THE GOOD NEWS MINISTRY AND MISSIONS OUTREACH PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS OF THE SOON RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST!
Revealing If We Can Still Believe In The Rapture?
The second coming of Christ. is the basis of the Christian's blessed hope, . the one event which will mark the beginning of the completion of God's plan
"AND THEY SHALL BE MINE, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS, IN THAT DAY WHEN I MAKE UP MY JEWELS AND I WILL SPARE THEM, AS A MAN SPARETH HIS OWN SON THAT SERVETH HIM." (Mal. 3:17.)
"And so we can see there will be no rapture for the church!" the pastor thundered as he reached the end of his sermon. "All we can really look forward to is trouble, trouble, and more trouble!"
I sat bemused It had been a classic defence of the amillennial position on the return of Christ. Like many amillennialists, the pastor, a dear friend, assumed that times of tribulation would continue throughout the Church Age and intensify toward the end times. Dismissing the idea of a pre-tribulational rapture (by which the church would escape the tribulation), he then dismissed the idea of any rapture at all, conveniently throwing I Thessalonians 4:13-18 right out the stained-glass windows.
Many who do not believe in a pre-tribulational rapture falsely assume there will be no rapture at all. This is a complete misconception. If one takes seriously passages like I Thessalonians 4:17, he or she is forced to conclude that there will be a rapture.
The only real debate is over when it will occur. The passage reads: "We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air."
Arguments raised against the rapture, on the basis that it is difficult to conceive of what it would be like for millions of people to suddenly disappear, are irrelevant.
What is The Rapture?
The Rapture Can be described as God's evacuation Plan for true Bible Believing Christians, from the earth, to Heaven.
It was originally taught by the apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to the church in Thessalonica. The Thessalonians were the first ones to receive the Holy Spirit inspired teaching of "The Blessed Hope". The Blessed Hope as the teaching was originally called, was taught by the apostle Paul starting in the First century AD. (I Thessalonians 4-5)
Other apostles such as John, Matthew, Luke also made reference to "The Blessed Hope". Also see: (I Cor. 15:52)
The other references to "The Blessed Hope" are referred to in: (cf: Matt. 24:42, Matt. 25:13, Luke 12:36-48, Acts 1:11, Phil. 3:20-21, Titus. 2:11-13)
The Teaching of "The Blessed Hope" was deeply entrenched and taught in the early Church, for the first two centuries, starting with the apostle Paul, and referenced to also by Matthew, John, and Luke.
So what happened to the original teaching of "The Blessed Hope"?
Well in the last ten years of the second century and all through out the third century, We had the rise of a heretical church and the heretical school of theology at Alexandria, Egypt. They advanced the erroneous principle that the Bible should be interpreted in a nonliteral or allegorical sense. The result of their heresy was that the original teaching of "The Blessed Hope" was done away with because they couldn't understand or visualize it. They just didn't want to believe it.
They had no faith in the teaching - they were so arrogant - their minds were so small and their ego's so big, that they couldn't picture or understand the Lord returning to remove or Catch away all the true living Believers at some future date. God Himself said in Jeremiah: 32:27: "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" The original apostles were now all dead and were not available to fight back against this heresy. A Small number of the faithful and True Believers made every attempt to keep the teaching of The Blessed Hope alive, but were soon out numbered and out gunned by by this new and heretical unbelief.
This went on through out all the centuries and on into and through what we call the Dark Ages.
The revival of the original teaching of The Blessed Hope, did not start to make a significant comeback until the last several centuries.
To date, we still have a significantly large number of professing Christians, that follow and believe the heretical teachings that began with and were so widely propagated by the heretical church and the heretical school of theology at Alexandria, Egypt.
