Ref: Dclm Youth Search the Scripture
Text: 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Memory Verse: “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” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
The rapture will take place before the Great Tribulation and can happen any time from now. “In a twinkling of an eye [without a moment’s warning] the trumpet shall sound” “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” (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17). Rapture is the present expectation of the saints. It is the next event in the programme of God for the Church age. Every Christian youth is to learn about and get prepared for this great event in holiness and righteousness of life.
Point 1: RAPTURE: THE GREATEST EVENT OF OUR TIME.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Philippians 3:11,20,21.
“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” (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).
Rapture is the greatest event of all ages that the church is waiting for. It is the sudden catching away of all true believers in Christ to meet the Lord in the air. Christ, at the end of His first advent, was in like manner, taken up in the air to go and prepare a place for His own. The parting promise from God was that Jesus will return in like manner to receive His ‘Bride’ to be with Him forever (Acts 1:9-11; John 14:1-3).
The rapture is not the same as the second coming of Christ. At the rapture, Christ will appear in the air but He will not be visible to the inhabitants of the earth. His mission then will be to resurrect all dead saints, who, along with the living believers, will put on immortality and shall be caught up to be with Him in the air. This event will take place “in the twinkling of an eye”. This will take place before the great and terrible day of the Lord, when the wrath of God will be poured down from His cup of indignation without mixture. This event is called the Great Tribulation. The Second Advent will not take place until after the Great Tribulation.
“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, and of the end of the world? But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:3, 36). The time of the rapture is unknown; it will be heralded by the voice of the archangel and the blowing of trumpets signaling the end of the Church age (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15).
Point 2: RAPTURE: A MYSTERY TO OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS.
Isaiah 26:20; 9:6; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11,12.
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51).
The rapture was a mystery unknown to the Old Testament saints and prophets. God had expressed this great event in two different ways in the Scripture to assure us of its certainty. First, it was illustrated in Enoch and Elijah, the two living saints who did not taste death, but were translated in a moment of time and caught up in the air (Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11,12). Second, it was illustrated in Christ in the New Testament. He died, was buried and resurrected. While He talked with His disciples on Mount Olivet, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight (Acts 1:9-11).
The rapture which was a mystery to the Old Testament prophets marks the end of the Church Age, also referred to as the time of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24). However, known to God are all His works from the foundation of the earth. In His mercy, He interrupted His programme for Israel with the interpolation of Church Age. Christ, the Messiah came for His people but they rejected Him (John 1:11), and God turned to the Gentiles to take a people for Himself. The rapture will mark the end of this special period of grace. Does this mean that God has forsaken His people Israel forever? Far from it. God will resume His programme with Israel immediately after the rapture. Thus, ushering in the beginning of the Seventieth week in Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27).
Point 3: RAPTURE: ITS IMMINENCE AND OUR PREPAREDNESS.
1 John 3:1-3; Amos 4:12; Hebrews 10:37; Matthew 24:5-12,30-39).
“For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).
Any moment from now, the trumpet shall sound and He that shall come will come and will not tarry. It is very certain that Christ is coming back again. He assured the Church of the certainty of His coming (John 14:1-3). Angels proclaimed it; apostles and saints throughout the ages preached it. All the signs of His coming are daily being fulfilled.
Christ, answering a pertinent question asked by His disciples on “…What shall be the sign of thy coming…” (Matthew 24:3), gave in graphic detail what would be happening on earth shortly before His Second Coming (Matthew 24:5-12,30-39). He highlighted the following as what to expect:
(i) Many false christs will arise to deceive many unsuspecting believers; (ii) There will be wars and rumours of war.
(iii) Famines (global economic recession);
(v) Earthquakes in divers places;
(vi) There will be persecution of Christ’s followers and some cases of martyrdom;
(vii) The emergence of many false prophets;
(viii) Backsliding from the faith will be on the increase;
(ix) More people will be given to pleasure and merry-making than those seeking the Lord.
The Scripture also predicts the conditions, characterised by a system of denials, which will be prevalent within the visible Church, shortly before Christ’s return. There will be:
a denial of God (2 Timothy 3:1-5),
a denial of Christ (1 John 2:18; 4:3), a denial of Christ’s return (2 Peter 3:3,4),
a denial of the faith or Christian living (Jude 18), and
a denial of authority.
All these signs are being fulfilled before our very eyes.
To partake in the rapture, a youth must be genuinely born again, live a transparent holy life, walk daily in the light, do service for God, watch and pray always (John 3:3; Hebrews 12:14; John 4:35-38; 9:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).
All the signs preceding the Second Advent of Christ are all fulfilled, a clear indication that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is very close and the time of the rapture is much closer. Sinning church members will not be able to go at the rapture, though saved before and baptized in water. Careless and compromising preachers will miss the rapture. It does not matter what Christian work they may have done in the past. All such people together with backsliders and sinners outside the church will be left behind to face the Great Tribulation.
Question 1: What do you understand by the term “Rapture”?
Question 2: When is the rapture going to take place?
Question 3: What are the signs to show that we are close to the time of the rapture?
Question 4: How can a youth get prepared for the rapture?