Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Prophecy series #28: What’s Next?

We’ve reviewed the events that will take place before Jesus returns to reign on this earth: The Church Age, the Apostasy, the Rapture of the Saints, the Bema-judgment Seat of Christ, the Anti-christ revealed, the seven years of Tribulation, the collapse of the Ecumenical Church and the one world government, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and the Judgment of gentile nations.

The big question for us today is this. What must happen before the Rapture of the saints? The answer of Scripture is NOTHING! He could have come two thousand years ago. He could come today. He may not come for a thousand years or more. The point is that the Bible makes clear that no one know the day nor the hour of his return. We are to be ready when He comes!

Though the word rapture is not found in Scripture, the Greek word harpazo
is used and it means “caught up”. The word is used in the major passage describing Christ’s return in I Thessalonians 4: 13-18. That Greek word is also found in John 10:28-29 translated as “pluck them” and in Acts 8:39 where it tells of Phillip being caught away from the Ethiopian eunuch. It is also found in II Corinthians 12:2,4 where it speaks of Paul being caught away to the third heaven.

Another major passage describing the rapture is in I Corinthians 15. This is a major passage on the resurrection of Christ. In verses 51-58 we learn of our bodily resurrection and it is tied in with Christ’s resurrection.

The main concern for us as we think of the rapture is that we are to be watching for Christ and not for signs. There are no signs pointing to His soon return. Paul expected Jesus in his day. See I Thessalonians 4:15.

In Mark 13:32-37 Jesus teaches us to expect Him any moment. Paul in Philippians 3:20-21 reminds us that our minds are to be focused on Christ and not on the things of this world. True, we live in this world and have to give thought to the things of this world, but they are not to be the focus of our lives. Christians ought not be focused on styles, fashions, the latest movie or TV program, entertainment, sports, the stock market, or politics. All of these may have a part in our lives, but Christ is to be the main focus.

Abraham is a wonderful example for us all. His story is retold in Hebrews 11. Note in verse 8-16 that although God had given the land of Canaan to Abraham, he dwelt in tents as one who was just passing through. He looked for his Heavenly Home. We all need Abraham’s mindset and priorities when it comes to the things of this life.

The early church of Thessalonica is a wonderful example to us. Read of their activities and focus. in I Thess. 1:9-10. They turned to God from their idols, they served the living and true God, and they waited for the return of His Son, Jesus, from Heaven. What an example this church was to us!

Titus 2:11-14 reminds us again of The Blessed Hope of Christ’s return for us. We’re not looking for The Tribulation or the Anti-christ, but we look for the return of Christ Himself.

In Hebrews 9:28 we read again of Christ who came the first time to die for our sins and He is returning a second time to those who look for Him.”

In Acts 1:6-11 Jesus is about to ascend back to Heaven in His glorified body. The disciples are gathered around Him on the Mount of Olives and their concern is about the details of Christ’s second coming. Jesus corrects them by telling them to turn their attention from these details and give themselves to the work of spreading the Gospel throughout the world. That charge applies to every Christian.

Dear Christian friends, quit looking for signs of Christ’s return. Instead, concentrate on evangelizing the world, starting in your community.

Will there be signs of Christ’s return to this world to set up His Kingdom? Absolutely. This series of prophetic messages describes those signs. But those signs are for Israel. I Corinthians 1:22-23 teaches us that the Jews require a sign. They will see those sign unfold during the Tribulation. But we Christians do not need any signs or wonders. We walk by faith.

Someone may ask, “But are we not living in the last days?” Yes, we are. We have been living in the last days ever since the Church began at Pentecost. Listen to Peter in Acts 2:1-20. The Apostle John also warns us in I John 2:18 that ever since his time we have been living in the last days.

Hebrews 10:25 tells us we can see the day approaching. The author of Hebrews was reminding the Jews that they could see the persecution of Christians approaching. Two or three decades later, the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, just as Jesus had prophesied in Matthew 24:1-2. But Hebrews 10:25 also speaks to Christians today. We also see the day of Christ’s return approaching; not so much by the signs of earthquakes and other natural disasters, not so much by wars and rumors of wars; but by the ever deepening apostasy falling on the world. I remind you again of the question Jesus asked in Luke 18:8 “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” That’s the question you and I need to ponder. Will you be found faithful when He returns?

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June 3, 2006 - Posted by | Prophecy Series

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