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The Rapture

1 Thessalonians 4
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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.


I don't know how everyone else feels about this, but I continue to pray as Jesus said in Luke 22:36 that I, my loved ones, and all those that I encounter and share the Word of God with (even those that would be considered enemies) would be counted worthy to escape....

Luke 22
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

What is this snare that the Jesus spoke of? I believe it to be the tribulation, as those left behind will be ensnared in the terrible hardships to come. A snare is a trap. Now could this be alluding to the coming of Christ to set up His Kingdom for the thousand year reign after the tribulation? I don't believe so. This Word is to believers....why would the Lord tell us to pray that we be counted worthy to escape His reign?

The Lord begins to reveal himself by His Spirit, to those that earnestly seek Him with all of their heart to have a relationship with Him. As we live and walk in this relationship getting to know the Lord bit by bit, we begin to see His nature revealed through His Spirit. We begin to see this blessed truth come alive in Scripture as confusion slowly gives way to understanding. One thing I am beginning to understand is that our Lord has not appointed those that He loves to endure His wrath. We will suffer the wrath of the enemy at times, for our Lord Jesus' name sake... all who love Jesus and seek to serve Him will suffer persecution. However I firmly believe that the Wrath of the Lamb is something entirely different, and saved up for the sinner, not those that have received salvation in this era of grace.

1 Thessalonians 5
9 For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.


His word specifically says that His wrath is appointed for His enemies. What is the wrath of God? It is His just hatred of sin and His holy vengeance against the wicked.

Nahum 1
2 God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.


I am not an enemy of God. Nor are they that are in Christ Jesus that dearly love him, therefore there is no wrath reserved for us. Further revelation of our Lord's nature is revealed in His dealings with the cities of the plains... Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18:22-33) Abraham boldly approached and spoke to the Lord because that is the kind of relationship he was blessed to have. And we see in Genesis 18:25 that Abraham knew enough of the Lord, through relationship as revealed by His Spirit, that to kill the righteous along with the wicked in His wrath and judgment is not His nature. It is far from His nature...

Genesis 18
25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?


As Abraham interceded for Sodom the Lord said He would not destroy Sodom if fifty righteous be found in the city. By verse 32 Abraham has talked the Lord down to ten righteous... and I personally believe he could have talked the Lord down to one. In Genesis 19:22 we see that the Lord would do nothing to the city as long as Abraham's nephew Lot was there.

Genesis 19
22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.


Now if this is true of God's nature under the Law, how much more so is it under grace? This is why it is confusing as to why one would believe that our Lord would pour out the wrath of His judgments upon the heads of the righteous, along with the wicked in the days of the tribulation. It is also confusing as to why individuals find it so hard to believe in a rapture or catching away. There have already been six examples revealed in scripture.

The first was Enoch, the seventh from Adam who was taken up alive.(Genesis 5:24)

Genesis 5
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.


There was the prophet Elijah who was also taken up alive.(2 Kings 2:11)

2 Kings 2
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.


Then there was the raising of the Old Testament saints that were seen by many before they went on to glory.(Matthew 27:52,53)

Matthew 27
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.


There was Jesus Christ whom was resurrected from the dead by the power of the Holy Ghost, and later ascended in a cloud in the sight of loved ones. (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:9)

Mark 16
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.


Luke 24
51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.


Acts 1
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.


The 144,000 Jews that are marked and sealed by the Holy Spirit during the tribulation.(Revelation 7:2,3)

Revelation 7
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.


Personally I believe these 144,000 will be caught away at some point during the tribulation, because upon examining the scriptures where do we next find this group? With the Lamb. (Revelation 14:1) This is before the vials of wrath are poured out upon the earth....

Revelation 7
1 And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.


And there are also the two witnesses...(Revelation 11:12)

Revelation 11
12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.



So as we have these examples in the Old Testament and the New Testament, why would one not belief that there is such a thing as a catching away or rapture? We will not know the day or hour in which it will happen. Jesus said so himself.

Matthew 24
36
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

No man or angel will know the day or hour. Even Jesus did not know the day or hour in which this will happen. It is known only to the Heavenly Father. But Jesus said that we would know when the time draws near, even when it is at the door. We will be able to read the signs of the times. It's as I've explained before... when the weatherman says that it will rain, nobody knows the exact moment in which the rain will fall. But we have signs that tell us that it is approaching and about to happen. The darkening of the sky, the increasing intensity of the wind, the smell of rain in the air, a flash of lightening, the sound of thunder, the quiet before the storm. The signs are there for those that will look for them, and I pray that none will be caught sleeping. It is our faith in the Word of God concerning these things that helps us to remain watchful... hopeful. It is the reality of salvation, the glory of Heaven, and the horror of a burning Hell that keeps us vigilant, sober, reaching out to the lost, and ever ready in season and out of season. It is when faith weakens and unbelief sets in, that we get weary and eventually dose off becoming sleeping saints. I pray that the Lord will help us, and continue to position, and prepare us for whatever it is that He is preparing to do in the earth.




May the Spirit of the Lord be with you.

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