Summary: To establish that when the Lord returns, that shall be the end. And there will be “no rapture, no seven years of tribulation, and no 1000 year reign” upon the earth, at the second coming of Christ.
The Rapture (caught up) at His Coming
1. In this lesson series we are going to be discussing the theme: “The Rapture at His Coming.” We will address the first theory of pre-millennialism in this lesson; and that is: “Will there be a rapture (caught up),” at the second coming of Christ?
2. Some teach this shall occur at the second advent of Christ. Paul’s first Letter to the Thessalonians establishes at the Second Advent of the Lord, “we all shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air.” His view of this event differs from the position of the pre-millennialist’s claims, as you will see as we continue in this lesson.
3. This Letter was written to comfort the brethren, during the sleep of the saints. He reminds them that when the Lord returns, the “dead in Christ shall rise first, and ascend to meet the Lord in the air.” And, there they shall “forever be with the Lord.”
4. The pre-millennialist’s theory of the “rapture” sets forth that the saints shall be a “caught up” from the earth for 7 years; to remove them from the tribulation that will plague the earth. We will consider this theory in our lesson.
BODY OF LESSON
THE RAPTURE AT HIS COMING
A. An overview of the “rapture,” as taught be many pre-millennialist. Reference: See God's Prophetic Word, by Foy Wallace, p. 347-349; cf. Lion and the Lamb on Planet Earth, by Rodney Miller.1 There are many views regarding the pre-millennialist’s theories. We present this one because it is clear and concise regarding this theory.
1. The theory of the rapture: “Jesus will first come invisibly, unknown to men in general (Gr: Parousia), raise the righteous dead, and take them from the earth to heaven for a 7-year period, which is call the ‘rapture.’"1 This is the first part of the theory of pre-millennialism.
2. Text of discussion. Paul wrote: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep... For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words,” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. We will begin this lesson with Paul’s discussion of the second “coming of Christ.”
B. The return of the Lord. After affording comfort to the saints regarding the “sleep” of the saints; and that they should not be troubled by there “sleep in Jesus.” He states: “That they sorrow not, even as others which have no hope,” 1 Thessalonians 4:13. As Christians, we and our family and love ones which have “fallen asleep in Jesus,” have hope in the Lord, and in His return with the saints, 1 Thessalonians 3:13. He then directs his attention to the return of the Lord. Notice:
1. The promise of his return: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (proceed) them which are asleep,” 1 Thessalonians 4:14. We will talk about the order later; but for now, let’s consider the promise of His return.
2. At His ascension the angels announced Christ’s return. Notice: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, 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,” Acts 1:9-11; John 20:17.
3. Recall, in the first part of this theory: “Jesus will first come invisibly, unknown to men in general (Gr: Parousia).” Here they use the word in (Gr: Parousia), which means: “coming to a place.” This word is used in 1 Thessalonians 3:13.
b. However, the angel said to the apostles: “As they had seen Him go; they shall see Him return,” Acts 1:11. This will be a visible sighting of the Lord’s return from heaven. Notice: