Bible Prophecy with Val Black

Podcast No. 5 - The Fourth Rapture in the Bible

August 08, 2020 Val Season 1 Episode 5
Bible Prophecy with Val Black
Podcast No. 5 - The Fourth Rapture in the Bible
Show Notes Transcript

In previous episodes we learned Rapture no. 1 was Enoch.  Rapture no. 2 was Elijah.  Rapture no. 3 was Jesus and in this episode we learn about Rapture no. 4.  Hint: This is the Rapture every born-again Christian is waiting to happen.  

Podcast No. 5 – The Fourth Rapture

Hello again and welcome to Bible prophecy.   In the last podcast we learned that the resurrection and ascension into heaven of Jesus was the third rapture in the Bible.  Today we will look at the fourth rapture.
   
If you have your Bible, turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verses 20 to 23.  I’ll be reading from the New King James,

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.”

It says in verse 20, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  What does it mean that Christ has become the firstfruits?
 
As we learned last time, in the 7 Feasts celebrated by Israel, the Feast of Passover was the first feast.  The day after Passover the Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated and on the third day after Passover was the Feast of Firstfruits. 

On the same day and same hour the priests were slaughtering lambs in the temple to celebrate Passover, Jesus was crucified and died on Calvary.  As the sun was setting, He was taken down from the cross and carried to the borrowed tomb where His Body was prepared for burial.
 
The Jewish day ended at sundown and then new day began.  It would have been about 6 p.m. or thereafter when the tomb was closed and sealed. This would have been considered the next day after Passover.  It was at this time the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.  So Jesus died on Passover and was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 

The third day after Passover was the Feast of Firstfruits.  These three feasts, Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits always occurred in the spring when the barley crops were ready for harvest. 

As the day ended on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, priests from the temple in Jerusalem would go to a field on the outskirts of the city and cut stalks of the best of the crop of barley. This was the 'firstfruits' of the crop.  Then it was taken to the court of the Temple where the grain was taken from the stalks, ground into a flour and sprinkled with incense. 

The next morning, which would have been Feast of Firstfruits, the High Priest would wave the flour before the Lord and towards the 4 different parts of the compass.  Then he took part of the grain and threw it into the fire of the altar.  This ritual is described in Leviticus 23:11-14 which you can read another time.

At the same time the High Priest was offering the firstfruits of the harvest, Jesus rose from the grave.

Once again 1 Corinthians 15, verses 20-23 says,

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.”

Jesus rose from the grave in a new, glorified Body. He was the First in all of history to resurrect from the grave in a totally uncorrupted, pure, sinless Body.
 
If Jesus was the First, that means there will be more.  Referring again to verse 20,
 “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
 
Who is it talking about who have fallen asleep?  Fallen asleep simply means, those who have died.  Who is it that died?
   
Verse 22,

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

When we are born into this world we are all “in Adam”, meaning we have descended from Adam and have inherited his sin from the day he rebelled against God.  At that time all of creation came under a curse, including man.  In our present condition as children of Adam, we are destined to die and miss heaven. 

But verse 22 ends with these words, “even so in Christ all shall be made alive”!  When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, we are no longer children of Adam.  Instead we become Children of God.
 
Romans chapter 8, verse 16, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”

As a child of God, a Christian is “in Christ” and verse 22 says, “even so, in Christ all shall be made alive”.

Every born again Christian who has died from the time of Jesus, is with the Lord in their spirit and soul but their body is still in the grave waiting to be renewed or glorified, so it can join spirit and soul in Heaven. 

Now I’m going to refer to some verses out of the New Living Translation.  They are from First Corinthians chapter 15, the same chapter we’ve been talking about.  They are quite long but please listen very carefully what will happen, and it could be very soon:

1 Corinthians, chapter 15, beginning with verse 35,

“But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. 37 And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. 38 Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. 39 Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. 42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. 45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. 46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. 47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man. 50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. 51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. 54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

One day Jesus will return but He will not come down to earth.  He will be suspended in the clouds.  When the trumpet is sounded, the dead in Christ will raise from their graves and will go up to Heaven together with those who are still alive when Jesus returns.
 
Now we will go to First Thessalonians chapter 14, verses 15 to 18:
 
 “We tell you this directly from the Lord:

(stop here a minute.  Paul said what he is going to reveal to us is directly from the Lord.  It’s not a vision or dream.  Paul spoke directly with our Lord.  Now continuing on . . . )
 
 “We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.”