And so the battle continues to this day. To believe the original teachings of "The Blessed Hope" by Paul and the apostles that they so vehemently taught to the early church or to abandoned these teachings and accept the heretical teachings of "No Hope" of a divine intervention - a catching away -a rescue- a removal of all living believers by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Who would you rather believe? - the original Apostles inspired by the Holy Spirit - or Some heretical theologians that decided to do away with the original teachings of the Apostles and replace it with a doctrine of "No Hope"
Let me say this, if you have decided not to believe in the pre-tribulation, pre-millennial rapture of all the true and faithful Bible Believing Christians and have instead, in your unbelief, decided you would rather go through the tribulation, the Armageddon war and would rather come under the terrible persecution and rule of the Antichrist - God will oblige you and honor your request. You will be "Left Behind" to suffer and to be martyred under the rule of Antichrist. If this is what you prefer and want, He will allow it to happen and you will be "Left Behind". He will honor your decision. The choice is yours. As for myself and the multiple millions of true and faithful Bible Believing Christians that do believe in the rapture, we would rather be removed, evacuated, rescued and snatched out of the way so we don't have to suffer the tribulation, the Armageddon war, the terrible persecution and death that will occur under the rulership of the Antichrist.
We call the teaching of "The Blessed Hope" the "Rapture" today. The word Rapture is From the Latin Word "Rapio or rapturo" which means a "snatching away or to be Caught up and taken away quickly"
Some make joking remarks about bumping your head on the ceiling, or false teeth being left behind, or hundreds of car accidents suddenly occurring, these comments are inconsequential in light of the fact that Scripture clearly states that we will be "caught up" (Greek, harpazo) (Latin, Rapturo) into the air.
There will be a rapture! The only serious questions are:
1) When will it occur?
- 2) What is its relationship to the return of Christ at the time of His second coming?
If it can be proved that the body of believers (the church) will be "caught up" (Latin, Rapturo) into heaven and that this "gathering together" (Greek, episunagoges, cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1) is a separate event from the return of Christ in judgement, the pre-tribulationist has more than adequately made his case.
The Nature of His Coming
The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus Christ will "come again" (John 14:3) and "appear the second time" (Hebrews 9:28) for His own. He promised this to His disciples in the upper room.
"I go to prepare a place for you," the Lord said, "and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:23) This is our Lord's first indication that He will return specifically given to comfort the disciples the time of His absence.
Many believe this is the first clear reference in our Lord's teaching of the rapture of the believers. In Hebrews 9:28, he has believers in view when he states: "So Christ was once offered to the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Again, the promise of our Lord's return for His own is sounded loud and clear.
"And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." (I Thessalonians 1:10)
This Time of His Coming
Most evangelicals agree as to the nature of Christ's coming, but there is substantial disagreement about the time.
Millard Erickson observes: "The one eschatological doctrine on which orthodox theologians most agree is the second coming of Christ. It is indispensable to eschatology. It is the basis of the Christian's blessed hope, the one event which will mark the beginning of the completion of God's plan."
The New Testament picture of our Lord's return emphasizes at least six distinct aspects of the time of His coming. These may be summarized as follows:
*1. Future. The entire emphasis of the New Testament points to a future return of Christ. He promised, "I will come again." (John 14:3) The angels promised He would return (Acts 1: 11). The apostles taught the certainty of His future (Philippians 3:20; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:3-8, 1 John 3:2-3).
*2. Imminent. The return of Jesus Christ is always described as potentially imminent or "at hand" (Revelation 1: 3, 22: 10). Every generation of believers is warned to be ready for His coming, as Luke 12:40 states: "Be ... ready also: for the Son of Man comes at an hour you think not." Believers are constantly urged to look for the coming of the Lord. These scriptures include: Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 9:28; Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6.
*3. Distant. From God's perspective, Jesus is coming at any moment. But from the human perspective, it has already been nearly 2,000 years. Jesus hinted at this in the Olivet Discourse in the illustration of the man who traveled into a "far country" (heaven) and was gone "a long time" (Matthew 25:19). Peter also implies this in his prediction that men will begin to scoff at the second coming, after a long period of time (2 Peter 3:3-9).
*4. Undated. While the rapture is the next major event on the prophetic calendar, it is undated, as is the "Blessed Hope" and glorious appearing of Christ. (Titus 2:13). Jesus said: "But of that day and hour knoweth not man, no not the angels of heaven."(Matthew 24:36) Later he added: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons." (Acts 1:7) That was, for those of His generation. Jesus knew that they would not be living at the time of His Second Coming.
