Ten Reasons Based Upon the Book of Revelation to Believe in the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church
(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 7 in the important Bible study series concerning the “Rapture” also called the “Catching Away” of the Church. We have not studied together in this lesson series for a long time. But I felt led to share some new thoughts on this subject. I believe in the light of everything that has been occurring in the world recently with the coronavirus pandemic this subject should gain an increased value for our focus and awareness. Personally, I believe we are rapidly approaching the end of the church age. There are too many signs that are happening in rapid succession for us not to realize Jesus is coming back to get us very soon. Today’s subject is focused upon the catching away of the Church by Jesus Christ. The Church is His Bride, His Body and His Building (Temple) and we should be looking forward to His soon appearance coming in the air to take us up to heaven.
I will warn you that this is another long Bible lesson. Therefore, you may want to read and study it in sections. There are approximately 13 section topics. There are three foundational sections to begin the lesson, followed by ten reasons from the Book of Revelation to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. Each section could be divided into a single day devotional if that is how you would like to study it. Others might just like to read the entire lesson like a book. However you choose to study, please be blessed as we learn to understand the awesome Word of God!
THE BLESSED HOPE IN TIMES OF EVIL
We will begin with a truth written by the Apostle Paul to a Pastor named Titus. Paul was an encourager. Paul had endured extreme persecution like few have ever had to endure. Yet, Paul remained optimistic and positive throughout his life. What caused this hopeful optimism?
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Christians are experiencing and observing such a rise of evil in the entire world. But in the center of every evil, like Paul we can remain optimistic to expect Jesus could come and get us at any moment. What kind of evil had Paul been going through serving Jesus that caused Him to be so cheerful and positive writing to Pastor Titus? We can read in 1 Corinthians 11 that Pau had been given 39 stripes on his back, 5 times by Roman guards. Three times Paul had been beaten with iron rods. Paul was stoned at least once and dragged outside the city being left as dead. Three times he was sailing in a ship that was shipwrecked. Paul had to tread water for a long night and day in at least one of these shipwrecks. Paul was threatened by robbers repeatedly. Paul informs us that he had been in the condition of severe hunger and thirst frequently. He also described experiencing extreme conditions of cold and being without clothes. Paul wrote about all of this while in prison chained to guards. These were not all the listed trials and troubles that Paul endured, but these words were written to help us to be encouraged to endure.
How many of us today have come close to what Paul had to go through? Isn’t it amazing how encouraging Paul was despite all the evils that had been done to him? Notice in Titus 2:13 how Paul encouraged Titus nearly 2000 years ago. Paul instructs Titus to place his confidences in an unusual concept that was called the “blessed hope”. Paul defines this as the appearance of Jesus Christ our Savior. What does this mean to you?
Please allow me to tell what it means to me. “Looking for” is the Greek word G4327 that means “to wait patiently with confidence”. “Blessed” is the Greek word G3107 that means “to be supremely blest and happy”. “Hope” is the Greek word G1680 that means “confidently expecting”. “Appearing” is the Greek word G2015 that means “to come into visible manifestation”. And “Savior” is the Greek word G4990 that means “a deliverer”. So, what is a deliverer? A “deliverer” is the person that provides something that has been promised and is now expected to arrive at any moment to fulfill the commitment. Wow, why is this important? This is what the verse means to me:
Paitiently waiting for the great God Jesus Christ, my supreme blessing with all of my confidence expecting His glorious promised personal appearance to rescue me at any moment!
That is exactly what I believe God is saying to us in this verse. But can we confirm what was the promise given to us by the LORD Jesus that will be delivered, honored and fulfilled soon? I believe we can. Here is one essential promise made by the LORD Jesus that will be fulfilled to the church very soon to answer our blessed hope:
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 you may be also.
Jesus, our bridegroom tells us that he must go up to His father’s house to prepare a place for us. Before He goes, He promises us (His bride) that He will return for us. And then when He returns, He will “receive” us up to be where He is. Jesus does three things and tells us that we are the focus of what He will do three times.
|1. I go (ascension into heaven)|
|2. And prepare a place (at my Father’s house)||For you|
|3. I will come again (at the trumpet sound)||For you|
|4. And receive (rapture, take)||You|
|5. So that where I am (in heaven)||There you will be also|
Where is Jesus right now? According to New Testament Jesus went up to heaven (Acts 1:9). Now notice the word translated as “receive”. This is the Greek word G3880 and it is a compound word containing G2983 that literally means “to take” as in “to get hold of”. This verb implies a divinely forced departure and that sounds a lot like the rapture to me. Now remember what the angels told the church leaders while they were watching Jesus go up:
Act 1:11 … Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
No matter what you are experiencing today in the world, after reading this entire Bible lesson you should have this same confident joyful expectation of His soon appearance to take us up to be where He is away from all of this evil in our world today. Let us all divert our eyes off of the temporary troubles, trials and tests of this world to focus them on the eternal things and Jesus Christ. Let us move to the next reason to believe Jesus is coming soon.
SHOULD THE RAPTURE
TAKE CHRISTIANS BY TOTAL SURPRISE?
1Th 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
We have been experiencing a crisis in 2020 that literally has engulfed the entire planet very suddenly and unexpectedly. People on earth have been dramatically affected in one way or the other. The number of reported deaths from this plague seem to still be growing all around us. I believe we are witnessing a significant warning sign of things that are prophesied to happen during the tribulation. Major unexpected disastrous events and lawlessness will continue to arise with greater intensity and frequency. There will be plagues, famines, earthquakes, volcanos, droughts, floods, tsunamis, hail, tornados, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, meteors, etc. These will be occurring more frequently leading up to and during the tribulation. Here in 1 Thessalonians, Paul is writing to Christians in the church (you and I) and he says this time of tribulation will not come upon Christians like a thief as it will the rest of the world. This is because Christians should be aware of the Bible prophecies that inform us of the general timing of this end.
Christians should be wiser than the unbelieving world and be able to observe the indicators that are occurring around us (Mat 16:13). Christians must desire God’s illumination, receive His light, understand His light, love His light, and walk in His light in order to recognize these world events and to not be deceived by Satan’s attempt at darkening our minds.
I do not believe the church will leave this world as a beaten and defeated bride. But I believe that we must be ready and expectant of Jesus’ return at any moment. I pray we can agree and look forward to His soon return. This Bible study will stand by itself if you would like to read it alone. But, if you have not read this series from the beginning, you may want to go back and start with “Part 1”. Let us get into our lesson on the catching away of the church and why we can believe and have confidence that this will happen before the Revelation description of the tribulation event begins.
AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF LOT!
Today’s lesson will focus on ten key reasons from the Book of Revelation that the Rapture is a precursor (indicator, pointer, forerunner) event to the Tribulation and not an event that occurs during or even after the tribulation. I believe that we the people in Christ can come to the firm belief that a “catching away” of the church must occur before the seven years of God’s judgment and world tribulation can commence.
I know there are other good people that believe differently. I have heard several Bible teachers that claim the church is going through the tribulation either partially (mid-trib) or fully (post-trib). But those beliefs just do not balance with what the LORD has shown a lot of other Bible scholars. Even if you do not believe every reason that is given in this lesson, please at least keep an open mind and go and study what is stated here to see if this is what the Bible actually says.
Please allow me to provide a simple overview of basic end time eschatology as I understand it from my studies. Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom (Mat 9:15, Mar 2:19) that has gone up into heaven to His Father’s house (John 14:2) to prepare a place (John 14:3) for His bride (the church, 2 Cor 11:2, Eph 5:32). Suddenly without warning He is going to come back for us (1 Cor 15:52), and the church is required to make herself ready (Rev 19:7) for His unexpected appearing (Mat 25:10). Shortly after the catching away of the church the antichrist is revealed to the world (2 Th 2:3) and tribulation is initiated (Mar 13:19). This time of tribulation will continue a total of 2520 days, which is equivalent to 84 months (Rev 11:2 + Rev 13:5), which is equivalent to 7 years. While this judgment of the people on the earth is taking place (Rev 6:17), the wedding supper of the LAMB happens in heaven simultaneously (Rev 19:9). Then Jesus riding on a white horse returns to the earth with the church saints riding behind Him to rid the earth of all evil (Rev 19:14). Satan, the beast and the false prophets with all those that have taken his mark are cast into hell for 1000 years (Rev 19:20, Rev 20:2) while Jesus and His Saints rule a new kingdom of peace upon the earth. Satan is then released from hell to deceive anyone that he can (Rev 20:7-8). Satan with his new followers are finally defeated. The Great White Throne Judgment of all unbelievers takes place (Rev 20:11) with a permanent end to the surface earth dwelling of all evil being thrown into hell (Rev 20:15). This completes God’s recorded judgement of evil. And then the earth and the heavens will be burned with fire (2 Pet 3:7) and a new heaven and new earth is established (Rev 21:1). That was a lot of general overview information of end time events lacking many details.
