Called Away: The Rapture of the Church

Called Away: The Rapture of the Church

The Blessed Hope

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.

The Blessed Hope is promised by Jesus (not invented by Darby or Scofield.)

John 14: 1-3

Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:9-11

THIS SAME JESUS SHALL  SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YE HAVE SEEN HIM GO.

Jesus went in a cloud and will gather us into the clouds to be with Him.
Revelation 1:7  is the Glorious Appearing  at the end of the Tribulation not the Rapture. The Rapture is 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

What is the Rapture?

The Rapture, also referred to as the Blessed Hope is an eschatological event and, in point of fact, is the event that begins the entirety of the End Times. Our official statement is thus: The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church. (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 Romans 8:23Titus 2:13 1 Corinthians 15:51,52)

This is the event where believers who are “alive and remain shall be caught up together…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). We would call this the First Resurrection, where each Christian receives his or her resurrected body, after which they will pass before the Bema Seat and then enter into the joy of their Lord. First to receive their new bodies are those who have died as Christians, and then, those who are “alive and remain.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (Being asleep, as the Apostle Paul uses here, is a euphemism. He simply means that they have died.) 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 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 prevent them which are asleep. 16 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: 17 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. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Take notice, I am telling you a secret. We shall not all die but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet call. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). 

Is it certain that there will be a Rapture? 

Absolutely. All the prophecies related to the First Advent came to pass and so the prophecies related to the Second will happen as well 

When Will It Happen?

We cannot know that and anyone who says that they do know is a liar. We do know that the rapture will be instantaneous, in “the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Scripture nowhere encourages us to try to determine the date of Jesus’ return. Rather, we are to “keep watch, because we do not know on which day our Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). We are to “be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when we do not expect Him” (Matthew 24:44). In the eschatological Parable of the Talents, we are told by the Lord to “Occupy till I come” but what does that mean? It means that we must be about the work of spreading the message of the Gospel.

The timing of the Rapture has sparked a great debate within Christianity as a whole. Will it occur before, during, or after the tribulation period? Will it occur before the Millennial Kingdom begins, after the Millennial Kingdom ends, or, perhaps, will there be no Millennial Kingdom at all? Since we take the position of a Premillennial, Pretribulational Rapture of the Church, we need to define our terms. The tribulation is a seven-year period that immediately precedes the return of Christ and the establishment of His millennial kingdom, which lasts for 1,000 years. The first 3 ½ years of the tribulation will be a time of peace and cooperation, and the second 3 ½ years of the tribulation will be a time of war and catastrophe. At the midpoint of the tribulation, the Antichrist will proclaim himself god and require worship from all people of the world. Many will bow down and worship the Antichrist, including taking his mark of worldwide registration. Some will refuse to worship the Antichrist and receive his mark, and many will be killed for this act of disobedience. The second half of the tribulation is referred to as the “Great Tribulation.” There will be extraordinary catastrophes all over the world during this period. (For scriptural support, see Revelation 3:10, Matthew 24; Mark 13 and Luke 17).

Why do we take this position? In answering this question, it is important that we understand the culture of the day as well as the metaphor in play. In Revelation 19, we see the Marriage Supper of the Lamb referred to. This is noteworthy because it is the metaphor that we are to follow.

There are two Greek words that encompass what happens at the Rapture. We will look at both this morning. They are harpazo and paralambano

harpazō 

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

1) to seize, carry off by force

2) to seize on, claim for one’ s self eagerly

3) to snatch out or away

Part of Speech: verb

Usage:

This word is used 13 times:

  • Matthew 11:12: “suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
    Matthew 13:19: “the wicked one,and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.”
    John 6:15: “they would come and take him by force, to make him”
    John 10:12: “and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the”
    John 10:28: “they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them”
    John 10:29: “and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
    Acts 8:39: “water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch”
    Acts 23:10: “the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them,”
    2 Corinthians 12:2: “I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third”
    2 Corinthians 12:4: “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words,”
    1 Thessalonians 4:17: “we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in”
    Jude 1:23: “save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating”
    Revelation 12:5: “and her child was caught up unto God, and to his”

 

paralambanō 

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon:

1) to take to, to take with one’ s self, to join to one’ s self

1a) an associate, a companion

1b) metaphorically

1b1) to accept or acknowledge one to be such as he professes to be

1b2) not to reject, not to withhold obedience

2) to receive something transmitted

2a) an office to be discharged

2b) to receive with the mind

2b1) by oral transmission: of the authors from whom the tradition proceeds

2b2) by the narrating to others, by instruction of teachers (used of disciples)

Part of Speech: verb

Relation: from G3844 and G2983

Citing in TDNT: 4:11, 495

Usage:

This word is used 51 times:

