Coming To Terms With Terms

     I realized yesterday as I was writing that I was using some words which may be unfamiliar to some of my readers. I want to be clear; So today I want to spend just a few moments explaining some of those words.

   In my explanation of the “Tribulation” period which is to come upon the Earth, as described in Isaiah, I used two words in particular which may need some defining.

Dispensation- This is simply an age of mankind. The Bible seems to divide the world into periods of time in which God deals with mankind in certain ways according to new amounts of understanding He is unfolding to our race. So there is the dispensation: from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to David, from David to Christ, from Christ to the present day and on until the Tribulation. Our current dispensation some Theologians call the Age of Grace or the Church Age. The next age or dispensation is the Thousand Year reign leading into eternity. Our current age will end with an event called the rapture

Rapture- Also called the Blessed hope or in Greek “parousia kyrios”  (the coming of the Lord). The Bible teaches that at the end of this dispensation (which we have called the Age of Grace or Church Age) the Lord Jesus will come again to Earth to collect the church into Heaven. Paul says it this way:

     “And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever.” I Thess. 4:13-17 NLT

    Paul indicates that this event which the church world has come to call the rapture will take place just before the “Tribulation” which Isaiah speaks of in Isaiah 24.

   Again Paul writes: “for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night….But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness….But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” I THess. 5: 2-10 NIV

     So those who are born again will not be here for the events of Isaiah 24. We shall already be in Heaven. Scripture indicates that at the end of the Tribulation period we shall return with Christ at the point of the Battle of Armageddon (see Rev. 19:14) to rule and reign with Him during the Thousand Year Reign.

Hope this helps JE

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