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  • The title of the message this afternoon, if you're still awake, isHow Close Are WE To The Rapture?”

  • I love this because it's the shortest message I will ever give in my life.

  • Theone slide, barely.

  • We can move to the question and answers right now if you want.

  • But for the sake of those of you who are struggling with the concept of, what is the Rapture all about.

  • Let me remind you that in the letter that Paul wrote to the church in Thessaloniki, a church in northern Greece, probably the only one

  • that I can think of that had no Jews in it and therefore no Old Testament verses were ever quoted in that in those epistles.

  • And it's interesting because he said to them, “I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, “

  • This is the biblical term for those who died as believers.

  • You see, we as believers, we don't die and enjoy that death, that it's so final

  • and it's so destructive. No, we just fall asleep.

  • And when your child falls asleep, all you do is you take him and you move him to bed.

  • So, he falls asleep here and he wakes up here.

  • “…lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.”

  • He says, “Listen, any believer, even if he dies, he's not dead.”

  • He's no longer

  • It's not like he's no longer going to live.

  • And this is our hope.

  • So why do you cry and mourn and lament as if you have no hope?

  • “...if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,

  • even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”

  • In other words, once Jesus rose from the dead, that's when death was basically defeated.

  • And so, from now on, when a person dies as a believer, what happens to his soul?

  • Whoosh! It goes to be with Jesus instantly.

  • To be absent from the body is to be ... what? [Audience: to be present with the Lord.]

  • which means the soul will and can be absent from the body when death comes.

  • And when Christ comes, He's not going to say to those souls,

  • Wait there. I'll just go and get these.”

  • No, He says,

  • He will... all those people that you're crying about, that you are lamenting over, that you are so sad for they're going to come back.

  • And guess what? You're probably going to say,

  • Yeah, but it's only their souls. We miss their bodies also!”

  • Wait a minute.

  • Their souls will come and unite with their bodies.

  • So watch this, "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we…”

  • Say 'we' [Audiences: We.]

  • “… we who are alive...” Are you alive?

  • Check your pulse right now.

  • “… we that are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. “

  • In other words, if you attended a funeral of someone who died as a believer and the Rapture takes place two minutes later,

  • mum,

  • he will get there first.

  • Watch thisFor the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.”

  • Now, a lot of people wish it was today or yesterday because of the Feast of Trumpets.

  • It is today, you know?

  • Hello? Do you understand? It's Rosh Hashanah.

  • Rosh Hashanah is not a biblical name.

  • You need to understand. Rosh Hashanah is not in the Bible.

  • The feast in the Bible that is mentioned is the Feast of Trumpets.

  • That's the biblical name, Yom Teruah, Feast of Trumpette.

  • And it's interesting because...

  • Look, I believe with all of my heart that all the festivals of Israel from Leviticus 23 have been, are and will be fulfilled in Israel for Israel,

  • and it will affect, of course, the whole world.

  • In other words, when Passover was fulfilled, where was it fulfilled?

  • In Jerusalem, of course.

  • During a Jewish festival right in front of the eyes of the Jews.

  • When the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is the sinless life of Jesus,

  • was fulfilled where was it?

  • In Rome? Or in Patmos?

  • Or in somewhere in Spain, where there is, um, some… I don't know, miracles of a statue with some tears or whatever?

  • Where was it fulfilled?

  • In Jerusalem.

  • What about the Feast of First Fruits, the Resurrection of Jesus. Where did it happen?

  • The Feast of Weeks, which is Pentecost. Where did it happen?

  • Hello?

  • Where will Jesus come back to?

  • [Audiences: Jerusalem.]

  • And where will Jesus be seen by His people as they lament and cry and repent?

  • And where will He rule the world for 1000 years from?

  • So you see, there are the four festivals that were fulfilled in Jerusalem and there are the three more that will be fulfilled in Jerusalem.

  • Therefore, I think that the trumpet here is a trumpet of God in heavens, just for us.

