Rapture is a term that describes a greatly misunderstood future event of the Church. Many today think they will be taken out of this world and the rest will be left behind. But is this what Scripture really says?
A definition is in order here.
First of all it is not a term found in the Bible. However, rapture is used to depict a distinct event mentioned in the Bible. Rapture is the instantaneous changing (transfiguration, immortalization, translation) of the Church (as a whole and individually) into the very image of Jesus Christ’s immortal body (1Cor. 15:52).
It takes place at the very return of Jesus back to the earth.
The Bible is very clear about what the Spirit says to the Church concerning the return of Christ. Let us read the Scriptures and see what they say:
1Th 4:13 – 18 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (the Greek word phthanó means precede) them which are asleep. For (1) the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, (2) with the voice of the archangel, and (3) 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: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (KJ) (Emphasis mine)
Here are the items of this Scripture that are important; this Scripture is given by the Word of the Lord, it is going to be noisy (no secret here) – “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God”! The other important thing to note is “the dead in Christ shall rise” at this time. This is the resurrection of the dead in Christ.
The resurrection does not depend on our physical state at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
Understanding the nature of this glorified body that the dead in Christ and we, who are alive, will inherit (1John 3:2), we can readily see that those who are dead, when they are changed, will not disturb their grave site at all, but will go through the dirt much like Jesus went through the walls of the house the Apostles were hiding in after the crucifixion (John 20:19). So you see, it does not matter if the dead were buried, incinerated or were food for the birds.
This next Scripture is also talking about this resurrection of the dead:
1Co 15:51 – 54 "Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (KJ) (Emphasis mine)
This Scripture talks about those who are alive when Christ comes and about the resurrection of the dead in Christ – “the dead shall be raised”. At THAT time the prophesy, “Death is swallowed up in victory” is fulfilled (“brought to pass”) with the raising of the Saints! Also note this; the trumpet mentioned in 1 Thessalonians is mentioned again with an additional detail – “at the LAST trump”! So now we know when the resurrection of the dead in Christ takes place – at the last trumpet.
Many Christians ignore this next Scripture, saying this is not speaking of the Church, but read closely and you will see what it really says:
Rev 20:1 – 6 "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (KJ) (Emphasis mine)
Here is what you need to know about this Scripture; all the people mentioned in these verses are Christians that are raised from the dead AT THE FIRST RESURRECTION! They died for the “witness of Jesus, and for the word of God”. Only Christians can do that!
Understand this – if you have eyes to see and ears to hear – God reveals the specific time table of this very important event! Here is where your faith will either soar or die! He specifically tells the Church that the FIRST resurrection (of the dead in Christ) takes place at the blowing of the LAST trumpet of God (1 Corinthians)! Here is why these Scriptures are important for the Church; this resurrection of the dead in Christ is labeled by God as the FIRST resurrection – there is NO resurrection of the Saints before the FIRST, and He also labels this resurrection of the dead in Christ as taking place at the LAST trumpet of God – there are no other trumpets after the LAST! Now you would think that if God went to all this trouble of specifying when this resurrection of the dead in Christ takes place that he would tell the Church exactly where this LAST trumpet of God is blown. I believe the Word of God answers all questions concerning the return of Christ that the Church needs to know! When we look for the return of Jesus we must eventually turn to the Book of Revelation. In that Book are mentioned Seven Trumpets that are sounded at the end time. There are no other trumpets mentioned after the Seventh Trumpet. This is what Revelation 11:15 says, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven (“with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God”), saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord (Jesus), and of his Christ (the Saints) (at His return); and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (KJ) So this Seventh Trumpet is the LAST Trumpet mentioned in 1 Corinthians and is the FIRST Resurrection mentioned in Revelation 20. And look here – they reign with Jesus! Halleluiah!
Let me give you one last Scripture to tie this all together (This Scripture totally destroys the pretribulation and the midtribulation Rapture theories) – Jesus Himself said this:
Mat 13:41 – 43 "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend (surely Satan offends), and them which do iniquity (first); And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (That includes Satan: Rev. 20:1 – 3). Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Rev. 11:15). Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (KJ) (Emphasis mine)
A very important thing to understand about Christ’s return is that upon His return He destroys those in the service of the devil with the mighty sword of His mouth (Matt.13:36-43), for He returns with a mighty Shout and blast of the Trumpet (1Thess. 4:16). Satan is bound and put away for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:2). The Church then proceeds to pillage Satan’s house (Matt.12:29), ruling with Christ those thousand years on Earth.
The prophetic Scripture – Psalm 37: 9-11 describes the same event as Rev. 21: 7,8 – namely gathering “out of his kingdom all things that offend”. As you can see in Rev. 21: 8, this gathering is called the “second death” – being rejected by God.
So Satan and those dedicated to him are removed in the very same instant that the Church is changed. The Church then proceeds to clean house: healing the sick, proclaiming liberty to the lost, stopping the mouths of lions, raising the dead and generally destroying all the works of the devil, and our enemies - the last one to be destroyed being death itself near the end of the thousand year reign (Rev. 20:6, Rev. 21:4, 1Cor. 15:26).
The Great Supper, our food, will be the fulfillment of the will of the Father and finishing His work (John 4:34). Believe me, there will be plenty of work to do because the rebellious nature of man will still be here even though Satan is not.
If you believe the Scriptures are infallible then these conclusions are irrefutable!
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