28 May

The Rapture, a subject not commonly taught in many churches. However, let's look at the scriptures that are usually associated with the Rapture.

It's in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18: "We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words." (From the New Living Translation)

The New Living Translation is easier to understand but any other translation says basically the same thing: that when the Lord returns there will be a shout by an archangel and a blast from the trumpet of God. Then those who have looked for the return of the Lord but are dead, will come up out of the graves and rise up to meet the Lord "in the air".

Simultaneously, those who are still living and waiting for His return will also be taken up to meet the Lord "in the air".

Note that Jesus doesn't come all the way to earth at this time. That happens at the second phase of His coming.

The word "rapture" is not in the Bible but "caught up" is in verse 17. The Greek word for "caught up" is harpazo, which means to snatch or take away. The Latin translation of "caught up" used the word rapturo from which came the English version of the word rapture.

Some believe and teach that the idea of a rapture, the taking away of Christians so they won't have to endure the coming wrath of God is just escapism and fantasy. They would have a hard time explaining that to Noah, one of eight who God allowed to escape the flood that destroyed all living things on earth.

Maybe they haven't read Isaiah 57:1 which says:
"The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers That the righteous is taken away from evil." (NKJV)

Or to put it more plainly, here is the New Living Translation of Isaiah 57:1: "Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come."

Given the understanding of the above scripture, it is evident that there are times in which God will provide a way to escape evil, even if it means death to the believer.

The Bible makes it abundantly clear through various verses of scripture that there will be a "time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7) also known as the Tribulation. It will be 7 years of God pouring out His wrath upon the earth, a time unparalleled in history.

In Matthew 24:6-8, Jesus said the appearance of false christs, wars, and rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes are just "the beginning of birth pains." In other words, those events are to be red flags to the believer. Of course, every one of them has occurred throughout history but nothing will equal the intensity of the ones coming in the future. Then it just gets worse.

Nahum 1:2:
"God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies" (NKJV)

If God reserves wrath for His enemies it seems pretty clear to me that we should be in good standing with Him. How do we do that? By accepting the work done on Calvary's cross by His Son, Jesus. The "work" Jesus did was dying through no fault of His own but instead, out of love for everyone that has ever been or ever will be born. Those who accept Him will not see His wrath and those who don't accept Him are His enemies.

There is a day coming when Jesus will return to earth, first to catch away His people. That is, everyone who accepted Him as their Savior. Then 7 years later He will return to earth to establish His kingdom. But that's another story.

For now, suffice it to say that God loves you. If you have accepted His love through Jesus Christ you are no longer His enemy, you are now His child and destined to live with Him for all of eternity.

Congratulations! See you at the Rapture!

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