Understanding the Future

Greetings, study friends! We’re heading into the final week of Understanding the Times. We began by asking, “Why is it important to understand the times?” Then we broke it down to look at the past and ask, “What lessons can we learn?” Last week, in looking at the present, we asked, “How Close are We?”

That leads us to this week’s study, but rather than a question, we have a statement: Jesus will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever and ever! That’s what the future holds for us as believers! But let’s consider some details.

To get a running start, remember God’s promises in Ezekiel 36-37 to prepare the land and bring His people home. (Review here and here.) Short of the fulfillment of that promise, King Jesus cannot reign!

So, failure to understand the past risks repeating its mistakes. Failure to understand the present blinds us to the urgency. The fig tree has bloomed and Jesus is right at the door! (Matthew 24:32-35) Jesus is coming again and we have a glorious future, but at least 3 things must happen before He rules as King of Kings and Lord of Lords:

  • Rapture
  • Tribulation
  • Second Coming

Let’s focus on two of those terms: Rapture and Second Coming. Some ask, “What’s the difference?” There are significant differences and we will discover them!

First, it is important to know that, in God’s plan, those are two phases of a single event: Jesus’ return. Yet, they are different. Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Those passages refer to what?

If you said, “Rapture,” you are correct! Those verses describe what happens to believers in Jesus at the time He comes to take us home to be with Him! He doesn’t return all the way to earth, but catches us up to meet Him in the air! That is phase 1 of His return! That is the earthly “finish line” for believers.

However, there is a second “finish line” for the Jewish people. It occurs when Jesus physically returns to earth, after the rapture and the tribulation, to save His people and to set up a new kingdom on earth!

There are no signs or prophetic events that must be fulfilled prior to the rapture. It could happen at any moment. However, we see signs of the times that point toward the tribulation and, ultimately, His Second Coming. Thus, we know we are living in the time and season of Jesus’ redemption of us from this world!

Let’s close today’s study with a visual that may help us understand the differences between the Rapture and His Second Coming. Enjoy…and I’ll meet you back here tomorrow!

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