As was discussed in the previous sections, and as described by the Lord and His Disciples along with the prophets of old, we can now assemble the main characteristics of Christ’s Return and the rapture event (which is the resurrection and our gathering together with Jesus). These characteristics are based upon the plain words found within the Bible and not on popular teachings or denominational doctrines. The following list describes these major characteristics:
From: Christ’s Predictions
1) It will occur at the End of the Age (Matt. 13:29-30; Matt. 13:39-43). The end means at the very last day when Christ finally returns to put a stop to the evil destruction of the world.
2) The ones who will accomplish the gathering of Christians are the angels, as they are directed by Christ (Matt. 13:39, 41; Matt. 13:49).
3) The event will involve the separation of the wicked from the righteous where the wicked will be gathered for eternal punishment and the followers of Jesus will be gathered for resurrection and eternal blessing (Matt. 13:30; Matt. 13:40, 42; Matt. 13:49-50).
From: The Sign of the Son of Man
4) It will occur after the tribulation of those days (Matt. 24:29-30)–not before the tribulation or midway through it.
5) All the world will visibly see the Lord coming and the angels gathering his people together with Christ (Matt. 24:30). It will not be a secret coming by Christ, but a very powerful return with all the forces of Heaven with Him!
6) The angels will be sent forth with a great sound of a trumpet (Matt. 24:31)
From: The Testimony of the Disciples
7) The Antichrist will definitely arise before the gathering of believers takes place (e.g., Christians will be around to experience his reign).
8) The resurrection will occur at the same time as the rapture with dead believers being raised and gathered just before the living ones are transformed.
From: In the Twinkling of an Eye
9) The resurrection of believers will result in immortal and incorruptible bodies which will be angelic and glorious in their appearance.
10) The process of the resurrection will occur “in the twinkling of an eye” or virtually instantaneously. This does not mean a disappearance of Christians currently still alive, but a dramatic transformation with great power and glory as the angels come to gather them.
From: The Trumpet Sounds
11) There will be a group of living believers who will never have to experience death but will be transformed into immortal bodies at the same time that the dead are raised.
12) The resurrection (and therefore the rapture) will occur at the sounding of the last trumpet.
13) The last trumpet corresponds to the 7th trumpet described in the book of Revelation and will occur at the moment of the Second Coming and at the end of the Tribulation.
From: Delivered from God’s Wrath
14) The rapture will occur just prior to the Wrath of God.
15) Those delivered in the rapture will be hidden from the Lord’s wrath.
From: The Witness of the Old Testament
16) Christ will return with power and vengeance to save his people and to destroy those who destroy the earth.
17) The rapture corresponds to the first resurrection (for believers only) and will be separated from the second resurrection (for nonbelievers) by a period of 1000 years.