  • Matthew 1:20: “of David, fear not to takeunto thee Mary thy wife; for”
    Matthew 1:24: “had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:”
    Matthew 2:13: “a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his”
    Matthew 2:14: “When he arose, he took the young child and his”
    Matthew 2:20: “Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother,”
    Matthew 2:21: “And he arose, and took the young child and his”
    Matthew 4:5: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy”
    Matthew 4:8: “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high”
    Matthew 12:45: “Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other”
    Matthew 17:1: “six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and”
    Matthew 18:16: “if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or”
    Matthew 20:17: “going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart”
    Matthew 24:40: “field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
    Matthew 24:41: “the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
    Matthew 26:37: “And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,”
    Matthew 27:27: “soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall,”
    Mark 4:36: “when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in”
    Mark 5:40: “they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father”
    Mark 7:4: “other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and”
    Mark 9:2: “six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and”
    Mark 10:32: “and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve,”
    Mark 14:33: “And he taketh with him Peter and James and”
    Luke 9:10: “all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately”
    Luke 9:28: “these sayings, he took Peter and John and”
    Luke 11:26: “Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked”
    Luke 17:34: “bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.”
    Luke 17:35: “together; the one shall be taken, and the other”
    Luke 17:36: “field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
    Luke 18:31: “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold,”
    John 1:11: “his own, and his own received him not.”
    John 14:3: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that”
    John 19:16: “unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him 
    Acts 15:39: “departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas”
    Acts 15:39: “departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas”
    Acts 16:33: “And he took them the same hour of the night,”
    Acts 21:24: “Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with”
    Acts 21:26: “Then Paul took the men, and the next day”
    Acts 21:32: “Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto”
    Acts 23:18: “So he took him, and brought him to the”
    1 Corinthians 11:23: “For I have received of the Lord that which also”
    1 Corinthians 15:1: “unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;”
    1 Corinthians 15:3: “first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died”
    Galatians 1:9: “unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
    Galatians 1:12: “For I neither received it of man, neither”
    Philippians 4:9: “ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen”
    Colossians 2:6: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk”
    Colossians 4:17: “to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill”
    1 Thessalonians 2:13: “we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard”
    1 Thessalonians 4:1: “the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye”
    2 Thessalonians 3:6: “the tradition which he received of us.”
  • Hebrews 12:28: “Wherefore we receivinga kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby”

 

YOU CAN’T HAVE A POST TRIBULATION RAPTURE

In Christian eschatology, the post-tribulation rapture doctrine is the belief in a combined resurrection and rapture of all believers coming after the Great Tribulation. This position is fundamentally flawed and, in my estimation, does not fit with the Bible.

  1. The Great Tribulation is a time of judgment and the true Church was judged at Calvary

12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Hebrews 10:12-13

One sacrifice for sin for all time…If your sin was paid for at the cross, it in manifestly unjust to pay for it again in the tribulation.

  1. The Tribulation is the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” and Israel (Jacob) is not the Church

‘Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.

Jeremiah 30:7

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “In the previous verses of Jeremiah 30, we find that the Lord is speaking to Jeremiah the prophet about Judah and Israel (30:3-4). In verse 3, the Lord promises that one day in the future, He will bring both Judah and Israel back to the land that He had promised their forefathers. Verse 5 describes a time of great fear and trembling. Verse 6 describes this time in a way that pictures men going through the pains of childbirth, again indicating a time of agony. But there is hope for Judah and Israel, for though this is called “the time of Jacob’s distress” (NASB), the Lord promises He will save Jacob (referring to Judah and Israel) out of this time of great trouble (verse 7).”

The Tribulation is a time of purification for Israel during which the obstinately unbelieving will be destroyed leaving the faithful remnant to enter the Kingdom.

Ezekiel 37:21,22 Zephaniah 3:19,20 Romans 11:26,27

  1. The Church is not mentioned from Revelation 4-19

            There is not really much extrapolation needed here. If the Tribulation were, in fact, something the Church were expected to endure, surely the Holy Spirit would have warned us. I would go so far as to say that it requires a dismissal of logical inference to presume the Church will go through the Tribulation.

  1. Revelation 3:10and tereso oras peirasmou

Tereso oras peirasmou (I will keep you from the hour of testing.) The hour of testing being referred to, here, is the Tribulation and it is Christ Himself who says that He will keep from the hour of testing.

  1. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Where, exactly, is the comfort in facing the Tribulation?

  1. The Blessed Hope

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 Romans 8:23 Titus 2:13 1 Corinthians 15:51,52

  1. There will be a final judgment but the Tribulation is not it

There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works but this is not the tribulation period. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Matthew 25:46 Mark 9:43-48 Revelation 19:20 Revelation 20:11-15  Revelation 21:8

  1. Lastly, the final judgment for believers is the Bema Seat not the Tribulation. 

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “Romans 14:10–12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. . . . So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (ESV). Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” In context, it is clear that both passages refer to Christians, not unbelievers. The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ.

The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed. However, that is not going to be the primary focus of the judgment seat of Christ.

At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-272 Timothy 2:5). Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9). The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-272 Timothy 2:5). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:52 Timothy 4:8James 1:121 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” 

Objections to the Rapture:

A very common objection is that the word Rapture is not in the NT. That isn’t accurate. Rapture is the anglicization of the Latin, rapturus which is the translation of harpazo from Greek to Latin. If you look to the notes above, there are at least 7 instances of harpazo in the NT.

Another objection is that Dispensationalist teach an “escapist rapture.” No kidding. Exactly where is the “blessed hope” for a believer who is going to go through the tribulation. Of course Christians will escape the time of wrath. (1Th. 1:10;  1Th. 5:9). Let us not forget that the tribulation is “even the time of Jacob’s trouble but he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7)”

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.