Let's pick up from the previous page “More on the Rapture” and look at the question “When will the rapture take place", from Noah and the flood as a type of the rapture.
Again, no-one knows the day and the hour... however, God gives us many clues and warnings...
So, Matthew 24 and verse 39 again: “And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
So Jesus is saying here that, just as it happened before in the time of Noah... it will happen as suddenly when we are not aware...
And the next verse after 40 and 41 says:
V. 42 "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come".
(“therefore” here is the word “oun” (ou'n), which is indicative of something following from another. So what Jesus just talked about from verses 36 to 41 requires us to be watchful for... “watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord doth come”.
Then in a further consequence to this, He says:
verse 43: “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up." The word "suffered" here means "allowed" or "permitted".
What?, does Jesus contradict Himself here? He said no one knows the day and hour, yet He says that “if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up...
No, what Jesus is saying here is... all these things that I have shown you and warned you about will take place but in spite of it all, if you know the seasons, you will be watchful, and you will avoid disaster -- in other words, the disaster would be that after it happened you would find yourself having missed the rapture.... but if you watch and are ready, you will not suffer this disastrous consequence...
So how do we know this is speaking of the Rapture?
Because of the verses we saw earlier:
Because of what Jesus told us that it will be as in the time of Noah, when one day, the doors would shut and the ark would be taken up and
40 "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 "Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
That's all pretty clear... and verse 44 continues:
“Therefore be ye also ready: (here therefore is the word “dia (dee-a) which means “with all of this” be ready”... for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
So even though we do not know the day or the hour.... our Lord tells us to watch and to be ready, and He has given us the season of these things to take place in Matthew, Mark, Luke and other New Testament scriptures as well as Old Testament. Now that's a warning that demands our attention.
Parables about watching and being ready
Then our Lord goes on to tell the parable of the unfaithful servant, the parable of the ten virgins, the parable of the talents... which all have to do with watching and being ready... You can read those in the book of Matthew, chapter 24...
Now if we take a good look at the discourse of the end times given by Jesus, as reported in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, we do not see where or when the rapture takes place. The events in these books, are given similarly but in different order. In Matthew 24, it reads almost as if the taking away is at the end of the last 7-years Tribulation.
But we know from the book of Revelation and other prophecy books, that at the very end, when Jesus comes back to judge the nations who rejected Him and to set up His kingdom, He comes with the saints from heaven...
So we read in 1 Thessalonians 4, from v. 13 to 15, where Paul speaks of the coming of the Lord and the future of the church:
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." (“prevent” here means "precede" -- shall not precede them which are asleep—they will come up first, then those who are alive...)
You see, Paul is writing to the believers who were concerned about the end times and the return of the Lord. How much so, do we need to be concerned now, today, as we see the prophecies coming to pass of what the end times will be like, just before the return of the Lord, in 2nd Timothy 3, where it speaks of the coming apostasy – you can read that when you get a chance -- 2nd Timothy, chapter 3.
Picking up again from v. 15, 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4:
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 precede) them which are asleep.
v.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.
There are two distinct events: first, the one where the Lord calls up the church (the born-again believers in Christ") with the sound of the trumpet that we saw in 1st Thessalonians;
and the other, afterwards, when Jesus comes down on the white horse followed by the armies of the saints, Revelation 19 – where as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be , as the Lord tells us also in Matthew 24. In other words, the first event is an event that only the saved people of Christ will "see", and the second event will be seen around the world.
And then Paul continues in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, vs 1 to 11:
1 "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 "For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 "Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."
Click here to Clues in the Lord's Feasts
or click here for the information page on the E-book