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The Rapture—Is It Real?

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
December 29, 2022 5:00 am

The Rapture—Is It Real?

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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December 29, 2022 5:00 am

The word rapture is largely not found in Scripture, but the concept is. Learn about this future event as Skip shares the message "The Rapture—Is It Real?" from the series 20/20.

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At the rapture, Jesus comes in the air, and we meet him in the air.

We will ever be with him, 1 Thessalonians 4. But at the second coming, Jesus comes from heaven through the air, that is through the atmosphere, all the way to the earth again. At the rapture, he comes to claim his bride. The second coming, he comes with his bride.

Jesus is going to return one day, and he'll be coming for his people. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip explores the moment when Jesus returns for his church, a major event of which you can be a part. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will take you into Skip's catalog of works and grow your understanding of scripture even more. Skip often has the privilege of hosting guest speakers, guests like Franklin Graham and Lee Strobel, who've become great friends to Pastor Skip Heitzig in this Bible teaching ministry.

Here's another, our friend Levi Lusko. What's life with Jesus like? It's life, not without storms, but going through storms with an anchor, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil. An anchor for the soul.

What a wonderful thing. Skip and Friends is a CD or digital package of messages from five friends, plus five special teachings by Skip. It is yours as our thank you gift for your gift of $50 or more to help connect others to the hope and truth found only in God's word.

With your gift of $50 or more, we'll send you the Skip and Friends collection of 10 messages on CD or give you digital access. For example, here's our friend Eric Metaxas. The evidence for God is astonishing. The evidence from science has piled up so dramatically that I'm here to tell you it's absolutely no contest. Science points to the existence of God utterly dramatically in a way that it is as open and shut as any open and shut question ever could be.

And we're talking about science. Get your copy of Skip and Friends when you give online securely at slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Now, we're in John chapter 14 as we join Skip Heitzen for today's teaching. In my father's house are many mansions, rooms, abiding places. If it were not so, I would have told you I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself.

Notice the wording that where I am, there you may be also. In other words, I am coming back at some point to get you and take you to where I am. This most New Testament scholars believe that this is a reference of Christ to the coming for his church, the taking of his saints at the rapture. This is not the second coming. This is not the second coming. At the second coming, Revelation chapter 19, Jesus comes from heaven all the way to the earth. Jesus wouldn't have said this then. He would have said, at some point, I'm coming and I'm going to be where you are. He says, I'm going to take you where I am. He's going to come back and take us somewhere. So this is not the second coming.

This is something different. Now, these disciples didn't understand all of this. They didn't understand the nuance of the rapture and the second coming. When Jesus gave this message, he's not giving them a lesson in eschatology, and they're in no condition to receive it. They don't quite understand it all, and I get that. And he doesn't explain to them, but they will understand it.

And here's how I know, because they're going to write about it later on. They're going to get the full revelation later on. But let's just pause for a moment and consider the chronology, the timing, because now we have the benefit of the entire New Testament, and now we understand by looking at all of the passages that the coming of Christ in the future has two stages. Stage one, he comes in the air to take his church with him to be where he is, and then at some point, he comes with his church to the earth to set up his kingdom, second coming. Now, I want you to turn to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, the words of Paul the apostle that I said pre-Mark, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4.

This is the classic passage on this event. 1 Thessalonians 4 verse 13, but I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep. It seems every time Paul says, I don't want you to be ignorant, it's a doctrine upon which the church is majorly ignorant. I don't want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. Keep in mind, they thought, okay, you told us Jesus is coming, our loved ones have died, they're going to miss out on this event, so Paul corrects it. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, here's the special revelation I got from God, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep, those who have died. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

And thus we shall always be with the Lord, therefore comfort one another with these words. That is the rapture of the church. Some of you are thinking, I didn't read the word rapture in that passage. The word rapture isn't in the New Testament. The word rapture isn't in the Bible.

