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The Church and the Rapture


The Church and the Rapture

It is recommended that you study “Jesus’ Discourse on End Times” before studying below.

Summary of the Church.

For almost 2000 years we have lived under God’s program, which is called the Church Age (the apostle Paul called it a dispensation). Throughout the years, few people have understood how the Church relates to God’s total plan for the ages.

The apostle Paul called the Church a mystery, which means that it was hidden in the Scriptures until Jesus revealed and announced it. There are many who refer to Israel as the Church of the Old Testament, but the Church of Christ is unique, and the promises given to the Church were never made to Israel. The word, Church, means an assembly which could be applied to any group. However, the Church of the New Testament is far more that an assembled group of believers. It is a living organism given to, and united with the Lord Jesus Christ as His future bride and joint heir. The Church will reign with Christ throughout eternity.

The called and predestined Church is a body of believers consisting of both Jews and Gentiles. The Holy Spirit, who indwells each member, convicts, instructs, enhances spiritual gifts and directs lives according to God’s unique plan for each member. Together, the members of the Church, the Body of Christ, functions as one body of believers under the headship of Christ. Although the universal Church includes all present age believers, God has chosen to create small groups of fellowships, referred to as the local Churches, to function as a family ministering to the needs of its members and reaching out to the lost world.

The Church has replaced Israel as God’s chosen vessel to bring the message of the gospel of salvation to a lost world. During Jesus’ early ministry, He made it clear to the Jewish leaders that their days were numbered as God’s chosen vessels for service. “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matt. 21:43). To the disciples, Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20).

There has been much discussion regarding when the Church began, and there are many different views on the subject. However, Scripture is clear that the Church had a definite beginning, and that the completion of the Church has a definite end (Romans 11:5).

Regarding God’s program with Israel, the Church Age is parenthetical – it interrupted what the Old Testament had revealed about Israel’s future. In Daniel Chapter nine, God shows Daniel that His program with the Jews, after the Babylonian captivity, would cover a period of seventy times seven years (490 years) before Jesus would return to establish His Kingdom on earth. The Messiah would come after 483 years and would be cut off. However, there is no hint of the Church Age between the first 483 years and the last seven years. After the mysterious Church age is completed, God will return to His timetable with Israel for seven years. This seven year period is called the Tribulation Period as given in both Daniel and Revelation.

The Church, which was made up of the first apostles, was created as a dead organism, but became alive at Pentecost. The Church has never been not under the Mosaic Covenant, and could not have come into existence until after the death of Christ. It is a New Covenant Church. The apostle Paul makes it clear in the eleventh chapter of Romans that the Church Age will end when God returns to His program with the Jews. “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25).

The Church will be taken into Heaven at the time of the Rapture, which occurs before the Tribulation Period.

Listed below are supplemental materials and supporting studies that I suggest you review. Just click below:

1. The Body of Christ.

2. A Transition of Mindsets.

3. Israel and the Church.

4. The Rapture of the Church.

5. The Mysteries of the New Testamont.