RAPTURE – WILL IT EVER HAPPEN ?
The rapture is Christian belief that forms a major part of the current teaching and expectations of fundamentalist and other evangelical denominations. There is wide agreement that the Rapture will happen, there are different opinions about when it will happen in relation to the Tribulation Period.
Most believers in the rapture suggest that it will happen just before the expected seven-year Tribulation — a time of great suffering, instability, the devastating War of Armageddon, and the largest genocide that the world has ever seen. Once the Church is taken out, the Anti-Christ will be free to start operating at full throttle by convince and persuade the rest of the world to follow him in trickery and deception. The Anti-Christ proclaims himself to be God, kill anyone who will not accept his mark, and will then seek total world domination and control. During that time, the Antichrist is going to cause so much death and destruction on this earth.
In summary, the rapture is the return of Christ in the clouds to remove all believers from the earth before the time of God’s wrath. The second coming is the return of Christ to the earth to bring the tribulation to an end and to defeat the Antichrist and his evil world empire.
Now my friend, unfortunately, the Rapture is not a biblical doctrine. More real bad news for you, my friend, is that the rapture will NEVER happen! Never was, Never will! I am more than happy to share with you what the Bible says and encourage you to test whatever I have to say by the word of God (Isaiah 8:20; 1 John 4:1).
Meeting The Lord In The Air?
|“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.” (1 Thess 4:17)|
WORDS OF COMFORT
The words of the Apostle Paul, quoted above, were intended to be words of comfort for the faithful believers, when one of the members of their congregation “fell asleep”, in death.
This comfort is based on the hope of a resurrection and the elevation of the faithful to their promised positions as kings and priests on the earth. (See Revelation 5:10)
Paul’s words in this chapter have caused some confusion in certain areas, but they also serve to make many Bible facts very clear. For example, the context informs us that:
- Death is a time of great sorrow, especially if there is no hope of a resurrection in Christ. (This supports the bible teaching that without the resurrection, death is final and that corruption in the grave is the only expected event)
- Those who die “in Christ” are said to be sleeping. They will be awakened from their sleep at the resurrection in the last day. (See 1 Cor. 15:16-18, John 11:23-24)
- The resurrection occurs at the return of Christ, when he descends from heaven
- The dead in Christ will be raised first, and then the living believers will be gathered.
- The purpose for the gathering of both the living and the dead believers is for judgment before Christ. (See 1 Peter 4:17, 2 Tim 4:1, 2 Cor. 5:10)
- Those who are found faithful at this judgment will be rewarded with immortality and given positions of authority in God’s Kingdom on the earth. (See Dan 7:27, Luke 19:17-19, Rev 5:10)
- When they are elevated to their position of power, they are said to be “in the air”, that is, they are in high places of authority in the political heavens.
It is essential that we understand the symbolic language that is used in these matters. We address this further on the back cover article.
See also the inside articles for the symbolic use of the elements in the heavens
|“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him,”( Rev 1:7)|
In our feature article we are told that “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” ( 1 Thess 4:17 NKJV)
This verse appears to have a connection with Revelation 1:7 which is quoted in the top box.
We suggest that by combining these verses, we should conclude that if the believers are caught up in the clouds, then Jesus will come with these same clouds, to be seen by everyone.
WHAT ARE CLOUDS
There is nothing unusual about the word cloud. We all are familiar with the natural clouds and we have learned to associate certain types of clouds with weather patterns.
Clouds are a visible mass of condensed water vapor in the air. We learn from Hebrews 12:1 that the natural clouds represent a multitude of people. (In this case, they are the saints who have died in their faith as witnesses for God.)
These same sleeping saints that are referred to as a “cloud of witnesses” will be resurrected first when Christ returns. (as stated in 1 Thess 4:16) The living saints will then be joined together with them as a part of this multitude of clouds, and together with the Lord, they will execute judgment and establish power over the nations.
There can be no question about the characteristic of these clouds. They will be storm clouds, to pour out the wrath of God on an earth that is filled with corruption and immorality. ( See 2 Thess. 1:7-10)
The idea of a cloud or multitude of people as an army is not a new concept in Scripture. For example, the prophet Ezekiel tells us of another cloud that will play a role in the fulfillment of latter day prophecy.
Ezekiel tells about a great northern army with a leader called “Gog.” Israel will be invaded in the same time period as when Christ returns with clouds to judge the earth. We read:
” And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.”
( Ezekiel 38:15-16. See this entire chapter)
A northern army coming as a cloud will be destroyed by God on the mountains of Israel, so that another great cloud of people, with Christ, may prepare the earth for the Kingdom of God.
