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[Without a doubt, there is more confusion in our day about
eschatology or Bible Prophecy then ever before.
So much so that some have just resigned that they don’t know what to
believe and have decided to just believe nothing about what we actually look for
in our future. There are many who
down play the importance of Bible prophecy.
They will often note that it just isn’t really all that important for the
Church or for our spiritual lives.
However, the truth is that your position concerning the end times will
undeniably impact your understanding of the Word of God which will undeniably
impact your Christian conduct from day to day. For instance,]
[1 John 3:1-3
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that
we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because
it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are
we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when
he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope
in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.]
[What you are hoping or looking for will clearly impact the
way you live your life from day to day.
If you believe that everything in the Bible has been fulfilled and this
is the New Heaven and the New Earth then this is all there is and you had better
just live so as to enjoy everything to its fullest, because this is it and who
knows what comes next.]
[However, If you believe that we are still looking for the end
of the Church Age, and our Lord Jesus Christ is yet to come, and there is a
judgment to come for Christians and non-Christians alike, then you had better
live your life in a way that will please your lord when He comes.
Your perspective concerning the end times will mold the way you handle
the Bible and the way you live your life, right here, right now!]
What Bible Believing
Christian’s Need To Know About the Rapture
Contemporary Beliefs Concerning the
Rapture [- There are five varying
beliefs concerning the Rapture of the Church and the end times that dynamically
shape the way people handle their Bible.]
Rapture Theory (Rev 20.6; 21.1-3)
[– This is the normal position of Amillennialism.
Also known as Preterists in our day.
These do not believe in a literal millennium or the 1000 year reign of
Christ. Preterists hold that the
prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled and we are either living in
the millennium or are living on the New Heaven and New earth right now.
The major problem with this view is that in either the Millennium or the
New Heaven or New Earth God promises the Physical reign of the Lord Jesus Christ
and Jesus is not with us now!]
6 Blessed and holy
is he that hath part in the
first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power,
but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a
thousand years. ]
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new
earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was
no more sea. 2 And I John saw the
holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a
bride adorned for her husband. 3
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,
Behold, the tabernacle
of God is with men, and he will
dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall
be with them, and be their
Rapture Theory (Eph 1.13-14; John
14.16; 2 Thess 2.7-8) [- In this theory only those who are watching will be
taken. This leaves those who might
be classified as carnal Christians here on earth to endure the Tribulation
Period. A major problem with this
position is that God promised to seal every born again Christian with His Holy
13 In whom ye also
trusted, after that ye heard
the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye
believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our
inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of
[Jesus promised that once one receives the blessed Holy
Spirit He will be with them for ever more.]
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another
Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;]
[This means that carnal Christian’s and spiritual
Christian’s all have the Holy Spirit. Yes, there are carnal Christian’s and
spiritual Christian’s, but they are all Christian’s.
The Bible also reveals that the Holy
Spirit will be removed from this world at the beginning of the Tribulation
Period, before the anti-christ is revealed.]
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth
already work: only he who now letteth
will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be
revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall
destroy with the brightness of his coming: ]
[Hence, those left behind of the Body of Christ would
be without the Holy Spirit and the promise of Christ would be a lie.
This just cannot be, the whole Church will be raptured and the Body of
Christ is removed from this world.
Yes, there will be those left who called themselves Christians, possibly as many
as 70 percent of Christian Church members.
They are left, not because they were carnal Christian’s, but because they
never were Christians at all.]
Post-Tribulation Rapture Theory (2 Tim 3.12; Matt 24.21-22; cf. 2 Thess
2.7-8) [- This position holds that the rapture will occur after the
tribulation period and teaches that the Church will go through the Tribulation
Period and suffer the severe persecution described in the book of revelation and
in many other passages. These hold
that God does not promise to rescue the Church from persecution but instead
promises persecution upon the Church.
After all the Bible says,]
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in
Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.]
[When it comes to their arguments concerning the
persecution of Christians, indeed we are told we will suffer and suffer
wrongfully, as the Church has since our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, God does promise to save the Body of Christ from the Tribulation
21 For then shall be great tribulation,
such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever
shall be. 22 And except those days
should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake
those days shall be shortened.]
