What is the Rapture of the Saints?

13Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

There are some Christians who do not believe that there will be a rapture of the saints. I don’t know how they get around the plain understanding of these verses. Sure, I agree with them that the word rapture is not found in the Bible. The word Rapture is a word we use to describe the church, the people of God, being caught up to heaven. The English word comes from the Latin word rapere, meaning rapid. The Latin word rapere is from the original Greek word harpazō, translated as “caught up” in the New International Version and King James Bible, as in the passage above. Harpazō means: “to strip, spoil, snatch. To seize upon with force; to rob. It is an open act of confiscatory violence…to snatch or tear away, yank away, pluck out of, remove by swiftly and aggressively grasping.”[1] There is coming a time when the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout (how those that have refused and scorned His grace and act of love will tremble), and at that instant we will be snatched from this earth and changed as we are gathered together to be forever with Him. It goes along with what Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the change in our nature: Continue reading

What is the Great Tribulation?

15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again (Matthew 24:15-21).

Many of you have heard of the time that is called the “great tribulation”(KJV), translated as “great distress” in the New International Version of the Bible. Jesus in the passage above warned us about this time. He said that an event He called the “Abomination of Desolation” would precipitate this time of great distress in Israel, and the rest of the world too. So the first big question for us to consider is, what is meant by the term ‘great distress or great tribulation? What will happen at that time? Continue reading

Deception on Earth.

21At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time (Mark 13:21-23).

How can we recognize deception when we encounter it?

Scripture is very clear that a person will come onto the world scene in the days, months or years ahead that will set himself up as the Messiah or Christ.  He will be a master of deception; our passage in Mark tells us.  He will be a charismatic leader that will solve complex problems on the world scene.  I personally think he will solve the Arab Israeli conflict, because we are told that he will set himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God and demand to be worshiped (2 Thessalonians 2:4).  Of course, this means Continue reading

What On Earth Are You Building?

As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these tremendous buildings! Look at the massive stones in the walls!” Jesus replied, “These magnificent buildings will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another” (Mark 13:1-2).

Herod’s Temple was one of the Wonders of the World in its day.  In the time of Christ it had been in the building for 46 years (John 2:20) and as Christ was talking, the building had still not been completed.  The Jewish people were very proud of Herod’s Temple; it was one of the ways that Herod was trying to win his way into the Jewish people’s heart, even though he lived an ungodly life.  I have lived in Jerusalem for more than a year and a half of my life and many times have walked up on the Temple Mount and reflected on the fact that every stone was literally thrown down just as Christ prophesied.  It was totally destroyed in 70A.D. by the Roman General Titus.  Josephus the historian speaks of more than a million Jews were killed while the Romans set fire to the Temple.  The gold of the Temple melted into the cracks between the bricks so every brick was separated, looting the gold and throwing the large magnificent stones from the Temple Mount. Continue reading

God at Work Through Rejection

10Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone (Mark 12:10).

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to go through experiences like betrayal and rejection? When God planned out how He would woo his bride to Himself, way back before the foundation of the world, don’t you think He could have planned not to have Judas betray Him?  Was it so necessary to have His Son experience the cold shoulder of the Jews when they shouted at Pilate, “we have no king but Caesar?” Why would God allow His Son to be rejected of men?

Isaiah the prophet wrote about Christ more that 600 years previous to His coming saying, Continue reading