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“The Rapture”
by Art Sadlier   
May 1st, 2009

The word of God tells us that there will come a generation of believers who will not die!  The first revelation of this came from Christ himself.  In John 14:2, Christ said, "I go to prepare a place for you," and we know He went back to heaven, therefore the prepared place is in heaven.  Jesus went on to say, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also."  The promise is that Jesus will take His disciples to the prepared place in heaven. That is the rapture!

In 1 Corinthians 15:51 Paul said, "Behold I show you a mystery", I am going to show you something that was kept hidden all down through the O.T. ages.  "We shall not all sleep", we shall not all die.  "We shall all be changed", Paul is talking about the living and the dead; this is the rapture.  It is all laid out in detail in 1 Thess. 4: 13-17

In Revelation 2 & 3 there is a record of the 7 churches of Asia Minor. These two chapters are a prophecy about the entire church age as represented by the 7 churches. How do we know that chapters 2 & 3 are a prophecy?  Revelation 1:3 tells us so.

We are now living somewhere near the end of the church age. We can now look back over 2000 years of church history and we can see the remarkable fulfilment of these prophecies in the record of the 7 churches.

As we look at the church in this day and hour, in the last era of the church age, we see an astounding similarity to the last church, Laodicea.  Look at Laodicea in Rev. 3:16 where it says, "So, then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." Never in all the history of the church has there been a church which held the truth and yet was so characterized by lukewarmness as the Evangelical church of this present hour.

"Because thou sayest I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing..."  This has not been true of any other church era in history and this could be true of no other church but the Evangelical church of the present hour.

Laodicea is the last of the 7 churches. She represents the closing days of the church age. She represents the Evangelical church of today. Understand that when chapter 3 ends, the church age ends. The church is never seen on earth again in Revelation until it is seen in chapter 19, where it is seen coming with Christ from heaven back to the earth.

“how and when did
the church get to heaven?”

Rev. 19:7 says, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready,"  Christ is the Lamb and the bride, who is about to become the wife of the Lamb, is the Church. The preparation for the wedding takes place in heaven. The church is in heaven with Christ as He promised in John 14.

After Revelation 3, the Church is never seen or pictured on earth until chapter 19 when she is seen coming out of heaven with Christ.  From chapter 4:1 to 19:10, the Church is not seen on earth but is seen in heaven.

In Revelation 4:4 we see the Church in heaven, around the throne of God; the elders represent the church. Elder is the major office in the church, it is not an office in Israel.  This group have crowns and white raiment; these are rewards promised only to the Church.

To summarize, in Revelation 2 & 3 we see the church on earth during the entire Church age.  In Revelation 19 we see the Church coming from heaven to earth with Christ at the end of the Tribulation period.  In Revelation 4 to 19 we see the Church in heaven with Christ.

The question is "how and when did the church get to heaven?"  The answer is found in Revelation 4: 1 & 2.  "After this I looked, and, behold a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.   And immediately I was in the spirit; and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne."

John was beholding future events. All of the events John recorded in Revelation were future events to him, when he recorded them.  In verse 1, we see the future rapture of the Church. In verse 2, we see John caught up to heaven in the rapture.  Why - because he was part of the church and he was viewing the rapture as a part of the church.  "A door was opened in heaven," we have a perfect description of the rapture.

"The first voice which I heard was as it were, of a trumpet talking with me; which said, come up hither,"  what a parallel with 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 & 17.  Notice the parallel terms, "Voice" - "Trumpet".   Note also, one says, "Come up here", the other says "shall be caught meet the Lord in the air".  You do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that these two are one and the same event.

The rapture, therefore, is prior to the tribulation period and of course, prior to the millennium.

The apostate church will not be a part of the rapture, but will go into the tribulation period to enter into a union with antichrist and his kingdom, see Rev. 2:22.

The true bride of Christ will be caught away and be kept from the tribulation period. "I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world," Revelation 3:10.                                                            

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