Well, it depends which version of the Bible you're reading. Yeah, if you're reading an English translation, it doesn't have the word rapture. If you were reading a Latin translation of the Bible, the word rapture is plainly there in this passage. The word rapturo, it's a Latin word from whence we in English get the word rapture. So the idea of the rapture and the word in Latin is certainly there. But notice the word caught up.

We will be caught up. That's the Greek word harpazo. It is a word used 13 times in the New Testament, harpazo. It's translated a variety of ways. Four times it is translated to catch up. Three times it is translated to take something by force. It is translated catch away twice. It is translated to pluck two times. It is translated once to catch and another once it is translated to pull. So you get the general idea. You're going to take something away.

You're going to snatch it quickly. I have a translation I brought with me called the Kenneth Weiss translation. This is a Greek scholar who wrote several volumes and this is his New Testament translation.

What he does, he takes every single Greek word and sentence, adds the richest and the nuance of the English translation and makes it as full as he can so that you'd understand the tenses, etc. So this is how he translates this verse in 1 Thessalonians 4. We shall be snatched away forcibly in masses of saints, having the appearance of clouds for a welcome meeting with the Lord in the lower atmosphere. That's pretty plain. That's pretty detailed. Even a casual study will show that there is a vast difference between the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ.

Let me run down a few of those to you. The rapture is when Jesus comes for his church. The second coming is when Jesus comes with his church. At the rapture, Jesus comes in the air and we meet him in the air and we will ever be with him, 1 Thessalonians 4.

But at the second coming, Jesus comes from heaven through the air, that is through the atmosphere, all the way to the earth again. At the rapture, he comes to claim his bride. At the second coming, he comes with his bride. Think of the Jewish wedding. At the rapture, the focus is Jesus Christ and his church.

At the second coming, the focus is Israel and the kingdom. At the rapture of the church, it is a sudden event. It is an unpredictable event.

It is a sign-less event. As Jesus said, or as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we shall be changed. Most people think, well, the twinkling of an eye, that's a 30th of a second. That's when your eye winks. No, it didn't say winking of an eye. The twinkling of an eye is different.

Twinkling of an eye is light traveling at 186,000 miles per second, bouncing off your eye. In other words, in a nanosecond, it's going to happen. We'll be with the Lord. Jesus referred to it in Matthew 24, therefore, you also be ready for the son of man is coming at an hour when you do not expect him. The second coming is different. Unlike the rapture, the rapture is unpredictable. The second coming is predictable. It will happen, I believe, seven years later, the second coming.

When there's a tribulation on the earth, when there's darkness on the earth, cataclysms on the earth, half the world's population on earth will die. That's Revelation 6 through 19. At the rapture of the church, only believers will see him.

We who are alive and remain will be caught up. At the second coming, every eye shall see him, we are told. Now, we're going to consider that next week, the second coming. So that's a brief chronology of his coming. The third aspect I want you to look at is the controversy of his coming. Notice in verse four, Jesus says, and where I go, you know, and the way you know. Thomas said, Lord, we don't. We don't know where you're going and how can we know the way? Understand the controversy here. The Jews at that time believed that the Messiah was coming, but the Jews believed the Messiah was coming once.

Not twice. He's coming. And when he comes, he's going to set up the kingdom. And the apostles were Jewish apostles. They were Jewish followers of Jesus. But that is their belief system. I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.

I believe that. And so, because he is the Messiah, he's going to set up his kingdom. He's going to come and take over. By the time of Jesus, Jewish people had a clearly formed eschatology already in place.

Let me give you the rundown. Number one, they expected before the coming of the Messiah, there will be a terrible time in the world. Terrible turmoil will happen. They believe that it already happened because the Romans occupied the land, took away their rights, forced them to do things they didn't want to do, tax them heavily.

They were under the oppression of the Roman yoke. Number two, after that, after the terrible time of turmoil, in the midst of that turmoil, a family of Jews came to the oil. A forerunner is going to come. An Elijah-like personality who's going to make an announcement that he's coming. That's why people were all excited about John the Baptist when he came down to the Jordan River. Number three, the Messiah would then appear. He would then establish his kingdom. He would defeat all of his enemies. And number four, scattered Jews from all over the world would flood into Israel.

