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The Rapture of the Church: Introduction Lesson # 1

The Rapture of the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:21:46
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The Rapture of the Church: Introduction

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The term “rapture” is used by students of prophecy and eschatology to describe the doctrine which is taught in the Greek New Testament, namely the resurrection of the church.
Now we must remember that like the term “Trinity,” the term “rapture” is not found in the original languages of Scripture.
However, like the term “Trinity” the term “rapture” is used by theologians to describe a doctrine that is taught in the Bible.
The rapture is taught in John 14:1-3, 1 Corinthians 1:7, 15:50-57, Philippians 3:20-21, 4:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Titus 2:13, 1 John 2:28, 3:2-3, Hebrews 10:25, James 5:7-9, 1 John 2:28, 3:2-3; and Revelation 22:7, 12, and 20.
John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (ESV)
1 Corinthians 15:50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (ESV)
1 Thessalonians 5:1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. (ESV)
This term “rapture” is taken from the Latin term rapio, “caught up” that is used to translate the Greek verb harpazō (ἁρπάζω), which appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 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 not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of {the} archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (NASB95)
In this verse, the word means to “snatch, seize, forcibly remove something, to seize by force with the purpose of removing and is translated “will be caught up” by the ESV and NASB95 and “will be suddenly caught up” by the NET Bible.
The church age is a dispensation, which contains no prophecy except for that of the rapture.
The church age began with a miracle, namely the baptism of the Spirit (cf. Acts 2) and will end with a miracle.
The church age will end with the rapture, which the Scriptures teach is preceded by apostasy (2 Thess. 2:1-13; cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-5).
The rapture will also mark the completion of the royal family of God.
The formation of the church began with the baptism of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost and its completion will be at the rapture.
The church or royal family of God is called the body of Christ preceding the rapture (1 Cor. 12:12-27).
The church or royal family of God is called the bride of Christ after it (Rev. 19:7-9).
Therefore, the Bible teaches that the body of the bride of Christ will not be complete until the rapture comes.
In this study of the rapture, we will note that the apostle Paul describes the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:51 as “a mystery.”
The New Testament writers like Paul describes the resurrection of the church as imminent which means it could happen at any moment.
The imminency of the rapture we will note is to motivate the believer to obey the commands of Scripture and thus live a godly life which honors Jesus Christ.
We will also note in this study that the rapture or resurrection of the church will bring to completion the process of salvation and sanctification which both began at the moment of their justification through regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.
We will also note that the guarantee of a receiving a resurrection from the Lord Jesus at any moment should motivate the believer to appropriate by faith their identification with Him in His death and resurrection in order to experience their salvation and sanctification.
In other words, so that they will experience the holiness of God in their lives.
We will also note the distinctions between the rapture and the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Lastly, in this study we will investigate five different views of the rapture in relation to the seventieth week of Daniel and in particular the last three and a half years of this seven-year period which Jesus described in Matthew 24:21 as the “great tribulation.”
These five views are: (1) “pre-tribulation” (2) “partial” (3) “mid-tribulation” (4) “post-tribulation” (5) “pre-wrath.” We will demonstrate that the “pre-tribulation” is the correct view.
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