Titus 2:13, 14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
We are still here amidst all the predictions said we would be out of here on September 23, 2017. The truth is Jesus is coming and we still have a Blessed Hope, though nobody can set a date to it. Jesus indicated when He was on Earth that He would come again which was revealed before His Resurrection, “…I will come again and receive you unto myself…,” John 14:1 3. It was also revealed after His Resurrection Acts 1:9 11.
We as Christians will have a future physical resurrection and/or ascension like Jesus. This event is referred to as the “Rapture” of the Church. This word describes the moment when the Lord Jesus will come and take the saints with Him to Heaven. It is actually the first stage of His coming again which is “for us,” the Church, where we will meet Him in the air. It is the event where:
- The saints who have died before His coming will be reunited with their bodies which will be resurrected from the dead—to get an incorruptible, immortal, spiritual body.
- The saints who are living at His coming will have their bodies instantly transformed or changed to get an incorruptible, immortal, spiritual body.
The word “Rapture” is borrowed from the Latin Vulgate Bible, but it does not really appear in the Bible. The event that the word Rapture describes is in the Bible. The New Testament in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 describes this as being “caught up.” It is a comforting hope for the Believer.
We gain more information about the Rapture in the letters written to the Church. At His coming, there will be a resurrection of the dead saints and a transformation of the living saints. These two acts form one major event 1 Corinthians 15:51-58. The Rapture is a part of the mystery which is basically something not understood in the Old Testament but which is now revealed in the New Testament. That is why in the Old Testament and most of what is in the Gospels when they describe future events, they refer to the second stage of His coming which is when He will physically touch down on the earth (often called the Second Advent).
There are two stages of His coming again or His return.
- His appearing (for us) 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Comes for us to gather us, and we will meet Him in the air. Only Christians will see His appearing, hear the voice of the angel, the shout and trumpet; the destination: Heaven.
- His coming (with us) Revelation 19:11-16 Comes with us and physically touches the earth. Believers will be with Him; every eye shall see Him; the destination will be Earth; there will be physical changes in the sun, moon, and stars.
Our Blessed Hope or the Rapture should make us zealous of good works, not lax, lazy, or lawless. The Rapture is a purifying hope (1 John 3:3), because we will all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10 12):
- We will give an account of our actions 2 Corinthians 5:10.
- We will give an account of our motives 1 Corinthians 4:5.
- We will give an account of our words Matthew 12:36, 37.
- We will give an account of our works 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. The issue: rewards, loss of rewards, future responsibility.
We need to keep preaching the Gospel in all the world remembering that ALL unbelievers will appear before the Great White Throne Judgment Revelation 20:11-15. The issue will be their eternal destiny and damnation.