Two of the most discussed biblical events are the rapture and the second advent. But how else do they relate to one another, and can we be sure they take place at the same time? Let’s explore the Old Testament and New Testament prophecies predicting the concurrence of the rapture with the second advent of Christ. The goal will be to achieve a time sequence understanding of the resurrection of the dead and events mentioned in the tribulation and wrath periods. Thirty-six different second advent passages will be examined with a focus on aligning repeated themes and elements to obtain the prize that awaits completion of this study.

“Rapture” and “resurrection” at the second coming are related terms since the resurrection of the dead occurs at the rapture. However, rapture has a broader meaning. Rapture means to be “snatched” in salvation terms within eschatology (i.e., “grabbed” by Christ to be saved from fire or death). There is no event found in the biblical text where salvation of living saints on earth at Christ’s coming is separated in time from salvation of departed saints.

Rapture will be the preferred term to include the transformation of the living (Philippians 3:20-21) and the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). Ultimate salvation occurs at the rapture. It means eternal life in a new body.

A “post-trib” rapture also means that salvation occurs at the second advent, except it’s associated with the end of the 3.5-year Great Tribulation Period mentioned in Daniel and Revelation. It is fulfillment of being saved today – 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, Ephesians 1:13-14.

An “end-wrath” rapture is like a post-trib rapture other than that it is confined to the second advent and rapture starting at the 7th trumpet of Revelation 11. This rapture is during the 7th bowl period (Revelation 16:17-21), slightly after the 7th trumpet sounds. This does not mean that the saints living on earth realize God’s wrath directly (Romans 2:5-10, Romans 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:9), but that they will be protected by being grabbed out of harm’s way (saved) until this wrath is completely poured out. The symbolic 144,000 of Revelation 14:1 are also spared from God’s wrath while on earth.

A way to describe similarities between post-trib and end-wrath raptures is to coin a new phrase I hope you’ll find useful. Let’s call it a “wrath-avoiding” rapture. Both views could utilize the same definition where the second coming is an extended event that occurs at the end of the tribulation period, and it takes a little time to complete during the end of the wrath period (vs. an “instantaneous” second coming). Keep this in mind as we look at the reasons behind why this makes sense.

Key Relationships to the Second Advent

This brings us to relational elements. We can better understand the second advent when it is linked with the rapture and other events of this period. We will have a better appreciation for the last days upon closer examination of 36 passages that have integrated elements as part of one major series of rapid events.

Combined Elements During the 2nd Coming

Second Advent – This the primary event that drives everything else. It is explicitly mentioned in most of the 36 passages referenced in this chapter. It is sometimes implied if there is enough related evidence to qualify as an indirect reference.

Rapture – This previously defined term is not always mentioned in the 36 second advent passages, but is included in 39% of them. The word “rapture” in English is never used since this is derived from an old Latin root word. However, we will use “rapture” when salvation passages are mentioned adjacent to the second coming (rapture = transformation of the living or resurrection of the dead when Christ appears next time).

Judgment – There are a few types of judgment that occur at the second advent. The judgment of the just and the judgment of the unjust as individuals are described in most cases, but destructive judgment upon groups is also stated.

Physical Appearance – These passages describe a bodily return of Christ to earth that will be witnessed by people’s eyes. This is a physical rendering, not spiritual or figurative eyesight. Examples of the first advent (Luke 24:34, Acts 1:3) are like the second.

Clouds – The glory of the Lord described in the Old Testament (Exodus 16:10) is magnified in the New Testament by depicting Christ’s return in glory on, in and with clouds. Literal and figurative uses of the term can be examined in 7 of the 36 passages that state “clouds” at the second advent.

Angels or Armies – There are five passages that describe a warlike group of angels that accompany Christ upon His return to earth.

Angels Gathering or Separating – There are five other passages that describe angels, not as warlike but as gathering the saints or separating the wicked. This totals 10 of 36 passages that depict angels coming with Christ in two distinct ways.

Voice or Command – Christ will speak audibly at His return. In all cases, His voice initiates the rapture, to transform the living or resurrect the dead. This was foreshadowed by the resurrection of Lazarus where Christ spoke towards his tomb (John 11:43).