[And again, when the Holy Spirit is removed from this
world, prior to the appearance of the anti-christ the Body of Christ, the
Church, must be removed with Him, for the Believer will never, ever be left
without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.]
Mid-Tribulation Rapture Theory
(cf. 2 Thess 2.7-8) [– This position holds that the rapture occurs in the
middle of the tribulation period. Those holding this position again argue that
the Church is promised persecution. But they add that the Church will be removed
before what they call the Great Tribulation.
Some refer to this as the Pre-Wrath rapture of the Church.
Again, the Holy Spirit must be removed from this world in order for the
anti-Christ to be revealed, and his revelation is clearly the beginning of the
tribulation period. We are also
reminded again that Christians will never be left without the indwelling
presence of the Holy Spirit of God.]
Scripture references in our day – I honestly believe that those who hold to
these various rapture positions, excepting the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position,
hold them because they like to point out how various current events tie into the
various Bible prophecies concerning the end times and especially those linked to
the Tribulation Period. Multitudes
of Bible prophecy books have been written, published, and purchased over the
years. Many have prospered greatly
from such publications, and there are many Christians and non-christians who
love to read their opinions. But in
the end they have all been proven false and inaccurate, why because the events
and time frames clearly outlined in scripture will inevitably prove them wrong.]
Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory [- This position, the only correct
position, teaches that the rapture occurs at the beginning of the tribulation
period. Which marks the end of the
Church Age, and the beginning of what Bible prophecy calls the Tribulation
Period which will last seven years, and will be marked by,
The removal of the restraining presence of the Holy
Spirit (2 Thess 2.7)
The revelation and reign of the anit-christ (2 Thess
2.8; Rev 6.1-2)
The seven seal, vial, and trumpet judgments of
Revelation. Which is referred to as
the worst time this world has ever seen in its history.
21 For then shall be great tribulation,
such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever
shall be. ]
The Case for the Pre-Tribualtion Rapture
(2 Thes 2.1-8; 1 Thess 4.13-18) [-
Compelling scriptural evidence for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.]
The Bible speaks of:
Reunion (vs 1)
[- Now we beseech you, brethren,
by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by our gathering together unto
him, - Now, we know that the Word Rapture never appears in Scripture.
But the meaning of the word often appears.]
To be carried away or taken out.
In a traditional Christian sense it
is the carrying away or removal of the Church from this world.
In an accurate Biblical
or theological sense it is the removal of the Holy Spirit, or the
restrainer, from this world which requires the necessary removal of every
Christian from this world as well.]
the Rapture is Really All About - I believe that many of the
misunderstanding concerning the rapture and its timing are based on wrong
presuppositions concerning what the rapture really is and means.
The rapture is removal
of God’s restraint from this World.
When God removes the Holy Spirit and His supernatural restraint from this
World then God is essentially turning mankind over to his choices, namely the
rejection of God, God’s mercy, and God’s Grace.
In essence God is going to say, “You want things your own way, you don’t
want me (God) to be in your life and world, well then, there you go.”
With the removal of God’s goodness Satan is fully released upon mankind,
and mankind will now, for the first time ever, receive the full consequences of
their choice to reject God.]
the Born Again Christian the rapture means that God’s children, those
who have accepted the gift God provided through our Lord Jesus Christ, will be
eternally gathered together into His physical presence.
The Churches hope throughout the ages will be fully realized.
The Bible states,]
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.
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.]
[Clearly, the coming of the Lord referred to in our
text points to the second advernt of our Lord which will be when our Lord
returns physically to this earth at the end of the tribulation period and at the
beginning of the Millennium. Our
gathering together unto Him points to our meeting with our Lord in the Clouds,
or in the air as described in 1 Thess 4.13-18 (just read) and 1 Cor 15.51-58
which we will look at in few moments.]
Release (vs 3-6; Matt 24.24) [–
Let no man deceive you by any means: for
that day shall not come,
except there come a
falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself
above all that is called God, or that is worshipped;
so that he as God
sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet
with you, I told you these things? 6
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
– Clearly this text refers to none other than the anti-christ, as we Christians
call him, but the world will call him Christ.
He will be a great deceiver, so crafty in his deception that Jesus said,]
24 For there shall arise false Christs,
and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if
it were possible, they shall
deceive the very elect.]
