1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Things to Come, Lesson 4, The Rapture of the Church, Part II, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

 

We concluded last weekís lesson discussing the evidence of scripture concerning the timing of the Rapture relative to the seven year period known as the Tribulation.

And one of the greatest evidences is the command to be ready and in this command the inference is an immanency of the Lordís coming.

The Bible instills in us that Christ could come at any moment for there are many admonitions to watch, to be ready, and to look for Christ.

Another piece of evidence we discussed for the pre-tribulation position concerns what the body of Christ is to avoid for there is a clear pattern, for when God pours out His wrath He always gives opportunity for the righteous to escape.

Noah and Lot are the best examples of that and both were saved from the wrath to come just before the wrath came.

Both Noah and Lot were saved as the old expression says, by the skin of their teeth.

Lot did not move from Sodom, years prior to the fire and brimstone nor did Noah move to high ground before the floods came.

So God promises to save his own from wrath that he means for the wicked.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 says,  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

In the message to the Church of Philadelphia, that faithful church which had not denied Christís name, God said:

Revelation 3:10,  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Another piece of evidence for a pre-tribulation Rapture is found in:

II Thessalonians 2:1-8, From the New American Standard Version of the Bible,  Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy (falling away from the faith) comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

So we see in this passage that Antichrist will not be revealed until he who now restrains is taken out of the way.

One of the marks of this age is a rapid corruption of society.

It should not amaze us that this is taking place for we are seeing the seeds planted today that will be in full bloom after that which restrains is removed.

God has on this earth that which restrains.

He has given his Spirit to indwell believers who are to provide that God-given restraint.

Jesus told us that we are the salt of the earth for we have Godís Spirit that indwells.

Modern people do not have an understanding of the preservative powers of salt as the people of old did for we are a people who preserve by cold instead of salt.

We are freezer people and do not realize the importance of saltís preservative powers as those people of old.

But the lesson is that the church, among other things, is placed on this earth to preserve.

We are placed on this earth to not remove the ancient landmarks.

We are to preserve the old ways, the proven ways, the Biblical ways.

Jesus told us that when he departed this earth he would send the Holy Spirit to do several things, among them that he would convict the world of sin.

This means that there would be a knowledge that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Let me tell you this conviction is already becoming a thing of the past for many are losing their savor, their saltiness.

But conviction of sin will fade away in one fell swoop when the Rapture occurs for all those who are filled with the Holy Spirit will exit this earth taking with them the salt of preservation.

Now the Holy Spirit is not totally contained in believers for Godís Spirit is everywhere but he is effectively restraining sin through believers in whom he dwells.

His acts of restraining are through Christians and the time will come, once those Christians respond to the shout of God and have left the earth, wickedness will abound.

You may think that wickedness is abounding now but, compared with what is to come, and if I may use the vernacular, You ainít seen nothing yet!

As salt shaken moves everywhere God has his children everywhere hindering evil.

We do not realize that just by our presence evil is hindered in our places of employment, in the market place, in the schools, and even in places of government.

So when the salt is removed rottenness will come in like a flood.

8Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

Nor will that hindrance reappear in the same form by the multitudes that will be saved during the tribulation.

For true believers will be persecuted and either killed or driven underground, so that their godly influence will not be felt in the world as it is today.

When God removes the salt of the earth in the Rapture, the world will overripe, which means the world will be sufficiently rotten for Antichrist to step forth with his ungodly plans.

His surrogates today are stepping forth with ungodly plans we used to not even consider would happen.

Today it is becoming common to call evil good and good evil.

During the time of Jacobís trouble multitudes of people will turn to Christ because of Godís witnesses and will become true believers and will also be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but they will not be permitted to take the place of the missing Christians in society.

They will be outcasts without the approving mark of commerce of the beast, and therefore the Holy Spirit will not have the same restraining influence on the world that He now has.

Most, or even all of them, will be quickly put to death by the man of sin.

Now we have said that the Rapture is the first of Christís returning events of His second coming.

