The Rapture is one of the most pervasive ideas about the “end times”. Join Robert as he teaches the second part of this two part series.

ROBERT >> Good morning. I’m so glad that you’ve joined us today for The Truth In Love. We’ve been talking about Bible prophecy and the last days in these last several weeks together. We want to continue that discussion today, but I want to remind you of some of the things that we’ve already looked at.

We’ve learned that Bible prophecy often speaks of the last days, but it is not some short period at the end of the time, but rather it is in fact the last period of history that began some 2,000 years ago with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit recorded for us in Acts the 2nd chapter. And so we’ve been living in the last days for some 2,000 years, and we don’t know how long it’s going to continue.

There are those who tell us that there are going to be many signs before the end time, that we can look at these signs and we can know that now in our generation the Lord is coming; but we found something different from the scriptures. We found in fact that those signs listed in Matthew chapter 24 have nothing to do with the second coming of Christ and the end of the world; but rather they are talking about signs that are leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem which took place in 70 AD, a long, long time ago. Jesus rather tells us in that same chapter beginning in verse 35 and 36 that when this world passes away, nobody’s going to know. It’s going to be like the days of the flood, the days of Noah.

You remember when the flood came and took them all away, they were just going on their normal activities. They were surprised, it came suddenly, it came unexpectedly. And so it will be in the last day of the last days when our Lord comes again. He’ll come suddenly. He’ll come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night, Jesus went on to say there in Matthew 24.

A thief’s not going to tell you when he’s going to come and break into your house, and the Lord Jesus has not told us when he is going to come and judge this world. No, we must always be ready, we must always be prepared, because nobody knows when the Lord is coming again.

Last week we began talking about something that’s called the rapture. It’s a very popular theory. It’s the idea that Jesus is going to come secretly, he’s going to take up all of his people that are on the earth, and those who may be dead in the grave, he’s going to raise them up, he’s going to take them all back with him into heaven. And while he’s away in heaven with them, for seven years upon this earth there’s going to be great tribulation. An antichrist will arise and form a vast army that will come against Israel. And just at that moment when they’re about to destroy this world and to destroy God’s people that may be left, may have been converted during those seven years, then he will come again and he will put a stop to this great holocaust and he will establish his throne in Jerusalem, David’s throne there on earth, and he will establish a millennial kingdom, that is, a kingdom on earth. For one thousand years he will reign in peace on the earth before the final judgment at the end of the world. But what does the Bible really say about the rapture?

Is Jesus going to come secretly and his people be lifted up and everybody that remains look around and wonder where they’ve gone?

Are there going to be cars strewn on the highway because the driver was taken up?

Are there going to be graves open and empty because Jesus has raised some from the dead that were his?

Is that really going to happen?

And is it going to be followed by this great tribulation and another thousand years? Is all this really going to take place? Well, we want to see what the Bible has to say about that, and so I hope you’ll stay tuned. We’ll continue in just a moment.

>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> The passage most used as a basis for the rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. I hope you have your Bibles and you’ll be reading with me as we want to look at this passage very closely, because it speaks of the coming of Christ, the Greek word is parousia. And this passage, instead of establishing the rapture, actually refutes the rapture. But let’s read it together, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.

Here’s what the apostle Paul writes: But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

You might notice here back in verse 15 that he does speak here of the coming of Christ. Instead of saying that there will be a coming, a parousia of Christ for his saints and then seven years later an appearance or a revelation of Christ with his saints, this passage simply teaches that when Jesus comes with the saints that have already died, he’ll come for the saints that are still alive.

I want you to look at it again here in verses 13 through 17. He said in verse 13, I don’t want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep. He’s talking about those who have died in Jesus Christ. Those are the ones that are in his mind. And what does he say about them? You’ll notice in verse 14, If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. And so when Jesus comes here in this passage, the coming, the parousia, he’s going to come with his saints, with those who have already died in Jesus Christ.

For he says as you see in verse 15, This we say to you by the word of the Lord that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. That is, those who have died in Jesus will not be left behind, but they will come on out of their graves, their spirit that Jesus is bringing back with him will be reunited with their bodies.

