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MUSLIM HOLY WAR AND TYPES
OF THE RAPTURE - PART I

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, April 28, 2002


"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Terrible things are happening in the Middle East right now. This morning, the New York Times had a front page story reporting that President Bush said America would begin a full scale war against Iraq by the end of this year or early next year.  Full scale war is coming!  You see the headlines in virtually every newspaper. You hear about the anger and killing nearly every night on television. The Arabs are against the Jews. They want to drive the Jews out of Israel. The Arabs want Jerusalem, and they want that little city bad enough to blow themselves up. We hear about "suicide bombers" in Israel several times a week now. What is there in Jerusalem that they want so desperately that they are willing to commit suicide to get it? There is no oil in Jerusalem. There are no diamonds in its hills, no gold, or jewels, or uranium veins in its hillsides. What is there that these fanatics want so desperately that they are willing to fight on and on, decade after decade, to get? I'll tell you what they want. They want the Temple Mount and the city of Jerusalem itself. And I'll tell you exactly why they want Jerusalem so badly. It is because that is where Jesus is going to come to set up His Kingdom on earth - and they don't want Him to do it!

The Devil and his raging demons are moving and motivating the Arab nations, and others, to come against Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, because they are against the God of the Bible and they want to stop God from sending Jesus back to Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives, to set up His thousand-year Kingdom on earth. The Devil uses these demonized Muslims to try to stop the plan of God and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. That's why you see this war and these anti-Israeli activities on a daily basis on your television.

Turn with me to Zechariah, chapter twelve, verse three:

"And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: All that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it" (Zechariah 12:3).

"A burdensome stone" means "a heavy stone, hard to lift" (Unger, Commentary on the Old Testament, Moody Press, 1981, volume 2, p. 2037). All who try to lift it "will rupture themselves, suffer sprains or dislocations" (Unger, ibid.).

This prophecy will be completely fulfilled in the Tribulation period, when the nations of the world march on Jerusalem at the Battle of Armageddon. But we already see the beginnings of its fulfillment. In our day Jerusalem is a heavy stone that burdens the nations of the world. The tiny nation of Israel takes up more time for discussion in the United Nations than any of the large nations on earth. Far more time is spent on Israel than on China, Russia, or America. Israel in general, and Jerusalem in particular (cf. Zechariah 12:2b), have become a heavy stone and a burden to the people of all nations in our time.

Now, the continuing problems we see going on in Israel are a sign that we are living very near the end of the world as we know it, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Dr. M. R. DeHaan said:

The time is near. Israel is already gathering in the land as a token of her ultimate restoration, and the next event on the program seems to be the shout from the air, and Jesus shall come. Will you be among those who will be caught away before the judgment of God falls upon this world? (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., Coming Events in Prophecy, Zondervan, 1962, p. 62).

The next event is the rapture, carefully explained in our text:

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…"

(I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

I believe that the rapture will come before the Tribulation, the seven-year period when the world will be dominated by the coming world-dictator, the Antichrist. One of the great proofs that the rapture will come before the Tribulation is the many types of the pre-Tribulation rapture given in the Bible. A "type" is an illustration, given in advance. I want us to notice three of the types or illustrations of the pre-Tribulation rapture.

I. First, Enoch is a type of the pre-Tribulation rapture.

Please turn in your Bible to Genesis, chapter five, verse twenty-one:

"And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him"

(Genesis 5:21-24).

"He was not; for God took him." Charles Ryrie gives this comment:

Enoch is an exception to the dismal refrain ("and he died") of this chapter. He walked (lit. walked about, i.e. lived) with God, and instead of letting him die, God took him (the same Hebrew word is used for the translation of Elijah, 2 Kings 2:3,5; cf. Hebrews 11:5). In other words, Enoch went directly to heaven without dying" (Ryrie Study Bible, note on Genesis 5:22-24).


Now turn in your Bible to Hebrews, chapter eleven, verse five:

"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:5-6).

Enoch was "translated that he should not see death." The word "translated" in Greek means "exchanged" or "carried over" (Strong's Concordance). Enoch was "carried over" from earth to Heaven. He was caught up to Heaven without dying, before the Great Flood of Noah's time. This is a clear type, an illustration in advance, of the rapture. To be prepared for the rapture, a person must do the same thing that Enoch did. You must believe that God "is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). Saving faith is more than just believing that God exists, although that is included. You must believe that God exists and that "he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." You must believe that God will reward you for diligently seeking Him. The most important thing in life is seeking God in Christ until you find Him in a real conversion experience.

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate" (Luke 13:24).

Enoch sought the Lord and found Him. He was translated that he should not see death. If you seek the Lord until you find Him, you will be raptured along with the other living and dead Christians:

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…"

(I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

II. Second, Noah is a type of the pre-Tribulation rapture.

I personally disagree with the Scofield note on Genesis 6:9, which says, "Noah, preserved through the Flood, is a type of the Israelitish people who will be preserved through the tribulation." I disagree because the antitype, the fulfillment of this type, does not say this. Turn to Matthew, chapter twenty-four, verse thirty-seven:

"But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe [Noah] entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matthew 24:37-42).

