NOTE: This is a SAMPLE CHAPTER from the book "Preparing for the Rapture"
This Investigation is not about the validity of the Rapture - But about who is going to be included, and who is not.
"Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." 1Thess 4.17
The Rapture is a subject that has created many denominations, theories and much confusion. Because this still future event, that I believe is about to take place, the Church body of Christ needs to take a fresh look at what is Truth about this mystery.
The statement “The Rapture of the Church”, left without explanation can, and does leave much to our imagination. It is fodder for untold theories and stories of science-fiction. For the past two thousand years, since Jesus walked the earth, men have anticipated this mysterious event and prophecy that is contained in both the Old and New Testaments. Theories abound as to if, when and how this event will take place. In this book, we are going to attempt to untangle this mystery so that [the reader] can clearly prepare and anticipate this event with all certainty of being a part of that special group. We will be asking, and answering a number of questions such as:
• Is the Rapture really going to take place?
• What is the purpose of the Rapture?
• Who is going to be included in that group?
• What are the qualifications to be included in the Rapture?
A short study of the prophesied Rapture of the believers of Jesus Christ is important if for no other reason than to correct some of the myths that surround this event. While the rapture is mentioned in Scripture, it is a mystery to a great extent because there is so little that we know about it. That is not to say that there are few references to this vast subject, but just the opposite, there are actually many scriptures which, for the diligent reader, will actually give a lot of information on the subject.
Warning: It is extremely important that the “believer” be ready for the rapture event for several reasons;
1. Number One, and most importantly, Jesus commanded a continued state of readiness for His Bride.
2. Those who will be included in the rapture will be the Bride of Christ. Jesus will not accept an adulteress bride, but one who is in the process of being sanctified and purified as one who Loves her husband more than this world 1John 3.3.
3. It is the True Bride that is currently resisting the advancement of evil. It is the True Bride that is sacrificing his, or her, time to build up their Faith, and is spending time abiding in the Word and bearing much Fruit of the Spirit in order to bring glory and honor to Christ. It is the pure Bride of Christ that is keeping her ‘lamp’ (as a Light in this dark world) filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit. Once the Bride of Christ has been removed from society, darkness will flood in and the spirit of the anti-Christ will reign supreme for a period.
4. It will be the Rapture event, the ‘catching-up’ of the True Bride of Christ that will give power to the Anti-Christ to wreak havoc upon God’s creation. While there will be many converts to Christianity during the Tribulation period, it will become extremely difficult to maintain a Christian life.
5. Only the True Disciple of Christ will be able to see the big eternal picture of being the Bride of Christ. Scriptures declare that there is a very specific purpose and plan that Christ has prepared for His Bride, after the Rapture takes place.
For our purposes in this Study Guide, we are going to focus on being one of those who are included in this mighty event. We will discover the big picture of why God chose to have the Rapture event in the first place.
As I started to develop a Scriptural foundation required for discovering Truth, I quickly realized that this event is revealed throughout all of the precepts of Scripture. For instance, one of the earliest recorded events of mysterious disappearing is found in Genesis about Enoch who was the seventh generation from Adam:
"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Gen 5:22-24, KJV
This event was confirmed in the Letter to the Hebrews:
"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. Heb 11:5, ESV
A couple of other events which are 'types' of the Rapture are the story of Noah and the flood, and the Exodus from Egypt and their trip to the land that God had promised to Abraham.
The problem that many have within the Church today is First; Because there are so many theories floating around on this subject, that sermons and even references to this mystery are almost non-existent. Yet Scripture reveals that this single event is going to be a historical change point that is equal to the flood, and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the perfect Redeemer of man. We need to discover how this mystery fits into the timeline of history and 'why' it needs to take place. There are many people today who mock this idea of the rapture as being simply a fictitious hope of the Church in order to escape the Great Tribulation.
Secondly, we need to understand that while this event is going to involve a large [group] of people, it is really a very personal, and the group will be made up of individuals who are acutely aware of and are spiritually motivated and prepared for this event. We will discover that this particular event will not involve everyone who “claims” to be a Christian. Further, we will find out that there is a much greater meaning and purpose for our great gift of salvation than is being preached from many pulpits today.
This means that we will have to re-visit many of the definitions of who and what a follower of Jesus Christ is.
