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Prophecy - The Rapture
Responding to questions on: The rapture, the Great Tribulation, the 2nd Coming of Christ as King of Kings, the millennial reign of Christ, the last great battle, the Great White Throne Judgment, the New Heavens and new earth.
Hi My Friend,
Thank you for searching out the scriptures... You will find many different views on when or if there is a rapture. It usually is a very controversial subject that has lead to many divisions in the past, so I seldom teach on it in one session. It really demands a series of lessons to thoroughly cover all aspects of this important event. When divisions, misunderstandings and disagreements arise, it is better to drop the subject and trust the Lord to do all He has planned to do.
The bottom line is that we need to keep ourselves in the faith... (keep in the place of being forgiven)... and walk with Jesus now. This will keep us all ready for the rapture or death whichever comes first. That is my first priority. If, I can lead people into that relationship, I can with peace of mind drop the deeper subjects.
However, let me respond to your question on the rapture. There are several important scripture passages that speak about end time events; including the rapture which is a distinct event and one among many events that will occur.
Let me start with Matthew 24:
Notice that Jesus in Matthew 24 is responding to three distinct Questions:
1. When will the temple be destroyed?
2. What are the signs of your Coming Again? (end time events)
3. What are the signs of the close of the age?
Mat 24:3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?'
Compare these two passages which indicate that the close of the age will come quickly, unexpected like a thief breaking in at night.
Mat 24:43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.
Rev 16:15 ('Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!')
Jesus says that His actual literal return to reign on the earth will be preceded by a Great Tribulation time. (Revelation 20) He will then rule on the earth for a 1,000 years and then recreate the earth and temporal heavens.
Mat 24:21 For then there will be great tribulation,......
Mat 24:29 'Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Mat 24:36 But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.'
Notice: that Jesus said no one will know the exact day or hour of His Second coming.
When you read through Matt. 24 keep in mind that Jesus is responding to these three questions which is distinctly different than what Paul is teaching on in the 1 Thessalonians passages below.
The Resurrection of Saints/Believers (into their Resurrected Bodies )and Rapture combined
This is often called the Translation of Believers when the Lord Jesus steps down from the heavens to call forth the Dead in Christ and those that are alive... They are either (1) raised or (2) changed into their glorified bodies and simultaneously rise to meet the Lord in the clouds and forever be with Him.
See this reference : The Greek English Interlinear Bible (Scroll down this webpage until you see Interlinear Bible (PDF Format). Choose NT and click on the Greek Interlinear and then go to the 1 Th 4 references)
Greek English Interlinear Text
Notice verse 17 in this GE Interlinear Bible and the Greek use of the word 'descend' which means to 'step down' from heaven and then return back into heaven with the Translated Believers.. - His Bride.
1 Th 4:14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
1 Th 4:15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
1 Th 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
1 Th 4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up
( in the Greek language this means to 'catch up or snatch away' that is where the term Rapture comes from)
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
This occurred with Jesus personally in Acts 1:9 when he was 'taken up' and the clouds hid Him from their sight.
Notice: this coming of Jesus is a coming in the air only to meet believers in the air... not to set up His earthly reign.
Notice the contrast between this event ( 1 Th 4:16) Jesus coming with a shout of command (rapture etc.)
and this other event in 2 Th 1:7, 8 ' when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels
2 Th 1:8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.'
See the following for this obvious contrast:
(Rev 19:19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.
Rev 19:20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.
Rev 19:21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
The two events are completely different in time, purpose and consequence.
Additional: Notice this other event which further defines the rapture as being unique and separate from the general assembling of saints in heaven.
2 Th 2:1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together (Grk means 'being assembled together' - which are the events of Rev. 19. Namely, the great multitude and the Marriage Supper (verse 9) of the Lamb. This is the assembled multitude of Believers in heaven as seen in Rev. 19: 1 etc... they then return with Christ to judge the earth .. army of saints Rev. 19 verse 14) to him, we ask you, brothers,
Notice as well the Lawless One will be destroyed by the breath of His mouth and glory of His appearing in 2 Th 2:8 so again making the two events as distinctly different.)
