The last days of history – Part 13
The Rapture Cont.
(1) Just prior to the rapture, as Christ is descending from heaven for His church, the resurrection of the “dead in Christ” will occur (1 Thes 4:16). This is not the same resurrection described in Rev 20:4, for the latter is an event occurring after Christ returns to earth, destroys the wicked and binds Satan (Rev 19:11-20:3). The resurrection in Rev 20:4 relates to the martyred dead of the tribulation and possibly to OT saints (see Rev 20:6).
(2) At the same time as the dead in Christ rise, living believers will be transfigured. Their bodies will be clothed with immortality (1 Cor 15:51,53). This will happen in a very short time, “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor 15:52).
(3) Both the resurrected believers and the transfigured believers will be caught up together to meet Christ in the air, i.e., in the atmosphere between earth and heaven.
(4) They will be visibly united with Christ (1 Thes 4:16-17), taken to His Father’s House in heaven (see John 14:2-3) and united with loved ones who have died in Christ (1 Thes 4:13-18).
(5) They will be removed from all distress (2 Cor 5:2,4; Phil 3:21), from all persecution and oppression (see Rev 3:10), from the entire realm of sin and from death (1 Cor 15:51-56); Christ thereby delivers them from “the wrath to come” (see 1 Thes 1:10; 5:9), i.e., from the great tribulation.
(6) The hope that our Saviour will soon return to take us out of the world to “ever be with the Lord” (1 Thes 4:17) is the blessed hope of the redeemed (Tit 2:13) and a major source of comfort for suffering believers (1 Thes 4:17-18; 5:10).
(7) Paul uses “we” in 1 Thes 4:17 because he knows the Lord’s return could have happened in his own lifetime, and he communicates this same anticipation to the Thessalonians. The Bible insists on a continual waiting with eagerness for the return of our Lord. Believers today must be ever watchful and hopeful for Christ’s return to take them to Himself (cf. Rom 13:11; 1 Cor 7:29; 10:11; 15:51-52; Phil 4:5).
(8) According to this view of the rapture, professing Christians who do not have a saving relationship with Christ will be left behind (see Mat 25:1; Luke 12:45), will be left with a false system of religion (see Rev 17:1), and be subject to God’s wrath.
(9) Following the rapture is the day of the Lord, a time that brings distress and wrath to the ungodly (1 Thes 5:2-10). That will be followed by the second stage of Christ’s coming when He comes to destroy the ungodly and to reign on earth (see Mat 24:42,44).
The Events Of The Rapture 1 Cor 15:51, 52; 1 Thes 4:16, 17
• Christ will return visibly, with a loud command
• There will be an unmistakable cry from an angel
• There will be a trumpet fanfare such as has never been heard
• Believers in Christ who are dead will rise from their graves
• Believers who are alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet Christ
While Christians have often disagreed about what events will lead up to the return of Christ, there has been less disagreement about what will happen once Christ does return.
The Timing Of The Rapture: Different Views
RAPTURE God’s taking the church out of the world instantaneously. The Latin term rapio, which means to “snatch away” or “carry off,” is the source of the English word.
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