Summary: The Church is the Body and Bride of Christ. Jesus, as was Jewish custom will return as a their in the night to "snatch" away His bride to the specially prepared place for the greatest honeymoon in History! Are you going to be part of it?
Mystery # 4 “The Imminent Rapture of the Church”
(I Cor. 15:51-58; I Thess. 4:13-18; John 14:1-3; 11:25-26; Phil. 3:18-21)
The 1st Mystery is “God was manifest in the flesh” (I Tim. 3:16. The 2nd is “Christ in you the Hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27). Faith in Mystery 1 made it possible for us to experience the salvation of Mystery 2 (2 Cor. 13:5). This made it possible for us to experience being part of the Mystery of the Church, His Bride (Eph. 5:25-32). The truth of Mystery 3 makes the Rapture of the Church inevitable. The truth of Mystery 1 & 2 makes the Rapture possible. The imminence of the Return of Christ for His Church was taught by the early church until the time of Augustine (400AD). His approach of spiritualizing and allegorizing Scripture instead of taking it literally, sent the church into a spiritual dark ages. But as God revealed to Daniel (Dan. 12:9) the details of the 2nd Coming of Christ and Rapture of the Church have become clear in these “Last Days” in which we live. This has happened in large part from the revival of the literal interpretation of prophetic Scriptures.
There are two key stages to the 2nd Coming of Christ which must be distinguished or you will misunderstand End Times Prophesy. The First part of the 2nd Coming is the Rapture when Jesus comes back ‘in the air’ to ‘snatch up’ His Bride (IThess. 4:14-17). The second part is called the Revelation or “The day of the LORD” (Rev. 19:11-16) when the LORD Jesus will return to earth, in great glory, with His Bride, to defeat the evil forces of satan, end of the Great Tribulation, and set up the Messianic Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. The Rapture is one of the Mysteries of God not revealed in the O. T. (I Cor. 15:51-55). But the 2nd Coming of Christ in Kingly glory as Judge is clearly revealed in the O. T.
There are 3 major doctrinal systems for understanding the 2nd Coming of Christ, end time prophesy and the Millennium (1000 year kingdom of Christ mentioned 6 times in Rev. 20:1-7).
Post-millennialism – means after (post) the millennium. Jesus won’t return until after the Millennial Kingdom is ended (Catholic Church)
A-millennialism – means no (a) millennium. They spiritualize away the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom of Peace and teach the Church has replaced Israel in God’s eternal plan. (Most Protestant Denominations).
Pre-millennialism – means before (pre) before the millennium. The Millennium is a literal 1000 yr. reign of Christ set up after the Great Tribulation (Most Baptists and Evangelicals). God has separate eternal plans for both Israel & the Church. The two entities are totally different
YOU CAN FLEE THE WRATH TO COME!
If God’s wrath embraces the entire seven year period of the Great Tribulation & if the Church is promised exemption from His wrath, then pretribulationism is essentially established. The Great Tribulation is specifically revealed to be the time of “the wrath” of God. (Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:8, 10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; 19:15). The church is the Bride of Christ and the body of which He is the Head (Eph 1:22-23). Because of the Church’s oneness with Christ she cannot be subjected to the wrath of God. If your Ecclesiology is not right your Eschatology will be wrong
JESUS SAVES US FROM THE WRATH TO COME (I Thess. 5:9; Rom. 5:9-10; 9:21-23). Christians “wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (I Thess. 1:10). “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess. 5:9; see Rev. 3:10).
CHRIST’S GREAT PROMISE TO HIS FOLLOWERS: John 14:1-3
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, & receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also”
Christians are “ambassadors” for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). Before a Kingdom begins a war against another kingdom they call their ambassadors back home first! Jesus will be removing His ‘ambassadors’ from kingdoms of this World before all hell breaks loose (Rev. 9:1-12). Do you realize what Jesus says here? We will be house guests of God!
THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE
1. Because in the end times many will deny the 2nd Coming of Christ
“…there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) saying, Where is the promise of his coming? (2 Pet. 3:3-4).
2. False teaching on the Rapture & 2nd Coming “shakes” Believer’s faith The “Day of the LORD” cannot happen before the Rapture of the church. Signs precede the Day of the LORD but no signs precede the Rapture.