But some believe that even though Jesus knows about the judgement that is coming upon the earth during the tribulation, He is going to permit His future bride (aka His body) to stay here on the earth to be raped, beaten, or even killed by a brutal evil world ruler. They claim that “This will be used to test the bride before He can come save her”. What loving husband who is knowledgeable and who could save His bride from His own judgments upon the unjust world would sit idly and allow this to happen to her? Would any loving and caring husband who judges evil righteously do nothing to save His already justified and forgiven clean future wife? What kind of sadistic husband would this make our God and Jesus our covenant husband?
These are incredibly good questions to consider. Is God Love? Yes (1 John 4:16). Does Jesus Love His Bride? Yes! (Eph 5:25). If a sane natural husband would not permit this to happen to his future wife before the wedding, why would an infinitely greater supernatural God who is all knowing and all powerful not be far more gracious and kind?
Do you remember what Abraham asked God when he was negotiating for the life of his nephew Lot? Abraham asked God “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Wow, do we NOT know that this statement still applies today to the subject of the church bride and the tribulation? Abraham asked God in Genesis 18:24 and 25 these questions:
Gen 18:24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
What wisdom Abraham displays before our LORD. Abraham is pleading his legal case before the supreme court of heaven and says to our JUDGE “To slay the righteous with the wicked, that be far from thee to do, shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”. Wow again! Yet we have Christian ministers even on TV that claim God will not do right and will commit or at least permit this kind of evil on His bride during the tribulation. What kind of God are we serving today? Is there a perverted justice system in heaven now? Has the Judge now changed to be a different kind of God than Abraham’s God? If our God has changed, then Malachi 3:6 is a lie. Malachi 3:6 says very clearly “I am the LORD and I change not”. Also, according to Jesus, we need to learn God’s commentary on this story of Lot. He says something that is truly relevant to our discussion of the rapture:
Luk 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
Luk 17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Luk 17:30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
According to the words of Jesus our LORD and Savior, He claims “as it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be when He will be again revealed to the earth”. Jesus very clearly states the righteous were first taken out of the city before ANY judgments of God would begin. This is a noticeably historical clear pattern of the righteous being removed the judgement of evil people. This means this must be what occurs in any similar future situation before the judgment and demise of the unrighteous in the tribulation. I believe that is an excellent foundational reason to believe in a “Pre-Tribulation” rapture and we have not even started to read and study in Revelation.
Let us go and explore some more good reasons found in the book of Revelation to believe in this Pre-Judgment catching away by force (G726=Harpazo) of God’s righteous saints.
CHURCH NOT MENTIONED BY NAME AFTER CHAPTER 3
The church is explicitly mentioned by name 19 times in the Book of Revelation. Eighteen times the Greek word G1577 transliterated as “ekklesia” occurs in 18 verses of chapters 1, 2 and 3. This word literally means “a called-out people”. But suddenly this called out woman named the church is not referred to by name again until chapter 22 five verses before the end of the entire book. Therefore, the church is mentioned directly before the tribulation and directly after the tribulation at the end by name but never during the tribulation. Ask yourself this basic question. What happened to the church after Chapter 3 until chapter 22? Why is the Holy Spirit suddenly no longer speaking directly about the “ekklesia” after chapter 3 by name? Is this a hidden clue and indication for what happened to the church? I believe this is exactly what is happening by God’s design.
I believe this is very important and we must remember there are 18 direct named references to the church on the earth (called “ekklesia”) in the first 3 chapters of Revelation and then not again until the end of the book after tribulation is completed. Could this be a sign and a hidden clue for what will happen to us? I believe it is.
Also remember that there are 7 specifically named churches by physical location given to us in chapters 2 and 3. All the other references are general “church” or “churches” references. I believe that the direct mention of this name is a revelation that confirms the church is physically present on the earth before the tribulation commences but not after.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus was speaking to physical born-again people in these 7 letters to the churches. But beginning in chapter 4 a dramatic change takes place and none of these names or locations are referred to again. Not the 1) “ekklesia” in general or, 2) not the specific local church in Ephesus (Rev 2:1), 3) not the specific church in Smyrna (Rev 2:8), 4) not the specific church in Pergamum (Rev 2:12), 5) not the specific church in Thyatira (Rev 2:18), 6) not the specific church in Sardis (Rev 3:1), 7) not the specific church in Philadelphia (Rev 3:7) and finally 8) not the specific church in Laodicea (Rev 3:14). What must have occurred in the future prophecy starting in Revelation 4:1, for there to be no further direct physical mention of the church on the earth in the book of Revelation?
Ok, we are going to explore something new that also applies to our study. If we search the Bible, we will not find the literal name “church” in the Old Testament either. Why is the church name not found anywhere in the Old Testament? However, maybe you have read O.T. verses and can see that many of these do apply to the modern church. In fact, we should know that we can find many O.T. quotations in the New Testament that the Holy Spirit used to explain church principles, concepts and doctrines. But the church is never directly named in the O.T. This seems to indicate that the church was hidden and concealed in the O.T. and I believe this too is a pattern for why the church is not mentioned directly by name during the tribulation.
The only logical explanation that I have found for there to be no direct mention of the “ekklesia” after Revelation 3, is that the church has been taken up and off the earth into heaven by a divine forced sudden departure. This lack of mention of the church appears to be an indicator for the sudden exit from within the natural realm to now be only seen within the hidden spiritual realm. The lack of any further mention in Revelation provides us the foundation to believe we are hidden and concealed from natural human view and can only be seen by those in the spiritual dimension. Let us get back to Lot and end this introduction.
A pre-tribulation rapture fits perfectly with the pattern described to happen to Lot being taken out of Sodom first by angels. We could say Lot was saved by angels using a pre-fire and brimstone taking out. In other words, if Lot had been removed out of the fire by angels during the middle of the fire and brimstone falling none of them would have survived. Nor could Lot and his family be taken out after the end of the fire and brimstone judgment because survival would not have saved them. I hope we are seeing something new in this that we have never seen before.
Therefore, these parallels from what has happened to Lot in the past teaches us that the church must be removed prior to the tribulation. If this does not occur the pattern for what has occurred in the past does not align correctly with what must occur in the rapture of the church in our future (Ecclesiastes 1:9). I believe the church will be taken up into heaven by angels to be raised into an elevated new spiritual perspective. If we read the story of Lot after the angels removed them from the city of Sodom, they were also told not to stay in the plain to be destroyed but rather “to go up” into the mountains. Within typology “going up” into a mountain is like going up in a rapture event (Gen 19:17). They were also told never to look back at the destruction. I believe this is another of the direct parallel typology for us in the church while in heaven not being able to see the judgement that will be occurring on the earth. Finally, in Genesis 19:22 the angel informs Lot that the destruction of Sodom cannot begin until they have fully departed. All of this is types and shadows of things that will happen to us.
We will end this important foundational section with one final point. The Greek word G1577 “ekklesia” is formed by combining two Greek words. The first is “ek” G1537 and this was often times translated as “out”. This word represents a prepositional term that means “origin” as in the point where motion or action proceeds. I hope that did not pass you by. We need to understand that a rapture is a “motion event”, moving us from point A on the earth to point B up in heaven. The second Greek word “kaleo” G2564 literally means “to call aloud”. It comes from another Greek root word G2753 “to incite by word”. Two synonyms for incite could be to 1) “initiate” or 2) “cause” something to happen by speaking. This is like a king giving a command and expecting it to be carried out immediately. Is this name an accident or a divine design? I believe it is the later. We have just learned that the literal name of the church “ekklesia” signifies a rapture event. That just cannot be a chance occurrence. God is teaching us that our name “church” represents someone (God) giving a royal command to take us out of this world.
