Monday, July 6, 2009

The Rapture/Resurrection

The verses concerning the rapture and resurrection are the next thing that we will study

1 Cor. 15:20-25.
Paul says that every man will be resurrected in his own order. First Christ, then those that are Christ’s at His Coming. Here Paul puts the resurrection at the Second Coming. We are told in 1 Thess. 4:15 that the rapture does not precede the resurrection. So this would put the rapture at the Second Coming after the resurrection. Next we are told in Corinthians that “the end” will come. Up to this point, when we see the phrase “the end” it has meant that entire 70th week period. If that is what is meant here then pre-trib rapturists would finally have a verse in their favor. But we have seen a lot of scriptures that do not point to that being the case, so now we must see if this verse can be reconciled to the others without having to twist the verse totally out of order and context. We cannot build a theory around this one verse alone in the face of all the others that don’t say this, but if there is no way to reconcile it, then we have to reconsider what we have understood up to this point. Let’s look further.

By simple grammatical rules, “the end” in this verse is referring to that time when Christ will have delivered up the kingdom to God, when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. That He will put all enemies under His feet. From what we have already studied and will study in Revelation, we know that antichrist rules and reigns until the very end of the 70th week. It is then that Christ finally delivers the kingdom to God and starts to fully reign as the one and only King. So now we see there is no discrepancy. This is referring to the very, very end, when all is concluded and the kingdom of God will begin. Therefore this verse is putting the timing of the Second Coming at the end of the 70th week.

1 Thess. 4:13-18. Paul says in verse 14 that those who died in Jesus will be brought back with Jesus when He returns. In verse 15 it says that by “the word of the Lord” in other words according to scripture, that we who are alive until the 2nd coming of Christ will not go before those who are resurrected. Notice that this says that those who are alive at the 2nd coming, will not be raptured before the resurrection. The resurrection occurs at the 2nd coming according to this scripture. Then the rapture follows. Again, this happens at the Second Coming according to "the word of the Lord".

Now in verse 16 and 17 we are given information that we have seen before. We just need to recognize and accept it. The Lord will descend from heaven, and with a shout (thundering), with the voice of the archangel (angels in attendance), with a trumpet blast, and the dead in Christ will rise first, then those who are alive and remain (until the Lord’s 2nd coming) will be caught up in the clouds (angels gather his elect from the four winds) to meet the Lord in the air. This is exactly as described in Matthew, Mark, and Luke and even the Psalms. Everyone agrees that this is the rapture in this verse. Clearly this is the same that Matthew, Mark, and Luke give of the Second Coming where the elect are gathered, so this confirms that the passages in the gospels are about the rapture.

2 Thess. 2:1. This is the third time we have seen this scripture. The first was because it spoke of the Day of the Lord. The second time was because it spoke of the 2nd coming. Now it speaks of the rapture (gathering - notice the use of the same word as in the gospels). The reason it has fallen into all three categories is because all three events are connected. As Paul says, by “the word of the Lord”, the 2nd coming is first, the gathering next. We also know that the signs of the Day of the Lord precedes both of these events and that they kick it off.

1 Cor. 15:51-52. We are told that we won’t all have to die. That some shall be changed without having to go through death. This will take the space of time that a twinkling of an eye takes. It will happen at the last trump. The last trumpet blast by God. Here is a problem. This is the last trumpet blast. There are no more trumpets after the last trumpet blast at which time those who are alive and remain will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. So the trumpet blast that occurs at the Second Coming must also be the last trumpet blast. Therefore, the trumpet blast for the rapture, and the trumpet blast for the Second Coming are the same trumpet blast. We will see when this last trumpet blast occurs in Revelation.

The other verses about the rapture are ones that we have covered when going over the Second Coming. They are the verses in Matthew 24:30-31, 40-41, Mark13:26-27 , and Luke 17:34-36, 21:27-28 which speak of the Son of Man appearing on the clouds and with a trumpet blast, the angels gathering His elect from the four winds, and the one taken, one left. After seeing the parallels in these scriptures, how it can be denied that they are all talking about the same event is a mystery to me. It is clear that they are all speaking of the same event as the same things happen each time.

We already have a timeline from the 2nd Coming scriptures. Here again is the Reader’s Digest condensed (as it were) version of the order of events are as follows:

Beginning of sorrows
70th week begins
Temple is built
Restrainer is removed
Abomination of desolation
Great tribulation
False prophets with signs and wonders
Tribulation cut short of the 3 ½ weeks
Day of the Lord begins as-
Son of Man returns and resurrects/raptures the elect

These following last couple of things are still to be more fully covered, but just to give you a preview, we will see that they occur after the Lord returns.

Punishment poured out on the nations
Marriage feast of the Lamb
Son of Man comes down with saints to earth (from New Jerusalem) at Armageddon

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