[Moderator note: This topic assumes there will be a pre-tribulation rapture. Here are related eBible topics about whether or not there will be a pre-trib rapture: https://ebible.com/questions/635-when-is-the-rapture-going-to-occur-in-relation-to-the-tribulation https://ebible.com/questions/4342-where-does-the-term-rapture-originate-from https://ebible.com/questions/634-what-is-the-rapture-of-the-church https://ebible.com/questions/637-what-is-the-difference-between-the-rapture-and-the-second-coming https://ebible.com/questions/3953-is-the-word-rapture-in-the-bible]
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The Bible certainly teaches that all who belong to Christ will be caught up to be with him when he returns (1 Thess 4:15-17). We must each be ready for when He comes or calls us home. Our readiness involves understanding and acknowledging our wretched state before a holy God (Rom 3:23; 6:23), repenting of our sins and turning to Christ for cleansing, forgiveness and new life (Acts 2:38,39; 16:31). Having been counted righteous for Christ's sake we are then adopted by God, our heavenly Father, and the Holy Spirit comes to live within us (Eph 1:7-14; 2:1-10). We have God's promise and assurance that all who truly have faith on His Son will never perish but will have everlasting life (John 3:16). Thus the Christian does not fear whatever the world or the devil will throw at him/her. Even today there are countless Christians passing through much tribulation, some becoming martyrs at the hands of evil persons. Jesus did not promise an escape from tribulation. Rather he said it would be for all his followers a part of the experience he had while on earth (John 15:18-25) - but the Holy Spirit would be their helper (26f). The idea that Jesus will come in two phases, firstly to take away Christians before a great tribulation period on earth, and then to wind up the course of history and to judge the world is not clearly taught in scripture. The pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory is a product of 19th-Century independence groups, including the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons and Christadelphians. It was taught by John Darby of the Plymouth Brethren and popularised in America through the Scofield Study Bible in the 20th century as well as through the 'Left Behind' films and TV shows such as Harold Camping's. Pentecostal and some Baptist and Methodist denominations embrace this theory today - mostly in America. Speaking to some American Christians recently they took comfort in believing that they would not have to experience the suffering that their fellow believers in the Middle East are going through today because they firmly believe they will be 'raptured' before Tribulation comes to America. They were surprised that I, an Englishman, didn't see it that way, and were surprised to know that this theory is very much a minority view in Britain and most other parts of the world.
The “Rapture” will be a time that will surprise many people. Firstly because it’s happening at the end of the world. Let’s take a look at the second coming and how to be prepared in the light of 2Peter 3, 1Corinthians 15, Matt 13, and Heb 10. In 2Peter 3 the apostle was dealing with the scoffers about their apparent scorn for the second coming event “saying where is the promise of His coming?” and this reveals the context of the chapter. Peter makes certain that they know even if there is a delay the events that come with the second coming will take place. These scoffers were ignorant of the fact that even though the universe remained the same, it was certain that the Word of God that held them together would also with His return end them all. The heavens would disappear with a loud crash and the the globe would be burned up together with all it’s structures. Jesus being the Alpha and the Omega, the beginner of creation and the cause of the end of creation. Peter and the Christians of that time were looking for this 2Peter 3:14. They were not looking for any kind of “Pre-tribulation Rapture. They were certainly anticipating the second coming of Christ with the dissolving of the universe. Seeing as it is about the Second Coming of Christ it also deals with the way they should be ready for His appearing. 2Pe 3:14, (MKJV) “Because of this, beloved, looking for these things, be diligent, spotless, and without blemish, to be found in peace by Him.” Heb 10:23-39, Is also showing a serious second coming context and warns that abandoning the Lord would result for the Christian an eternal loss. So how should we prepare for the Rapture after which comes the dissolving of the universe. Heb 10:23, “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” Heb 10:24, “let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” Heb 10:25 continue to have fellowship that strengthens and prepares us. Heb 10:35, “Then do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward.” Heb 10:36, patiently wait and prove to be doing the will of God then receive the promise of eternal life. 10:38, Do not draw back to eternal destruction 10:39, but continue in grace so that we don’t fall eternally. The Rapture and the resurrection of the righteous dead is at the same time according to 1Cor 15:20-58 and Matt 13:31-30, Matt 13:37-49. This is the second coming and is called the harvest of souls. The righteous dead are raised and the all the wicked are judged and then the end of the world. Knowing this should cause us to do what John exhorted the believers to do 1John 3:2-3, He exhorts Christians to keep this hope alive in themselves so they will purify themselves for that great Marriage supper of the Lamb. Again we find that servants of Christ should be very careful how they conduct themselves because when He returns this warning is given regarding them in Matt 24:46-51, and Luke 12:42-46, If the servant turns to eat and drink with the drunkards then Christ will come at a time when they least expect it and “cut him in pieces” Luke 12:46, (GNB), (kill him) and “and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. (KJV), The word unbelievers is the Greek word is apistos and means “without Christian faith”. So for them to be ready for the final resurrection rapture they might be consistent in their serious servant responsibilities making sure they don't abandon their calling to fellowship with unbelievers. After death their is only one portion for unbelievers and that’s hell so the Servant of God should be diligent and devoted to His godly calling to prepare himself for the rapture. If you subscribe to the concept once saved always saved I would advise you to check again that the Scriptures do not teach it. Especially Hebrews 10 talks of the consequences for Christians abandoning the faith. The Scriptures warn us to remain active in the Grace of God and be diligently preparing for the the great event. 2Peter 3:14,.
