How Does the NT Use the Word Kingdom?

 How does the NT use the word kingdom? What does it mean to enter the kingdom, seek the kingdom, or even proclaim God's kingdom (Acts 28:31)?  

1.  The word kingdom appears 157 times in 148 verses in the NT, but it does not have a single consistent meaning or definition from Matthew 3:2 to Revelation 16:10. What we find is that context matters.

2. Most often, kingdom means the 'reign of God' as it does in Matthew 6:33, 'seek first the kingdom of God.' First, above everything else, seek that God reigns in your life. Is He your Lord? When we pray 'your kingdom come,' we are praying for two things simultaneously. We are praying that the reign of God will grow, and we are praying for the return of Christ to establish his reign.  

3. There is no difference between the 'kingdom of God' and the 'kingdom of heaven.' Matthew alone uses the term ‘kingdom of heaven’.  Both refer to the absolute rule and reign of God in heaven and in individual lives as they submit to his R-E-I-G-N.  Read Luke 17:20-21.  Christ said, 'my kingdom is not of this world.' And the thief on the cross said, 'remember me when you come into your kingdom.'  Revelation 11:15 promises that 'the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ.'  And that ‘he shall reign forever.' In one verse, we see an example of the already and not yet aspect of God's kingdom. 

4. Sometimes kingdom refers to the R-E-A-L-M where God is, and where the believer goes when he or she dies (Acts 14:22). Jesus said, 'unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God' (John 3:3,5). This kingdom is eternal (2 Peter 1:11) and heavenly (2 Tim 4:18). 

5. Occasionally kingdom refers to earthly kingdoms or the realm over which Satan is ruling as in Matthew 12:16 and Revelation 16.10. 

6. One can quickly get confused concerning the kingdom. Paul said the kingdom is not what we eat or drink (Rom 14:17), but Jesus said, 'the kingdom is not coming in ways that can be observed' and 'we will eat bread in the kingdom of God' (Lk 17:20 & 14:15). This shows me the strikingly different ways the NT uses the word. Paul is speaking of something present in a spiritual sense, while Jesus describes it both ways. 

7. Finally, what is the gospel of the kingdom of God?  Jesus said, 'And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come' (Mt 24:14; Acts 8:12).  The gospel of the kingdom is the good news that the king died for your sins so that you don't have to die in your sins (Jn 8:24). The good news of the kingdom is the king who died for your sins is not dead—He rose from the grave, ascended to his throne in heaven, and is returning to establish an eternal kingdom on this 'new' earth and you by faith in him can be part of this eternal kingdom. The question is: ‘Will you be?’ 


Seeking the City which is to Come

        In the middle of Hebrews 13 is a simple yet profound verse that impacts our understanding of what the future holds.

For here, we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come (v. 14)

The writer of Hebrews tells the Jews that they do not have a lasting or enduring city on this earth. The Jews were in love with Jerusalem; it was the capital and, more importantly, the temple's location.  But for the follower of Christ, that temple is meaningless. When Christ gave up his last breath on the cross, the curtain of that temple was torn in two. And then, about two decades later, the Romans destroyed the temple in 70AD.  Simply put, the NT is done with that temple. We, the believers, are the new temple. Physical sacrifices have been replaced by spiritual sacrifices. The sons of Abraham are now all who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And we are the people who are now seeking the city which is to come.

               Hebrews 13:14 is the third reference to this city in this book. Previously the writer has told us about a better country, the city of the living God, and the heavenly Jerusalem.

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city (11:16)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, (12:22)

Where else is this heavenly Jerusalem mentioned and described? Revelation 21 is the chapter that contains John's vision of this city coming down to the earth.  Read the text with me:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Now, if one subscribes to the assumption that Revelation 4-22 is a chronological presentation of the events to come in the future—that is to say the writer never circles back and describes events again from a different perspective (recursive parallelism) then we are left to conclude that there are 1000 years of time on this earth where Christ is here, but we are still looking for the heavenly city.  The language of the text is 'we are seeking the city to come.'  

                It is difficult to imagine how Christ would be ruling on the earth, yet the city of God is yet to come. But this is precisely what one must conclude if there is a future 1000-year kingdom separating the return of Christ from the descent of the heavenly Jerusalem.  Look at the language in the text: 'as a bride adorned for her husband.' Is Christ ruling on this earth for 1000 years without his bride?  Or will Christ be on this earth ruling separate from God the Father in heaven for 1000 years?  Pause and think about what I am saying.   Paul says in Titus 2:13 that we are "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." Are we waiting for Christ, and then once Christ returns, we turn to waiting for the city to come?  Will we be with the Son but not the Father? Is the heavenly city empty for 1000 years?

