Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] The Bible warns us there will be a series of global catastrophes just before the return of Jesus Christ. Will Christians be secretly raptured away and spared this calamity? What does the Bible say?
You have a purpose to prepare to be with Jesus Christ on this earth. Your purpose, should you accept, is to assist Christ in restoring this earth to what was intended from the beginning of time. Because here's the real kicker, God has a future for you in His coming Kingdom. And so the question is, are you prepared for that? What I've just said is a great truth of the Bible. But like a lot of other truth, it's hidden by false teaching. Now one such teaching that people have that hides this truth is what is called the rapture or the secret rapture as some will call it.
Have you ever heard of the rapture teaching? It's one that is commonly held by a lot of evangelical Christians today who very sincerely believe in a secret rapture of the saints before the Biblical last days. So let's get a bit of a definition here as to what exactly the rapture might be. I went to a leading website of an evangelical ministry and let me read just a few comments from that to help kind of set the stage for what we're talking about. Here's a quote, “The second coming of Jesus Christ will be in two phases. First, He will come for believers, both living and dead, in what is called ‘the rapture.’” And then it quotes from 1 Thessalonians 4 to support that.
Now we're going to go through 1 Thessalonians 4, what people use to talk about the rapture, and explain what it does mean. But continuing on here, it says, "In this view, the rapture, which is the transformation and the catching up of all Christians, dead or alive, to meet Christ in the air will be secret, for it will be unknown to the world of unbelievers at the time that it happens. The effect of this removal in the absence of multitudes of people will, of course, be evident on the earth.” Well, I guess so. I mean can you imagine if this is true, people being raptured quickly, suddenly, secretly. Somebody's driving down the road, all of a sudden that truck is driverless. People are in a meeting and suddenly three people are gone from that meeting. Family's having dinner around the table, and maybe one person suddenly disappears. Yeah it would be something of course, that would be evident but it's secret, remember. Let me continue with this quote. "Then second, after a period of seven years of tribulation on earth, Christ will return to the earth with His church, the saints who were raptured." Then He quotes other scriptures, some of which I'm going to talk about again later to just show what it does mean. "He, Christ will be victorious over His enemies and will reign on the earth for 1,000 years with His saints, the church." All right? Now this site quotes and mentions the tribulation which we know is a time biblically from the book of Revelation that is a time of great distress upon the earth. And it is involved with the opening of seals, and trumpet blasts, and plagues that we haven't had a chance to go through yet in our Revelation class. But when we go through that next semester here, you're going to learn all about the trumpets and the plagues. And if you think beasts and heads are a lot wait until you get to the trumpets and all the rest of it, but that's where it's taught.
Now back to the rapture. The rapture teaching has been around for a long time, actually for more than 100 years. It started with a man named John Darby. Darby believed that Christ would return to the earth to establish His rule on the earth. But Mr. Darby came to believe that what he was seeing out of the Bible, he came to understand a new truth, an idea that people had not yet understood and now he saw it and he was teaching it. The idea being that believers would be removed from the earth and then protected in heaven during the end-time tribulation.
Now this idea took off in the early 1900s. It was popularized in a very famous Bible study book and it is believed today by millions of people around the world. Sincerely believed, but again, does the Bible teach that? Now this teaching about the rapture, it does mix truth with error. Christ is coming back to the earth. He is returning. That's very clearly taught in scripture, but that return will not be in secret you know, because the Bible says that all eyes will see Him. And the disciples were told in Acts 1 when He ascended to heaven for His final time He said, "He's so coming in like manner." All right? And they watched Him leave and so we'll see Him when He comes back. So it's not going to be anything in secret, all right? And yet then this teaching says that the saints are going off to heaven for seven years. Well it sounds like kind of a seven-year vacation. But is that really what's going to happen? Well I'll show you in a minute. Christ will return to earth with His saints, but not after a seven-year trip to heaven and the idyllic situation there while believers or other people on the earth go through a trial and tribulation.
