Summary: The Rapture is that future event when the Lord Jesus Himself will return in the clouds above this earth and will catch away all the saved people of the world. It is a time that is referred to in Titus 2:13 as "The Blessed Hope Of The Believer."
Before the Trumpet Sound Fades
Text: 1 Co 15:51-57; 1 Th 4:13-17
Introduction: I once heard an old preacher say, "I’m not lookin for a hole in the ground, I’m lookin for a hole in the sky!" The event he was referring to is known as "The Rapture". While this word itself does not appear in the Bible, the event is real nonetheless. The word "Rapture" comes from the Latin translation of the Greek word harpazo. It means just what the King James and the NIV says it does, "caught up". The Rapture is that future event when the Lord Jesus Himself will return in the clouds above this earth and will catch away all the saved people of the world. It is a time that is referred to in Titus 2:13 as "The Blessed Hope Of The Believer." This future event is the focus of our message this morning.
While the return of our Lord is spoken of many times in the New Testament, there are only three passages which deal with the Rapture in any detail. I have read two of them this morning. The other is found in Revelation 4:1-2a, "After this I looked, and there in heaven was an open door. The first voice that I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. Immediately I was in the Spirit..." I want to draw your attention to one common theme that punctuates each of these references. That common theme is the mention of the "trumpet." We are told in clear language that the Rapture will be a time that will be heralded with the sound of trumpets.
When the writers of the New Testament used the imagery of trumpets, the people to whom they were writing were well acquainted with what they were saying. However, we modern readers probably need to be educated about the significance of the trumpet.
*In Bible times, trumpets were used for four specific purposes and these correlate perfectly with the idea of the Rapture:
1. To Proclaim Victory - Victory over the world will be announced to the church.
2. To Call An Assembly - All believers will be called to assemble themselves in the presence of the Lord.
3. To Announce A Warning - The trumpets will announce a warning of judgment coming upon the world.
4. To Call The Troops To Battle - The angelic troops will be summoned to battle.
When the trumpet sounds, all those who are saved by grace are out of here. It is that glorious event that I want to preach about today. I want you to know that before the sound of that trumpet blast fades from our ears, several great and precious events will take place. I want to share them with you this morning as we consider the thought, "Before the Trumpet Sound Fades."
Before the trumpet sound fades:
1. Our Lord Will Have Returned
- 1 Th 4:17 - "Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord."
A. Our Lord Will Have Returned, In Fulfillment Of His Promise -
1. In Jn 14:1-3, Jesus promised His disciples that He would return one day: "Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also."
2. He reaffirmed this promise to the Apostle John in Re 22:20 - "He who testifies about these things says, Yes, I am coming quickly."
3. Following His ascension, angelic messengers announced: "This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven." (Ac 1:11)
B. Our Lord Will Have Returned, In Fulfillment Of His Purpose -
1. While He was promising to return some day, He also stated His purpose, Jn 14:3 - "I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
2. His purpose is to have His people whom He redeemed with His blood to share eternity with.
Before the trumpet sound fades:
2. All Departed Believers Will Have Been Resurrected
- 1 Th 4:13-16 - "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."