Trumpet – Sometimes there is a trumpet sound mentioned at the second advent.

Tribulation – Several passages state Christ’s return after a tribulation period. There is not one passage in the Bible that states any secretive or physical appearance of Christ before tribulation. He always comes at the end. Spiritual appearances of Christ into a person’s heart are not in an eschatological context, so these passages are not considered as end-time related.

Destruction of the Wicked – 16 of 36 passages state that Christ (or angels with Christ) repays the unjust for their wicked deeds. Some passages state salvation for the just and punishment for the unjust during the same period of His recompense when He arrives.

Click here to download a PDF file comprising an organized table of these passages, or copy this link in a browser –

Passages of the Second Coming of Christ

All passages with a direct reference to the second coming are listed below throughout each section. Only 1 passage does not reference the second coming, Daniel 12. However, this is an important chapter that includes other elements such as the resurrection and judgment. We know from Daniel 7 that Christ comes to earth, so the book of Daniel has known references. Daniel 12 is included in our list to help show more relationships to the 3.5-year tribulation period laid out by Daniel (repeated in Revelation).

Passages that have implied references to the second coming are – Daniel 2:31-45, Matthew 13:36-43, John 6:39-40, Revelation 11:15-18, Revelation 17:14.

Passages of the Rapture

Job 19:25-27, Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 12, John 5:21-29, John 6:39-40, 1 Corinthians 15:12-28, 1 Corinthians 15:50-53, 1 Thessalonians 3:13 (implied), 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, Philippians 3:10-21, Hebrews 9:27-28 (implied), 1 Peter 1:3-9, 1 John 2:28-3:2 (implied), Revelation 11:15-18 (implied)

Passages About Judgment For the Just

Daniel 7:9-27, Daniel 12 (implied), Matthew 13:36-43, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:31-46, John 5:21-29, 1 Corinthians 4:5, 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, 1 Timothy 6:13-16 (implied), 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Philippians 3:10-21, Hebrews 9:27-28, 1 Peter 1:3-9, 1 Peter 5:4Revelation 11:15-18, Revelation 22:12

Passages About Judgment Against the Unjust

Daniel 7:9-27, Daniel 12 (implied), Matthew 13:36-43, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:31-46, John 5:21-292 Thessalonians 1:5-10, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Jude 1:14-15, Revelation 19:11-21, Revelation 22:12

Passages of the Physical Appearance of Christ

Job 19:25-27, Matthew 24:15-31, Luke 17:22-37, Luke 21:25-28, 1 John 2:28-3:2, Revelation 1:7

Passages with Clouds Depicted at Christ’s Return

Daniel 7:9-27, Matthew 24:15-31, Luke 21:25-28, Acts 1:9-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, Revelation 1:7, Revelation 14:14-20

Passages with Angels / Armies Accompanying Christ

Matthew 16:27, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, Jude 1:14-15, Revelation 19:11-21

Passages with Angels Gathering the Righteous Saints or Separating the Unjust

Matthew 13:36-43, Matthew 24:15-31, Matthew 25:31-46, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (implied), Revelation 14:14-20

Passages with Christ’s Command to Initiate the Rapture

John 5:21-29, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, Philippians 3:10-21

Passages with a Trumpet at the Rapture, or a Trumpet at Judgment Day

Matthew 24:15-31, 1 Corinthians 15:50-53, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, Revelation 11:15-18 (also states that this trumpet sounds the beginning of Christ’s reign on earth)

Passages about Christ Arriving after Tribulation

Daniel 7:9-27, Daniel 12, Matthew 24:15-31, Luke 21:25-28 (implied), 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:11-21 (Revelation passages implied – see notes)


Passages about Destruction of the Wicked at the Second Coming  

Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 2:31-45, Daniel 7:9-27, Daniel 12, Matthew 13:36-43, Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 17:22-37, 1 Corinthians 15:12-28, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Philippians 3:10-21, Jude 1:14-15, Revelation 11:15-18, Revelation 14:14-20, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:11-21

Bible Passages About the Second Coming

All 36 of these passages connect to each other by sharing eleven parts of the ending chapter of history. There is no passage referenced that states Christ will come again without using at least one of the other eleven associations. For example, He comes “with His angels” or He comes “to judge.” Related elements show up from 8% to 45% of these 36 second advent passages.

