Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rapture of the Church

Chuckle: "Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on. . . .!!"
Quote: "Martin Luther said he only had two days on his calendar -- today and that day (Rapture)."
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17 NIV).
Nowhere in Scripture do you find the word "rapture" as it relates to the second coming of Christ. It is a word coined by theologians, and adopted by most Christians, to describe the events surrounding the appearance of our Lord to take up to heaven both dead and living believers that make up his eternal church. When the "rapture" will occur remains a mystery to us and only God the Father knows the day or the hour that Jesus will return.
I won't attempt to answer all the questions surrounding Christ's return, but, for your consideration, I want to present some of the many Scriptures that confirm that He will return. Our understanding of Christ's second coming is expanded by the words of Jesus himself. "And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may be where I am" (John 14:3 NIV). Here Jesus promises His followers that He will return to earth a second time to take us with Him to our eternal home in heaven -- to a place He has prepared for all who believe in Him.
Concerning the timing of His return, Jesus said: "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the heavens . . . No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13:26-27, 32 NIV). Because of Biblical prophecies that have been fulfilled, we have strong indications that we may be approaching the time of Jesus' return. However, no one can predict with certainty the date and time of the glorious event.
In our primary passage, we are told that when Christ returns for his church, those believers who have died in Christ will be raised first and those who are still alive will be changed into their glorified bodies suitable for God's presence. "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep (die), but we will all be changed -- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:50-53 NIV). It's interesting to note that at the "rapture" Christ does not physically come to earth. Instead, we, in our glorified bodies, will join him and all other believers in the air.
There are differing interpretations of Scripture concerning the exact sequence of events following the "Rapture" of the church such as the seven years of tribulation, Christ's return to establish His millennial reign, the Great White Throne judgment, etc. Perhaps I will address these events later. Have a wonderful day as you look forward to Christ's return!
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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