“If the saints are already “raptured” then why is their patient endurance required? Answer: They are not “raptured,” they are still on the earth dealing with the antichrist.”
There will be saints after the rapture, those who turn to Christ later, those who were not taken the first time.
Two comings of Christ that are different in nature are described in the Bible. First coming:
1 Thess. 4:13-18 -
Meeting the church in the air.
1 Corinthians 15:52 -
No signs to herald Christs coming for his Church. This will come in the twinkling of an eye.
Zechariah 14:4 - No meeting in the air, Jesus returns to earth on the Mount of Olives
every eye shall see him
Unlike the rapture, Jesus will be seen by all.
Finally, the gospels say Jesus Christ returns and conquers the earth where people will be gathered from the four corners of the earth, separating the sheep from the goats. If this is the same event as the rapture there would be no sheep left since they’ve already been taken to the air.
Yes. But not two second comings, as you indicate. It is composed of two stages of His Second Coming. When The God makes changes of dispensations, of covenants, of judgments, He generally does it in stages. The pattern:
o Stage I. Private -- A preliminary disclosure to a select group of intimates; announced privately to His faithful ones, by a messenger, by Himself, by an angel, or by a prophet.
o Stage II. Public -- A manifestation seen by all, affecting all, preceded by protection or removal of His faithful from the calamitous event to follow.
This pattern can be seen with Lot vs Gomorrah, Moses vs Pharaoh/Egypt, Daniel vs overthrow of Babylon, etc.
Regarding The First Coming (parousia) of The Messiah/Christ/Anointed One:
Stage I. Private -- Announcements privately to Zecharias, Miriam, Elizabeth, Joseph, the shepherds, Simeon, Anna; and kept close by them in His formative years.
Stage II. Public ministry -- Announcements for all to see; publicly made by John Baptizer the prophet, as well as by The God Himself at His baptism; seen publicly by all, especially His death on the cross.
See? well, His second coming is expected thus by His saints, informed by the inspired Scripture:
Stage I. Private -- the catching up (harpadzo, snatching away)into the heavens of all the NT saints in their new bodies; announced by the voice of the archangel; for the purpose of judgment of the works of regenerated believers, the Heavenly Marriage and banquet, and instruction in governing the earth after their accompaniment in the second phase of His return.
While this is going on, left-behind unregenerated believer-religionists will have to suffer the vicissitudes of the tribulation, some perhaps being converted, many losing physical life. But many shall be saved to inhabit the earthly Kingdom of The Christ when established.
Stage II Public -- His return to the earth at Petra; from whence He shall march forward to the Mount of Olives, bloodily vanquishing the Adversary and human opponents by himself (as He by Himself purged our sins) observed by His onlooking chaste noncombatant Bride; then rejoined by His Church on earth as His foot touches Olivet for the Valorous Procession and installation of His Regent David to rule the earth from Zion.
His Grace-Age living saints will not have to suffer agony and death in the great corruptive tribulation any more than Noah and his family did in the Flood, nor Lot and his daughters in the firestorm destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
At least, this is the way I have seen it in the grand view of God's workings.
Two stages, private, then public -- capisce?
Finally, the gospels say Jesus Christ returns and conquers the earth where people will be gathered from the four corners of the earth, separating the sheep from the goats. If this is the same event as the rapture there would be no sheep left since theyve already been taken to the air.
This tract announced in Matthew 25:31+ is the judgment of nations immediately upon the institution of His earthly thousand-year reign, not the Great White Throne judgment of resurrected unbelieving individuals at the end of that reigning period.
“1 Thess. 4:13-18 -
Meeting the church in the air.”
This word meet comes from the Greek word apantesin. This word means to go out to an official visitor and return with him. It is used in 2 other places in the New Testament; Matt 25:6 and Acts 28:15. In both these instances it means returning with.