Will there be a Rapture of the Church?
Good day beloved saints of the Most High God, I greet you in the Glorious Name of Him who has saved us and sanctified us and set our feet in the direction of that Celestial City called New Jerusalem. We are going to be talking about a much debated subject that has through many ages past been a concern to many a Christian. That is the matter of, will there or is there a happening or event such as the “Rapture of the Church”.’ Let me answer that right at the beginning of this message. Yes, there is such an event or happening that will occur sometime in the not to distant future. Now I know that immediately some of you are going to be in an uproar, especially these precious people who say that such an event as we know it, the rapture’ will not take place or even those who once believed that this event will occur.
That is why we are going to attempt with the help of the scriptures pertaining to this to bring the truth to you. And I pray that when we are finished that those who have had doubts and concerns will have a better understanding of this subject and very important happening. The Apostle Paul amongst others makes mention of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ on several occasions. But let’s mention the following before we see what the Word of God says. It has been debated countless times through the ages since the Apostles penned this, concerning the Rapture. It has been debated whether the “Church of Jesus Christ” will be present here on earth, or whether the church will be “raptured or caught up” to escape the terrible wrath of God during this time known as the ‘Great Tribulation or the time of Jacobs trouble.’ And for sure there are some who have their own Bible opinion, with many compelling arguments that can be supported with scripture. With the array of opinions\viewpoints on the issue of the rapture a few might\can be singled out for mention.
There are those who believe in Non-rapture, particularly the many ‘modern denominations’ that have totally rejected any such event will take place. These denominations because of their literal interpretation of Scripture have totally suppressed any consideration of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ returning physically to earth again to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Therefore it is no surprise that they reject the idea that His Church will rise to meet Him in the clouds at the times of His return.
Then there are those who believe in the Pre- tribulation rapture. These are they who believe what the Apostle Paul speaks of and teaches concerning this event as spoken of in 1Thessalonians 4: 13-18. They believe that the Lord will return seven years prior to His physical return to the Mount of Olives as told in Revelation 19 [and Daniel and other scriptures].
Then we have them that have the view of a Mid-tribulation rapture, supporting the position of Jesus returning for His Church somewhere around the mid-point of the Great Tribulation period.
Lastly we have them who believe in a Post-Tribulation rapture, who teach that the Church will remain here on earth for the Great Tribulation, and only after the survivors of this period will “rise to meet Him in the air” and then land upon the Mount of Olives where we shall “ever be with the Lord”.
Friend, of the four different views written of here there is only one that is truly in line with the Word of God and can be viewed as being true as the others are not conducive to scripture. Let me clarify my belief as concerns this important event. I truly believe in the pre-tribulation rapture. I believe that the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ will be removed suddenly from the earth as told in 1Thessalonians 4: 13-18. Let me explain why. His church will be spared the calamitous punishments we read about in the Book of Revelation chapters 4-18. God loves His children to much, those who belong to Him by way of their acceptance of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and living holy and sanctified lives, to allow them to go through such a time of punishment during the Great Tribulation as the wrath of Almighty God will be poured out on a wicked world. Therefore He is going to remove those who belong to Him as prescribed in 1Thessalonians 4. These same saints that are removed with the sudden catching away of the redeemed, and of course the dead in Christ rising first and them who are alive in Christ meeting them in the air, at this time will also return with Him at His Second Coming when Christ will then begin His millennial reign. For those who are of the belief that Jesus will return midway or Post-tribulation will be caught up also with the Pre-tribulation believers will then have lost nothing but will then have gained the joy of being “raptured” with the Pre-tribulation believers. But for those who are of the opinion that no rapture will take place there is only the sad heartache of being left behind and having to then ask God forgiveness and go through the terrible time of the Great Tribulation. Yes God will forgive but those left behind will have to pay dearly for their foolish belief. Of course those of the view that the Church must go through the Great Tribulation feels the need that God’s wrath must be poured out upon it to purify it. I cannot support such a view. I cannot see that a loving God will want to pour out His wrath upon His own children --- children who have been bought, and adopted through the power of His Son’s blood which was shed at Calvary. It does not make sense and neither is it in anyway supported by scripture. Let me show you why I believe that the church will be “raptured” before the Tribulation begins and which is supported by scripture.
Just take a look at Revelation chapters 1-3. John wrote the following in Rev 1:19, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be.” The Apostle clearly writes about things which John “has seen” as being things already in the past; and the things “which are” concerns the Church already in existence in John’s day until our present day and until the rapture takes place. Chapters 2-3 cover this age which we know as the Church Age. Then John speaks of the “things hereafter” This is clearly meant after the rapture has taken place. And then Chapter 4 begins with “after this” speaking of the Church Age. Friends, the Church is not spoken of or mentioned again from chapters 4-19; where after Christ returns with all the saints of all the ages to do battle with the anti-Christ and his armies at Armageddon\Valley of Megiddo where He will conquer them and begin His glorious millennial [thousand year] reign with His saints. Jesus Christ will set up His government and rule the world with an iron rod [sceptre] from Jerusalem at this time, Rev 19 v15.
