August 26, 2013
What is the correlation between Christs
Resurrection and the Rapture of the Church?
Why, even at the “time of the end,” will the world go on eternally?
Paul’s message to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 15) is strong and beautifully stated. Twenty centuries later, it is still impossible to overstate the profound importance of our Lord’s resurrection to our faith. If Jesus had not risen from the dead as the Bible states, then all who had and have fallen asleep (died in Christ) have perished and our hope for eternal life is gone. If Jesus had remained in the grave, so would we. But praise God; He is risen from the dead. We serve a risen, living Savior. Think for a moment about what happened when Christ rose from the grave. What was left behind? All that was found in that sepulcher were our Lord’s grave clothes. What is the significance of that fact? In 1 Corinthians 15:23, it says Christ is the “first-fruits” of the resurrection. In the following text it states, “They that are Christ’s at his coming” will follow. The answer is there in black and white. Since Christ’s clothes were left behind, ours will be left behind also. Those that belong to Christ at the time of His coming will be bodily translated into heaven just as Jesus was, leaving behind the rags of sin for new robes of righteousness.
He Will Return as He Left
When Jesus Christ comes to call us home at the Rapture, He will come to receive us exactly as He left. How did He leave? He left bodily, ascending into the clouds. Acts 1:9-11 says, “And when he [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go.” In other words, if we can prove that Jesus ascended into heaven bodily, then we need go no further to prove that He is coming back bodily. Why? Because the Bible says He is coming back exactly as He left. After spending three days in the grave. He rose and stood on the earth in His new body. In Luke 24:39, He says to some of His followers, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” In verses 41-43, He says, “Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” This is Christ in His new resurrected body, a body that could be seen, a body that could be touched, and a physical being that could eat food. It is a picture of what all believers will have at the time of the Rapture. How quickly will it happen? “Behold, I shew you a mystery,” the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. “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. For this corruptible [the dead] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [the living] must put on immortality.” This is going to be a glorious event because we shall be changed to be like Jesus. The psalmist said in chapter 17, verse 15, “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” In Philippians 3:21, Paul says that God will change our vile bodies-not leave them behind but change them-so that they may be fashioned like unto His glorious body. In 1 John 3:2, it says that when we see Jesus, we shall be like Him, “for we shall see him as he is.”
The “Fourth” Rapture
Did you know that Jesus was not the first person to be raptured from this earth? In fact, when the Rapture occurs, it will be the fourth occurrence documented in the Bible. The first was Enoch in Genesis 5:24, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” In Hebrews 11:5, Paul adds, that “by faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death.” He was raptured, caught up in the twinkling of an eye, without dying. The second documented rapture is Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11. Elijah was caught up by a whirlwind into heaven. He, too, never saw death, a foreshadowing of what we believers will experience on the day when our Savior catches us up in the clouds. Then, of course, Jesus was raptured away in Acts 1:9, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
When Elijah was caught up, angels and chariots of fire came to get him. I believe that angelic hosts may also come after those of us who ascend in the Rapture. Why? Because every believer, not just Elijah, has his or her own ministering angel (Hebrews 1:14). These heavenly bodies could come to whisk us home in the twinkling of an eye. Luke 16:22 provides a precedent for us, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.” Let me ask you this: Is all this something that should frighten us? Excite us, yes. Frighten us, no. As I field scores of Rapture questions each month on television and radio, I discover unfortunately, that many people today are facing the approach of Christ’s return with unnecessary fear and foreboding. There is an anticipation, largely promulgated by the secular media, that we may be nearing the end of the world. There is anxiety and hopelessness everywhere. The world seems to get just a bit uglier every day as crime increases, wars break out, and immorality rules the day. Yes, those are the facts. Things will get much worse before they start to get better-during the Millennium. But the believer need not despair, especially when we remember what Jesus did for us on the cross of Calvary, and how He defeated the last enemy, death (1 Corinthians 15:26). What could be more exciting and encouraging than the idea that some of us will never die? That’s why in Titus 2:13, Paul calls the Rapture our “blessed hope.” In 1 Thessalonians 4:18, he says, “Comfort one another with these words.” Comfort one another, he says, not frighten one another.
