We live in momentous times, and when we cast our eye at the economic, political, social, or religious spheres, the believer cries out, Even, so, come, Lord Jesus. Sir Winston Churchills final speech in Parliament speaks volumes. He said, Which way can we turn to save our lives and the future of the world? In May 1969, at the UN, U Thant said, If we fail to reach global partnership within ten years, we will have reached staggering proportions beyond our capacity of control, referring to the atomic race. These men of the world are gone, and we have reached the year 2002 with the increase of earthquakes, changing weather patterns, terrorism, murder, abortion, Aids, and drug-addiction all on the rise. Universities have become the breeding grounds for humanism and atheism. Secularism and materialism have swept across the globe, and in particular North America. We turn to the Middle East with its continued conflicts; Israel surrounded by Islamic nations bent on its annihilation. These signals are all unheeded as humankind plunges recklessly onward to its confrontation with God. Christianity worldwide faces challenges today unparalleled as the great bulwarks of our faith are attacked from every side. With bated breath we wonder what will happen next in our times, days of incredible happenings! But above the raging storms around us we have a hope that cannot fail, the coming (parousia) of our Beloved Lord! The word Rapture is not found as such in our Bible but its meaning is clearly defined. In Acts 8:29 and in John 10:12 the expressions caught away and catcheth away are the same as the word Rapture. Revelation 3:10: I will keep thee from (out of) the hour of trial (the tribulation). The Lords coming parousia includes His arrival and presence with His saints (Vines NT words).
The Promise of it
John 14:1-6 has always provided comfort and consolation to the saints. It was to the Lords own little band of followers that this promise was first given. Let not your heart be troubled (disturbed, agitated, unsettled) … if I go away I will come again and receive you unto Myself. Deity speaks! Our Lords going back to the glory is the preparation and guarantee that the redeemed will follow. Beloved let us again embrace this precious truth. The days of sorrow, perplexity and fear may come but we hold to His unchanging truth, I will come again and receive you unto Myself. Blessed promise! In a world where the lie is received generally, the truth of the Rapture is an indisputable promise that thrills the soul of the redeemed.
The Purpose of it
On the one hand, we need to avoid any date-setting as to this grand event, yet on the other hand affirm the imminence of it. It is interesting that usually under crisis in world conditions and in times of persecution we find the rekindling of the hope of the Rapture. The timing of it will coincide with the full number of the Gentiles being reached, when the last soul is saved and the church is complete. Who could put an exact time on this? We dare not! We believe that day or moment must be near; two millennia have passed since the promise was given. While there is an accuracy with Gods timetable, this secret purpose for this dispensation is only known to the Trinity. Let us with patience wait for His purpose to be fulfilled at the appearing for His own. He is going to take His Bride to Himself; this is the purpose of His coming. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. It cost Him His precious blood and He will not be satisfied until we are with Him eternally in the Fathers house. He must come to claim His purchased possession, the Church.
The Picture of it
It is very instructive when linking the three names: Abel, Enoch, and Noah in their chronological appearance in Hebrews 11. The first, Abel, pictures the first shepherd who died, reminding us of the good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. Enoch, who was translated that he should not see death, follows as a picture of the living saints translated, carried over earth to the glory. Enochs translation took place before the deluge burst upon the world of the ungodly. This, beloved, is what will take place at the Rapture. Then follows Noah, who with his family was preserved through the judgment of the flood, a picture of the remnant of Israel who will be miraculously preserved through the great tribulation in that coming day. We today could be among the living ones!
The Person who is coming
The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God. How wonderful to note Himself in the text. No angel could our place have taken upon that Cross to save us, and no angel will come to take us to the Fathers house, but the Lord Himself who bought us with His precious blood shall meet us in the air. Usually, the red carpet is rolled out by a lesser to greet the greater; beloved it is the reverse – our Lord Jesus, rolls out the red carpet to greet and receive us! Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air – what a welcome Home! So closely are we linked to Christ that He will come Himself for us. Just as Isaac left his home and Rebekah left her home and they met in the field, so Christ will leave His home, and we will leave our earthly home and meet in the air. The expressions shout, voice, and trump are military terms. They signify the calling together to assemble, the readiness for marching orders, and then the command to forward march.
The Program of it
1 Corinthians 15 is one of the most profound chapters in all the Bible as it sweeps across human history, bridges dispensations, and ultimately brings us to the consummation of all things. The plan and purpose of God are revealed in capsule form in this chapter with the central theme the resurrection of Christ. Christ the firstfruit(s), afterward they that are Christs at His coming (1 Cor 15:23). We have the expression HE MUST REIGN; the last enemy, death, is defeated. Then the amazing expression, that God may be all in all; this is the ultimate in the Divine plan, and we arrive at the highest rung in the ladder of Divine revelation. The late Jim Paton said so succinctly, The living will say to death, you couldn’t catch me, and those rising from the grave will say, you couldn’t hold me. Blessed moment! We wait with anticipation to see the face of our blessed Savior. The lesson here is most telling, indicating that the first tick on the prophetic clock, awaits the Rapture. The Rapture initiates the unfolding of the everlasting purpose of God.
The Prospect of it
By our gathering together unto Him, see that ye be not shaken in mind or by letter as from us (2 Thess 2:1). Some were being unsettled or disturbed by false teachers who clouded and confused them as to the imminent coming of the Lord. They had posed as apostles and forged letters in the name of an apostle. The expression the day of Christ is at hand is translated by most reliable authorities as the day of the Lord is at hand. Paul calms their fears and assures them that they are not appointed unto (the) wrath, the great tribulation, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. The day of the Lord is the day of judgment which cannot commence until the saints of this dispensation, who are heavenly in their calling, are raptured to the glory. The bright and blessed prospect before us cheers our hearts and lifts our spirits in a world that one day will come under the wrath of the Almighty.
The Prayer for it
Revelation 22, the final chapter of this great prophetic book, has three references to the Lords coming: verses 7, 12, and 20. John has an enlarged vision, an expanded spirit, an enriched heart as he listens to the word from his Lord, Surely I come quickly. He replies in the form of a prayer, Even, so come, Lord Jesus. With all the awesome events that swept across the horizon of the soul of this beloved and aged apostle, the horrific events unprecedented with the seals, the trumpets, and the vials, he rises above all and occupies his soul with the coming of his Lord. May we have the same contemplation, the same prayer amid the conflicts, concerns, and confusion in this present age!
The Practical effects of the Rapture
No truth should be more comforting and more convicting to the saints. This longed-for, prayed-for moment should affect our worship, our walk, our work, and our witness. The heart that is filled with His coming should fill our cup to overflowing in worship, should cause our feet to walk in the steps of the Master, should fill our hands with His work and give us a greater power to witness to a perishing world. It would remove bitterness, produce Christ-like attitudes, give purity in life, and adorn us with God-like graces. Every (man) that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself, even as He is pure (1 John 3:3).