God’s word is filled with intentional connected design patterns. And all this information is one of the most profound revelations that teaches the church has been physically removed from the earth and has gone up into heaven to be hidden with our Bridegroom after the end of chapter 3 of Revelation.
WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS DIRECTLY TO THE CHURCHES
ENDS IN THE LAST VERSE OF CHAPTER 3
Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
There are 7 verses in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation where John writes a command to the churches. We can read this spoken command in Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13 and 3:22. This phrase always starts with “He that has an ear, let him hear”. Who are these people that are supposed to hear? We find out the answer by continuing to read the end of the verse command. “What the Spirit says to the churches” is how these verses all ended. Therefore, we in the church are required to hear what the Spirit is saying to us here on the earth right here and now. Some people who believe they are Christians do not believe the Spirit of God ever speaks to them. According to these verses He is speaking if we choose to tune our ears to listen and hear Him. That sounds like it is a personal choice to listen. It also implies God is speaking and trying to get us to hear even if we are not listening. Why are we going over these verses and why are they important to us learning about a pretribulation rapture? Great questions, I am so glad you asked.
Think about how the book of Revelation was laid out and designed by the Holy Spirit. There is not one word given that is there by random chance. Many Bible teachers and scholars believe that the list of 7 churches selected by Jesus to write to in Revelation 2 and 3, fit the pattern description of the entire 2000-year church age. If Jesus had listed the churches in any other order or selected any different church, the pattern would not match according to these teachers and scholars. While this is not firm evidence it is a significant matter to consider. If this selected church pattern is true, it would cause us to easily believe that the church age has ended after chapter 3 and what follows is a different dispensation of time outside of God’s ordered period of Grace.
Think with me and consider this fact from Romans 5:20 where God declares “where sin abounds, Grace does much more abound”. Where in reading the book of Revelation, does it ever appear that Grace is abounding to hold back the judgment of evil? Can we see the potential conflict, if the church remains on the earth during this 7-year time? Please do not misunderstand what was just said. There are elements of divine grace being displayed many times in Revelation, but these are provided during a time of the simultaneous descriptions of divine destructive judgements like we read about in the story of Lot. Did Lot have to hide in the city while the fire fell? Did God have to put a divine umbrella over Lot before or while the fire fell? No, the LORD took him and his family completely out of the city and then judgement started.
If the church is present during the book of Revelation judgments of God, that would appear to nullify verses found in Romans 5 and 6 and 2 Corinthians 8:7 and other that claim the Church is under God’s Grace. Let us continue and read another verse that will assist us in solving the issue of God’s grace versus His judgments and where the church is during this time of judgment:
Rev 13:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
Here is another one of the main points that we need to see and understand. The phrase “He that hath an ear, let him hear” occurs a total of 8 times in the Book of Revelation. It occurs once in each of the letters to the seven churches where God includes the ending phrase “what the Spirit of God says to the churches”. But there is a similar phrase that is used by God in Revelation 13:9 where the complete phrase has been modified significantly. Let us analyze the two phrases to find the exact changes taking place by the Holy Spirit’s choice. I will give Revelation 3:22 with all the Greek words first from the KJV. Then we will see Revelation 13:9 from the KJV with all Greek words and then we will read from the NASB with all the Greek Words:
REV 3:22 He who has(G2192) an ear(G3775), let him hear(G191) what the Spirit says to the churches. (KJV)
(KJV)REV 13:9 If any man(G1536) have(G2192) an ear,(G3775) let him hear.(G191) (KJV)
REV 13:9 If(G1487) anyone(G5100) has(G2192_ an ear(G3775), let him hear(G191_ (NASB)
In Revelation 13:9 God adds at the beginning of the phrase a new word that means “whosoever”, “anyone” or “any man”. Then He completely removes the ending phrase “what the Spirit says to the churches” at the conclusion of the verse. This is a radical change to who this verse is being written and spoken to. It completely shifts the target audience that is instructed to listen and hear and converts the phrase to a conditional announcement with “If” in front of it.
In Revelation 13: 9 of the KJV God added one new Greek word G1536 and it is a composite of two other Greek words G1487 and G5100. G1487 occurs in over 300 verses and it is most often translated as “if”. If is a word that introduces conditionality to the next statement that follows. Conditionality simply means there are requirements for one or more instructions to be met. Wow, this was NOT the message given to the churches in the 7 church letters of Revelation 2 and 3 that had no conditions.
G5100 is the next compound word of G1536 and it is a word that is often translated as “any man”. The Strong’s definition says it means “any” or “some”. God appears to be asking “if any man” as in, “is there anyone that can still hear what I am trying to say on the earth? This is what I believe, is God’s plea for a human still living on the earth to seek His love, mercy, and grace to be saved.
Revelation 13:9 informs us that God is no longer speaking direct words to His saved church and has shifted His message to anyone else on earth that still desires to want to listen to Him. This clearly implies that the church is not present on the earth to hear these pleas but, it does indicate God is still available to save if any desire to hear Him.
What is God teaching us with this? It must be the fact of truth that the churches are no longer physically present on the earth to be spoken to during this 7-year time of tribulation. That is the only logical explanation of this clue that makes any common sense. The only people that could possibly hear what the Spirit was saying on the earth during Revelation 13 would be those that needed to hear and wanted to listen to potentially get saved by believing in Jesus. I believe this is the only valid interpretation for the shift of the intended audience from the exact same phrase “has an ear let him hear” being repeated 8 times in the book of Revelation. I pray that everyone will see and agree.
There is truth in every verse of the Bible but often it is overlooked because of our lack of understanding of God’s designed requirement for us to search for it (Prov 25:2). I do want to make a quick final point in this section. I believe some people will get saved during the tribulation. We can see indications of this in Revelation 7 when God speaks of 144,000 being sealed from 12 named tribes. There are also other verses that indicate this like Revelation 20:4 describing people who had their heads chopped off for having the testimony of Jesus Christ. Salvation will still be made available for anyone who has not taken the mark of the beast (Rev 19:20, Rev 20:4). Let us move to reason 3.
JUDGMENT BEGINS AT THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
Too many Christians today emphasize the Grace of God without balancing the Justice and Judgment of God. We are living at the end of God’s Church Age of Grace. However, the Bible clearly teaches that there are still consequences for Christian sin in the church today (Gal 6:7, Rom 6:23 1 Jn 5:16, Jas 1:15, Rom 6:16, etc.). A lot of people ignore these verses and that is sad. I could list many others for you, but I will focus on only a couple of scriptural examples that stand out in contrast to the extreme unbalanced Grace message. Acts chapter five reveals 2 Christians named Ananias and Sapphira that fell down dead in a long church service being preached by Peter. Extreme Grace teachers attempt to explain this away as two people that were not saved. That make this God’s judgement upon unbelievers and we should read Revelation to know this judgment will not occur until these 7 years. But if that were true and God judged sinners and liars in the world today, then everyone that ever lied or sinned would be dead and no one be available to get saved. This unfounded interpretation that these two were not saved Christians would mean God would be unjust if He did not judge everyone that committed the same sin with the same verdict of immediate death.
No, these two people had to be saved, born again people that made a huge mistake while a gift of the Holy Spirit (a Word of Knowledge) was in manifestation. I believe that Judgment fell on them as an example to other saved Christians in the church to not repeat the error. As a result, a great “fear” of God came upon everyone that witnessed this judgment or heard about it. This should include you and I also. You see a fear coming on the church would not result from a sinner’s death. If you do not believe this interpretation is correct that I just gave you, please keep reading to find out what Peter wrote about it in his letter to the churches. I will go into that after one more example.
