Article 2

By Steven J. Hogan

The greatest event to ever occur in the history of our world next to the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ will soon take place. It is Jesus Christ returning to earth to rapture the Christians and receive them to Himself. “Then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of the heavens.” Mark 13:27

I use the word rapture because it is the word that most evangelicals use in this present Christian culture in speaking about Christ’s return. It was first used in the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible around 400AD, and comes from a Latin word “rapere” (the Greek is “harpazo”- from 1 Thessalonians 4:17), meaning seize, steal, snatch or take. It is a good word in that it describes one particular and important aspect of Christ’s coming – that Christians on earth will suddenly be seized, be taken from this earth to be with Jesus Christ. But the word does not by any means fully describe what takes place when Christ comes back for the believers.

Let me mention some other specific things that will take place during that time when we are raptured. At Jesus Christ’s return believers on earth will be given relief from persecution (2 Thessalonians 1:7); rescued from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10); redeemed from a sinful body, and from this earth (Luke 21:28); raptured into heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:17); resurrected into glory (John 5:28-29); reunited with other believers (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18); given rest from their labors (Revelation 14:13); and received by Jesus Christ. These eight words summarize different aspects of what will be happening to the Christians at Christ’s return. And it will all take place very quickly and suddenly, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye… the dead will be raised imperishable.”

Jesus Christ will soon come back in the clouds to gather all the believers to Himself. Without question, this will be the biggest, greatest, most spectacular and most important event to ever take place since the 1st coming of Christ. And are you awake? Are you ready? Are you excited? Are you waiting? Are you looking forward to seeing your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ? 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, 5:6-9

Sad to say, and understandably so, most unbelievers don’t know what is going to happen. But what is really sad is that a great majority of Christians, at least in the United States, aren’t even thinking about it. I mean, we are talking about Jesus Christ, their Savior, Lord, Redeemer and King. It is imperative that Christians know, believe, understand, and are excited about what God says in His Word about the soon return of His Son, Jesus Christ to this planet earth, and then are telling others, both those who are saved, and those who are lost. Revelation 1:1-3, Matthew 28:19-20

Now there are many ways to describe Christ’s return. But let me say it this way:

Who: JESUS CHRIST

What: IS COMING BACK

When: SOON

Where: IN THE CLOUDS  

Why: TO GATHER THE CHRISTIANS

How: IN POWER AND GREAT GLORY

The Who is JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, the Creator, the Savior and the King. It is this Jesus who came to earth the first time over 2000 years ago and died and rose again to pay for the sins, the crimes of men and women against a holy God. Jesus Christ dearly and greatly loves His bride, the ones who have been chosen by His Father, those who have repented and have trusted in Him to save them from their sins, to forgive them, and to give them eternal life. 1 Peter 3:18

The What is that Jesus Christ IS COMING BACK to this earth. Over 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ, having finished His mission, left this earth and ascended into heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of the Father. And very soon He will come back, returning to rapture, redeem, and rescue God’s children, His bride from planet earth. Acts 1:11

The When is SOON. “For yet in a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay.” The key event that tells us that we are in the end times is the fact that the Jews have been returning to Israel since the late 1880s. There are other signs given to us in God’s Word now coming true that also make it clear that Christ’s return is near. We do not know the day or hour, we don’t know specifically when, but as Hebrews 10:25 says, “you see the day drawing near.” We will be able in a general sense, to “see”, to sense, to know that the day of Christ, His coming, is getting closer and closer.

The Where is IN THE CLOUDS. Shortly after Christ’s death and resurrection He left this earth in the clouds and ascended to heaven to be with His Father. “In a very little while” Jesus Christ will return to this world, and “will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God…and we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

The Why is to GATHER THE CHRISTIANS. All believers who have ever been saved, those past, present and future, those who have died and already gone to heaven, and those still alive on earth, “who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord” will be “caught up together (raptured) with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:50-51. How amazing, how wonderful, how marvelous, how incredible, and God glorifying this will all be. “Amen. Come Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20

The How is WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY. Those who are alive on earth at Jesus Christ’s return will not and cannot miss what is going to happen, for Christ is coming back in power and great glory. God’s resurrection power will be clearly, mightily and magnificently displayed when Jesus Christ returns, to take us to be with Him, to give us new and immortal bodies, to take us to heaven, so we can then, like never before, love and glorify Him, our Lord, Savior, Redeemer and King. Hallelujah! Philippians 3:20-21