This seems to me a clear picture of the pre-Tribulation rapture, one of the clearest in the Bible. I disagree with John MacArthur, who says, "This is clearly not a reference to the catching away of believers described in I Thessalonians 4:16-17" (MacArthur Study Bible, note on Matthew 24:40-41). Some teach that this passage in Matthew 24:40-41 refers to the Jews who are ready to enter the Kingdom, but this seems to me a stretching of the text to fit a preconceived theological viewpoint. I think that the entire passage (Matthew 24:37-42) refers to watchfulness concerning the pre-Tribulation rapture. That seems to be the simplest and most straightforward way of understanding the passage. It is the way that many of the older dispensationalists understood this passage of Scripture, and it is my view.

Simply stated, Noah was a type of true Christians, who was caught up in the Ark, to escape the ravages of the Great Flood, as true believers will be caught up, and "one shall be taken, and the other left" (Matthew 24:40-41).

Are you ready to be "taken" when the rapture comes - or will you be left behind to go through the Tribulation? To be ready, you must do what Noah did. Please turn to Hebrews, chapter eleven, verse seven:

"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Hebrews 11:7).

The great seventeenth-century preacher Richard Baxter gave these comments, which I present to you in modern English from my book, A Puritan Speaks to Our Dying Nation (Hearthstone, 2002, pp. 30-31):

Noah had never seen rain before the Flood (cf. Genesis 2:6). But when God told him that the Flood was coming, he worked many years to build an ark. The unbelieving world mocked him at the beginning, but when the Flood came they were convinced -when it was too late.

If Satan can make you doubt the reality of Heaven and Hell, because you haven't seen them, he will be able to ruin you with the empty things of this world. But if you believe what the Bible says about eternal things, you will probably become a Christian very soon.

There is a Kingdom of Heaven. The Word of God says so. And Christ said that only those who are converted will enter it:

"Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted…ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

Noah was converted, so he escaped from the Flood that came on the earth. If you are truly converted, you will be raptured, and not have to go through the terrible Tribulation period on earth. That seems to me to be the simplest and most Scripturally sound interpretation. Noah and his family escaping the Flood in an ark are a type of true Christians being caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…"

(I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

III. Third, Lot is a type of the pre-Tribulation rapture.

Genesis, chapter nineteen, gives the main account of how Lot escaped the judgment of Sodom. God told Lot to flee, to run away from the city of Sodom. Turn to Genesis, chapter nineteen, verse twenty-two:

"Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither," God told Lot (Genesis 19:22).

"Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven" (Genesis 19:24).

"But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt" (Genesis 19:26).

Lot's wife did not want to separate from the world. She turned back from following Lot and gazed back at her house and friends in the condemned city. The fire and brimstone fell on her, and "she became a pillar of salt." I have been on the plains of Sodom and saw many such pillars of salt there. One of those pillars encrusts and entombs the body of Lot's wife.

Lot is a type of those who are taken in the rapture. His wife is a type of those who are left behind to experience the judgments of the Tribulation (cf. Matthew 24:40-42).

The great lesson in this type of the pre-Tribulation rapture is clear: give up the things of the world.

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (II Corinthians 6:17-18).

You must separate yourself from sinful unbelieving friends or you will not be converted and ready for the rapture. Lot separated from the sinful people of his city, and he was saved from judgment. Lot's wife looked back longingly to her lost friends and experienced judgment rather than salvation.

How about you? Will you give up your lost friends, come fully into the church, and be converted, so you can be raptured, and escape the judgments of the Tribulation? Or will you hang onto your lost friends and be left behind at the rapture, as Lot's wife was left behind?

Turn in your Bible to II Peter, chapter two, verse six:

"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly. And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds:) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" (II Peter 2:6-9).

The person who, like Lot, turns away from wicked friends and acquaintances, and comes into the local church, and receives Christ, will escape the judgment of the Tribulation by being raptured:

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…"

(I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

We will look at several more types of the pre-Tribulation rapture tonight. But these three are very informative and very important to us. Enoch walked with God, and was taken up, translated that he should not see death. Enoch believed in God and believed that God would reward him for searching diligently to find Him. Have you diligently searched for Christ?

Noah moved with fear and built an ark, which saved him and his family from the Great Flood. Will you move with fear and seek your own salvation and the salvation of your family?

Lot separated himself from sinful friends and acquaintances, and so escaped judgment. Will you give up your lost friends, come into this local church fully, and then come to Christ for salvation?

You will not be ready for the rapture unless you follow the example of these three men.

Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. Christ rose from the dead literally, and ascended to Heaven, where He is seated on the right hand of God praying for you. Leave your sins behind and come to Christ. Be sure that your sins are all washed away in the Blood of Christ. Be sure you are converted, and then be sure you are in this church every time the door is opened. Then you will be ready for the rapture!

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…"

(I Thessalonians 4:16-17).


(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I Corinthians 15:51-58.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Caught Up Together" (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

THE OUTLINE OF

MUSLIM HOLY WAR AND TYPES 
OF THE RAPTURE - PART I

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

(Zechariah 12:3, 2)

I.   Enoch is a type of the pre-Tribulation rapture,
Genesis 5:21-24; Hebrews 11:5-6; Jeremiah 29:13;
Luke 13:24.

II.  Noah is a type of the pre-Tribulation rapture,
Matthew 24:37-42; Hebrews 11:7; Matthew 18:3.

III. Lot is a type of the pre-Tribulation rapture,
Genesis 19:22, 24, 26; Matthew 24:40-42;
II Corinthians 6:17-18; II Peter 2:6-9.