Another judgment of a saved Christian in the church of Corinth took place in 1 Corinthians 5. Paul was not present in the flesh but still heard about a man that had taken his father’s wife so that he was committing fornication with his stepmother. Paul was writing about this to the church as a warning for us in the church to not commit the same immorality. Paul said I have turned him over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh that his soul might be saved (1 Cor 5:5). Paul was speaking about a Christian man that was being judged for his sin while alive on the earth. Paul claimed that he was going to die young before his old age as a consequence for his sin. This is how God in the church age of grace operates. If you go and read and study 2 Corinthians, you may learn that this young man changed and repented and did not die young. This is a great example of how 1 John 1:9 works in the age of grace. Sin can be confessed to Jesus and God is faithful and just to forgive us.
Yes, God does show us grace. But God still says that sin has consequences if not confessed. Ok, this information is potentially offensive to a lot of Christians. I do not want to offend anyone. But like Peter and Paul taught us we in the church must be warned. Let us review a particularly important verse that applies to what this section is about. This verse applies directly to the example we reviewed in Acts 5 because the Apostle Peter was present then and this is what he wrote about judgment falling on the unsaved world. Uh oh, I mean the church. Read this verse very carefully and see how it applied to Acts 5 and 1 Corinthians 5:
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
God is warning the church through the Apostle Peter that the time to be judged for our willful intentional sins has already commenced during this age of Grace. God is simply saying Christians should not be like the world. We should not be doing what the world is doing. According to this verse the world will not be judged during this age of grace, but the church will be judged for doing what they do. Wow, this is important. We all need to analyze what the world is doing and make sure we are not following them. Christians should be following the direction of the Holy Spirit and the Bible.
Notice what Peter wrote. He divided people into two categories. Those in the house of God and those not in it. Therefore, we know that God’s judgment begins in the house and family of God long before it is initiated to those that are not in God’s family. In fact, Peter implies that if it is hard for believers in Christ to be saved, how much harder will it be for those that do not obey at the end of age during the tribulation. Wow, again. Let us read another verse that comes to us from the next letter written by Peter.
2Pe 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
Here is another verse that compares God’s different types of dealings between the righteous opposed to the unrighteous. This verse again confirms that the righteous will not be judged and punished with the unrighteous people. Did you notice the timing of the unrighteous judgment? Peter wrote and called it the “day of judgment”. That phrase is used 9 times in the New Testament from Matthew to Jude to describe God’s time of judgment during the tribulation. Some might try to say this is the Great White Throne Judgment after the tribulation has ended, but that is a very limiting and restrictive definition of the phrase “a day”. A day can many times represent more than a 12-hour period of daylight. Figuratively a day can represent an entire period of time even up to a period of 7 days of years (one week of years).
Rev 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Notice we have a revealed angel that we will talk more about later in another reason. But he is going about the earth to preach the gospel to Christians. Whops, that was a sarcastic slip. No He was present on the earth to preach the gospel to “those that dwell on the earth”. This is a frequent term used in Revelation for people that are not saved. This angel is preaching to every nation, race, and language of unsaved people. That statement tells me the church is not here on the earth to hear this message. Let us read the next verse:
Rev 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Notice what this angel, says to the people that are left here dwelling on the earth during the tribulation. This supernatural being flying in the air about the earth uses the exact same Greek word G2920 that we read about in 2 Peter for “judgment” day. Here we have a more narrowed viewpoint on the timing for God’s judgment to be limited to an “hour”. I believe this still represents a greater expanse of time than just 60 literal minutes. I believe this is also a figurative expression connoting a longer time but a time that is significantly shorter than a day that we read about in Peter’s letter.
Notice that this angel during the tribulation claims the “judgment of the LORD has come” to the earth. That makes it sound like it is something new. But this is the same type of judgment that we were told which first started at the House of God way back when Peter wrote this in his letter nearly 2000 years ago. The only difference what is happening in the church today and what will happen in the tribulation then is the fact that the future judgment in the tribulation is only against the unrighteous (unsaved).
We just went through a lot of information that was not found in the book of Revelation to help us understand what the book of Revelation is saying. God is informing the church that we will be judged long before this end time 7-year tribulation judgment of the unsaved world begins. This is just another presentation of the evidence of God’s truth in His Word to say, “the righteous church will not be judged at the same time as the unrighteous world”. That belief would be unjust and would not align with Lot’s removal from Sodom. However, as we have seen that does not mean that we in the church will never be judged. It only means God is working on His bride now here on the earth to help clean us up so that we can be ready for his catching away.
I would highly recommend that you go and reread chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation. These 2 chapters contain the 7 letters written to the physical churches on the earth. Notice in the letters how Jesus speaks of what is good in the churches and what is not. If any changes are required to cause them to fulfill their purpose and call, Jesus is very direct in warning them to repent. For example, check out what Jesus says in this verse to a church:
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
I am amazed at some modern extreme grace teachers who claim Christians never have the need of any repentance. Jesus very clearly teaches us that if He loves us, He will rebuke and chasten us. When Jesus does this to anyone, we need to listen, hear and obey to do what He says and be very quick to repent.
JESUS PROMISED US WE CAN BE SAVED
FROM THE TEMPTATION TO COME ON ALL THE WORLD
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
We have looked at this verse before in a previous lesson, but it is so incredibly good that we will review it quickly as another confirmation from the book of Revelation for our belief in a pre-trib rapture. This verse was written to the specific church of Philadelphia in Revelation chapter 3. But it technically applies to every church as does each of the letters because of the statement “what the Spirit says to the churches (plural)”. Notice what Jesus just said to this church in Philadelphia! This is a very profound promise. Jesus says because you have kept the Word of my patience, I will also keep you from the hour of temptation that will come to try them that dwell upon the earth. Remember we learned in the last section that “them that dwell on the earth” is a phrase that refers to unsaved earth inhabitants. That information alone separates the church from the unsaved to be treated differently.
We learned in Part 5 of the series that God is not the tempter or tester of humans. I will not repeat all the verses that were provided to prove that statement. Here we understand Jesus is speaking of saving us from a coming time in the future and we can begin to read about this in Revelation 6:
Rev 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
Rev 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath (G3709) of the Lamb:
Rev 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
These verses describe a horrific time to be alive on the earth. It includes everyone physically alive by the description of every bondsman and every free man. That leaves no one out. What do these people cry? They are crying for the mountains that they are hiding in to fall on them. Why would anyone that is sane want such a thing to occur? The answer is given to us in verse 16. They say, “Hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne”. We could think that this is our Almighty God in general or God the Father in particular. But, the focus of who is sitting on the throne is narrowed to the “LAMB” by the Holy Spirit’s choice. Uh oh? Isn’t He the One the church is in covenant with? Isn’t He the Bridegroom of the church? It appears to me that “wrath” coming down from heaven, from the LAMB and occurring in the first 42 months of the tribulation proves His church bride is not present on the earth to be judged with the unrighteous.
We must see this because this is essential. The LAMB of God is pouring out His justice upon the earth and all its people. But He is our covenant making and covenant keeping faithful Husband. Does this sound right for Him to be pouring out wrath upon us with the world? What is He mad and angry with us about? I just do not understand why someone would claim the bride of the LAMB would be treated the same as the unsaved world. Let us confirm this with scripture:
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us (the church) to wrath (G3709), but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (the LAMB),
Either God is a liar (NOT), or the church cannot be on the earth when Jesus our sacrifice LAMB pours out His wrath. The exact same Greek word G3709 for wrath is used here in 1 Thessalonians as was selected by the Holy Spirit in Revelation 6:16 describing the wrath of the LAMB. So, either Jesus Christ is not the LAMB (NOT), or the church is not in the flesh on the earth during these 7 years. Which one do you believe is the truth? Notice the Greek word translated as “salvation” in 1 Thessalonians is G4991 and this word could be translated as “rescue” or “safety”. It comes from another Greek word G4990 that is used for titles of the LORD Jesus and it was translated as “Savior” and “Deliverer”. We were introduced to this word in the first section of the lesson. This word translated as “salvation” informs us that we will be removed from the place of danger and hurt like Lot was rescued and taken to safety prior to the destruction of Sodom. Ok, Let us look at another verse that describes Jesus as “Savior” and confirm that we belong to Him.
Php 3:20 For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which also we are looking for the Savior (G4990), the Lord Jesus Christ,
Are you looking for your “Deliverer”? Are you expecting your “Savior” to come and get you? Are we expecting a “Rescue” out of the coming judgment wrath of the LAMB on this earth or are we expecting to be judged with the unrighteous? Those are great questions to ask and answer while we still can. I believe He is coming sooner than we think.