               However, if we dispense with the idea that Revelation 20:6 is a future kingdom on this earth, then our problems are eliminated. And our eschatology becomes so much simpler.   We live in this age and long for the age to come (Mk 10:30). For in the age to come:

·        Christ has returned with all his Saints

·        Believers are given new bodies

·        Satan, the Beast, and his followers have been defeated

·        The dead are resurrected for judgment

·        The sheep have been separated from the goats

·        A new heaven and new earth have been created

·        The enemies of God are consigned to the lake of fire

·        The heavenly Jerusalem has descended to the new earth

·        Death is defeated

·        All tears are wiped away

·        The dwelling place of God is with man

·        The eternal kingdom is inaugurated

The greatest obstacle to this understanding of the future is the issue of the binding of Satan.  As described in Revelation 20:2-3

And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Yet Peter says Satan "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).  So, which is it? Is Satan bound, or is Satan loose seeking someone to devour?  Jesus provides us much help in reconciling the issue as to whether Satan is bound or loose presently?  Jesus said, "no one can enter a strong man's house [this world] and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man [the Satan]. Then indeed he may plunder his house" (Mk 3:27).  If we assume that the binding of Satan has yet to occur, then the instruction Jesus provides concerning binding the strong man is meaningless. Jesus says one must bind the strong man but then does not bind him.  There is no reason for Christ to wait until after the Great Commission has been fulfilled to bind Satan. The church needs Satan's ability to deceive the nations bound now since it has been charged with making disciples of all the nations now—not in the future (Matt 28:19).  And Mark 13:10, "the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations." Clearly, there must be a connection between 'the nations' in Revelation 20 and Matthew 28 and Mark 13. It seems best to conclude that Satan's power to deceive the nations has been bound until just before the end of this age when he will be permitted to deceive the nations one final time before the final battle of this age (Revelation 19-20). But this binding does not eliminate the degree to which Satan remains the enemy of God and the people of God.  The parameters of the binding are limited to what Revelation 20:3 says, 'so that he might not deceive the nations any longer.'  

Don’t Take Away My 1000-Year Kingdom!

For many years, I believed what others taught concerning a post-return of Christ 1000-year kingdom on this earth. In fact, I believed it so much that I taught it as well, but I also struggled with it. I struggled with why neither Jesus nor Paul ever mentioned it. I struggled with why is a temple being rebuilt?  And why are we going back to animal sacrifices?  I struggled with where do the souls go of those who die during the 1000-year kingdom. And why is there another battle at the end, just like the battle at the end of this age? Or why doesn’t Paul say anything about it in 1 Corinthians 15? 

And then, quite accidentally, a fantastic journey began in June of 2018 when I embarked on a study of the last book of the New Testament. Up to this point, I had avoided Revelation like I avoid snakes and dark alleys in big cities. Initially, I committed to only preaching through chapter 3. I will just cover the letters written to the seven churches in Asia Minor, is what I said.  Surely, I can do that!  And then, on one fateful Sunday morning, I committed to the assembled church that I would preach through the whole book. Wow. Did I just say that? Now what? I knew what was in the book. I had walked down that alley in the daytime.  A year later, I finished that journey, and it was incredible.  Each week I would share where I had been and what I was learning with the church. Like a tour guide, for 51 weeks, I led the church through my tour of the book.  I had slides and pictures. I wanted everyone to see what I saw.

In the end, after ten months of continuous study, I concluded that the correct interpretation of Revelation 20 was not a literal 1000-year kingdom on this earth that ends with the battle of Gog and Magog.   Since that conclusion, some have been quite bothered with me. "You're taking away our 1000-year kingdom on this earth." And I want it back is what is implied.  But I am not taking it away.  

I want you to imagine that your family took a two-week vacation to Myrtle Beach for all your childhood and into your adult years. I mean a great getaway.  Terrific memories. Lots of fun in the sun. But each year, your time at this incredible beach house came to an end. It wasn't an eternal vacation. It had a beginning and an end.  Each year you looked forward to it with great anticipation, and each year it came to an end. 

And then one day, your dad came home and announced with all the authority a dad can muster: "Family, we are no longer going to Myrtle Beach for vacation." Your heart sinks. “But why not?” You want to know.  You have been looking forward to this vacation with Dad all year.  He travels a lot.  He is often gone for days, sometimes weeks.  But at the beach, you will see him face to face every day. You can't imagine why you are not going on vacation this year. Why is Dad taking away our annual beach trip?