Jerusalem would then be restored to a place of dominance and there would be world peace. That was sort of a fourfold eschatology that Jews at that time believed. The apostles were Jews. They believed that.

And probably they believed they were between phases one and three. To add fuel to that eschatological fire, just a few days prior to this meal, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the crowds proclaimed him Messiah. Blessed are you who come in the name of the Lord, Son of David. There was an uproar, a furor. For the first time, everybody recognized he is the Messiah. So you got to understand the disciples were salivating at that point. They were going, this is it.

It's showtime. So the next logical step, they thought, is he's going to establish his kingdom. So Jesus, after the donkey ride, walks into the temple and looks around and then leave.

And it's like, wah wah. Oh, he didn't do anything today. So he does it again the next day. Talks to a few people, says a few things, and he leaves. Then he invites them to this passover.

At which time, he says, I'm leaving you. This is not what they expect. This is not what they anticipate. This is why there is trouble in their hearts. Even when Jesus dies and gets raised from the dead and he is with his disciples in Acts chapter one, they come to him and say, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? Are you going to now set up your kingdom? And Jesus said, you know, it's really not for you to know the times and the seasons that the Father has in his own authority.

You know, lighten up. So you got to know that their entire theology is going to change from this night forward. In the next few days, weeks, months, years, they're going to get it and they're going to understand, okay, Jesus is coming back. And when he comes back, he's coming back for his church. And then he's coming back with his church to the world.

They're going to see those two comings. Now, all of that to say this, Jesus coming was controversial. Today, Jesus coming is still controversial. I think everybody agrees that Jesus is coming, but not everybody agrees when Jesus is coming. And it's funny how we argue about that.

But we do, unfortunately. Some believe Jesus is coming in a pre-tribulation rapture before the tribulation begins. I happen to be in that camp strongly.

Others believe, no, that's wrong. He's coming in the middle of the tribulation. We call that a mid-tribulation rapture. Others say, no, he's coming at the very end, which is sort of the weirdest position because why would he take you up to only to bring you back down?

It's like you can hit each other on the way up. That's called post-tribulation rapture. So there's all sorts of, and there's probably another position we can throw in there called a pre-wrath position that before he really unleashes wrath on the earth, God is going to then take us up with him.

There's all sorts of different positions. It's okay to believe in them. I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. You can believe in anything you want. You're wrong. And I'm okay with you being wrong. I love you anyway, because it's not a cardinal doctrine.

It will not separate fellowship. You're wrong on so many levels, but that's okay. The fact that he is coming back, and we just need to say that those are okay. What's not okay is there are some people who believe that all of this is imaginative and spiritual, that Jesus and all these events the Bible talks about in the future really aren't going to happen. They already happen. It's called preterism, p-r-e-t-e-r-i-s-m, preterism. A preterist is somebody who believes that all of the events written about in Revelation chapter 6 through 19 already happened in 70 A.D. when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. It's all figurative language that already happened.

It's never going to happen again. And there's an extreme view of preterism that says Jesus already came spiritually. So they don't even make it physically and literally, even though the angels said to the apostles, the same Jesus you saw go on and on and on. The angel you saw go up will come back in like manner as you have seen him go. But there are those who believe he's not even coming and that all the events have already happened.

Well, that's pretty easy to prove wrong, right? Because if all the events in Revelation 6 through 19 have already happened, then there's got to be some record in history of half of the world's population being wiped out. I've not read that, have you?

I've not seen that in the first century, in Jerusalem, in Israel, in any subsequent century. There would be some oral thing passed down of all the cataclysms mentioned in Revelation having happened, and there is not. But his coming is controversial. I want to end on this because we're just sort of touching on all these things and not going too deep, but we have a time constraint. That is number four, the consequences of his coming, the consequences of becoming. Now, let's look at the last two verses of this paragraph. Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you're going, and how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I love this. I am the way.

The truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Now, I know we like to poke fun at Thomas. We like to chide him. We like to call him the apostle with a question mark for a brain, the apostle from Missouri, the show me state. I won't believe to you.

