Is there a Rapture? ... Is there a Resurrection?
What is called the rapture (the removal of the believers upwards, the church meets Jesus in the air) is when the living saints are transformed to be in immortal like Christ. If you do not believe in the rapture then you cannot believe in the resurrection, they are both joined together as the same event, nearly simultaneously.
The rapture and resurrection are called a mystery
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, where Paul writes:
“Behold, I show 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 (the living) shall be changed.”
This event is called a mystery, meaning it was concealed. I tell you a mystery. lego: a primary verb; properly, to "lay" forth, i.e. (figuratively) relate (in words [usually of systematic or set discourse.
There are approximately 8 mysteries mentioned in Scripture – this has to do with the transformation of both Jews and gentiles, all in Christ who are to be transformed, both the living and the dead.
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,"
Paul then speaks of change Gr. allasso; to make different: to change, to exchange one thing for another, to transform. Both the living and the dead participate in this, the dead first (preeminence- Christ died and was resurrected).
There Paul is emphasizing the fact that there would be an entire generation of Christians who will be prevented from experiencing physical death as those before them. The Cause that prevents this is Christ coming to remove them from the earth while they’re still alive, before they would experience physical death.
The change is described as in a moment. The Greek term behind this word is where the modern word "atom" originates. The emphasis is that this will be an "atom" of time. It will be near instantaneous. (Dr. Fruchtenbaum)
1 Cor 15:52 [In a moment] en (NT:1697) atomoo (NT:816). In an "atom," scil. of time; a point of time which cannot be cut or divided a (NT:1), the alpha privative ("not") and tomee (NT:5058), from temnoo (NT:5058), "to cut")]. A single instant; immediately. It will be done instantaneously. (from Barnes' Notes)
1 Cor 15:52 In a moment en (NT:1697) atomoo (NT:816). An old word, from a (NT:1) the alpha privative ("not") and [temnoo], to cut, indivisible: Scientific word for atom which was considered indivisible, but that was before the day of electrons and protons. Only here in the New Testament.
In the twinkling of an eye en (NT:1697) ripee (NT:4441) ofthalmou (NT:3741). An old word ripee (NT:4441) from riptoo (NT:4444), to throw. Only here in the New Testament. Used by the Greeks for the flapping of a wing, the buzz of a gnat, the quivering of a harp, the twinkling of a star (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Paul’s saying not every Christian will die, but everyone will be changed and it will be near instantaneously when it occurs. He emphasizes that the change will involve a change in their body. We now have a mortal body, which is subject to disease, deformity and death; but when this change takes place, they will receive an immortal body (Like Christ’s: the first fruits raised to eternal life), which will never die again, which will never be subject to disease and deformity.
V:53 "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."
[all believers] will be 'transformed' in order to "see him as He is," 1 Jn3:2. At the time of resurrection thus we will say in agreement V.55 "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" They will be no believers of Christ in the grave (until the tribulation begins and they are being slain).
1 Cor 15:51 We shall not all sleep pantes (NT:3909) ou (NT:3708) koimeetheesometha (NT:2798). Future passive indicative of koimaomai (NT:2798), to sleep. Not all of us shall die, Paul means. Some people will be alive when he comes..."But we shall all be changed pantes (NT:3909) de (NT:1151) allageesometha (NT:233). Second future passive indicative of allassoo (NT:233). Both living and dead shall be changed and so receive the resurrection body. See this same idea at more length in 1 Thess 4:13-18. (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
In 1 Cor.15 Paul argues the fact of the resurrection by the example of a seed being placed in the ground (the grave) and it comes back to life to bloom as a tree. As believers we are to have an intuitive knowledge of the resurrection as we carry the new life of Christ in us. (Christ in you the hope of glory)
This is found in the statement by Jesus, who said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25) , as he gave the example with Lazarus. Job says "this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! So this has been the hope of all who believed and served the Lord. (Job 19:26).
I Corinthians 15:50: “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. . .” So what flesh is Job speaking of? The Apostle Paul explains our transformation. The body that we now possess is not suitable for the heavenly kingdom. It is corrupted, subject to disease, and decay. It must be incorruptible and immortal for heaven, this is why there must be a change for both the living and the dead. Paul is answering the question of what kind of “body” believers will have in the resurrection (vs. 35). The ONLY example we have is the body of Jesus. In Luke 24:39 Jesus said, “I am not a spirit but I have flesh and bones (not blood). It will be a “spiritual body” (vs. 44). Meaning a spirit dominated body not one with the life in the blood. I Jn.3:2 when He is revealed to us in His glory, we will become like Him. Our bodies will become similar to His resurrected body, which was physical, immortal and without sin.
To sum it up 1 Cor.15 tells us that we will be changed , 1 Thess. 4 explains how it will happen.