The Rapture or Catching Away of Believers prevents them from experiencing God's wrath.
1 Th 5:1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.
1 Th 5:2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
Notice Paul's reference to the the words that Jesus used above 'like a thief'
Jesus used this to describe His second coming to rule on the earth not the rapture.
1 Th 5:3 While people are saying, 'There is peace and security,' then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
So He is saying here that there will be a 'catching away' of those ready to meet him and then sudden destruction will come (which is all the wrath poured out during the great tribulation)
1 Th 5:4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.
1 Th 5:5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
1 Th 5:6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
1 Th 5:7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.
1 Th 5:8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
1 Th 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1 Th 5:10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
1 Th 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
(Note: there would be little comfort in being told that believers currently living up to and through the Great Tribulation would not be spared this judgment.)
One Additional Observation: Notice as well the contrast between....No man knows the day or hour in which the Son of Man returns (for the Church)
Revelation 6:15, 16 where people hide in caves and under the mountains because they know the time of God's wrath has come upon them. There is no secret about His coming here.. because unsaved mankind will be very much aware of His wrath and judgements previous to His Coming to the earth. They say among themselves: Hide us from the face of Him who sits on the Throne etc.
God's Judgement in Wrath is for the Wicked not the Redeemed.
We do know that God refines and continues the work of purifying every Believer, of course but Christ took upon Himself the judgement / penalty for all Believers. Christ then becomes our shelter and refuge that spares us from God's wrath in judgement.
See these scripture references that reinforce this important truth:
1 Th 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1 Th 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rev 3:10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
There are two great videos on the End Times, that I have posted on this website. They were produced by other Ministries.
Go to the Home Page and click on the Video and Testimonies Link in the upper right corner.
There are several Scriptural Precedents that serve as examples of God providing a way of escape while His Judgement / Wrath is poured out on the wicked.
Noah and his family : were spared. (Genesis 6:8 )
Lot and his family : were spared (Genesis 18: 20 : Genesis 19)
The people of Israel : were spared the same judgements that came on Egypt.
(Exodus 8:22 : flies,
Exodus 9:4 : Livestock plague,
Exodus 9:11 : Boils,
Notice in Exodus 9:20 : that some of Pharoah's servants are spared the destruction caused by hail because they believed the words of Moses concerning the hail.
Exodus 9:26 : in the Land of Goshen there was no hail,
Exodus 10:23 : Darkness over Eygpt except the land of Goshen.
Exodus 12:13 : Death of first born... The Blood spares the Israelites from this plague.
Rahab and her family : were spared (Joshua 2:18)
Un Godly people will be punished while Believers will be spared this great tribulation and eternal punishment.
2 Th 1:7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels
2 Th 1:8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
2 Th 1:9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
2 Th 1:10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
The Great Tribulation and those that come to faith in Christ during this time of Judgment.
Rev 7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree.
Rev 7:2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea,
Rev 7:3 saying, 'Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.'
Rev 7:4 And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
Rev 7:5 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
Rev 7:6 12,000 from the tribe of Asher, 12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali, 12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
Rev 7:7 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon, 12,000 from the tribe of Levi, 12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
Rev 7:8 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
Rev 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
Rev 7:10 and crying out with a loud voice, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'
Rev 7:11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
Rev 7:12 saying, 'Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.'
Rev 7:13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, 'Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?'
Rev 7:14 I said to him, 'Sir, you know.' And he said to me, 'These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Rev 7:15 'Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
This passage identifies the remnant of 144,000 (12,000 from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel) and a great multitude who will repent and turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ during the great tribulation. It may be that these people are all martyred or come to death through some of the suffering and calamities of this time.
Believers are not appointed to receive the wrath of God but will be caught (raptured) up to be spared the Great Tribulation.