And then what does he say in verse 16?The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them. So the dead in Christ will be raised, their spirits will be reunited with their body, those that are alive then will meet them in the air there with the Lord in the clouds.

And so what do we have here? Jesus coming with those that have already passed, with those spirits, reuniting them with their body, raising them, those that are alive then being caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. There is no distinction here about the Lord coming with his saints and then seven years later coming for his saints. No, he’s coming with his saints, that is, those who have already died, to raise them up, and he’s coming for his saints that are still alive. It’s all the same coming.

Notice, when Jesus comes with his saints that have already died, when he does so, he will also appear. He will be revealed to judge all people. And we looked at several passages about this last week, but I want to look at one of them again, 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, and look at verse 6.

Since it is a righteous thing, it says here, with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that day, to be glorified in His saints.

So you see, when he comes, when he comes with his saints to raise them and to come for his saints that are still alive, he’s going to be revealed according to this passage, he’ll be seen, he’ll be manifest, he’ll be made known, and he’ll judge all of those who have not obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That’s right. There’ll be no separation of the righteous from the wicked until the end of the world, not many years before. This idea that he’s going to come and then there’ll be seven years of tribulation, there’ll be another thousand years of rain on earth simply will not fit into the plain passages of scripture concerning the second coming of Christ and the end of the world.

Jesus taught this very thing in his parables in Matthew chapter 13 when he talked about the wheat growing in the field with the tares or the weeds and how they were separated on harvest day. He gathered up the weeds, the tares, and they were thrown, you remember, into the fire, and the wheat he gathered and put into his barn.

You see the same thing in his parable about the fish net. There were good and there were bad fish, and some were cast away, others were kept. All of this took place at the same time on the same day, not many years separating the two. And so it will be when our Lord comes again.There will be a separation then between the righteous and the wicked, and each one will go into their prospective places for all of eternity, whether it be heaven or whether it be hell.

Now, let’s also notice as we learned last week, instead of saying that the dead in Christ will be raised many years before the wicked are raised, here in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 it actually teaches they’ll be raised before the living are caught up in the clouds.

In verse 15, if you’ll look at it again, For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. You see, when Jesus comes, there’ll be one resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked at the same time.

When Jesus comes, yes, the righteous are going to be raised, and we see that here in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 so that we don’t go on without them; but at the same time, the wicked are going to be raised.

In John 5:28-29, let’s read it together. Jesus is very clear that all of this is going to happen at the same time. Here, Jesus says, Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. And so at that very same time, Jesus will call us all forth out of our graves, whether we be good or evil.

There is but one resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous, Acts 23:6 and Acts 24:15. The resurrection of the righteous is not going to take place 1,007 years before the final resurrection of all at the end of the world, no. The resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the wicked will take place at the same hour, at the same time. The resurrection of the righteous, the Bible very clearly says in John chapter 6, is going to take place on the last day.

We saw it last week in John 6:39. Let’s read it again. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. When are those that were given to the Lord going to be raised up? At the last day.

And John repeats that three more times in verse 40, verse 44, and verse 54.

And also notice from John 12:48 that this same day all the righteous are raised, this last day, it says in John 12:48 that the wicked will be judged. For he who rejects Me, Jesus says, and does not receive My words has that which judges him; the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

And so it will be at the last day at the end of the world, not many years before, when Jesus will come, when the dead in Christ will be raised, when those that are alive and remain will meet him in the air, and all the wicked, too, will be out of their graves, and they will be judged and will be parted right and left.

Let’s remember that there’ll be no secret rapture, seven years of tribulation, a thousand-year reign upon the earth before that final judgment and the end of the world. No, all of those things are going to happen on the last day of the last days. Instead of a secret coming, it will be very, very noisy.

Will you look with me at verse 16 in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4? 1 Thessalonians 4:16, he says, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Did you notice that? It doesn’t sound like something very secret to me. No, it says that he’s going to come with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. There’s going to be a lot of noise on that day. It will not be anything secret about it. And we see this further in other passages that speak of this very same thing.

1 Corinthians 15:52, where the apostle Paul discusses the resurrection at the last day when our Lord comes again, he says in verse 52, read it with me there, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

When our Lord comes with his saints, for his saints that are still alive, we notice here that everything’s going to be happen in just a moment, in just a fraction of a second, in the twinkling of an eye, he says, immediately it’s going to happen.

