Q. I have questions regarding the rapture of the Church. What is the difference between the Rapture and the 2nd coming? I have read that the Rapture comes during the End Times. How close are we to the End Times? Would it be accurate to say that the rapture could be soon?
A. The rapture of the church is an event in which the Church will suddenly disappear from Earth sometime before the 2nd Coming to take up residence with Jesus in Heaven. It’s based primarily on 1 Thes. 4:16-17 although there are other verses that speak of it as well. There are several differences between the rapture and the 2nd Coming. One is that the rapture takes the Church from the Earth while the 2nd Coming brings the Lord to the Earth. Another is that the rapture is a secret event that happens without warning, while the 2nd Coming will follow many clear warning signs and will be witnessed by all the people of Earth.
As to how close we are to the rapture no one knows for sure because it’s exact timing is one of the End Times secrets that God maintains for strategic purposes.
Many scholars believe the End Times formally began with the re-birth of Israel in 1948. Some of them also believe that Matt. 24:34 tells us the Lord will return within the lifetimes of those who were being born at the same time as Israel’s re-birth. If that’s the case, then it’s quite likely that the rapture could not only be soon, but very soon.