Ministered @ Grace Community Church in Arroyo Hondo New Mexico on 10/17
Opening Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
“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.”
There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstanding about the “Rapture Doctrine.” We’ll never know the day or hour, but Jesus and the Holy Bible gives clues, the signs pointing to the rapture. The misconceptions and misunderstanding about the rapture: whether it is post-tribulation (being the actual second coming of Christ) or is it pre-tribulation (before the Great Tribulation begins)?
I believe it is pre-tribulation. The Great Tribulation Period will be literally hell unleashed on earth. It’s a period of time where God Himself will bring judgement upon the whole earth. The trumpet of judgments (Revelation 8-10). And finally the vial judgments (Revelation 16) as the finality of all the escalating judgments (Revelation 16:17). The point of the judgments of God is to bring people to repentance (Revelation 16:9;11).
Those who do not believe in the “Rapture Doctrine” will give you a weak and poor excuse or defense of why they don’t believe. “The word ‘rapture’ is not found in the Holy Bible.” This what I tell them, Neither is the “Holy Trinity” not ever found anywhere in the Holy Scriptures. YET the evidence of the Existence of the Holy Trinity is found all over the Old and New Testaments (from Genesis-Revelation in all 66 books of the Holy Spirit inspired; Official Jewish Cannon).
Especially in the Book of John chapters 14;15;16 And also in one chapter alone, where Jesus taught the existence of the Holy Trinity in John chapter 16. This is why we as Christians believe in such doctrines because of the concrete evidence of the existence of such Holy Spirit inspired Doctrines. Yet they will believe in the Holy Trinity and not the Rapture? It doesn’t make sense.
So I looked this up and according to traditional beliefs, the New Testament was completed toward the end of the first Century (the era of Jesus Christ) where the last manuscripts written by the Apostle John, reviewed, examined and tested by Jews and proven to be Holy Spirit inspired as late as 90 AD. And the “Rapture Doctrine” was formulated in the 18th Century. 17 Centuries after the New Testament was completed. This is why the word “rapture” is not found in the Holy Bible. What does the word “Rapture” mean? “Being caught up swiftly in the moment; carrying off; abducted .” So what are the signs of the rapture
The Great Apostasy
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the second coming of Jesus Christ), and by our gathering together unto Him (the rapture), 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 (the great apostasy), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (the second coming of Jesus Christ);”
1 Peter 4:17
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God”
Revelation 2-3 (judgment on the church age/the great apostasy)
7 churches mentioned: 5 were wrong and only 2 churches were right in the sight of God. And isn’t that so true today. Majority of churches across America and around the world are wrong in the sight of God. And only a remnant are faithfully and morally right with God.
The Loveless Church- in Ephesus who were doing the works of God, but forsaken the relationship with Jesus Christ. (Revelation 2:1-8)
The Compromising Church- in Pergamos who compromised the way of holiness and went astray into sexual immorality and many other detestable sins. (Revelation 2:12-17)
The Corrupt Church- in Thyatira who allowed a false prophet/a false teacher to lead them away into Idolatry, sexual immorality and such many detestable sins. (Revelation 2:19-29)
The Dead Church- of Sardis, who are not doing anything. They were not keeping the Apostles doctrines, praying or witnessing. Being cold, lazy and lifeless toward the life in Christ. They were not keeping watch of the times nor were they warning others to repent before the coming of the Lord. (Revelation 3:1-5)
The Lukewarm Church- of Laodicia (Revelation 3:14-22)
The Persecuted Church- of Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11)
The Faithful Church- in Philadelphia who kept the faith and did not deny Jesus Christ or compromised in any ungodly corruption. Because they were strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, because they remained in His word, prayer, active in church and in holiness (Revelation 3:7-13)
Verse 10-11: “Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation (the great tribulation period), which shall come upon all the world, to try them who dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly: Hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown” (referring to the Crown of Life)
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the Crown of Life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.”
The Beginning of Sorrows, The Opening of The Seals
The Book of Revelation 6 parallels with Matthew 24 (Beginning of sorrows/seal judgments) The Lord Jesus taught His disciples the signs of His coming (the rapture) and the end of the world (His second coming). He called the signs of the raputre of the church age as, “beginning of sorrows.”
“All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
This time He describes not “The Great Tribulation period,” but sorrowful events that leads up to the rapture and the Great Tribulation period. Curious why Jesus Himself calls these days “The beginning of sorrows. It’s because these days are getting worse and progressively more corrupt. And we can never get back to “the good ol’ days” again. What ever once was can never be again. And there are many who sorrow over that fact. So let’s examine Revelation 6 and see how they connect and compare with the teaching of Jesus Chris in Matthew 24 and where the evidence of the rapture event is mentioned.
Matthew 24:1-3 (1st Sign: deception of the false Christ)
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to shew Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down (prophesying the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem which actually was fulfilled in 79 AD.) And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming (the signs pointing to the rapture of the church age), and of the end of the world (the signs pointing to the second coming of Jesus Christ)? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many..
Revelation 6:1-2 (1st Seal: the false Christ)
“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”
Some actually view this man crowned on a white horse as Jesus Christ. But what is curious about this man, The Biblical symbol of a crown means authority. But Jesus Christ will not be the only with authority. God Almighty will give authority to satan to perform signs and lying wonders to deceive the nations (Revelation 13 which concurs with 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
Jesus did not come to conquer by force and He will come again to conquer anybody. He has come to save that which is lost by ones own choice. Save His people from their sins by ones own choice (Matthew 1:21). To destroy the works of satan (1 John 3:8). And to reconcile us back to God (Romans 5). Here the crowned man on a white horse seems to be like Jesus Christ, but he is bent on conquest. To conquer means to make a person, group or nation submit by force.
Matthew 24:6-7 (2nd Sign: wars and rumors of wars)
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”
Revelation 6:3-4 (2nd Seal: wars & conflicts)
“And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”
Matthew 24:7 (3rd Sign: famines, pestilence and natural disaster)
“and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
Revelation 6:7-8 (4th Seal: genocide caused by pestilence, famine and war)
“And when He had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”
Matthew 24:8-13 (4th Sign: persecution of the church)
“All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
Revelation 6:9-11 (5th Seal: martyrdom of the church)
“And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
Matthew 24:29-31 (5th Sign: the rapture of the church age)
“Immediately after the tribulation (tribulation of the days of sorrows described in Matthew 24 which are the signs of the days leading up to the great tribulation period which we are living in right now, not the great tribulation period) of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light: the stars will fall from Heaven, and the power of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) will appear in Heaven, and then all the tribes will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect (the saved) from the four winds (means all four directions: North, South, East, & West), from one end of heaven to the other.
Revelation 6:12-14 (6th Seal: cosmic disturbances)
“And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
This is the only sign we are waiting for in order for the rapture to occur. Every Pastor, every minister will tell you, “we don’t have time to sit around. We only have time to work! Because we don’t have any time left to waste!”
See, Jesus Christ will appear in the clouds from Heaven. He will not step foot on earth at this point. He will send His angels to gather His elect. After the sun and moon be darkened, the stars from heaven fall and a great shaking occurs. And then the sign of the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) will appear in Heaven, And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect (THE RAPTURE). His elect are Christians who are right with God and ready for the rapture.
Jesus Christ is not waiting for any one to get right with Him, the rapture can happen at any moment (Matthew 24:36-44. If there is any time to get right with God and ready It IS RIGHT NOW!
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God bless you