I would highly recommend that you go back and read “Part 5” in the series for more details on this subject of the church being saved from the tribulation to come. This belief and interpretation will align very well with the patterns that we have found describing Lot being taken out of the city before the judgment fell on the ungodly. God will NOT judge the righteous with the unrighteous. That behavior would violate HIS character and nature and would cause Him to be unjust. Since the judgement and penalty of our sins have been taken out on Jesus Christ on the cross, we will be spared from any future tribulation judgments. To judge the church again would represent “double-jeopardy”. God’s justice system demands that He does what is right and not judge the righteous with the evil people that have not accepted Jesus as Savior. I will end this section with one more confirming verse:
Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Notice what Jesus says here. There are two different types of people being compared. One is called “believers” and other is called “unbelievers”. The believing group has “eternal life” and the unbelievers do not. Now notice the mention of our subject of “wrath”. This is the same Greek word as the previous verses. The Holy Spirit writes very clearly that it is ONLY the unbelievers that will have the wrath of God abiding on them. This is just another way of teaching us the church cannot be present when God’s wrath is being poured out. Remember this is Jesus speaking to us. Are you a believer? If you are not yet a believer, you can become one right now. Let us move to the next reason.
COME UP HITHER!
Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
This is one of the strongest reasons for believing in a pretribulation rapture. I believe this is a major factor for trusting in the LORD to rescue His church before the tribulation of God’s judgment. Recall the design of the book of Revelation that was mentioned before. The book begins in chapter 1 with the revealing of Jesus and is then followed by His praises, directions, and admonitions spoken directly to His churches in chapters 2 and 3. After this , suddenly the references to the physical church on the earth stop. The church by no further direct references can be said to disappear from the book until the end. Wow, I believe this is a great general overview for the pattern of the entire church age. Let us see if this fits with the life of Jesus on the earth.
Jesus was born and revealed to the world in a manger in Bethlehem. After this He grew up in Nazareth in wisdom and age, was baptized by John when he was 30, and then he went about teaching, preaching, and healing everyone that would come to Him. After this, He died, arose from the grave and after 40 days went up to heaven. Does this seem to be a similar pattern for the church and the book of Revelation? Yes, I believe it does. Now let us see what God says by analyzing some of the details of Revelation 4:1, to learn how it could possibly fit into the pattern of the church age. Let us read the beginning of verse 1 in chapter 4:
Rev 4:1 After this ….
Notice how Revelation chapter 4 begins by God’s design. Verse 1 opens with the phrase “After this…”. I want us to focus and ask the question about the first two words of the verse asking “After WHAT?” This phrase “after this” indicates something that had previously happened has been terminated and something new is about to be initiated. “After this” represents a progressive sequenced order of events. This is like I did in the paragraph above describing the life of Jesus on the earth. What has just happened before this statement? Remember there are no chapter and verse divisions in the original writing. The answer is Jesus was just speaking to His church and suddenly stopped. These two words imply heavily what is about to happen next occurs only after Jesus has finished with His “church”. This implies that the church age is done, finished, and completed. The age of Grace has ceased. Uh oh! These two words appear to represent an important transition. Let’s continue to the next phrase.
Rev 4:1 After this I looked,….
I just want to focus quickly on the word “I looked”. This is G1492 and it means became aware, I saw, or I observed something. It is generally used in the past tense. It implies in this verse that John had observed something new that had not previously been seen or known to him. We also get this impression by noticing the next word in the phrase:
Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold….
Now notice the word translated as “behold”. This is the Greek word G2400 that is used in 213 verses of the N.T. It is a word that denotes a measure of surprise or awe. Perhaps you noticed that I like to use the word “Wow” in my Bible lessons to express the same amount of emphasis and wonder. In many of God’s usages of this Greek word we can clearly see the immediate supernatural involvement of God or angels sent by divine direction to do something that is unexpected, new, and amazing. This word usage in Revelation 4:1 appears to imply that God is about to cause a departure from normal human affairs to do something supernaturally spectacular. I would recommend that you go read through these verses to get the concept being described. The idea being given to us by God in these combined initial phrases in Revelation 4:1 appears to say something sudden and unexpected is about to divinely occur at the end of and after the Church age. I wonder what that could be? Let us continue to read and find out:
Rev 4:1 …a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither,…
Rev 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Notice what just happened unexpectedly. God provides us a description of five-steps in a process:
1). a door in heaven will be opened,
2). a voice like a trumpet sounds
3). shouts “Come up here”
4). immediately John was in the spiritual realm
5). Having been “taken up” to stand before the throne of Jesus.
Wow, that is amazing! Why is all of this mentioned directly before beginning the description of the seven years of tribulation? Does any of these words help us in the church to understand God’s timing of events? I believe it does and that this literal past event that happened to John close to 2000 years ago, represents a prophecy of the soon coming event we call the “rapture” of the church. God does this repeatedly in the Bible. He uses one historic real and specific event to be a type, or we could call it a pattern of a greater future spiritual event that has not yet occurred. Asking good questions is essential to understanding the Bible. Therefore, let us ask some more good questions.
Why did God do this catching up of John? Was it necessary for God to give John this vision of what would be happening later at the end of the church age in heaven? Obviously, it was not necessary. For example, we can read about Peter receiving a spiritual vision of future a future event on the earth, while he was praying on a rooftop in Acts 10:9-10. There is no mention of Peter being taken up to heaven during this message from God. We need to understand the difference between these two visions within the early church leaders. Peter’s vision was given from the church’s perspective on the earth in the physical realm. But John’s vision was given to him from the perspective of the church being transformed into the spiritual realm standing in heaven with Jesus personally. Wow, that sounds important to know.
Also, I do not recall any O.T. prophet that was caught up into heaven to be shown what was going to happen to Israel in the future and then returning to the earth to write about it? Moses going up on a mountain to meet with God is the closest event like this that I know of. Can we see how John’s vision is a major change of how God had dealt with prophets many times before? I believe that is a significant clue. I will admit that Paul was caught up into the third heaven in 2 Cor 12:2-4. I believe that this was a confirming pattern of human experience for a future rapture event that could suddenly occurs to the church. In fact, these verses use the exact same Greek word G726 (harpazo) that that we have been looking at in this series. I believe 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 was given to us as a proof text to the fact that raptures have occurred in the past as well as it provides us evidence that they can and will happen again in the future. But I still believe that Paul’s experience was for a different divine purpose and experience than John’s in Revelation 4:1. I believe this because Paul was not permitted to write much about his experiences in any detail. I believe John’s experience of being taken up was for revealing God’s detailed plan for the timing of the rapture more than to just prove that a sudden going up could occur. We all have a choice to believe this or not, but I choose to believe it this way.
God’s placement of this catching up of John is at the perfect location in the book of Revelation to reveal a pretribulation rapture. I believe I have said this before but please notice that this catching away event occurs immediately after Jesus had finished dealing with the churches and before the beginning of the tribulation. I believe that there cannot be any better placement within the book of Revelation that God could more clearly represent a “pre-tribulation” catching away of the church without just openly stating it in the plain text.
Please stop looking for every truth to be plainly stated. That is NOT how God wrote the Bible. Jesus proved this by informing the Jewish people to “search their scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, but these are they that testify of me” (John 5:39). We can see from this one statement that the truth of Jesus was hidden and had to be searched out to find Him.
Rev 4:1 After this …. must be hereafter.
Ok we need to notice how the beginning and ending phrases of verse 1 match. Notice these were translated as “After this” and “must be hereafter”. The ending phrase “be hereafter” is identical to the beginning phrase “after this” in the original Greek. Both phrases come from two Greek words G3326 (meta) and G5023 (tauta). This phrase occurs several times in the Bible and it is often translated as “after this”, “after that” or “after these things”. This phrase teaches us the truth concerning a series of events limited within the fourth dimension of time that must occur in a precise determined order. We can learn that something new or different is about to happen that has followed something else that just concluded. In other words what will happen next is something fresh that occurs after what has past, and these previous things are now implied to have ended.