[What keeps Christian’s from being deceived during this
Church age? The Holy Spirit within
us protects us, if we hear Him.
What will keep Christian’s from being deceived during the Tribulation Period, by
the master deceiver himself? We
won’t be here, we will be with the Lord.]
[Is the anti
christ alive today? – Since Satan is not omniscient and does not know when
the rapture will occur and when the Tribulation will begin, then the devil must
have an anti christ ready at all times.
It is probable that he has many who would qualify always ready, just in
case one doesn’t work out, this helps us to understand the frequent references
to many anti christ’s in the New Testament and the phrase that begins verse 7 of
our text, For the mystery of iniquity
doth already work: . . . ]
Removal (vs 7-10; John 16.7-11;
cf. John 14.16-18 ;Heb 13.5) [- For
the mystery of iniquity doth already work:
only he who now letteth
will let, until he be taken out
of the way. 8 And then
shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of
his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after
the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of
unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the
truth, that they might be saved. - The Holy Spirit will never leave a child
of God. God, who cannot lie,
promised to give His Holy Spirit to those that are His and promised that they
would always know His blessed presence.
The presence of the Holy Spirit is a restraining presence in our world in
numerous ways. The most obvious
Spirit’s spiritual conviction – The Holy Spirit himself continuously pricks
at the hearts of lost men seeking to bring them to a point where they will
realize their desperate need and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal
Lord and Savior. The Bible states,]
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It
is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will
not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove
the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on
me; 10 Of righteousness, because I
go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11
Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.]
Spirit’s Compulsion within Christians – The presence of the Holy Spirit
within Christians drives them to share the love and salvation of God with all of
those around them. Born Again
Christians have come into the love of God which is unlike any other love.
As a result they find themselves compelled to tell others about their
incredible Heavenly Father.]
[Hence, the only way that satan will be able to do
what he must do during the tribulation period is for the Holy Spirit and those
who know His intimate influence to be removed from this world.
Why would God allow this to happen?]
Thessalonians 2:10 . . .
because they received not the love of the
truth, that they might be saved.]
[Because people demand to have things their way.
It will be the result of your choices’.]
Rebellion (vs 11-12; 2 Cor 6.2)
[- And for this cause God shall send
that they should believe a lie: 12
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
unrighteousness. – Some of you look smugly upon the rapture and the sermon I
am preaching right now, but watch out for the choice you make right now may be
more important than you could ever know.
These two verses reveal that all who have clearly heard the gospel of the
Lord Jesus Christ before the rapture and have chosen to reject Him will have no
opportunity to receive Him as their savior after the rapture takes place.
Notice in these verses,]
energeia (gk) - 1) working,
efficiency. 1a) in the NT used only of
whether of God or of the Devil]
plane plan'-ay (gk) - 1) a wandering,
a straying about. 1a) one led astray from the right way, roams hither and
thither. 2) metaph.
2a) mental straying.]
[Hence those who make a clear choice to reject the Lord
Jesus Christ before the rapture and survive until after the rapture will find
that the dispensation of grace has passed and no other opportunity will be
afforded them. They made their
choice. Yes, many people will be
saved during the Tribulation Period, but none of them will be those who
purposefully rejected Christ before the rapture of the Church.
Hence, you need to hear,]
[2 Cor. 6:2
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation
have I succoured thee: behold,
is the accepted time;
is the day of salvation.)
The Conversion in the Rapture (1 Cor
15.51-58) [- Consider these verses
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We
shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
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.
be to God, which giveth us the
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren,
be ye stedfast,
unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that
your labour is not in vain in the Lord.]
Christian (vs 58) [- You have accepted Christ, be watching, be prepared,
be a good Steward. Our Lord Jesus
Christ is coming at a time that we don’t know.
Be found steadfast and unmovable in your faith.
As a bride adorned for her bridegroom.]
Non-Christian (vs 57) [- There is victory to be found in our Lord Jesus
Christ. Don’t risk your eternal
soul in the folly and foolishness of sin and sinfulness.
Sin may seem pleasant for a season, but rest assured, your sin will find
you out and Jesus really is coming soon.
Accept Him today!]
Church, Sept 7, 2008