“And anybody who sets a date is operating completely independent of God, the Holy Spirit, and the Scripture. There is an element in both the Rapture and the day of the Lord that you must recognize, and that’s the element of unexpectedness, so that everyone lives in anticipation and accountability and expectation.”
For decades, there have been people predicting when the Rapture will, (or in their interpretations should), occur; yet, John MacArthur reveals in his podcast that all such predictions are based on the mishandling of Scripture. “Proclaimers of false doctrine” narrow the event of the rapture down to not only a specific season, but will hone in on even a month of the year. There have been plenty of people who, year after year, stand to their predictions regarding this event on God’s calendar and with their predictions, have attached certain annual behaviors as well, in hopes that their predictions are right.
However, as I have been listening every morning to Dr. John MacArthur’s podcast as I drive into work these past 2 weeks, his series, “The Rapture and the Day of the Lord” is shedding true light on these two events. He has been teaching from God’s Word and what He has said regarding both the Rapture and the Day of the Lord. John MacArthur has been taking his listeners through many Scriptures in helping us not only know the truth, but how to discern when we hear people saying and teaching things that are completely false. I have to tell you…for years what was explained to me was in contradiction to some of what he has been teaching in this series. I’ve needed to confess to God my own spiritual ignorance in believing (and even passing on to others), such misguided teachings; teachings that MacArthur explains we do not find in God’s Word. MacArthur even explains why and how so many people (for generations) have gotten entangled in their sin of “operating completely independently of God, the Holy Spirit and the Scripture” in making such predictions regarding the event of the rapture.
His sermon series has 7 parts and here is one excerpt from one of his message:
“Now, remember in chapter 4 as he ended the chapter, he gave a marvelous insight into the Rapture. That’s a different event. The Rapture is the catching away of the church. That’s not something to fear; that’s something to comfort. In fact, in verse 18 of chapter 4 it says, “Comfort one another with these words.” The Rapture describes the catching away of the church. It’s a blessed event. It’s a wonderful event. It’s a hopeful event. It’s a joyous event. It’s the time of our glorification. It’s the time of our reward. It’s the time when we become like Jesus Christ. It’s the time when we enter into His wonderful, eternal presence in the Father’s house, in the room that He’s been preparing for us ever since He left. But from that wonderful event, that hopeful event, he moves to that horrible event called the day of the Lord.
I told you two weeks ago the previous section on the Rapture was to comfort troubled Christians. This one is to trouble comfortable Christians. His discussion of the Rapture was not necessarily comprehensive, just enough to comfort them. And his discussion here of the day of the Lord is not comprehensive; it’s just enough to motivate us. In both cases, there is a practical, applicational purpose; there is an ethical behavioral goal in mind. On the one hand, to bring us comfort; on the other hand, to bring us motivation to holy living.
So, as we come to chapter 5 and the day of the Lord, let’s look at these first three verses again, continue where we left off. And remember, there are three features that come clear in these first verses: the coming of the day of the Lord, the character of the day of the Lord, and the completeness of the day of the Lord. He introduces the subject in verse 1, remember this now, we looked at it in our last message. “Now, as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.” Like many people since that time and today as well, they were curious about when Jesus was going to come. When is the Rapture? When is the day of the Lord? When are all these end time events going to take place? He says, “You have no need of anything to be written to you.” Why? Because you don’t need to know that. That’s not something you need to know. You know what you need to know. You know the Lord Jesus is going to come back in flaming fire, and He’s going to bring wrath on the ungodly. You already know that. You don’t need to know when. You don’t need to know the chronos and the kairos, the times and seasons, when is it going to happen, at what period of human history, you don’t need to know that. Paul’s response, by the way, was exactly like Jesus. Matthew 24:36, Acts 1:7, He said, “It’s not for you to know the times and the seasons.” It’s not for you to know. He even made the amazing and astounding statement that even the Son of Man doesn’t know that. But God the Father alone.
God has left us in the dark about that. Why? So, that every generation would live in the light of the reality that it could happen in their life time, so that every generation would have to face the fact that Jesus could come in final judgment during their life time.
Now, the Lord has given us information about the Rapture, described it, told us what is going to happen: the dead in Christ rise first, the ones who are alive and remain meet them in the air, and they all go to heaven to dwell in the Father’s house and to ever be with the Lord. We understand there’s a trumpet and a voice of an angel. But we don’t know the timing. We know a little bit about the event, but we don’t know exactly when it’s going to happen. There is no discussion of timing in any passage dealing with the Rapture.
There are three explicit passages in the New Testament that deal with the Rapture. They’re very clear: John 14, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4. None of them tell us when. We have no knowledge of when. There are numerous passages about the day of the Lord but there is no date given. There is no specific day or hour. Now, there are some indications that the day of the Lord is near and we’ll talk about those in a moment. But the specific time is not known, so that everyone lives in expectation, everyone lives in anticipation. Once the signs that precede the day of the Lord start to happen, a wise and informed person could know that it was coming soon, but not know the day or the hour. But as to when those preliminary signs will start, and what generation will be alive to experience that, we have no knowledge, none whatsoever. And anybody who sets a date is operating completely independent of God, the Holy Spirit, and the Scripture. There is an element in both the Rapture and the day of the Lord that you must recognize, and that’s the element of unexpectedness, so that everyone lives in anticipation and accountability and expectation.”
- What will the rapture be like?
- How can you know Christ still intends to come back after all these years?
- What happens to believing family and friends who have already died?
- What is the Day of the Lord, and will Christians suffer its horrible destruction?
In His Grace and Peace,