Of course Christ remains in the air at the Rapture and we rise to meet Him, but to conclude the tribulation Christ will touch down on the earth and rule and reign for one thousand years.

It is impossible for us to understand the fullness of the events that take place between Christís two returning events.

Read the book of Revelation in one sitting and it is easy to get overwhelmed with the multitude of things which take place.

The text moves back and forth though time, up to heaven and then to earth, to hell and to earth and then to heaven.

It spans the church age, the tribulation with its horsemen, its seals, its veils, the millennium, the great white throne judgment, the new heavens and the new earth, the holy city of eternity.

Much of these events concern Godís people of Israel, but the Rapture concerns the church, Christís body, Christís bride.

And therefore there are great events that take place in heaven once the church is taken there my means of the Rapture.

God is the ultimate multi-tasker and all of his plans regardless of how complicated they seem to us will be carried out in Godís good time.

He knows his timeline and it will be carried out to the letter.

One principle I know is that everything that is made is accountable to its maker.

The manufacturer of your car is accountable to you that your car will perform as advertised and if it does not there are legal remedies to make sure your are satisfied.

God saved me from my sin for I am a creation of God in the family of Adam who fell from what he was created to be.

He has saved my so that I will be fully what He wants me to be.

But even though I have been saved from sin God has left me here to serve him.

And in that service He holds me accountable and that is reasonable.

If you have servants would you not hold them accountable?

I know the fact that I will be held accountable to be true for my creator does not leave me ignorant.

God tells me clearly that what I do for him will be judged whether it be good or bad.

Paul the Apostle knew it and recorded it in: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10,  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

So we notice in this passage that God has a day of accountability for his children.

By this context it is obvious that the judgment seat of Christ takes place after we are clothed in new bodies.

This is an event which takes place after the Rapture.

It does not take place upon the death of a believer but it is a judgment that can be likened to a waiting for your turn with others who also wait.

This will be the ultimate report card day.

If any "Well Done, Thou Good and Faithful Servant awards" will be given this is where it will be.

At this time you will not have to answer to your earthly parents who on occasion did not judge rightly but you will have to answer before your perfect parent, the Lord Jesus Christ.

You will not have to answer for your sin for Christ answered for your sin at the cross.

But this will be a report card which will review the quality of your servant-hood as a Christian.

Your service will be evaluated and rewarded accordingly.

The motives of your heart that moved you to serve will be made manifest.

The eyes of Christ will be as fire to test every work undertaken by you and me and the fire will reveal the works that will survive.

Only those works undertaken by faith, undertaken in the Spirit, will survive.

All the works of the flesh, that which was done with self serving motives will be taken away and only what God has built into our lives since we came into His service will go with us.

I Corinthians 3:11-15,  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every manís work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every manís work of what sort it is. 14If any manís work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any manís work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

The lambs book of life is opened and your name will be called and you will go to stand before the judge.

As we are told in Romans 14:10, Ö..for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

So we are to be builders, builders who build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ.

We are to use the best materials, gold, silver, precious stone that come from God himself in his Word.

God provides the best.

We are not to cut corners with inferior materials of the world that are built for the temporal, inferior ideas and methods and programs of the world.

We are to build only upon one foundation and that is Jesus Christ for this is the only foundation which will bring that which will last and we are accountable for this to the perfect judge.

Only One Life, poem written by C.T. Studd Ė missionary to China and Africa

Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along lifeís busy way;

Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;

Only one life, ítwill soon be past, Only whatís done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;

Then, in Ďthat dayí my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;

Only one life,í twill soon be past, Only whatís done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice

Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to Godís holy will to cleave;

Only one life, ítwill soon be past, Only whatís done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;

Each with its days I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;

Only one life, ítwill soon be past, Only whatís done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;

When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ítwill soon be past, Only whatís done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;

Faithful and true what eíer the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;

Only one life, ítwill soon be past, Only whatís done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;

Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;

Only one life, "twill soon be past, Only whatís done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say, "Thy will be done";

And when at last Iíll hear the call, I know Iíll say Ďtwas worth it all";

Only one life,í twill soon be past, Only whatís done for Christ will last.