I am going to ask again to make sure no one missed it. What are the things that have ended that God was just talking about in chapter 2 and 3? The easy answer from what we read must be God’s dealing with the church on the earth has ended. That makes great logical sense to me. Then at the end of the verse God uses “meta tauta” again to say, “after this event”. What event did God just do to John? God took John up in a rapture into heaven to stand before the throne of Jesus. Therefore, what comes after this rapture by God’s design, begins to teach us of something brand new that has never previously occurred to this extent or in this order. These words and the combining of them with named precise events are describing the separate distinct and ordered pattern of events in succession that must occur. I believe this is the plan of God.
- Jesus deals with the Churches
- After this the Church Age Ends
- Followed by the Rapture of the Church
- Followed by the 7 years of Tribulation and Judgment of Israel and the world
Let us review some other important descriptive facts found in Revelation 4:1 to add to our consideration of why this verse represents the church rapture. If we read verse 1 carefully it appears to parallel the pattern description of the rapture found in 1 Thessalonians 4 because of God’s specific word usage and selection. Read this verse in 1 Thessalonians 4 and see if you can agree there is a divine connection between these two verse event descriptions:
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump (G4536) of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (harpazo) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
God uses the exact same Greek word translated as “trumpet” both in Revelation 4:1 and here. This Greek word is G4536 and it is only found in 11 verses in the entire N.T. It occurs 4 times after Revelation 4:1 in chapters 8 and 9 dealing with 7 angels with 7 trumpets. These are called the trumpet judgements. After these verses, this Greek word is NOT used in any other verse of Revelation. Uh oh? I thought a great number of people believed in a mid or post-tribulation rapture? Why would there be only a mention of a trumpet rapture event before the tribulation begins describing someone going up into heaven? I think that should be a potential problem for believing in anything but a pretribulation catching away of the church. We could talk a lot more about this, but we will move on to another connection to consider.
Notice the fact that in conjunction with a trumpet being mentioned a shout occurs. 1 Thessalonians does not mention the shout phrase but it does say clearly it occurs. Now notice in Revelation 4:1 the actual shout is given “COME UP HERE!” but we are told it is a shout. That appears to confirm another very profound parallel to the same descriptions. Let us move quickly now to a rapture reference found in 1 Corinthians:
1Co 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (G4536): for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Notice the profound process being described here by the Holy Spirit. God writes this is a mystery. This teaches us that the message has been and potentially still is hidden. We all understand this because there is still such a great debate occurring in the church with us wondering when the rapture will occur. Notice what Paul writes. Paul says not everyone will die a natural death. But we shall be changed. Changed is a Greek word that means made different and we know this is speaking of becoming incorruptible and immortal by reading the context. Then the Holy Spirit says in a moment or a twinkling of the eye this change will take place. The Greek word G823 (atomos) means something that is indivisible. That is a description of such fast rapid event that we cannot even fully imagine it.
Notice the word selection of the Holy Spirit to select and use the exact same word found in Revelation 4:1 for “trumpet”. This word was translated as “trump” in Thessalonians, but it is the same Greek word we just read here. God is connecting these verses by designed divine word choice. Also note that this reference to the G4536 trumpet in Revelation 4:1 is the last trumpet blast used to call up people into heaven used by God. That would appear to match what we are reading here in verse 52 of 1 Cor 15 saying the “last trump”. The Greek word G2078 translated as “last” is not used this way in the book of Revelation at all. It occurs 7 times in Revelation, twice to describe last plagues and 5 times to describe Jesus Christ as the “first and last”.
What I am trying to say is that Revelation 4:1 appears to be the “LAST” trumpet to call up anyone in the book of Revelation. The other trumpet references appear to be judgments being released on the earth. This information just appears to help confirm the timing of the rapture to occur before the tribulation begins. Can we begin to see these parallels? I do not believe this is an accident. I believe all of this is a divinely designed pattern of repetition given to us by God to teach us. Let us move on to the next reason.
CHURCH IS REWARDED IN HEAVEN
AT THE BEMA SEAT DURING THE TRIBULATION
1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward (G3408).
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
According to the New Testament there is coming a judging of the works of Christians. While works cannot ever save us, they do appear to cause us to be rewarded after this life is over. The Greek word G3708 that was translated as “reward” literally means “pay for service”. God is teaching us that we will receive a payment for what was done for His glory on this earth to fulfill His will. Many theologians view this rewarding like a prize for running our race of life well on this earth as Paul wrote of in 1 Corinthians 9:24. That could be a part of it. But these verses also speak of human works that will be burned up and consumed as if they did not matter to the reality of our eternal reward. For example, many people are doing nice religious things, but I believe they are in vain to just make them look important. A lot of Christians do not ask or want to know what the will of God is to hear His plan for their life. It is like the old joke, Jesus is Coming, look busy! Ok I will give you a list of a few of these earthly types of works that will cause a heavenly reward.
- We Endure Persecution or False Accusation While Rejoicing (Mat 5:11-12)
- When We Love Others that Hate Us (Mat 5:46)
- When We Give to Others or the LORD in Secret (Mat 6:1)
- When We Pray Privately Hidden from Public View (Mat 6:5)
- When We Fast Secretly Not Making It Known Outwardly (Mat 6:16)
There are a lot of other examples given to us in the Bible. None of these are normal human behavior that comes naturally. I believe these works are totally different than the types of works we do in the natural and must be learned and acquired by repetition. People go to work at a company and want to be acknowledged and praised by everyone. Natural humans are proud of their accomplishments, promotions and enjoy the recognition of other people. But, God’s reward system for what we will receive in heaven is far different.
When does this judgement of fire for rewards occur? There are some who believe it occurs after the tribulation. There are two main judgements described in the book of Revelation. The final judgment occurs in Revelation 20:11 and it is called the Great White Throne Judgment (GWTJ). This is the judgement that occurs for all unbelievers that have rejected God’s gift of salvation. Their names are not recorded in the book of life (Rev 20:12). This GWT Judgment is for the spiritually dead and not for the spiritually living.
We also should know that there is a judgment for believers. This is called the Bema Seat Judgment (BSJ). This judgment is for believers in Christ Jesus only. These believers are the symbolic “wheat” and “sheep” that are gathered to be saved. They are compared with the rejected tares and the goats in the parables that Jesus taught on about the division of people on the earth (Mat 13:25-31, Mat 25:32-33). The righteous are described to be on His right hand and the unrighteous were on His left hand and these are the ones that will be judged in the GWT Judgment and then cast into hell. It appears that we should all seek and learn how to be in those that are on His right hand. So, let us analyze if there is any indication from scripture when this Bema judgement occurs. Here is an especially important verse to learn:
Rev 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward (G3708) unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
God describes the church being judged, during the tribulation here in Revelation 11:18. It would be logical for Christians to conclude that the church must already be present in heaven for this described event to occur. How do we know we are there? We can use the words given and search for them in the N.T. to see if the church is ever called by these names and titles or described with these characteristics. For example, the Greek word G40 which was translated as “saints”. This word is referred to multiple times in the New Testament and it is used to describe Christians. Paul uses this word in almost every letter written to church members as a title and description of their character. I would recommend you do a search and read these verses. But I will list a few to get you started. Read Romans 16:15, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:2, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, 3:8, Philippians 1:1, Colossians 1:2 to name a few that confirm how church members are called “saints”.
Next notice the key word G3708 that is again translated as “reward”. This word alone connects us directly to what God described in 1 Corinthians 3. Here are the “rewards of payment” for our labors on the earth being given out to His servants and saints. The Greek word G1401 translated as “servants” is used in Acts 16:17 by a demon possessed woman screaming near Paul and other Christians. She cried, “these are servants of the Most High God who show us the way to salvation”. I can imagine that she was saying it in a mocking way and not in a complimentary promotional way. But nonetheless she has labeled them correctly as servants of Jesus the exact same word used to describe those being rewarded in heaven in Revelation 11.
Paul calls himself a servant in Romans 1:1 and Galatians 1:10. I believe we can see the connection between Christians being labeled as “servants” and “saints”. Finally, the last phrase that should seal the truth that God is speaking of the church rewards is G5399. This Greek word G5399 means to “fear or revere as in awe”. It describes a person with a respectful attitude for God’s omnipotence (power). G5399 is the opposite of people who take God’s name in vain swearing or cursing Him.
