What Happens After the Rapture?

What Happens After the Rapture?

In a previous article, we talked about where the Rapture fits in relative to other end times events. This chart illustrates the conclusions we came to in that article.

not scrunched rapture timeline.png

However, several key events take place after the Rapture of the Church.

Full National Restoration of Israel

The Bible states that the whole nation of Israel will be saved in the end times.

25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
   he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
   when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27)

This likely happens immediately after the Prewrath Rapture of the Church.

29 “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.  (Matthew 24:29-31)

The language here is similar to that of Zechariah, which describes the national restoration of Israel.

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)

However, Jesus indicates that there will be at least some national restoration prior to his return. As he says in Matthew 23:

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matthew 23:37-39)

This implies that at least some, perhaps many, Jews will turn to Christ prior to the Second Coming. However, the full restoration does not take place until after the Rapture.

7th Seal and Golden Censer

Since the Rapture happens at the opening of the 6th Seal, the 7th Seal and the Golden Censer thrown to earth.

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. (Revelation 8:1-5)

7 Trumpets Are Blown

After the 7 seals are opened, the 7 Trumpets are blown (Revelation 8:6-9:21; 11:15-19)

  • 1st Trumpet - Hail, fire and blood which burns up 1/3 of the earth, 1/3 of the trees, and all the green grass.
  • 2nd Trumpet - Blazing mountain thrown into the sea, turning it to blood. This causes a third of the sea creatures to die, as well as the destruction of a third of the ships.
  • 3rd Trumpet - Wormwood star falls on the rivers and springs of water. It turns a third of the waters bitter, causing many people to die.
  • 4th Trumpet - A third of the sun, moon and stars struck, so that a third of the day and a third of the night was without light.
  • 5th Trumpet - Demonic locusts torture people for five months
  • 6th Trumpet - Four angels released to assemble army of 200 million, which kill a third of humanity.
  • 7th Trumpet - The enthronement of Christ and the end of Daniel’s 70th Week.

Enthronement of Christ

At the 7th Trumpet, Christ will be enthroned in Jerusalem.

15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
   who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
   and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged,
   but your wrath came,
   and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
   and those who fear your name,
   both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” (Revelation 11: 15-18)

The reign of Christ is one of the criteria that must be met by the end of the 70 Weeks, or Daniel’s 490 Year prophecy.

7 Bowl Judgments

After the 7 Trumpets, the 7 Bowls of wrath are poured out.

  • 1st Bowl - Painful sores come upon those who took the mark of the beast
  • 2nd Bowl - The sea turns to blood, and everything in the sea dies.
  • 3rd Bowl - Rivers and springs of water turn to blood
  • 4th Bowl - The sun scorches people with fire
  • 5th Bowl - The Antichrist’s kingdom goes into darkness
  • 6th Bowl - Euphrates river dries up, and the kings of the Earth gather for the battle of Armageddon
  • 7th Bowl - Enormous earthquake happens and hailstones of 100 pounds each fall on people

Antichrist’s Attack on Babylon

Towards the end of all these judgments, the Antichrist wipes out the city of Babylon. This city is an economic superpower that was a former ally of the Antichrist. It is probably a nuclear attack, since it completely destroys the city by “fire” in “a single hour.” (Revelation 18:8-10).

For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
   death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire;
   for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

9 And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,

“Alas! Alas! You great city,
   you mighty city, Babylon!
For in a single hour your judgment has come.” (Revelation 18:8-10)

The end of Revelation 17 describes the political circumstances which lead to the fall of Babylon:

15 And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, 17 for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”  (Revelation 17: 15-18)

This attack on Babylon is actually motivated by God himself. In another article, I talk about how these alliances and political circumstances may be shaping up today.

Battle of Armageddon

The Battle of Armageddon and the defeat of the beast happen after the Rapture, since they take place after the Trumpet and Bowl judgments. Armies are gathered to Armageddon at the 6th bowl judgment.

12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. 13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. 14 For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) 16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12-16)

However, their defeat doesn’t take place until after the bowl judgments and the defeat of Babylon. The defeat of the armies of the world is detailed in Revelation 19:11-21.

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. (Revelation 19:19-21)

Two Witnesses Finish Their Ministry

The Prewrath Rapture of the Church happens on an unspecified day and hour after the midpoint of the final 7-years prior to Christ’s Millennial reign on earth. The Two Witnesses start their ministry in the second half of the final 7-years. We know this because they are able to cause plagues, which are consistent with the judgments found in the Day of the Lord. Furthermore, the 3 1/2 year time frames in Revelation 11-13 are likely concurrent, happening at the same time as each other. It would be an unnecessarily complex interpretation to assume that one of those periods was the first half of the 7 years, but the other two in the second half.

Therefore, this likely happens after the Two Witnesses start their ministry. However, the Rapture will have occurred by the time they are finished.

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”  4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. 6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. (Revelation 11:3-6)

(1260 days adds up to 42 months on a Jewish calendar, which has 30 days in each month. This equals 3 1/2 years on a Jewish calendar).

Death and Resurrection of the Two Witnesses

After their 3 1/2 year ministry, the Antichrist kills the Two Witnesses (Rev. 11:7). As a result, their bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days.

9 For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:9-13)

Beast Finishes His Reign of Terror

The Beast’s reign of terror starts before the Rapture, since it starts at approximately the middle of Daniel’s 70th Week. This is when the beast achieves global rule, worldwide dominion, and worship from every non-elect human on earth.

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.  (Revelation 13:5-8)

(Forty-two months adds up to 3 1/2 years.)

Israel Finishes Their Stay in the Desert

At the abomination of desolation, Jesus tells the residents of Judea to flee to the mountains. This takes place at the middle of the final 7 years prior to Christ’s reign on earth.

15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.  (Matthew 24:15-18)

However, once there, they will receive protection by God for 3 1/2 years.

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

This period terminates at the end of the 70th Week, when Christ is enthroned in Jerusalem. Therefore, this period extends past the Rapture of the Church and completes at the beginning of the Millennium.

Sheep and Goat Judgment

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:31-33)

At the Rapture, Christ gathers his elect from every direction:

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. (Matthew 24:31)

In the Sheep and Goat judgment, the righteous go to eternal life, but the damned are immediately consigned to hell. Therefore, this doesn’t happen at the same time as the Rapture, since all of the Day of the Lord events (such as the Trumpets and Bowls) must happen after the Rapture, but before the damned are sent to hell. This lines up with what Jesus says in his explanation of the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds.

41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.  (Matthew 13:41-43)


The Millennial reign of Christ happens after the 70th Week is complete. As a result, it happens after the Rapture of the Church.

4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

As a result, we can update our timeline from the previous article.

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(Keep in mind that the visual representation of the time frames is approximate and the chart is not to scale).

End Notes:

  1. “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”