1 Corinthians 15:51-57 “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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Webster’s defines it this way:
RAP’TURE, n. L. raptus, rapio.
1. A seizing by violence. Little used.
2. Transport; ecstasy; violence of a pleasing passion; extreme joy or pleasure.
Music when thus applied, raises in the mind of the hearer great conceptions; it strengthens devotion and advances praise into rapture.
3. Rapidity with violence; a hurrying along with velocity; as rolling with torrent rapture.
4. Enthusiasm; uncommon heat of imagination.
You grow correct, that once with rapture writ.
It is not known definitively when the term came to mean the calling away of the saints of God, but the biblical basis does exist. Both here in our passage today and in 1 Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Books have been written and movies made to try to capture what might come to pass once the archangel shouts and the trump of God sounds. Many debates have raged over the years as to the specifics of an event spoken of here in the Word of God.
This morning though, I have one prevailing thought I would like to share.
“What will it be like when I see the Lord?”
I am assured in the Bible that I will come before my Lord and Savior. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 states; “…and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Ever be… that is forever! In His presence means close, within the proximity, near enough to touch. A contemporary Christian artist, Bart Millard wrote the song “I Can Only Imagine” that speaks to the time when he would be in the very near presence of the King of Kings.
To imagine what it will be like to come into the presence of pure holiness and righteousness… To gaze upon God in all His glory. There are a few people we know of in the Bible who have come into the presence of the Lord and lived.
Moses, when he received the ten commandments on the mount came down literally glowing from being in the presence of God. So much so, that they required he wear a veil over his face because they could not look upon him for the light he reflected.
Isaiah speaks that after King Uzziah died, he came into God’s presence.
Isaiah 6:5 “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
His response was to drop on his face for for he could not stand in the presence of such holiness. It was only after God’s cleansing and his iniquity purged, did God speak to him.
Saul was struck down on the road to Damascus. The light blinded all who around him and Jesus spoke to Saul about the deep conviction he was under.
It is one thing to read and even see portrayals in movies of an event that will take place in the life of every believer. But is wholly another to realize that that day could happen at any moment.
Prophetic studies show us that there is nothing needing to be fulfilled for Christ to come. The last prophecy needing to be completed was when Israel became a nation back on May 14th, 1948.
So, if you are a saved child of God, you, like me, will come into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will be able to finally thank Him in person for the salvation of our soul. We will be able to worship in His presence. Singly, personally and face to face. When I meditate on this thought, my heart is so overwhelmed by my own sinfulness, I must needs have a ‘confession session’ before I speak to Him any further.
In my flesh, I am unworthy. But the fact that He saw me worthy of becoming the sacrifice for my sins… Oh, my!
He took MY sin, MY punishment, became sin for ME… He had never known the guilt and shame of sin and separation from the Father until that day when He cried;
Matthew 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
As much of the religious world looks to the pinnacle of the christian faith – the resurrection of Jesus Christ – Easter; we must look past the event to the promise.
Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord, we are now able to come into the presence of God – both here on this earth AND when reach Heaven’s shore.
Should that blessed event – the rapture of the church – happen in our lifetime, it will come in about a fifth of a second – the twinkling of an eye. Approach each day with the possibility that today may be that day.
Is my heart right with my God?
Am I as clean as I can be for Him to use me today?
Will I live for His glory or mine?
Will I have anything to give Him in gratitude for what He has done for me?
Have I followed what it is I have been called to do for Him?
These are some weighty questions – true. But, living with the end in mind; living with the knowledge of what will transpire leaves me without excuse.
If you are saved – you WILL see the Lord.
Live each day as if it is the day He will come.
If you are unsaved – you too will stand before God, but, not as Savior, but as your judge. If you truly desire to change how that day will go, you need to click here.