Episode 12 “Snatched Up”
Previously we have considered “What” and “Where is the Kingdom of God” and “Who can be in it.”
In this Episode we will consider what the event will be like, and when it might take place, and why.
In the first century there were already those who were saying this momentous event had already happened.
Apostle Paul writing to the church says in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. (NKJ translation)
“I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18Therefore comfort one another with these words”
Firstly, the apostle doesn’t want us to remain in ignorance. Why?
Because a knowledge of the truth gives much comfort at a time of loss. Indeed, despite our loss we can rejoice in hope.
Believers who have died before Jesus’ return will meet us on that glorious day when we meet Him in the air at His return.
1 Corinthians tells us we will get a new body. Or to express it a different way, our spirits and souls will be clothed upon with a new body far exceeding the glory of our present body.
In a sense we will meet Jesus part way. He will descend from His heavenly throne whilst we rise from our earthly habitation to meet him in the air.
We shall be caught up. It is a work of God not of man. This being caught, or snatched up, is commonly referred to as the rapture.
And indeed it will be a rapturous event. Receiving a perfect body free from all imperfections, including sin.
Rescued from the wrath of God which earth dwellers are shortly to experience. Reunited with love ones and much more.
No wonder at many funerals there is an atmosphere of praise and thanksgiving, and joy.
For those who depart this life, in the Lord, have a glorious future ahead of them.
This event may catch some believers by surprise, as it will many others. Though both should be prepared for it.
‘New Agers’ teach Christians will be caught up into silver spacecrafts, or UFO’s by Aliens.
The purpose , they explain, is to re-programme their minds.
They consider those who warn about the dangers of ending up in Hell, or preaching against hedonistic practices, are wicked.
Hence they believe Christians are evil and need guarding against.
The Believer knows better. He knows he is on the way to heaven, to a future so glorious that he doesn’t have words to describe it properly.
Daniel ch.9 teaches there is going to be a seven year period when the anti-Christ will reign. A period divided into two parts.
The first half will have seen the anti-Christ entering into an agreement with the Jews so that they can worship God in a newly built Temple.
After 3½ years he will break his agreement and want to use the Temple for the worship of himself. Jesus warned this would happen in Matthew ch. 24.
The Old Testament prophets referred to this period as the Time of Jacobs Trouble, or the Day of the Lord.
Many speculate on the time interval between Christians being snatched up and the start of this seven year period, but we are not told how long it will be.
It is worth remembering that whilst Israel is given many signs of the Day of the Lord, or Jacobs Trial; the Church is expected to live in the immediacy of Christ’s return.
By this I mean, Christians are not to look for signs, but to be ready at any moment, any time of day or night, for Christ to return to ‘snatch’ them up.
In contrast, Israel will not experience the return of the Messiah until the prophecies pertaining to Israel are fulfilled.
This is problematical for those who believe the Church has replaced Israel, because the signs then have to be allegorised, and can mean whatever they want them to.
Although John tells us there are many anti-Christ’s who have gone out into the world, the anti-Christ of Revelation will come after the ‘snatching up’ and the signs are for those left behind.
The book of Thessalonians also informs us that this ‘Lawless one’ will not be made known until the ‘snatching up’ has taken place.
He is also referred to as the ‘man of sin, or ‘the son of destruction’.
There are differences of opinion as to ‘Who is the one’ who is taken out of the way thus allowing the lawless one to do his work.
It seems most likely that ‘the one’ is referring to the Holy Spirit working in the lives of Christians who are to be snatched away.
Revelation shows that God is at work during these ‘End time events’ and it is the influence of the Holy Spirit, working through Christians, that impedes the work of Satan in the present age.
With the Believing Church removed, will people still find Christ, become believers, ‘get saved’?
The discussion of this will have to wait for a future episode, but first we want to consider what will happen to those ‘snatched up’ before Christ returns bodily to this earth.
Till next time, be prepared for the Saviour’s return, it is imminent.