10.1.2 Events associated with the return of Jesus Christ

The events at the return of Christ are described in various letters of Apostle Paul:

1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17

"For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 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."

1 Corinthians 15: 51-52

"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

Philippians 3: 20-21:

"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself."

These Bible passages are of central significance for belief in the return of Christ. An overview results in the following sequence of events:

At the return of the Lord, the dead in Christ will first resurrect incorruptible, and the living who have allowed themselves to be prepared for His coming will experience the transformation without suffering physical death. Thus both the dead and the living will receive a body that is like the glorious body of Christ. They will then be caught up together to the Lord, who will not descend upon the earth. In this manner they will be led into eternal fellowship with the triune God. These events are part of the first resurrection mentioned in Revelation 20: 5-6 (see 10.5).

The statements in Matthew 24: 40-41 and Luke 17: 34 demonstrate that at the return of Christ, the Lord–happening upon mankind in their daily lives–will usher in a separation, a parting, and in this sense also execute a judgement. The words in 2 Corinthians 5: 10 also address this: "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (cf. Romans 14: 10). This knowledge does not lead believers to fear, but rather encourages them to strive diligently for the goal of their faith (1 Thessalonians 5: 9).

That Jesus Christ will take His bridal congregation unto Himself is one of the fundamental certainties of the New Apostolic faith. From this knowledge, believers also derive the hope that they will not need to suffer physical death, but will rather be transformed: "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven. ... For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee" (2 Corinthians 5: 2, 4-5). The rapture at the return of Christ is first of all promised to those who have been granted the rebirth out of water and the Spirit, who believe in Christ, and who follow Him. Whether God will also grant other human beings the grace of the rapture is beyond human judgement and is subject to the decision of God.

See also