined by marriage to her husband.
The second stage is Sanctification or maturing of the Bride (Eph 5:25-27). Note the purpose of His death and His relationship with the Bride prior to the Second Coming is so that He might sanctify the Bride, so that a glorious virgin is presented to the Messiah, without blemish (no visible defilement), without wrinkle (no evidence of age or corruption) and holy, without blemish (no evidence of sin).
The 3rd stage is the Marriage (Rev 19:6-9).
In the Jewish system, in the 1st stage the Father of the groom made the arrangement for the Bride and paid the bride price (same relationship between persons of God the Father, the Son, and the Bride for the Son, the Chruch). The 2nd stage was frequently separated from the 1st stage by much time, at least a year, sometimes marriages were arranged at childbirth and not fulfilled for major portions of a lifetime.
The 2nd stage, also known in Jewish tradition as ‘the fetching of the bride’, the groom would go to the Bride’s home to fetch her and bring her to his home. It should be noted, though, that the Father of the Son determined the time of the fetching, not the groom. Since the fetching was to bring the bride to a new home, this implies the groom had already prepared a home for the bride prior to the fetching, which was determined to be allowed at a time by the father only.
The third stage stage was the marriage ceremony, where only a few were invited, preceded by ritual immersion for ritual cleansing.
The fourth stage was the wedding feast, which might last as long as 7 days.
In the case of the Bride of the Messiah, the 1st stage has been completed, wherein the bride price has been paid by the blood of Christ (Eph 5:25-27).
Today we are in the process of sanctification, which continues through, until the marriage ceremony of the Church.
In the 2nd stage, the fetching of the Bride is unmistakeably synonomous with what we call the Rapture of the Church, described in 1st Thes 4:13-18. The fetching time is not determined by anybody BUT the Father. This preserves the sanctity of the witness of the marriage. It isn’t performed arrogantly by the Son, nor by the Bride, but by a third party, with wisdom and love for both, namely the Father (Matt 24:36) and after our Lord Christ Jesus has prepared a place (John 14:1-3).
The 3rd stage or marriage ceremony takes place in Heaven, described in Rev 19:6-8, prior to the 2nd Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation. In this event, the Bride is wearing her complete bridal gown, indicating the process of sanctification has been completed at that time and after the Judgment Seat of the Messiah, when all saints are rewarded for their divinely judged good works on earth. (1Cor 3:10-15).
Then comes the Marriage feast (Rev 19:9). (Some note that the Old Testament saints shall be resurrected AFTER the Tribulation and Rapture, but before the 2nd Coming, to be present at the wedding feast.)
Considering the close parallel of the 4 stage wedding process in Jewish tradition, IMHO, the Rapture comes first, then a 7 year wedding feast which likely occurs in heaven, while those missing it on Earth, are enduring the consequences of the cosmic system they had placed before God, and will be reaping the whirlwind.
There are also strong arguments that the Rapture doesn’t necessarily occur at the immediate beginning of the Great Tribulation, although there also are strong indicators the two events closely coincide. The Great Tribulation might also lag the Rapture, rather than begin immediately, since the GT focus is more upon Israel and her return to God, removal of evil, and a consequence of her signing a covenant with the AntiChrist.
The Great Tribulation might also lag the Rapture, rather than begin immediately, since the GT focus is more upon Israel and her return to God, removal of evil, and a consequence of her signing a covenant with the AntiChrist.
I very much agree with that statement...
So many scoffers that scoff at GOD’s prophetic words...
Just like in the Days of NOAH....
Will have to study this another time. Too many tasks in the short term.
It has long been quite conceivable to me that The Church would be able to tell the general time frame or season when Christ was going to return at least for the CATCHING AWAY.
That’s entirely within Biblical terms & metaphors.
People will wail and squeal about date setting and there’s been plenty of nonsense about that.
However, as long as we hold things loosely and don’t put anything seriously at risk in behalf of CONJECTURES . . . could be enlightening.