Three is the lowest number of second advent characteristics that are repeated (8%). This is Christ’s voice at His coming (mentioned 3 times out of 36 passages).

The highest numbers are the rapture at 14, destruction of the wicked at 16 and a positive judgment in favor of the just at 17 of 36 passages.

In statistics, there are compounding relationship to relationship formulas that make the likelihood of a single sequence of end-time events the logical conclusion. It is nearly impossible that there are two separate destructions of the wicked or two separate reward judgments at two separate advents of Christ. A tough challenge for the pre-trib rapture view is to explain an initial resurrection at this rapture, then a different resurrection event at the second coming. No text supports this.

This is not a chapter about math, so we will look at base logic. For example, in 1 Corinthians 4:5 there is the second advent depicted with judgment in favor of the saints. It is specifically stated that this reward judgment occurs after He comes.

Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. 

While angels are not mentioned in 1 Corinthians 4:5, we should not overlook that they are associated near the time of rewards for the righteous in other passages. In Matthew 16:27 the second advent is described with judgment and with an accompaniment of angels.

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 

We also see angels again in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-8, this time with more action on the angels’ part.

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

There are differences in Christ coming with or without angels. We also see outright statements arguing the second coming is a good thing for saints but a bad thing for the unrighteous. Are they discrete events or different angels?

The next two verses in 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 make the case for a single event even clearer.

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.  

Here we see in 2 Thessalonians 1 that the wicked are punished, and that there is relief for the saints at the same time of Christ’s glorification (“that day”). In these passages, we notice accompanying angels and judgment in relation to each other within the entire biblical context, even if a passage such as 1 Corinthians 4:5 does not specifically state something like angels. This same grouping concept is magnified over 36 passages.

The other option we face is that there are at least two accompaniments of angels, two uses of trumpets, etc., until there is a force of multiple returns of Christ. This is a paramount question to answer. Is Christ coming back once or more than once? Let’s stick with Hebrews 9:27-28.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.  

To honor the words of Hebrews 9:28, some who believe in a pre-trib rapture feel that Christ does not physically, technically, come back to earth within this rapture view. He hangs out in the “air” so a belief in only one second coming to earth holds true. However, since the signs or elements of a pre-trib rapture may be shared between other passages, adherents need to explain two sets of angels, two different trumpets, etc. Logic (or math) does not lead us to a conclusion of two or more of any elements or two second advents.

Some of these passages identified only state one or two sub-events within the second advent. Christ coming to earth is the major thrust where something like a voice command or trumpet sound is just a small part of the overall episode. It is more revealing with passages like Daniel 7, Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 that include several parts of the whole.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up [snatched] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

This interesting description of the second advent gives the mind plenty of grist for thought, including Christ’s command, an archangel, a trumpet, clouds, and the resurrection of the dead along with the salvation of living saints at the rapture. This is 6 out of 11 aspects that are associated with each other. Daniel 7 also has 6 of the 11 aspects.

Matthew 24:29-31 is another famous passage that contains several second advent elements (6 of 11).

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 heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, 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 out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Once we realize that there is only one set of clouds, one trumpet and one of everything else, we can be reassured of end-time sequencing. In Matthew 24, Christ states He will come after the Day of the Lord signs that are “immediately after the tribulation.” This is further corroborated by 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Paul explains that history’s greatest antichrist will be revealed before Christ comes again (at the time when the saints are gathered).

This future antichrist is active during the Great Tribulation Period. Christ comes after this tribulation at the time of the destruction of the antichrist and the rest of the wicked (another common theme with 16 out of 36 passages stating the same concept of destruction of the wicked).

Determining the Sequence of End-Time Events

We can assemble an order of events now that we have examined several passages. The primary goal for timing is to answer the question about the timing sequence related to the second coming. Since an alignment of key phrases is prevalent, and there does not seem to be any reason to believe in a third appearing of Christ, it is reasonable that there is the following high-level order.