G5399 is used directly in Acts 10:2 to describe Cornelius the centurion that was sent and angel messenger from God to go and get Peter. Servants of Cornelius came to the house where Peter was receiving a vision of God instructing him about the people that were coming to see him and why. Peter followed them and went to Cornelius house. Peter preached Jesus to Cornelius and his family and they were the first Gentiles saved in the book of Acts. Therefore, we know God is speaking of people who honor and believe in Him and are saved. Christians are commanded to fear God in Colossians 3:22 and 1 Peter 2:17 to provide just two confirmations of how the church should be in awe of God.
Ok, I am going to go over quickly another important factor on this subject of timing. This Bema Seat Judgment appears to be referenced somewhere near or after mid-trib. The beginning of chapter 11 to verse 18 describes the event of God sending two witnesses that stand in the streets of Jerusalem prophesying the Word of God to everyone still on the earth. We will talk more about this later in reasons #6 and 7. But understand that the two witnesses preaching spans the entire first half of the tribulation. Therefore, chapter 11 represents a new overview from a different perspective during the same time found in the description of chapters 4 through 10. God simply singled out a specific event which overlaps with the entire 42-month first half tribulation period. What I am trying to say is that when the tribulation begins God sends two witnesses and they remain through all of the events reported previously in chapters 4 through 10 when they are killed, and their bodies lay in the street for 3 ½ days and then they are raised from the dead to stand up and then they slowly are caught up into heaven after God says “Come Up Here”. This calling up to heaven is remarkably like what we read about in Revelation 4:1 for John’s catching up. However, this description uses the Greek word G305 which implies a slow ascent that can be visible to any human that is looking on them as they go up. Also, notice in chapter 11 there is no mention of any trumpet. Therefore, this event is not the “harpazo” for a sudden unseen disappearing. This event just does not match with the description of the rapture as we have seen. We just cannot say with great confidence that this going up slowly of the two witnesses represents a type of the rapture of the church. We will see this more clearly as we continue to study.
Therefore, we can conclude that somewhere in the middle of the tribulation it appears Christians will be rewarded for their works done on the earth. This does imply that our works were completed and that we are present in heaven to receive them. Some will try to stretch these 2 witnesses going up to heaven to represent the church is raptured at mid-trib but there are too many issues that do align with scriptures to cause that belief to be accurate.
RAPTURE OF CHURCH TO HAPPEN SUDDENLY
This reason is an extremely basic common-sense explanation for a good belief in a pre-tribulation rapture event using the type and pattern of John’s sudden unexpected rapture in Revelation 4:1 as our representative. Did John expect to be shouted up into heaven in Revelation 4:1? If He did it does not say it. No, I believe Revelation 4:1 was a sudden unexpected departure from earth. We should know that John wrote the book of Revelation at close to the age of 92 while a prisoner of Rome on the penal colony located on the Isle of Patmos. It was while he was a prisoner that this vision of the future was given to him. While we might expect John was anticipating removal from the island, I don’t believe he was expecting it to be a direct trip to heaven without seeing physical death first.
This concept of sudden unexpected removal is based entirely upon the dominate belief from basic church doctrine called “Imminence”. That is a word that we do not use very often in modern conversations or hear preached often from many pulpits. This basic doctrine teaches us that Jesus’ coming in the air to catch away the church is not dependent upon any other Biblical event that must happen first. Imminence means Jesus’ coming is close, near and could happen at any unexpected moment. This means it could literally happen while you are reading this Bible lesson. Did the Apostle John the writer of Revelation, believe in the doctrine of Imminence? I believe if you read what he wrote you will say that he did:
Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
John begins the book of Revelation with a reminder that this prophecy will be fulfilled in a time that is very near. This Greek word G1451 that was translated as “at hand” literally means “it is near”. If it was close 2000 years ago can you imagine how close it is now? That was the beginning of the book of Revelation and at the end Jesus gives us a further confirmation:
Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
The Greek word G5035 was translated as quickly and it is defined as “shortly, without delay, suddenly and soon”. Therefore, the book of Revelation begins and ends with the warning of this prophecy coming upon the world quickly and unexpectedly. It is also important to understand the rapture of the church is NOT the 2nd coming of Christ. These are two separated events that occur 7 years apart. In the rapture Jesus does not set foot on the earth and the church is called up to meet Him in the air. This is also not a yo-yo rapture trip where we are called up to quickly come back down to rule during the millennium. No, the rapture event is the only prophesied event that is not dependent upon anything, the 2nd coming is completely dependent upon many other prophesies that must be fulfilled first.
If we do not believe in “imminence”, that could be a major problem that distorts our belief of Revelation. This non-belief in imminence would also allow Christians to live any lifestyle they want or desire without the fear of God. If everyone knew when the rapture would occur, we could all just fall on our knees and repent a few seconds, hours, or days before and then expect to be taken up to be with Christ. But if we do not know when it will occur there is no other way but for us to focus and stay ready, prayed up to be following the Holy Spirit every second because He could come when we did not expect Him.
Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Mat 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
Mat 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Mat 24:41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Mat 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
This is only one passage that confirms the Church “Doctrine of Imminence”. But it is always one of the clearest references to being ready, that I know of. This passage of scripture should not be overlooked concerning the rapture of the church. Notice Jesus said He did not even know when He would return exactly. This makes me laugh at all the preachers and teachers that try to calculate dates and times. You may recall a few years ago a man that I will not name predicted May 21, 2011 as the return of Jesus day. Wow, that day came and went, and this man looked very foolish to many that were paying attention. His belief denied the existence of the “Doctrine of Imminence”. According to this man all the days between his day of prophecy and that specific calendar date had to pass before Jesus could come. Do you understand the basic “Doctrine of Imminence” better now? Can you see how this will fit within our knowledge of the outline of the book of Revelation?
Please go and read the entire book of Revelation again from beginning to end. God gives us the description of the entire seven-year tribulation period in graphic detail using an ordered sequence of events. In Revelation 6 we begin to see Jesus opening a scroll with seven seals in heaven. Each seal in the numbered order is broken and each triggers an event occurrence that is not good for the people left on the earth. During this opening there are also four horsemen described, one white, one red, one black and one green. Each is released in the specific order to bring on other specific events of judgments on the earth. All of this is required to happen in the first half of the tribulation.
Now, remember what we read in Revelation 11? We read two witnesses had to preach for exactly 42 months and then they were called up into heaven and then the Bema Seat Judgment commences. But this knowledge defeats the belief of mid-trib and post-trib raptures because they both fail the “Imminence” test. If mid or post-trib was when the rapture occurred, we would all watch the two witnesses for 42 months, see them get killed, lay in the streets for 3 ½ days then we would know that we needed to repent and get right with God to be taken up and judged. We could literally almost set the date of departure and judgment. God gives us the precise number of days the two witnesses preach. This is 1260 days. Just get your calendar and start marking the days. But that is like the preacher saying Jesus is coming on May 21, 2011. That does not work with the solid “Doctrine of Imminence”. The conflict completely disqualifies a mid-trib or post-trib rapture.
When we read the entire book of Revelation. We need to notice in Revelation 7:1 that God gives the identical phrase “meta” + “taupa” again? This teaches us God’s standard of a specific ordered sequence of events is still taking place throughout the first half of the tribulation. Next in chapter 8 after the seventh seal was opened and 7 angels were given 7 trumpets, and this begins another set of judgements upon the earth. These also are given to us in the order that they will literally occur. There is considerable hardship and death described in the book of Revelation and it will be a time like no other in the history of mankind. Finally, we get to Revelation 16 and the 7 bowls of God’s wrath that will be poured out again in ordered sequence. The term “meta” + “taupe” (after this) occurs in Revelation 7:1, 7:9, 9:12, 15:5, 18:1, 19:1 and 20:3. All of these references describe events that occur in chronological order within the seven year time frame called the tribulation.