But hold on a bit folks; let’s talk about what is happening in our world at present as we experience more and more of what Jesus spoke concerning the build up to the “sudden catching away’ [rapture] of the Church. Jesus told His disciples that certain things will happen in the world as was “in the days of Noah so shall be the coming of the Son of man.” Please read Matthew 24 very thoroughly to understand more of the situation of today that Jesus spoke of. You only have to click on your TV to see Matthew 24 unfolding before your very eyes. Looking at the Continent of Africa one see’s exactly taking place the hunger, and epidemics of cholera, Tuberculosis, Aids, etc. We read about and see the pictures in our newspapers of mothers and their emaciated, wasted away skeletal like babies in the war-torn Somalia. We see and read about other nations on the continent like Ethiopia, Uganda, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic Congo, not to mention our own Soweto in South Africa of the riots and killings of the  seventies and the [19[eighties], countries that suffer daily under constant threat of war and hunger as factions war against one another. Countries that are so poor the governments cannot feed their citizens. Yet war is almost a way of life for them. Saints of God and dear reader, even as this message is being penned we see\hear on our TV’s and read in the newspapers words like Armageddon and Apocalypse to describe world events as they are played out before us everyday. But let’s not forget that Jesus mentioned earthquakes. This past 2 decades has seen more earthquakes in all different nations\countries on planet earth like as we have not seen in the past 100 years or more. The USA, Japan, India\China and others as we see it on TV, and read about them in the newspapers most every day. We see the devastated cities of the world, and the look of shock and unbelief on people’s faces that cannot come to grips with what has taken place. Jesus says in Matthew 24:8, that all this will only be “the beginning of sorrows” as the world has never before experienced. He is of course referring to what will happen to the world just prior to the “rapture of the Church” and then will continue on a much greater scale during the Great Tribulation period. Friend let me ask you here. Are you ready to be “suddenly caught up” to meet Jesus in the air?
Jesus went on to mention there will in the last days come many false teachers\prophets who will take the simplicity of the gospel and change it into a lie [v11]. Christ warned us to be careful that “no one deceives you” [v 4+8]. My friend how much more of this that is happening and is part of our lives each day can mankind take. I know I sound like a prophet of doom but folks this is the reality of what the Bible talks about in the above mentioned scriptures. As we watch out news on TV or read the newspapers each day we see the Word of God coming into fulfilment. The devil will have you believe that all is well; these are things that have happened and continue as part of the human existence. He will have you believe that things are not all that bad. We have come through worse times than this, it will blow over. Don’t you believe his lie for one moment? Jesus said that “when you see these things happening know that the end is near.”
What is your pastor preaching or teaching you saints of God? Is he telling you that all is well there is nothing to be alarmed about? Is he preaching on prosperity and how God wants you to prosper and have everything that you desire? Is he preaching on how to give to receive? Let me be blunt and say that is not the gospel that Paul is talking about. The core of the gospel message is Christ and He crucified. Today preachers with much cunning avoid preaching the Cross and the shed blood of Christ Jesus, even do not mention the rapture of the Church, because they are afraid they will offend their congregation. People Jesus Christ, the message of the Cross is an offence not only to the world but even to the Church, Matthew 26:33, and Mark 4:17-20. You see beloved the church world does not want to hear the truth, because when God the Father commands His people to worship Him in spirit and in truth, and people who say they are saved and set free but do or cannot even lift up there hands in praise to the Lord as the Word of God commands us to, then I place a question mark on that persons salvation. Now before you get your sword out to cut me to pieces, be honest with yourself. If Christ who took our sin upon Himself, suffered that terrible beating to His physical body by the Roman soldiers, shed His life’s blood, separated from His Father, died and rose again victorious over death hell and the grave so you and I can have eternal life, and should we die before He comes but with a promise that though we are dead in body yet shall we live with Him forever, Romans 14:7-9; Philippians 1:21-23; 1Thess 4:14-17. My friend with promises like these you have every reason to want to praise the Lord and to shout. For the many of you out there who say, well you know that’s not me, I wish to say to you dear one that God delights over His children who worship and praise Him and jump for joy. Look what Zephaniah 3:17 says concerning the Lord, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing”. My word child of God, if Jesus gets up off His throne and can dance and rejoice over you with singing what is wrong with you. It is when you start praising Him, singing His praises, worshipping in the Spirit that you child of God are able to overcome your nervous breakdown, your depression and oppression. Because you see the Word says that, “the joy of the Lord is your strength”