Then after a very long pregnant pause, Dad announces that he bought your favorite vacation home, and even as he speaks, crews are working on rebuilding the entire house from the ground up.  Dad begins describing how everything is going to be made new.  The game room, the kitchen, the AC units, the swimming pool - all made new. Wow! You can’t wait to see this new beach home. 

And then dad says we are moving to that family beach house. No longer will our vacations come to an end.  Dad says we will live there for all eternity.  Suddenly your heart changes.  Dad isn't taking away anything.  Living at that beach house forever is far better than any two-week vacation.  And while the house was great, it was getting old and had its issues. You can't wait to see what it is going to look like new.  

You see, those who don't believe in a separate and distinct 1000-year kingdom on this earth aren't taking anything away.  Instead, we believe the next stop on this epic journey after the return of Christ is a new heaven and a new earth, as described in Revelation 21.  And by the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:11-13. Peter writes, 

"Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."

Notice Peter says nothing about another kingdom on this earth that will precede the eternal kingdom and follow this current age.   Instead, Peter says, "we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth." And whenever Jesus talks about the future, he talks about this age and the age to come (Mark 12:32).   

I don't understand why anyone would get upset about skipping this year's vacation at the beach (which comes to an end) and moving to the beach for all eternity.  Peter says it like this, “For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1.11). 

Furthermore, and finally, at the end of the 1000 year kingdom (if that is correct) is another brutal global battle in which millions, perhaps billions, are deceived.  The number is as the sand of the sea.  They surround the camp of the saints, and fire comes down from heaven and consumes them all. Read Revelation 20:7-9. After much analysis, I concluded that Armageddon and the battle of Gog and Magog are the same battles. See the chart below.  This age ends with an epic battle, and that is the final battle before eternal peace.   In Ezekiel God promises he “will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore” (Ezekiel 37:26–28).  Compare that to Revelation 21:2-4 and you realize God fulfills the covenant he made to Israel in the eternal kingdom.  Come, Lord Jesus. Come establish your eternal kingdom on this earth for we long to be with you for all eternity. 



 



Abortion Open Letter to Rev. Raphael Warnock

 December 11, 2020

Reverend Raphael Warnock

Ebenezer Baptist Church

101 Jackson Street NE

Atlanta, GA 30312

Dear Reverend Warnock,

We are a coalition of Black Christian ministers who, like you, feel called by God to preach the

Bible, advocate for justice and fight against societal evils. We applaud your commendable efforts

to share Christ while pursuing political solutions to our most pressing problems today.

But precisely because we share so much in common with you, we feel compelled to confront

your most recent statements concerning abortion. You have gone on the record saying that you

are a “pro-choice pastor” who will “always fight for reproductive justice.” You have publicly

expressed your views that abortion is an exercise of “human agency and freedom” that is fully

consistent with your role as a shepherd of God’s people.

We believe these statements represent grave errors of judgment and a lapse in pastoral

responsibility, and we entreat you to reconsider them. As a Christian pastor and as a Black

leader, you have a duty to denounce the evil of abortion, which kills a disproportionate number

of Black children. Your open advocacy of abortion is a scandal to the faith and to the Black

community.

Abortion is fundamentally in conflict with the plain reading of the Bible. The Bible clearly

teaches that human life is created by God beginning at conception. As Psalm 139 proclaims:

“You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am wonderfully and fearfully

made.” What human being could possibly have the right to blot out an innocent life that God has

wonderfully and fearfully made?

Abortion prematurely thwarts God’s providential and loving plan for a promising human life.

And by terminating an innocent unborn life in the womb, abortion directly violates the seventh

commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” God demands that every faithful Christian protect and

uphold the sanctity of innocent human life, at every stage of life. Supporting abortion represents

a serious abdication of and a transgression against that responsibility, just like the disrespect of

the poor, the disabled, or the elderly.

Couching abortion in the language of “reproductive justice” may be savvy marketing, but killing

an innocent human life has nothing to do either with reproduction or with justice. Do American

adults really need another public voice urging them to put their own short-term desires ahead of

the needs of their children? As a pastor who speaks for the Christian community, we implore you

to speak the plain truth about a practice as barbaric and destructive as abortion.

And then there is the uniquely devastating impact that abortion has on the Black communities

you serve. The pro-abortion movement in America has been characterized by racism and white

supremacy since its inception. And to this day, abortion continues to unequally and

disproportionately harm Black lives, perpetuating systemic racism. Despite making up only 13%

of the female population, Black women represent 36% of all abortions, and Black women are

almost five times more likely than their white counterparts to receive an abortion. In some cities

across the country, more Black children are aborted every year than are born alive.

