JD Farag: The Rapture

JD Farag

JD Farag: Ready for the Rapture

Edited by Christmas Beeler
Taken from Pastor JD Farag’s teachings at Calvary Chapel Kaneohe, HI

I’ve talked for the last few weeks about the prophetic significance of this pandemic crisis, and how it seems to be leading toward the new world order foretold in the Book of Revelation: a global leader controlling a global government, a global digital economy, and a global religion. What is all of this leading to? The soon return of Jesus Christ and the rapture of the Church. We are going to be taken out of this fallen evil world. I know many of you are going through some very difficult times, and I want to encourage you with these words from God’s Word. Today I would like to show you three proofs that the Rapture—the snatching away of the Church from the earth—absolutely has to happen before the seven-year Tribulation. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul describes:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).

The Apostle Paul by the Holy Spirit is writing to the Church to say he does not want us to be uninformed about those who have fallen asleep (died) so that we do not grieve like the rest of mankind, without hope. We may grieve, but we have hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep (died) in Him.

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First Proof: The Trumpet of God

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (verses 15-16). The first proof that the Rapture absolutely has to happen before the seven-year Tribulation is because of the trumpet of God. It may seem like a nebulous detail, but notice that it’s the trumpet of God with the voice of an archangel. In Scripture, there are two trumpets: the trumpet of angels for Israel, and the trumpet of God for the Church. Please make that distinction; don’t fail to distinguish between the Church and Israel. The purpose of the Tribulation is for the salvation of the Jewish nation; and when you fail to make that distinction, then you’re basically putting the Church in the Tribulation. But what’s the purpose of that? The Church, the bride of Christ, is already saved, so why would His bride need to go through the Tribulation?

In Matthew 24, Jesus spoke concerning Israel: “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (verses 30-31). Notice this is the Second Coming, for every eye will see Him, and He will send His angels with the sound of the trumpet. He will gather His elect; this is Israel. However, Paul makes a distinction in 1 Thessalonians that this is the trumpet call of God for the Church.

Second Proof: The Bride Snatched Away

The second proof of a pre-Tribulation Rapture in our text is that we are caught up in the air. The word rapture is here in verse 17— in the Greek, harpazo; in the Latin, it’s rapturos. It means to be caught up with great force and speed, raptured up, snatched away quickly: Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord”. The dead in Christ rise first. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord in spirit (See also 2 Corinthians 5:8), so we know [the dead in Christ] have already returned to their source, the Lord. So, when it says the dead rise first, that is their bodily resurrection; they will get their glorified bodies first. Then we who are alive and remain will get our new bodies and meet the Lord in the air. And Paul tells us that all of this happens in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52). That phrase, in the twinkling of an eye, is a fraction of a nanosecond; that’s how quick it will be.
How does this prove that we’re going to be raptured before the seven-year Tribulation? Jewish bridegrooms would come as a thief in the night, at an hour that nobody knew to claim their brides. This typology paints a magnificent, beautiful picture of a pre-Tribulation Rapture. The bride and groom would break the bread and drink from the cup to seal their betrothal. This is the new covenant, when you see Jesus drinking from the cup with His disciples at the last supper, sealing the covenant in His blood. Every time we take communion, we are celebrating our betrothal to our Bridegroom, Jesus. Then the groom pays the price for the bride—as Jesus paid the price for us on the cross, showing there is no greater love than the love He has for us.
Then the groom goes to his father’s house to build a bridal chamber—a room addition on his father’s house. Jesus told the disciples, In My Father’s house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). He is talking as a Bridegroom to His betrothed.
It gets even better: The father was the only one in Jewish tradition who knew when the groom would return to catch away, or rapture, his bride. So Jesus told us, But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32), speaking of when He would return for His bride, the Church. When the bridegroom comes, then the groomsmen run ahead with a shout, “He’s coming!” How do they do it? By blowing a trumpet. When our Bridegroom, Jesus, comes, it will be with a shout of the trumpet of God.
In the Book of Revelation, the Church is mentioned 19 times in the first three chapters. But from Chapter 4 through 19, the Church is not mentioned once. Why? Because those chapters are all about the seven-year Tribulation, and the Church will not be present in the Tribulation. So, after the Jewish bridegroom snatches away his bride, he takes her back to his father’s house, to the bridal chamber he has prepared, and they celebrate for seven days. Jesus will take us, His Bride to the place He has prepared for us in the Father’s house, and we will celebrate for a period of seven years. While the tribulation is on the earth, we are at a celebration in heaven. It’s a huge wedding feast: In Revelation, it’s called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. You can’t rapture the Bride until halfway through the Tribulation, until after the wrath is poured out. That doesn’t work.

Third Proof: Coming Comfort

And here is the third reason the Rapture has to happen before the Tribulation: Paul then said, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). You have to understand, the Thessalonians were discouraged, battle-weary, and downcast. How could Paul say to encourage one another with these words if a third of the population of the earth is going to be killed? By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths (Revelation 9:18). It’s going to be an unspeakable horror during this seven-year Tribulation. If the believer were going to have to endure this, then Paul would be warning them about surviving it, not encouraging them that they would escape it.
If you’re hurting, downcast, or struggling, may God’s promise encourage and strengthen your hearts with His truth. Soon and very soon, that trumpet is going to sound, and we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air and be forever with the Lord. Maranatha: Come quickly, Jesus.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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