Let’s get more real concerning the state that South Africa and the world is in. Who can doubt that there is something deeply wrong in our beloved country South Africa today? Everyone seems to be looking out for just number one, themselves; nobody seems to care, nobody appears to have any honour or respect- from the top to the bottom. Let me lay it on the line here folks? The present government from the very top through to the provincial regions and local government departments are corrupt. Do I have to go into detail with names, no; because we read about them in our newspapers everyday and see it on our televisions? The Police force is rotten to the core, I mean if the Commissioner of Police, who is the highest ranking official in our Police force is facing charges of corruption [even as this writing is being penned], what can we expect from his junior officers. Please don’t misunderstand; there is still a hand full of honest policemen left in the ranks. People who have integrity and are proud to serve their communities. And of course we have those who are doing a wonderful work for the Kingdom of heaven within the Police-force. The government is encouraging the youth into promiscuity; perversion is honoured; injustice is done in our courts when murderers and rapists and child molesters are let out on bail. And the poor of our country are being robbed by the governmental national lottery. The Christian faith is constantly under attack and ridiculed by the media, but never the Moslem religion. Why? Because there will be outright war or rioting if the media so much as dare say anything derogatory about Allah or the Quran. Our politicians lie and cheat so they can fill their own coffers\bank accounts. Last but not least my friend, we kill our own children. Yes we kill our own children. Ten years ago the Parliament passed legislation that any woman or young girl who is pregnant and desires to have an abortion for what ever reason is so entitled and will be protected under Constitutional law. It is her human and democratic right to commit murder. YES YOU READ RIGHT!! It is murder my friend because God Almighty who is the giver of life says it is murder. People are being murdered everyday in their houses or on their farms, here in South Africa and when arrested these murderers immediately have Constitutional protection. Never mind the person\s that were murdered and the family and loved ones that are left behind. No the authorities do not care one bit about them. My friend let me be straight with you; the judgement of God is about and is already starting to fall on this nation. So how did we come to this?
It has come to this because the so-called government of the day has pushed the one true God aside and they have denied His Son Jesus Christ. Whereas they pass laws that are in opposition to the will of God, they must take responsibility for the way that South Africa has fallen into deep sin and misery. You say but what has all this got to do with the rapture? It has everything to do with the sudden catching away [rapture] of the saints of God. Jesus said that when we see all these things happening on the earth know that I am coming soon, Matthew 14:3, 1Corinthians1:7-8, 15:23-24, 1Thessalonians 2:19, 3:13, 2Thessalonians 2:1-3, Hebrews 10:37. These things of which I have spoken of all through this message which Jesus mentions in His Word must take place friends, and is even now happening on a much larger scale. Good laws might not make men good, but they can restrain the wicked, and bad laws certainly encourage men to do evil. We must pray for our Government, as hard as that is to do, and also that God will raise up more men who are not afraid to stand up for righteousness and will speak ‘thus saith the Lord’. Family breakdowns, crime, immorality, drink and drugs are more than just statistics. They affect and ruin the lives of countless real people. The Church needs to develop a prophetic voice, to say to our leaders just as the old Bible prophets were unafraid to do; Woe unto you, you call evil good and good evil. Thank God for what is happening in the Church out there, as mighty men like Angus Buchan will stand in large stadiums and declare that there is only One True God, and that His Son Jesus Christ is the only answer to the problems in our country. But it is not enough, for we need more voices out there that are not afraid to speak “thus saith the Lord.” When we take that stand God Almighty will move on our behalf and this nation will experience a miracle that it so badly needs. What was written 3000 years ago is still true for today: “Blessed is the nation whose God is Lord” [Psalms 33:12].
Hey lets see what has taken place in England last year as atheism has reared its ugly head in some cities. Recently the organisation British Humanist Association [BHA] started a campaign that will have buses in the city of Westminster parading slogans\posters that read, ‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life’. This campaign is supported by prominent atheist Professor Richard Dawkins and this is what he has to say about this matter. “Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride, automatic tax breaks, unearned respect and the right not to be offended, and the right to brainwash children.”Even on the buses, nobody thinks twice when they see a religious slogan plastered across the side. This campaign to put alternative slogans on London’s buses will make people think- and thinking is anathema to religion.”
Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the BHA, said: “We see so many posters advertising salvation through Jesus or threatening us with eternal damnation that I feel sure that a bus advert like this is welcomed as a breath of fresh air. If it raises a smile as well as making people think, so much the better.”
But Stephen Green of pressure group Christian Voice said: “Bendy buses, like atheism, are a danger to the public at large. I should be surprised if a quasi-religious adverting campaign like this did not attract graffiti. People don’t like being preached at. Sometimes it does them good, but they still don’t like it.”