Those verses are talking about the Rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ.  As I explained in a previous podcast, the term “rapture” is not in the Bible but in verse 17 it says the those who in Christ and are dead, and those who are alive will be “caught up” in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

The phrase “caught up” in the original Greek is harpazo (har-pad'-zo) which means “to seize, catch away or up, to pull, or take by force”.  That is exactly what will happen to those who are in Christ, whether they are dead or alive, they will be taken up to the clouds and gravity will not stop them.

Take special attention to verse 18.  After describing the Rapture, Paul says,

“So encourage each other with these words”. 

Every born-again Christian should be encouraged in knowing that death and the grave are not the end.  Neither do we die and then sleep until a final resurrection when we wake up, as some teach. 

When Jesus comes back at the Rapture every person who is saved and looking for His appearing, is taken up to Heaven.

Following that, there will be a time of judgment held by Jesus.  This is called the Judgment Seat of Christ.  It is also known as the Bema Seat of Christ.  It’s not to judge those who were raptured to see if they are qualified to enter Heaven.  That was settled when we accepted Jesus as Savior. This Judgment will be a time rewards and crowns will be given OR denied for the good things we have done or neglected to do while on earth.   

After the Judgment Seat, there will be a great ceremony called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  These two subjects, the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be discussed in a future podcast. 

For now, if you are born-again, you have a very encouraging promise in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 14, verses 15 to 18 in what we know as the Rapture.

In Titus chapter 2, verse 13 Paul calls it the “blessed hope”.

“looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”

Paul was looking for the Rapture to happen in his lifetime and of course, we know it did not happen.  That brings up the question, do we really know when will the Rapture happen and the answer is, “No, we don’t know”.  That means it could happen at any moment.  There is another way of saying it.  The Rapture is imminent, which means it absolutely will happen and could happen before you take your next breath.  This fact, that we could be taken to Heaven in the blink of an eye at any time should convince us to live a holy life as God would have us to live. 

Luke 21:36, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Why does Luke tell us to pray that we may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass?

It is true that once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior no one can take salvation away from you.  You are “locked in” so to speak.  But . . . you have the key to the lock, which your is faith in believing Jesus died for your sins, that He rose from the dead and sits at the Right Hand of God the Father.  It is possible for a born-again person to totally rebel against God.

When we knowingly sin and we do not repent but continue in sin we will be like the man that Paul condemned in 1 Corinthians, chapter 5, verses 1 thru 5.  In that situation a man in the congregation was living in sin with his stepmother.  Paul told the church to throw him out and let the devil have him.  You can read the story for yourself but the point I want to make is that if the Rapture had happened when that same man was in the very act of sinning with his stepmother he probably would have been left behind.

Listen to Paul’s words to Timothy.
 
First Timothy chapter one, verses 18 to 20,

“Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles. 19 Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been ship-wrecked. 20 Hymenaeus (hy-menee-us) and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.”

This is all the more reason for every born-again person to live a holy life.  There is no prophecy needing to be fulfilled for the Rapture so it could happen any year, any day, any moment.  
Therefore, no one can set a date for the Rapture to happen.  Many have tried in the past, but they have all failed.  Never listen to anyone who says they can tell you the day of the Lord’s return or the Rapture.
  
First Thessalonians chapter 5, verses 1 and 2,

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2  For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”

A thief does not come announced.  A thief doesn’t ring a doorbell or knock on the door.  He comes when you least expect him to come.  So it is with the Rapture when Jesus comes for His Bride, what is now His Church.  It’s not a denomination or a particular church but a congregation of believers from all over the world.
 
That is one thing that I find very fascinating.  You can literally go anywhere in the world and find a group of believers that pray the same way, worship the same way, and believe the same way as you do as a born-again Christian.  You can feel at home at any of those gatherings because we all have the same Word of God.  They may speak a different language, but the Holy Spirit teaches the same thing, which is the death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven of Jesus Christ.
  
I’m going to end today with this verse of scripture from First John, chapter 2, verse 28,
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

Thank you for listening.  If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I hope that you realize how blessed you really are. 
 
Jesus could come at any moment to take you home to be with Him for all of eternity.  Are you ready?
   
God bless!