Chapter 06 – The Return of the Lord – Part 1: The Return and the Rapture.



The Return of the Lord and the Rapture.

The course of the events.

The coming of the Lord.

Table: Sequence and Duration of events in the Last Days

The Rapture /    Chapter 062, Part 2

The marriage of the Lamb.. /    Chapter 063, Part 3

Of that day and hour no one knows, but the Father alone.. /    Chapter 064, Part 4



The assignment to the appropriate time.

The return of Jesus Christ is the first event in the period of the "Day of the Lord" during the last days. In the first part of this period – the "day of the revelation of the Lord" – the Lord comes in order to take his loved ones home to him and to take over his reign over this world in Jerusalem. In the second part – which is also called the "day of the wrath of God" – the Lord comes in the Battle of Armageddon already with his chosen, elect, and faithful, in order to defeat the Antichrist and his armies and in order to punish the godless and impenitent in the subsequent Judgment of God upon heaven and earth.


Postscript:

This old interpretation, going back to the year 1995, is still based on the conventional understanding, advocated by almost all biblical commentators up to the present, that the seventieth week of seven years is a temporally unified event and that there is only one Antichrist. These assumptions are fundamentally based on the one hand on the prophecy in Dan 9,27, according to which the one who makes desolate will come in the middle of the seventieth week of seven years, and on the other on the statement of Paul in 1Cor 15,52, according to which the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture will occur at the time of the last trumpet, which is then referred to the last and seventh trumpet of the plagues of the trumpets (Rev 10,7).

More recent studies however have resulted in the realization that there is a parallel course of events between Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7. This necessitates a transposition of the Second Coming and the Rapture to after Rev 6,12–17 (6th seal) and so interrupts the seventieth week of seven years at that point.

(See also Discourse 05: “The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7”)


In this connection we also come to realize, on the basis of 2The 2,1–4 and Rev 13,1–11, that there cannot be just one Antichrist who will dominate in the Last Days, but two: a human dictator (the rider on the white horse, Rev 6,1–2) in the Great Tribulation (Rev 6,1–8; Mt 24,1–25) and a demonic spiritual being (the beast from the sea, Rev 13) on the Day of the Wrath of God.

(See also Discourse 86: “The first and second Antichrist.”)


In view of the fact, however, that this new point of view in principle only results in transpositions in the temporal sequence of events, while the content – apart from a few exceptions – essentially remains the same, the documents based on the old interpretation (taking these indications into account) remain fully valid and so have been retained here. A summary of the changes may be found in Discourse 48.

(See also Discourse 48: “An alternative view on the sequence of events in the Last Days.”)




The Return of the Lord and the Rapture.

The subject of the Rapture is brought up – especially in evangelical circles – in connection with the Return of the Lord (parousia). As we will see below, we actually always have in those passages of the Scriptures, which refer to the Rapture, also the hint at the Return of the Lord.

However, this Return of the Lord comprises far more than just this single event of the Rapture of the deceased and living saints. As the designation return of the "Lord" already explicates what is at issue here, at this reflection, is only the view of those who are servants of the Lord, that is to say the view of the faithful in Christ. Only for them Christ is also the "Lord". But this reappearance of our Lord affects in the further course of events also – and above all – the faithless world. But for them the Lord does not come as the Savior, but as the judge for judgment.

And finally this Return of the Lord effects at the end of this period of judgment the reorganization of heaven and earth, through which God will – in a similar way as it was the case with the Flood – create a new earth and a new heaven as a preparation for his Kingdom of Peace which will last for a thousand years.

o it is, in short, the "Day of the Lord", the day of his return, the day of the deliverance of his elect, but also the day of his wrath and his judgment upon the godless and impenitent, which comprises as the first event of a series of single events, the raising of the dead and the Rapture with the still living faithful in Christ.

(See also Chapter 05: “The Day of the Lord.”)

The course of the events.

As some exegetes start out from several "returns", we would like to make sure first that the coming of the Lord which is described here is actually the second coming after his death and his raising and ascension into heaven, and not another return which allegedly lies in–between.

They will see coming the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven.

Mt 26,64 Jesus said to him, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Mt 26,64;

Mk 14,61 But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" 14,62 And Jesus said, "I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." Mk 14,61–62;


It is the high priest who asks Jesus here if he is the Son of God. And the Lord does not only answer this question in the affirmative, but he also confirms to the entire Sanhedrin straight away that he will go to the Father now and will then, later on, return "with the clouds of heaven".

It is precisely this information that also the Disciples got, when they saw the resurrected Lord going up into heaven.

This Jesus will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.

Acts 1,6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 1,7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 1,8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

1,9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 1,10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 1,11 They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." Acts 1, 6–11;


According to these texts the unmistakable characteristic of the Return of the Lord on this world, after death, raising from the dead, and Ascension – that is to say after up to now almost two thousand years –, is his appearance on "the clouds of heaven". So we can proceed from the assumption that all prophecies which represent the Lord coming "on the clouds of heaven" refer to this event.

We find a first hint of that kind in the Gospels. Here the Lord outlines this event to the Disciples and lets them know at the same time the portents of this return of his.

They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29–31;

The Son of Man will come in a cloud with power and great glory.

Lk 27,25 "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 27,26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

27,27 "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”. Lk 21,25–27;

He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect.

Mk 13,24 "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, 13,25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.

13,26 "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 13,27 "And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. Mk 13,24–27;


One of the most important statements of these texts is the hint that all these events – and with them also the Return of the Lord – will take place "after the tribulation / distress of that time". If we now can equate the "tribulation of that time" with that "Great Tribulation", which is announced some verses before, in Mk 13,19 and Mt 24,21 with the words: "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will", then this is one of the most important hints at the fact that the Rapture will not take place before the tribulation, but unambiguously "after the tribulation of that time".

So, right after this tribulation the celestial bodies will be darkened and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all men of the earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with great power and glory. Then he will send forth his angels with great trumpets and they will gather together his elect.

With the text in Mt 24,30 and parallel passages we can right away eliminate another misinterpretation of some circles. There are again and again statements that the Lord Jesus would come in secrecy and invisible for the rest of the world when he returns. The text in Mt 24.30, however, implies just the contrary:

Mt 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,30–31;


So, all tribes of the earth will see him coming on the clouds with great power and glory. So, the "coming in the clouds" mentioned above is meant here. In the next verse Mt 24,31 there is talk about the gathering of the elect and it is expressly pointed out that all tribes of the earth will see him coming. So, it is not possible to express it more unmistakably that this coming will be visible for all people of the earth and will not at all take place in secrecy.

In this text we see now the following order:

–  After the tribulation of that time

–  the celestial bodies will be darkened and the powers of the heavens will be shaken

–  the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky

–  all men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky

–  he will send forth his angels with trumpets to gather together his elect worldwide.


We would like to examine now these points in detail and in connection with further passages.

The tribulation of that time.

Also in the interpretation of the "Great Tribulation" one often gets mistaken by the context and analyzes the actual statement not sufficiently. As in Mt 24, starting from verse 15 the "abomination of desolation in the sanctuary" is mentioned and then there is talk about a speedy flight into the mountains, people are inclined to see in the "abomination" and with that in the antichristian reign the exclusive cause of the "Great Tribulation" in verse 21.

A great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world.

Mt 24,15 "Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 24,16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 24,17 "Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 24,18 "Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 24,19 "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 24,20 "But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.

24,21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 24,22 "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Mt 24,15–22;


But if we take a closer look at the statement from verse 21, we will see that there is talk about a distress / tribulation "such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will". This definition of a tribulation exceeds every scope of possibilities, which men have at their disposal to inflict injury on other people.

If this tribulation is to actually assume unparalleled proportions – and this is after all the meaning of this text – not (only) persecutions, arrests, tortures, and executions can be meant here. Neither can only a certain group of people such as Christians or Jews be affected by it. If we interpret this text in conformity with its intrinsic sense, an event of global dimensions, that is to say a worldwide distress of all people must be meant.

