Summary: This sermon deals with the Rapture of the church. It briefly describes the various Rapture Theories, along with going into further detail on the Pre-Tribulation Theory. But the most important element is not the theory, but whether or not we're ready.
The Book of Revelation
The Rapture of the Church
The concept of the Rapture has captivated the minds and heart of the church like few doctrines have, mainly because most people believe that we are in the last of the last days, and we don’t see our world lasting much longer.
The doctrine of the Rapture has probably done more for evangelism and discipleship than most anything else. Seeing that the time is short, our desire should then be to get ourselves ready, and then tell others the good news to get them right with God now, rather than get left behind later.
And it’s later than it’s ever been for the return of the Lord.
As far as being a great theme, consider the theme of the Second Coming of Jesus.
• It’s estimated there are over 1,845 references to a second coming for the Messiah in the Old Testament, and it’s found in 17 Old Testament books.
• In the New Testament there are 318 references, or one out of every 30 verses, and it is mentioned in 24 of the 27 books.
• And for every prophecy concerning the birth of Christ, there are eight looking forward to His return.
Now the Rapture isn’t the Second Coming of Christ, but it is attached to and precedes it. That’s why it’s important to understand it, important for our witness, and important for us to be ready.
Those who hold to a pre-tribulation rapture see this event in the first verse of Revelation chapter four. And while it isn’t my intent to tell you which theory to believe, I will give you my preference at the end of our time together. But let’s take a look at this verse.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’” (Revelation 4:1 NKJV)
The word “Rapture” doesn’t occur in the English Bible. This is one of the reasons why many say it’s a recent doctrine and has no place within Biblical teaching. The word actually comes from the Latin translation, the “Latin Vulgate,” which was written in the early 5th century. The word is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
“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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17 KNJV emphasis mine)
The Latin word for “caught up,” is “rapio.” In the Greek it’s “harpazo,” which means “To steal, carry off, or snatch away by force with no resistance offered.”
If we were to give the word “rapture,” a definition it would be, “The Rapture is where believers in Jesus Christ are removed from this earth in an instance, whether they are dead or alive, by Jesus Christ before the outpouring of God’s wrath prior to His Second Coming.”