Doctrine; Rapture of the Church

Rapture of the Church and the Coming of Christ

Introduction; Finding The Rapture of the Church

If you were or are anything like me, someone told you that there was a going to be an escape from the tribulation period first mentioned in the book of Daniel; the period known as the 70th Week of Daniel.  My first introduction to the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture came in the Hal Lindsey book, There’s a New World Coming.  In his follow up to the monumental best seller, The Late Great Planet Earth, Lindsey outlines why the Church will not have to endure the tribulation period in a section called The Great Snatch.  As a new believer, I had no idea of such an event and thought it was great that Jesus would come for his Church and remove us from the tribulation; the Day of LORD as described by Lindsey and others!

The Left Behind series came out shortly after I first learned this and I found myself in need of proof of my position that I was so excited about.  I went to the Bible to find it and came up with some of the following points that I will share in this article below.  It’s great to know a doctrine, but better yet if you can actually teach it to someone else!  Wanting to prove my position in as few points as I could, I sifted through a mountain of scriptures proving it and then whittled it down to a concise version that would prove the point in as few steps as possible.  That’s exactly what I am going to lay out here and we will do it with five passages of scripture.

The Rapture; Getting To the Point(s)

To start, the Bible is incredibly clear on the timing of this event as it states it is at the last trump, so let’s start there and then build on that…

51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52In 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.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52

No matter the doctrinal position you hold for the rapture, there is zero doubt when the rapture happens; the dead are resurrected and those who are not asleep i.e. alive, will be raptured at the last trump!  This is nothing new but in and of itself, this verse does not tell us exactly when this last trump is.  Instead of running around looking for this trumpet which has been misunderstood and or misconstrued by members of all doctrinal parties, we are instead going to look at the resurrection and catching up (harpazo) of the Church, and when the Bible tells us the harpazo (har-pad’-zo) happens.

Having already established that the dead in Christ shall be raised first (the first resurrection) and that all believers will not be dead (asleep) but changed in the twinkling of an eye, we can easily find when this event happens…

20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Again we have the order of the harpazo confirmed; the dead rise first and then those that are Christ’s at his coming i.e. those still alive, are caught up.  Not only that, we are told when this happens; at Christ’s coming!  The Greek word at the end of verse 23 for coming is parousia (par-oo-see’-ah), the word where the second coming (of Christ) is derived from.  Unlike harpazo, a verb, parousia is a noun; a person, place or thing.  Since parousia is a noun, it must be a thing and that thing is an event; the second coming of Christ.  Finding this information, I went on a search for the parousia…

26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.  27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  28For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Matthew 24:26-28

As you may have already guessed, the word coming in verse 27 is the same parousia mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:23 and indeed describes an event, the coming of the Son of man; it is not a verb but a noun.  The word harpazo on the other hand is a verb and we find its use in the popular rapture verse (below) used by all predominant doctrinal positions on the matter.  Understanding that one is a noun and one is a verb is very important in that the two words cannot be interchanged; the words are not synonyms!

16For 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: 17Then 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.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Again we are shown the order; the dead in Christ rise first and then those which are alive and remain shall be caught up (harpazo) i.e. the rapture.  The word harpazo is defined as to seize, snatch or obtain by robbery and is a verb i.e. an action word.  Not only that, but we see an overall order of events that happen before the rapture/harpazo.  The Lord descends with a shout, with the voice of the archangel.  We also see the trump of God followed by the resurrection and then the rapture of those who are alive and remain; we meet the Lord in the air.

So the question begs, what does it mean, we which are alive and remain? Let’s go back to Matthew 24 and Jesus own words.  Jesus told us in Matthew 24:26-28 that his parousia (coming) would be seen by all with the lightning metaphor.  It’s what he said next that seals the deal on the order of things…

29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Matthew 24:29-31

Jesus tells us that his parousia happens immediately after the tribulation of those days and that it will be seen by all eyes.  Not only that, but we see the trumpet blast (1 Cor. 15:52, 1 Thess. 4:16) happens after this, and the angels gather his elect or eklego which finds its root in the Greek ek.  Why is this important?  The Greek word for church is also rooted in that same word ek and we all know it as ekklesia!  Those who are alive and remain are those of the Church that made it through the tribulation of those days.

