RESTRAINER, RAPTURE, RESET!
The event we refer to as the “rapture” is an actual biblical event for which the apostles provide much supporting detail.
The word “rapture” comes to us from a Latin translation of the Bible from about AD 400 called The Vulgate. The Vulgate uses the Latin word rapturo to translate the Greek word harpazo in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
Starting sometime in the late 1800s, Bible teachers began using the word “rapture” to describe the event Paul wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 as well as in 1 Corinthians 15:50-56 and Philippians 3:20-21. These students of Scripture chose a word, based on the ancient Latin translation of the Bible, to describe the event that the apostle Paul wrote about in these texts and also referred to in many other passages.
The rapture is the “blessed hope” of Titus 2:11-14; it’s the means of our deliverance from ‘the day of the Lord’ wrath as the Lord promises us in 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 and 5:1-10.
Jesus’ appearing to take us home to glory is the substance of our hope in a troubled world. It’s critical that we understand it and not dismiss it as though it’s not essential to our Gospel hope or cast it aside as something not important to our faith. The rapture is the substance of our hope as we journey through a dark and increasingly dangerous world.
The pre-tribulation Rapture is consistent with the removal of the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. Paul is writing to address the faulty belief among the Thessalonians that the Day of Christ had already arrived (v2). They had received a letter, claiming to be written by Paul, which led them to embrace this false view. Because of this, they were “shaken in mind” and “alarmed” (v2). They believed they had missed the Rapture and were going to endure the horrors of the tribulation period!
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE?
Here are the key elements of the event we refer to as the “rapture”:
• The rapture will begin with Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 begins with these words, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven.” That’s why the apostles often referred to it as “Jesus’ appearing.” He sets everything in motion as He returns with “those who have fallen asleep” in Christ (1 Thess. 4:14).
• We will hear Jesus’ voice and the sound of a trumpet. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 also tells us that Jesus “will descend … with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.” I believe that all of us who are in Christ will hear these sounds; I am not sure about those who do not know Him.
• The dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thess. 4:16). Jesus will raise from the dead all those who have died “in Christ” from the Day of Pentecost to the time of the rapture. They will be the first to meet the Lord in the air as Jesus joins their resurrected bodies with their souls.
The resurrection of church-age saints happens immediately at the start of the rapture.
• The Lord will give immortal and imperishable bodies to believers who are alive at the time of the rapture (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:51-53). This will be our resurrection in a sense as we receive glorified bodies that will never get sick, grow old, or die.
• The rapture will happen quickly! For those of us who are alive at the time of the rapture, the change in our bodies will happen “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52). We will instantly receive our glorified bodies.
• At the same moment He gives us immortal bodies, Jesus will catch up those of us “who are alive, who are left … in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17). We will join those saints resurrected from the dead, and we will forever “be with the Lord.”
• Our destination will be heaven. In John 14:3, Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” The Lord is preparing a place in heaven, and He will take us there when He appears. Later, in John 17:24, we see that one of Jesus’ requests in what we call His “high priestly prayer” was that someday we would see the glory He possessed “before the foundation of the world.”
I love the way Colossians 3:4 puts it: “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” When the rapture occurs, we will appear in glory, aka paradise. In other words, it signifies our departure from earth to heaven.
The above seven points provide a brief summary of what we will experience when Jesus comes to take us home. All these things make up the event that we as believers refer to as the “rapture.” It is a wholly biblical occurrence; it will happen just as the Bible says it will.
WHAT PURPOSE DOES THE RAPTURE SERVE IN THE OVERALL PURPOSES OF GOD FOR CREATION? HOW DOES IT FIT INTO THE BIG PICTURE OF GOD’S REDEMPTIVE PLAN?
God’s redemptive plan is to restore what was lost in Adam, to restore the proper functioning of his rule in creation through the vice-regency of a humanity living in proper relation to him (though that entails a lot more than what I’ve said here). The resurrection of believers is part of that restoration, as Paul teaches in Romans 8:18–23. So, insofar as the rapture and the resurrection are associated, the rapture plays a role in that restoration. However, the Scriptures also teach that before the establishment of the Messianic kingdom at the return of Christ, God will pour his wrath out upon the world opposed to his rule. The church is promised reprieve from this wrath, and the rapture is the means by which it is protected.
THE RAPTURE IS THE SUBSTANCE OF OUR HOPE!
Let’s dig a bit deeper into this hope that the Lord tells us to use in encouraging “one another” (1 Thess. 4:18, 5:11).
The rapture is our “blessed hope”; it’s the hope into which Jesus saves us. I say this based on the words of Romans 8:23-25:
“And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
In the above passage, Paul connects the “redemption of our bodies,” which, as we saw, happens at the time of the rapture, with the “hope” of the Gospel. The resurrection event for all New Testament saints happens at Jesus’ return for His church, the rapture. It’s at this time He will redeem our bodies by giving us immortal ones that will never perish or grow old (1 Cor. 15:51-55).
THE WORLD IS ASLEEP!
Most of the world is asleep today while the signs are screaming loudly for the return of our Lord!
The church today is like Harry R. Truman saying yes one day the Lord will return not realising that day is here!!
As Mount Saint Helens rumbled during the Spring months of 1980, he stood firm in his resolve to remain on the mountain as if he owned it! Harry R. Truman, an innkeeper, refused to leave his home despite an evacuation order and repeated warnings that came via reoccurring earthquakes, just as the Lord is repeatedly warning this world!!! The birth pangs are increasing and intensifying by the minute!!
Harry R. Truman acknowledged it was “possible” the mountain might “blow” someday, but he never reached the place where he was willing “to pack up his bags” and leave his home!
Finally on that which he thought would happen ‘one day’ occured on May 18, 1980 as Mount St. Helens erupted with such force that the top 1,300 feet of the mountain instantly disappeared!
The explosion caused a huge landslide that moved down the mountainside at speeds in excess of 110 miles per hour devouring everything in its path, including his residence at Spirit Lake!!
Harry R. Truman is a reflection and epitomizes so many in our world today! Just like Mr. Truman, they hear the warnings of biblical prophecy and sense the danger inherent in our day, but they do not turn to the Savior or watch for His appearing as we are told to do!
Sadly like Harry R. Truman, many believers are not yet willing to “pack their bags” in anticipation of Jesus’ imminent return. They do not recognize the urgency of the day in which they live and as a result they live solely for the things of this world without the necessary balance of an eternal perspective.
Just like the devastation that followed the Mount St. Helens eruption, 1 Thessalonians 5:3 tells us that “sudden destruction” will fall on those left behind after the rapture. After we depart from the earth, the world will experience unspeakable terror during the seven-year tribulation!
NORMAL ISN’T COMING BACK, JESUS IS!:
We are on the cusp on the rapture! Preach the Gospel!
Watchman in the wilderness
Mywebsite : www.rapturecountdown.com