Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church Lexington, KY. Pastor Earl Thomas
Pleasant Ridge Baptist ChurchLexington, KY. Pastor Earl Thomas

THE COMING RAPTURE                 

John 14:1-6 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were notso, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you,I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

   Intro: do we really believe what the bible says about Jesus coming back to earth again, a second time? Yes, it’s in the book! This has been theologically termed the, RAPTURE and the REVELATION. But we are not to confuse the rapture with the revelation which will take place about 7 years later.

 

  1. THE RAPTURE CONSISTS OF THE RAISING

OF THE DEAD IN CHRIST AND CHANGING THE LIVING.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (means go before) them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 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. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

   The rapture is not a cold theory; for bible believers it is an unquestionable FACT. Application of this truth can transform our lives. Therefore, it is not meant to paralyze our spirits, but to energize us for active service.

   We must live in the light of this great truth, not fearing, but longing to experience it; to see the Savior in whose love we have been made to share.

   Only the unsaved need to dread the rapture. Such people will be left behind to endure the wrath of the great tribulation. It is either, rapture or wrath. Take Christ as your Savior and be raptured; reject Him and be sorry.  

   Keep in mind the bible makes a distinction between Christ’s coming before the tribulation FOR His redeemed, we call the RAPTURE, and His coming at the end of the tribulation WITH His redeemed ones, we call the REVELATION.

   The angel messengers reminded the apostles of Jesus‘ promise to return, Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

   Only those who deny Christ’s bodily ascension could consider His descent in like manner as impossible. Those who deny Christ’s deity, vicarious atonement, and bodily resurrection, do NOT want Him to return.

   Those who deny the imminent return of Jesus Christ to earth do so because of two primary reasons, ignorance and unbelief. Jesus spoke of such people when he said, “ye do err not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Matt 22:29)

   The initial phase of Christ’s second advent to earth is commonly called the rapture. The Latin root means “to snatch away.” This corresponds exactly to the “caught up” of I Thess 4:17.

  1. This is the raising of the dead in Christ only and the

Change and removal of the living who are saved people. Only the bodies of the dead who were saved in life will be raised at this time. Together with the living saints they will be raptured by Jesus up to heaven where they will live and be rewarded. This is a private event, no one will see or hear this except the saved.

   The world will quickly realize that many are missing. Some will have heard the message and understand what has taken place and the prophesied times of tribulation about to ensue. When the tribulation on earth is over Jesus will come back bringing the saints with Him at his earthly REVELATION to RULE AND REIGN, AS KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORD’S, that is public when “every eye shall see Him.”

  1. The bodies of the unsaved, unconverted lost dead

who lived life as sinners and died children of wrath, remain in the graves for at least the next 1007 years, then they will be raised to stand before the Great White Throne judgment of Almighty God.

  1. Paul’s special term to describe the dead in Christ

was “them who sleep in Jesus.” It is only used in the bible to describe the death of born again believers. It is their body that sleeps, not their souls which have gone to be with Jesus in Heaven.

  1. There is a promise and a procedure here.

   Unnecessary heartache and worry is often caused by ignorance. The church at Thessalonica was confused and needed enlightenment. Paul promised by the word of the Lord that their dead in Christ would accompany Jesus when he returned to earth as He promised to do.

   1 Thessalonians 4:2 For ye know whatcommandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus…. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.”

   To be “asleep in Jesus” does not mean the false doctrine of “soul sleep” in the grave with the body until the resurrection. According to this next scripture which in preceding verses described dying, that doesn’t happen, Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

2 Corinthians 5:1-8 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that,whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

   Christ “brings” these saints with Him from heaven, not from the grave. They will be brought back with Jesus to receive their resurrected, glorified bodies, the same as that of Jesus, from the burial places around the globe.

   The Thessalonians were concerned about the future prospects of dead believers; now they could be comforted by the truth of the rapture. So Paul informed them of the comforting truth which touched upon the living as well as the dead believers.

   Living Christians are the “called out ones” still in the world, but not of the world, to serve Him. At the rapture, we will be the “called up ones” to live together with Christ, so shall we ever be with the Lord. John 14:3, “…I will come again to receive you unto myself….” will be fully accomplished.  

   Paul speaks of hearing “the shout.” This may be like the event of Lazarus being called forth out of the grave, John 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” If Jesus had not specified the name Lazarus, I suspect all the dead buried there would have risen also. This will be the shout that raises the dead; dead ears will hear; and dead bodies will rise to new life. Jesus is going to shout us out of our graves; out of this present evil world, up to His heavenly palatial home never to be separated from Him again.

   This was not the only time that Jesus spoke to the dead and they awoke. Luke 7:14 and other places, we read the accounts of a weeping widow in a funeral procession to bury her only son. When Jesus saw her grief, “And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” The shout may be in the words of Rev 4:1, “…com up hither…”

   With God all things are possible, He has “all power in heaven and in earth.” In fact, although it may be difficult for some to believe, every human being ever born has a destiny of future resurrection. Jesus confirmed it, John 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (Gr.word mns: condemnation, damnation, judgment)

This is NOT one general resurrection composed of all the saved and lost dead, but is describing two separate ones. As I have mentioned, the rapture and the revelation are the two separated events of Christ’s Second Advent to earth.

