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                                                  BIBLE STUDY - THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH.

The rapture of the Church is not the second coming of Jesus Christ. The rapture of the Church will be a surprise to many people. Only the true believers will partake or see the rapture. With the second coming of Jesus Christ every eye will see Him. The word rapture refer to the word; ‘to take away quickly’. The rapture of all true believers will happen instantly, quickly, in a twinkling of an eye. "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed'', 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52 and Philippians 3:20, 21.

''But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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 by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will arise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord", 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 17. The above Scripture clearly states that all of the involved people will meet the Lord in the air or clouds.

In the Bible the rapture of the Church is always referred to as the 'coming of the Lord' or the days of the Son of Man or the revelation of the Son of Man but never the 'second coming of Christ'. The rapture of the Church is purely a New Testament doctrine and was first revealed to Paul, as a special revelation, while the 'second coming of Christ' with the saints, to come and live on earth, is not only a New Testament doctrine, but is one of the chief themes of the Old Testament. The Old Testament prophets never saw the New Testament Church, much less the rapture of the Church.

1.   THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE: 

The rapture of the Church can take place any moment. Only God the Father knows when this event will take place. Not even Jesus Christ knows about this time. ''But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father'', Mark 13:32, The time of the rapture is God the Father's decision. We have an idea of when the second coming of Jesus Christ will take place. The rapture of the Church will take place approximately seven years before the second coming.

2THE PURPOSE OF THE RAPTURE: 

The rapture of the Church is for Christ to come for the saints before the great tribulation, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 17. The rapture must first take place and Christ must come for His saints before He can come back with His saints. The second coming of Christ is to come with the saints after the great tribulation to live and reign on the earth for a thousand years, Jude 1:14b and Revelation 20:6. We also understand that Christ has to resurrect the dead 'in Him' from among the wicked dead in their graves to receive their rewards with those who are alive and all will be changed from mortality to immortality, 1 Corinthians 15:51 etc. and 2 Corinthians 5:1 - 10.

3PARTAKERS OF THE RAPTURE: 

The rapture will be for those who are living in Christ. ''And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming'', 1 John 2:28. ''Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven'', Matthew 7:21. ''But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man'', Luke 21:34 - 36. Jesus said these words after He told them about the great tribulation. Note that He tells us to watch that we may be worthy to escape these things that will happen.

4The rapture of the Church will have a devastating effect on the world. Just think of what will happen in this world if all the true believers are raptured all of a sudden. We read in the Book of Revelation 4:1 about the rapture of the Church. Revelation chapter 1 to chapter 3 is about the Church here on earth. Revelation chapter 4 start of with the rapture of the Church, then up to chapter 19 is what is going to happen here on earth. Chapter 19 is about the marriage feast of the Lamb and up to chapter 22 is about God's final dealings and the New Heaven. Read my Bible study on 'the Book Revelation

5.  Matthew chapter 25 is not referring to the rapture of the Church. However, Matthew chapter 24 is referring to the rapture of the Church and the Jews who will go through the great tribulation because they did not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Remember the Book of Matthew was written mainly to the Jews. Read my Bible study on the great tribulation.

6.  Then He said to the disciples, Luke 17:22 - 37, ''The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it, verse 26 - 36, ''And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise to the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left".

Luke 17:37, And they answered and said to Him ''Where, Lord?'' So He said to them, ''Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathering together''. This is a prophecy on the battle of Armageddon. Read my Bible study on the 'Battle of Armageddon'.

7.  After that the rapture has taken place the true believers will receive their rewards in heaven and will then have a part in the supper of the Lamb. This time will last approximately 7 years. During this time the great tribulation will take place on the earth.Then the second coming of the Lord with all his saints will take place and the battle of Armageddon will take place on earth. Satan and all his followers will be bound for a thousand years and during this time there will be peace on earth. After the thousand years Satan will be released and then God will defeat Satan and his followers with Gog and Magog and throw Satan and every person who's name is not written in the Lamb's Book of life in the lake of fire for ever. We read of the marriage feast of the Lamb that will take place then. After this the existing world will be destroyed by fire and a new heaven and a new earth will come down from heaven and all the true believers and saints will live there forever as God had planned in the beginning. Read Bible studies on these subjects.

                                                                 

                                                    Compiled by: Chris Mengel Snr.

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