Christ will reign on the earth for 1,000 years. But the role that the church has is something far greater than taking a seven-year vacation in heaven. The truth is far greater than believers can ever imagine. And that's the key truth that you should understand when it comes to this topic. Your purpose is to prepare now to be with Christ on this earth. Your job is to learn how a peace will be brought to this earth and be able to live by that way of life now because God has a future for all of us in His coming Kingdom on this earth. And He wants us to accept that calling now, and to enlist if you will, now, for that future kingdom. So let me know I think what is a logical question at this point. Why do people believe? Why would people believe in a rapture idea, that they're secretly be taken up to heaven? Is it just to have some idea, new truth or whatever that others can't see?
Again, it is believed by many sincere people who read the Bible but misunderstand the message. Over the years of ministry, I have learned something about people. As I work with them in their lives and guiding them to understand the Bible, I've learned something that I feel causes people to want to believe that they will be raptured. Sometimes you can sum it up in just one word, fear. Fear of the future. People get fearful about a lot of things, sometimes they get fearful about climate change, that the world is going to, you know, just kind of overheat. Some say that the world would end in 10 years if we don't get all this in hand. That creates fear. There's also the fear of nuclear war that's been hanging over us for a long, long time. There's the fear of economic collapse. If people want to go down that road of course, there's the fear of disease or pandemic. I once knew a person that I worked very closely with for a period of time and she was obsessed with her life. It was an unhappy life. All right? And for her the idea of a rapture was inviting. She couldn't face the problems that she had. She had a bad marriage. She had children that caused her a great deal of suffering and problems. She really had a pretty miserable condition. She didn't know what to do to correct it. She didn't want to go through what the hard work that it would take and she just wanted to escape through a rapture. You know some people want to do that. She feared the reality of this life. Fear is a reason people will latch on to an idea like this that's inviting, comforting, but not true. Paul writes to us in the Bible in 2 Timothy 1, he says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and power and of a sound mind." And fear can also lead to false teaching and misunderstanding of the Bible. Fear of the future leads many people to believe that they will escape some coming bad times and they believe that they will be raptured to heaven, while the earth and other people endured the tribulation. God wants you to defeat your fear. God wants you to develop a very strong, confident, healthy mind. God wants you to have a happy marriage.
God wants you to have a successful balanced life with children who don't cause you grief. God wants you to use your life as it was intended, to share His glory and His coming kingdom. And you can. The key begins with understanding why you were born. A topic that is addressed by many scriptures in the Bible, there's one particular parable that I think is helpful to at least look at something about what it is that God wants us to do. So Luke 12 beginning in verse 35, it says, "Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning, and yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when He comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that He will gird himself and have them sit down to eat and will come and serve them. And if He should come in the second watch or in the third watch and find them, so blessed are those servants. But know this, 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. Therefore, be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect."
Ready for what? What Christ is saying to His servants is, be prepared, be working, be ready for that return. Christ is coming but we're not going to be raptured. You're not going to be raptured up to heaven for a period of time. In a moment I'm going to explain what a key scripture, 1 Thessalonians 4, I mentioned earlier, what it really says about Christ's return. But before we go there, I want to mention to you what we have available today is our free study aid that takes you through a lot more than what I'm able to do in this program on the subject of the rapture. The rapture is a false teaching that hides the understanding of the true Gospel. The rapture teaching really hides the truth of the Bible. That's why it is a problem. And it hides your purpose in life. And it keeps you from understanding what God has planned for you, and what God wants us to be doing to fulfill that purpose that the rapture idea just doesn't provide.
The booklet or the study aid that we have is "The Rapture Versus The Bible." This will not only challenge the popular rapture teaching but it goes beyond that. To show from your Bible the true hope of the resurrection, you need this booklet. You need to understand it. You can have a free copy of it by calling the number that is on your screen or begin reading right now, and then you can order online by going to beyondtoday.tv. Do it now. This is a book that will open your eyes if you may be struggling with what I'm having to say here, and don't want to believe it, can't believe it, or feel that I don't know what I'm talking about. Prove it for yourself because you see it in the Bible. Now let's understand something about the truth of Christ coming and what it does mean. I said earlier that Christ is returning, but it's not going to be in secret. All eyes are going to see Him. And while scripture does not tell us the exact hour and not even the exact day when Christ will return, it does give us a sequence of events to know that we are near, certain signs that we can be looking for. Now the Bible is very clear that Christ returns at the sound of a trumpet in what is described in Revelation as the seventh trumpet. All right? And it's after a time of great tribulation. That's when Christ returns, is after the tribulation, not before as the rapture teaching has it. In Revelation 11:15, there's a scripture here that talks about the blowing of the trumpet by a seventh angel. And it says there were loud voices in heaven saying, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. He shall reign forever and ever. Now this sounding of this trumpet, which is going to be a very shrill blast and sound that is going to be heard by people, it will announce the coming of God's wrath and the time of the rewarding of His saints, a lot of things are going to happen when that begins to take place. Combined with other verses it's very clear that Jesus descends at the blowing of the seventh trumpet, and that's when the saints are caught up to Him. All right?