Within the Christian Church today, there are literally dozens of opinions as to when this event will take place, EG: Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib or Post-Trib. Some even question whether this event is even a real precept in Scripture. Further, few today know what events are going to take place with those who are included in the Rapture. With this in view, in order for you the reader to accurately unravel this mystery, as in solving all mysteries, you must be willing to put aside [all] previous assumptions, theories, denominational beliefs, and as a good detective, rely solely on the facts and Truth of Scripture alone. The reader must be willing to prayerfully consider the facts of Scripture alone.
Jesus wants every born-again believer to know the Truth, and Truth is revealed in Scripture alone [Psa 119:160]. He gave to each believer, the power of His Holy Spirit to counsel, teach and direct his or her steps of understanding as we unravel this very real Biblical precept.
13- When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. (John 16:13, -HCSB).
This book is not about if the rapture will happen, but about "if you are going to be included in the event?"
Remember Lot's wife - God does not take people who will be 'looking back, longing for this world'.
-You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See to it that you are not alarmed. These things must take place, but the end hasn’t come yet,
See to it that no one deceives you, because many will come in My name… and they will deceive many people. Matt 24:4-6, ISV
There are three prolific warnings in the Bible that every born-again believer should take seriously.
FIRST, that in the last days there would be great trouble. We are seeing unprecedented advance of the globalization and searching for a "Leader" who will somehow solve the world's problems.
SECOND that there would be great deception and a falling away from the Faith.
- Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 1Tim 4:1, KJV
- But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. - For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, - unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, - traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, - holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! 2Tim 3:1-5, HCSB emphasis mine
Today we are watching in real-time, the rise of the spirit of the anti-Christ. There is a global effort to silence the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is an increasing effort to declare Christianity as a terrorist movement.
All of these events are an effort of this world, to strike fear into the heart of the believer, in an effort to cause them to 'go-back' to the ways of this world.
The THIRD major warning is that the believer in Jesus Christ should take the warnings and instructions of Scripture seriously. We are strongly cautioned against allowing our great salvation to wane and grow cold. We are instructed to be constantly alert and on guard for deception, and to be awake, 'looking for His return'.
Listen to that Jesus instructed:
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:36).
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:13)
Paul also warned:
Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
In light of all the global events, wars, and pressures coming from governments and the god of this world, Jesus asked this very important question;
"…when it Son of Man comes; will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth? (Luke 18.8 AMP).
Isaiah warned that if you are not 'firm' and well-grounded in your Faith, then 'you will not be able to stand' (against the test or deception). (Isa 7.9 ISV).
There are literally hundreds of like warnings throughout the New Testament, but there are very few Christian pulpits which are educating their members on how to be prepared. Many denominations have started preaching a different Gospel by declaring that the "Last Days" have already taken place, or that a prayer for salvation is all that is required to be ready.
In John 17.17, Jesus prayed just prior to His crucifixion that [we] would be in the process of being continually sanctified, or set-apart from this world, by the Word of Truth. Paul warned that if the believer is not in that process of being sanctified, that he is being disobedient to what Christ instructed, and that he is [rejecting God] (1Thess 4.8).
One of the major Tripping Points in the greater Church body today is the definition of a Disciple. Most want to label everyone a Christian who has ever said a prayer for salvation. Of course, in order to be a Disciple, one must be born-again, but, Jesus placed a much higher calling on those He will call Disciples. First, we are called to [follow] Him. Every one of those who followed Christ, it was because He said “follow Me”. They dropped everything and followed Him, to be taught by Him, to become like Him.
Further, Jesus said that if you want to be a Disciple, you must abide in the Word and bear much Fruit of His Spirit that is dwelling in you (John chapter 15). We will discover the vital role that bearing the Fruit of the Spirit is for maintaining a victorious fellowship with Christ and for being a “doers” of all Christ commanded. Without the Fruit of the Spirit alive and active in our everyday walk, we open ourselves up to the deceptions of this world. The mark of a Disciple is by the Fruit that is borne out in his life (Matthew chapter 7).
- For the hearers of the law are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous. Rom 2:13, HCSB.
- But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Jas 1:22, HCSB.
- This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. - The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn't keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. - But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: 1John 2:3-5, HCSB.
- Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, - teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt 28:19-20, ESV emphasis mine.
It is during the process of becoming a Disciple of Christ that all of these questions will be revealed to your heart and spirit. A Disciple of Christ is one who is pro-active in becoming one-mind with Christ, studying the Word with other like-minded believers. A Disciple is one who [Loves] to be a doer of the Word. Many teach that the moment of salvation is all that is required, but Jesus taught that it is what you do with your gift of salvation through obedience to His commands. For example, John wrote how we can know absolutely that we are saved and that our salvation is producing Fruit;
- This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. - The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn't keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. - But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: - The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked. 1John 2:3-6, HCSB.