Can you in good conscience defend abortion, knowing that abortion kills 474 Black babies for

every 1000 live births? Abortion decimates Black communities, disrupts Black families and

inflicts untold harm on Black women. Black women and Black families need your advocacy;

they need your protection, and they need your support. But they do not need Black pastors

making excuses for the racism in the abortion industry. Killing Black lives, especially killing

unborn Black lives, does nothing but brutalize and scar vulnerable Black communities who are

already suffering so much.

For all of the above reasons, we entreat you to reconsider your public advocacy for abortion.

Unborn Black, brown and white lives are so much more than clumps of cells, burdensome

inconveniences, or health problems. They are sacred human persons endowed by God with

inalienable dignity and worth. We implore you to uphold the Biblical defense of life and to fight

against the systemic racism of abortion.

Sincerely,


Bishop Garland Hunt

Father's House

Norcross, GA


Bishop Wellington Boone

Fellowship of International Churches

Atlanta, GA


Bishop Flynn Johnson

Metro City Church

Atlanta, GA


Bishop Michael Paden

GA Metro Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction COGIC

Atlanta, GA


Bishop John Reid

John Reid Ministries

Cumming, GA


Pastor Frankie Vega

Awakening Reformation Center

Smyrna, GA


5 Reasons to Join a Local Christ-exalting, Bible-believing Church

 Five God-glorifying Reasons to Join Berean (the local church I pastor)

1) Joining Berean Baptist church is like getting married. Membership brings you into a covenant relationship with this local church. You don't attend here—you are a member! You are officially part of the church.  Without a membership role, how do we know who comprises the church? Is it anyone who attends on Sundays mornings? Is it anyone who shows up to a member's meeting? How are local disciples of Christ supposed to follow the protocols outlined by Jesus in Matthew 18 without a church membership? The Apostle Peter exhorted the elders to "shepherd the flock that is among them" (1 Peter 5:2). Who is the flock?  Uniting with the church says, "I want to be part of the flock at Berean." 

2) Joining Berean brings you under the authority of the local church. Uniting with us is profitable for your sanctification and perseverance in the faith. If you wander from the gospel, the elders, deacons, and members of the church have a formal obligation to speak into your life, and you have made a formal commitment to respond appropriately.  The elders of Berean can't watch over the souls of every believer in Fayetteville—membership formally communicates, "I want Berean's spiritual leaders watching over my soul for my sanctification and spiritual growth." Read and study 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, 1 Timothy 5:17, and Hebrew 13:17. 

3) Joining Berean gives you a legitimate voice in the church. Our church polity is pluralistic elder-led congregationalism — members of Berean have a voice. If you are not a member, you can’t approve or disapprove of recommendations brought before the church. You don’t see the reports and know the health of the church. Why wouldn't you want to be able to participate in making important decisions? Read 1 Corinthians 5 and see the church doing its spiritual duty.  Ask yourself, is my lack of commitment coming from the Spirit dwelling in me, or is my spirit grieving the Holy Spirit?

4) Joining Berean sets the conditions for you to be able to use your spiritual gifts to the fullest ability in the body of Christ. Non-members are not permitted to teach or lead. Yet this may be the will of God for your life. You may have spiritual gifts that will not be used at Berean because we believe it is quite prudent to limit the office of teacher, deacon, and elder to church members. I trust you understand the necessity of venting all teachers of the Bible in the church.  And the same for deacon and elder. 

5) Joining Berean is helpful for the corporate witness of the church in the community. Your formal commitment to membership speaks volumes to your level of commitment to Christ and the Christ the unbelieving world sees. We don't go to church—we are the church.  In a day and age, when people are struggling with commitment and apathy—we need to be counter-cultural. We are salt and light. Formal membership declares, loud and clear—"I am committed to being a faithful engaged member until God moves me to another city." 

I pray the Holy Spirit will use these five reasons to move someone to do what I know brings God glory.  For all who are on the fence, please pray earnestly about formally uniting with the church of God that assembles on Glensford Drive. I trust you understand that I would be negligent in my duties as a shepherd if I were not admonishing you in love for our Lord. 

Sean



The Rapture & the Second Coming are NOT Separate Events

The church in America especially, has adopted an unbiblical position concerning the rapture.  The dominant view that the church gets called up to heaven before the tribulation begins on the earth cannot be supported from the New Testament.  Many have been taught that Jesus comes back twice. First, he comes to gather the elect and take them back to heaven, then seven years later, he returns to establish his kingdom on this earth.  That perspective cannot be supported by the Olivet discourse, the gospel of John, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  Yet 1 Thessalonians 4 is the passage that is quoted to support the rapture as a separate and distinct event.  This is the view of pastors like John MacArthur and others.  The popular website www.gotquestions.org illustrates the dominant position.

