Sequence of Events
By combining these three passages [1 Cor. 15, John 14:1-3, 1 Thess. 4:12-18] and studying them carefully, we can outline the sequence of events in the Rapture. They are totally different from the coming of Christ to this earth in Power and Great Glory, which we will examine in chapter seven. (Note: In the rapture chart on the next page, each event has a corresponding number to help you locate exactly where it occurs.)
1. The Lord Himself will descend from His Fathers house, where He is preparing a place for us (John 14:1-3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16).
2. He will come again to receive us to Himself (John 14:1-3).
3. He resurrects those who have fallen asleep in Him (deceased believers whom we will not precede, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-15).
4. The Lord shouts as He descends (“loud command,” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, NIV). All this takes place in the “twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
5. We will hear the voice of the archangel (perhaps to lead Israel during the seven years of Tribulation as he did in the Old Testament, 1 Thessalonians 4:16).
6. We will also hear the trumpet call of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16), His last trumpet for the church. (Dont confuse this with the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15).
7. The dead in Christ will rise first. (The corruptible ashes of their dead bodies are made incorruptible and joined together with their spirit, which Jesus brings with Him, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
8. Then we which are alive and remain shall be changed (made incorruptible by having our bodies made “immortal,” 1 Corinthians 15:51,53).
9. Then we shall be caught up [raptured] together (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
10. With them in the clouds (where we assume the dead and living believers will have a monumental reunion; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).
11. To meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
12. To “receive you to Myself.” Jesus takes us to the Fathers house “that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:3).
13. “And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
1. The judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). This verse teaches that at the call of Christ for believers, He will judge all things. Christians will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10), which is described in detail in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, and will evidently be in the “Fathers House.” This judgment prepares Christians for.
2. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Just prior to His coming to earth in Power and Great Glory, which we call the Glorious Appearing, Christ will meet with His Bride, the church, and the wedding and Marriage Supper will take place. In the meantime, after the church is raptured, the world will suffer the unprecedented time of the wrath of God which our Lord called the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:14).