"Wherefore, comfort one another with these words...."
The teaching of the rapture seems to be a large divisive controversy in the body of Christ. So much time and effort is being spent to prove when the rapture takes place--In some places, the first question Christians ask is--"Are you a pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib person?"--this is ridiculous! The body of Christ is not meant to be divided by doctrine--this must be the work of the enemy. The most important thing to realize, is that if you are spending too much time worrying and debating when the rapture takes place in prophesy, you are in disobedience to the Word of God. Why do I say that? Look at it this way. God gave us a certain bit of information. The rapture of the church is mentioned in many places in the Bible, and in one place, God gave a command about it. In 1Thessalonians 4, the Word of God says this...
"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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. 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 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1Thessalonians 4:13-18)
You see, God gives the prophesy, and then He gives the command about how to use the prophesy--"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." God foresees everything, and He has foreseen a time when there will be a group of Christians who have nothing to do with their spare time but debate the word of God. So He gives us a command--"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." I work a lot with Christians in other parts of the world (beside the U.S.). They seem to have no trouble at all about the rapture--they are delighted about it--it is a comfort to them--they are in obedience to the Word. Let me tell you, if you are debating about the rapture, you are disobeying the Word!
Listen, let me show you how the teaching of the rapture is meant to be used...Let's say for example, a brother or sister in Christ approaches you and says--"My life is so difficult, we've gone bankrupt, my teenage daughter is into drugs--it feels like the world is just taking over my family. I'm going to church and praying and believing God will help the situation--but it's just so difficult. The world is just such a wicked place to live in these days."--What should you say to this person? Well, of course, there are many comforts in the Word of God--we have the Holy Spirit to help us and comfort us, we have intercessory prayer and the help and support of fellowship. There are a multitude of promises in the word of God to encourage us. We all of us will go through difficult days as a Christian, especially in these stressful times. Perhaps another brother or sister in Christ might say to you--"You know, the Lord took my spouse a few years ago, now I know he is in heaven but it is difficult to get used to living alone. The world nowadays is so cold and indifferent." What should you say? How could we comfort our brothers or sisters who are hurting and going through tough times? As I have said, there are many possible ways to help--but one of the most important ways should be the teaching of the rapture! The enemy would like to steal this comfort away from us! Here is what we should be able to say to someone who needs comfort...
"I know your life is difficult--the world is getting more and more wicked every day. But you know what? Sometime, God is going to put an end to it all--He is going to say My children have had enough! And that trump will sound! And your deceased friends and relatives who were saved will be instantly brought back to life and joined up with their souls in heaven--and the very next instant--those of us who are alive will join them! And we will all be with Jesus forever! It can happen any minute! God will not let His children suffer forever!"
This is the way that the rapture is commanded to be used. God commands us to....."comfort one another with these words." If the teaching of the rapture is used by anyone in any other way--to cause division in the body of Christ- or for private interpretation to bring about pride--it is being used in disobedience to the word of God--and it allows the enemy to make turmoil out of something that is supposed to be a comfort!
Related Topic---This bible study was done a few years ago during the horrible "Heavens Gate" cult suicides. It has material in it that is relevent to this same idea and we beleive is worth viewing again......
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