The Word This Week

1 Thessalonians 5:1…

Concerning the times and the seasons of the Rapture of the Church, we are likened by Christ Himself to be a bridal party waiting for the return of the Groom for His Bride.

Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour, but only the Father in heaven knows. Not even the angels in heaven know.

All of this teaching helps us to understand only a pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church fits this description. Since this is first declared by Jesus, and now again by Paul, we understand how important this understanding must be for us, especially since Jesus gave such a strong warning to the bridal party in Matthew 25:1-13.

Were the Rapture of the Church to be given to take place at any time other than prior to the Tribulation, its time and hour can be known from scripture. There is no other scenario time-wise for the Rapture of the Church which is supported by all of scripture without denying any of it, or having to twist scripture to make it conform to theological arguments, no matter how well-intended.

Jesus declared it first and best, and Paul amplifies it here. The Rapture of the Church will take place prior to the Tribulation. These are and should be comforting words - but only for those who are ready. God has not appointed the Bride of His Son for His wrath.

Those who place their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ have had their sin paid for by Christ on the cross. Jesus absorbed the brutality of the wrath of God for us, and took our place in it. This is such a great sacrifice on our behalf, and to deny its effectiveness in likewise sparing us the wrath of God’s Tribulation makes no sense. Again, these are words of comfort, but only for those who have placed their faith in Christ and become born again.

Which it seems has been the entire purpose of this letter, as well as Jesus’ teaching about the ten bridesmaids in Matthew 25. Five of the ten bridesmaids were ready, (having been born again - their “lamps filled with oil,”) and 5 were not ready, (having been around the Bride, but never becoming born again themselves - their lamps empty.)

When the groom, directed by His Father, returned for His Bride, five of the bridesmaids were not ready. It was too late for them to become ready, since this took place in ‘the twinkling of an eye.’ (1 Corinthians 15:52)

The “day of the Lord,” (the Rapture of the Church,) will be - as Paul says here - "as a thief in the night." Had you been watching for the thief, expecting him to come, the thief could never have taken away your goods without you knowing it. This is intentionally such a colorful illustration it cannot be misunderstood, and it should not be avoided.

Pastor Bill