The Blessed Hope: Part I :: By Mark Hall
I am pastor of a small church in Tennessee. I have been preaching Bible prophecy for over 40 years. In that time, I have been surprised and amazed at the number of pastors who do not preach Bible prophecy for one reason or another. Although there were times when the signs were not as pressing as they are today, I still chose to preach Bible prophecy to every church I have ever served.
I found Rapture Ready about three years ago, and I am so very thankful to the many of you who submit your wonderful work. For a long time, I felt all alone in preaching Bible prophecy, and it is so good to know there are many who are standing in the faith and presenting these powerful truths. I pray God’s great blessings upon each of you.
I am submitting this sermon to Rapture Ready in honor of Jesus Christ to let you know there are some pastors who are preaching Bible prophecy and the Pre-Tribulation rapture of the church.
I also give permission for anyone to use this sermon as long as it is used for the glory of God.
Thank you, Todd and Terry, for the great work you do for the King and His Kingdom!
Let’s stand together and open our Bibles to Titus 2 as we continue with our series “God’s Watchman” with today’s message, “God’s Watchman and the Blessed Hope.”
Titus 2:11-13 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”
OUR BLESSED HOPE
God’s word is a wonderful book of hope. God’s word reveals the hope of forgiveness and eternal life. God’s word gives us the hope of God’s promises and the glorious hope of an eternal kingdom that will never end. But one of our greatest hopes as believers in Christ is the promise of His return. The return of Jesus Christ is not a superstitious myth or a tall tale. I assure you that the return of Jesus Christ is as sure as the rising sun.
To understand the return of Jesus Christ, we must first realize that between now and the day Jesus Christ returns to this earth as the King of kings, there are many events that must first take place. There must first be an alignment of a ten-kingdom empire of global authority. From that world empire, a lawless man of great deception will rise to power. There must be the signing of a treaty that will begin a seven-year tribulation. There must be world wars and famine, with terrible deception and great destruction. These are just a few of the many coming attractions that must take place before the second coming of Jesus Christ.
But there is also one other event that must also take place, and for the believer, it is the most exciting event found in the word of God. It is called the catching away of the saints, or the Rapture of the church. I believe it is the next great event on God’s prophetic calendar.
Bible prophecy reveals that Rapture will be the most dramatic, world-shaking event in human history. It will be an event of such magnitude that the world will never again be the same. It will far surpass the shock of Pearl Harbor and 9-11. It will ultimately divide every person on earth between those who believe in Jesus Christ and those who don’t. Those who believe in Christ and are followers of Christ will instantly vanish from this earth, where we will be immediately ushered into the glorious presence of Jesus Christ, our eternal Savior and King. Glory to God; What a day that will be!
Those who reject Christ will be left behind to face a world that will be far different than anything they have ever imagined. Those left behind will confront a new world order of despair, evil, lawlessness, and a global demonic ruler, the antichrist, and his satanic program of terror. Those left behind will experience the floodgates of God’s wrath upon an evil and godless world through 21 divine judgments that are beyond my ability to describe.
But for those who know Christ, we have the promise of a blessed hope in a kingdom of glory that will never end. As your pastor and your watchman, I preach this message to inspire you to live godly lives as we wait for our blessed hope in Christ’s return, and as a warning to those who choose to reject Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation.
THE COMING OF CHRIST
To fully understand the return of Jesus Christ, we must first recognize that the coming of Christ will take place in two distinct and separate events. Most people know about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which happens at the very end of the tribulation when He physically returns to this earth and sets up His kingdom for a thousand years.
But there is also another event called the Rapture that is different from the Second Coming. The Rapture is a very unique and special event when Jesus returns for His church in what the Bible calls the great catching away of the saints and our blessed hope.
This Blessed hope, which we call the Rapture, is a supernatural event when the Lord Jesus Christ appears in the sky, and in a moment faster than the blink of an eye, He catches away His church to be with Him, in His glory forever. This mind-bending, earth-shattering event is vividly described in I Thessalonians 4:16-18.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
There are four powerful points that we must not miss about this future event.
First, verse 16 reveals that only those who are in Christ will experience this glorious event that we call our blessed hope. The big question is, what does it mean to be in Christ?
To be in Christ means you have repented of your sins and trusted in Christ alone for salvation.
To be in Christ means you believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
To be in Christ means you believe in His finished work at the cross.
To be in Christ means you believe that He physically and bodily rose up from the dead.
It means you believe He will return as the eternal King of kings and Lord of lords.
Only those who are in Christ will experience this Blessed Hope when we will be instantly caught up to be with the Lord forever in His kingdom of glory. Whatever you do, make sure… make very sure, you are in Christ.
