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Q & A

I have heard that the second coming of Christ is divided into two stages. Is this true and, if so, what are they?

The second coming of Christ in evangelical theology is often divided into two phases: (1) the Second Coming for the Church (the Rapture) and (2) the Second Coming to reign.

The Blessed Hope of the Church is clearly the Rapture (see Titus 2:13). Assemblies of God theologians see this as the first phase of the Second Coming. The Assemblies of God perspective is presented in this excerpt from Bible Doctrines by William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton:

The definition of the term “Second Coming” is broad, used in at least two different ways. Sometimes this term is used of the total end-time drama, encompassing both the rapture of the Church and the revelation of Christ in triumphant glory (2 Thessalonians 1:7), when He will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). Sometimes the term is used specifically of the revelation of Christ, in distinction to the Rapture, which precedes it. The first phase of the Second Coming, then, used in this broader sense, refers to the rapture of the Church.

— William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton, Bible Doctrines (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1993), p. 216.

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