The Rapture of the Church.
Today majority of the evangelical Christians believe there is going to be a secret rapture, without a noise; suddenly millions of Christians will disappear.
Hal Lindsey’s Christian end-times book in 1970; "The Late Great Planet Earth" was a best seller. This gave birth to movies of the end times. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins didn’t waste time as their books and movies of Left Behind series stormed through many evangelical churches, we see bumper stickers carry slogans like: “In case of the Rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned,” or “The Rapture: The only way to fly!”
We hear many evangelists and majority of the pastors preaching on the rapture where airplanes will crash as Christian pilots go up in the rapture. Christian Television programs and radio will be interrupted as they are taken up in the rapture; may be a horrified husband will say, he and his wife were eating, when suddenly she disappeared right before his eyes. A mother may reports seeing her baby instantly vanish from its crib. A Christian doctor, who is doing a major surgery, suddenly disappeared from the operating room. The headlines of the newspapers will say “Millions Missing,” A secret rapture had happened, the Christians are taken away and the unbelievers are left behind.
These last days books and movies have greatly influenced the majority of the churches all over the world. Many of these churches have their doctrine centered on eschatology rather than soteriology.
Today many evangelists and pastors give an invitation to people saying, “ you don’t have to go through the wrath of Antichrist and you can escape the great tribulation that is going to come upon the earth. Come forward and accept Jesus as your Savior and you will go through the rapture as the Lord will snatch you” The result, hundreds and thousands have come forward in fear of Antichrist and the pastor tells them to repeat a prayer for them to accept Christ.
Does the Bible talk of rapture? Where does it say? Yes, the Bible speaks of rapture and let us expose the scriptures.
1Thessalonians 4:13 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. 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.
However, there is no word in the Bible for rapture, so how do we get the word rapture?
The word in verse 17, caught up in Greek is arpazw (harpazo - har-pad'-zo.) Which means to snatch or to seize. Our English word Rapture comes from the Latin word raptum with the same meaning to seize. Is there a secret, noiseless rapture where it will happen suddenly without anybody’s notice. Certainly not. And the same people believe that Christ second coming is divided into two. Once he will just appear in the Sky to seize the believers and later he will come back to earth with the believers. My friend there is only one second coming. There are many people in the church who are deceived and have been deceived by trusting in whatever that comes from the pulpit not examining the scriptures to say if it’s true or not. We need to be like the Bereans and examine the teachings that comes from the evangelists and the pastors to see if they are telling the whole truth. Many will tell 90% of the truth but the balance 10% could be wrong. Even the cults believe in some of the truth. Let us expose what the scriptures say and not what tradition say.
Let us read verse 16 loud and clear.
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.
The Lord does not appear in the sky as many Christians believe but he will descend from heaven with a SHOUT. This is the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is His second coming. He has been silent all these times but when he returns it will be sudden and the long silence is broken with a SHOUT as he returns as a conqueror. The shout is not a secret whisper, a noiseless rapture. The Lord’s shout is a command and it is a summon from heaven. It is a shout of a command. It is like a command of an officer who shouts to his troops. It is a loud shout, he shouts so the dead Christians can arise first. Remember Lazarus was dead for four days, he was raised to life with the shout of our Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus did not whisper at the grave of Lazarus but with a loud voice he said, “Lazarus come forth!” You cannot resist the command of the Master.
The voice of the Son of God is life giving powerful voice; it is so powerful even the dead in Christ will hear his voice. Jesus said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.” (Joh 5:28)
The Lord will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God.
Not only the Lord’s shout but there is the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God. Where is the silent rapture here? Many are deceived by not looking carefully at the scriptures. It is written so clearly but how many just believe a book or a movie or whatever that comes from the pulpit without checking what is written in the Bible, which is the final authority.
There is also the voice of the archangel. The angel of the highest order, the chief angel will blow the trumpet of God! The earthly trumpets can be noisy but it can carry the sound so far only but the trumpet of God, the heavenly trumpet and the archangel blowing that trumpet is no SECRET RAPTURE. It will be so loud and powerful to open graves and to rise the dead and so powerful that the living Christians will be snatched up into heaven. At the sound of the trumpet, the living believers are changed in a moment.
1Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
We see two phrases but united, a shouted command from Christ and with the voice of the archangel with the trumpet of God. The former is from Christ and the latter is from his archangel and the trumpet blast go together.
Remember the fall of Jericho? How did Jericho fall? The trumpet blast and the voice of the people go together.
Jos 6:5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
When God descended from heaven to Mt Sinai to meet his people, the meeting was announced by a trumpet blast. The blast of the trumpet was so loud that the people trembled.
Ex 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightning’s, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
But this trumpet call of the rapture will be so loud trumpet call that shall be loud enough to be heard to the very ends of the earth. It will be heard loud and clear to all corners of the earth and even beneath the ocean. Every skin and every tongue will hear the trumpet call loud and clear, as the silence of God is broken.
The dead in Christ shall rise first. Many Christians who have been buried so long ago, it could be there is no human remain left, there is not even a single particle of their bodies are left as they have been absorbed into the mother earth, yet they will be raised to life. But the powerful heavenly trumpet is able to gather all their remains in a twinkling of an eye! Many God’s people who were martyred, burned in the fire, crucified, given to be eaten by the wild animals. The particles of those bodies have been absorbed into vegetation, the vegetation may have been eaten by animals and may be people on this earth, and it is mingled, how can these bodies be brought together, refashioned to their original?
God formed each atom. (Atom is the smallest part of an element) God formed each atom from nothing and the same God can gather each atom again from confusion as God is omniscient and knows the history of each atom and their current position, he can re-gather every atom in a twinkling of an eye, this is the all powerful God of the Bible!
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.
Then the Christians who are alive will be rapture. The word caught up has to do with the suddenness and the swiftness, rapture.
Ac 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
The same Greek word is arpazw (harpazo - har-pad'-zo.) is used for caught away. The same word is used in the following.
2Co 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven.
Re 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The dead in Christ and those who are alive at this time will be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Clouds can mean literal and there is a symbolic meaning, it has to do with the Lord’s coming in his majesty and power.
Mt 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Also, it means judgment, the punishment for the enemies. When the Lord comes in the clouds of heaven there will be no opportunity for conversion, he is coming not to convert but to judge. For the true Christian the Lord’s coming is not a fear but a comfort, a great encouragement to be with the Lord forever but to the non believer who has not put his trust in the living God this will be the greatest fear as he will have to face the Judge of the universe. To the Christian the trumpet call will be the sweetest sound to the ear but to the unbeliever the careless sinner the trumpet call will be the worst sound as it will thunder from heaven as God will summon not to the court of an earthly judge but to the Judge of the Universe.
There is a day that all your loved ones, relatives will die and you too will die, but if Christ is in you, you will never be alone. Your greatest love is not your husband, wife or children but Christ who gave you eternal life, this is our greatest comfort, if we live or die we Christians are going to be with Christ Jesus.
John Lambert (d. 1538) was a protestant martyr burnt to death on November 22 at Smithfield, London by the Roman Catholic Church. He was a friend of William Tyndale. When the Roman church burnt him, he clapped his hands as he was burning, crying out, “None but Christ! None but Christ! He fell from the chains into the fire still exclaiming in the midst of the fire saying, “None but Christ!
Oh! What a comfort for the Christian to be with the Lord forever, through eternity none but Christ! None but Christ!