Antichrist, Rapture and Tribulation—What Does it All Mean?

OPINION

Bible prophecy can be confusing to us. We wonder how does this work? What goes where? And we hear terms like Armageddon, Antichrist, the mark of the beast, the Rapture, the Second Coming, the Millennium … What does it all mean?! Let me bring some clarity with a quick play over of what I believe is the chronology of end times events. In my estimation, the next event is the rapture of the church.

1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 says, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

The words “caught up” are from the root word harpazo, which is translated rapturus in Latin, and we get our English word rapture from it. So after the Rapture happens, a mysterious, charismatic man emerges on the scene that the Bible calls the Beast and the Antichrist. The Antichrist inaugurates a seven year tribulation period.

So the Rapture, then the Antichrist, then the Tribulation (so you can kind of get an idea of how things fit together).

The Tribulation period begins peacefully. The Antichrist deceives people because he brings global peace temporarily. In fact, the Bible says through peace, he will deceive many. Then this all culminates in the Battle of Armageddon, fought at the end of the Tribulation period, and then comes the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Rapture Vs. The Second Coming

Let me distinguish between the Rapture and the Second Coming. The Rapture is at the beginning. The Second Coming is at the end. In the Rapture, he comes for his church. In the Second Coming, he returns with his church. In the Rapture, he appears as a thief in the night. In the Second Coming, every eye will see him.

In the Rapture, he comes before judgment. In the Second Coming, he returns with judgment. Then comes the Millennium. The thousand-year reign of Christ. The word millennia means 1,000. And finally, the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth. So here’s the deal. The next event is the Rapture. It could happen at any moment.

You must be ready because he is returning again. So look up! Your redemption is drawing near.

Read more from Greg Laurie »

This article originally appeared on Greg’s blog and is reposted here by permission.

Greg Laurie
Greg Laurie

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine, California, and founder of Harvest Crusades, large-scale evangelistic events that are held across the world.