According to some Christians, the second coming of Jesus Christ will happen in two phases. Initially, He will come for the believers, both living and dead, in an event called the “rapture” (read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). In this view, the rapture will be a secret transformation and catching up of all Christians, deceased or alive, to meet Christ in the air, which will be unknown to unbelievers.

After the rapture, the absence of multitudes of people will have a noticeable effect on Earth. Following all this there will be seven years of tribulation on Earth. After the tribulation, Christ will return to Earth with His church, the saints who were raptured. This event is predicted in Matthew 24:30, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 1 Peter 1:13, and Revelation 1:7. Christ will emerge victorious over His enemies. He will reign on Earth for 1,000 years, also known as the millennium, with His saints, and the church.

After a thousand years, unbelievers who are still living and the wicked dead will be resurrected and judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Following this, they will be cast into the lake of fire. On the other hand, the saved will live eternally with Christ in a new heaven and earth as described in Revelation chapters 19 to 22.

Many other evangelical Christians believe that Christ’s return and the rapture will not occur until the seven years of the tribulation have ended. As far as the latter view is concerned, the rapture will not be secret since it will be part of Christ’s visible and triumphant return to end this present evil age (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). At this point, interpreters differ as to whether there will be a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on earth or whether the white throne judgment and the new heaven and earth will immediately appear.

All Christians do not agree on every detail of what will occur in the final events of this world’s history. Some of these events and their order of occurrence have not been made clear in the Bible. What is important is that all Christians hold in common that Christ will ultimately return bodily, visibly, and gloriously to reign and rule with His resurrected and transformed saints forever and ever. The details of this great event will be made known in God’s own time.

Though the term "rapture" itself is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, but the idea of believers being caught up to meet the Lord is found in Scripture. The primary passage that is often associated with the Rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, where it says, "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." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, NIV).

This passage indicates that when Jesus returns, believers will be lifted to meet Him in the air. It mentions the resurrection of the dead in Christ as well as the transformation of living believers. This event is commonly known as the Rapture.

Another passage that is often associated with the concept of the Rapture is 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, which says, "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, NIV).

This passage speaks of the transformation of believers, both the dead and the living, at the sound of the last trumpet. It suggests a sudden and instantaneous change that will take place when Jesus returns.

While the concept of the Rapture is not explicitly mentioned in many other passages, there are other verses that speak of the return of Jesus and the gathering of believers. For example, Matthew 24:31 says, "And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." (Matthew 24:31, NIV).

These verses, along with others, paint a picture of believers being gathered to meet Jesus when He returns. The exact timing and details of the Rapture may remain a mystery, but the Bible assures us that there will be a time when believers will be caught up to be with the Lord.

It is important to approach the topic of the Rapture with humility and a willingness to listen to different interpretations. While there may be differing views on the specifics, the central message remains the same: Jesus will return, and believers will be gathered to be with Him.

If you would like to explore this topic further, I encourage you to read the mentioned Bible passages and study them in their context.

May God bless you as you seek to understand His Word.