Rapture of the Saints

I Thess 4:13-18

I. Verse 13 - Paul is writing this to comfort the saved who is grieving over the death of saved friends and relatives.

II. There are two “phases” of the return of the Lord to the earth.

A. The first phase is the rapture of the saints, when Christ returns in the air and calls for all of His saints to come to him.

1. This is a reuniting of the soul and spirit with a glorified body.

B. The second phase is the literal, physical, return of the Lord as described in Zech 14.

1. Christ will set his feet down on Mt. Zion and stop the invading armies from completely destroying Israel.

2. He will stop Satan’s rule and establish his millennium at this time.

3. Eternity will begin at the end of the 1,000 year reign.

III. Verse 14 - We find that when a saved person dies, they go to be with the Lord.

A. Absent in the body, present with the Lord.

B. Lazarus was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man went to hell.

IV. Verse 15 - Paul says these things by the Word of The Lord.

A. It is not just what He believes, but what the Bible says.

B. The word “prevent” doesn’t mean to stop.

1. It means “to be beforehand, or precede, or to arrive at before”.

V. Verse 16 - It may be difficult for some to realize that Jesus Christ will come once again to this earth, but it is exactly truth.

A. Many people don’t want to think about God.

1. Many people want to believe that Jesus might have been a good man, but they certainly don’t want to think of Him as their judge.

2. Most people want to put Christ out of their minds, believing that if they don’t think about Him, He will go away! He won’t go away!

B. The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven.

1. Acts 7:55,56 - When Stephen was stoned he saw Christ standing on the right hand of God, therefore we know where Christ is right now.

C. There are three things that shall happen when the Lord Himself appears.

1. The Lord Himself shall shout.

2. The voice of the Archangel.

3. The trump of God shall sound.

D. The next thing that happens.

1. The dead in Christ shall rise from the dead.

2. The souls and spirits of the saved who have died already are with Christ now and He will bring those souls and spirits with him at the rapture.

3. At the rapture, the saved who have already died in the Lord will be given new glorified bodies, which will never sin.

VI. Verse 17 - The next thing that happens is that the saved who are still alive will be caught up in the rapture.

A. The word “caught up”.

1. It means “to seize, to catch, to pluck, pull, to take by force”.

2. When Christ calls for his people to come to Him, they won’t consider whether to go or not - they will be pulled by the force of God to Him.

3. God’s people will be very glad God has forced them to go.

B. All the saved will go to be with the Lord.

1. A lot is said about family reunions in heaven.

2. It is good to have all our family members saved and on their way to heaven.

3. The family reunion in heaven will be God’s family, not ours.

4. The Bible states that we are going to be with the Lord eternally.

5. The main focus of that day will not be the families we had on this earth, but the Lord.

VII. Verse 18 - The comfort saved people will find in these verses is that God will call all His people home to be with Him one of these days.