*[see our on-line document: "Revealing The Earths Final Generation"]
*5. Unexpected. The mass of humanity will not be looking for Christ when He returns, as evidenced in Matthew 24:50-1 Luke 21:35. They will be saying, "peace and safety," when suddenly caught unprepared by His return. So unexpected will His return be that "as a snare shall it come in that dwell on the face of the earth." (Luke 21:35)
*6. Sudden. The Bible warns that Jesus will come "as a thief in the night ... (and) then sudden destruction" will come upon the unbelieving world. (I Thessalonians 5:2-3) His return for the bride will occur in a flash: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye ... for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead (believers) shall be raised incorruptible, and we (living believers) shall be changed." (I Corinthians 15:52)
Two Aspects of His Coming
There are certain similarities between the rapture passages and the coming passages, since they refer to future events relating to our Lord's return. But similarity does not mean they are referring to the same event.
Pre-tribulationists believe there are enough substantial differences between the two aspects of Christ's coming so as to render them as two separate and distinct events.
The rapture is characterized in the New Testament as a "translation coming", in which Christ comes for His church, taking her to His Father's house (John 14:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
Here, He claims her as His bride and the marriage supper of the Lamb begins. Whatever view one holds in regard to our Lord's return, one thing is clear in prophetic Scripture, the marriage occurs in heaven (Revelation 19:7-9) before the triumphal return of Christ with His redeemed church at His side (Revelation 19:11-16).
Non-pre-tribulationists are at a virtual loss to explain how the church got to heaven prior to returning with Christ at the battle of Armageddon. At best, some suggest they are "caught up" after the tribulation only to return immediately with the Lord.
This arrangement, however leaves little or no time for the wedding!
The return of Christ is series of events fulfilling all end-time prophecies. These include predictions of His coming for His church and His coming with His church.
Pre-tribulationists divide the return of Christ in two main phases: the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ.
In the first aspect, our Lord comes to take His own (the living and the dead) to be with Him.
In the second aspect, He returns with His resurrected and raptured saints to win the battle of Armageddon and to establish His kingdom on earth (Revelation 5:10), "and we shall reign on the earth".
The Bible is filled with detailed predictions about both aspects of Christ's return. Just as the Scripture predicted two aspects of our Lord's first coming (His suffering and His glory), so it predicts two aspects of His second coming.
The different aspects of our Lord's return are clearly delineated in the Scripture. The only real issue in the eschatological debate is the time interval between them.
Pre-tibulationists place the seven year tribulation period between the rapture and the return.
This allows for the proper fulfillment of Daniel's"seventieth week," and it clearly separates the rapture from the return.
The church's Blessed hope is the rapture. She awaits the Savior who is coming for His bride.
The church may endure persecution, trouble, and difficulty in the meantime. But she is not the object of divine wrath.
The church does not await destruction as the world does. Rather, she awaits the coming of her Lord and King.
Let Us Pray Together--
PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!
Contrast Between The Rapture and The Return Of Christ
1. Christ Comes For His Own.
(John 14:3) (1 Thess.14:3) (2 Thess. 2:1)
1. Christ Comes With His Own.
(1 Thess.3:13) (Jude 14) (Rev. 19:14)
2. He Comes In The Air.
(1 Thess. 4:17)
2. He Comes To The Earth.
(Zech. 14:4) (Acts 1:11)
3. He Claims His Bride.
(1 Thess. 4:16-17)
3. He Comes With His Bride.
4. Removal Of Believers.
(1 Thess. 4:17)
4. Manifestation Of Christ.
( Malachi 4:2)
5. Only His Own See Him.
(1 Thess. 4:13-18)
5. Every Eye Shall See Him.
6. Tribulation Begins.
(2 Thess. 1:6-9)
6. Millennial Kingdom Begins.
7. Saved Are Delivered from Wrath.
(1 Thess. 1:10; 5-9)
7. Unsaved experience The Wrath Of God.
8. No Signs Precede The Rapture.
(1 Thess. 4:13-18)
8. Signs precede The second Coming.
9. Focus: Lord And Church
(1 Thess. 2:3-12)
9. Focus: Israel And Kingdom.
10. World Is Deceived.
(2 Thess. 2:3-12)
10. Satan Is Bound.