Scripture points to three raptures:
Rapture Number 1.) Matthew 27:52,53 – ” And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” This rapture (catching up) already happened as recorded.
Rapture Number 2.) 1 Corinthians 15:51,52 – “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 shall be changed.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 – “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 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.”
This is future and has not yet happened. How do we know this is future and has not happened yet? In 1 Corinthians Paul says “we” which includes himself and who he is writing to, the church, those “in Christ”. In 1 Thessalonians Paul is speaking to saints, those “in Christ” and while Jesus walked on this planet, people were not “in Christ”.
Rapture Number 3.) Revelation 4:1 – “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was at it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Hereafter is defined as things coming in the future.
How to make sense of all this? When Jesus was crucified and arose, there was a rapture of Old Testament saints. The church, the bride of Christ is going to be raptured very soon and we have the prophecies of the Old Testament and signs of the times from the New Testament that show us we are getting close. Then there will be a rapture of Tribulation saints, those who were saved during the great Tribulation.
Not only 1 Corinthians 15:51,52 discuss the rapture of the church but so does 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. We read the following from Thessalonians:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, (so he is talking to saved -brethren) concerning them which are asleep (dead), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep (are dead) in Jesus (they’re saved) will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep (will not go before those that are already dead). 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 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Notice the Lord meets his saints in the air, in the clouds not here on earth. Notice those that go up to meet Jesus in the air are believers only not the entire world. The Lord himself is going to give a shout and that shout is going to call all those who are “in Christ” they are believers who are dead from the time of the apostles until the rapture and the graves will open, the people will be resurrected in a new body and then we which are alive and remain on this earth will be caught up into the air and our body will be changed and we all meet the Lord in the air. This group of people caught up from the time of the apostles until the rapture are the Church, the Bride of Christ. The Church will be in heaven with Jesus Christ having the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and then stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ.
Those people left on earth will go through The Great Tribulation and those who get saved during the Tribulation will go to heaven but they are not the Bride of Christ. Just like the Old Testament saints like Daniel, King David, Joshua, Moses they all went to heaven but they were not the Bride of Christ. The Bride of Christ is a study we will do soon.
Some people say when Jesus takes the church out of the way that is the only rapture or catching up. Have you considered a rapture or catching up of the Old Testament saints like Moses, Isaiah, Daniel and so forth? These are the first fruits. Proof of this is:
“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the temple was rent in twain (in two) from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves…” Matthew 27:50-53
This is confirmed in I Corinthians 15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”
The Tribulation is not for the perfecting of the saints, the Church (those saved). The Tribulation has nothing to do with the saved that is the Church. The Tribulation is a time of “Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). There is a difference between Christ coming for his saints and Christ coming with his saints.
Paul says in I Corinthians 15:51,52 ” Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (die), 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 shall be changed.”
We know Paul is not speaking of Old Testament saints because we already read in Matthew, those saints went with Jesus. So Paul is talking about those who are “in Christ” after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The New Testament saints.
The word “rapture” is not in the Bible but the word Bible isn’t in the Bible either. Rapture means to “catch-up” so saying the church will be raptured is like saying the church will be caught up.
Who is the church? Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “And I say unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;” Jesus did not say Peter, I’m going to make you the person I build my church on but Jesus said the church belongs to Jesus. Jesus was starting a church. In context Jesus was speaking to his disciples about who they thought he was. Peter was the one who said Jesus was the Christ (Christ means Messiah). This is what Jesus was telling Peter, Jesus was going to build a church. The church is not a building or a denomination but it is defined as a group of people called out and committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.
We see in Acts 2:47, ” And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Now we learn that the “church” is made up of “saved” people not lost people. Who is the church obligated to obey? In Ephesians 5:24 says, ” Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ..” The church Jesus Christ started and builds. The church belongs to Jesus Christ and those who are saved are in the church and they follow and listen to the Lord Jesus Christ, see Colossians 1:24 speaking of Christ, “for his body’s sake which is the church. If you read the entire section of Ephesians 5:24-32 we learn:
a. The church is subject unto Jesus Christ
b. Christ loves the church
c. Christ gave his life for the church
d. Christ sanctified (set it aside) and cleansed the church
e. He is going to present the church to himself
f. The church has no spot or wrinkle but should be holy, without blemish
We learn from Jesus, through his preaching, he refers to himself as a bridegroom and the church is the bride. Scripture refers to these people as being “In Christ”.
When people discuss the rapture of the church and they use scripture from one event and put it into another event they get confused and confuse others. The Bible has statutes, judgements, laws and clearly God has his way of setting us straight.