Second, our blessed hope is a transformation event where we will be instantly changed. Paul explains in I Corinthians 15 how in the twinkling of an eye, we are instantly transformed from a body of corruption and sin into a brand-new perfect body that will last forever. That’s what I call a true blessing of hope…
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (NKJV).
In the twinkling of an eye, we will be instantly changed.
The Greek word for twinkling is the word “Atomos,” which is where we get our word atom.
The meaning is that this event will happen so quickly, with such supernatural speed, that it will happen faster than the blink of an eye. In a moment faster than time can be measured, we will be instantly transformed from this old body of sin into a new heavenly body to meet the Lord in the air, where we will be ushered into His eternal and glorious presence.
Third, what will we be like when we are transformed into a new body?
1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
For those who are in Christ, at the moment of the Rapture, we will be transformed into a new perfect body just like Jesus! It will be a perfect body; a glorious body; a body that will never know sin or sickness or pain or sorrow. It will be a heavenly body that will last forever! This is why I am so excited about the future. This is why I am looking for Jesus Christ and His promise of a blessed hope!
Fourth, as you may have already noticed, the word “rapture” is not found anywhere in the Bible. Skeptics take great delight in pointing out that the word “Rapture” does not appear anywhere in the Bible, and therefore, they say there is no such thing as a rapture. However, that’s not true.
The word “rapture” is not found in the English Bible because it’s not an English word. The word “rapture” is a Latin word translated from the Greek word “Harpazo” found in I Thessalonians 4:17, which means to “take out or to “snatch away without warning.” It is from this Greek word “Harpazo” that we get the Latin word ‘rapture’ and our English phrase “caught up” found in I Thessalonians 4:17. The point is, although the word “Rapture” is not in the English Bible, it is very clear that the teaching of the Rapture is.
WHY IS THE RAPTURE SO IMPORTANT?
Why is the Rapture so important? Why should we be looking for our blessed hope?
First, the Rapture is important because the Rapture is God’s fulfilled promise to deliver the church from the coming wrath and judgment of God upon the whole world.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 “to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers [rescues] us from the wrath to come.”
This is God’s promise to deliver those who love His Son, Jesus Christ, from the terrible wrath that will soon come upon the whole world, and God will not forsake His promise.
Revelation 3:10 “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (NKJV).
The word “from” is the Greek word “ek,” which means to physically remove something or to take something out of. In other words, Jesus says, “I will take you out of the world and keep you from the hour of trial” that will come upon the whole world.
This is why Paul called this wonderful promise our blessed hope… Titus 2:13 “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” (NKJV).
The Rapture of the church is not something we are to fear or dread; it is a blessed hope of God’s glorious promise to rescue us from the coming wrath of God that will be poured out upon a sinful and evil world.
This is why Jesus said in Luke 21:36 “Watch, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (NKJV).
Think about this for a moment. Jesus warned of a future generation that would be so bad that we should pray to escape all that would come upon the whole world. I believe we are that generation, and we should pray for and look forward to the coming of Christ.
Second, the Rapture is important because when it happens, it will literally be a life-changing event that will trigger the final days of planet Earth as we know it.
The Rapture will be the catalyst that sets everything into hyperdrive motion. For example: It will set into motion the economic collapse of world governments and will bring about a final world empire of a one-world government and a one-world currency.
It will set into motion the rise of a world dictator known as the antichrist.
It will set into motion a seven-year tribulation of such unimaginable wrath and judgment that Jesus said it would be the worst time period in human history.
This is why we are encouraged to look for our blessed hope in Jesus Christ.
Third, and very importantly, the wonderful, good news is that as believers in Christ, we are not looking for the coming wrath of God. We are not looking for the antichrist. We are looking for, and waiting for, the blessed hope of Jesus Christ, our great Savior and Lord.
Jesus said, when you see all these things happening, “lift up your head for your redemption is very near” (Luke 21:28).
THE MOMENT OF THE RAPTURE
That brings us to this question; how will the Rapture trigger end-time events?
In your imagination, picture what this electrifying moment will be like.
Picture a day like any other day when suddenly and without warning, Jesus Christ, the eternal King of kings, appears in the clouds of heaven like a flash of lighting.
Suddenly, the sound of a heavenly trumpet vibrates across the heavens. In the twinkling of an eye, every born-again, Bible-believing Christian instantly vanishes from this earth faster than the speed of light and is immediately ushered into the eternal presence of Jesus.
Imagine the shock of those left behind, who witness this world-shattering moment as friends and family members suddenly vanish before their eyes. Children, parents, spouses, friends, coworkers, all who love Jesus Christ will disappear faster than the blink of an eye.
Across the world, a hundred million conversations will stop in mid-sentence.
Doctors, nurses, and patients will suddenly vanish in the middle of an operation.
