Welcome back to America, Israel and the Church, sojourners! We’re launching out into the stormy seas on a journey to discover the roles of America, Israel and the church in this chaotic time, and in the last days to come. If you missed yesterday’s intro, find it here.
Unless you just arrived from another planet, I’m sure you are aware that our world is in a state of disarray. We will discover some very chaotic things relative to America, Israel and the church in days ahead. But today, as we shove off into the harbor, its important to lay a strong foundation of truth from God’s Word.
John 14 is our spiritual anchor on this journey. It’s what we cling to when the storm rages all around us. Please read verses 1-3.
- In a red-letter edition, these verses are in red, which always signifies one specific speaker. Who is speaking?
- What is Jesus’ first admonition in verse 1? Do you find yourself troubled these days?
- Carefully read the promises Jesus makes in verses 2-3. Where is Jesus right now, and what is He doing? Why is He doing it?
Dear travelers, if you have surrendered yourself to Jesus Christ, His promise to you is that, right now, He is preparing a place for you, and He will return soon to take you from this world to be with Him in our Father’s house! Do not let your heart be troubled. We have read the book and we know how it ends…He’s got this!
That idea of taking us from this world is called the rapture! The Bible clearly teaches that God has not destined us for wrath, but will save us from it. What wrath is He talking about? The tribulation. The rapture precedes the tribulation, thus providing assurance that He will indeed keep us from the wrath of God that is to come.
As the apostle Paul made his way through Asia Minor, teaching and preaching the Word of God soon after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, he stopped in the Greek city of Thessalonica. There, amidst a slew of pagan gods, he boldly proclaimed the gospel, resulting in the salvation of many. He also encouraged them that the Lord Jesus would return one day to redeem those who trust in Him.
So, the church at Thessalonica was planted and Paul moved on. However, the young church was threatened by false pagan teachings, and after some of their relatives died, they began losing their faith. Thus, Paul wrote a letter to the church at Thessalonica, and we know that letter as 1 Thessalonians. (He would write a second letter later.) In that letter, he addressed their worry that, somehow, they had missed the rapture, and he gave them great encouragement as they endured in a chaotic, pagan world of false gods.
Those same words of encouragement reach through time to help us in our present time of chaos as well! Hold a finger in John 14:1-3 and go to 1 Thessalonians. Re-read John 14:1-3, then read the following passages and identify the common theme:
- 1 Thessalonians 1:10
- 1 Thessalonians 2:19
- 1 Thessalonians 3:13
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
- 1 Thessalonians 5:9
Did you discover a common thread tying 14:1-3 to the verses in 1 Thessalonians? Every one of them assure us that Jesus is coming back again! Furthermore, re-read 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9. What, specifically, are we saved from?
Now, dive back into 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
- According to verses 16-17, how will the rapture take place?
- How does that compare to 1 Corinthians 15:50-52?
Finally, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11, what are we to do with this truth?
Yes! We are to comfort one another, encourage one another and build one another up! This is good news and it should be shared! The things of this world are chaotic and there is no hope there. Rather, our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ who promises to save us from the coming wrath of God. In fact, the apostle Paul identified the Blessed Hope as the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). (Yes, that is the theme verse of this blog…Looking for the Blessed Hope!)
Jesus is coming back to save us from the wrath that is to come. His appearance in the clouds (known as the rapture) is His method of taking us out of here. He is our Blessed Hope!
Fellow Bible students, this foundation is critical as we move forward in our journey. Pin this in the forefront of your mind and do not lose hope! We may face challenges, but we will never face the wrath that is to come. Praise God for that!
Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have comments or questions, feel free to use the “Comments” section below to share them. We are on the journey together and we look forward to seeing you here again tomorrow.