Summary: An explanation of what the Rapture is, and what the Bible says about when it will occur.
Each time we observe Communion, we read the passage in 1 CORINTHIANS 11 that tells us to eagerly look forward to the return of Christ. But nobody knows when that will be. Today, we will find out what we are supposed to do with that information.
Let me begin by telling you a story of a man who took his dog on a long road trip. At one stop for gas, he let his dog out of the car and he got the gas, paid for it, and drove off – forgetting the dog was out of the car.
What did the dog do when he saw his owner drive away? He went to the door of the gas station and laid down beside it, to wait for his owner. See, he didn’t understand where his owner had gone, and he had no idea when his owner would return, but he knew for a fact that his owner would return to get him. And that enabled the dog to wait patiently and faithfully for his beloved owner’s return.
This illustration is an excellent picture of our topic this morning, as we talk about End Time prophecies, specifically, the rapture of the church, Some of you are very familiar with these topics, but some of you may not be.
Many people either don’t understand what the Bible says about the Rapture, or are afraid of the things that they have heard. I’m hoping that I will be able to answer some of the questions you may have about what the Bible teaches about what is to come.
1. AN EXPLANATION OF THE RAPTURE
The first question that we are going to tackle this morning is: “What is the rapture?” The “rapture” of the church is probably one of the most compelling prophetic events in the Bible. And yet, some people claim that it is not taught in the Bible because you never actually find the word “rapture” in scripture.
This is a very poor argument, however. There are actually several words not found in the Bible that describe Christian doctrines which no one would argue are not taught in the Bible. For example, the word “Trinity” is never actual found in the text of the Holy Word, but very few people will tell you that the concept of the trinity or the 3-fold Godhead of Father, Son, and Spirit is not taught in the Bible.
The word homosexual is not found in the Bible, but the Bible clearly teaches that a man is forbidden to lie with another man as he lies with a woman. The meaning behind that teaching is pretty clear. In fact the Bible is often made simple enough that even fools can understand it. Just because the words trinity or homosexual don’t appear in the text, doesn’t mean the Bible is silent about these topics.
Likewise, the word rapture is not found in the actual text of the Bible. But that doesn’t mean that Scripture is silent about this subject. It actually describes the future event quite clearly.
It is taught in 1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18, where the apostle Paul provides us with most of the available details. Let’s read this passage:
‘But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [died], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
‘For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
‘Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.’
To put it in simple terms, the rapture of the church is when believers will be taken out of the world to meet their Lord and Savior in the air. It is when Jesus comes to take His faithful home.
2. HOW WILL IT OCCUR?
The Bible says Jesus will return and call believers out of the world and unto Him.
. . . With A Trumpet and Shout
It says that there is a trumpet that is blown, and the Lord descends with a shout. So I think we can assume that we will hear both the trumpet and our Savior’s voice calling to us. But just who will hear it?
In John 10:3 it says the sheep will hear the voice of their Shepherd.