There are some hints in the Scriptures which help us to localize this Great Tribulation. As a comprehensive analysis is necessary, this subject is therefore dealt with in a separate chapter.

(See also Chapter 03: “The Great Tribulation.”)

The celestial bodies will be darkened, the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

There are a great number of hints at this event of the darkening of the celestial bodies – the "great darkness" – in the Scriptures. But while in the Old Testament, besides the sun and the moon, the "stars" are either mentioned not at all (e. g. Joel 2,31) or are characterized with "will not flash forth their light" (e. g. Isa 13,10), in the New Testament we have two quite similar statements with the quite specific statement which cannot be found anywhere else in the Scriptures that "the stars will fall from the sky".

Sun and moon will be darkened and the stars will fall from the sky.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Mt 24,29;

The sun became black, and the moon like blood, and the stars fell to the earth.

Rev 6,12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 6,13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 6,14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their place. Rev 6,12–14;


So, we have here in all probability two statements about the same subject, namely about the darkening of the celestial bodies, which will strike the world after the Great Tribulation and before the coming of the Lord.

Also here a comprehensive treatment of these connections can be found in a separate chapter.

(See also Chapter 04: “The Great Darkness.”)

The sign of the Son of Man in the sky.

As already explained at the beginning, the coming of the Lord will not take place on the quiet, but visibly all over the world and in power and glory. All people will first see the sign of the Son of Man in the sky.

And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky.

Mt 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. Mt 24,30;


And three verses before we are also told how this sign in the sky will appear: It will be like the lightning which flashes from the east to the west. We can probably proceed from the assumption that at that time the celestial bodies are still darkened and that there is therefore worldwide darkness.

Just as the lightning will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Mt 24,26 "So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 24,27 "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.24,28 "Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Mt 24,26–28;


And then the Lord will manifest himself in power and glory and will send forth his angels with great trumpets.

And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet.

Mt 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.. Mt 24,31;


The text of Mt 24,29–31 shows now a certain parallelism with Rev 6,12–17 – the darkening of the celestial bodies – and Rev 8,6 – 9,21 – the first six trumpets. A detailed treatment of these connections and of the plagues of the trumpets can be found in the chapter "The Day of the Lord".

(See also Chapter 05: “The Day of the Lord.”)

The last – seventh – trumpet.

Just as the seventh seal, also the seventh trumpet does not bring an immediate plague. This last trumpet announces that "the kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ". This is the beginning of the end of this seventieth week of seven years, which comprises in the main the events of the last days.

The preview of this seventh trumpet, which we find in Rev 10,5–7, allows us to make a definition of a theoretical position within this last period before the Millennium. As it says in Rev 10,7, when the seventh trumpet sounds, "the mystery of God is finished". And as the angel adds, "as He preached to His servants the prophets".

In the days of the seventh angel, when he sounds his trumpet, the mystery of God is finished.

Rev 10,5 Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, 10,6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer, 10,7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets. Rev 10, 5– 7;


We find a similar text with Daniel, whom the angel Gabriel prophesies that after the seventy weeks of seven years which have been decreed for his people, "the transgression is finished, an end of sin is made …and everlasting righteousness is brought in". And also Gabriel points out that then "vision and prophecy are sealed up", which corresponds with the above statement from Rev 10,7 in the general sense.

To bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy.

Dan 9,24 "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. Dan 9,24;


So, we are here at a turning point in the happenings of the last days. All promises which God has given to his servants, the prophets, will from now on find their final fulfillment. Although an essential part of these prophecies concerns the kingdom of God on earth – the Millennium – and the salvation of the people of Israel, all these promises have one single event as precondition: The coming of the Messiah.

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.

Rev 11,15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." 11,16 And the twenty–four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 11,17 saying, "We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.

11,18 And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond–servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.. Rev 11,15–18;

And it is exactly this coming of the Lord which is announced by the seventh trumpet.

But in the text above from Rev 11,15–18 we make out several events at once:

1. "The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" (verses 15–17).

