Monday, December 5, 2011

PURPOSE OF THE RAPTURE

PURPOSE OF THE RAPTURE

My edited version of Amy Van Gerpen’s Study
[My Words In Brackets]

The resurrection of the Church, widely known as the rapture of the Church, is the transition event between the dispensations of Grace and Judgment. The following verses describe this event:  John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; and Philippians 3:20-21.

What is the purpose of the rapture of the Church? Many believe it is a form of escape from God's Wrath.  While it is true that God has promised that the Church will not be subject to His Wrath (Romans 5:8-9, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 & 5:9-10), escape from God's Wrath is not the main purpose of the rapture.

Think about the horrible persecutions and torture experienced by millions of Christians since the time of Christ. Those stoned to death by unbelieving Jews, torn apart by lions under Nero, or hacked to death by Muslims in this present day, could attest that their experience was not any less severe than what believers will physically endure in the Tribulation. Again the difference between now and the Tribulation is that God will be pouring out His Wrath on top of unrestrained evil, while today God is pouring out grace while keeping evil in check through the restraining work of the Holy Spirit[which resides within the true believer who has accepted the power of the Holy Spirit as the governing force in their lives].  …the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:5-10 is the Holy Spirit:

Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
  
How will the Holy Spirit be taken out of the way of evil? Believers have been sealed and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit till the day of our redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14). If the Holy Spirit is taken, then so must the Church. As the saying goes "if you take the restrainer, you take the container". The rapture event will accomplish the restrainer being taken out of the way.

The purpose of the rapture really goes back to the doctrine of dispensations. Grace and Judgment unto Wrath cannot work concurrently. Scripture clearly tells us that the Tribulation will be a curse and a punishment for the iniquity of Israel and God's enemies in preparation for the Kingdom Age. In other words, God will be cleansing the earth of His enemies in order to start His Kingdom with only believers.  (Jeremiah 30:4-8; Jeremiah 30:9-11; Daniel 9:24; Micah 7:8-9; Isaiah 26:21)

God is going to bring Israel through the Tribulation as a punishment for their iniquity. God will also use the Tribulation as a means to turn the Jewish people back to Him, as He will be turning His focus back to them:  Zechariah 13:8-9.

Though God will be pouring out His Wrath and destroying His enemies, He will still give people a chance to be saved. We see in the passage above, that one-third of the Jews will be saved during the Tribulation. In a few sections, we will see that even during Judgment, God will continue to spread the Gospel message throughout the Tribulation.

We find in Revelation 7, that a multitude of people from all nations will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ during the Tribulation.

Previously, we discussed that Christ has reconciled and sanctified the Church, making us righteous. Also, we saw that the Church is not under the Law because Jesus became a curse for us. If the Church will be under God's curse during the Tribulation, then Jesus being made a curse for us becomes null and void.

Neither is the Church going to be punished for its iniquity, as will be the case for Israel. This is unscriptural, as Christ shed his blood to sanctify His Church (Ephesians 5:25-27). Clearly, God has to remove the Church before the dispensation of Judgment begins, because the blood of Christ has already made reconciliation for our iniquity when He became a curse for us.

[MARANATHA!]