The Rapture ? The Comfort Of Christ’s Coming
The new Christians at Thessalonica along with the Apostle Paul experienced persecution because of their faith in Christ. They were wondering why many of their fellow believers had fallen asleep (died) and what would happen to them when Christ returned. Paul wanted them to understand that death is not the end of the story. To give them comfort Paul wrote to them these words, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethern, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For is we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring us 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 rise 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” I Thess. 4-13-18.
These words surely must have given the persecuted Christians at Thessalonica great comfort. These words still give Christians great comfort today. Although the main purpose of the Apostle Paul in writing these words were to provide comfort to Christians, this scripture also identifies the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture of the Church will be the most startling event to happen in human history. Paul’s words explicitly states that the dead in Christ (the dead believers) will rise first and then the believers that remain will all be caught up together to meet Jesus in the air. Millions with disappear suddenly. Jesus speaks of this suddenness in Luke 17:34-36, “I tell you, in that night there will be two men 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.” Scripture also mentions this event will happen as quickly as the “twinkling of an eye”. Immediately when the believers disappear there will be great confusion for those left. There will also be sudden tragic events occur when Christians are taken away. Automobiles that are being driven by Christians will be left out of control. Airplanes that are being piloted by Christians will be left without a pilot to land them safely. Machines that are being operated by Christians will be left to run unattended. Many other such incidents that we cannot image will all happen at the same instance. For those left behind it will be disastrous, but for the Christian it will be the fulfillment of the hope they have had since believing in Jesus. They will be in the presence of Jesus and will remain in His presence forever.
The text of I Thess 4:13-18 speaks of five events of the Rapture.
1. Christ will return visibly with a loud command.
2. There will be an unmistakable cry from an angel.
3. There will be a trumpet such as has never been heard.
4. Believer’s in Christ who are dead will rise from their graves.
5. Believer’s in Christ who are alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet Christ.
The Rapture brings an end to the Church age. For Christians that have been taken up to be with Christ it will be a time of judgment. It will not be a judgment of sin because the Christian’s sin was washed away by the Blood of Christ at Calvary. It will be a judgment of rewards based upon the believer’s works. For many it will be a time of great joy as they hear the words of Jesus say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”. For others it will be a time of shame and regret, I John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at his coming.”
The Rapture also brings a beginning of an eternal presence with Jesus. Jesus and the Church will be eternally united at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Jesus, the husband, will be united with His bride, the Church. This is the hope of all Christians.
No one knows the time of Christ’s return for the Church. We are therefore to live moral and holy lives and be ever watchful for His coming. Believers must not neglect daily responsibilities, but always work and live to please the Lord.
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Stephen Stillman, owner of www.amazingchristianproducts.com a website that offers great Christian articles and a variety of Christian products.