However, as believers we do experience tribulations(difficulties, hard times), trials (tests of our faith) ,martyrdom (in some countries) and temptation (enticements to do evil) while on this earth but these are distinctly different from what happens during the Great Tribulation in the Book of Revelation. The exception is those that repent and put their faith in the Lord during that time and come out of that time with white garments etc.
When the rapture occurs would have to be before the great tribulation, for this is what Paul is saying in 1 & 2 Thessalonians.
There are further studies in Daniel concerning the end times that indicate the great tribulation being a 7 year period.
Dan 12:1 At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, (this is the great tribulation.. my words..)such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.
Dan 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (This is the general resurrection at the end of the Book of Revelation ....)
(Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Rev 20:14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Rev 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.)
Dan 12:3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Dan 12:4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.'
Dan 12:5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream.
Dan 12:6 And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, 'How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?'
Dan 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.
Dan 12:8 I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, 'O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?'
Dan 12:9 He said, 'Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.
Dan 12:10 Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.
Dan 12:11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.
Dan 12:12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days.
Dan 12:13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.'
If you divide 1290 days by 30 you get 43 months divided by 12 = 3.5 years if you divide 1,335 days by 30 you get 44.5 months divided by 12 = 3.78 years. The total of these two equals approx. 7 years... That is why you will hear the great tribulation being approx. 7 years in length.
Remember according to Paul in Thessalonians Believers will not be appointed to this period of wrath but will be caught up before this period.
So my conclusion is that, although we as believers do go through many times of difficulty/trials and temptations; what we currently experience is not the Great Tribulation and Time of God's Wrath. Previous to that Great Tribulation, there will be a catching away or rapture of those on the earth that are following Jesus. The dead in Christ will receive their glorified bodies (instead of spirit bodies that they have now) and we will be changed into our glorified bodies; as we ascend to meet the Lord in the air. Then will come the great tribulation on the earth. As I have made reference above in Revelation 7; multitudes will repent during the great tribulation and believe on the Lord Jesus. They will join all those already assembled in Heaven.
All Believers will return with Christ at His second coming back to the earth. They will rule and reign with Him on the earth for a 1,000 year period. There will also be people who do manage to survive the great tribulation and these will welcome the rule of Jesus Christ as King. These natural people will multiply their offspring and have extended life spans during the millennium. Much of creation will be changed as the Sons of God are manifested. Earth will flourish and be restored. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will literally cover the earth.
The devil will be loosed at the end of the 1,000 years, to test those who survived the great Tribulation and who lived on into the millennial reign. Satan will deceive these natural earth dwellers and they will rebel against Christ the King and be destroyed in the last great battle on earth. The great white throne judgment will then occur, eternal punishment passed on sinners of all ages and the devil with his angels cast into a lake of fire forever. Believers will then live forever in a newly created earth and universe with the Presence of God living among and with them.
This is what I understand the scriptures say about the rapture, the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ as King of Kings, the millennial reign of Christ, the last great battle, the Great White Throne judgment, the New Heavens and new earth.
The bottom line is this:
It is extremely important that you put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior... Now. Walk with Him in relationship now and He will take care of the rest. There are people who are dying every minute of every day and no one knows when their time to die will come. You and I may live to see the end time events but don't get distracted from the most urgent question. Will you surrender to Him now and walk in relationship with Him now? If you are uncertain about your salvation, please visit our online page Salvation and respond in prayer according to the instructions there.
Keith and LaQueta Paul have many years of ministry experience. Keith is an author. They are used in the gift of prophecy, dream interpretation and words of knowledge which are gifts of the Holy Spirit. They currently live in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. They have traveled internationally promoting the supernatural teachings and works of the Holy Spirit. They have mentored many young people in how to live a supernatural lifestyle. To learn more, and to receive their free Prophetic Words, Dream Interpretation or purchase their E Books please explore their website. They are available for ministry at your church or conference. http://www.restorationplaceministries.com
Prophecy - The Rapture : Keith A. Paul
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