The Prophetic . . . 7b

Rev. Sudha Mehta©

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bible study at home photo from biblestoryboards

bible study at home photo from biblestoryboards

1 Thesslonians 4:  16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.(ESV)

A neighbor called a few days ago. She had some questions related to the Bible. In particular, she asked if Covid was one of the signs of end-times. “Absolutely, it is a pestilence, and more will come” I said.

That really intrigued her, so, I suggested we meet. She came with her husband, and over dinner we presesnted them with the information they needed.

This couple has gone to church all ther lives, but they were never taught the things they learned from us that evening. They brought their Bibles and notebooks to take notes. I like that. . . it said they were serious. So, I took them through the scriptures. We worked our way through Matthew 24, Ezekiel 38 and 39, 1 and 2 Thess. We mentioned Daniel, Genesis and Revelation, and more, but after seeing their glazed eyes we prayed with them and bid good night with the understanding that they would call with questions and/or come join our class when we meet to study.

I share this to say: we have known each other for twenty years. We have been good neighbors to each other, yet the subject of Bible prophecy was not something that ever piqued their interest, until Covid. That finally intrigued them enough that to want to know more.

patient in hospital by medscape.com

patient in hospital by medscape.com

There are so many that are like my neighbors. I was grateful for the opportunity to share, and praised God since they left our home certain that should the Rapture occur before we meet again, they would be joing us, and not be left behind. Their church, like countless others, never addressed the issue of prophecy. 

Just as Nicodemus came to Jesus in John Chapter 3, they came seeking and left satisfied with answers, and also much to process.

It is always a privilege to enlighten someone in Christ, and a delight to see their eyes shine as they discover new things in the Bible, things they had missed heretofore.

Today, I will tell you about the Rapture! It is a topic that many of you may be well familiar with, while others of you may find this entirely new, eye-popping, truly far fetched, even crazy . . . but I hope you will indulge me and read on.

At the point that we are in our study of Matthew 24 I believe it is time to tell you about the Rapture. It is essential knowledge for it is a tremendous Hope-carrier. 

Jesus spoke of this but many read these verses without realizing that He was speaking of the Rapture:

John 14: 1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. 2In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.(BSB)

This is a Rapture prophecy spoken by Jesus Himself. He makes it clear that He must go away so that He can prepare a place for us, and that when the place is ready He will return and take us with Him to the place where He lives, so that we can live with Him forever where He has a place for us. Now that place is surely Heaven, and He is speaking of coming to get us. This does not indicate that it is only individually when each of us dies, but we go together. This is what is confirmed by Paul the Apostle in:

 1 Thesslonians 4: 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.(ESV)

Paul makes clear this is for those that are alive at the time of Jesus sounding the trumpet, as well as those who have died before and whose bodies lie in the grave. He also makes clear that we will meet Him in the air, and then continue to be with Him forever.

I think this Gif expresses it superbly:

rapture gif from waywardsparkles.com

It will be so sudden, the World will be left speechless for a bit:

from youtube

The Bible tells us that when the World descends into chaos and things become so bad, that God will not leave His children unattended, He will judge the World, but also rescue His children.

Th signs I have told you about are and will be a result of humankind’s wrongdoing. Earth and nature groan under the weight of humankind’s sin:

Romans 8: 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until the present time.(BSB)

Note that the same analogy is used . . . like labor pains, just as Jesus used when speaking of end-times.

It may look like God has forgotten us, but He has not:

2 Peter 3: 9The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.(BSB)

But, when His patience runs out He will pour out His wrath upon the World.  That time is referred to as “The Tribulation,” and it will last exactly seven years, after we have been removed in the “Great Snatch/Harpadzo/Rapture.” I look forward to that every single day!

Imagine a toddler stepping off the curb and walking into traffic. The child does not have the ability to save himself/herself, but the fast thinking father jumps into action and quick grabs the child if only by the collar to pull him/her out of the way, and to safety. 

child rescue from dailysabah

child rescue from dailysabah

That is the concept of the Rapture. 

God being merciful to His own, yet He will punish the wicked as He must!

You may think it is a preposterous concept . . . 

