Summary: Message 29 in our exposition of Revelation dealing with the rapture of the church.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
“The Transfer and Transformation of the church”
We have not yet addressed the question concerning the role of the church during all the events of the final days. It is true that the church is not specifically referenced after chapter 4.
Most all biblical scholars agree there are two phases to the return of Christ in the last days.
There is a moment in time when Christ comes back in the clouds and snatches up the church with Him back to heaven. There is the moment when Jesus Christ returns back to the earth in power and glory with his victorious saints to rule and reign on the earth. One is called the rapture. The other is called the second coming. Some lump the two together and call it the second coming or Day of the Lord in two stages. Revelation does include a clear description of the rapture taught by Paul.
In order to better understand the rapture, it nature possible chronology, we must look to other passages of Scripture.
The main views concerning the rapture of the church boil down to three basic views.
The pre-tribulation rapture where Jesus returns for his church prior to the tribulation.
The mid-tribulation rapture where Jesus returns for his church after the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation sometimes called pre-wrath rapture.
Finally there are those who hold to a post-tribulation where Jesus returns in the air to catch up his church and turns right around and descends to the earth to destroy the wicked and to rule and reign during the next 1000 years.
There is also a minority who advocate a partial rapture where Jesus returns only for those who are ready.
This can be a very hotly debated subject. Everyone insists that their view is based on the Scriptures. Interestingly each view demands specific Scriptural proof from the other but none of them can produce one.
Ultimately, the point is…
Jesus will return for his church as promised.
No amount of heated debate will affect the actual return one bit. Our primary responsibility is to be ready whenever he comes. Scripture calls us to be found faithful at his return; holy and blameless.
Have you ever thought about having a body that functions as originally designed? Have you wished you could go back to a previous body weight or ability? Are you tired of aches and pains and doctor visits? Do most of the entries in your address book begin with DR? How about you fight against fleshly desires? Do you wish you would always do what you know to be true? Do you wish that your walk with God did not look like a stock market graph? Talking with Jesus would be the priority of your life. Your life would actually reflect the words of the songs you sing. Your relationship with Jesus was as tangible as the relationship with your spouse.
Do you ever wish you had full capacity of your brain and perfect emotional health?
No more drama. Perfect eternal perspective. No depression or boredom. No more emptiness.
No more hopelessness or lack of purpose.
Do you ever wish that this incessant badgering by the devil would just stop? I am here today by the authority of the word of God that all of the above and more will be a continual reality.
THE NATURE OF THE TRANSFER AND TRANSFORMATION OF THE CHURCH
More important than the timing of the rapture is its actual substance Having said that, the bulk of material written generally deals with the timing of the rapture rather than the wonder of the event. Volumes have been written about when will think it will take place. Yet not much space is devoted to actually exploring exactly WHAT will take place. More Scripture is given to the nature of the event than the timing of the event. Perhaps the reason no one can find a specific scripture related to the time is that God wants us to focus more on the what than the when.
The rapture of the church includes more than just catching Christians up to meet Jesus in the air. It is more than a change in location. It is more than escaping an uncomfortable circumstance. It concerns the physical uniting of living and previously deceased Christians with their Lord. In order to hang out with Jesus, there must be a fundamental transformation of body and soul. He indwells every born again individual by His Spirit but will personally and physically relate to every born again believer at the rapture of the church. It is not only a rapture or evacuation from the earth but a supernatural complete transformation. Sometimes it is called the resurrection or translations of the saints. It is equated to the grand resurrection of Jesus from the dead. He is called the first fruits of those who would follow in their own glorious transformation.