Signs of the End – The fig tree analogy from Matthew 24:32-33 is a great basis. Initial signs warn us about the beginning of the end, then they ramp up. There are many end-time signs mentioned throughout the Bible, especially in Day of the Lord passages like the 6th seal in Revelation 6:12-17. This seal renews prophecies from the Old Testament like people hiding in caves to avoid wrath (originally predicted in Isaiah 2:19-21). Tribulation escalates from the 1st seal to the 6th seal when wrath outpouring begins.

Antichrist is revealed before the Day of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) – the Great Tribulation Period leads to wars and troubles for the saints as shown in Daniel 7:25-26, Revelation 12:17Revelation 17:14 and these similar passages:

Daniel 7:21-22b As I looked, this horn [antichrist] made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came…

Revelation 13:7-8 Also it [beast w/ antichrist] was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

Armageddon – The last battle of this age assembles at the 6th trumpet and 6th bowl periods of Revelation 9:13-20 and Revelation 16:12-16. The 6th seal is opened prior to the assembly to allow the Day of the Lord events with wrath pouring out on the wicked. We see Isaiah 13:4-13 and Joel 3:11-16 referencing the same 6th seal signs and the gathering of nations against the Lord. Armageddon is associated with the Day of the Lord.

Christ’s Advent – There are many sub-events that occur within this same period.

The everlasting (millennial) kingdom reign begins on earth – Revelation 11:17 and Revelation 20:4.

Rapture – the righteous are saved from impending doom – 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10. There is no verse combining the rapture with the second advent in Revelation, but Revelation 17:14 points to the saints already being with Christ when destruction of the wicked occurs at the final battle. It is safe to assume that the rapture of Revelation 20:4 has already occurred in Revelation 17’s reference to the end of Armageddon.

Wrath is completely poured out (7th bowl – Revelation 16:17-21 with Revelation 11:18 stating the end of wrath’s completion) Tribulation and wrath are finished.

Judgment of individuals – Revelation 11:18, Revelation 20:4. We know from many passages this occurs after His return to earth (Matthew 25:31-32).

Post-Trib or End-Wrath Rapture?

Even though we have assembled an outline of high-level events, we still have not concluded if a post-trib or end-wrath rapture is a better term to use. Tribulation and wrath will be defined more below before we answer.

Tribulation is a broad term. It has been occurring for thousands of years (John 16:33, Acts 14:22, Romans 8:35, Romans 12:12). None of these references state “great” tribulation.

We can’t be so caught up in trying to ascribe meaning that we confuse the Great Tribulation Period with general tribulation. When we’re looking for passages relating to the Great Tribulation Period, we find a key one in Matthew 24:21.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

Great Tribulation is the same as the 3.5-year period mentioned in Daniel and Revelation (Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7, Revelation 13:5).

The hard part is matching the Great Tribulation Period with wrath timing because they overlap at the Day of the Lord. However, it is easier to align everything if we focus our attention on “wrath.” Here are some wrath passages about age-ending judgments.

Romans 2:5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. The “day” of wrath does not necessarily refer to a single day of 24 hours.
Revelation 6:17a for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand? The 6th seal points to the Day of the Lord at the beginning of the wrath period.
Revelation 11:18a The nations raged, but your wrath came. This 7th trumpet section provides a lot of details about timing. It does not state wrath or destruction of the wicked is complete. It does state it is time for “destroying the destroyers.” Revelation 11:17-18 also states the time is at hand for judgment of the dead and Christ’s reign beginning on earth. This brief passage is another cluster of related events. Wrath begins earlier, so the 7th trumpet must be just before the last bowl judgment, when destruction is complete.
Revelation 14:19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. This section repeats Old Testament winepress passages such as Isaiah 63:1-6 and Joel 3:11-16. Revelation 14 is a parallel passage to Revelation 19:19-21 when wrath is completed.
Revelation 15:1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.

In Revelation 16:1-2 we see the first bowl of wrath being poured out. It is poured upon those with the mark of the beast. We know this is during the Great Tribulation Period after the antichrist has been revealed. This first bowl occurs well before the Revelation 14 and 19 second advent passages that we just looked at (remember that Revelation is non-linear). The 7th bowl is when wrath is complete at the end of Armageddon.

