The so-called two-stage Second Coming of Christ where He first comes secretly to evacuate His Church from the earth before seven years of tribulation to include the last three and one half years of great tribulation and then returns after with the saints in glory is no where taught in Scripture. This heresy must be artificially constructed by starting with the false premise that especially the great tribulation is all God’s full on wrath and then fancifully reading into 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that it is His means of evacuation prior to. However, in context, the apostle Paul is not comforting his readers about an evacuation from tribulation of any kind or wrath. He comforts and instructs them about the saints who have died with his words about their return with Christ.
An amazing thing has happened at times in history when God’s people have come under persecution or painful adversity. Rather than being entirely destroyed and diminished in strength, a faithful remnant endures--though captive, on the run, in hiding or underground--and becomes even stronger in faith, spiritual fervency and power (Daniel 1; Acts 4:1-31, 5:17-42, 7:59-8:8, 14:19-28). Surely, this has everything to do with faith in and devotion to the living God, His affirming presence and power at work in the lives of His faithful saints; aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Jesus Christ who was sent to suffer and die for us (Romans 5:6-8, 8:31-34)!
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