In an effort to try to sort out some of the false teaching of a rapture, a period of tribulation, and the setting up of an earthly kingdom ruled by Jesus; I have attempted to put together the scriptures below. Though not exhaustive, they serve as a framework of the events at the second coming of Jesus. My attempt, here, is mainly to allow the scriptures, placed in order, to say what they say. Anything else, in terms of a doctrine, is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, slight of hand. Weigh this outline against the Bible teaching: and I believe, you will see that much of what is taught popularly in the religious world is not Biblical.
THE END TIMELINE
The end and the day of the Lord Jesus are linked together: 1 Corinthians 1:8, 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14.
Jesus’ coming: Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43; Mark 8:38; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 John 2:28
That day will come like a thief in the night: 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10
That day is a day of judgment: Matthew 10:15,11:22; 2 Peter 3:7
The day of the Lord under consideration is the return of Jesus which is for the purpose of judgment.
Resurrection – anastasis, derived from two roots — ana, “up,” and histemi, “to cause to stand”.
Jesus’ coming & The rising of the dead
John 5:28-9 All who are in the graves speaks of all people who have physically died and whose physical bodies lie in those graves. The main point of this resurrection is that it is a bodily resurrection, not only a continuation of the spirit. So all bodies will rise from the graves. When? When they hear His voice.
Acts 24:15 “…there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.”
1Thessalonians 4:16 Here is the shout with the voice of John 5 that awakens the dead.
2Thessalonians 1:7 adds that “the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels”. This is in perfect agreement with Matthew 13:39 “…the reapers are the angels.” The time of the angels’ coming is the harvest, the end of the age, also Matthew 13:39.
1Corinthians 15:52 This verse says it is the last trumpet (none to follow). It is the trumpet of 1 Thessalonians 4 that precedes the rising of all the dead (bodies).
It is clear to see that there will come a day when Christ will return for a harvest at the end of the age, with a voice, a shout, a trumpet (all familiar accompaniments of the coming of Deity, in judgment); which coming precedes the raising of the dead bodies from their graves.
What happens when they raise?
1Thessalonians 4:15-16 “And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
1Corinthians 15:22-23 Made alive, here, is analogous to being resurrected in body. Christ resurrected bodily as the firstfruits; we (the faithful from 1 Thessalonians 4:16) will follow at His coming. 1Corinthians 15:20-22
The resurrection of the evil is not expanded upon. We know they will rise from John 5:28-9. And we know that their fate is an eternal destruction: 2Thessalonians 1:9. When will this happen? At the same day (2 Thessalonians 1:10) of the rising of the righteous dead, only second as the dead in Christ rise first. There is no bodily “redemption” (Romans 8:23) for the unrighteous.
After the righteous raise
1Thessalonians 4:17 “…we shall always be with the Lord.”
What about those righteous who have not died?
1Corinthians 15:51 “…We shall not all sleep (die physically), 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.” This changing of the living righteous, which also must happen to the resurrected righteous, is said to occur “at the last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:52) and the raising of the dead.
Philippians 3:20 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who (when He comes) will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
1Corinthians 15:54 ‘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.”‘ 1Corinthians 15:26
After the resurrection of the dead, the changing of their bodies, and their rising to meet the Lord in the air.
1Corinthians 15:24 “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.” What kingdom? The kingdom He came preaching was near. The kingdom that was established in Acts 2. See Mark 9:1 and other articles on this site.
1Corinthians 15:28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
What happens to the earth?
2Peter 3:9-12 All of this destruction will happen in the day of the Lord, the same time as the resurrection, changing, etc. When Jesus comes, the earth is finished.
Matthew 13 – parable of wheat and tares mentions nothing but a harvest at the end of the age when Jesus and His angels come.
1 Corinthians 15
Vv 1 to 11: Jesus died and was resurrected, and there were many witnesses to these facts.
Vv 12 to 19: The consequences if there is no resurrection.
Vv 20 to 34: But Christ was resurrected. And He is merely the first one. Everyone else will follow.
Vv 35 to 50: But with what kind of body are the dead resurrected? Though it be physical, it will be spiritual.
Vv 51 to 58: The dead will be resurrected incorruptible and the living will be changed to put on incorruptible.
This entire chapter is about the resurrection of the dead. Even if we say vv1 to 50 are about the resurrection, the balance is certainly related and cannot be separated to invent some sort of doctrine of a rapture.
1Thessalonians 3:13 “so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” If the resurrection is about the physical body’s being brought back from the dead, then this verse seems to speak of the bringing of the spirits of those dead bodies from the heavenly realm by Christ when He returns. The spirit will be reunited with the resurrected body, and the whole will be changed.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
V6 “since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you” is equated to vv8 & 9 “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”. In other words, “tribulation” is the same thing as “flaming fire”, “vengeance”, and punishment which is “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” not some sort of temporal, temporary, period of time on earth.
This seems to be the body of scriptural teaching. Hopefully we can see that none of this speaks of any of the trappings of premillennial doctrine. Study it for yourself.