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INTRODUCTION:  There are Bible teachers today who condemn the Christian doctrinal view of a literal rapture of the church.  Men like Harold Camping of Family Radio, and Arnold Murray of Shepherd’s Chapel, are only a few of the names who have twisted scripture in order to mock the traditional Christian views of the rapture.  Arnold Murray believes that the rapture is an invention of modern preachers.  Camping claimed the rapture would take place on May 21, 2011.  Both men are non-Christian false teachers.  Pat Robertson, who is a Christian, also discredits the traditional view of the rapture and Second Coming.  He says all Christians will go through the Tribulation—that there will be no escape in the rapture.   This morning we will begin a series on End Time Prophecy or Eschatology—the study of future events that lead up to the Second Coming.  The rapture is that event when Christians disappear to meet Jesus Christ in the air.  There are two key passages that describe the rapture.  Read I Thes. 4:13-18 & I Cor. 15:51-53.




  1. All believers who already died before the rapture.  (I Thes. 4:16).  Notice it says, “and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

  2. All of us who are saved and alive when the trumpet sounds.  Notice in I Thes. 4:17 says, “We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.”

  3. All babies, and little children who have not yet  to the age of accountability.  (Matt. 19:14)..




  1. One false view says only “spiritual” Christians who are living for God will go.  I Cor. 15:51 says, “We shall all be changed.”  The word “all” indicates every believer will go, not just a few.

  2. Another false view says that the rapture will take place in the middle of the 7-year tribulation.  However, believers will not experience any part of the horrible judgments on the earth.  I Thes. 5:9 says, “For God hath not appointed us unto wrath.”  I Thes. 1:10 says, ““…which delivered us from the wrath to come.”  I Cor. 11:32, “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” 

  3. Another error says that the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are the same event.  Rev. 1 tells us that he will come openly and  that “every eye shall see him.” But I Thes. 5:2 tells us the rapture will come secretly as a “thief in the night.”  There are two separate and unlike events.

  4. That some people will know the date of the rapture. (Matt.  24:37-39). Vs. 36 says that “no man” will know the day nor the hour.  Mark 13:32 says that not even the Son knew at that time. Acts 1:6-7 says it is not for us to know “the times or the seasons.”

  5. There is no rapture at all.  That all the verses about disappearing Christians are merely symbolic



How might we illustrate the rapture to people who have no conception of it.  One  author described it this way: Picture a pile of needles and  wood slivers that you  wish to separate.  You could painstakingly pick them out one at a time.  Or, you could get a large horseshoe magnet to separate them.  By passing the large magnet over the pile, the objects possessing the same nature as the magnet would be caught up into the air to join the magnet. Likewise with Christians who possess Christ’s nature.


  1. Noah and his family.  (Matt. 24:37-41).  Jesus compared the last days of God’s wrath to the flood.  Noah and his family were safely inside the Ark and the door was shut.  Then the judgment began.

  2. Lot and his family.  (Luke 17:28-30, 34-37).  When God sent angels to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, he first removed Lot and his family, the only Christians in Sodom. 

  3. Enoch & Elijah.  (Hebrews 11:5).  Enoch is also an illustration of the rapture of God’s people.  Notice it says that Enoch did “not see death.”  God took  him  just before the flood  because he walked with God.  Elijah was also caught up in a fiery chariot without seeing death.  That he might postpone death until the Tribulation, where he will be one of the two witnesses who will be killed by the Anti-Christ.

  4. John the Apostle.  (Rev. 4:1-2).  A trumpet sounded vents. This experience is type of rapture, and takes place before the other events. 

  5. The Church of Philadelphia.  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.” 




  1. Totally unexpected. (vs. 2). The Bible says that the rapture will come as “a thief in the night”. Matt. 24:44 says, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

  2. Worldwide Panic. (vs. 2).  The discovery of a thief having been in your house is both shocking and sickening.

  3. Widespread Crime and Violence.  (vs. 3).  Notice the phrase “then cometh sudden destruction.”  

  4. Strong delusion and false theories.  (I Thes. 2:11-12).  Notice the mental state of people—they will “believe a lie”.

  5. Bitterness toward Christians and toward God.  Rev. 13:6 says, “And he [the anti-Christ] opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name…”  Then in vs. 7, “…it was given unto him to make war with the saints.”  Dan. 7:25, “And he shall speak great words against the most High.”  Dan. 11:36, “And shall speak…things against the God of gods.”   


V.  IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING THE RAPTURE. Consider our responsibilities in light of the coming rapture. 


  1. Be faithful to church.  Heb. 10:25 says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and SO MUCH THE MORE, AS YE SEE THE DAY APPROACHING.” 

  2. Live a pure and separated life.  I John 3:2, 3 says, “…we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is…And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself.”   

  3. Strive to develop patience and steady emotions.  James 5:8 says, “Be ye patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”  We will need stability and steadfastness in these difficult days.

  4. Talk about it with others. I Thes. 4:16, 18 says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven…wherefore comfort one another with these words.”


CONCLUSION:  The rapture could come today.  The Bible teaches that the rapture is an imminent event—that is, it could come at any moment. That has always been true. Any teaching that insinuates the coming of the Lord will be delayed jeopardizes good morals.  It undermines the command to be watching.  If we know Christ can’t come until certain other events  take place, we know we don’t need to watch until those events happen.  The imminent return of Christ is an important doctrine to all these things.


Copyright © 2014 Gregory Bowser. All Rights Reserved.*

* Lesson's may be copied as long as nothing is altered. Lessons may be copied for teaching purposes. Lessons may not be sold.

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