Scripture teaches the principles of fruits, harvest and gleanings. First fruits are similar to those early pickings on your fruit trees or vegetable garden. After the first fruits comes the harvest (when the majority of the crop is harvested) and then come the gleanings ( the last ones to ripen). We will look at how this principle of God’s lays out answers about the rapture.
As we have seen, we are in the end times. From what scripture says the end time conditions will be like, we notice the conditions are here. So the next question is, What comes next? in
Many say the one world government, others say the rapture of the church, others say a collapse of the world money system and others say the the Antichrist will be revealed. Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:3, they will not always endure sound doctrine. What is doctrine? noun 1. a particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government. An example of doctrine in government is the Monroe Doctrine in the United States.
Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:3, ” For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables, ” Who is they? Paul is writing to a Christian, Timothy about mankind including Christians and the lost. In Chapter 3 Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 3 , “This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent (lack self restraint) fierce, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” This sounds like 2013 and the current conditions of the world.
Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 1: 3 there were people teaching other doctrines when he said, “charge some that they teach no other doctrine,” Paul explained to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 14:26 that everyone has a doctrine and to the Ephesian church Paul said cunning and crafty men will lead you astray with a doctrine in Ephesians 4:14 but he also makes it clear there is a new doctrine after the resurrection of Christ in Acts 17:19. Acts is when Paul got converted to Christianity and started his ministry. He sets out to preach to the Jews first and then gets upset with their hard hearts and Paul turns to preaching to the Gentiles and that is when God used Paul to win many souls.
There are doctrines of devils as shown in 1 Timothy 4:1, there are doctrines and commandments of men as mentioned in Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7 and Paul mentions them in Colossians 2:22 Paul makes it clear that Paul’s doctrine is the doctrine from the Lord in Acts 13:12.
The next events, according to Bible doctrine, is the rapture of the church. The word rapture is not in the Bible but the word Bible is not in the Bible either. Bible is called scripture and rapture is called catching up in the Bible. Our next post will discuss the rapture.
While the early 19th century had seen rapid progress in electrical science, the late 19th century would see the greatest progress in electrical engineering. Through such people as Nikola Tesla, Galileo Ferraris, Oliver Heaviside, Thomas Edison, Ottó Bláthy, Ányos Jedlik, Sir Charles Parsons, Joseph Swan, George Westinghouse, Ernst Werner von Siemens, Alexander Graham Bell and Lord Kelvin, electricity turned from a scientific curiosity into an essential tool for modern life, becoming a driving force of the Second Industrial Revolution. Read all about electricity here.
Television: Since the 1920s the television set has become commonplace in homes, businesses and institutions, particularly as a vehicle for advertising, a source of entertainment, and news. Since the 1950s, television has been the main medium for molding public opinion.
When we look at space travel, NASA going to the moon, genetic engineering, cloning, the Internet, wifi, cell phones, indoor plumbing, air-conditioning and many more modern day facts of our life we see how knowledge has increased at a phenomenal rate in a short 100 years. Imagine, from the time of the disciples and when Jesus Christ walked on earth up until 150 years ago, people pumped buckets for water, rode horse-back or mule or camel to get around. Now we take airplanes, boats, railroad cars (electric and gas or diesel) and still use horses, mule and camels.
These are all signs of coming to an end of an age.
How do so many people know we are in the end times? Let us look at how the scripture defines the end times and then ask yourself, have these things happened already?
Earthquakes: We know earthquakes will increase in the last days as Matthew 24:7 states. Compare the number of earthquakes 100 years ago to today and you notice the number of earthquakes has increased about 10 fold. Here is a map where you can see live up-to-date earthquake information from around the world. Just click the map in the upper right hand part of the site to see the map and zoom in or out or locate your region. Then hover your mouse over the dots and you’ll see when and the magnitude of the earthquake posted.
Another good reference site, if you want to research earthquakes on a global scale is here. As of August 13,2013 Columbia had a 6.5 earthquake. What we notice from these earthquake websites is the frequency of earthquakes now compared to 100 or 200 years ago – a sign of the end times as stated in scripture.
Wars and Rumours of Wars: If you want to research the number of wars going on around the world, here is a good link to start your research. Here is another report from the United Nations. These conflicts or wars were put into scripture over 2000 years ago when Jesus told his disciples these things.
Famines: A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, population unbalance, or government policies. Famines from 441 BC through 2013 are listed here. Famine has been around for years and during the last days, famine will be around still.
Pestilences: Pestilence is contagious disease that spreads out of control, killing many people.Remember polio? AIDS? Black Death? Read about disease here.
The point? These world conditions were spoken by Jesus to his disciples as things to look at to see the end is close. Read the account in Matthew 24:4-44. This portion of scripture covers many, many areas of things to notice in the end times.