Thursday, September 17, 2015

We Shall Not All Sleep!



There are ministries out there that say that the rapture is not going to happen. If that is true, we would need to eliminate John 14:1-3 out of the Bible.

John 14:1-3 ~ "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

You'd also have to cut out portions of every single chapter of 1 Thessalonians as well because Jesus has promised to come back before the wrath of God is poured out on the world. You have to figure out why the historical church since Paul the apostle, himself when he said, "We who are alive and remain at the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who have died in Christ. Every generation of believers has believed in the rapture or the word "harpazo" or the catching up of the church in the presence of God. It is a doctrine of immanency, meaning that there are no precursors, or pre-prophecies that must happen before the rapture  That is concerning the Second Coming of Christ to earth at the end of the Tribulation Period. We are talking about the rapture that we should be ready to meet Jesus today. That should be the very thrust behind how we live, and what we do. It should be the very definition of how we should be living our lives.

Let's recap where we left off yesterday from Revelation 4:1-3 ~ "After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had an appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald encircled the throne."

We need to get our perspective straight when it comes to church. Instead of being so concerned with what time church gets out, why can't we be hopeful it will never end. Why can we sit through a three hour movie and hope it never ends, but have the exact opposite reaction when it come to the things of God. I hate to break it to you, but the time we spend in church and in worship service is just a preview of coming attractions! We should be excited about when we are going to church next. We should enjoy our worship service because we are going to be doing that a lot in heaven.

What are the features of the rapture? There in an association with a door. A door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, was like a trumpet speaking with me.

A Door:

John 10:9 ~ "I am the door; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture."

Revelation 3:8 ~ "I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that on one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."

Revelation 3:20 ~ "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my oice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."

Isaiah 26:19-21 ~ "But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer."

You might want to ask yourself where God's people had gone that they had to shut themselves behind a door? Where is His people? Isaiah tells us, that it be like dew, which rises up in the morning. The dead in Christ will rise first, and there will be a set of doors that opens up to allow for God's people to enter, then they are shut as the wrath of God (the Tribulation Period) comes upon the whole earth.

Another characteristic of the rapture in how it relates to the church is a "voice." 

1 Thessalonians 4:16 ~ "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."

Revelation 1:10-11 ~ "On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea."

The third and final characteristic of the rapture regarding the church is that of a "trumpet."

1 Thessalonians 4:16b ~ "with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."

1 Corinthians 15:52 ~ "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raise imperishable, and we will be changed."

Paul is trying to describe the rapture of the church. If you try to explain this scripture any other way, you really have to bend things to make it work.  The twinkling of the eye is approximately 18000/of a second. When this moment happens the dead will be raised and then we who are alive will be changed or metamorphized in the twinkling of an eye. To define that event, you can only come to the realization of this being the rapture. There is no other way to explain it.

Revelation 1:10 ~ " On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,"

We see a trumpet saying, "Come up here!"  There is no other Biblical event that has the definition ascribed to it, but the rapture of the church! It's a military command, "Come Up Here!" In the Greek the word rapture is "harpazo" which means to seize violently, to catch  quickly (away, up) to pluck, pull, or take (by force). It is also used when applied when a lamb was wandering away from the shepherd and about to fall into harm, the shepherd would use his crook to grab any part of that lamb and jerk him away from whatever was about to bring him harm. It's found in various Scriptures.

2 Corinthians 12:2 ~ "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know - God knows."

2 Corinthians 12:4 ~ ""was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell."

1 Thessalonians 4:17 ~ "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

Revelation 12:5 ~ "She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne."

Isaiah 26:19-21 ~ "But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Come up, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer."

In the Hebrew the word "come" is "yalak" which means to be carried away, to be led in a departure, to exodus or leave, a vanishing. It is the Hebrew equivalent to the Greek word to be "caught up."

Why is all this teaching so important? Because the doctrine of the rapture brings hope to the believer. Are you excited?


Titus 2:13 ~ "While we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."

So what is that blessed hope? Oh that you have to go through the great Tribulation Period, deal with the Antichrist, keep dodging everybody who is trying to put a mark on your hand or forehead, you can't buy or sell, so you'd probably starve to death, or because if you have lived long enough, and you've dodged the mark, you're going to get captured, (according to the book of Revelation) and your head is going to get cut off, because you loved Jesus Christ, during the Tribulation Period. The Bible says that all of those that do not receive the number of the beast or bear the mark of his name, are beheaded for their testimony and faith in Christ. Wow! When does that happen? During the Tribulation Period! Could that be your blessed hope? No, your blessed hope is that Christ could come today!

1 John 3: 2-3 ~ "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be had not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."

1 Thessalonians 2:19 ~ "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we ill glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?"

It means you're waiting! It's hard to get caught up in things of this world if you're waiting for Christ. Be ready! The Bible teaches that the rapture can happen at any time.

At the moment of the rapture, the Revelation will be from God.

Revelation 4:1 ~ "and I will show you things that which must take place after this."

God delights in telling us about the future. 1/3 of the Bible is prophetic in nature. He only tells us what we need to know.

Hebrews 1:1-2 ~ "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, who he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe."

That means that if God is going to speak anything to you today, it is going to be through the Bible. It could come through a Christian friend, radio broadcast or a sermon.

John 13:19 ~ "I am telling you know before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am he."

John 21:20-23 ~ " Peter turned and saw that the disciple who Jesus loved was following them, (This is the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and who had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me. Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?'

Jesus knew that He was going to be taking John to the day of His return by revelations and visions. Why would Jesus say that about John to Peter? Who is the human author of the Book of Revelation? John! Could it be that Jesus was cryptically saying that it would be the apostle John would see Jesus' return in Spirit? John saw it! Be careful how you read the Bible, every line, every word of detail the Lord will fulfill. The hope of the rapture is a practical hope.

Revelation 3:3 ~ "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief and you will not know at what time I will come for you."

The rapture is a message of hope.

It will be our entrance into eternity. When will we see eternity if we are alive at the rapture? Immediately!

Revelation 4:2 ~ " At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it." 

This does not mean that John was in a trance. He was transformed. It will be our entrance into eternity when we changed by the power of God. The transformation from the earthly physical to the heavenly spiritual. (1) That he is seeing things yet future, (2) that he has been transformed. The Bible makes it clear we can't go into heaven wearing what we are wearing. We are wearing our earth suit now, but need a heavenly suit to get into heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:49-50 ~ "And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."

Like a little baby, we need changing.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ~ "Listen, I tell you a mystery; We will not all sleep, 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."

Don't mistake this statement about sleep that when you die, you simply go to sleep. Not at all! The Bible says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So why does he use the word "sleep?" Because it is in reference to the appearance of the body. When you see a dead person, it looks like they are sleeping. This is the Bible's way of telling you that what I am saying is referencing the body, the resurrection of the body. The body will be resurrected. Are you ready?


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