  • But the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled upon the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

  • And then the Yom Kippur will be fulfilled right after when the Jews will lament and they will, of course, repent.

  • And immediately they will finally understand what the Feast of Tabernacles is all about.

  • In Jerusalem.

  • Of course, it will affect everybody.

  • But I think that the minute you start suspecting every year, that is going to happen in the Feast of Trumpets.

  • First, you say, "I know today", second, you're disappointed every year.

  • Mum.

  • All right. Can we put an end to this one?

  • Good.

  • For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel,

  • and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”

  • The guy you just buried, whoof!

  • andThen we…”

  • Say 'we'. [Audiences: We.]

  • “… we who are alive and remain shall be

  • CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds to meet the Lordwhere?

  • [Audiences: in the air.]

  • Now, it sounds like a cult.

  • I'm telling you, something you repeat and it sounds too fantastic.

  • But that's not the case. You're just reading from the Scriptures.

  • This is the Bible. This is the word of God.

  • “I can't believe we're going to fly up in the air.”

  • Well, you don't have to believe.

  • But it's your problem because the Bible says

  • that we are going to be caught up together with those who died before in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

  • Do you have a problem with that?

  • Good.

  • So the meeting place and the meeting point of us, the believers with Jesus is not on Earth.

  • The Second Coming of Jesus to Earth is not for the Church.

  • It's with the Church.

  • And so, “Thus…” and watch this, now, it's important.

  • So, the minute we met Jesus, He came down, we went up, we meet halfway.

  • What does the Bible say is now? Thus what?

  • Mmmm.

  • Which means anywhere He goes, we go.

  • He goes to the right hand of The Father. He goes to Heaven, we're going there.

  • He returns back to earth, Guess what?

  • He reigns?

  • Hello?

  • Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

  • And there's those, of course, who says, “How dare you?”

  • We need to go through the Tribulation.”

  • We need to see some carnage.”

  • The heads of all the believers will roll down the aisle.”

  • “…Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

  • Now, how did we even get to the word Rapture?

  • Of course, we all know that in the Greek you have the wordHarpazo”.

  • In the Latin Bible, Vulgate, it was calledRapturo

  • and therefore, in the English Bible, it is Rapture.

  • So the word Rapture is an English word, don't look for it in the Greek or the Hebrew.

  • You know, some people say to me, “Well, the word 'Rapture' isn't in the Bible!”

  • Of course, you're reading English.

  • Hello?

  • The Bible was not written in English,

  • go to the Greek and the Old Testament go to the Hebrew and see what it says.

  • And Harpazo is to becaught up”, to betaken away”.

  • Another time the word "Harpazo" was mentioned is when Philip was with the Ethiopian in the cart.

  • And then they stopped and he baptized him, Remember?

  • And the Ethiopian just got saved, come out of the water

  • and he opens his eyes and Philip is gone because Philip was Raptured.

  • Now you could be rafted upwards or sidewards because Philip was still here.

  • But he was taken away.

  • And the Ethiopian said to himself,

  • This is too weird.”

  • “I am not going to believe in this nonsense.”

  • Did he say that? [Audiences: No!]

  • How come people who believe for 30, 40, 50 years say it's ridiculous,

  • and the Ethiopian who was a believer for 30 seconds could accept it as the work of God?

  • Unbelievable.

  • So one of the most important events for us is also the most mysterious one.

  • We know it will happen. We're sure it will happen.

  • We believe it will happen. We have the hope it will happen.

  • We are happy it is going to happen.

  • We pray it will happen. We wait for it to happen. But...

  • not only we do not know the exact timing of the event;

  • we actually have a very interesting declaration about it from Jesus Himself.

  • And He said in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24;

  • But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

  • Jesus basically says, “Look,

  • I can tell you everything you want to know.

  • Actually, you should have known exactly the day I came to Earth to Israel.”

  • How do you know that? Because we're going to see in a few seconds.

  • The Bible gave us the exact date.

  • The Bible also tells us when He will come back

  • because it's going to be right at the end of the seven years Tribulation.

