The Rapture of the Church Part 1
The word “rapture” is not in the Bible but the word Bible isn’t in the Bible either. Rapture means to “catch-up” so saying the church will be raptured is like saying the church will be caught up.
Who is the church? Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “And I say unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;” Jesus did not say Peter, I’m going to make you the person I build my church on but Jesus said the church belongs to Jesus. Jesus was starting a church. In context Jesus was speaking to his disciples about who they thought he was. Peter was the one who said Jesus was the Christ (Christ means Messiah). This is what Jesus was telling Peter, Jesus was going to build a church. The church is not a building or a denomination but it is defined as a group of people called out and committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We see in Acts 2:47, ” And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Now we learn that the “church” is made up of “saved” people not lost people. Who is the church obligated to obey? In Ephesians 5:24 says, ” Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ..” The church Jesus Christ started and builds. The church belongs to Jesus Christ and those who are saved are in the church and they follow and listen to the Lord Jesus Christ, see Colossians 1:24 speaking of Christ, “for his body’s sake which is the church. If you read the entire section of Ephesians 5:24-32 we learn:
a. The church is subject unto Jesus Christ
b. Christ loves the church
c. Christ gave his life for the church
d. Christ sanctified (set it aside) and cleansed the church
e. He is going to present the church to himself
f. The church has no spot or wrinkle but should be holy, without blemish
We learn from Jesus, through his preaching, he refers to himself as a bridegroom and the church is the bride. Scripture refers to these people as being “In Christ”.
When people discuss the rapture of the church and they use scripture from one event and put it into another event they get confused and confuse others. The Bible has statutes, judgements, laws and clearly God has his way of setting us straight.
Scripture teaches the principles of fruits, harvest and gleanings. First fruits are similar to those early pickings on your fruit trees or vegetable garden. After the first fruits comes the harvest (when the majority of the crop is harvested) and then come the gleanings ( the last ones to ripen). We will look at how this principle of God’s lays out answers about the rapture.