The Unveiling – Lesson Five
Corinthians 15:51 (KJV) 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, CHANGED
What a blessed hope we have in 1 Corinthians 15:51. We shall be changed!
The rapture of the church will be the most shocking event to happen in all of human history. Thousands will disappear from every part of the globe! Confusion and perplexity will occupy the minds of those left behind. Many explanations for the disappearance of those missing will be given.
The church leaving all of the chaos and confusion on earth having been “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air will enter a time of rejoicing, happiness, and peace and will find itself before the judgment seat of Christ.
We live in an hour in which everything holy is questioned and challenged. According to a Gallop poll, 69 percent of Americans believe in Heaven; 77 percent of the believers in Heaven were optimistic about making it to Heaven, and 30 percent don’t believe or are not sure there is a Hell. Very few saw themselves as headed to Hell.
According to Beleifnet.com poll, what people mean by “Heaven” and “Hell” has changed significantly over the last 50 years.
History professor Jeffrey Burton Russell (author of Paradise Mislaid: How We Lost Heaven and How We Can Regain It) gives his definition of heaven:
“For Christians, basically, Heaven underneath all of the decorations means living in harmony with God and the cosmos and your neighbors and being grateful,” said Mr. Russell, who studied Hell and Satan for 15 years before first turning his attention to Heaven in a 1997 book.
To him, it’s healthiest to see Heaven as starting on Earth, not an existence that “suddenly happens when you die.”
What about Hell and its fire and brimstone? “There is a tendency to overdramatize Hell in order to get [it] across to people,” he said, but it’s simply “the absence of God, the absence of Heaven.”
To restate a stance already taken, we shouldn’t be seeking man’s philosophies or a religious organization’s viewpoint when it comes to eternal issues. We need to know what the Bible says about the matter. Do our feelings, our viewpoints, and our understandings line up with the Word of God?
1 Thessalonians 4:17 (KJV) 17 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.
The word rapture comes from the Latin word “rapere.” For the Greek term used in I Thessalonians 4:17, “caught up,” the word is harpazo.
Harpazo means “to seize, to catch away, pluck, pull, to take by force, caught up.” The bride of Christ will be caught up out of this messed up world!
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV) 13 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. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 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. 16 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: 17 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. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
It doesn’t matter how unbelievable it sounds. It doesn’t matter how out in left field the masses believe it to be. It doesn’t matter, because truth is what it is: truth.
The Bible is the undeniable, infallible, true, living Word of God. It is proven over and over, more and more vividly and visibly with every passing day by fulfilling prophecy!
The Bible says that in a moment, in an instant, in a twinkling of an eye, we shall be changed, and we will be like Him. We will be caught up. We will be RAPTURED!
The word harpazo means “stolen out, caught up, snatched out, and claimed for one’s self eagerly.” It is the removal of those with God’s spirit dwelling in them from this earth. His Spirit is housed within the temples of human flesh of you and me.
THE HOW – CORINTHIANS 15:54-55
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (KJV) 54 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. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
This corruption is going to put on incorruption; this mortal puts on immortality.
Some questions often asked are, “What will the rapture be like for an individual?” “How is it going to happen?” “What takes place?”
1 Corinthians 15:52 (KJV) 52 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.
In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, we shall be changed!
1 John 3:2 (KJV) 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
From rags to riches, from dying to life eternal, and from asphalt to gold we will be “caught up.” It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we shall be like Him! There is no grave that can hold this body down, and no devil in Hell can prevail against us.
2 Peter 1:19 (KJV) 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
The metaphor used to describe Christ in 2 Peter 1:19 is a bright and morning star. Christ, which is the Holy Spirit, rises in us at the point of rapture, propelling us into a metamorphosis of change from this mortal body into immortality of a glorified body liken to Christ.
Philippians 3:20-21 (KJV) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
It is the Holy Spirit dwelling in the born-again believer that quickens and rises, transitioning us from this body into that glorious body catching us away into the eternal life in that celestial city.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
We are not our own. We were bought with a price, paid for at Calvary. Our body is to be the temple of the Holy Ghost; it is designed to house the Spirit of God. Brick and mortar, the building that we call church, is not what houses His Spirit.
When the event of Calvary took place and the veil was rent in the temple, the Spirit of God that dwelled in the Holy of Holies then took up residence through the infilling of the Holy Ghost in the spirit and soul of mankind! No longer do we need a blood sacrifice of sheep and goats, bull and bullocks, for the perfect lamb that was slain at Calvary made it possible for His Spirit that dwelled behind the veil in the Holy of Holies to dwell behind our flesh in our spirit. Essentially, our bodies became the temple of the Holy Ghost.
