Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Rapture of His Saints

The Rapture of His Saints

The absolute promise of the Heavenly Father to care for and protect His own saints as His own family was evident from the very moment He created them in Genesis. The Father actually came down from Heaven and watched over the first family. He walked with them in the garden until sin drove them into hiding. Then He even killed an innocent animal to clothe them so they could come out of hiding for a limited fellowship with Himself. Slowly, that close communion was lost until only one man was recorded as walking with God.
Enoch was the last member of His family who had the privilege of taking a personal walk with God the Father was so moved by their time together that He invited Enoch to go back to Heaven with Him. The Bible records, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)

The Rapture is much, much more than escaping from whatever level of judgment is coming on this world. The idea of God’s family being protected during His judgments is a Biblical principle that fills the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. The Creator never judges the righteous with the wicked. Even Sodom and Gomorrah would have escaped the fire and brimstone destruction if ten righteous citizens could have been found. Jeremiah was instructed to purchase land while he was imprisoned by King Zedekiah even when he had pronounced that the invading army would carry them into captivity.
Jeremiah was removed from the captives as they marched into slavery and was allowed to return to his possessions. The faithful family of God that forsakes this world to walk with Him has nothing to fear when the Father and the Son begin their wrath on wickedness.

The ark was a perfect type of the Rapture.
The fury of God against wickedness had reached its full capacity and action was imminent. Noah was a righteous man and found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Elijah was another wonderful example of the Rapture. When Elijah had finished his ministry, the Father raptured him by a chariot and a whirlwind up to heaven in a supernatural flash. This kind of action by the Father of all creation is breathtaking and cannot be separated from His nature.
Every Scripture and every story in the Bible are part of the whole. You cannot have an Old Testament God that is different in the minutest detail from His person in the rest of Scripture. The Bible is a perfect whole and every nuance of truth fits the same pattern as all truth.

The Prophets Prepared the Way for the RaptureThe great events of God’s actions and His dealing with the families of the First Testament can only set the tone for the prophecies of God’s great voices.
The statesman prophet Isaiah gave one of the Bible’s greatest endorsements of the coming Rapture that will fulfill all the rest of His exclusive deliverance of the godly. It is evident from Isaiah’s prophecy that this was a personal hope not just a future prophecy. Isaiah was going by the way of the grave but he saw himself as an unwelcome guest in the graveyard. He could hear the dust of his ashes singing as resurrection life visited his tomb of hope.

Read his words of prophetic revelation. “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)

Anyone that cannot see the Rapture in these words has eyes that are blinded. Isaiah even saw the wedding chamber where the Bride would meet the Divine Husband. He saw this place of the wedding as a place where the saints would escape the indignation of the Father’s wrath against the wicked. He even understood that the earth was going to feel the wrath of judgment and that the righteous would not still be entombed in graveyards. The finality of this event is evident in the words, “the earth…shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:21)

Malachi was another voice with an exceptional prophecy about the future Rapture. This prophecy unveils something about the Rapture that had not been revealed before. Malachi shows the two aspects of the future return of the Son of God. The Lord is seen making up His jewels by sparing them from His judgment and returning with them to be His army in judging the wicked on this earth. This very truth is at the heart of the pre-tribulational Rapture. He comes first to get his jewels and returns with them to establish His Kingdom on earth.

Read this prophecy. “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” (Malachi 3:16-18)

It is simple to move from these First Testament truths right into the Second Testament church dispensation. The First Testament conceals the new but the Second Testament unveils the old. God intended that each covenant would accentuate the other.

The Second Covenant

Jesus Christ was very clear in giving support to the First Testament writers. His entire ministry and lessons came directly out of the First Covenant. If we will give to every verse of the Old Testament the same respect Jesus gave to the verses He quoted, we will be fully justified in doing so. In Matthew Chapter twenty-four Jesus Christ ties the writing of Daniel to His own words. The Son of God connects Daniel’s explanation of the dark revelation of the Antichrist to the period Jesus Christ describes as the Great Tribulation.
In that same text He reminds us of His coming in glory to establish His Kingdom on this earth. He once had described Daniel warning of the “abomination of desolation,” then tied it to the Great Tribulation, and spoke of Jesus coming; He then warned the listeners that they could escape the dark events by being prepared to be caught up with Him.
The Lord said this in a very revealing manner.
He stated, “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (St. Matthew 24:33,37,40, 44)

If this is not convincing, then read St. Luke’s description of these very same words that Matthew quoted. Luke quoted the Son of God’s statement as follows “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (St. Luke 21:34-36)

Jesus Christ was not trying to present a chronological picture, yet He came very close to doing so. Apostle Paul gave us the most celebrated Scripture teaching about the Rapture of the chosen family. The saints were weeping over the saintly loved ones they had buried in death. The apostle uses this sadness to give them hope and to show them the plan of God. He prophesied,“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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

It would take considerable effort to mess up this Scripture.
The saints are certainly going to be resurrected from the dead and the living saints are going to be transformed. The Lord Himself is seen coming down from the third heaven to meet the saints as they arise into the heavens. It’s very apparent that they go all the way back to Heaven with Him and never separate from each other again. The words “caught up” which were used by our English translators were given as one word in the Greek language. It was “harpazo” and means “Rapture.” This word is a dynamic word and means “to snatch up, to carry off for oneself, to deliver from pending sorrow.” It is a perfect word for the Rapture of His saints to Himself.

The promised return of the Lord was a big thing with the early church. They never got used to being without Him in their midst even after the baptism of the Comforter. They actually expected Him to return before all of them had died! They were enthused to ready the whole world while they looked for Him at the same time.
They warned of the false brethren that would scoff at the hope of His coming. Peter wrote to saints saying, “…I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:1b-4)

Anyone that questioned His coming back for them was a false prophet to them and they were careful to say so.
Look at these powerful Scriptures that are loaded with the hope of the Rapture of His saints:
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye 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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (St John 14:1-3)

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 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.” (Acts 1:9-11)

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: {taking: or, yielding} Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, {unto him: or, around him} That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)

The Book of RevelationEvery great truth in the Bible ends in the book of Revelation. From the moment Enoch “was not because God took him” in Genesis to the “open door in heaven” of Revelation, the great “catching away” of the saints has never ended. Apostle John was told by the Son of God that His vision of an open door in Heaven was the beginning of everything. “hereafter.” The seven letters clearly concluded at the Rapture where an apostate church had risen to spew its deception on the world. This great multitude of religious apostates will be spewed into the Tribulation. Look at these words, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) Immediately after we see that scene in Revelation Chapter three, we see the next scene of the Rapture as Chapter four opens.

The Lord Himself is not visible in Chapter four but we hear Him speaking as the voice of a trumpet.” After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” (Revelation 4:1-4)

The Old Testament saints and the New Testament saints are finally one. The twenty-four elders bring together an innumerable multitude to sit before the majestic throne of the Father and to prepare for the closing events of human history. The overcoming saints of both covenants of the Holy Bible are one together. They are never called saints again. They are elders from Chapter four to Chapter nineteen and then they become His army. After the victory of His Second Coming is complete, they will reign as kings and priests for one thousand years. After that, they have only one position as His eternal Bride dwelling in New Jerusalem.

Chapter five is the celebration of a seven sealed book that the Lamb of God receives at the Father’s hand. The seven years of the Great Tribulation could never begin until this book is presented to the Lamb of God and He and His elders, the glorified saints, prepare to judge and cleanse this earth.
“And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” (St. John 5:27) But His church has been promised that she would judge the world and the angels. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3a) This judgment of the world and of the angels is an intimate act of the seven years that start in the first verse of Chapter six. Chapters four and five are the picture of His family finally raptured to His presence and ready with the Lord of Lords Himself to set this world straight. Together we will judge all uncleanness, bring Satan and his unholy trinity to answer for six thousand years of destruction, and then prepare the world for the Kingdom of God.

a special thanks to all of you, and to paw creek for helping to prepare the Bride of king Jesus Christ...