Question: "What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming?"

Answer: 
The rapture and the second coming of Christ are often confused. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a scripture verse is referring to the rapture or the second coming. However, in studying end-times Bible prophesy, it is very important to differentiate between the two.

The rapture is when Jesus Christ returns to remove the church (all believers in Christ) from the earth. The rapture is described in 
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54

Anyone who will let the Scripture speak for itself will not adopt the view that the Rapture and the Second Coming are distinct events.  The position that can be most easily supported by Scripture is the truth that the rapture of the saints is one of the things that happens when Jesus returns to establish his kingdom of this earth. And yes that does mean that some believers will experience tribulation.

The word rapture (like Advent) has a Latin origin, but rapture is found only once in the Latin New Testament.  Whereas the Latin word Advent with its various endings (-us, -um, & -u) occurs throughout the New Testament to describe either the first coming of Christ or his Second Coming or the arrival of someone else. And advent is consistently a noun.  Nouns represent persons, places, entities, events, things, etc., whereas verbs describe an action.  Thus, we can say Jesus is coming again, in which case we are describing the action of coming or we can say 'the coming of the Lord' in which case we are describing the actual event.  While this seems technical, it is critical to understanding the text.  The Greek, Latin, and the English language all make clear distinctions between nouns and verbs.  So in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 we see Paul is describing the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, and one of the things that will happen during the Advent is the rapiemur (the rapture) of the saints or the catching up or the gathering of the saints.

1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 (Clementine Vulgate [Latin])

1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 (English Standard Version)

15 Hoc enim vobis dicimus in verbo Domini, quia nos, qui vivimus, qui residui sumus in adventum Domini, non præveniemus eos qui dormierunt. 16 Quoniam ipse Dominus in jussu, et in voce archangeli, et in tuba Dei descendet de cælo: et mortui, qui in Christo sunt, resurgent primi. 17 Deinde nos, qui vivimus, qui relinquimur, simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Christo in aëra, et sic semper cum Domino erimus.

 

15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

 

When you see in the Scripture the clear distinction between the adventum, the noun and rapiemur, the verb, I can't understand how the church ever adopted such an unbiblical position as to take 'the catching up of believers into the air' and separated it from the Second Advent of Christ.   

Let's imagine for a moment that we are the church at Thessalonica, and all we have is the book of Matthew in Greek and a letter from Paul written to us (the local church). 

And we notice that both Paul and Jesus use the same Greek word to describe the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ—the word παρουσία or parousia. Now would we conclude Jesus and Paul are talking about the same event or a different event?

Jesus uses parousia four times in the discourse on the Mt. of Olives, and Paul uses parousia four times in his first letter to us (church at Thessalonica). Jesus refers to a 'loud trumpet call' and Paul talks about 'the sound of the trumpet of God.' Then Jesus says the angels will gather the elect (Mt 24:31) and Paul says ‘we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up.' Are Paul and Jesus talking about the same event or two different comings? If the only reasonable conclusion is Jesus and Paul are talking about the same thing—how did the church develop an eschatological position that the rapture is distinct from the Second Coming occurring before the tribulation?  When Jesus said:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt 24:29-31)

This is not a gray or a debatable interpretative discussion.  There is only one Second Coming.  And this Second Coming happens after 'the tribulation of those days' according to the Son of God. The next text www.gotquestions.org presented as an authoritative passage creating a distinction between the rapture and the Second Coming is 1 Corinthians 15:50-54:

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

The problem with referencing this passage is it doesn't reference the rapture. The text says nothing about being raptured (in the Latin) or caught up (harpazō in the Greek) or 'gather his elect.' But Paul does refer to the 'last trumpet,' so it is very reasonable to conclude that Paul is once again talking about the parousia since he uses that Greek word in 1 Corinthians 15:23. And indeed, no one would consider the 'last trumpet' to be a trumpet call that sounds before the 'loud trumpet call' of Matt 24:30 or 'the trumpet of God' in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 or the 7th trumpet of Revelation 11:15. 

Words matter. What was written by the biblical authors determine the systems of theology we form.  We develop our understanding of the end times from the New Testament's words, and we are not free to randomly ignore what the actual text says or the connection points easily established by comparing one portion of Scripture with another.  Finally, study 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 especially vs. 1, 3-4, & 8 and Paul removes all doubt concerning the unbiblical notion that the rapture is distinct from the Second Coming in 1 & 2 Thessalonians. See the comparative analysis of the Olivet Discourse to 1 & 2 Thessalonians in the chart below.