The Church and The Rapture

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16)  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  (17)  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

  • The manner of the resurrection will be in this way: the bodies of the dead will be as it were raised out of sleep at the sound of the trumpet of God. Christ himself will descend from heaven. The saints (for he is referring to them) who will then be found alive, together with the dead who will rise, will be taken up into the clouds to meet the Lord.
  • This is referred to as the rapture, and is separate from the second coming or “Day of The Lord” that we will learn about in the next chapter.
  • Today I would like to interject a thought that the Rapture will occur before the great tribulation period. I offer seven thoughts here:
    1. The church is “not appointed to wrath” (Rom 5:9; 1 Thes 1:9-10) The church cannot enter into the “great day of their wrath.”
    2. It is in the character of God to deliver His own from the greatest times of trial. (Lot, Rahab. Israel, Noah,etc)
    3. The church will be “kept from the hour of testing that shall come upon all the world.” (Rev. 3:10)
    4. The believer will escape the tribulation (Luke 21:36).
    5. The Church will not be “overtaken by the Day of the Lord.” (1 Thes 5:1-9) (Day of the Lord is another term for the great tribulation.)
    6. There is clearly a coming of Christ for his bride before the second coming to earth. Rev 19:7-10.
    7. The “four and twenty elders” in Rev. 4:1-5:14 are representative of the church. Therefore it is necessary that the church, undivided, be brought to glory before those events of the tribulation.
  • There are others, but these should be sufficient to show that God will remove His bride before The Great Tribulation, although we will face tribulations, just not during this time.

From the Teaching Notes on 1 Thessalonians 4, The Christian Walk in Light of the Rapture.

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