This is the same trumpet of God that we find mentioned in the book of 1 Thessalonians. I want to take the time to go through that passage of 1 Thessalonians because it is one of those scriptures that is quoted by people to try to prove the rapture. In fact it's one of the main scriptures. So let's look at what it is really saying. It's not talking about a secret rapture. It's a passage of the Bible that reveals a remarkable and encouraging teaching of God. It begins in verse 13, 1 Thessalonians 4, open your Bibles, read along with me on this and let's look at what it does say. Paul writes to a group of believers, saints in Thessalonica. And he says to them, "I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope." A lot of people had died in that church, Paul wanted to encourage them. He goes on and he said, "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep." Death is described as a sleep. Verse 16 says, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God," that same trumpet that we read about in Revelation 11, that seventh trumpet. "The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with Him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, He says, comfort one another with these words."
Here's what this really means. We're told here about a resurrection at the second coming of Christ. "And the dead in Christ will rise first and then the saints on the earth who are alive and remain will be caught up with Christ, and meet Him in the air thus, we will always be with Him," as the scripture says.
But what it's really saying? Here's what it's really saying, we're going to come back down to earth. And the people who heard this, originally, in the first century, understood a very important truth. When a king came to the town in the ancient days, when an emperor, Roman Emperor came to visit a city, a few miles out he would be met by the mayor, the city council. The people who govern the city, they would go out and they would meet the Emperor, and they would escort him back into the city through the city gate. And there they would be with him, where he owned as the king, the city in the land.
Hearing what it says here in verse 17, the original hearers would have understood that. They're going to meet with Christ in the air, but come back down to the earth and be with Him here. That's what 1 Thessalonians is talking about, not going up to heaven. Why? Because there is a great work to be done on this earth. And we don't have to fear. We don't need to worry overly so about the events that are discussed here in scripture or any events that even people today will imagine, you know, in their own ideas about climate change or what's going to happen to the earth, nuclear war, and the extinction of human life. It's not going to happen. The Bible doesn't teach that.
What it does teach is that Christ will return. And those who are believers and saints will have been prepared, watching. That's the truth of the scripture. And so the challenge is to accept that purpose. Not to escape, but to prepare to be with Christ on earth, restoring all things. Now you might not be convinced of what I'm saying. So I'm going to discuss some more scriptures that are used to prove the rapture. We'll talk about that a little bit more, the scriptures that we do talk about and go through in greater detail in the study aid that we prepared for this, "The Rapture Versus The Bible," which you want to get a copy of, if what I'm saying here challenges you and you don't believe it.
The Bible's clear that Christ returns at the sound of a trumpet, what is described in Revelation as the seventh trumpet and it's after a time of great tribulation. There is no secret rapture. But you don't have to fear, you don't have to worry. The truth sets us free from that. The truth is that Christ returns to save mankind. "The Rapture Versus The Bible" shows what that hope is, that truth. It challenges the popular rapture teaching, but it shows from the Bible the hope that we do have. You need this because you need to understand truth. "The Rapture Versus The Bible." You can have a free copy of it by calling the number on your screen or going to beyondtoday.tv.