Caught up together with those who are resurrected
1 Thess. 4:14-17 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 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.
The Lord in his wisdom did not make it absolutely clear when the rapture and resurrection would occur, so in some ways it is still not fully revealed. That is why one can actually see different timings: pre, mid, post etc., in the Scripture. We can study and still come to different conclusions, though some make more sense than others.
What He wanted us to be is READY. We are told we will not know the day or hour. But if we know exactly how long the tribulation is and we are in it, especially from the day (halfway) the antichrist enters the temple we would know exactly the day or hour. This also brings into question the length of the tribulation period and its various views.
Regardless of my position, or anyone else’s, I tell people to be ready, for that is the point of what the Lord is saying. Not to fall asleep and not be ready. The way one gets ready is to be prepared ahead of time.
We are told not to sleep but to stay awake (alert and watch; anticipating) for Jesus' return. Mark 13:36 warns us of when He comes suddenly, we are not to be found sleeping. Mark 13:33-37 "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is." It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. "Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming-- in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning--"lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping." And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!"
We are to be walking in the light filled with the Spirit to stay alert and remain faithful by doing the work of the Lord, the means is by our abiding in Jesus.
My conclusion on this is that this whole matter can be a distraction for the task we face at hand. Having us oppose each other is what the enemy of souls wants. I refuse to get into arguments on this, those who argue the hardest for any position often are immature despite their knowledge. We who are in Christ, keeping the faith are all going to participate in it no matter when it occurs. So be ready.
The word Rapture is Latin for raptus (the past participle of rapio), harpazo is Greek which means a taking away by force. It literally means "to take away" "to seize." As one put it, It’s like a thief grabbing a purse.”
There are two groups. Those who have died in Christ, (asleep), and then those that are living when he comes to bring this transformation. He said, "We which are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord. These shall not precede "them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall 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.” 1 Thess.4
It is to bring comfort, not confusion as we see more often today.
The alive are caught up together immediately after those who have previously died (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and taken to heaven (not earth) by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The rapture is Scriptural doctrine, there are those who reject the idea of any rapture. The debate can be when it occurs but not that it does not occur. Our being gathered up into Him.’ The Greek word for ‘gathering together’ is episunagoge. The prefix, epi- means “above”, and SUNAGOGE means “housed, or gathered”. Together it is a reference to our BEING GATHERED UP to Him TOGETHER. The assembly in the sky. We are summoned FROM ABOVE by the Lord Himself who brings us to himself to join the resurrected saints from all the ages. What a day that will be.
2 Thess 2:1 kai heemoon episunagoogees ep' auton - Paul is referring to the rapture, mentioned in 1 Thess 4:15-17, and the being forever with the Lord thereafter” (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
The word Episunagoges is used here and in Hebrews 10:25 of the assembly of believers. The Bible does not teach that certain people will be glorified without the whole church together?
The rapture removes the true church (universal believers on earth), and leaves a visible church on the earth, composed of unbelievers. Those who profess and go to church but did not confess Christ. This is a church that has departed from the faith that will exist throughout the Great Tribulation period while the real bride of Christ will be enjoying heaven. This is the church that will join itself to the other religions, as the woman the rides the Beast.
Some believe the "saints" include Old Testament believers, "all who have believed" are part of the Church Age believers,” but this does not distinguish the covenants, nor the New Testament terms used. Clearly a resurrection is taught for Israel. Isa. 26:19 “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Dan .12:2 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
The Old Testament saints must wait for their resurrection time which is separate from those in the New Covenant. How do we know this? Scripture says Jesus brings those who have died “in him (Christ),” Those who believed on Him. Those who are justified by faith in Christ (Gal 2:16) 1 Thess. 4:16 the “dead in Christ;” He will bring souls that have previously died in Christ (centuries or minutes before) with Him from Heaven down into the earth’s atmosphere. 1 Thess 4:17In the air eis (NT:1500) aera (NT:108). Render "into" the air, and construe with "shall be caught up." Aeer (NT:108) "the atmosphere with the clouds," as distinguished from [aitheer], "the pure ether," which does not occur in the New Testament. (Vincent's Word Studies of the New Test 1 Thess 4:17
[In the air], [eis (NT:1500) aera (NT:108)]-`into the air:' caught up into the region just above the earth, where shall be the meeting (cf. Matt 25:1,6) between them ascending and their Lord descending. Not that the air is to be their lasting abode with Him. When a king enters his city the loyal go forth to meet him, (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
Those who die have a seniority, they get their immortal bodies first. Then we have those who are alive meet them, gathered with Christ in the air. The conclusion “so shall we ever be with the Lord.’
