What is the difference between the rapture and the coming of the Lord?


Will Christ come secretly (as a surprise) for his church or will he come in shining glory and "every eye shall see Him"?

What about verses that indicate that he will come FOR His saints “immediately after the tribulation of those days”? Matthew 24Mark 13:, or Luke 21: don't appear to have any verse where Christ said He would come SECRETLY or “at any moment.” Please throw light upon this subject.

The Lord's coming in glory is quite distinct from the descent of the Lord from heaven to take away His sleeping and living saints from the earth, to be for ever with the Lord, as is revealed in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Many verses take into account the differences between these two comings (e.g., John 14:1-6; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 1:10). 1 Corinthians 15: 51-54, where the “mystery” of this first stage of the Lord’s return is revealed: “Behold, I shew you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” This is not referred to in Matthew 24, etc., for the good reason, that the time had not come to reveal it.

The coming there described is that of the “Son of Man” to the earth, to deliver Israel, which was not a mystery at all, but had been plainly revealed in the Old Testament, e.g., Zechariah 14:4-5. where we read that “His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives, and that “all His saints will be with Him,” that is clearly all the saints already caught up to be with Him.

It is true that the words “secret rapture” do not occur in scripture, but if, as is stated, the whole event will be over in “the twinkling of an eye,” clearly only those taken away will know of it at the time, though their absence will doubtless be noticed later. They will be delivered thus from the Great Tribulation.