The word “rapture” is actually the English word derived from the Latin word “rapido,” which means to be “caught up.” It is the translation made from the original verb “harpazo” found in the Greek manuscripts.
“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, and with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After 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.” (I Thessalonians 4:16, 17)
We will be “caught up in the clouds” or raptured at the sound of the trumpet. It is nearly impossible for our natural minds to comprehend such an extraordinary event, but as surely as the Lord lives, it shall happen. You must see it and believe it in your spirit. Beloved, if the Word of God says it, then the Father shall perform it.
THE RAPTURE IS OUR GREAT RESCUE
Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He warned of the impending judgment of God. He shared the truth and prepared his loved ones. Learn from the life of Noah. You are the “good man” of your house, the “watchman” for your family. Share the knowledge of the Holy Spirit and His infilling power. It is His infilling power that empowers a believer unto righteousness. You are the Noah of this generation. God’s judgment is coming upon the whole earth, upon all who are not prepared. It is your vital walk of obedience to share this truth regardless of the consequences. It is for you to share with your family, your loved ones. You are the “good man” of your house.
“But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.” (Luke 12:39, 40)
Jesus was careful not to reveal the time of His return to the specific day or the hour… for only the Father knows that. Jesus did, however, tell us in parable and prophecy that we will know the season in which to be watching and be ready. In the days of early Israel, every camp was assigned a night watch to protect against attacking armies or thieves. Jesus says if we knew what “watch,” or we could say what season or time to be looking for Him, we would prepare ourselves and be ready. Jesus adds that we would also be able to keep our families from missing the “rapture” as well.
The word “watch” means being ready, preparing and sharing the knowledge of the hour in which we are living. It means stepping out of our comfort zones with the truth about the world in which we live, sharing the urgency of the hour – like Noah – with family and friends and seeing the world through our spiritual eyes, seeing it for the condition it is really in. Our natural eyes cannot and never will be able to comprehend the season of His coming.
KEEP LOOKING FOR HIS COMING
“Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked (unrighteous, unsurrendered, lukewarm) will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” (Daniel 12:10)
Again, the conditions are set for the obedient follower of Christ. Only the “wise” (the wise virgins) will understand and know that their redemption draws nigh. The “lukewarm,” unrighteous and unsurrendered will have their eyes on the world and won’t see the signs of the times.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of My mouth.” (Rev. 3:15, 16)
The understanding of hot or cold is used here in reference to value or usefulness. A cup of coffee is good only when it is hot; a glass of drinking water is good only when it is cold. The “hot or cold” Jesus is referring to is not whether you are alive or dead, but whether you are of any value at all! In the parable of the “talents,” Jesus gives us the same kind of example. He clearly illustrates that someone who receives the “talents” – the gift of eternal life – and “hides it in the ground” (Matthew 25:18) or does nothing with it is in jeopardy of losing even that which he has received.
“Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:28,30)
Beloved, do you realize the importance of your receiving Christ as your Savior – and Lord? Your salvation is not a “spiritual pill” which you take once to cure your sin. Yes, in a moment, Jesus forgives you of every sin. But your life continues, and your new spirit man requires the ever-abiding presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He empowers you to endure life’s hardships, overcome your old sinful nature and grow into the likeness of Christ.
Jesus said, “He who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
The writer of Hebrews also makes the distinction for those who would be ready for His coming:
“So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are (“looking” KJV) for Him.” (Hebrews 9:28)
In the truest sense of the original Greek, Jesus is coming for those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness—those who are looking (preparing) for His coming. There is a great difference between waiting for something and looking for it. There is expectancy and preparation for its arrival. The Father desires that we have our hearts yearning to be with our Bridegroom – just as a new bride yearns for her wedding night.
THERE IS TRIBULATION COMING
Tribulation is about to come upon the whole world. Why? Because He loves us.
“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.” (Hebrews 12:6)
Great hardship is coming to help people get ready – to help prepare the bride.
“My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You. When Your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness, they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the Lord.” (Isaiah 26:9, 10)
As the world presses forward in its quest for success and self-satisfaction, the elect of God are being prepared. Trials and tribulations are molding our spirits, perfecting our character, strengthening our faith and preparing us for the “wedding of the Lamb.” Our robes are being washed, and our hearts are being purified. This is the time in which we can truly learn His peace, His patience and enter into His rest.
ARE YOU READY?
The rapture is the Lord’s spiritual “limousine ride” to the WEDDING BANQUET of the Lamb. But it is a wedding with a dress code; all who attend must be wearing garments cleansed from sin. The “limo” driver is the Word of God. Only those whose sins have been covered by the blood of the Lamb, and whose hearts have been purified with love and obedience to His Word through the infilling of His Spirit, will take that glorious ride into the clouds and enter the wedding banquet.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come but they refused to come…they paid no attention and went off – one to his field, another to his business. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes…the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1-3, 5, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14)
The rapture is an event that God has promised and deemed necessary in order to accomplish His returning judgment of Satan and his followers. He has chosen to spare the righteous children of God from the final judgment of sin. In judging Satan and the rebels who follow him, God is going to bring death, destruction, disease, unbearable pain and despair upon the earth – like never before! The “rapture” is God’s way of taking His loved ones out of harm’s way.
“Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)
“They will be Mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up My treasured possession (the bride). I will spare them (from the Great Tribulation), just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” (Malachi 3:17, 18)
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)
END OF CHAPTER 2