Second Coming of Christ: Part Two
Our lesson today is about the part of the second coming of the Lord Jesus which is called the rapture. It is the first thing that will happen among the events of His coming.
First of all, what is it? There are several places in the Scripture where we read about it, and where we can find out clearly just what it is. You remember the great passage in the 14th chapter of John. The Lord Jesus had told His disciples that He was going away, and they were very sad. But He wanted to comfort them. He told them not to let their hearts be troubled, for He was going to prepare a place for them. And if He prepared a place for them, He said, He would come again and receive them unto Himself, so that they might be with Him forever. After He had gone away from them into Heaven, the Holy Spirit explained more about this coming.
When Paul had been in Thessalonica he had taught the believers that they could look for the Lord to return at any moment. When they got up in the morning they could say to themselves and to the Lord, Perhaps He will be back today! Maybe He will be here before evening! And at night as they went to sleep they could say, Perhaps He will be here before morning! Then there came a day when some of their loved ones, a mother or father, a brother or sister, died. They immediately asked Paul if these loved ones, whose bodies had been put in their graves, would be left behind, and if the living ones should see the Lord first. Paul answers them (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), that they are not to be ignorant about these loved ones, because God does not want believers to sorrow like unbelievers who have no hope of resurrection. Just as surely as we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so surely may we believe that he will bring with Him at His second coming, the spirits of the loved ones who have died. We shall not go first, but in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (and that is even quicker than a wink!), the dead in Christ shall rise first. Note that the dead out of Christ do not rise then. As soon as the bodies of these dead Christians are out of their graves and their spirits, brought from Heaven, are in them, all the living believers will be changed, to become like the Lord Jesus.
Of course only believers will be caught up to meet Him. You have seen a magnet work, haven’t you? It will pick up steel or iron, but it will not pick up tin or nickel. If you had a little heap of iron filings, mixed with sawdust, the magnet would draw all the iron filings to meet it, but the sawdust would lie on the table just as though no magnet had come near it. So, when the Lord Jesus comes, those who have been born again will go to meet Him. The unsaved will not.
In 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 we learn a little more about what is to happen to believers. Paul writes, Behold, I tell you a secret. We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. What will this change be? How will we be changed? In 1 John 3:2 it says we shall be made like the Lord Jesus when we see Him as He is. And Philippians 3:21 says that when the Lord Jesus comes, He will change our bodies so that they may be made like His glorious body. All our sins will be gone. We shall not even have our old nature any longer.
It will be a wonderful thing to see Jesus and to be made like Him. We are waiting every day for Him to come, for He says, "Behold, I come quickly.” He did not tell us when He would come back, but left us to wait for Him every day. Today may be the day He will come. Let’s not do anything that we would not want to be doing when He comes.
- What is the rapture?
- Will all Christian's participate in the rapture?
- What place is Jesus preparing for us while we wait for His return?
- If we do not share in the same type of "sorrow" as unbelievers, then how should Christians grief over death?
- Why must we be changed/ made like the Lord Jesus?