LOOK UP & GET READY FOR THE RAPTURE–IT’S OUR TRIUMPHAL EXIT

Apart from God’s intervention, we all face gradual decay and disease and ultimate death…but wait—God has good news…GOD’S GOOD NEWS IS THE RAPTURE – “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall indeed not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (I Cor. 15:51). “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven, with a war cry and the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ will first arise. Thereafter we who live and remain over will at the same time as they be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we will be at all times with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16, 17).

THE RAPTURE: A promise or rescue from God’s wrath on earth: It is a catching “away,” a taking out of all distress of soul and body. (II Cor. 5:2,4; Phil. 3:21), out of all persecution and oppression by the foe, out of the entire sphere of sin (comp. Rom. 6:6) and of death (Rom. 7:24). Thus it is rest with all saints (II Thess. 1:7) in “the day of the (coming) redemption” (Eph. 4:30: Rom. 8:23). DEMONSTRATION OF GOD’S GRACE: “The grace which will be brought to us by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter. 1:13), and which will free us from all sin – God’s mercy, the mercy for which we wait unto eternal life (Jude 21) and which will free us from all misery.” (Bengel) DEMONSTRATION OF GOD’S POWER: The omnipotence which transfigures us into conformity with the Redeemer and elevates us to the most glorious spiritual body. At that time the same power which moves the whole universe will act upon our body! “He will change our body of humiliation that it may be fashioned like unto his body of glory, according to the power by which he is able to subdue the whole world” (Phil. 3:21). QUOTE FROM ERICH SAVER – “Therefore Paul uses for “rapture” a particularly strong word (harpazo, I Thess. 4:17), which really means, to seize hastily, to rob with violence, to draw to oneself by swift, sudden movement, which word Luke uses in the Acts to describe how Paul was torn away by the Roman soldiers from the mob of his oppressors (Acts 23:10.) And in I Thess, 1:10, where Paul calls the rapture a “salvation from the coming wrath” he uses a word (GK, rhuo) which means strictly a “rescue with power,” the same word by which in II Tim. 4:17 he describes his preservation in Nero’s judgment court, his “rescue out of the jaws of the lion.” Therefore he describes the taking home of the church by an accumulation of powerful military figures. The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with an “alarm signal,” with a “word of command,” a “battle cry,” with a “trumpet clang” of the “trump of God.” And then will He, the royal Conqueror, accompanied by the armies of heaven, unite with Himself forever His earthly warriors. And this is of all the most important, for the Rapture is:

2. A PROMISED HOMEGOING OR A CATCHING UP, and as such it is a uniting of the members to the Head; for the Lord Himself will descend and we shall be with Him forever (I Thess. 4:16, 17). He will present the church to “Himself” glorified (Eph. 5:27) for the purpose of perfecting His glory as the Redeemer (Eph. 1:23). “I come again and will receive you to myself, that where I am ye also may be” (John 14:2,3). And the rapture is: Joining of all members of Christ’s church (dead and living) I Thess. 4:17); For the first time the completed church shall be in one place at one time – and that is in the air with Christ.

1. FIRST – NOW FINALLY – THE RAPTURE IS THIRDLY THE PROMISED TRANSFORMATION OF OUR BODIES in a moment, twinkling of an eye – changed – Paul told Philippians (3:21) changed from body humiliation to body of glory. Paul told Corinthians (Is.:51,53) corruptible because incorruptible, moral – immortal. TRIUMPH OVER: Sin, and the flesh – death, disease – Satan, demons – hell and the grave. And, oh what Blessedness. This is the “blessed hope” of the redeemed (Titus 2:13).

SECONDLY, not only Christ’s special work, but he demonstrated the new resurrected body – visible with eyes (Luke 24:40) – touched with hands (Luke 24:39, John 20:27) – Eat honey and fish (Luke 24:41-43) and had flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

THIRDLY, Scripture speaks of the resurrection of bodies out of the graves. “The hour comes in which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man” (John 5:28, 29).

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