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Sunday, October 2, 2011

THE RAPTURE


Pastor Mark Taylor                               Friendship United Methodist Church

                                                          Sunday Evening Worship Service

The Rapture – A Pre-Tribulation View Of The Second Coming of Christ
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17)

These verses say that both the dead and the living will be changed and "shall be caught up" to meet the Lord in the air. Christ will not come down to earth, but will take up all believers on earth. English word "Rapture" is taken from the Latin word, "rapre" which means to be caught up. Thus the coming of the Lord Jesus for Christians is called the Rapture.  Christ will return, and will call up all Christians who are alive or who died since Pentecost.

 The Thessalonians were concerned because some of their members had died and Christ had not returned. Paul wrote to reassure them of the position with the Lord.
 Paul in says he did not want them to be ignorant, about the dead in Christ.  Clearly says this is for Christians. If one has believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and received Him as their Savior.  When Christ returns He will bring with Him those that have died.
The Bible says “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). To be absent from the Body, meaning to die, is to be instantly in the presence of Christ.

Those of us who are alive when this day comes, will not precede or go before those who have died.  First: Those that died will be resurrected and joined with their resurrected bodies once again,  Next: Christians who are alive at his coming will be "caught up", at the same time as those who died, and will be instantly changed and given our glorified bodies. Paul said everyone will not die, but all will be changed. “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)  There are no prophecies to be fulfilled before the Lord comes. The Rapture in the New Testament is always presented in the Bible as being imminent!  The church is told to be ready always!  Phil. 4:5, "Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is a Hand." James 5:8, "You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." 1 John. 2:28 says "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming."
There are some who are teaching that believers will have to go through part of the Tribulation.  The Tribulation is a Jewish event, where God is once again working with Israel. The modern church age is not in view in the Tribulation and nowhere mentioned from Revelation 4:1-19:1.  Revelation 3:10 Jesus spoke to the church at Philadelphia "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."
Many theologians and pastors do not believe in the Rapture and even make fun of it.  I believe the Bible teaches that there is a Rapture of the Church and we all need to be ready.  “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:3-7).

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