In the Image
"ARE YOU READY?"
“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: 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.” 1 Thess. 4:16-17 (KJV)
Last month our article dealt with the many people who will be left behind even though they are religious and sincerely believe or hope that they’re going to heaven. Our passage this month is the Biblical doctrine that declares that the Lord Jesus is going to gather HIS saints to Himself. This doctrine, although clearly apostolic, causes much debate. Unfortunately many do not believe such an event will ever take place. To many it is simply too incredible to believe, like science fiction. Still others scorn the idea as “escapism.” They’re in for a big surprise! Often times it is confused with the “Second Coming of Christ,” which is in fact a completely different advent of Christ. Even many professing Christians are confused about this matter. Many believe it could never happen in their lifetime. Yet the Bible clearly explains such a time and tells those of us that are in Christ Jesus to be sober, vigilant, and looking for that “blessed hope.” It speaks of a time when Jesus will call those that are a part of His church (true believers) out of this world. Literally causing many people to just disappear off the face of this earth. No advanced warning will be given and those that are left behind will be left to deal with the wrath of God, also known as the “Tribulation.” The gathering together of God’s people that I am speaking of is also known as the Rapture.
The above verse states, “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout.” This is often confused with the “Second Coming of Christ.” The Bible is clear that these are two totally different events. The Rapture of the Church is something that takes place in the air. The Lord Jesus at the time of the Rapture does not physically plant His feet upon the Mt. of Olives as the Bible clearly states will happen at His “Second Coming.” The Rapture will come before the Tribulation, while the Second Coming is at the end of the Tribulation. The Rapture is the time that the Lord is going to gather HIS saints to HIMSELF. At the Second Coming the Lord will return with the saints to earth, save Israel from destruction, destroy the anti-Christ, and establish HIS kingdom upon the earth. It will be visible to all those upon earth, whereas the Rapture will only be known to those that Christ is gathering to HIMSELF.
Our verse continues by stating the order in which the saints will be gathered. It says, “the dead in Christ shall rise first.” Our verse declares that the bodies of the saints will be taken up out of the grave to be joined with their souls. 1 Corinthians 15:52-54 explains that those bodies taken from the grave will be made new; they will be incorruptible and immortal, far superior to those we now have, because they will be glorified bodies, fit for eternity. The promise to believers is: “We shall all be changed”. No more sickness, no more dying, no more ability to sin. Glorified and reunited with the soul forever. Victory over death which is the victory we have through Christ Jesus. As amazing as this sounds our verse goes on to tell us that after this, “we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds.” Think about it, there is coming a day when many people are just going to instantaneously and simultaneously disappear off the face of this earth. True believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who are alive when the trump of God sounds will no longer be found. Whatever they were doing, whether driving, working, or sleeping, they will no longer be found. Thousands will suddenly disappear! What will people say has happened? Will they say the UFO’s did it? Will they call it the next great step in evolution? Or a judgment of God to promote ecumenical unity? Whatever they say, remember the truth, God will have taken His people, the Church, off the earth, in preparation for the great and terrifying judgments of the Tribulation (explained in Revelation). Believers who were taken alive to heaven, like Enoch, will also be given glorified bodies and spend the rest of eternity with the Lord Jesus.
It will happen in the “twinkling of a eye,” so fast that those that are left behind will not notice until it is too late. Yet the thought of being suddenly taken should bring great joy to the hearts of those who know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Then we will put off these old frail mortal bodies and put on new glorified bodies that only God can provide. Many will not experience physical death, but will be caught up into heaven to spend eternity with our Lord Jesus. There they will join the heavenly throng giving much deserved honor and praise to the One who died for us, who purchased each and every individual with His own blood. We will actually see the nail prints in HIS hands and feet, and more fully comprehend HIS love for us.
On the other hand, reader friend, if you are not certain you are a true believer, you need to be warned. We’re doing that now, because when the Rapture comes, there will be no warning. Christians won’t bother you any more, because they’ll be gone! It’ll be a case of, “Now you see them, now you don’t!” The suddenness of it, and the fear of being left behind on a planet about to be judged, should strike terror into the hearts of unbelievers. I say this not so much in the sense that loved ones will disappear and chaos and confusion will reign. There is far greater cause for concern! When the believers are “evacuated” the influence of the HOLY SPIRIT will also be taken out of the world. The force that restrains the wicked one will be taken out of the way. The anti-Christ will come to power, lawlessness will be the way of life. Everyone will do that which is right in his own eyes, with no godly influence left to hinder the working of Satan. Those that remain will be at the mercy of pure wickedness, and those who heard and rejected the Gospel prior to the Rapture will be ultimately doomed for Hell (2 Thess 2:1-12). I know many of you think that Hell is going to be one big party, but that is not the description that the BIBLE gives. It is called a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth, alone in outer darkness, never to be delivered. It may come as a surprise to some of you that Satan will not reign in Hell, for he, too, will be suffering this everlasting punishment. “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer”. 1 Peter 4:7 (KJV)
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the world as we now know it will be forever changed. The saints of God will be removed, to spend eternity with their Savior. We don’t know when this wonderful event will take place, but the above verse reminds us that our time here is short. There are also many events taking place in the world today, in our very lifetime, that the BIBLE specifically speaks about. If the events of the Tribulation are being shaped right before our very eyes, and the Rapture must take place before the Tribulation, a Christian’s next breath could find him in the presence of the Lord. “Therefore be sober and watch unto prayer.” This is a clear exhortation to live as if the Lord will gather HIS saints at any moment.
Perhaps you have never heard
of the Rapture before. It is evident in talking to people today that preaching
about the Rapture is being forgotten by the
“mainstream”. Or perhaps you’ve heard but you don’t believe it. You might as well not believe the sun is going to rise or set, because whether you believe it or not, it will! The critical moment approaches, are you ready? Suppose it happens today; will you meet Him in the air, or be LEFT BEHIND to endure GOD’S wrath upon those who have rejected HIS Son? ”Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. John 14:6 (KJV) The only way to get to heaven is through Jesus Christ. No matter what anyone else claims, the only way to heaven is by putting your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Often we hear from various religions that there are many ways to heaven, but according to the Scriptures, God only recognizes one, and that is through HIS Son (John 14:6). Man is sinful by nature the Bible tells us, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". Romans 6:23 (KJV) Christ died for our sins so we would not have to. While on the cross Jesus did another incredible thing, He bore the wrath of God for our sins, in our place. Because of His substitutionary death, we can be saved from our sins, and also from the “wrath to come”. Jesus Christ died for each and every person, and He has the right to do what He wills with us. He has made it clear: those that love and obey Him will see heaven; those that reject Him will endure the wrath of GOD and spend eternity in hell. The clock is ticking. Time is short. ARE YOU READY? Don’t wait until you’ve been left behind, because then it will be too late!
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New Life Bible Chapel
Time of meetings
Sunday Meeting 10:30 A.M.
Wednesday Prayer Meeting 7:00 P.M.
Steve (616) 604-0462
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