Summary: The great hope of the Church is that Christ will come and rapture us to heaven before death intervenes. However, if death comes first, then we shall be resurrected and given glorified bodies like Jesus on the day He does return.
James O. Davis is the founder and president of Second Billion (TM). You are invited to learn more about Second Billion by visiting www.billion.tv.
This message is entitled, “The Tones or the Sounds of the Second Coming.” Paul called the Rapture of the Church a Blessed Hope; it is so because Jesus is coming back for the Church. Every true child of God anticipates glory, not the grave. The old preacher, Alexander McClaring, used to say, “I’m not looking for a cleft in the ground called the grave, but a cleavage in the sky called glory.” I want you to understand that Jesus is literally, not figuratively, getting ready to come back for the Church. The great hope of the Church is that Christ will come and rapture us to heaven before death intervenes. However, if death comes first, then we shall be resurrected and given glorified bodies like Jesus on the day He does return.
There are two future comings of Jesus mentioned in the Bible. The first coming will be to meet the saints in the air; the next one will be with the saints to rule on the earth. One is called the “Rapture” and the other is called the “Return.” His first coming in the air is to catch away the saints into heaven. Seven years later, He will return with the saints to set up His millennial rule upon this earth.
In verse 16, Paul launches a discussion on what we call the “Rapture”. Now, the word “Rapture” is not found in the Bible. Nor are words like “Trinity” and “Millennium.” But, the concepts are taught in the Word of God. The Trinity--God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit--are all identified together at certain instances in the Bible. And several times, the thousand-year period is referred to in the Book of Revelation. The actual words may not appear, but their concepts are taught in the Bible.
The word “Rapture” is not there, but the word “perusia” is, which means “to literally snatch away,” “to catch up,” “to come down and remove forcefully” those who are ready to meet the Lord in the air. The reason I share this is because some people will say the Rapture is a figment of man’s imagination, because it is not mentioned in the Bible.
Three different sounds are involved in the Rapture when Jesus returns. Please note these three sounds that are mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “The Lord Himself will descend with a shout.” The first sound is a shout directed toward the saints. The second sound is the voice of the archangel, which is a signal to Satan. And, third, the sound of the trumpet is a summons for all sinners.
FIRST, THE SHOUT FOR THE SAINTS
Understand that the first sound is a shout for the saints. The Bible says in Paul’s writing that “the Lord Himself will descend.” Underscore the words, “Lord Himself”. That makes it emphatic. Paul wanted the people in Thessalonica to realize that Jesus Himself would return, not someone else. It would be the same Jesus of Whom Paul taught, who walked along the shores of Galilee, and who had healed the sick. Acts 1:19 records, “This same Jesus that you have just seen leave, will one day come back again.” Whenever there is a shout in the Bible, it is for the saints. And every time Jesus shouts, a resurrection takes place.
Remember when Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus? This personal friend of Jesus had been dead for four days. After asking that the stone be rolled away that covered the tomb, Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come forth.” Suddenly, Lazarus, who was bound in grave clothes, came forth.
The next time Jesus shouted was on Mount Calvary. Matthew reminds us in chapter 27, while Jesus had been on the cross for six hours, He shouted, “It is finished.” At that instant, many bodies of saints came out of their graves and returned alive to Jerusalem.
When Jesus returns in the air to catch away all believers, there will not just be one person like Lazarus, or the hundreds when He died on the cross, but literally millions from every nation, tribe, and tongue who have died in Christ, and who are alive when He comes. When Jesus shouts, miracles happen.
The word “shout” is a military term. It shows authority. It forces the grave to surrender its believing dead once and for all. That command will push aside Satan’s opposing forces to clear the way for the meeting in the air.
When Jesus shouts, resurrection takes place. May I remind you, those who hear the voice of Jesus now will be the only ones who will hear His voice when He shouts then. In John 5:29, the Bible says, “The hour is coming in which all that are in the tomb shall hear his voice and shall come forth.” If you don’t know the voice of Jesus now, you will be left behind.