Summary: We must make sure we are "Rapture-Ready." In Rev. 4:1 the church goes "off the air" because the church goes "IN the air!" Link included to Formatted Text version, Handout, and PowerPoint Presentation.
Right with God, or Left Behind?
"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter" (Rev 1:19).
"hast seen" ch. 1: glimpse at glorified Christ, eternity past.
"are" chs. 2-3: church age, the present age of Grace.
shall be hereafter—begins in 4:1, end of the world & eternity future.
Revelation 1:1-last word= “hereafter”…the 3rd and final section of Revelation begins right here!
The church [born again believers] has had the center stage until now…as a matter of fact, the word church appears 19 times in chs. 2 & 3, but in Revelation 4:1, the church disappears! And is not seen again until ch. 19, when we find the church returning with Christ to earth at the battle of Armageddon!
To use radio language, we would say that in Revelation 4:1, the church goes “off the air”. Why does the church go off the air in Revelation 4:1? I’ll tell you why, because the church goes “in the air” in Revelation 4:1!! This verse is a picture of the rapture of the church! We can only imagine that glorious ride! Are you excited about making that trip? Are you watching for Him? Working? Witnessing?
The rapture is the next event on God’s prophetic time table. It won’t be long… it can’t be! All the prophecies have been fulfilled. There is nothing holding back the return of Jesus Christ, it is imminent, it could happen at ANY moment…and though we do not know the day or the hour, right now, we are closer to the return of Christ than any humans have ever been in the history of the world! He’s almost at the door! He’ll open it and invite His children in!
Verse 1 sounds like Paul’s description in IThess 4:16-17, "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: 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."
The world scoffs at these things, just as they did in Noah’s day, but no one will be laughing on the day when millions, including all young children, suddenly vanish!
6 Reasons for a Pre-tribulation Rapture:
1. Not one time is the church mentioned in a Bible text discussing the tribulation
2. In all the writings of Paul, the church is never mentioned in connection with the tribulation or wrath to come.
3. The church has already been judged at Calvary [the purpose of tribulation is judgment!]
4. The pictures of Enoch/Lot, etc. [all Bible types picture pre-tribulation]
5. Reelation 19 pictures the church in Heaven during the tribulation.
6. The coming of Christ for His saints is always pictured as sudden and unexpected [imminent]
Right now, God is still striving with rebellious mankind…
…calling/convicting/convincing/saving sinners…but there’s coming a day very soon when God’s patience will give way to God’s wrath…and there will be an avalanche of God’s judgment poured down upon the world which rejects Christ. It will be a judgment so terrible, so severe, so beyond comprehension, that God will not allow His church to go through it!
I Thess 1:10 says we, as God’s children are waiting for Christ’s return, and that we are not appointed unto wrath!
There’s a feeling in the air that the return of Christ is very soon. Why do so many feel that way? Certainly, the signs of the times are all around us. But think of it this way:
Many people in this room, in their lifetime, have seen mankind harness the atom, and develop capabilities to destroy the entire earth in less than 30 minutes/Israel established as a nation, and the dispersed Jews return to Israel by the hundreds of thousands (just as the Bible predicted would happen just before Christ returns)/Israel has become the hub, the hotbed of all that goes on in the world/Jews recapture the city of Jerusalem for the first time in 2000 years, in a war that took only 6 days/computers change the world…linked together with instant communication/the cashless society is nearly a done deal/heard of more earthquakes in your lifetime than the last 500 years put together/technology advance from airplanes to space shuttles!
If you are old enough to get a discount at restaurants, then you’ve seen in your lifetime the divorce rate go from 1 in 8 to what it is today when divorces outnumber marriages every year/crime rate increase by over 500%/birth of the church of Satan in 1969, which is now been granted tax exempt status by the US government/one-world government begin to be formed…the new world order/one-world church…ecumenical movement/unprecedented increases in famines, natural disasters, incurable diseases/there’s an intensity building up, an expectancy is in the air…