What’s going to happen? There’ll be the sounding of the last trumpet. Just as we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, there will be the trumpet of God. And this will be the last trumpet, not seven years, not a thousand years more of trumpets, but the last trumpet.

2 Peter 3:10 also speaks of this great day. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. And so it’ll be no secret coming; no, everybody’s going to know about it. It’s going to be a noisy day. It’ll be like lightning according to Matthew 24:27. Let me read that with you this morning, Matthew 24:27.

For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man. Jesus will come like lightning. It’ll flash from one end of the globe to the other. Everybody will see him when he comes. There will be the brightness or appearing, the epiphaneia, that’s another Greek word for the coming of Christ. It will not just be a coming, but it will be a brightness or an appearing.

It’s found in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, where it speaks specifically of the brightness of his coming. And there will be the revelation, the Greek word apokalupsis, the revelation of Christ that we read earlier in 2 Thessalonians 1:7. An uncovering. Jesus will be seen, Jesus will be known, there’ll be nothing secret about it; no, in fact, every eye shall see him.

That’s right. We’ll look upon the Lord that day. In Revelation 1:7 the Bible explicitly tells us about this, about the coming of Christ. Read with me there, Revelation 1:7, Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, amen.

You might remember when Jesus was with his apostles in Acts the 1st chapter after he had been raised from the dead, he had appeared to them for many days, and now he was going to ascend back into the clouds. And he told them that the same manner in which he left them, ascending into the clouds as they saw him go away, he said in that same manner I’ll come again.

The idea is that the Lord will descend visibly and bodily, and you will see him. Just as he left, you’ll see him come again. Instead of being taken away by Christ for seven years, folks, we’ll always be with the Lord. Look with me once again in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. After he talked about coming with those saints that had already died in Christ and bringing them back to be reunited with their bodies, after he had talked about taking up those that still remain, that is, Christians that still remained on this earth, after he talked about all of that, look what he said: Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. We’ll always be with the Lord.

After he comes, we’ll go out of time into eternity to forever be with the Lord, not seven more years of tribulation and then another thousand years on the earth.

In John 14:1-6 Jesus makes this very clear. Listen to what he says here in this wonderful passage of comfort. Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know. And Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way? And Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Why would we want to return to the earth, having already arrived in the Father’s house? When Jesus comes, this world will be destroyed. We just read it in 2 Peter chapter 3. No, the coming, the appearance, the revelation of Jesus Christ and the resurrection and the judgment of all people will occur simultaneously on the last day of the last days at the end of this world. Jesus will not come for his saints and then return with them seven years later; but he’ll come to take us to the Father’s house forever.

What a wonderful promise and what a grand hope we have in Jesus Christ. But are you in Jesus Christ? Are you a Christian today? If you were to die today, would you die in the Lord?

If the Lord were to come this very moment, would you be ready to meet him? Are you prepared?

Would you spend eternity with him in heaven?

We hope that you’ll make your souls right with God today. Believing on him, turn away from your sin, confess him as the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, and be baptized, be immersed in water for the remission of your sins so that you might be united to Jesus Christ, put into his church, the body of which he is the head and the savior. And let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

>> Years I spent in vanity and pride, caring not my Lord was crucified, knowing not it was for me he died on Calvary.

Mercy there was great and grace was free, pardon there was multiplied to me, there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan; oh, the grace that brought it down to man; oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.

Mercy there was great and grace was free, pardon there was multiplied to me, there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.

>> In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land, the battle belongs to the Lord.
No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand, the battle belongs to the Lord.

And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord. And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.

When the power of darkness comes in like a flood, the battle belongs to the Lord.
He’s raised up a standard, the power of his blood, the battle belongs to the Lord.

And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.

We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.

When your enemy presses in hard, do not fear, the battle belongs to the Lord.
Take courage, my friend, your redemption is near, the battle belongs to the Lord.

And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.

And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.

We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.

We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.

ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today, and we’d really like to hear from you. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv. And remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge.

And we want to thank the many churches of Christ who help support this program and encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. Their names will be scrolled on the screen at the end of our program.

We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. Let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.

Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

%d bloggers like this: