Summary: A lesson on the rapture of the church
The Blessed Hope
CCCAG November 24th, 2019
Scripture- 1 Thess 4:13-18
Several years ago I showed a very similar video depicting what will happen when the rapture occurs.
It's pretty dramatic isn't it?
The rapture became a huge topic among Christians in the 1990’s with the Left Behind series of books that came out, but since then has fallen into disrepute.
Many people have gotten very skeptical about the rapture because of various cults and people claiming they know the exact date and time it's going to happen.
You'll remember a few years ago when various groups came out thinking they knew exactly when the rapture was going to take place and then that date came and nothing happened.
One person kept changing it and changing it and changing it until finally the news stop paying attention.
So today as part of our Christianity 101 series I want to take a look at what the Bible has to say about this event called the rapture.
The term rapture is not found within biblical texts, but is a term used to describe an event that is seen over an over again. I like to say that the term computer is not in the bible either, but since this sermon is here on paper and written on a computer, that proves its existence.
Within the Assemblies of God, we call the rapture the Blessed Hope- the moment that Jesus comes back and takes those who are living for HIM directly into heaven without experiencing death.
One of the primary scriptural references for the rapture is found in the Apostle Paul’s writings to the church in Thessalonica.
The context for these scriptures involve Paul teaching some basic principles to the church, and he finishes the teaching with telling them what is going to happen to those who die in Christ. Paul then goes on to teach about an event that will occur at some point before the tribulation.
Let’s read His teaching-
1 Thess 4:13-18
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
So, this sounds pretty good right? No dying, going to be with Jesus forever in heaven- best news ever!
So the question is- when?
People have been trying to figure out for century’s when this event is going to happen. Dates have been widely published and then they come and go and nothing happens.
This is not a new phenomenon- people in the early church were doing the same thing. In fact, it was always the number 1 question the disciples asked Jesus- when are you going to take over? When do we get to enjoy our reward in your kingdom?
Jesus answered that question this way first before he went to the cross in Mark 13:32
"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Even after the resurrection, the disciples again asked Jesus about the timing of his return, and Jesus again said-
Acts 1:7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority
Not for you to know. When you were a child, what was the number one most frustrating thing you could hear from a parent?
“Because I said so!”
Why can’t we know when the rapture will take place?
Because God said so!
Why do you think that God didn’t put a date in the scriptures about the rapture?
Allow for answers
Because of human nature. If your boss is on vacation, it’s human nature to relax a bit at work. There might be more goofing off, not following the rules as much, or just general laziness.
Christians are not immune from this, so Jesus left us with this sense that he could come back at any moment.