In Revelation 16:10-16 we notice the 5th and 6th bowl judgments being poured out on the beast’s kingdom and the gathering at Armageddon. As a side note, the 5th trumpet mentions a 5-month period in Revelation 9:10. This leads us to believe that the Day of the Lord and wrath being poured out is a long time (but less than 3.5 years).

We know bowl judgments follow the trumpets. If we use a likely option that the first bowl intensifies the first trumpet, we can connect bowls and trumpets to the Day of the Lord with the signs from the 6th seal and related passages such as Joel 3:11-16.

There are many reasons that the first bowl is unlikely to follow the 7th trumpet that we reviewed in Chapter 22. We can assume the first bowl follows the first trumpet, etc.

Since we also know saints are with Christ at the last battle in Revelation 17:14, we can assume that the rapture occurs towards the end of the wrath period, at the last trumpet, just before the last bowl is completed. Bowls follow trumpets slightly and intensify their calls. This leads us to the view that an end-wrath rapture best describes the timing of the rapture. A post-trib rapture also describes good general timing, but it is hard to nail down the relationship between the 3.5-year tribulation to the rapture.

Timing and Duration of the Second Coming

A related study from Chapter 17 reveals how quickly Christ appears from the initial signs to when He finally comes at the second advent. We know the tribulation period is years long, but there are many passages that state Christ deals out punishment and saves the saints quickly. The duration always seems short since there are no references to drawn out battles. He speaks, and the wicked fall in a short breath. See 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Revelation 14:15-16, Revelation 17:14 and Revelation 19:19-21.

We have examined many reasons that timing and other complexities have challenged us to understand the book of Revelation and the second advent. By scratching the surface of textual comparison, we can be confident that the entire Bible is integrated to show common themes about the most important time in earth’s history, the culmination of time. By going back to the Old Testament references, we know more about Christ’s return, especially why He is coming.

Before we can learn details about when Christ comes back to earth, we should look to answer why He is coming back again. Could He not have destroyed the wicked and saved the saints at His first advent? He did to some extent to begin the process, but the promises were not fully realized. Hebrews 11:39-40 gives an answer based on the preceding verses of Hebrews 11.

We now arrive at potential discrepancies about Christ’s first advent compared to His second. Some believe that death was destroyed once for all. 2 Timothy 1:10 states,

and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

Paul’s statement to Timothy describes the first advent. Christ defeated death for Himself and brought it to light for us since He now holds the “keys” to death (Revelation 1:18).

Hebrews 9:26b But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

There are many other rabbit trails we can go down. We can revisit Hebrews 9:27-28. Verse 26 reports the first advent, while verse 28 states He “will appear a second time.” In three verses we see the difference between the advents. He conquered sin once for all, but not death for us, yet.

We know the writer(s) of Hebrews stated we are living in the “last days” since the first advent (Hebrews 1:1-2). The only way we will know when we are at the end of the last days is by the signs discussed earlier.

Josephus did not write about the second advent in The Jewish War in Book 6, ch.5.3, regarding the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem. Full preterism does not consider the hundreds of passages that state destruction of all the wicked and salvation for the saints (like David, who is waiting for Christ to defeat all enemies so he can be resurrected (Acts 2:34-35)). Abraham is waiting as well (Hebrews 11:13-16). Every tribe, nation and tongue is involved at the end (Revelation 1:7, Revelation 13:7, Revelation 14:6).

One issue we face is that there are passages with dual fulfillment. How do we know what was fulfilled already and what remains open? For example, Neo-Babylonians invaded the promised land then God judged them by sending the Persians to defeat them. However, some of these components also are stated in Revelation (such as Babylon is Fallen). Christ stated similarities to the destruction of the second temple (Luke 21:20-24) while including similar language for end times in a different sermon (Matthew 24:15-21).

Christ conquered death for Himself. We will not benefit from this until He returns, completely defeating death for all the saints in the process. We believe this concept of Christ defeating death as a similar dual fulfillment of prophecy. Death is defeated but not yet defeated.

1 Corinthians 15:16-26 is one that should lift our spirits.

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.


Revelation Explained Copyright © 2022 by K.J. Soze. All Rights Reserved.

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