What does it mean to be rapture ready? And what does it mean not to be? I believe once a person is born again gone through the new creation experience he/she is sealed with the spirit of promise notice the Spirit is a down deposit of your redemption. Then God says this straight after our new creation experience: "I will NEVER leave you nor EVER will I forsake you," period! We are RIGHT NOW seated with Him in heavenly places, in saying that I believe He’s given us a glimpse of our future. He gave John a glimpse of heaven; even though John wasn’t outwardly perfect, he was inwardly ready. The problem most folks do is give focus to the outward behaviour, like a saying I once was told: "If the trumpet blew while you where at the pub would you miss the flight?"or, "Don’t be found in sin when he comes back, you might get left behind." Or, "Watch out now your sins might find you out." That kind of perspective has potential to cause people to sin the more. If you could lose your rapture ticket by sinning, then your actions are responsible for your salvation and it's no longer a free gift, but instead something worked for. Sin is not greater than grace; once you're born again you're His, for He knows In advance those who belong to Him. So be excited, for you belong to Him and eagerly wait for our Lord's return as our redemption draws near. Amen.
The first “rapture” in the Old Testament provides for us the example we are to follow. Hebrews 11: 4-8 4 “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Verse 5 again: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” The word “translated” in verse 5 can be interpreted as the word metathesis. The definition of metathesis, or, metatheses is as follows: A change of place or condition A chemical reaction in which different kinds of molecules exchange parts to form other kinds of molecules. This translation, or, “change”, is described in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52: 51 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Enoch is the first fruit of rapture. He is the example of what is to come, and, how we are to ready ourselves, so, we who are alive, and remain, are found worthy to be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. By faith Enoch was “translated”. I feel what happened to Enoch’s body, will happen to those who are raptured. We will be translated, changed from an earthly physical body, to an eternal heavenly body. Enoch is our example. God is showing us what we must do, if we want to be included in the Rapture. So, Enoch was translated because of his faith. Before he was translated, he had this testimony: “that he pleased God.” By faith and his testimony… Enoch is an example to those of us who want to join in the rapture. To those who are still alive when Jesus returns. To us, we have been given the grace of God, through the sacrifice of Jesus. We have the revelation that Jesus is God Himself, our savior. That is our faith, by which we are saved, through grace. If we are to be joined with Christ upon His return, we must be found diligently standing in the faith and seeking Him. Diligently, meaning consistently seeking Him, and living according to His word, so we are found ready, when Christ returns. Enoch knew God, but, Enoch knew not of Jesus in the flesh, so, what testimony did Enoch have that pleased God enough to translate him? Enoch’s testimony was his life. The way he lived his life. We can see that Enoch was taken by God in the blink of an eye. Quickly, with no forewarning. There is only one small passage in Genesis that shows this. It is only in Hebrews that the true meaning of Enoch’s disappearance, unto God, is revealed, to us. Genesis 5:23 23 “And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Enoch walked with God. Enoch’s faith and the way he lived His life, was the reason for his translation. Is our life a testimony to others of the glory of God, and, the saving grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ? Are we a light to those in darkness, to those left in the world, who may yet come to repentance and be saved? How we are living? Is the way we live our lives a testimony of the light of Christ to others? It is by our faith and testimony we will be found worthy, or unworthy.
This is what we as Christians need to do to be rapture ready. Mark 16:16 - He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Acts 2:38 - Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 1 Peter 3:21 - The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Matthew 3:11 - I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire: Receive Holy Ghost: Acts 19:6 - And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. Luke 11:13 - If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Romans 8:26 - Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
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