The World Will Never Disappear
I have been saving the best news for you until last. Here it is: The world is not-I repeat-not coming to an end. The world is not going to disappear in a puff of nuclear smoke in the year 2000, nor even a thousand years after that. God has shown me something recently to change my thinking 180 degrees concerning this subject. It is now clear to me from Scripture that the world will not even end after Christ’s one-thousand-year reign on earth. The world will never end. Isaiah 45:17 is unequivocal when it says that it is a world without end. Paul adds in Ephesians 3:21, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” I have discovered 121 texts in recent studies stating that the world will never end-109 in the Old Testament and 12 in the New Testament. Skeptics will no doubt point to Matthew 13:39,49; 24:3; 28:20; and Hebrews 9:26 as proof texts that the world will end. Matthew 24:3 states: “As he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying. Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Remember that the New Testament was written in Greek. The Greek translation of that last word is “age,” not “world.” This age of grace precedes the millennial age; thus, the world is not coming to an end. But this epoch, this age, this era is coming to a close. Yes, the coming of the year 2000 does have some significance. Why? Because it could conceivably be the year that marks the end of the age of grace and the beginning of the millennial age when the King of kings and Lord of lords returns. When he comes, His kingdom holds dominion over the earth for one thousand years. Then He is recommissioned (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) so that His kingdom on earth becomes eternal (Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; Hebrews 1:8). Since His kingdom is forever and forever upon earth, this old world cannot ever end (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 104:5).
The Return of Jesus Is Imminent
We have already noted that long before Christ was born, the Jewish rabbis taught a six-day theory about the future of the world. They believed that the world would face several eras lasting a total of six thousand years, from Adam’s creation until the Messiah would come. This theory was based, in part, on Psalm 90:4: “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday.” Since God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, they reasoned, the world would go on for six thousand years followed by a one-thousand-year millennial “rest” period presided over by the Lord Himself. Give this argument some thought: From the creation of Adam until the birth of Christ is a period of four thousand years or four days passed. From Christ’s time on earth until now represents approximately another two thousand years or two days. This total of six days is just one more reason to believe that the return of our Lord is imminent. Six-day periods, followed by remarkable transitions, have been important throughout all of Scripture. However, because of calendar miscalculations, I believe the actual timetable falls between 2001 and 2012.
Note what the Gospel writer says in Matthew 17:1-2, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Jesus was giving them a preview of what it would be like when He returns as King of kings and Lord of lords as described in Revelation 19:16. When they came down from that mountain, Jesus told them not to tell anyone of these things until after His resurrection. Not only did the ancient Jewish rabbis teach this six-day theory, but so did the Church during the first three hundred years of Christendom. The early church leaders based their belief on 2 Peter 3:8, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Consider the following information once again from the “Epistle of Barnabas.”
And God made in six days the works of his hands; and he finished them on the seventh day, and he rested the seventh day, and sanctified it. Consider, my children, what that signifies, he finished them in six days. The meaning of it is this; that in six thousand years the Lord God will bring all things to an end. For with him one day is a thousand years; as himself testified! saying, Behold this day shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, children, in six thousand years, shall all things be accomplished. And what is that he saith, and he rested on the seventh day, he meaneth this; that when his Son shall come, and abolish the season of the Wicked One, and judge the ungodly; and shall change the sun and the moon and the stars; then he shall gloriously rest in that seventh day. (w. 3-6)
Irenaeus A.D. 140 (Early church father, 1850 years ago)
“For in so many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded… and God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works he made….”
The Jewish Talmud
“The world is to stand 6000 years, viz., 2000 confusion and void, 2000 with the law, and 2000 the time of the Messiah.”
The chronological tables could be off by five years. However, we know that the time of the end is near, even at the doors, though we know not the day and hour. Just minutes remain before midnight. The closing day is upon us. Work is about to cease, and we believers are about to rule and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ.
God Will Always Spare His Own
The other great, good news is that God always spares His own from judgment. When the horrendous worldwide flood destroyed everything in sight in Noah’s day, Noah told those who were prepared to come into the ark (Genesis 7:7). When the judgment fell on Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:12, the angels told Lot and his family to come out of the city. Notice this interesting trilogy: In Noah’s day, it was come w. In Lot’s day it was come out. In our day, it will be come up. Revelation 4:1. However, as always, only a select group will be rescued from this more heinous period in human history. During the Tribulation Hour that follows the Rapture, all hell will break loose on planet earth. It will be a treacherous time for those who are left behind, primarily because the hindering power of the Holy Spirit within believers will be removed-not the Holy Spirit per se but rather the believers He indwells. Since the Holy Spirit is God and omnipresent (everywhere at all times), He can never be removed (see Psalm 139: 1-12). In this light, God’s people should be living holy lives. But what about those who are left behind? There are almost no instructions about how to prepare for this post-Rapture period. That is why our ministry has produced Bible-based videos such as Left Behind: the Final Warning to help those who need to have the facts of life explained to them covering the Tribulation period. More than anything else, this and other videos will hopefully serve as survival helps for those who fail to come to Christ before He returns for His church and bride.
