In a Moment
I Corinthians 15:51,52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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 4:16-17 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: 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.
The Rapture is becoming more and more popular issue not only for Christians but also for unbelievers now. Hollywood Christianity with its corrupted and half-truth presentation of the Biblical events in the Old Testament and New Testament is creating an impact to lots of people having different beliefs. Famous actors playing the role of major Bible character makes people imagine things and do a lot of speculations. Social media like you tube, face book, etc., are filled with illustrations as well as lessons and about this controversial topic. This morning we will see how the Word of God tells us about this futuristic event.
Rapture is the term commonly used for the catching away of the saints described in 1Th. 4:13-18. This Rapture is:
1. A resurrection of the dead in Christ (v. 14-16),
2. A catching up and translation of the living N.T. saints (v. 17).
The result of the rapture will be chaos here on earth. All true believers in Jesus Christ all over the world will be “taken”. Millions of people in all walks of life will suddenly disappear, including infants. Airports, streets, freeways, subways, supermarkets, hospitals, schools, offices, banks, etc., will all be in shambles. Left behind people will be searching for the missing without a trace. Churches that will remain will realize their mistake, but then it’s too late, and they have no alternative but to go back to the Bible and admit their mistakes. Immediately after the rapture, the anti-Christ will begin his reign, the seven year Tribulation will start.
II. God’s great promise
This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible, assuring us that “we” (i.e., all believers, whether dead or living when Christ returns) shall suddenly be changed, with our dead or dying bodies instantly transformed into incorruptible, immortal bodies, which can never die again
III. God’s great timing
A. This great change, when it finally occurs, will take place “in a moment.” The Greek here is en atomo, “in an atom of time.” This word is used only once in the New Testament and is the smallest particle of matter that is already indivisible.
B. It is further described by “the twinkling of an eye,” where “twinkling” is the Greek rhipe, is also used once. I do believe that this event will only happen one time and will never be repeated again.
Twinkling of an eye.
The average duration for a single blink of a human eye is 0.1 to 0.4 seconds, or 100 to 400 milliseconds, according to the Harvard Database of Useful Biological Numbers. For purposes of comparison, the tick sound made by a clock lasts about one second. So it would be possible to blink three times during a single tick of a clock. Evidently there is nothing else in this present world comparable in rapidity to this miraculous event. Probably even we who are waiting for this to happen will also be caught by surprise due to its speed.
IV. The great shout
A. We do not know whether the voice and the trumpet will be heard and distinguish by others than the “dead in Christ” and the “living saints”. We know however that the dead in Christ shall hear the sound, for it will be “intensely penetrating”.
B. There will be no graves so deep, no catacombs so rock covered, no mausoleums so thick, but the sound shall reach their depths and the dead in Christ shall hear the command for them to rise.
C. The shout is the “shout of triumph” over death (1 Cor. 15:54-57) manifested in the raising of the dead and the instantaneous glorification of the living saints who will never taste physical death.
D. Or it may be a command just like when the Lord raised Lazarus.
V. The great trumpet
A. In at least three biblical passages concerning the rapture, a trumpet is mentioned (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 4:1). How are we to understand this?
B. Dr. Dwight Pentecost writes, “The phrase ‘the trump of God’ is significant, for in the Old Testament the trumpet was used for two things—to summon to battle and to summon to worship.” (Dwight Pentecost, Prophecy for Today, p. 30)
1. To angels the trumpet blast will mean “Prepare for battle!” According to various New Testament passages on. Jn. 14:30; Eph. 6:12; 1 Jn. 5:19) this present world lies in the hands of the evil one, the devil, and the very atmosphere is filled with his wicked power and presence. Satan (Eph. 2:2) will obviously resist believers being caught up through his domain and becoming freed from his wicked worldly system. Remember he is called “prince of the power of the air?
Therefore, the trumpet commands the angels, “Prepare for battle! Clear the way for the catching up of those resurrected bodies and those living believers!”
2. To all believers the trumpet blast will mean “Prepare to worship!”
In Numbers 10:1-3 we read, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Make thee two trumpets of silver . . . that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly . . . and when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle
Regarding the rapture trumpet, Numbers 10:4 seems to be especially significant:
“If they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.”
At the rapture only one trumpet is sounded, suggesting that in God’s sight believers occupy a place of utmost importance. We are all “head princes” in the mind of God.
Reason why Satan will interfere
Our transformation will be quick (in a twinkling of an eye) but not our transportation (not literally mentioned). Elijah when he was transported up to heaven was taken by whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). Why whirlwind, chariot and horses of fire?
The two witness in Rev. 11:11-12 ascended up to heaven in a cloud being seen by their enemies.
The Lord ascended up to heaven not in a very quick way. (Acts 1:9)
VI. Our New bodies
A. Our new bodies will be like Christ’s resurrection body. He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:21).
B. Christ is able thus to create new bodies for us in a moment, just as when He created all things in the beginning: “He spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:9).
VII. When will it happen?
A. The Bible teaches the imminent return of Christ
B. It could happen any moment. This describes Christ’s teaching regarding His coming for church-age saints (1Th. 1:9-10; Tit. 2:12-13; M. t 24:42-44; Jas. 5:8-9; 1Jn. 2:28; Rev. 1:3).
Rapture is our blessed hope and it could happen any moment from now. Are you ready to be raptured or to be taken up? If not yet it’s time for you to repent from your sins and receive Christ as your personal Saviour. For those you are already saved, be patient, whatever your situation is, hold on, Christ is coming.