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The Rapture: What & When - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2024 5:00 am

The Rapture: What & When - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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February 5, 2024 5:00 am

Pastor Skip concludes his message about the rapture of the church with some fresh encouragement about the marvelous day that’s coming for you.

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There's coming a day at the rapture of the church, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, that every believer, dead or alive, will be changed and made incorruptible. This is the sudden transformation of raptured believers. Some dead, some alive, everyone changed.

Here's some fresh encouragement about the marvelous day that's coming for you. But first, here's a resource that will give you assurance that God's plan for Israel is already in action and will never fail. How have conflicts and wars in the Middle East set the stage for a future apocalypse? That's the question Ron Rhodes takes head on in his new book.

Listen to this. What do you see coming in the next five or six years that might do injury to the church? And without hesitation, I said, I really feel like we're going to see an explosion of subjectivism, experientialism, and mysticism, along with occultism and some paganism. How conflicts and wars in the Middle East have set the stage for the end times? This new book by Ron Rhodes addresses issues such as understanding Islam, rebuilding the temple, and the annihilation campaign from the Antichrist.

Here's Ron Rhodes commenting on Middle East events. Did you know that in Revelation 2 and 3, we read about the church 19 times? And then in the discussion on the tribulation in chapters 4 through 18, you don't see the church a single time.

It is gone. In 1 Thessalonians 1 verse 10, we are told that the church is to be delivered from the wrath to come. That word delivered literally means snatched, snatched away from.

We are to be snatched away from the wrath to come, which is a reference to the tribulation period. With your gift of $50 or more to Connect with Skip Heitzig, you'll receive a copy of this new book from Ron Rhodes. Your gift will support the production and expansion of the Connect with Skip broadcast. Call 1-800-922-1888 or go online to connectwithskip.com with your donation, and we'll thank you with a copy of Ron Rhodes' new book, How Conflicts and Wars in the Middle East Have Set the Stage for the End Times.

That's 1-800-922-1888 or connectwithskip.com. All right, now let's turn to 1 Thessalonians 4 as Skip begins today's message. Paul believed that Jesus could come back soon at any moment. He believed that it was an imminent return because Jesus told us to look for it, wait for it, be ready for it. So some will be alive, some will be dead at the rapture, but everyone dead or alive is going to experience change, radical change. Turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians, if you will, 1 Corinthians 15.

Just turn left, go down a few streets. 1 Corinthians 15, that lengthy chapter on the resurrection. I want you to look at a couple of verses with me. 1 Corinthians 15, verse 50.

Yes, it's that long of a chapter. Verse 50. Now I say, this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery. Mystery is something that was hidden in the Old Testament, revealed in the New.

I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep. There's coming a period of time, a time when not everyone's going to die. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. By the way, I heard of a church who cleverly put this saying above the church nursery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.

Oh, that's a little out of context since he's speaking of resurrection. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. You know, the twinkling of an eye is pretty fast. It's not the blinking of an eye. That's like a third of a second. But the twinkling of an eye is light bouncing back and forth. When you see a reflection of a twinkle in an eye, light travels at 186,000 miles per second.

So a twinkling of an eye is just a split second. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruption must put on incorruption. This mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. It's coming a day at the rapture of the church in a moment in the twinkling of an eye that every believer, dead or alive, will be changed and made incorruptible.

This is the sudden transformation of raptured believers, some dead, some alive, everyone changed. To get into heaven, you have to meet the qualifications. There are three basic qualifications for you to get into heaven. Qualification number one, you have to be a sinner. Let me tell you, you all qualify.

Don't we? We all qualify. Number two, you have to be a forgiven sinner.

That you have to ask for. That you have to commit to. You have to be a sinner. You have to be a forgiven sinner. Third, you have to be a resurrected saint. A forgiven sinner is a saint. A resurrected saint gets to heaven. So to get to heaven, you have to be a sinner, a forgiven sinner, and if you're a forgiven sinner, you'll be a resurrected saint. So those are those who will be involved in this. Those are the participants. Let's kind of go through this and look at the particulars now. There's four distinct stages or components to this event we call the rapture.

And so I've written down, and they're in your outline folder, four little words that sum it up. Return, ruckus, resurrection, rapture. Look at the return, verse 16. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Notice it is Jesus Himself that is coming for His church. He'll return personally for His people. He said this to His disciples.

He said, if I go, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. So He's not leaving this gathering for His angels to do. He's going to do this Himself, which, by the way, differs from that other event we've been talking about, the second coming.

The second coming is vastly different. At the second coming, Jesus will send His angels to gather His elect, Mark 13. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with power and glory. Then He will send His angels and gather together His elect from the four winds and from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven. So the Lord Himself, and it says, will descend from heaven. He'll descend from heaven. Jesus has been in heaven ever since He ascended into heaven.

