For 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. Then 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.
In Acts 8, we read that after Philip led the Ethiopian man to Christ, “the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away” (verse 39). Philip wasn’t caught up to Heaven; he was removed to another place. With all the freeways in California, I wish God would repeat that miracle.
One day believers will be caught up to be with the Lord in the air. Then, when He comes back to the earth, we will return with Him. There is a difference between the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ. The Rapture introduces the Tribulation. The Tribulation period follows the rapture of the church and concludes with the Second Coming. At the Rapture, Jesus comes forHis church. At the Second Coming, He comes with His church. Colossians 3 says, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (verse 4).
Probably the most definitive verse on the Rapture, and the text from which we get the actual term rapture, is 1 Thessalonians 4, “For 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. Then 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” (verses 16–17).
The Rapture will take place very quickly. In fact, the Bible says it will be “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). The twinkling of an eye is said to last about one thousandth of a second. That means we should live each moment of our lives in expectation of the Lord’s return.
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