It Will Be Worse before It Gets Better
How bad will things get during that time of judgment? We have addressed this issue periodically throughout this book. In Revelation 9:18, it says that a third of humankind will be killed by fire, smoke, and brimstone. That, my friends, is nothing less than a first-century way of explaining all-out thermonuclear warfare. Imagine. There are nearly six billion people on the earth today. If one-third of the inhabitants are killed, that is a holocaust representing two billion lives. However, that is only the beginning. In Revelation 6:8, the rider on the fourth horse brings with him a worldwide plague of disease that causes another fourth of humanity to perish. That is another billion of the four billion still alive. Thus half of the human race will be annihilated in this relatively brief period. This portrays the judgment predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24:41 and 42 when He stated, “Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” As terrible as that fate sounds, there is still hope for those left behind. As long as one is alive there is hope. In the midst of the worldwide carnage and the massive destruction of human life and property, Joel 2:32 and Acts 2:21 remind us, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” There is always hope in Jesus.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Through the Eyes of a Child
Just last week I met and talked with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Right away I said, ‘You look so sad!” I could tell by her eyes.
Certainly our eyes do serve as a barometer of our inner being and can express deep-rooted feelings and emotions without a word being spoken.
The English poet William Blake said our eyes are “windows of the soul.” I’m sure you’ve noticed that the eyes of those around you communicate in a dramatic way their state of mind-anger, fear, mischief, tenderness, love, excitement, boredom, etc.
Doctors often look into the eyes of their patients while examining them to determine their state of health.
So it’s not really surprising to discover that the Bible has much to say about our eyes-there are numerous references throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Only recently have I begun to comprehend just how important our eyes are to our spiritual well-being-that where we look and what we see help determine who we are and what we become.
The Apostle John speaks of the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16), and Peter warns against those having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin (2 Peter 2:14).
The psalmist, recognizing that what is fed into our eyes affects what we become, affirms, I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes (Psalm 101:3). And the Apostle Paul, in what may be my life’s foundation verse, urges us to continue looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
The lesson of a look
Several years ago, our ministry had an open house in which we invited friends and partners to come tour our World Outreach Center and visit personally with Dr. Van Impe and me and our staff. About 1,500 people toured our headquarters in a single afternoon-it was wonderful to greet so many friends.
I couldn’t help noticing how many little children came through with their parents. And inevitably, when I looked down at them, they would be looking directly into my eyes. I would find myself kneeling to get to their eye level… and happily, many times they ended up in my arms.
But I began noticing how children look at the world. They spend a lot of time looking up! And when they encounter an adult, they look into his or her face, up into the eyes.
Children are very perceptive. They can tell, almost at a glance, if a person is friendly or menacing, if they can trust the person or should run away. By looking into the eyes of the adults around them, they sense if they are welcome or are intruding. And they can tell almost instantly if their parents are pleased with them or disapproving.
Jack and I were having breakfast at a little pancake house not long ago when a mother and her two children came in. They sat at a nearby table-the little boy was unceremoniously dumped into a high chair and the little girl thumped into a chair across from the mother. Once seated, she paid little attention to the youngsters, staring away from them, with a disgruntled look on her face.
When the little boy peered up at the chandelier, pointed a chubby finger and said, “See! See!”-her response was a terse, “Eat!” And when the little girl squirmed and tried insistently to get her mother’s attention, the unseeing, uncaring reply was, “Be quiet- sit up.”
When Jack and I finished eating and he went to pay the bill, I walked over to the table where this mother and her youngsters were sitting.
“You are so fortunate,” I said. With a bit of a start, she asked, “Why?” “You have such beautiful children-they are so sweet.” I said. Then I leaned down and looked into the eyes of the little boy and said, “You are so good.” My reward was a bright, innocent smile.
“I’m good too,” said the little girl.
“I know you are, honey,” I acknowledged. “What a sweet sister you are…and so pretty!” With just those few words, the child blossomed like a rose.
The mother barely smiled, even during the little conversation I was having with her children-she hardly responded, managing a mumbled “Thank you” as I walked away.
I couldn’t help wondering how many children are rebuffed and desensitized by parents whose eyes are too full of other things to really see and respond to their own youngsters.
“You are a delight!”
Jerry Dillon of Century HealthCare, the largest health-care provider for children in the country operates 52 youth programs and 19 facilities in nine states, specializing in treating emotionally-troubled youngsters.