Anybody remember where that's found? Acts chapter 1. Jesus took them to the Mount of Olives, and He ascended into heaven in their sight. And they're standing up there looking into heaven. An angel finally has to come and say, you men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This same Jesus is going to come back in like manner as you've seen Him go into heaven. And when He descends from heaven personally, He is not coming alone. He's going to bring somebody with Him. Who's He going to bring with Him? All your dead relatives who were believers in Christ, every soul. Verse 14, God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

So that's return. Second, ruckus. Why do I call it ruckus? Well, look at verse 16. There's three auditory phenomena that are mentioned. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout. That's number one. With the voice of an archangel, that's number two. And with the trumpet of God, that's number three.

Sounds pretty noisy to me. First of all, a shout. Some translations say a command. Think of a general giving a command for troops to fall in, to get in line. Attention!

That kind of a command. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He did so with a shout. He walked up to the grave of Lazarus who had been dead and was decaying already after three days.

Because some of the people said, by now he stinketh. That's old King James. Jesus walks up to the grave where this body stinketh and cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And it could be at the rapture of the church that He'll say, come forth.

Some kind of a shout. Then there will be the voice of an archangel. Don't ask me which one, we're not told. There are a couple choices, Michael or Gabriel. They're the only two mentioned in the Bible. The Jewish lore says there are seven archangels. They named them, but there's no reference for them in the scripture.

There could be hundreds, thousands of them. Some archangel is going to add his voice to the shout of Jesus. And then it says, and the trumpet of God.

What's all that about? Trumpets were used for feasts, festivals, celebrations, battles. Trumpets were used to gather a crowd for some purpose. What a crowd will gather at this rapture. So return, ruckus, and then resurrection. It says the dead in Christ will rise first. Okay, pause for a moment.

Remember what I told you? That the Thessalonians were worried about their dead loved ones who had gone before. They're concerned of what's going to happen to them.

They missed this event. Will they be second-class citizens in heaven? So Paul says the dead in Christ will rise first.

He's explaining to them that believers who have died are not in any way inferior to those who will be alive at the time of this evacuation. In fact, they're going to be first in line. They will rise first. Their dead bodies, their decayed bodies will be glorified and then reunited with their spirits first.

That'll happen first. Today when a believer dies, the soul leaves the body. The soul goes to be with the Lord, is in the presence of the Lord, enjoys the presence of the Lord. But the body remains on earth.

And so we have a funeral and we dispose of the body either by burial or by, in some cases, cremation. But that soul continues to live on in consciousness awaiting a future resurrection. So when will the resurrection of the dead be? On the day of the rapture. Resurrection day is rapture day.

Rapture day is resurrection day. And on that day they will come from the depths of the sea. They will come from the battlefields. They will come from the country graveyards.

All the dead in Christ will rise first. Now, before we get into the rest and finish this off, let me just give you a couple little FYIs about your resurrected body. Number one, our resurrected bodies will be our earthly bodies but glorified. It's not like you get another body, a new body. It's the same body but it will be glorified. Jesus' resurrection body was His own body. It was not a new body. It was not another body. It was His body. There's a one-to-one correspondence between the body of Jesus that died and the body of Jesus that rose. Now, I get asked this question a lot. Why would God want to resurrect our bodies?

Who cares about those? Apparently, your redemption is not complete without a physical resurrection. Yes, He redeemed you from sin.

Yes, you are saved by grace. But in God's mind, that includes the promise of a future resurrection because your soul and your body are inextricably entwined together. So Romans 8.22, Paul said, We groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. It's part and parcel of redemption, a resurrected body.

So that's number one. Our resurrected bodies, they're going to be our earthly bodies but glorified. Number two, our resurrected bodies will have advanced properties. So people say, Well, how will I look? Better. Let's just leave it at that. Much, much better.

And you will have advanced properties. Since the Bible says our body will be like unto His own glorious body, just think about Jesus when He rose from the dead. He could pass through solid walls. John chapter 20, verse 19, remember the upper room scene?

The doors were shut, even locked. Jesus just kind of went right through. Also, Jesus could suddenly appear from out of nowhere. Luke chapter 24, He was walking on the road to Emmaus. Suddenly, He appeared with His disciples.

And it says, They were terrified, and suppose they had seen a spirit. And so Jesus said, Handle me, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones like you see that I have. It was His body, but it was a glorified body. Another peculiarity about this is that Jesus' body didn't just move horizontally. It could move vertically. Remember, He was standing on the Mount of Olives when the disciples watched Him go up, up, up, and away. He ascended into heaven.

Acts 1, 9. Our bodies will be like that. They will be real. They will be physical. They will be glorified.

They will have special properties. You will look much better. I will be Skip 2.0. I can't wait. So return ruckus, resurrection, and then forth and finally, there will be rapture. Rapture. And that's verse 17. Then, after that, then we who are alive and remain shall be, here's the word, caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.