In the following image, you will find a bonus 6th verse so you can refer back to these points often; feel free to download and share on social media by double clicking and saving a copy.

 

The Rapture in 5 Points

 

Closing Remarks

As it turned out, my position, the one I first learned from Hal Lindsey was incorrect; it had no basis in Scripture!

To summarize the above points, we have the words of Paul corroborating the words of Jesus in Matthew 24.  These five passages of scripture show us that at the coming/parousia of Christ, all dead believers are resurrected first and then the rapture/harpazo of the Church happens second.  Of course, if the resurrection is complete before the rapture of living believers as the Bible says, there would be nobody saved during the tribulation period, not even the Jews; pre-tribulation rapture teachers teach that people are saved during the 70th Week!  There is only one resurrection of the living and it is complete after the tribulation of those days, not before it!  The second resurrection is seen in Revelation 20 and that is the second death; those not in Christ!  They are thrown into the lake of fire for eternity after being judged for their works.

And finally, we have Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:7 showing us that his parousia is seen by all and is not and invisible event that happens prior to the 70th Week of Daniel as pre-tribulationism teaches.  The Bible clearly shows that the Church will be present and have to endure the 70th Week of Daniel, before those who are alive and remain are raptured……..immediately after the tribulation of those days.

 

Interesting to note..

The pre-tribulation rapture position holds that the 70th Week of Daniel is the Day of the LORD seen in Joel 2:31. Joel 2:31 is clearly seen in Matthew 24:31.  This completely clarifies that the Day of the LORD seen in Joel 2:31 is immediately after the tribulation of those days; this is when the wrath of God is poured out, not during the 70th Week.  This is also what we see in the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17.  These three sets of verses are all the same event; the 70th Week of Daniel is not the Day of the LORD and the wrath of God will not be poured out until after believers have been resurrected, raptured and removed….

For further reading on the time line of Daniel’s 70th Week and the timing of the rapture, see our four part series on The Two Witnesses.

 

This article is a collaboration between Ekklesia 2520 authors.

4 comments On Rapture of the Church and the Coming of Christ

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    Hi Jason,
    Great article and a good argument. Can you explain for me Revelation 1:19? John is told to write 3 things: things that were, things that are, and things yet to come. Clearly the first 18 verses are the things that were (or have been seen) and chapters 2 & 3 are the things that are then the rest of the book is for the things that will be…however chapters 2 & 3 deal with the “Church” yet are failed to be mentioned in the rest of the book…where did they go?
    Not being argumentative but always up to learn and see other points of view! Much Love and keep up the great work!!!

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      Bob, if you read the following verse (after 1:19), Revelation 1:20, Jesus reveals a mystery of the seven stars and seven candlesticks. He says the seven stars are angels and the seven candlesticks are the churchh< . The number (7) it is symbolic of God’s perfection and completion and thus we know this is talking about the complete and perfect Church of Christ as seen with him at the center. The word for church here in the Greek is ekklesia while the word for candlestick is luchnia. If you never wondered why this is a mystery, you aren’t alone. Why would Jesus tell us a mystery and then reveal the answer in the next sentence? We have actually answered this very question in a four part series here on our website. Jesus was telling us to go look for the luchnia i.e. the candlestick (or lampstand in some translations) elsewhere in the book of Revelation. The very first verse of Revelation tells us Jesus signified this letter to John i.e. he filled it with signs and or symbols. Taking everything in Revelation as literal is going to be a hindrance to understanding what Jesus conveyed to John! It was so important, he stated it right off the bat!!! Look for the signs/symbols!

      The luchnia is the Church per the mystery Jesus reveals. The luchnia/candlestick appears after chapter 3 in the book of Revelation. Also note that there are other phrases that belong to the church spoken of after chapter 3; those who sing the song of the moses and the song of the lamb (Rev. 15:3), those who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17), those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus (Rev. 14:12). This is only the tip of the iceberg. Those three passages alone show the Church as seen in Romans 11; Israel the olive tree who has grafted in the Gentiles; that is the Church!

      Check out our four part series on The Two Witnesses. This will illuminate my response that much more…

      Part I
      Part II
      Part III
      Part IV
      In the series it will deal with where the Church is, it will deal with the time line of the 70th Week of Daniel and it will deal with the rapture and Second Coming of Christ.