  • But regarding that day when He will take us, no one knows the hour.

  • And there is a reason for that.

  • The reason is very simple. He saysWatch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

  • But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come,

  • he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.”

  • And if you want to understand the meaning of this verse, come tomorrow to McKinney

  • because we're going to talk about the ten virgins tomorrow.

  • Therefore, you also be…”,

  • have I just created a big problem right now?

  • I just realized that you cannot go to McKinney tomorrow unless you preregistered

  • because it's a smaller church.

  • Okay,

  • Therefore…”, listen up.

  • Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming…”

  • What? When?

  • “…at an hour you do notaccept

  • ExpectExcuse me.

  • So how can we know when it will happen? How can we know when the Rapture?

  • We do have in the Bible anchors that we can latch on to, we can see, we can hold on to.

  • The anchors could be people, it could be events, it could be many different things.

  • First of all, one of the major anchors is a correct interpretation of Scripture.

  • We've got the Bible and we've got the Holy Spirit.

  • The Holy Spirit can never give you one interpretation and you the opposite interpretation

  • and it will be okay and acceptable.

  • All Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit thus they cannot contradict each other.

  • The Spirit is the spirit of truth; thus the Bible cannot give us false information.

  • Give you an example, second Corinthians five 1 to 8.

  • We'll look and we'll start with it, we see,

  • For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God,”

  • I mean, this is a tent. We have a building from God.

  • Go to first Corinthians Chapter 15 then you understand.

  • Well, look at you.

  • Put your picture from 25 years ago right here.

  • You're dying! We are dying!

  • We're getting older and we're dying. This is a body that is in our process of decay.

  • Whether you like it or not, thislook,

  • death has entered into the world when sin came to the world, and that's it.

  • David said in Psalm 51, he said, “in sin my mother had conceived me.”

  • And it's interesting because we see that we are being promised a building, not a tent,

  • a house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

  • It's very interesting because people, if you don't, if you misinterpret the Scriptures, you would think that instantly,

  • anyone who dies receives, what? that building.

  • But it's not true, because watch this.

  • We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

  • And Philippians says,

  • “…having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” he said.

  • And in Romans eight, "We'reeagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”

  • In other words, that when somebody dies, there is a point, unless the Rapture happens,

  • where his soul and his body are separated.

  • It's not immediately that he received the new body. Do you understand that?

  • Okay? However,

  • however, to be able to enter into the heaven, you cannot enter with this body.

  • You understand? Look at yourself, right now.

  • This body will not enter into heaven.

  • It's a fallen body and you must receive a new one.

  • So the Bible says that first the dead and then we are we're going to change

  • and that corruption will wear in corruption.

  • And we received new body and the new body has absolutely no problem with gravity.

  • Whoof! We're gone.

  • The new body has to be different.

  • It's a building. It's not a tent.

  • I don't say you

  • I mean, I'm looking at myself also, it's a tent right now, come on.

  • You try to stoop down to tie your shoelaces. UGH

  • It's a tent! In heaven we will have a building.

  • So we have to remember that we're eagerly waiting for the revelation of Jesus Christ Who will come,

  • and then, of course, will take us who are alive and the dead in Christ will be resurrected as well.

  • And we will thenthose who died in Christ will be reunited with their body.

  • The body is buried right now in the cemetery, of those who died

  • and will be reunited, of course, in heaven. It's beautiful!

  • We have thatthe blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us,

  • that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself

  • His own special people, zealous for good works.”

  • So we've got first of all, the understanding that we must interpret the Scriptures correctly.

  • And you have to take more than one, you have to take all the scriptures talking about the same thing

  • and then come up with your conclusion.

  • Second, the Lord gave us Bible prophecy.

  • Nearly a third of the Bible is speaking of future event because God wants you to know the future.

  • Isaiah, 46 verses 9 and 10 says, “Remember the former things of old, For I am God,

  • and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,

  • Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done,

  • Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'”

  • So through Bible prophecy, you understand the timing of things