What a great time to be alive, for we live between the 1st & 2nd comings of JChrist, the Son of God. JChrist came to this earth the 1st time re: 2000 years ago, & He died to pay the penalty for our sins, the penalty we should've paid; & then He rose again, victorious over sin and death. And God forgives anyone who repents of their sin & trusts in J Christ.
- But Christ at His 2nd coming will establish His physical kingdom on earth; & the 1st event to take place at His 2nd coming is the rapture, which is when Jesus literally takes up the believers who are living on this earth to be w/ Him in heaven.
Lk 17:22-37 The unbelievers living on earth before Christ's 2nd coming will be doing normal activities, but there hearts are rebelling against God & they'll be in great sin.
- Now Rev 13 says that the unbelievers will be worshiping the antichrist, this servant of the devil. And they'll be taking the mark of the beast, which is the mark of the antichrist, which then enables them to buy & sell. And they'll also be deceived by the miracles of this 2nd beast, this one who is partnered w/ the antichrist.
1 Thess 5 tells us that the unbelievers will be saying "Peace & Safety." As far as they're concerned, they're living normal lives, & they're satisfied w/ the conditions on earth. They're glad the antichrist is ruling, for he has brot "peace" to the earth.
But the truth is, they're living in darkness, & they're not at all expecting the return of Christ, and the wrath that He will righteously pour out upon them.
Luke 17:34-36 What do we understand from these verses?
1. Before Christ's return, believers & unbelievers are all living together on this earth; they aren't separated; they're like the wheat & tares that Jesus speaks re: in Matt13; They're growing together; & Jesus' desire in coming to earth is to separate the two.
2. The believers are taken away & are then separated from the unbelievers. The word "take" comes from a Greek word, paralambano, which literally means "to receive".
Jn 14:1-3. In vs3 this same word, paralambono, is used. Jesus, when He comes back will receive all believers to Himself. He'll take them so that they can be w/ Himself.
- Noah & his family were taken away & protected by the ark, & then God's judgment came. Lot & his family left the city, & then God's judgment came. And so too, when Christ comes back, then He'll take all Christians from the earth to be w/ Himself, & then God's judgment will come upon all the unbelievers who are left on the earth.
3. That Jesus is preparing a place for us, a home for us in heaven. This earth is not our home, heaven is. Philippians 3:20-21
Now God has given us a lot of information about this important event, the rapture of the believers into heaven.
1 Cor 15:50-57 Now what does this say?
1. You can't go to heaven in the perishable body you have right now. You need an immortal, imperishable body. You need to be changed. And at the moment you are being taken off this earth, then you'll be changed, then you'll receive a brand new, powerful, imperishable, glorified, & spiritual body. 1 Cor 15:42-44.
2. The rapture, when it takes place, is going to happen very quickly, in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye. One second you'll be in your old body, & then the next second, you'll be in your new body, & you'll be w/ Christ.
3. Your rapture into heaven signals that your victory over death is finally & fully realized. It signals the completion of your salvation.
- When you were born again, you were freed from the penalty of sin. During your life as a Christian,you've have gained victory over the power of sin, but not completely. But when Christ comes back, then you'll be freed from the power of sin, & from the
very presence of sin. How wonderful that will be. 1 Pet 1:3-3-5, 13, 1 Cor15:57. JE
1 Thess 4:13-18 Now what do these vss tell us about the rapture?
1. Verse 13 - You'll see your friends who are Christians in heaven. Therefore you
don't need to be too sad when they die, for you'll see them again in heaven.
2. Verse 14 - When Christ comes back, He will bring w/ Him all those believers who have already physically died. I mean we're talking about Moses, David, Paul, Mary, Luther, Edwards, Spurgeon, & all your family & friends who are saved.
3. Verse 15 - This vs says "we who are alive & remain until the coming of the Lord." This tells us than that it's at the coming of the Lord that we'll be raptured. And this word "coming" is in the singular. Therefore, there's only one coming, not two comings. And there's not a secret rapture at the beginning of the 70th week & then another "coming" for the Jews seven years later. Tregeles
- Now this word "coming" is a noun, and it means arrival & continued presence.
Christ's 1st coming was for 33 years; & there'll be a 2nd coming, & Christ will come at a point in time, & His presence then will continue on for a long period of time.
- And the rapture of the Christians will take place at Christ's 2nd coming, & will be the first thing to take place. 1 Thess 5:23, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, James 5:7
4. The Christians who are living on earth & then are raptured into heaven will be resurrected & given a glorified body a split second after those believers who've already physically died & gone to heaven.
5. Christ will publicly announce His coming w/ a shout, by His command for us to come to be w/Him.We'll also hear the voice of an archangel, & the loud sound of a trumpet. And so if you're a believer in Christ, & are alive on this earth at the return of Christ, you don't have to worry about missing the rapture.
6. We'll "be caught up". This word caught up comes from the Greek word "harpazo" & the Latin word "rapere", from which we get the word rapture; & this word harpazo or rapere means to seize, steal, snatch, to take away. Indeed, Christ will steal us from this planet, snatch us into heaven, taking us away from this sinful world.