Now somebody might say, Wait a minute. I didn't read the word rapture in that verse. That's because you're not reading the right translation. Anybody here with the Latin vulgate this morning?

Yeah, I didn't think so. So if you read it in the Latin vulgate, the word rapio is there. Rapio is where we get our word rapture. What does rapio mean?

What does rapture mean? It means to seize. It means to carry away instantly.

It means to snatch or to take. And rapio comes from the word that is found in the Greek New Testament. It's this word here, harpazo.

I put that up on the screen because that's the word that causes all the problems in the debate. Harpazo. It is translated here caught up.

Caught up. Harpazo, this word shows up in 13 verses in the New Testament. It is translated to catch up, to take by force, to catch away, to pluck, to catch, or to pull. It is used of a wolf snatching a sheep in John chapter 10. It is used of taking a kingdom suddenly and by force in Matthew chapter 11. And five times it refers to a supernatural moving of a person from one location to another location. So the best translation of harpazo is to snatch instantly, take away almost violently by force, and place them somewhere else. Five times a supernatural moving of a person from one place to another.

Let me give you a couple examples. In Acts chapter 8, Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch. And we are told this. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away. Harpazo caught Philip away so that the eunuch saw him no more. So he's there talking to a guy, baptizes the guy, and then afterwards, where'd he go? He got raptured. It says the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away so that the eunuch saw him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing, but Philip was found at Azotus. So he was supernaturally moved from somewhere in the desert with the Ethiopian eunuch to the coastal city of Azotus. Then there's Paul the Apostle. In 2 Corinthians chapter 12, he said, I don't know if I was in the body or out of the body, but he says this, caught up to the third heaven.

That's the word, harpazo. Caught up to the third heaven. Caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words not lawful for a man to utter.

Both times, the same word, caught up, supernaturally moving from one place to another. If you were to look in the Old Testament, there was a guy by the name of Enoch. It says Enoch walked with God and he was not for, anybody know the rest of the verse? God took him. Enoch walked with God and he was not for God took him. He was just gone. He just vanished. He was just taken by the Lord, escaping death into heaven. Then there was Elijah the prophet who was walking by the Jordan with Elijah, the guy who would take over for him, and Elijah was caught up into heaven in a whirlwind.

I realize, different situations, varying speeds, same idea. Now I want to, as we bring this to a close and we're meditating on this verse of the rapture, I want to tell you about a translation of the Bible that I'm about to put up in a minute, but I want to set it up first. So I have a four-volume set of books in my library by a scholar named Kenneth Wiest. Kenneth Wiest. Kenneth Wiest was a professor of Greek at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for years. He was one of the translators of the New American Standard Bible, a very revered standard translation of the New Testament. The four volumes that I'm talking about are called Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, and the last volume is The New Testament in Expanded Translation.

This Greek scholar wanted to take the verse 17 that we're looking at and expand it with all the nuance of Greek understanding to give us the best meaning of it. So here is the verse up on the screen. Then, as for us who are living, 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 as plain as it gets. We'll be caught up instantly to meet the Lord in the air, not in heaven, not on earth, in the air, and then we will be with the Lord. Now, keep in mind, when Jesus told his disciples, I'm leaving, but I'll be back, and I'll receive you to myself, it was deer in the headlights. They kind of looked at him and went, huh?

They didn't get it. But we have the benefit of a completed revelation. We have all of the New Testament.

We have the epistles. We have the Book of Revelation. And having the benefit of all of the revelation of God, we know that there are two stages, rapture and then second coming.

We're dealing with the first phase. And by the way, all of that happens descending from heaven with a shout, trumpet, voice of an archangel, dead believers being raised up, and us being raptured like this, instantly. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will all be changed. We will instantly go from mortal to immortal, incorruptible, supernatural. And we'll meet up with all our friends and relatives who love Jesus before us, who will also instantly be changed. I love that song. It's usually sung sort of in country churches.

It was penned in 1893 by James Milton Black. When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time will be no more, when the morning breaks eternal bright and fair, when the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore, when the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there. I'll be there. You'll be there. We all be there if we believe in Him.

That concludes Skip Heitzig's message. From the series that end is near, find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now, listen as Skip shares how you can connect more people around the world with the timeless truth of God's Word.

The return of Christ and His ultimate victory over evil is our greatest reason for hope. We want more people around the world to find rest and hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ and His promise to return for us one day. And you can help make that happen through your gift today to keep these messages that you love coming to you and to others. Would you help make that happen with a gift today? Here's how you can give. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Come back tomorrow as Pastor Skip begins a message to encourage you not to worry about the future. We are on a collision course with destiny. And you can't afford to be ignorant about the future. Don't want you to be scared about the future. Don't want you to be alarmed about it. Don't want you to be worried about it. But you do need to be ready for it. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-09 14:01:38 / 2024-02-09 14:11:06 / 9

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