      Thanks for the comment and thank you for reading!

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    The Coming of the Son of Man
    Mat 24:29  Immediately AFTERthe tribulation of those days 2007-2010;Psalms 108-117) shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 
    Mat 24:30  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 
    Mat 24:31  And he shall send his angels with a great (SOUND) of a TRUMPET, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    When is the TRUMPET Sounded?
    Luk 24:44  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the PSALMS, concerning me. 
    The Torah of Moshe, the Prophets (N’vi’im) and the Psalms (standing for the Wisdom books or K’tuvim), in other words, the entire Tanakh (see Luk_24:25-27). Note especially Isa. 52:13-Isa. 53:12 and Hos_6:2.

    Psa 118:5  I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.
    Psa_18:19  He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. 1918 Battle of Megiddo during WWI. Sept 19th to 25th (Battle of Haifa was on Sept 23 (Feast of Tabernacles 1).
    Joh_14:2  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.
    Joh_14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

    Psa 81:3  Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed (full Moon), on our solemn feast day.
    Pro 7:20  He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed (Full Moon).

    The one thing I learned about this 10 year study is that God does events on His days and to watch on the earth the increase of volcanic eruptions around the globe and earthquakes in Israel to tell the timing of the Second Advent of the Messiah and to understand that Elohim has time lines in the Bible such as the dates/days of the Flood, The timeline in Psalms 1 to 119 for 1901 to 2019 especially those years tying to Israel and the Antimessiah beginning in 2009 to 2016 with USA as Babylon the Great and the time line in Isaiah pointing to the same year.

    So with that in mind, then I am watching for events in the Sun, Moon and stars on Monday and Wednesday with the showing of the Hopi Blue star (Helion) and watching for a double black full moon such as the Sun and Moon going black at noon along with the Red Blood Moon on the 27th or a Black Sun and Red Moon.
    So this is going to be a busy week with earthquakes in Israel and new volcanic eruptions like Yellowstone.

    July 27 Total Blood Moon/Lunar Eclipse over Israel. Mars at closest approach to earth. First Day of the Grape Harvest. Ends at midnight on the 28 in Israel. Event will happen on Friday at 11 AM Mountain Standard time with an earthquake of 3.0 to 6.0. Possibly 2 dark full moons on July 28 full moon. July 28 Axial poleshift day Imminent (Isa 24:1=Rev 6:12-17 and Rev 8:5) and RAPTURE day maybe–400 Million will vanish including all the children under the age of knowing right from wrong. Full moon in July is when the rapture window closes for 2018/5778. (Matt 24:29-31= Lk 24:44= Psalms 118:5= Psalms 81:3= Prov 7:20 (full moon) in the Summer (Matt 24:32-34). Peak of the Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. October 10 Second Advent for Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Armageddon (Battle of Megiddo) on the Day of Atonement on October 20. Plan on the Trumpet and Bowl Judgments between August 1 to October 10.

    Prior to Chanukkah, I had 2 dreams back to back. One said Monday, 27, and 11 AM Mountain Stardard time. The place of the dream was at Pennsylvania and Lomas in Albuquerque, NM. The second one said: Monday, 6 PM (Tokyo).

    Day of Atonement
    Psa 118:10  All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them. 
    Psa 118:11  They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 
    Psa 118:12  They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
    The Ezekiel 38-39 War can be a 10 day War which begins on the Day of Trumpet and Ends on the Day of Atonement with the marriage of the Groom and Bride and Armageddon and this is in the same year as the Rapture in Psalms 118:5.

    Psa 118:15  The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the TABERNACLES of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.  FEAST of TABERNACLES/Messianic Kingdom/Millennium. Oct 25th, 2018.
    Jardalkalatgmail.blogspot.com
    John Ashcraft Albuquerque, NM on facebook. Johnny Ash, Albuqurque, NM on facebook. Leviticus 23, Feast Dates, and Nibiru on Facebook.

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    John, you might like to Google “Ready for Rapture Astrology?” which is also on the “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing” blog. Also Google “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Evangelicals Use Occult Deception,” “Pretrib Rapture: A Staged Event,” and “Pretrib Rapture: how WHAT becomes WHEN.”

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