Now, let's talk about something else here. As I've said there is no secret rapture of believers before this coming tribulation period. And frankly we can thank God that there is a resurrection from the dead, that the dead in Christ will be caught up into the air at the glorious second coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior. And that is the great hope for all who trust in God and believe in Him and His purpose for all their lives. And look in terms of this rapture, many of us would all have a common idea that Christ is returning, He needs to return, but being caught up with Him and going to heaven for seven years is just not part of it. The big lesson of the coming great tribulation, the persecution of the saints, and the eventual return of Christ and the resurrection is that there's no time to waste in developing our relationship with God the Father, and with His Son now. The time's now. The time is now to get ready, to work, to be prepared. You know there was a song popularized a few years ago. It's got a really great spiritual meaning to it in part. It says, "People get ready. There's a train coming." This is our time to get ready. This is our time to prepare for the job that is ahead. And I said I was going to cover some scriptures in Matthew 24. There are two references in Matthew 24 that people again use to say, "Well, it talks about a rapture." But is that really what it says? Well, here's what they go to.
It’s Matthew 24, it's Christ words, His Olivet prophecy. Beginning in verse 36, it says, "But of that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only." And He's speaking here about His return. Nobody knows but the Father. “But as in the days of Noah, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.” All right, so He goes back to the time of Noah. "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark." All right? Noah preached a very long time. And a lot of people heard him but many people didn't follow him. They didn't believe what he said. And Christ says because they were caught up with life, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, getting on with life, the distractions of life. They didn't understand their purpose. And so He goes on verse 39, "And they did not know until the flood came and took them all away. So also will be the coming of the Son of Man be." All right? So some got into the boat, 8 it says, "and the flood came and it took them all away." Who was taken away? It's those who were eating and drinking. Goes on, verse 40, "Two men will be left in the field, one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill, one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore you do not know what hour the 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. Therefore, be ready for the Son of Man comes at an hour you do not expect. The time of the flood, some people were taken," it says. The flood came and took them all away. The ones who were taken away were the ones distracted by life, eating, drinking, giving in marriage. Two men were in the field, one's taken the other is left. The one who's left is the one doing the work, preparing, watching. It's in the context of what happened at the flood. Two women grinding at the mill, one taken, the other left. They're not taken in a rapture. They're taken away by the distractions of life. That's what it means. And the one who's left is not left behind. No, they're left working, watching, preparing, doing the work of the master of the house. And they will be the ones who will be able to be recognized and understood when He does return.
And so those two scriptures are not talking about being taken away and others left behind. Again our booklet goes into more detail about that. We don't have to fear. Earth is not going to be destroyed. We do not have to worry about that. The fact is, if we can accept that challenge and come to that, that's what we really do need to understand and come down to. The real clear hope that we have is in the resurrection, which is why the study aid that we are offering today, "The Rapture Versus The Bible" really does help us to understand what the future is for us, a future we don't have to fear. It gives truth and it gives understanding. And if we have this firm in our heart and in our mind, then we are going to be able to understand exactly when Christ is going to return in terms of the general signs and be prepared for that.
You can get your free copy of "The Rapture Versus The Bible" by calling the number on your screen or by going to beyondtoday.tv. You're going to want this booklet. You need this booklet. This booklet will help you to understand exactly what the truth of the scripture is and it will also help you to deal with some of the other problems that can accompany the misunderstanding about scripture. The truth is, we have a purpose to prepare to be with Christ on this earth. Our purpose is to assist Christ in restoring life on this earth to what was intended from the beginning of time. God has a future for every one of us. That future is to be with Him, where He will be. And where He will be is on this earth restoring something that was renewed a long time ago and it is our time now to begin to prepare for that future and hope that glory that God has for us.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today's program, "The Rapture Versus The Bible." Millions of Christians today look to the rapture, but is this what the Bible says? This free study aid pulls back the curtain and explains the history of the rapture belief. It also reveals the fascinating and inspiring truth of the resurrection. The real picture of in time events is more astounding than anything created by the inventors of the secret rapture and includes a dramatic visible return of Jesus Christ to this earth to establish the Kingdom of God. At this moment, Christians from all history will be resurrected to eternal life and will assist Christ in healing and restoring the earth. The rapture obscures these truths. Order now, call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. You can understand the truth. When you order this free study aid we'll also send you a complimentary one-year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine. "Beyond Today" magazine brings you understanding of today's world and hope for the future. Six times a year, you'll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family and Godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call today to receive your free booklet, "The Rapture Versus The Bible" and your free one-year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine, 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.