AFTER THE STORM
After the storm clouds have established their authority in the political heavens of the Kingdom age, the work of Christ and this multitude of clouds will rain blessings of righteousness on the nations that submit to his rule. “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. ( Psa. 72:6-8, Acts 3:19-21)
|“ Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!, For the LORD has spoken:
“ I have nourished and brought up children,
And they have rebelled against Me“ (Isaiah 1:2 NKJV)
The prophet Isaiah spoke to the children of Judah using symbolic terms that were apparently familiar to the people.
The “heavens” in Isaiah’s prophecy represented the rulers of Judah, and the “earth” referred to the people. (See Isa. 1:10)
Even in the Book of Genesis, there are indications that people understood that the natural heavens, (with the sun, moon and stars, that would rule over the day and the night), were typical of the way that man himself would be ruled over by elevated leaders. Some of these rulers were good, and many were evil. They all had their “place in the sun”, until God chose to replace them in the development of His purposes for this earth. (See Daniel 4:17)
SUN, MOON & 11 STARS
Joseph was a man of God who had things revealed to him by dreams when he was young. One dream was that the sun, the moon and the 11 stars would bow down to him. ( See Gen 37:9-11)
Jacob, his father, understood the dream to mean that he as the sun, Rachel his wife as the moon, and his eleven brothers (the stars), would one day bow down to Joseph.
In this account we see that even the family structure was set up like a government, and that symbolic terms taken from the natural heavens were applied to the family in their respective positions.
THE NEW HEAVENS
With this background, it follows that when Jesus and his faithful followers rule on the earth in the coming Kingdom period, they will be the “new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (See 2nd Peter 3:13)
Peter actually spoke of 3 periods of heavens and earths. The first one was the ruling powers and the people who perished in the flood. The second system is the powers that be today, and the third (and final) system, will be the righteous rule of Christ and the saints in God’s coming Kingdom on this earth
THE RIGHTEOUS SHINE
There are many examples using this symbolic language including:
” Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.” ( Dan 12:3 NKJV)
” Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matt 13:43 NKJV)
” and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:6-7 NKJV)
” But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings…..” (Mal 4:2 NKJV).
|“caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air -” ???|
“Caught up together in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” This is a part of our hope that causes some confusion for many. The difficulty is in the use of symbolic language in the Bible, and the meanings of certain words.
The “rapture” as some style it, is a very misleading concept. The word rapture is not from the Bible. The dictionary tells us that it means being carried away in body or spirit, with great joy.
It is true that the servants of God will be taken away at the return of Christ, and that they will also be filled with great joy. (If they are found faithful at the judgment) However, the traditional view of being taken up into the air while the earth is burned up with fire, is not what the Apostle Paul was teaching in 1 Thessalonians 4.
In the AIR
This word “air” has a limited use in scripture. In Acts 22:23, we see one application. Angry individuals took off their clothes and threw dust “into the air.” (See also 1 Cor. 9:26, 1 Cor. 14:9)
This air is the atmosphere surrounding us. It is not heaven. If we accept the literal meaning for the word air (as shown in these references), we would be suspended in air, still in sight, and still subject to the flames of judgment. Fortunately, the Apostle was not referring to our being literally in the air.
Another use of the word “air” is found in Ephesians 2:2. It speaks of the “…to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,” (NKJV)
This use of the word air is symbolic. It is similar to another verse found in Ephesians 6:12:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (NKJV)
IN HEAVENLY REALMS
These rulers of the darkness are in the air, or in heavenly realms. In other words, they are the “higher powers” or the “powers that be” spoken of in Romans 13:1. These are the governments of this world and their leaders. We are instructed to be subject to these powers in the air, until they are replaced by Christ.
The New Government
Christ will establish a new government that will be righteous. His faithful servants will rule with him. They will be elevated to positions of power in the “air” (high places/governments) of the Kingdom age. (See Rev 5:10)
Now, you are witness that the world we live in is full of crime, injustice, corruption, and so many other problems. We hear all the time, mention of the rise of crime, protest, inflation, famines, drugs, diseases, etc. Do you ever wonder where and when this escalating crisis will end? Is there any real solution to the world’s problems? There is Good News for those who pay attention to God’s word; the Bible tells us quite clearly that a solution to all these problems is on its way! When, you may ask? At the return of the Lord Jesus Christ! Where? Here on this earth with Jerusalem as its capital city (Jeremiah 3:17). Who will be its ruler and leader? The Lord Jesus Christ himself (Luke 1:32,33)! The wicked and corrupt civilization of this world will be over-thrown by Jesus Christ (he is the stone of the Biblical prophecy in Daniel 2:37-45). All the nations will learn the ways of God, beating their weapons into plowshares, and will not learn wars anymore (Micah 4:1-6). The water at the Dead Sea will be healed, and the fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim to try to catch innumerable fish! (Ezekiel 47:8-10) My friend, the earth will be given a new look with Universal peace, justice, equity, and joy throughout a millennium. That is the Good News! I strongly urge you to read the details of the Anti-Christ and Armageddon on my website provided.