Know Your Bible

VOL. 9                           October 10, 2010                           NO. 41

 Is The Rapture Coming?
 
    There seem to be a lot of signs saying the rapture is about to take place. These signs are not in the world about us but signs made by man saying the rapture is coming soon. With all the events of the past few years, a feeling of dread has overcome the world and men have turned their thoughts to the coming of the Lord. A declaration of "rapture" is becoming more and more evident as men see the coming of Armageddon and the final battle of good versus evil. What does the Bible say about the rapture and when will the rapture take place.
 
    The idea behind the rapture is that as the last days of the world approach, saints of God will be 'raptured' up in secret preceding the final events of the Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon and the Earthly Kingdom of Christ reigning for one-thousand years. The first question that must be asked is where do we find ''rapture'' in the Bible. Those who teach the coming of the rapture admit the word rapture is never found in the Bible. The word is not found but the idea of the rapture is supposed to be based upon a test in 1 Thessalonians. "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" (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)
 
    The question I would raise about the rapture is where in the Bible does God ever suggest a "secret taking" of the saints of God? Paul's writing to the church at Thessalonica does not say the coming of the Lord will be without notice but just the opposite. Paul declares the coming of the Lord will be with a "shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God." No one has ever heard that sound but I assure you that "every eye shall see him" (Revelation 1:7) and "the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice" (John 5:28-29).
 
    I would ask the readers to find in the Bible the teaching of the rapture as described by men today and to prove with scripture (it is imperative that God's words be used to prove the rapture) the doctrine of the rapture. 
 
    The rapture also suggests that Jesus will be coming to earth a third time. He came the first time as man, He will return at the rapture and then at the end of time (according to the teaching of the rapture). However, the Bible teaches that Jesus will only come a second time. "And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, WILL APPEAR A SECOND TIME (emphasis mine, keh), not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:27-28). How can we fit another "visit" by Jesus when the SECOND TIME He appears it will be for the final judgment.
 
    The teaching of the rapture is an interesting story of a world that God never said would happen. There will be no rapture as described by men but the final judgment in the final day by the Lord and everyone will see and hear His coming -- everyone one!
 
---Kent Heaton 
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What Is The "Great Tribulation"?
 
    The word tribulation was used by Jesus and the apostles more than twenty times in the New Testament to refer to the distress and trials that Christ's followers must suffer in this life.
 
    For example, Acts 14:22 tells us that Paul and Barnabas taught that we should "continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." The words great tribulation found in Matthew 24:21 describe a period of unparalleled suffering. "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
 
    Premillennialism incorrectly teaches that the "great tribulation" is a seven-year period in the future that follows the "rapture" of the church and precedes the Lord's second coming. (There are variations among premillennialists, but these ideas are generally accepted.)
 
    The great tribulation, which premillennialists want to project to the end of time, is a description of the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus said, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34). Thus within a generation -- thirty to forty years -- the events He described would come to pass. The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70 fulfilled this prophecy. Daniel had prophesied a coming "abomination that maketh desolate" (Daniel 11:31; 12:11). "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)" (Matthew 24:15). The abomination of desolation was the desecration and destruction of the temple by the Romans as they destroyed Jerusalem.
 
    The fact that this great tribulation was the destruction of Jerusalem, and not a coming period of misery, is demonstrated by Jesus' instructions to His followers to watch for the signs, and "flee into the mountains" to escape, saying that they should pray that it "be not in the winter," when the weather would be bad, nor that their flight be "on the sabbath day" when the city gates would be closed (Matthew 24:16,20). History shows that Christians heeded this warning and were able to escape the destruction of Jerusalem by fleeing to the mountains.
 
    All who follow Christ will suffer tribulation, but the period of great tribulation spoken of in Matthew 24 has already passed.
 
---Bob Prichard 
 
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***Sentence Sermons***

    "A man is a selfish fool who says it is nobody's
business what he does."
***
"Admitting that you've been wrong proves that you are wiser now than you were before."
***
"Kind words take less breath than harsh ones."
***
"Rivers (and men) get crooked by following the path of least resistance."
 
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