If you have read PART 1 and PART 2 of this commentary, you can see that careful analysis of 1 Cor 15:51 and 1 Thes 4:13-17 provides 4 independent witnesses that the “rapture” is simply the Second Coming of Christ, which occurs at the end of the seven year tribulation period. Christ comes twice, period. First He came as Savior and Suffering Servant some 2000 years ago. Next He comes as KING of kings and LORD of lords. He comes twice, not two and a half times and not three times.
If you read PART 1 and PART 2, you might be scratching your head at this point. You probably can see the clarity of my analysis, yet it is hard for you to imagine that what you have been taught all your life is not clearly supported by the Bible. Perhaps at this point you just wish you could ask Jesus, and have him provide clarity. Luckily, the disciples did just that. In Matthew 24:3, the disciples asked Christ the direct, million dollar question:
3 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?
Friend, look at the clarity of the question. The disciples wanted to know precise details about Christ’s second coming and the end of the world. Much of their question is already answered in the Old Testament, but yet they wanted clarity. A clear answer directly from Christ himself. Christ responded by presenting a precisely worded and concise summary of end times Eschatology. Now, before reading Christ’s answer, we must realize that the question was clearly asked, it was asked by his Disciples, His most trusted believers, and He provided a clear, easy to understand, precise summary of end times events. Would He leave out the most important points? Would He mislead His closest followers? Would He deceive? Of course not . . . He would accurately give them a summary of the key end times events in direct answer to their clear question. Christ responded to their question with the following answer Matthew 24:4-29.
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Could Christ have been any clearer? In verse 29 He says, “Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days”, and then goes on to describe his second coming, which clearly parallels the so called “rapture” verses described in 1 Thes 4:13-17 and 1 Cor 15:51-55. Have a child read the verse. What is the context? What is He trying to convey. Clearly, He is communicating to His closest followers that believers will be persecuted and martyred in the tribulation period. Did He not get the memo that believers would be beamed out before the tribulation? Did He intentionally deceive? I think not. The simple answer is, He is warning believers to Prepare for Persecution, even unto death.
I do not write these things to scare you, but I write these things so that you will not be deceived. Read the first part of verse 4 . . . His first warning was to be on guard for “deception” in the last days. What greater deception could the enemy use than to tell believers not to worry, they will never face persecution or tribulation.