What is our purpose on this earth? Our purpose is to be a light to a lost and dying world!
2 Peter 1:19 discusses a light shining in a dark place; it is the light of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us. It is essential, mandatory, that we have believed, accepted, and yielded ourselves to the Holy Ghost and allowed Him to find residence in us. It is God’s plan for us to be His temple, and it is His Spirit dwelling in us that He returns in the clouds to take unto Himself into His heavenly home.
Ephesians 5:18 (KJV) 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Ephesians 5:18 commands us to be filled with His Spirit.
We have to be full of His Spirit. We can’t be empty or even half full of His Spirit when the bridegroom comes. Our vessel, our temple, must be full of the Holy Ghost.
The command does not mandate that we be somewhat filled or filled only if we have the desire. Scripture says that being filled with the Holy Ghost is essential to eternal life. We must be born again and filled with the Holy Ghost!
Jesus allowed Calvary because He had a purpose in the process. In the Old Testament there was a divine order to sacrifice. The priest had to follow the plan exactly from the flawless sacrifice and through each God-ordained step before he went behind the veil into the Holy of Holies. If the priest didn’t follow the exact plan of God, he was struck dead.
It is the same today. God has a salvation plan that must be followed exactly as He has laid it out. This salvation plan is not questionable, debatable, nor contradictable. It must be followed exactly as He ordained it, starting on the Day of Pentecost.
He paid the price at Calvary with His shed blood redeeming us through a blood covering that washes away sins and gives us eternal life. When the trumpet sounds, the day star, Christ, the Holy Ghost, rises, and literally changes the individual filled full of the Holy Ghost from human flesh to a glorified body like Christ’s.
John 10:10 (KJV) 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The individual filled with the Holy Ghost must maintain this condition; this light cannot go out. We have to guard this light. We must build guards of protection against temptations, against evilness, against the wiles of Satan, against attacks from the enemy, and against fleshly desires and weaknesses. Scripture tells us our reward can be stolen. That is why we must be vigilant in our protection of our salvation.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (KJV) 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Strong’s definition for brethren here is “fellow Christians,” which means us as well as other fellow Christians. Our salvation, our eternal reward, can be stolen. In this passage, Jesus is warning that the thief, the devil, comes to kill, steal, and destroy! We cannot become secure in ourselves or in anything else that may cause us to think there is a pedestal we can reach on this earth that makes us untouchable by sin. That is not Biblical. The story of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 explains to us the importance of standing steadfast on guard, watching, preparing and waiting. Five were wise and entered in with the bridegroom, but five were foolish and were told, “I know ye not”. They all started out with oil. In essence, they all started out having what it took to enter in with the bridegroom, but five didn’t make it because they weren’t prepared. They did not persevere.
Matthew 6:22-23 (KJV) 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
We are to be full of light, or we are full of darkness. There isn’t a gray area. A light is of great value in the confines of darkness.
Matthew 6:22 clearly states that we are either light or darkness.
CAN’T SERVE TWO MASTERS
Matthew 6:24 (KJV) 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
It is true that this verse is used quite frequently to use in the warning of making money and serving an idol. However, it can be used to illustrate many other idols that take us away from living for and serving God the way that He planned for our lives. This verse illustrates that we cannot serve two masters, period!
We must make up our mind to live for God and make Him top priority in our life. It is a commitment between God and me, and I have to live “working out my own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Philippians 2:12 (KJV) 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
I must be in relationship with Him, doing all I can, and all that I know to do to make sure that I have done all He requires! Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. This does not mean to be fearful, but a healthful fear understanding how great and mighty God is, we must not be slack in our relationship with Him!
When the trumpet sounds, the day star will arise in me, and I will be out of here! The word arise in 2 Peter 1:19 means “to arise, stand up, come about.” It denotes a position of standing in an erect position as that of coming to attention. This indicates that there is a specific position to be in when the trumpet sounds.
We must position ourselves with the infilling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be rapture ready!
Stand up! Look up! Our redemption draweth nigh! Prepare, be ready, and make sure the oil is in our lamps, we must be part of the ekklesia, the called-out ones!
Ekklēsia (ek-klay-see’-ah) is the word from the original used for the church here on earth. Ek is the preposition which means “out of.” Klay-see-a means “the called out ones.” Ekklesia is not used after the third chapter until the end of Revelations. In the first three chapters Ekklēsia is used 19 times.