Dr. Chuck Missler called it  “The most preposterous belief of Biblical Christianity.” The word Rapture in Greek is called Harpadzo. In the Latin Vulgate it was termed Rapturo. Dr. Chuck Missler would say this most preposterous belief in the Bible has one thing going for it . . . It is absolutely true. For the cynics he would add that the more you study your Bible the more you cannot get away from it.

The teaching is well illustrated in this short video:

The Bible speaks of this “Snatching away” in a number of places:

Now you may wonder why at this juncture in this series would I move away from Matthew 24 and interject this strange teaching. Here is why: When Jesus speaks of His second coming to the Earth, He gives a number of signs that would indicate the time was near. None of those signs were ones that would make anyone happy.

He could have said: Things will be great. The Earth will prosper, and there will be peace all around. People will love one another and live peacably. There will be no more war. No earthquakes, storms or volcanoes. He could have even said mankind will have such advances in medicine that there will be no more sickness or disease. No more children crying in pain, no more mothers bereaved of their children, no more abuse of any kind, no more animals abused as well. But He didn’t . . . because He knew that humans left to their own devices are actually capable of anihilating humankind and everything else. The Bible says:

Jeremiah 17: 9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?(BSB)

So, how can one hope that humankind will find all solutions necessary to heal the Earth and all that dwell on it and in the oceans to make it a forever paradise. The human heart is deceitful, infected with sin, and hopelessly so. Even ones that you might think are great benefactors and great philanthropists in the World looking out for your good and the good of all humanity, are really not as selfless and humble as you think.

The last two years of dealing with a Worldwide plague (Covid) has made that clear to any that will open their eyes and have listening ears. Every  bit of corruption in every government around the World has been laid bare for the discerning to see. Even in the medical establishments, so much has been revealed that one has a very difficult time trusting any doctor or medicine. Do you trust the scientists completely? They can’t determine their own minds as to the treatments veracity, to mask or not to mask, how many doses, lockdown or no lockdowns, how can they be relied upon by masses around the World? At best, you have genuinely well meaning leaders, scientists and doctors . . . but if you are blessed with that, then you see them admitting their own limitations with humility.

These last two years that have brought the World to it’s knees should make you aware that if the World has any hope, that hope must be only in God!

So, Jesus gave us the signs foretelling how bad things would be in the days prior to His coming, but He also gave the hope of the Rapture. Paul writes:

I Thesslonians 4: 18Therefore encourage one another with these words(ESV)

Think about this also: Why would He need to come at all, if humankind had everything under control? If all could be fixed by humans, then humans would be god!

No . . . that will never be!!!

So, when things look the bleakest God Himself has no choice but to intervene because of His great love for humanity as well as the Earth He created and all that is in and on it. To rescue the innocent, and to judge the wicked falls to Him.

His righteousness demands justice for the opressed. When man in his arrogance, aided and abetted by the devil himself, thinks himself equal to God and determines he can do anything his wicked heart desires, bringing pain and misery upon the whole planet causing immense suffering to humans and animals, and the Earth itself, then God’s wrath can no longer suffer patiently. He is longsuffering, but He is not blind or deaf. He hears the cries of the hurting, and sees the pain they are in.

2 Peter 3:  9The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.(BSB)

God is love, but love that does not punish the wicked only causes suffering to the innocent. He must judge and punish.

The signs that Jesus has given thus far in our studies are not signs that say He is judging the Earth, these are the result of man’s sin.

Wars . . . rumors of wars.

Nation against nation.

Kingdom against kingdom.

Famines/shortages are a result of war.

Pestilences likewise. Our world is so intertwined today, that a war, or disturbance in China causes supply chains to breakdown around the World resulting in empty shelves and scarcity in other countries around the World.

If Russia invades it’s neighbor, the results are felt around the World. Gas prices rise around the globe, heating costs go up for everyone,

If the winters are severe and storms batter the land in the US, the World economies are affected. What happens on Wall Street in New York impacts markets worldwide.

So, now you know the WHY of the Rapture as well as the HOW, and approximately WHEN! I will say much more on this in coming posts, but for now let this be sufficient to get you thinking and making sure you are ready to go. Being left behind will almost certainly be deadly, and absolutely certainly miserable living.

Start with receiving Him as your personal Savior, and then find a Bible believing and teaching group to learn and grow with. You will be saving your own life by placing it in His care.

Blessings!

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