Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Bible Teaches Two Future Comings of Christ


The Bible Teaches Two Future Comings of Christ,

In Which He Gathers Two Different Groups of His People

Into Two Different Places.

by James C. Morris –

Some have very incorrectly called the doctrine of the rapture a “theory.” It is not a theory, but an explicitly stated doctrine of scripture. For it is clearly stated in two scriptures.

The first place where we find it in the Bible is:

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ (1 Corinthians 15:51-54)

And the second place is:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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 by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

As a side note, we should mention here that the words “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 are a translation of a form of the Greek word ἁρπἁζω, which is harapzo in our alphabet. The Latin translation of this Greek word, as given in the Vulgate text, is “rapiemur.” And the English word “rapture” is derived from this Latin word. So, even though the word “rapture” does not occur in any English translation of the Bible, yet it is indeed a scriptural term.

We need to notice that these two scriptures plainly state that there will be a time when the Lord will come and at that time the dead in Christ will rise first, and then we which are still alive will be “caught up” “together with them in the clouds,” to be with our Lord forever. But now we must ask, where will we be taken to be with Him? This is not left to our imagination. For Jesus said:

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Here, our Lord plainly said where He was going. It was to “My Father’s house.” And He told us why He was going there. It was “to prepare a place for you.” So the place He was preparing for us was in “My Father’s house.” And He said “I will come again and receive you to Myself.” But why will he do this? “That where I am, there you may be also.” But where was He going? To “My father’s house.” So “My Father’s house” is the place where He will take us.

This is again plainly shown by the fact that in Matthew 25, in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, “while” the foolish virgins “went to buy,” oil for their lamps, “the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding.” (Matthew 25:10) Where did the wise virgins go? They “went in with him to the wedding.” And where will “the wedding” take place? In Revelation 19:7-9, “the marriage of the Lamb” takes place in heaven, just before the Lord goes forth from heaven as the “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS,” to punish the world for its wickedness in Revelation 19:11-21.

But there is another coming of Christ, with another gathering, described in other scriptures. We find this other coming clearly described as taking place after “the marriage of the Lamb” in Luke 12:35-37, where we read, “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.” As this scripture very clearly says that the coming described here will be “when” the “master” “will return from the wedding,” this clearly has to take place after “those who were ready went in with him to the wedding.”(Matthew 25:10) So ths is unquestionably a different coming. And this different coming involves a different gathering, which will be to a different place. We find this coming and gathering described in the last chapter of Isaiah, along with the location to which the people will be gathered.

“ ‘For behold, the LORD will come with fire

And with His chariots, like a whirlwind,

To render His anger with fury,

And His rebuke with flames of fire.

For by fire and by His sword

The LORD will judge all flesh;

And the slain of the LORD shall be many.

Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves,

To go to the gardens

After an idol in the midst,

Eating swine's flesh and the abomination and the mouse,

Shall be consumed together,’ says the LORD.

For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory. I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem," says the LORD, "as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites,’ says the LORD.” (Isaiah 66:15-21)

Here, there is no mention of anyone rising from the dead, or of anyone being “caught up.” Instead, there is mass killing, and people being gathered, not to “My Father’s house,” but “to my holy mountain Jerusalem.”

We see this again in the words of the prophet Jeremiah:

“ ‘Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that it shall no more be said, “The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,” but, “The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.” For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.

Behold, I will send for many fishermen,’ says the LORD, ‘and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes.’ ” (Jeremiah 16:14-17)

Here again, there is no word of a resurrection, of anyone being “caught up.” Nor of anyone being gathered to “My Father’s house.” Instead we only read of “the children of Israel” being brought “back into their land.” But here, we read of the Lord sending “fishermen” and “hunters” to “hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” Who are these “fishermen” and “hunters”? We read about them in Matthew 24:

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. 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. 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.” (Matthew 24:29-31)

When this scripture is compared with the others we have examined, it becomes clear that this is a description of the gathering described in Jeremiah 16:14-17 and Isaiah 66:15-21, not the gathering described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 And John 14:1-3. For this scripture speaks of the disasters described in Isaiah 66:15-21, but which are not even mentioned in any of the scriptures about the rapture. And it seems evident that the “fishermen” and “hunters” sent by the Lord in Jeremiah 16:14-17 would need superhuman powers to find them in “every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” So they would need to be the “angels” mentioned in Matthew 24:31, and not mere humans.

So Matthew 24 is not about the rapture, but about the gathering of Israel that will take place when the Lord comes in power and glory to judge the wicked. But some have a problem with this, because they think that the term “His elect” means “the church.” Now it is indeed beyond dispute that the term “the elect” is often used in regard to “the church.” But this term was also used in regard to the nation of Israel in the following scriptures. It was used once in regard to the Israel of ancient times, and twice more in regard to Israel’s restoration in the end times:

For Jacob My servant's sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.” (Isaiah 45:4)

I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, And from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there.” (Isaiah 65:9)

They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” (Isaiah 65:22)

So there is zero doubt that the term “His elect” can refer, not just to “the church,” but also to “Israel,” or, more properly, to the righteous remnant of that ancient nation. For that ancient and guilty nation will be severely sifted.

Concerning those that are already in the land when the end times begin, we read:

“ ‘And it shall come to pass in all the land,’

Says the LORD,

That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,

But one-third shall be left in it:

I will bring the one-third through the fire,

Will refine them as silver is refined,

And test them as gold is tested.

They will call on My name,

And I will answer them.

I will say, “This is My people”;

And each one will say,

The LORD is my God.” ’ ” (Zechariah 13:8-9)

And concerning those brought back to the land when the Lord appears, we read:

“ ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,’ says the Lord GOD. ‘I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ” (Ezekiel 20:33-38)

So, although indeed, “all Israel will be saved,” as Romans 11:26 explicitly says, that will be all of that ancient and rebellious nation that will have survived these two purges. Nor is this just theory. For it is explicitly stated in two scriptures.

In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious;

And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing

For those of Israel who have escaped.

And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy--everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning...” (Isaiah 4:2-4)


And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall 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; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.” (Zechariah 12:10-14)

Both of these scriptures clearly speak of the promised blessing being limited to those who will still be living after these purges have taken place.

So there is no contradiction between the scriptures that say things like:

For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, A remnant of them will return.” (Isaiah 10:22, quoted in Romans 9:27)

And other scriptures that say things like:

But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.” (Ezekiel 36:8-10)

For at the time the ancient promises will be fulfilled, the entirety of that ancient and rebellious nation will have been reduced to its righteous remnant. So those Israelites that will have survived to that time will be both only a remnant of the nation and the entirety of what remains of that nation.

It is indeed sad to see those that have been given such wonderful promises as that we will be brought to the “Father’s house,” and that “we shall always be with the Lord,” deny the much smaller blessings promised to the ancient nation of Israel. But such is the unbelieving heart of man.

So, even though many deny it, we see that the scriptures indeed reveal two future comings of Christ, with two different gatherings into two different places.