March 22, 2009

Hello,

I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!

A number of years ago I had the privilege of setting in a meeting with the late Dr. Roy Hicks. In that meeting Dr. Hicks offered a great special on several of his books, which I went and purchased. In that set of books was a great little book entitled, Another Look At The Rapture. In that book Dr. Hicks put forth a notion that at the time I had never heard or read. The notion was that the rapture of the Church was a special revelation given to the Apostle Paul, and to no other New Testament author.

As we said last time during the earthly ministry of Jesus He never gave any details concerning the resurrection and the rapture. In fact, if one were to do nothing but study the teachings of Jesus you could assume that there would a general resurrection of the just and the unjust. It is only when you come over to the teaching of the Apostle Paul that you begin to understand some things concerning the order and timing of the resurrections.

Jesus said some things concerning His Second Coming in His great Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. He did make an isolated statement regarding the rapture in John 14:3, but it is clear they did not understand what He was saying. Since Jesus’ audience was Jewish, the emphasis of His teaching was on the time of “Jacob’s Trouble”, or the Great Tribulation period. Due to the prejudice of the Jews, Jesus was very limited in what He could say since the Church would primarily be comprised of Gentiles. Had He given details concerning the Church, and the Father’s special plans and purposes for it, they probably would have stoned Him; Jewish hatred for the Gentiles was that strong.

However Peter did very clearly foresee the Second Coming of Jesus when He returns to judge the earth.[See 2 Peter 3:10 -16] Notice if you will in the same context in which Peter refers to the Second Coming of Jesus, he also refers to the things Paul writes about (no doubt Paul’s teaching about the rapture), as being hard to understand. It appears that Peter himself was having trouble understanding the rapture. In another passage Jude refers to Jesus’ Return to earth:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 

 

15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Jude 14, 15 NKJV This is clearly not a reference to the rapture, but rather to Jesus’ Return in judgment upon sinners. 

James 5:7 – 9

It is only to the Apostle Paul that the rapture was revealed with clarity. Many great things were revealed to this Apostle. Great redemption truths concerning salvation by grace through faith; the warfare of faith; Christ as head of the Church; the Body being the Church; and the great hope of the Church that Christ would, in a moments time, resurrect the dead and take the living saints out of this world at a future time:

51 Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [1 Cor. 15:51, 52 NKJV] Here for the second time, Paul positively confirms the fact that there will be a resurrection and that, at the same time, living saints will receive new bodies and go to be with the Lord.

This “atomic second” rapture will take the world by surprise, but only for a little while. Just as today when some earth shattering event occurs, like an earthquake or some devastating natural disaster, the rapture will disappear from the front page when some other news worthy event comes along. After the initial shock of the rapture has passed, people will continue on with their lives; eating, working, playing, and going about lives as usual. It won’t be long, and the rapture will barely be mentioned.

What our family, friends, and loved ones who rejected the gospel? That is why this message is very important. At this moment, there is still time. Lets do all that we can do to get this message out while it is still today.

I want to take some time to more closely examine this special revelation given to Paul next time.

The Weekly Word is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14. Here the Bible says,

 

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. [1 Thess. 4:13, 14 NKJV]

Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.

Pastor Kevin E. Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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