7. We'll be caught up together w/ them. This means that we'll meet & join w/ all the other believers who've died before us. What a joyous & super happy reunion that will be, joining w/all the believers of all time & then meeting the Lord & being w/ Him
8. We're caught up; we're raptured at the coming of Christ. Vss 15,17. This phrase, "we who are alive & remain" mentioned in vs15 in conjunction w/the "coming of Christ", now appears in vs17 in conjunction w/ the phrase "will be caught up."
- Therefore the ones who are alive & remain until the coming of Christ are the same ones who are alive & remain until the rapture; & so the rapture takes place at the coming of Christ. And as I said before, there's only one coming of Christ, & the rapture is the first thing to take place at the coming of Christ. 2 Thess 2:1-3
Matt 24:1-41 This chapter in my opinion is the most comprehensive chapter on the coming of Christ & the rapture & the events that will take place before the coming of Christ. Let me briefly tell you what I believe this chapter is saying:
- Matt 24:1-3. The disciples wanted some signs so they could know when Christ was coming back, & that His return was getting close, & that this present age was coming to an end. And so Jesus gives them a lot of information about what is going to happen.
Matt 24:4-8 Jesus first warns them about false christs. Then he tells them that they'll be hearing about wars & rumors of wars, & how there'll be famines & earthquakes in various places; & these events, these wars, famines & earthquakes aren't experienced by everyone - they're in different places around the world.
- But the end of the age is still to come, for these are just the beginning of birth pangs, just the beginning events that signal that Christ's coming is getting closer.
Matthew 24:9-14 This section provides one of the best summaries of what will be taking place in the end times, right up to the end of the age, right up to the rapture.
1. There will be tribulation, & this word tribulation means distress, persecution. And so there will be a world wide persecution & martyrdom of the Christians. And this is great tribulation, great persecution, because it is great in scope - it's worldwide; and it's great in severity, for believers are being martyred, murdered for their faith.
2. There'll be a great apostasy all over the world - great masses of people will be leaving their churches, people who thot they were Christians, but were not; & now they're actually turning against & betraying the true Christians. Luke 21:16-17
3. There'll be many false religious leaders misleading the people; & I believe are involved in persecuting the true Christians. John 15:18 - 16:4
4. The world will increasingly become a more wicked & sinful place. Days of Noah.
5. The people who endure to the end of this age, who spiritually keep going & don't fall away - these are true believers. These are the ones who aren't martyred, & who are saved when Christ comes back, & "saved" in this context means physically saved.It means that they're raptured, & that they'll be glorified. 1 Peter 1:3-5, 1:13-14
6. During this entire time leading up to Christ's return, the gospel is being preached thruout the world; & when that last soul is saved, then the end of the age will come, & Christ will rapture all believers who are still alive on the earth. Matt 28:19-20
Matt 24:15-28 These vss aren't sequential; they're parenthetical. That is, they further describe what takes place during the time that these different events we just talked about in vss 9-14 are taking place. Jesus is just giving us more detail.
- Vs15 speaks of the antichrist & how he desolates the temple in Jerusalem, & stops the Jewish sacrifices. 2Thess2 says he sets himself up to be worshiped. That's why he is the antichrist - he's against Christ & wants to take the place of Christ. Rev13:4-8
- Vss 16-20 speaks about how the Jews and other believers living in Judea need to get out of town, out of that area so as to escape persecution. Rev 12:13-16.
- Vss 21-22 speak of this great tribulation, this great worldwide persecution directed by the antichrist against the elect. Now this word "elect" means the Christians. And this tribulation is the same tribulation, the same persecution of Christians that was spoken of in vs 9. But this tribulation is cut short for the sake of the elect, the Christians.
- Vss 23-26 is another warning by Jesus about false christs.
- Vs 27 is what we read in Lk 17. Christ's coming will be like lightning, & therefore will be visible. We'll know Christ is coming because the whole sky will be lit up, and Christ will then be revealed. 1 John 2:28, Revelation 1:7
- Vss 28-30 These vss tell us what happens immediately after the tribulation and right before the rapture; & answer the disciple's questions, "What will be the sign of your coming &of the end of the age?"
- The actual sign of the end of the age are these signs in the heavens, w/ respect to the sun, moon & stars. And the actual sign of the coming of Christ is this brilliant & bright light that is like lightning, & that suddenly shines & shoots across the heavens, & that precedes and comes immediately before the coming of Christ. Headlights.
- Vs 31 This speaks of the rapture, the snatching away of the believers from earth. The angels sound the trumpet & gather the believers together to be w/ Christ. 2 Thess2:1
- Now I believe that this is saying that those who are gathered from one end of the sky are those believers who have already died & are coming from heaven. And the ones gathered from the four winds are those believers who are alive on earth & remain until the coming of the Lord. Revelation 7:9-14
- Vss 32-35 says there'll be a particular generation of people who'll see all these things talked re: in this chapter, & they'll know the coming of Christ is near. And I believe we could be that generation of people who are alive when Christ returns. Heb 10:25
- Vs 36 tells us that we won't know the day or the hour of Christ's return. We can't know the specific time, but we can know the general time, as the previous vss said.
Vss 37-41 takes us back to where we started, Luke 17. The time before the return of Christ will be like the days of Noah. Sinful unbelievers will be in the dark, but righteous believers will be in the light; & we'll know that Christ's return is getting closer.
- And then there will be that great and glorious day when we will be rescued from the wrath to come and raptured into heaven to be with Christ forever. Rev 22:7, 12, 20