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Summary: Ministers often complicate the doctrine of the rapture for people by stating that many signs must be seen and many prophecies must be fulfilled before the second coming of Christ, and then, at the same time, they make statements that He might come tonight or at any moment.

THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

INTRO: We mean the rapture of the church, the catching up of all true believers in Christ to meet the Lord in the air. Dake I Thes 4:13-17, I Cor 15:23, Phil 3:20-21, John 14:1-3, Luke 21:34-36, Col. 3:4

Called "the coming of the Lord” but never the second coming of Christ. At the rapture, Christ does not appear visibly to those on Earth but He comes in the air above the Earth. Dake

Ministers often complicate the doctrine of the rapture for people by stating that many signs must be seen and many prophecies must be fulfilled before the second coming of Christ, and then, at the same time, they make statements that He might come tonight or at any moment. These are two separate events.

In the Rapture:

--- Christ will come in the air.

--- The saints are taken to Heaven, judged, given rewards, and partake of the Marriage Supper of the

Lamb. Rev 19:1-10; II Cor 5:9-10

--- This takes place before the Tribulation. I Thes 4:16-17

--- The rapture may occur at any moment.

--- Revealed to Paul by Christ and to NT Christians by Paul.

In the Second Advent:

--- Christ will come to the Earth with His saints. Jude v. 14; Zech 14:5; II Thes 1:8-10

--- This takes place after the Tribulation.

--- The second advent cannot occur until all the signs leading to it are fulfilled.

--- Revealed by many prophets of the OT and Christ in the NT

I. THE FACT AND MANNER OF THE RAPTURE

--- John 14:1-3 "I will come again"

--- I Cor 15:23, 51-58 "I shew you a mystery"

--- Phil. 3:20-21 "who shall change our vile body"

--- I Thes 4:13-17"the Lord ... shall descend"

--- II Thes 2:1, 7-8 "by our gathering together"

There are two Greek words used in most of the passages on the rapture:

1. Parousia means personal coming or appearance and is used of both the rapture and the revelation

of Christ. The word is used of the rapture in I Cor 15:20-23; I Thes 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23;

II Thes 2:1; James 5:7-8; I John 2:28

2. Phaneros, which means to shine, be apparent, manifest, or be seen, is used in I John 2:28; 3:2;

I Pet 5:4; Col 3:4 Christ will appear to His saints in the rapture. He will not appear to the world until His second coming to bring order to the earth and initiate the Millennial Reign (Heb 9:28).

The rapture will include OT saints and the church saints who are saved in the scope of redemption from Adam until the rapture I Thess 4:13-18; II Thes 2:1

II. THE PURPOSE OF THE RAPTURE

To resurrect the just from the dead and take all saints out of the world before the tribulation comes, in order that they may have fulfilled in them the purpose for which God has saved them.

It is to enable the saints to escape the tribulation days and serve God in all eternity in whatever capacity

He chooses.

The rapture of the Church is before the beginning of Daniel's last Week. It is the first in a series of raptures that will take place during the first resurrection. Besides this rapture there will be:

--- the rapture of the manchild in the middle of the Week: Rev.7:1-3; 12:5; 14:1-5

--- the rapture of the great multitude of tribulation saints: Rev 6:9-11; 7:9:17; 15:2-4; 20:4-6

--- the rapture of the two witnesses at the end of the Week: Rev 11:3-13

This is what Paul meant when he said "every man in his order" I Cor 15:20-23

III. QUALIFICATIONS FOR PARTAKERS IN THE RAPTURE

The one and only necessary requirement for men, whether they are dead or alive, is to be

"in Christ".

At the moment of the rapture every one in Christ is taken up and there are no real Christians

on Earth at that time. Some will be saved during the tribulation (Acts 2:16-21), having realized then their mistake in not heeding the many warnings to be ready at any time. They will become determined to be faithful even unto death, which will be their only prospect of having a part in the first resurrection. Those who are not martyred but are taken through the tribulation and are on Earth at the second coming of Christ will be permitted to enter the Millennium as an earthly people, and they will be part of the subjects of Christ's kingdom

over whom the rapture saints will reign forever. (Matt. 13:41-43; 25:34,46; Isa. 2:1-4; 9:6-7;

Luke 1:32-35; Rev 5:10; 11:15; Dan 2:44-45; 7:13-14

IV. THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE

The time of the rapture, like the second advent, is not definitely stated as to the day or hour, but we do know that it will take place before the tribulation and the revelation of the Antichrist.

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