So, the Lord has begun his reign, the day of the revelation of the Lord has broken.

2. "The nations were enraged" (verse 18).

Men do not realize that they themselves are responsible for the plagues, for the devastation of the world and harbor resentment against God.

3. "Your wrath came" (verse 18).

The forbearance of the Lord comes to an end now, he proceeds to pour out his wrath and his rage upon all godless.

4. "The time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond–servants the prophets and the       saints and those who fear Your name" (verse 18).

This is the hint at the raising, the Rapture, and the subsequent judgment of reward.

5. And also the time came "to destroy those who destroy the earth" (verse 18).

With that the day of wrath, the Judgment of God on the Day of the Lord is meant, which will come over the godless and impenitent.


So, this is the moment, when God takes over the power in this world. It is that time when God takes action in order to put an end to the irresponsible dealings of men among each other and with his Creation. The last trumpet announces the beginning of this period and is at the same time also the sign for the fact that the Lord comes to redeem his elect in the raising and in the Rapture.

Also Paul explains this to the Corinthians in his First Epistle:

At the last trumpet the dead will be raised imperishable, and we who are alive will be changed.

1Cor 15,50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 15,53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Cor 15,50–53;


And also in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians Paul writes that when the trumpet of God sounds, the Lord will descend from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then the elect who are still alive and remain will be caught up together with them.

The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the trumpet of God.

1The 4,15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4,17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1The 4,15–17;

Postscript:

At this point we can verify more closely the background of the reference mentioned at the start of this document. While Paul above, in 1Cor 15,52, speaks from the "last trumpet", he writes here, in 1The 4,16, only from the "trumpet of God" which will sound at the return of the Lord. From the text of these statements we can however realize very clearly that this event is one and the same: the Second Coming and the Rapture

And just this event is also described to us by the Lord Jesus himself in his prophecy in Matt 24.30-31.

And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet.

Mt 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.  24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,30–31;


The Lord also says here, that he will come on the clouds of the sky and will send his angels with "a great trumpet" to gather together his elect - the dead ones and the still living ones.

In connection with the unmistakable parallelism of the events in the statements here in Matthew 24 and in the Revelation of John, in Rev 6 and 7 - mentioned also at the start of this document - it is an easy step to the conclusion that the "last trumpet" by Paul in 1Cor 15,52 is not to refer to the seventh trumpet in the judgement of the trumpets (as incorrectly stated here above), but just as the sound of the great trumpet of the angels sent out at the coming of the Lord to gather his elct.



The coming of the Lord.

But apart from the audible and visible signs, immediately at the coming of the Lord itself, there are also other signs for this moment which are well–founded in the Bible. When we learned above, in 1The 4,15–17, how the coming of the Lord will take place, Paul reports us in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians the surrounding field of contemporary history, in which this event will take place.

The Lord will not come before the Antichrist has been revealed.

The Lord will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed.

2The 2,1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2,2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 2,4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so–called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2,5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 2,6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2,8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2,9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 2,10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

2,11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 2,12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2The 2, 1–12;


As we see, at the time when this Epistle of Paul was written, there were tempters who wanted to make people believe that Christ had already come. Also among the Thessalonian Christians there were such people who had spread, "The coming of the Lord has already taken place.". As we all know there were and there are cases – also at our time – of self–appointed "Christs", who bound hundreds of credulous people to themselves and even drove them to their deaths.

Paul tried now to give a sign to his disciples, by which they could unequivocally see if the Return of the Lord is imminent or not. And he mentioned in a quite unambiguous way the appearance of the Antichrist with his falling away from God, as unfailing sign. Only when they see the Antichrist, when they see that he takes a seat in the temple in Jerusalem and pretends to be God, only then they can reckon with the Lord's soon appearance and with the taking home of his elect.

And when Paul points out to us in 2The 2,9, "the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders", this is also confirmed to us by John in the Revelation:

And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

Rev 13,1And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 13,2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 13,3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast. Rev 13, 1– 3;


In the same way the statement of Paul in 2The 2,4: "the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so–called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" is corroborated in the Revelation:

They worshiped the beast, and it opened his mouth in blasphemies against God.