Thousands of empty cars will careen wildly out of control as drivers instantly vanish.
Classrooms will suddenly be without teachers and students.
Those who dial 911 will be unable to get through, and those that do are put on hold.
Text messages will be left unanswered as families try to contact their loved ones.
Every person on planet Earth will be affected by this event. Panic will grip the world as the world will encounter chaos unlike any other time in history. In the days that follow, the world economy will collapse as governments and nations seek to deal with this devastating nightmare. In a split moment of time, the world will be changed forever. It will be a day so catastrophic that it will always be remembered as THE DAY…
And very importantly, in a single instant, the world will suddenly find itself without the influence of godly men and women.
One of the most intriguing points about the Rapture that so many seem to overlook is that when this moment happens, every believer in Christ will, in an instant, be removed from this world, which means every single person left on planet Earth will be a Christ-rejecting, God-hating, sin-loving unbeliever. Picture in your mind that, in this single moment, the entire world will instantly be fully immersed in a spiritual darkness unlike anything the world has ever known.
Image in the theater of your mind a world where every single person on planet Earth is an unbeliever that does not know or believe in God and has rejected the light of God’s truth. And in that vacuum of spiritual darkness, evil will grip the world like a steel trap. The world has never experienced anything like it. In the ensuing days, the most evil man in history, whom the Bible calls the antichrist and the beast, will quickly ascend to world power, and with him will come hell on earth.
Those who rejected Jesus Christ will quickly discover they have been left behind to face a nightmare of spiritual darkness that Jesus said would be the worst time period in human history.
But, glory to God… those who are caught up to meet the Lord will experience the fullness of God’s glorious blessing of hope that is promised to every believer. This great hope is so amazing with glory and truth that Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 4:18… “encourage each other with these words.”
When Jesus comes for His bride, the church, He will come suddenly; He will come without warning to snatch us away to His dwelling place for eternity. This is why we are to be looking for, waiting for, and longing for our blessed hope in Jesus Christ.
IN CLOSING, WHY SHOULD WE BE LOOKING FOR THE RAPTURE?
In closing, since the Bible says we don’t know the day or hour of Christ’s return, why then should I be looking for the Rapture?
I can give you several reasons, but the most important reason is that if you are not looking for Jesus Christ, then most likely you are not prepared for His coming, and that would be a terrible tragedy. As believers in Christ, we are commanded to watch and pray and to be prepared at all times for Christ’s return.
I want to make it very clear that those who are not in Christ will be left behind. Whatever you do, make very sure you are not one of those who is left behind.
For those who reject Jesus Christ and suddenly find themselves left behind in a world of darkness and evil, I want to point out two things that are absolutely vital for you to hear.
First, when the Rapture happens, and it will happen, it will be a day the world will never forget. But… it may also be your last day in this world. When the Rapture happens, the world will explode into chaos and turmoil.
My point is, if… if… you happen to survive the initial chaos and madness on the day of the Rapture, my suggestion is for you to immediately fall upon your knees and cry out to God for mercy. For those left behind, life will be full of terror and evil beyond anything the world has ever known. The moment you know the Rapture has happened… the moment you realize you have been left behind… is the moment when you realize that everything you have heard today is true… I call you in the name of Jesus to give your life to Christ.
This is why I preach this message now so that you can take this moment to give your life to Christ and not be left behind to face a world gone mad with evil.
Second, if you suddenly find yourself left behind because you stubbornly insisted on staying in this evil-loving world, I give you permission to break into my house (After the Rapture and not before!). In my library, you will find three full shelves of books on Bible prophecy and end times. You are welcome to take what you need and prepare yourself for what is to come.
Very soon, the trumpet call of God will sound in the heavens when Jesus Christ, our Savior and King, will suddenly appear in the sky, and with a heavenly command, He will shout out, “Come up here!” And in the twinkling of an eye, our bodies will be instantly changed from a mortal corrupt body of sin to an eternal, immortal body of glory. In an instant, faster than time can be measured, we will rise up with believers from all over the world to meet our eternal Lord and Savior in the air.
We will rise up to meet the Lamb of God who took away our sins.
We will rise up to meet the Alpha and the Omega.
We will rise up to meet the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
We will rise up to meet the Prince of Peace, who is our eternal hope of heaven’s glory.
We will rise up to meet the one who is the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords.
Your eternal destiny is at stake.
So, I ask you, if Jesus Christ came in the next 60 seconds, would you be caught up to meet the Lord in the Rapture, or would you be left behind?
Today is the day that God has given you to secure your eternal ticket for the next great, world-shaking event on God’s calendar, the Rapture of the church, our blessed hope!
Jesus Christ is the only way to escape what is about to happen on planet Earth.
Let today be the day for you to surrender your life to Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9-10 “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”