Show me. Can I just say I like his honesty? I think he is listening to Jesus. Peter doesn't get it because he's even said he doesn't get it.

Where are you going? Nobody's getting it, but maybe all of the other apostles are sort of like nodding their heads when Jesus is talking. Yeah, man. Yes, right on.

Man, that's so heavy. That's good. That's good.

Not Thomas. He goes, I don't get it. I have no idea what you just said.

I don't know where you're going, and if I don't know where you're going, I don't even know how to get there. And I'm really glad he piped up because Jesus gave a real good answer to his piping up, and we have it recorded, and I'm glad we do. Verse six, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Not everyone's going to make it to the Father's house. The rapture is a selective event. It is reserved for family only.

The Father's house. It's sad, but true. The Bible says God is not willing that any should perish. He didn't want anybody to perish eternally, die eternally. He's not willing that any should perish, that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. The sad truth is many do perish, even though that is not God's design or desire.

So not everyone's going to make it to the Father's house. Jesus says, I am the way, the truth, and the life. Now look at verse six and notice something about this. It's a very narrow-minded statement. It's a very dogmatic statement. He does not say, I am a way.

I am one of many ways. He does not say, I will show you the way. He does not say, I will teach you the way. He says, I am the way. I am the truth.

I am the life. No one gets to the Father except through me. Will you agree that that is not what most people think? What Jesus just said, most people do not agree with. Most people think if there's a heaven, pretty much everybody's going there. All you got to do to get to heaven is die. The actual truth is very few people make it to heaven. Not most, few. Matthew chapter 7, Jesus speaking, enter in by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many go in by it but narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.

Peter said in Acts chapter 4, nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Boy, that's narrow minded. Boy, that's dogmatic.

You know why it is? Because it's true. That's the nature of truth. Truth happens to be dogmatic. You know, I had a math teacher. She was so dogmatic. Two plus two in her mind always had to equal four.

If I said, yeah, but today I sort of feel like it could be five. You get it wrong. Oh, you're so dogmatic.

You're so narrow-minded. Yeah, I can afford to be because your answer is wrong and this happens to be right. Oh, by the way, your bank is very dogmatic. You might decide, I don't want to make the full payment. I'll just make $20 payment for my house this month.

Okay. They'll let you know that you are wrong in your assessment and they'll be narrow and dogmatic going forward. So, the good news is Jesus is coming back. The good news is Jesus is coming back. The bad news is Jesus is coming back.

And depending on who you are will determine if that's good or bad news. If you come to Jesus, you'll be introduced to the Father. If you're introduced to the Father, you'll get to the Father's house. If you don't come to the Savior, you'll never know the Father. If you don't know the Father, you will never get to the Father's house.

No one comes to the Father except through me. Christian, back to the bumper sticker. Jesus is coming. Look busy. Forget that. Look busy.

Forget that. Jesus is coming. Be busy.

Right? Work while it is day for the night is coming when no man can work, our Lord said. Now is the time to be busy about His business and not be overwhelmed with what's going on. Yes, to be diligent. Yes, to be responsible. Not to be overwhelmed. Not to be fearful. Not to be weighed down with trouble because of the certainty of the future. offering classes and ministry training classes like personal evangelism learn how to be a dynamic confident witness for jesus christ take evening classes on campus or anytime classes online an education from calvary college will impact your spiritual life for the rest of your life apply now at that's our heart for this broadcast is to help friends like you live an empowered life by the holy spirit grounded in god's word and connected to jesus every day that's why we share these bible teachings and right now you can help others experience that same god-empowered life through your support to connect more people to jesus so please call now to help share god's truth through your generosity just call 800-922-1888 to give a gift today that's 800-922-1888 or visit slash donate that's slash donate thank you tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzigs and shares what you can look forward to when christ returns to the earth say connect with Skip Heitzigen is a presentation of connection communications connecting you to god's never changing truth in ever-changing times
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-29 04:42:38 / 2022-12-29 04:52:13 / 10

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