Rev 13,4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?" 13,5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty–two months was given to him. 13,6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Rev 13, 3– 6;


After this revelation of apostasy and the Fiend, the man of lawlessness, the Lord will come and – after he has taken home his elect – kill the Antichrist in the Battle of Armageddon with the breath of his mouth and put an end to him.

Already the Lord Jesus himself warns us in the Gospels that before his coming false prophets will arise and orders us not to follow them. And also he gives us a guideline assistance, when we can reckon with his coming:

Just as the lightning so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Mt 24,24 " For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 24,25 "Behold, I have told you in advance. 24,26 "So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 24,27 "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Mt 24,24–27;


If we now can on the one hand proceed from the assumption that the revelation of which Paul is speaking above in 1The 4,15–17, concerns the coming of the Lord for Rapture, then the statement of 2The 2,1–10 confirms that this coming of the Lord will not take place before the apostasy and the revelation of the Evil One, but precisely after that. We see the same pattern also in the statements of the Lord about the last days:

They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29–31;


So, before the coming of the Lord there must first come the Great Tribulation and the falling away from God and the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist, must be revealed. Then the celestial bodies will be darkened, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, visibly to all people, and the Lord will descend in the clouds. His coming will be like lightning that comes from the east and flashes even to the west. And all eyes will see him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him.

(See also Table 07: “The two comings of the Lord.”)

For this is precisely the triumph of the crucified Christ, who was rejected and turned over to the law by the world and his people at his first coming, that he will be recognized here, at his return, worldwide by everyone. There will not be the pretext for any person "I did not see anything". And all Gentiles will have to realize bitterly that "their fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood" and that there is nevertheless a God.

Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit.

Jer 16,19 O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress, To You the nations will come From the ends of the earth and say, "Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit." 16,20 Can man make gods for himself? Yet they are not gods! 16,21 "Therefore behold, I am going to make them know – This time I will make them know My power and My might; And they shall know that My name is the LORD." Jer 16,19–21;


We learn also from Rev 1,7 that the Lord will come on the clouds of the sky, and that all people will see him then – the godless in fear, the faithful in joy:

Every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him.

Rev 1,4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 1,5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood – 1,6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father – to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1,7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. Rev 1, 4– 7;


"Every eye will see him, even those who pierced him". Of course, with that not those Roman legionaries are meant, who crucified the Lord and who drove nails into his arms and feet. Every man who rejects Jesus Christ as the Son of God, "pierced", crucified him in the spiritual sense.

And here it can be seen quite unmistakably that it will be also and precisely the godless and faithless and not only the faithful who will see the Lord coming.

"And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him". Also this hint confirms us that the whole world will see the Lord coming. When he comes, he will be visible around the terrestrial globe, although this is hardly conceivable from our today's limited point of view of men.

Statements to the same effect as in Rev 1,7 can also be found in the Old Testament, with Zech 12,9–14:

They will look on Me whom they have pierced.

Zech 12,9 "And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 12,10 "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

12,11 "In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

12,12 "The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves; 12,13 the family of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves; 12,14 all the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves. Zech 12, 9–14;


After the tribulation of that time the celestial bodies will be darkened. That means the whole world will be shrouded in darkness. There will be an absolute darkness on the earth. This event alone would suffice to spread fear and terror among people. But then suddenly a bright light will appear in the sky. It will shine all over the world from one end of the sky to the other one.

And then they will see the Lord Jesus descending on the clouds of the sky with great power and glory and with his holy angels. All of them will see him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Now the surviving faithful out of the Great Tribulation, the still living elect, can come out and raise their heads, for their salvation is there and none can harm them any more.



Table: Sequence and Duration of events in the Last Days

The Rapture /    Chapter 062, Part 2

The marriage of the Lamb.. /    Chapter 063, Part 3

Of that day and hour no one knows, but the Father alone.. /    Chapter 064, Part 4