Summary: To establish that when the Lord returns, that shall be the end. And there will be “no rapture, no seven years of tribulation, and no 1000 year reign” upon the earth, at the second coming of Christ. This lesson affirms the kingdom began on Pentecost.
1. Rapture (caught up) at His Coming?
2. Ruin (tribulation) at His Coming?
3. Reign (1000 years) at His Coming?
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing a theme: “then cometh the end.” We will address three theories in pre-millennialism in this lesson: “the rapture, the tribulation and the 1000 year reign” of Christ upon the earth. Some teach these things shall occur at the second advent of Christ. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians clearly establishes that at the Lord’s Second Advent, “then cometh the end.”
2. First, we will consider the question, “will there be a rapture (caught up) at His coming?” Paul’s first Letter to the Thessalonians was written to comfort the brethren, during the sleep of the saints. He reminds them that when the Lord returns, the “dead in Christ shall rise first, and ascend to meet the Lord in the air.” And, there they shall “forever be with the Lord.” The theory of the “rapture” sets forth that the saints shall be a “caught up” from the earth for 7 years; to remove them from the tribulation that will plague the earth. We will consider this theory in our lesson.
3. Second, we will discuss the question, “will there be a ruin or 7-years of tribulation at His coming?” As mention earlier, these teachers believe the rapture will remove the saints from the ongoing tribulation taking place upon the earth. Paul in his second Letter to the Thessalonians wrote: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come ... in that day,” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. Paul states: “they shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” Not, for seven years as these teachers advocate.
4. Lastly, we will investigate the question, “will there be a 1000 year reign at His coming?” Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians, he renounces the theory of a 1000 year reign, when the Lord returns. He wrote: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. ... But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterwards they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he (Christ) must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death,” 1 Corinthians 15:20-26. This Letter settles the question of a 1000 year reign of Christ, upon the earth. Much of this theory is forged from the many “symbols and keys” mentioned in the Book of Revelation and prophetic utterances. We will discuss a few of them in this lesson. With this introduction, let’s consider our first point.
BODY OF LESSON
I RAPTURE AT HIS COMING
A. An overview of the “rapture,” as taught be many pre-millennialist. Reference: See God's Prophetic Word, by Foy Wallace, p. 347-349; cf. Lion and the Lamb on Planet Earth, by Rodney Miller.1 There are many views regarding the pre-millennialist’s theories. We present this one because it is clear and concise regarding this theory.
1. The theory of the rapture: “Jesus will first come invisibly, unknown to men in general (Gr: Parousia), raise the righteous dead, and take them from the earth to heaven for a 7-year period, which is call the ‘rapture.’"1 This is the first part of the theory of pre-millennialism.
2. Text of discussion. Paul wrote: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep... For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words,” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. We will begin this lesson with Paul’s discussion of the return “coming of Christ.”
B. The return of the Lord. After affording comfort to the saints regarding the “sleep” of the saints; and that they should not be troubled by there “sleep in Jesus.” He states: “That they sorrow not, even as others which have no hope,” 1 Thessalonians 4:13. As Christians, we and our family and love ones which have “fallen asleep in Jesus” have hope in the Lord, and in His return with the saints, 1 Thessalonians 3:13. He then directs his attention to the return of the Lord. Notice: