Summary: The rapture of the church is near, and there are some things we should know about it.
FIVE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE RAPTURE
Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:3
• July 4, 1776, United States declares its independence from Great Britain
• October 11, 1492, Columbus discovers America
• September 11, 2001, terrorists attack the US
• August 15, 1945, Japan surrenders, ending WWII
• January 20, 1981, Reagan takes office as 40th president
• All these events are historical facts; they have already happened; we know the date
• One day in our future, Jesus will return and rapture the church; after it happens, that day will be a historical fact as well
• I believe that the rapture could happen in our lifetime, so we should know something about it
• 5 facts you need to know about the rapture
I. Christ will return. (4:16)
• The time is not known.
o Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
• It will be sudden.
o Matthew 24:27 “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
• It can happen at any time.
o Acts 1:11 “…Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
• There are no prophecies that must be fulfilled so that the rapture can take place…it’s the next thing on God’s calendar
II. There will be a resurrection of believers. (4:14 – 16)
• “in Christ” – NT saints
• “asleep” because they will live forever
• Paul, Stephen, Peter, Matthew, loved ones that were saved
• Doesn’t matter if beheaded, killed in war, old age, drowning, burned to death, heart attack
• Doesn’t matter if buried, cremated, or lost at sea
• Will be given a new body
III. There will be a catching away of living believers. (4:17)
• “Rapture” means “catching away”
• Not only saints that have passed on, but also those who are alive and saved
• 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.”
• Farmer takes family to big city for 1st time, drops wife off at department store, and takes his son to bank, tallest building in city, sees doors open, large elderly woman gets in, numbers over door count from one to 20 and back to one, beautiful young woman gets out, “Son wait here, I’m going to go get your mother.”
• Includes children that have not reached accountability and those with a cognitive delay
• Ever lost a child? Imagine all of your children gone without a trace. Your grandkids are gone. Can’t find nieces or nephews. Schools are empty. No children anywhere in the world.
• World normally turns to Christians when they need help…there will be none.
IV. Those that are left behind will suffer the judgment of God. (5:1 – 3)
• Matthew 24:6 – 8, 21, 29, 33 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”
• Revelation: For seven years:
o War; famine; disease; death; crime; earthquakes; asteroids and meteors, hail; 1/3 of trees, all grass, 1/3 of sea life; waters poisoned; sun, moon, and stars darkened; fire; demons; Jesus returns and destroys all who oppose Him
o Revelation 9:6 “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”
V. The teaching of the rapture is meant to be a source of comfort and encouragement. (4:13, 18)
• Paul was writing to reassure the church that those who died as a Christian would not be forgotten when Christ returns