In the Great Commission, Jesus gave every church leader, teacher, and lay person the mandate to train the new convert to obey all that Jesus instructed in the New Testament. Today, there is very little discipling available to the follower of Christ. If there is some training, it is usually very short and usually more focused on denominational doctrine and traditions.
The Discipling Process is preparing believers to stand firm in their Faith in Jesus Christ during the toughest trial. Jesus wants His followers to be of one mind with Him, to be able to 'walk in the Spirit', becoming fully mature in Christ, lacking nothing. (James 1.3-4).
Scripture abounds with evidence of the Rapture. Scripture instructs each of us how to be prepared, alert and ready, at all times focusing on the Author and Finisher of our Faith, Jesus Christ. The Rapture is going to take place, and it is going to happen so fast that it is be over before our minds can assimilate the event.
The questions that every believer should be asking are:
· Who does the Bible say will be included in the Rapture event?
· How did Jesus say we should prepare for this event?
· What are the Qualifications?
These questions cannot be answered in a sentence or a paragraph. The believer needs to understand just exactly what the Rapture is for (many believe that it is simply a way to miss the Tribulation period). What we must do to qualify for this major event that is going to take place, that is going to be a point in history that will change the whole world, is the purpose of this book. To prepare men to be alert and ready to hear that trumpet sound which will call the Bride of Christ to the wedding ceremony, a Bride that is clothed in the righteousness of God and alertly watching for His return.
How Truth is revealed in our hearts and minds…
The purpose of the Word of God is to instruct the believer in Jesus Christ on how to live a victorious life. The only way that we can truly Love the Lord our God is to accept the Word of God as Truth and that [we] have to “own” that Truth as our only foundation for our journey through this life. We have to Trust that the inspired Word is more powerful and effective than any other resource. That the Word of God is reliable in ALL circumstances and trials.
Gaining the knowledge of God’s will for our personal life, requires spending time in the Word. Jesus instructed [every] believer to “abide” (spend time) in the Word so that we can bear much Fruit as evidence of His Spirit dwelling in us. Ten minute devotionals WILL NOT do it. The believer will only achieve the transformation to a state of Holiness, that Christ desires for [every] believer, will be accomplished by allowing the Truth of the Word to renew our minds by both absorbing the Word, and by being a ‘doer’ of the Word. This “Complete Study Guide”, along with the Word of God cannot be read like a novel. It is a ‘study guide’. Just listen to what Jesus says:
- If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend. - And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. - For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [ by force], Mark 4:23-25, AMP.
Paul concurred: - Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. 2Tim 2:15, AMP.
Additionally, do serious Bible study with others. Group study is the most profitable way to grow spiritually mature.
Scripture abounds with evidence of the Rapture. Scripture instructs each of us how to be prepared, alert and ready, at all times focusing on the Author and Finisher of our Faith. To focus on, or, to be distracted by the things of this world is disobedience and unless the believer is able to overcome the distractions and deceptions of this world, they will potentially cause that person to miss the Rapture.
The Discipling Process prepares the believer to be secure in his salvation. To be ready to stand in Faith through all of the trials and tests that are coming against those who place their Faith in Jesus Christ, and are looking and hoping for the return of Christ.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:36).
The same power and authority that the twelve apostles received is available to [every] born-again believer in Jesus Christ who will take this call serious and apply himself to abiding in the Vine and bearing much Fruit. Too many people are brought to Christ with a soft gospel and they are not informed or taught about the importance of being clothed with the “full armor of God” and being prepared for the spiritual battle that is taking place in the heavenlies. God has called us to be participants in this spiritual battle, and to be the victors and overcomers, with all discernment, over the deceptive wiles and fiery darts of satan.
Dear reader - please understand in your innermost being: If you are reading this sentence, it is because God is calling you to be a Disciple of the Gospel of Christ. But, it is going to be totally up to you to make that decision to do so. Please note that every excuse and reason you can come up with to not follow Christ intimately as a Disciple, is coming from your old nature that is enmity against God, and it is empowered by the god of this world, satan. But you as a believer, you have the Spirit and power of God to choose to walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh.
God has given you everything, every tool and all of the power and authority that exists in heaven so that you can become a mighty Ambassador for Jesus Christ 2 Peter 1.1-10.
Paperback Study Guide
8 1/2" x 11"