The Rapture

The Great Migration - PR07-01

I thought it would be well if we paused as we look at these highlights of prophecy to take a look at the great migration. Mankind will experience a great and a sudden migration of millions of people into heaven in a moment of time. This is the next event in the order of God's prophetic program. Jesus Christ is coming to take every Christian, dead and alive, back to heaven with him. There are three main passage of Scripture that set this forth. We're going to look at this here--this mass movement of people into heaven and into the presence of God. Not all of humanity will be included in this great migration, of course--only those who are believers.

The Doctrine of the Imminency of the Return of Christ

Since the Lord's ascension, every generation of believers has been looking forward to this event--Christ's return at any moment. This is called the Doctrine of the Imminency of the Return of Christ. Imminent means at any moment or at any time. This is the dominant hope of the New Testament. The New Testament itself ends with the words, "Even so, come Lord Jesus." Yet today we have a lot of belittling of the idea that God is going to return to this earth in the person of His Son. Over the centuries, 2 Peter 3:4 has told us that scoffers will arise that ask the question, "Where is this coming? Everything is going on just like it always did. What makes you think that things are going to be changed?"

The liberal churchmen today declare that the apostle Paul was mistaken. He was rather naive on the matter that Jesus Christ would come back to this earth. Conservative Christianity often will interpose other events and say, "Yes, the rapture is coming, the catching away of the church is coming, but first this, this, and this must take place. The Bible gives us several signs of things which must take place before the tribulation begins. However, it does not give us any signs of what must take place before the rapture occurs. That is an any-moment event which can happen before you have finished reading this document.

Most religious leaders today simply ignore the revelation concerning the mass migration into heaven. The Bible warns us that there will be a period preceding the catching away of the church to be with the Lord which will be one of agonizing crises and of collapse of all moral standards here on earth. A showdown with evil is upon us today. The stability and the rewards of every believer are at stake.

2 Timothy 3

In 2 Timothy 3:1, the apostle Paul is writing to his young associate Timothy, and giving him some guidance concerning the last days of Christianity on the earth. Paul says, "This know also that in the last days, perilous time shall come." The expression "this know" stresses that something important, never to be forgotten, is to be said. This is the word for "know" in the Greek language which means to know this thing as a result of your experience--not something you just have as mental knowledge, but something that you use in experience, and thereby you come to know it in such a way that you act upon it. "The last days" have reference here by this context particularly to those days immediately preceding the return of Jesus Christ to take the church out of this world.

1 John 2:18 calls this whole dispensation "the last time." "The last days" is a particular reference to the final days of this dispensation. Timothy was to be on guard even in his day for these things. The occurrence of perilous times is to be upon, in a particular way, some generation of believers.

Now the word for "times" means a season occurring periodically. You may think of it like a wave that comes up on the beach. It hits, recedes, and hits again, and increasingly mounts. Every time the wave comes in, it's a little bigger than it was before. "Perilous" means these will be times which will be hard to bear and very dangerous. This is the very word which is used concerning the two demoniacs at Gadarenes in Matthew 8:28. It says that they were "exceedingly fierce." This is this same Greek word "perilous," that means very hazardous. It shall come within the last days of the church. It will build up gradually as a thunderstorm builds up, and finally it is fully present when it explodes upon this world. So each season will be a greater menace. Each time period will be a greater menace than the last.

Now we have almost 2,000 years of the wave building up and of the storm clouds gathering, and we are in the days immediately preceding the explosion of this which has built up. So these are dangerous times for the Christians because the world that surrounds us is about to be dealt with in judgment by the living God. Evil will have escalated tremendously as it has today. Sin will be more open and accepted. As you read through this passage, you see that a fantastic list of sins will become just commonplace and accepted. Christians will be in danger of getting used to these evil ways, and of accommodating themselves to it. Certainly this is the condition that we face today.

"This know also that in the last days, these perilous times shall come." Now let's look at the nature of this peril. "They shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy," and he goes on through a long list of characteristics that will be the result of the apostasy that has descended upon our age. This is a climactic season, and the Word of God tells us that in this time, certain major doctrines will be challenged, and will be undermined by ministers themselves. The moral trend in the moral attitude of our day, which is summed up in the phrase "situation ethics," did not begin with Hugh Hefner and Playboy magazine. It began with a religious leader who set forth a new concept of morality. This is a whole new source of Satan's imposing of his point of view upon humanity. From the source of the pulpits themselves will come challenges, the Word of God tells us, to certain doctrines:

Doctrinal Challenges

  1. There will be a denial of God (Luke 17:26, 2 Timothy 3:4-5).

  2. There will be a denial of Jesus Christ (1 John 4:1-3, 2 Peter 2:1).

  3. There will be a denial of the return of Christ (2 Peter 3:3-4).

  4. There will be a denial of the faith. (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

  5. There will be a denial of sound doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

  6. There will be a denial of the separated life (2 Timothy 3:1-7).

  7. There will be a denial of Christian liberty. (1 Timothy 4:3-4).

  8. There will be a denial of morality. (2 Timothy 3:13, Jude 18).

  9. There will be a denial of authority (2 Timothy 3:3-4).
The apostates are going to depart on all these accounts from biblical Christianity and still they're going to profess to be Christians. Religion is going to be substituted by Satan for faith in Jesus Christ. True Christians are going to be in danger of accepting the counterfeit. So Jude 3 calls upon us to earnestly contend for the faith that we have in the Bible, a faith which is often rejected by seminaries themselves today. Religion is based today on the opinion of the majority. That's human viewpoint. It is intellectual searching for a new faith to satisfy the so-called modern mind. That modern mind is just the old sin nature all over again.

So the Bible no longer judges life, but our customs and the opinions of our society judges the Bible. Today we have spiritual anarchy. That's what the Holy Spirit is cautioning us against--we who are living immediately before the Lord's return. Here in 2 Timothy 3:3-5, we have these characteristics. People will have these qualities about them in a unique way:

People in the Last Days

  1. They will be lovers of themselves. I'll let you make the application in your own experience and in the world that you move in.

  2. People will have a love of money.

  3. There will be a spirit of pride.

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    The Lord Jesus Christ has removed the barrier, the wall, between you and God. All you have to do is walk across the line.

    Dr. John E. Danish, 1971

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