However the Methodist Church said it thanked Professor Dawkins for encouraging a ‘continued interest in God”
Spiritual and discipleship minister Rev Jenny Ellis said: “This campaign will be a good thing if it gets people to engage with the deepest questions of life. Christianity is for people who aren’t afraid to think about life and meaning.” Let me quote what one of the more famous actresses of yesteryear had to say concerning this matter. “I’m an atheist and that’s it. I believe there’s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for other people…Katharine Hepburn. To which I can only conclude what God Almighty says concerning people who make such claims such as the esteemed atheists. ‘The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” Psalms14:1.
What more can one say about these matters. The evidence speaks for itself, but please allow me to share with you something that will get you either very mad or get you thinking. A dear lady from Canada wrote me even as this sermon is being penned asking that I write something about a much debated issue. The doctrine of “once saved always saved”. So after careful study of what God says in His Word concerning this, and speaking to some wonderful men of God I want to say this concerning the above matter. I believe the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved’ is not only false, it is misleading, misquoted and misunderstood at best by the proponents of these teachings. The false doctrine of “once saved always saved’ seems to have blossomed among the Fundamentalist Christian Churches these past few decades, although it’s origins date back to the 16th century. One example that stands high of why this doctrine is false is Judas Iscariot. He believed in Jesus Christ, walked with our Lord, was one of the twelve and was given the same powers from Him as the other disciples. According to this doctrine, fundamentalist Christians would then have to believe that Judas is in heaven right now, because he more than met the requirements of salvation according to this doctrine. Another example is that of Lucifer that fallen angel, who at one time abided in Heaven, knew and lived in the Presence of Almighty God. But because of the sin of pride Satan now is no longer in that position, and as punishment is banished into outer darkness and his eternal home will be the ‘lake of fire’. Satan uses this false doctrine by instilling a false sense of security and self-confidence mostly among mislead Christians that have fallen for this teaching. They think they cannot sin anymore and even if they do, no punishment will be due them as Christ paid for all their sins. This of course makes it so much easier for Satan to tempt us with the sin of assumption. If the great Apostle Paul was not even assured of his own salvation as he declares in 1Corithians 9:27 how can we be. You see loved one’s salvation is not a one time event, but it is an ongoing process from the day that you accept Jesus Christ till ‘the end’. This is proclaimed in Matthew 10:22; and ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:12-13. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold , but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved . Mark 13:13, and ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake; but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 7:21, Not every one who saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heave; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. John 8:31, Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. James 1:12, Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them who love Him. 2Peter 2:20-21, For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it is better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
Are you getting the picture saints of God concerning this very damning doctrine that is leading many down a path that they think brings them security. I want to say to the pastors, ministers and teachers who are promoting this false doctrine, you have a lot to answer for when the many millions who have been mislead by your teachings, will one day stand and point a finger at you when they appear before the Righteous Judge who now has to say to them, ‘depart from me I never knew you’, dare I say that the millions who were under the impression that they had eternal security because of their belief that you have taught them is brought before them as false and a lie, costing them missing out on the “rapture” or the “sudden catching away” of the children of God who had their garments washed\cleansed and lived holy and righteous lives on a daily basis.
In closing this short attempt on explaining the false teachings of ‘once saved always saved’ let me leave you with these thoughts. Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. There is no other way but the way of the Cross, and Jesus Christ and Him Crucified [Mark 16:16; John 3:36; John 6:40] But without faith it is impossible to please him [God]; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6.Therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life, “but he who endures to the end” Faith is a free gift that God makes to man. But we can lose this priceless gift if we do not watch and pray over our salvation and eternal security as the Apostle Paul explains to brother Timothy in 1Timothy 1:18-19, “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare , holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck” . Yes my friend we have to live, grow and persevere in the faith on a daily basis until the end. We must nourish our soul with the Word of God. We must increase our faith with the knowledge of the Word as found in Mark 9:24; Luke 17:5; Luke 22:32 and it should abound in love, hope and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and not in any church affiliation\organisation Galations5:6; Romans15:13. Our [eternal] hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. Yes my friend if you do not watch and pray you may lose your eternal salvation. Therefore watch against the evil one lest he draw you away with this lie and false deception ‘once saved always saved’.
Dear reader I wish to encourage you in your walk with Jesus. Yes there is so much more to be written about the rapture or sudden catching away of the Church of Jesus Christ. Be assured dear reader that this event will take place in the not to distant future, and are you ready to meet “the dead in Christ as they are raised from the graves and we who are alive in Christ to meet them in the air so will we ever be with the Lord” Please do not be mislead into a false hope as some teach that this will not happen for it will. Feel free to contact me on the given e-mail address or ask your questions or any comments in our forum section on the website.
God bless you.