Dear Rehoboth Church Family and Friends,
I wanted to send you more information than I was able to include in the April 19, 2020 Sunday message regarding the imminent return of Christ. I think it is important to understand that the Rapture will occur when Jesus Christ returns for His church. This is when all true believers in Christ will be taken from the earth by God into heaven and is different from the Second Coming of Christ to the earth.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (KJV) 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV) 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (have already died), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
The Second Coming
The Second Coming will happen when Jesus Christ returns to the earth to bring judgment and to overthrow the evil antichrist and begin to reign with His saints for 1,000 yrs.
Revelation 19:11-16 (KJV) 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
The Rapture will occur before the Great Tribulation and the Second Coming will occur at the end of the Tribulation.
The Tribulation is a seven-year period of intensifying judgment and suffering upon the earth, described in detail in Revelation chapter 5-18. The Rapture will happen before the Tribulation:
1 Thessalonians 5:9 – 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Revelation 3:10 (NKJV) 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
So, the Rapture is when the Lord will return to collect His saints from the earth; the Second Coming is when He will return to the earth with His saints as well as angels and the armies of heaven.
During the Rapture the Lord will not come all the way to earth but will meet His raptured believers in the air. At the Second Coming, He will descend to the earth and stand upon the Mt. of Olives. The Rapture will bring blessings to the Church. The Second Coming will bring judgment upon the unbelievers.
I know this can be confusing, but as with all things concerning the Word of God, it is important to take time to learn all we can as it influences our faith. Romans 10:17 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
For further study and reflection I recommend chapter five of Thessalonians in the New Testament. Paul is speaking to this young church in Thessalonica about the sobering realities of the coming day of the Lord. It speaks to us today about how we should believe and behave about the same subject. Take the time to read each verse carefully, prayerfully, heart-searchingly and be encouraged.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-28 1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 25 Brethren, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. 27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
God Bless You,