Pastor Greg Laurie, who has been preaching a series titled “The End of the World,” recently addressed Jesus’ Second Coming, explaining how that event will be different from the Rapture. Laurie is an evangelist and the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, a church with multiple locations based in Riverside, California.
Jesus’ Second Coming “is the answer to the prayer that the church has been praying for 2,000 years,” said Laurie, referencing the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. Verse 10 says, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Rapture. You probably have heard this term. It is a real event that could happen at any time. Some would say, “You can’t even find the word, ‘Rapture’ in the Bible!”.
To the point, you can’t find the word, ‘Bible’ in the Bible! Nor can you find the word, ‘Trinity’in the… pic.twitter.com/qBzVy2J8aS
— Greg Laurie (@greglaurie) August 22, 2023
Greg Laurie Explains Elements of the End Times
Before starting his sermon, preached Sunday, Aug. 20, Greg Laurie gave the church an update on Harvest’s relief efforts in Maui, an island in Hawaii recently devastated by wildfires.
The pastor said that Harvest is working with Samaritan’s Purse to bring aid to the area and added that this weekend he would be speaking to Harvest’s campus, Harvest at Kumulani Chapel, in Maui.
Laurie’s sermon on the Second Coming is part of a series he is doing on the End Times, where he is offering a view of the end of the world based on dispensational theology. He displayed a timeline on the screen behind him, showing End Times events in order of their occurrence as Laurie understands them: the Rapture, the rise of the Anti-Christ, the 7-Year Tribulation Period, the Battle of Armageddon, the Second Coming, Jesus’ 1000-Year Reign, and the New Jerusalem.
“I think your very reaction to this idea that Christ could come back is a spiritual barometer as to where you are at,” said Laurie. If the thought elicits joy, that’s a good sign. If people feel dread, that’s not. We should respond in agreement with John at the end of Revelation when he says, “Amen,” to Jesus’ statement, “I am coming soon.”
“There’s sometimes confusion about the Rapture and the Second Coming,” said Laurie, explaining that the Rapture is when Jesus descends from heaven and resurrects bodies of believers who have already gone to heaven. Scriptures that speak to this idea include 1 Thessalonians 4, John 14, Matthew 24, and 1 Corinthians 15. No one knows precisely when the Rapture will occur, but it will take place before the seven years of tribulation.
“The Second Coming is different from the Rapture,” said Laurie. The Rapture will occur before Christ judges the world, while in his Second Coming, Jesus returns with judgment. Laurie emphasized that judging people is not God’s “sweet spot,” that is, it is not something he loves to do. In fact, during the period of tribulation, God will give people constant warnings to repent before facing his judgment.
Another difference between the two events is that the Rapture occurs before the tribulation, while the Second Coming takes place at the end of the tribulation. At the Rapture, Jesus comes for his people, but at the Second Coming, he returns with his people. And the Rapture is when Jesus comes like a thief in the night, but the Second Coming is when “every eye” will see his return. Moreover, the people of earth will respond to Jesus’ Second Coming with sadness and weeping.