Jesus spoke previously in Jn.14: “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, so that where I am there you may be also. “
Jesus gave a promise to His believers that He was going to leave them (when he ascended) and return to the Father in Heaven. But a day would come when He would leave heaven and come to take the believers who are alive (all at once) to the Father’s house.
If there is no rapture than only some go to the Fathers house one must die to be brought to the Fathers house, something he is not saying (those who died are already there). Remember Jesus was asked to show us the Father, this is part of his answer.
The Lord comes into earth’s atmosphere to bring the Saints up to meet Him. The Living Saints are 'caught up' without dying, transformed and are then ready to brought to the Father's House with the Lord (in their bodies).
The Second Coming of Christ is when Jesus returns with all the saints and sets up his kingdom on earth. It is preceded by the Tribulation period, where the "Abomination of Desolation" is revealed at the three and a half year point of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. This false Messiah is revealed to the world when he goes into the temple (Mt.24:15) and rules as Christ until the true Christ comes again. This is halfway in the Tribulation before Christ visibly descends to planet Earth to begin his kingdom with the saints serving under Him.
In Matthew 24, the Second Coming of Christ follows the Tribulation. Mt.25. At the Second Coming of Christ, the unbelievers (not the believers in the rapture) are the ones removed from the earth in judgment and the believers are the ones left behind alive on the earth, they go into the Millennial Kingdom. This same order is taught in Matthew 13, 29 and 30.
Those who believe in a future coming of Christ and Rapture are accused of being escapists who do nothing but sit around and wait for the Lord. This isn’t true at all – much of the church’s work in the world is being done by futurists! ... It is Christians who never think about the coming of Christ and don't live their lives in fear of Him, who are not trying to do his will, not anticipating His return at any time that are in danger of being the lazy servant. I Jn 3:2-3 but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Those who look forward to His return have this living hope.
On the other hand, it is dangerous to teach that we are going to escape everything so there is nothing to be concerned about. What we should not be telling people is not to be concerned, you will not be here, which actually contributes to falling asleep. This produces a false confidence, especially to the warnings of the apostasy taking place in the last days. The majority of the church worldwide is already having tribulation, persecution and apostasy. But, this is not The Tribulation, which will be far worse.
2 Thess. 2:1-8 "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him," "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand." "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;" "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time." "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, ..."...whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"
The dispute in this passage is the day of Christ or the day of the lord, which is another word for the Tribulation. Vulgate, reads ‘of the Lord.’
In other teachings he used the day of the Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Cor. 5:5 ‘day of the Lord Jesus”; 2 Cor. 1:14 “day of the Lord Jesus”; Phil 1:6 “until the day of Jesus Christ”;Phil. 1:10 “till the day of Christ”; 1 Cor. 1:8 “that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”; Phil. 2:16 that I may rejoice in the day of Christ.” II Thess. 2:2 he says “as though the day of Christ had come.”
Paul used the term "the day of the Lord" in his first epistle (1 Thess. 5:2, a term from the Old Testament for the Tribulation), so it appears there is a distinction.
2 Thess 2:2 Christ and His apostles always taught that the Lord's coming is at hand; it is not likely that Paul would imply anything contrary: what he denies is, that it is so immediately imminent, or present, as to justify the neglect of every day duties.(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
The coming of the Lord and our gathering, are the same subject, one event. “Coming” is the word parousia, also used in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and 4:15 where it is used of the Lord’s coming for the church. 2 Thess. 2:1 Parousia lays emphasis on the presence of the Lord with his people (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Paul states two things: "the coming of the Lord" which is either the rapture/resurrection; the Second Coming or the Tribulation. But no matter which view one chooses, the falling away “apostasy” must come first, then the antichrist is revealed.
For that Day will not come: Paul describes events which must precede it. There are signs that are to be present: If the apostasy begins BEFORE Christ comes back for His church, or, BEFORE the tribulation (complete 7 years or the great being measured from the middle), then this apostasy must now taking place (and it is), then we must understand that we are closer to His coming for us than ever before.
We must understand: The Apostasy does not begin with The Great Tribulation, but comes BEFORE it. The rapture/ resurrection is imminent in the period of the apostasy, when the defection comes to its fullest. And part of this apostasy would be to deny there is a rapture.
Both Jude 14 and Zechariah 14-4-5 has Christ returning to the Mount of Olives (where he ascended from) He brings "all the saints" in heaven with Him (not partial, all. Which means prior to the Second Coming they were in heaven. That means the Rapture is a prior and separate event from the second coming that ends the tribulation.
The movement for the living believers at the rapture is from earth to the atmosphere (the first heaven) to heaven (the third heaven, the Fathers house). The movement of the second coming is from heaven to earth as the kingdom spoken of comes with Christ return and his ruling.
When he returns he will destroy the "man of sin” the Antichrist and his lawless system and set up His kingdom. When Christ comes, it ends the Tribulation.