First Baptist Church of New Carlisle, Ohio has a rich and unique history in our community. Since 1955 we've been establishing ourselves as a lighthouse for Jesus Christ in our hometown of New Carlisle, Ohio.

We have Bible Study at 9:15 am and Worship Service at 10:30 am every Sunday. Childcare/nursery provided for all services. Wednesdays we have Prayer Meeting at 7:00 pm and Revive Student Ministries for youth at 7:00 pm

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Rapture - By Ken Lawler

Four days before Jesus died and rose again He said to His disciples, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).  Most of us believe the second coming of Christ will be in two stages; first, in the air for the rapture of the church, then when He returns to the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem at the end of the tribulation period.  The Bible gives numerous signs of things that will happen before the second stage of His return, but there is no specific sign before the rapture takes place.  All we're told is that "the coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (James 5:8), "the end of all things is at hand" (I Pet. 4:7), and that "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night" (2 Pet. 3:10).  Probably the best description of the rapture comes from Paul in I Thess. 4:16-17.  Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind series, is concerned that more Christians appear to be looking for the antichrist than are looking for Christ's return.  The Bible plainly says He is returning (Acts 1:11).

Most of the prophecies of the last days relate to Daniel's 70th week (Dan. 9:27).  The book of Revelation identifies that week as the 7-year tribulation that will end "the times of the gentiles" and will usher in the Millennial Kingdom when the returned Lord will rule the earth for 1,000 years.  There is much controversy over when the rapture of the church will occur in relation to this Millennial Kingdom.  The five common doctrines being taught are:  Pretrib, Midtrib, Posttrib, Pre-wrath, and Partial Rapture.  The following is a brief look at each of these positions.

Pretribulationism.  This view, which I believe is the correct one, means the church will be raptured before the tribulation and will not go through the judgments prophesied in the book of Revelation.  Some of the scripture supporting this view are:  Rom. 5:9, I Thess. 1:10 & 5:9, and Rev. 3:10.  It's also interesting that the church is mentioned 19 times in the first 3 chapters of Revelation, but not once in chapters 4-18 where the tribulation is detailed.  Pretribs believe that's because the church is gone.

Midtribulationism.  This is the view that Christ will rapture the church in the middle of the tribulation.  These folks typically point to the number of passages placing emphasis on the midpoint of the tribulation, such as Dan. 9:27 and Rev. 13:5.  They believe when   I Thess. 5:9 says, "God hath not appointed us to wrath," it's talking about the really bad last 3 ½ years of the tribulation.  They also believe the two witnesses in Rev. 11 who are caught up to heaven are a "type" of the church, raptured midtrib.

Posttribulationism.  This view has the church raptured at the end of the tribulation at the same time Christ physically comes to earth to defeat the antichrist at Armageddon.  Their main scriptures are Acts 14:22, Rev. 3:10 (also used by pretribs), and Rev. 20:4-6.

The Pre-wrath View divides the tribulation into four 21-month periods.  They say since the word wrath does not appear in the book of Revelation until after the sixth seal judgment, God can wait to rapture the church until just before the seventh seal and still keep the church from actually experiencing God's wrath.  Ron Rhodes, president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries, says, "I see a lot of wrath in Revelation long before the seventh seal is broken."  The pre-wraths don't cite any other scripture in favor of this opinion.

The Partial Rapture View teaches that only those believers who are watching and waiting for the Lord's return will be found worthy to escape the tribulation.  They say the "prepared and expectant" section of the church will be raptured, while the rest will go through the tribulation.  Their scriptural references for this belief include:  Matt. 19:28-30, Luke 9:62, Phil. 3:8-14, Rev. 2:11 & 3:5.  This view has the tribulation being used as a kind of purgatory for those "less-than-worthy" Christians.  You have to ignore an awful lot of scripture about how Christ's death paid for our sin to accept this view.  Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, says, 'Everyone in the boat gets to the other side, even though some are rowing and some seem to just be along for the ride."

A "partial preterist" pastor in Tennessee who believes most of what's prophesied in Revelation has already happened has said to me, "I assume you are a futurist, dispensational premillennial, pretrib rapture person."  He left out fundamentalist and literalist, but I told him I was guilty as charged.

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