Hagios in the original is used after the fourth chapter… meaning “holy one, saints, Jews, or angels.”
1 Thessalonians 3:4 (KJV) 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
Paul said you will face tribulation or pressure, even while I am with you. Many misinterpret this as the “great tribulation.”
1 Thessalonians 3:3 (KJV) 3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
We live in the day of man’s trouble or pressure, the period when Satan has rule over the kingdom of darkness and plays havoc with mankind.
In the prior verse the word affliction is used. The original for affliction is thlip’-sis, meaning “affliction, distress, distressed, tribulation or trouble.” This is the same definition for tribulation in 1 Thessalonians 3:4.
NOT APPOINTED TO WRATH
1 Thessalonians 5:9 (KJV) 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
The word from the original for wrath in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 is orgē, meaning “anger, angry or wrath of God.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9 tells us that his church, his bride, is not appointed to his wrath.
This gives peace and assurance that the bride of Christ will not suffer the apocalyptic judgments that we call the “Great Tribulation,” of which is better described as “Jacob’s Trouble,” “Daniels 70th Week,” or “Wrath of God.”
The next major event dealing with humanity, in the history of the world, is the rapture of the church. The bride of Christ rises to meet Him in the clouds. Christ does not return all the way back to earth during the rapture of the Church.
After the rapture, the tribulation or wrath of God occurs for seven years. During this seven-year period, God will pour out His wrath upon this earth withholding nothing, allowing Satan to have full reign against mankind.
At the end of the seven years of his wrath, Christ will return all the way to Earth with the armies of Heaven. This is known as the second coming of Christ to Earth. The Antichrist will be cast into the lake of fire, and Satan will be bound for a thousand years during the Millennium Era.
At the end of the 1,000 year Millennium Era, Satan will be loosed briefly. Then, Christ will destroy the heavens and the earth and replace them with new ones, and those that are saved will spend eternity in an indescribable paradise setting. The damned will spend their eternity in a lake of fire in utter darkness, with great wailing and gnashing of teeth.
END OF MERCY AND GRACE
For centuries, mercy and grace have abounded. We live in the season of obtaining salvation, the era of choice.
For all of these years, what God did through his birth, death, burial, and resurrection has ruled, allowing man’s sins to be covered by forgiving sin and allowing for man’s choice, the free will of mankind. However, all of this will end!
Finally, the day will arrive when choice will disappear! All of the teachings of his word that have been ignored, all of man’s traditions and interpretations will be called to account, and God’s true bride will be raptured from this earth.
THE BRIDE IS A FORCE
2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 (KJV) 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
The restrainer in 2 Thessalonians is the Holy Spirit. God’s spirit indwells mankind through the power of the Holy Ghost. This is why it is of utmost importance to yield ourselves to God, allowing the infilling of the Holy Ghost to reign in our lives, so our mortal bodies will be equipped to put on immortality for the change. This change will occur “in a moment and in a twinkling of and eye” at the moment of rapture.
From 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7, we see “he who letteth will let.” This is talking about the church, the saints of the Most High God, the Bride of Christ! God’s spirit, dwelling in believers, will be raptured from this earth, “catching up” those who are watching, waiting, and filled with His Spirit!
At that point, the restrainer will be removed, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:8: The born again, Spirit-filled bride is a force that holds back the revealing of the man of sin, the Antichrist!
2 Thessalonians 2:8 (KJV) 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
This wicked one who will be revealed is the Antichrist. He is the man of sin that will take over as the leader of the one-world government, and at first, he will seem to be the perfect solution to all problems. However, very quickly this world will enter a downward spiral like has never been experienced in the history of mankind before!
Soon the world will experience the rapture. The Season Signs point to this pivotal point in the history of the bride of Christ! “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” the earth will experience the greatest change it has ever faced. Be wise, and don’t be left behind. We are in the end time. As in the days of Noah and Lot, life was being lived, the party was on, and unbelief was a solid thread running through those societies as it is today.
Scripture explains explicitly that the rapture is very real; the next major event to take place on the bible prophecy calendar is the catching away of the saints.
Once this takes place, the beast out of the earth and the beast out of the sea will be revealed, and this earth will slide into uncontrolled chaos.
©2014 Keith W. Fletcher Ministries. Do not reproduce without written permission from Keith W. Fletcher. www.keithfletcher.cc www.thingstocome.cc