   The first resurrection, the rapture of the dead bodies in Christ and the living saints, occurring before the seven years of tribulation.    

   The second resurrection is of the lost, unconverted, unsaved and unbelieving deadoccurring after the tribulation years and the millennial reign of Christ on earth. They will not be resurrected until after the thousand years of Christ’s reign on earth are finished, Revelation 20:5-6 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This isthe first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

   What is the power of the “second death” in those verses? It is the sentencing to eternal damnation of all the lost dead at the Great White Throne Judgment.

In Revelation 20:11-15 you are going to read about the second resurrection of the dead which pertains only to those who died as unbelievers. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the bookof life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: andthey were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

   Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, andunbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

   The whosoever will’s are now invited to come drink of the water of life freely and thus escape the second death. The whosoever won’ts, will not be found in the book of life; however, the book of works will condemn them to an eternal hell for the punishment of their sins against the God who created them.  

   Jude 1:14-16 is speaking about the Revelation of Jesus to the world at the close of the great tribulation, “ And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; ….”

  

II THE PROCEDURE TO TAKE PLACE.

When will the world as we know it come to an end?

Matthew 24:6,14-31 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. ..….14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. …. 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. …29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (the Revelation with His saints) See also, Revelation 19:11-16

   Matthew 24:33-39 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near,even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

   Please remember that the dead in Christ and living believers will be caught up to heaven by the Lord Jesus when all this turmoil is happening on earth. The bible teaches that God’s children will not suffer the wrath of the great tribulation years, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead,even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

   I believe this to be the meaning of Revelation 3:10-11 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold,I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”

   The MANNER of it in summary. In the rapture:

Jesus will bring with Him the souls of the saints whose bodies have been sleeping in the graves. Jesus will call out their dead bodies from the graves first (most of them have 6 feet further to go), and reunite them soul and body; I Thess 4:14. Immediately then, the living saints on earth will not die but be changed in a moment from a mortal body to an immortal body. Together we rise to meet the Lord in the air!

   1 Corinthians 15:51-58 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal mustput on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where isthy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin isthe law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

   Paul mentions only the sound of the trumpet here, but in I Thess 4, he name all three important sounds, “the shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God.” A whole lot of celestial sounds going on at that time. The world will not hear or see any of it; only the dead in Christ, the living saved will hear and see it. Are your ears open brothers and sisters?

   Don’t you like the thought of never having to die? My hope has always been to meet Jesus before that time comes. How about you? I’d rather receive a call from the uppertaker, than from the undertaker, amen!

   Do you know that there have been two men in the bible who NEVER died, but went to heaven by the miracle of translation? Don’t ask me to explain how it was done.

  1. Enoch was one such man. Genesis 5:24 And Enoch

walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

Enoch lived in the wicked days before the flood. He was removed supernaturally without dying. He is a type or picture of those who will be raptured before the tribulation judgments fall upon the earth.

  1. While Israel was in a state of apostasy Elijah was

taken into Heaven supernaturally from this world without dying. 2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold,there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”

  1. What a meeting in the air will be our rapture.

Our union with Him at that time will be glorious beyond our wildest imagination. Face to face with Jesus.

“There is coming a day when no heartaches shall come
No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye.
All is peace forevermore on that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be. What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon His face, The One who saved me by His grace; When He takes me by the hand And leads me through the Promised Land, What a day, glorious day that will be.”

   That’s worth singing about isn’t it, amen!

   What a glorious prospect, 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

   Our glorified bodies will not be limited by natural or physical laws. We’ll need no booster rockets to get into space, no space suit, or space platforms from which to make the journey into upper space to meet the Lord.

  1. Forever with Christ. “so shall we ever be with the

Lord.” The Bride, the N.T. Church and the Bridegroom Jesus together forever.

   This is an indescribable joy of fellowship forever with Jesus. This is our blessed hope, Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” It is no wonder that Paul tells us in I Thess 4:18 to “comfort one another with these words.”

   I once heard that D. L. Moody sent a student to the most wicked part of Chicago to conduct street preaching. “Do the best you can” said Moody. “Some night Ill come down and help you.” It was that promise which kept the young preacher doing his best, lest Moody would find him negligent at the job. How much more ought our Lord’s coming inspire, encourage and constrain us to do a great job in our church ministries.

   The Apostle John expressed the hope, anticipation and longing of every dedicated Christian when he prayed, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.” Jesus said, “Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” Is this the desire of our lives?

   Do you fear or love the thought of His appearing? If you lack salvation as a lost sinner “today is the day of salvation.” Whosoever will is invited to God’s grace through Christ Jesus the Savior of sinners who trust Him. Revelation 22:17 …. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Jesus is that water!

   If you are not living a separated life from the world and have become a backslidden child of God, you will NOT yearn for His coming. You will be ashamed. 1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

   Here’s what you ought to do today, SERVE and WAIT. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”



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Revelation 11:17 "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned." 

 

SERVICES:

SUNDAY MORNING:

Sunday School 9:30
Worship 10:30

 

SUNDAY EVENING:



Choir Practice 5:00



Men’s Prayer 5:15



Evening Worship 6:00

 

WEDNESDAY EVENING:

Men’s Prayer 6:15

Sermon 7:00