The Bible clearly indicates that there are two phases of Christ’s return. The first phase will be His coming just before the seven year tribulation period, in which He will snatch up, or rapture, all those in Christ (of the church). The second phase of His coming, which is usually called the second coming, will be at the very end of the tribulation period, in which He will return, with the church and the angels, to set up the coming millennial kingdom.
For the next couple months I will be looking at over seventy verses (in biblical order) that speak of His return—either the first phase or the second phase. My task will be to show, whether the passage suggests the rapture (first phase) or His coming to set up His kingdom (second phase).
The reason I think we need to study this is, 1) because the scriptures are not always clear that there are two phases of His coming; and in some cases it is hard to distinguish the two phases, and 2) because many believe that there is only one phase of His coming, and they conveniently choose not to believe in the rapture of the church, choosing rather to believe that all will go through the tribulation. Thus they see all of the scriptures on His coming as being one single event.
We will begin our study in Daniel; and from this post onward we will take just one verse or passage at a time and ask the same question: Is this verse speaking of the rapture or the second coming?
Daniel 7:13-14: Rapture or Second Coming?
“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14 “And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.
(NASB, bold for emphasis)
Here is a vision of Daniel, which, like Daniel 2:44-45, speaks (in the context) of the four world kingdoms, and in particular, prophecies of the kingdom of God to come—which will be enthroned by “One like the Son of Man.” And He will come “with the clouds of heaven,” and He will be given “dominion, Glory and a kingdom” by the Ancient of Days. This passage speaks clearly of Christ’s second coming, because of the reference to His kingdom, for in His second coming He comes to set up His kingdom. In the rapture His kingdom is surely in view, however, from the point of the rapture, it will not begin for at least seven years.