Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Rapture Of The Church.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 from the Expositors Study Bible KJV, we read:V15 FOR THIS WE SAY UNTO YOU BY THE WORD OF THE LORD (presents the Doctrine of the Rapture of the Church as the "Word of the Lord), THAT WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN UNTO THE COMING OF THE LORD (all Believers who are alive at the Rapture) SHALL NOT PREVENT THEM WHICH ARE ASLEEP. (This refers to the fact that the living Saints will not precede or go before the dead Saints). V16 FOR THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN WITH A SHOUT (refers to "the same Jesus" which the Angels proclaimed in Acts 1:11), WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL (refers to Michael, the only one referred to as such{Jude v 9}), AND WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD (doesn't exactly say God will personally blow this Trumpet, but that it definitely does belong to Him, whoever does signal the blast): AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST ( the criteria for being ready for the Rapture is to be "in Christ", which means that all who are truly Born-again will definitely go in the Rapture): V17 THEN WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN SHALL BE CAUGHT UP (Raptured) TOGETHER WITH THEM (the Resurrected dead) IN THE CLOUDS (clouds of Saints, not clouds as we normally think of such), TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR ( the Greek word for "air" is "aer", and refers to the lower atmosphere, or from about 6,000 feet down; so, the Lord will come at least within 6,000 feet of the Earth, perhaps even lower, with all the Saints meeting Him there; but He, at that time, will not come all the way to the Earth, that awaiting the Second Coming, which will be seven or more years later): AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD. ( This presents the greatest meeting humanity will have ever known.)

This glorious event called the Rapture could take place at any moment. It is the next great event on the horizon of time. The literal Greek phrase calls for us to be snatched away. This is where we derive our word, Rapture.
Jesus Said in Matthew 24:36 that no one knows the day or the hour. Only the Father Knows. We should resist any temptation to engage in date setting. What we do know is that while there are no specific "Rapture" signs that need to be fulfilled; many of the signs that point to the second coming are being fulfilled at breathtaking rapidity: so how much closer is the Rapture to taking place. The Rapture will take place very soon, at some point prior to the inception of the Great Tribulation.

Christ's own words are the reason for this view. Jesus warned us to be alert for His imminent return (Matthew 24:42,44), and a pre- tribulational Rapture is the only position that allows for His at-any-moment arrival.
The Second Comin, then, is best thought of as a separate event, when our Lord returns following the 7 year Great Tribulation to defeat His enemies. At that time, Satan will be bound and remain so during Christ's 1,000 year millennial reign.
At the Rapture, the Lord comes for His People; at the Second Coming, He comes with His People.
After the 1,000 year millennial reign, the Lord will conduct the Great White Throne Judgment in which unbelievers of all time will be judged and cast into a place called the lake of fire, eternally separated from a loving, living, Holy, and just God.
Believers, however, will enjoy eternity in the presence of God, beginning at the Rapture.

Here are some vital distinctions between the Rapture and the Second Coming.
1- The Rapture takes place before the Tribulation (1 Thess. 4:16-17) but the Second coming takes place at the end of this period. (Matt. 24:29-31)
2- At the Rapture, all believers on Earth will be taken to Heaven, but at the Second Coming, God will bring us back to this Earth.
3- The timing of the Rapture is completely unknown (Matt. 24:36-41), but the Second Coming will be marked by several predicted signs. (Matt. 24:29-30)
4- The description of the Rapture makes no mention of Satan, but he will be bound and cast into the lake of fire at the Second Coming. (Rev 20:2,10)

As we live in these exciting times, we must focus our attention on Jesus Christ and anticipate His return. We must be faithful disciples, making soul-winning a active and vital part of our lives. We have a message that others need to hear. We must share it while there is still time. That message is Christ and Him Crucified.

Scripture assures us that Jesus will come for His Children personally. In John 14:3, the Lord promised that He was going to prepare a place for us. When the time comes, He will return for us to take us there. Let us be busy about our Fathers business and take as many with us as possible. God Bless.

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