The Rapture of the Church

So, what are WE waiting for?

In these difficult times in which we live today, believers can still look forward to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His church before the tribulation period and the wrath of God falls on this world. The Bible is very clear to those who can study it correctly according to 2.Timothy 2:15. Recently in one of our services I went through what the Bible teaches about the rapture and asks if we have missed it and our now in the tribulation. I would encourage you to watch it for yourself.

THOSE WHO ARE SAVED ARE WAITING FOR THE IMMINENT RETURN OF CHRIST.

"Looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."  Titus 2:13.

1.Corinthians 1:7  So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

TITUS 2:13: "Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

James 5:8  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.  Not the tribulation but the coming of the LORD!

1Cor 15:51-52  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

2Thess 3:5  And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

Mat 24:36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Mat 25:13  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Php 3:20  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Php 3:21  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

All of these verses show that we are watching for the return of the Lord, that return will be in an instant and we shall be changed. We are not looking to go through the tribulation or looking for the anti-Christ and the judgments.

For those who love to say that no one before the 1800’s and John Nelson Darby talked about the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church, enjoy this: “For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the Tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins” Ephraem the Syrian, A.D. 373.

That was quoted from a sermon  he wrote that describes the events of the last days, beginning with the rapture, the Great Tribulation of 3 1/2 years duration under the Antichrist's rule, followed by the Second Coming of Christ. In Ephraem's book The Book of the Cave of Treasures, written about 370 A.D., he expressed his belief that the 69th week of Daniel ended with the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus the Messiah.

THE NATURE OF THE TRIBULATION IS THAT IT IS A TIME OF WRATH!

The tribulation is a time of wrath poured out on this world.

If the Church was in the tribulation then the church would suffer wrath!

Rev_6:16-18  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

We are not appointed to wrath which is the nature of the tribulation period. How can God pour out His wrath upon His church when we are forgiven and are not under condemnation!

The wrath of God is for the children of disobedience not for those who are saved and forgiven!

Col_3:6  For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

Nahum 1:2  God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. 

If you think that the Church is going through the tribulation then God looks on us as His enemies for His wrath is reserved for His enemies! The sin of the believer was judged on the cross, so for us to go through the tribulation means that our sins are being judged again! We are not condemned with the world!

Romans 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit

1Thess 5:2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1Thess 5:9  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Rev 22:12  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Rev 22:20  He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

If you think that the Church is going through the tribulation then you really don't know the Bible very well at all!

In Titus 2:13 Paul exhorted believers to look for Jesus' coming as the "happy," blessed hope (confident expectation) for the church, without any mention of preceding signs or Tribulation, TELLS US THAT WE CAN EXPECT that it can occur at any time.

From the first century A.D believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been looking not for the tribulation but the imminent return of the Lord Jesus to catch away His bribe before the tribulation period. Today we are closer than ever before to that even which is spoken of in 1.Thessalonians 4:13-18.

How the Lord departed from this earth 

Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

The whole world did not see Him go to heaven in the clouds, it was confined only to the disciples who saw Him go up in a cloud. It is in a cloud we will meet him as we are secretly caught out of this world “to meet the Lord in the air”.

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

The Church is not going through the tribulation.

1.Thessalonians 1:9-10  For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

In this passage we see three time periods are described here:

  1. First, when Paul visited them with the gospel, they " ye turned to God from idols," that is, they responded to Christ by faith and were born again.
  2. Second, they were now serving "a living and true God" (rather than the idols and false gods they formerly worshiped), as they waited for Christ to return from heaven.
  3. Third, they were waiting for Jesus who will appear out of heaven and rescue them "from the wrath which is to come" They were NOT waiting for the tribulation to come before Jesus did!

They were already being persecuted and attacked for their faith in the world but they knew there was a time of wrath to come from which THEY would be delivered! What "wrath to come" is this? Since Christ's appearance "out of heaven" is later described in 4:15-17 as the rapture, this "coming wrath" must be the same wrath described in 5:3, 9, God's wrath in the future Tribulation

That  1. Thessalonians 1:10 calls it a "coming wrath" implies that the "rescue" is related to Christ's return.

1. Thessalonians 5:9  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Paul reaffirmed in these verses  that God has not destined believers to suffer this future time of wrath which is what the tribulation is, but he affirmed that they have been appointed to obtain salvation through Christ.

We find this again in God's promise to the church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3:10.

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."