“If parents would look for the things in their children that delight them, and tell them so, what a difference it would make,” says Dillon. “A great prescription to help build a better relationship and a stronger bond between parent and child is simply for the parent to find some reason each day to tell his son or daughter, “You are a delight!”
Much of what we feel-delight or aggravation-is communicated through our eyes, whether we verbalize it or not. So often I’ve noticed how a child will look into its mother’s (or father’s) face for approval, guidance, security, reassurance, and love. Without a word being spoken, so many important things are communicated… through the eyes of a child.
Suffer the little children
No wonder children were attracted to our Saviour during His earthly ministry. The New Testament tells how the children thronged about Him until the disciples were going to send them away. But the Lord said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God (Mark 10:14).
The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically, but I’m very sure each of those little ones came close to the Lord and looked up into His face, directly into His eyes. What they saw there-love, acceptance, safety-made them relax and feel free. I think they wanted to climb up onto His lap and just be near Him.
Many learned and wise theologians have speculated about the meaning of Jesus’ words concerning children and the kingdom of God. Certainly I do not claim to have greater knowledge or wisdom than they have. But I have my own idea about what He meant.
Perhaps He was suggesting that if we looked up into His eyes more often, we would find the peace, direction, and strength we need for our lives. We can find the answer for guilt, sorrow, pain, and loneliness in our Saviour’s loving gaze.
Keep your eyes on Jesus
Our problems come when we take our eyes off Jesus, when we look away from His love, guidance, strength, and sustaining power.
The Gospel of Matthew relates the thrilling story of Peter walking on the water toward Jesus. The Lord had come to the disciples as their boat was tossed by a stormy sea. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was fine. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and [began] to sink (Matthew 14:30).
I’ve found in my own experience that when I felt life’s problems were about to overwhelm me, it was because I had taken my eyes off Jesus and fixed them on my troubles. When I looked to Him, He saw me through.
From time to time, I meet an individual who is disillusioned-even cynical-about the Church. Sometimes they say they have lost their faith-they don’t believe in anything anymore.
As I visit with people like this, I usually discover that they have been disappointed in the mistakes and failures of a particular religious leader-their eyes had been fixed on a man. Once they looked back to Jesus, the bitterness and disillusionment lost its intensity, and the healing love of Christ could make them over again.
One of the most beautiful and powerful verses in all of the Bible, for me, is found in Matthew’s account of Peter, James, and John at the transfiguration of Christ. After the disciples had bowed down in the awesome presence of God, Jesus told them not to be afraid. And the scripture says-And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only (Matthew 17:8).
No wonder Jesus said we should become as little children to enter the kingdom of God. Their eyes are focused in the right direction. Lord help us to keep our eyes on You…to seek Your will by looking into Your face-through the eyes of a child!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Hooray for Jack & Rexella!
I really look forward to your show every week!
It is really preparing me and my wife for the coming of the Lord. To me, your program is the most important show of all-time. It is both entertaining and informative, but most importantly, it is from God.
Of course, many people are ignoring your messages just like they ignored Noah. I’m just happy to say, that I’m not one of them! I believe what you say because it is from God.
With the Love of Christ,
Archie & Joyce H.
St. Louis, Missouri
Sir, thank you so much for this fantastic ministry. There are several “preacher” on tv that simply do not stack up. I thank you for being one of the great ones. Again, thank you so muchy.
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
New World Order Rising / Dictator of the New World Order
Each amazing component of this special edition set, including New World Order Rising and Dictator of the New World Order is power packed with the clear picture and timeline of the latter days and gives you the answers to crucial questions such as:
- Who are the seven major organizations dedicated to creating a “New World Order”?
- “Europe is looking for a man so powerful that he will hold the allegiance of the people. Be he man or devil, we are ready to receive him” Who said that?
- What shadowy power brokering groups champion the cause of a one world government?
- What does the EU represent in Bible prophecy?
- And much more!
Watch this astounding teaching today, and share it with your church, family, and friends.
The Impending Islamic Takeover
This is perhaps the most important DVD ever released by Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe
Here are the shocking answers to urgently important questions:
- How does Islam place your personal future on the line?
- How can we know whether we will experience terrifying war in the days ahead?
- Should Christians unite with Islam? Why or why not?
- What is the Koran’s great blasphemy against Jesus?
- How does Scripture connect Russia, China, Syria, and Iran?
- One half of the world’s population will die? Truth? Or Myth?
- Will Iran annihilate Israel
- How soon will Jesus come back again?
- And many more!
Amazing revelations about the march of Islam against North America and the world!