We could map out and link together one event after another from all this information and many have done this. Using this specific timeline of events we may not be able to place the mid-trib or post-trib rapture of the church to an exact minute or second, but we could get it close enough to know when we needed to get ready for Him to come. But before this, we just need to sit back, hide and wait for Him. I think that is a major problem with NOT believing in an unexpected imminent appearance of Christ to take us out of the world. Can you see how believing in a mid-trib or post-trib catching away becomes dependent upon so many specific events occurring within the dependent given order? If these events listed in Revelation have not occurred, we could just sit by and wait for them to happen and then get all ready. Only a pre-tribulation rapture which could occur at any given moment in time makes any sense to believe in.
Perhaps you still do not believe in a sudden unexpected departure? I would recommend that you go and read the parable story of the 10 Virgins in Matthew 25. Because this is another example of an unexpectant imminent rapture event. In this parable a man that is a type of Jesus suddenly comes to his bride and only half of them are prepared to meet Him with full burning lamps, and only they enter into the open door before it is closed. This is a perfect example of a rapture based upon the parable typology and the traditional accounts of the Jewish wedding ceremony. This coming of the bridegroom happens while the other virgins went away to get ready by buying lamp oil for the groom’s (Jesus) sudden coming at midnight. Ok, lamps are symbols of the church. Oil in the lamps are a symbol of being full of the Holy Spirit. However, when the foolish virgins return to the wedding the door is locked, and they are no longer able to enter the wedding feast. Even when they knock, Jesus says depart I never knew you. Wow, that is a perfect example and pattern of a door in heaven suddenly opening and only John going up to enter into it.
The traditional Jewish wedding is the same process. The man sees a woman that he is interested in and approaches her to make the proposal. Gifts and payments are made to her family. A marriage contract is entered into and the groom goes away to prepare a place for his wife. The woman prepares herself to be ready because at any unexpected moment he may come to take her into the wedding feast at his father’s house. This Jewish wedding feast continues for 7 days or one week. This is the reason why, in John chapter 2 Jesus was called upon to turn water into wine by Mary because they had run out of the wine that was supposed to last all week. This was a very quick overview of the traditional Jewish wedding, but it fits the marriage of Jesus and His bride perfectly. There are so many N.T. verse that confirm this and I’ll give you a homework assignment to go and find them all.
Remember what Jesus taught us in Matthew 24 about only one being taken and the other left as they both slept. Or one was taken and one left from the two that were grinding at a mill. Or one was taken and one left as they were working in a field. Again, these examples are a 50% parallel reaffirming the 5 wise virgins and 5 foolish virgins’ percentage. I am not making any predictions, but it is possible that only 50% of people who say they are Christians could be taken and the others may be left on the earth. Also notice how these people that were taken were on two sides of the planet and everyone that was qualified was taken simultaneously whether sleeping in darkness or working in the daylight. Finally, notice that there is NO way that any of this description fits anything that is happening during the 7-years of tribulation. Everyone being described by Jesus is living life doing normal everyday activities like it was during Noah’s day before the sudden destructive flood of judgment.
This is another reason why I know this coronavirus is a quickly passing pandemic. I do not see how everything we have just read that was spoken by the LORD Jesus or is found in the book of Revelation could fit anything but a pre-tribulation rapture event based upon the “Doctrine of Imminence”. The sound doctrine of imminence nullifies the pattern a MID-TRIBULATION or a POST-TRIBULATION catching away event because of the stated events that must first occur that everyone will see in plain sight. So, if anyone is a mid-trib or a post-trib believer it must be a very sad day because it is impossible for Jesus to come back today!
WHY SEND TWO WITNESSES?
Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Here is another great reason why I believe the church must be raptured up to heaven before the beginning of the seven years of tribulation. God sends two witnesses that some believe are Enoch and Elijah and others believe they are Moses and Elijah. But whoever they are they appear in the streets of Jerusalem for exactly three and half years, also known as forty-two months, or it can even be known as 1260 days. These are all the same way to describe the first half of the 7 years of tribulation. God very clearly informs us in Revelation chapter 11 that He will send two witnesses to the city of Jerusalem in order to prophecy to the world.
Now may I suggest that we all think about what is being revealed by God in this verse? What was the great commission given to the church right before Jesus ascended into heaven? Didn’t Jesus command the church to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mar 16:15)? It appears to me that the only logical reason that God would need to send His two witnesses back to the earth from heaven would be because the church is no longer on the earth to preach to anyone on the earth. Wow, I do not know how anything else could possibly be true. Did the church suddenly all get murdered? Did the church all go into silence and hiding in bunkers? What else can it be? Think about it! For 42 months these two witnesses are declaring the Word of God to the people of Jerusalem and the earth. Suddenly they are killed, and their bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 ½ days and then what happens? The world sees them be raised from the dead and then they go back up slowly into heaven. If the church is still present on the earth, then the word of God is still being preached but if not, then what happens in the book of Revelation next after the two witnesses? Does the gospel of Jesus just stop? We will find our answer in Revelation 14:
Rev 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Why would God almighty have an angel preach the Gospel if the people in the church were still on the earth? This just does not make any logical sense. The only reasonable explanation for this need to preach from two witnesses or an angel must be because the church would not be here on the earth to do what Jesus commanded us to do. That is what I believe. So, we have just learned of two different types of preachers that are found on the earth during the tribulation besides the church. There were the two witnesses that preach the first 42 months and there is the angel preaching to humans somewhere in the last 42 months. This is profoundly amazing. The church must be gone! Praise the LORD!
THE BOOK OF REVELATION IS THE JEWISH 70TH WEEK
To correctly interpret the book of Revelation there is a dependency to first understand the book of Daniel. The book of Daniel was written years before Jesus’ first physical entrance on the earth. But these words were hidden and sealed from understanding until the time of the end (Dan 12:9). However, the book of Revelation we are told was not sealed because the time was near at hand (Rev 22:10). Therefore, the book of Revelation helps us to unveil the book of Daniel and vice versa. Too many Bible students fail to go back to understand the Book of Daniel. In chapter 9 of Daniel it contains key information that informs us of important details of the tribulation period in Revelation. Daniel teaches us that this period of time during the tribulation is a length of seven years and that it is primarily focused upon God’s dealing with the natural people of the nation of Israel. Knowing this information provides us a good foundation for why the church is not explicitly mentioned by name after chapter 3. This also helps us to understand that the “rapture” of the church must have already occurred.
Let us talk very briefly about why these two books are intimately connected. One distinct connection are the references to a beast with 10 horns. We see this in Daniel chapter 7 and in Revelation chapters 13 and 17. The horns we are told represent kings but that is not important for this lesson.
There are several direct connections but one that is significant is the connection of the term “Time”, “Times” and “Half a Time” (aka dividing of time). This phrasing is an incredibly unique terminology that I have only found in the books of Daniel and Revelation. Most scholars that I have heard teach on this subject, agree that this phrase is speaking of 1 Year + 2 Years + half a Year. Adding those together we get 3 ½ years total. That matches perfectly with the references to 1260 days (Rev 11:3, 12:6) and 42 months (Rev 11:2, 13:5) and 3 ½ years (Rev 12:14) all found in Revelation. We can also read this specific phrase “time”, “times” and “dividing time” in Daniel 7:25 and in Daniel 12:7 where we find “time”, times” and “a half” and this matches Revelation 12:14.
Rev 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Now let us read one of the key verses that is required for understanding the seven-year tribulation we can also labeled as God’s last week dealing with nation of natural Israel:
Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people (natural Israel) and upon thy holy city (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
There are a lot of Bible scholars and teachers that agree this verse is speaking of seventy weeks of years and not seventy weeks of days. A Week is a representation for the number 7. Therefore, if we multiply 70 times 7, we arrive at 490 years of total time that God is referring to for the nation of Israel. However, these 490 years do not occur in consecutive order. You see in verses 25 God begins to describe that there will be 7 weeks of years before the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. Next will follow 62 weeks of years (=434) and then Messiah will appear in the city Jerusalem. In fact, someone has done this calculation and found that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on the exact day when these 469 years were fulfilled. Now let us look at the specific tribulation week that we are concerned with in Revelation. It is being described by Daniel in chapter 9 and verse 27:
Dan 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
This verse is concerning a prince called the anti-Christ. Most educated Bible scholars agree this verse is teaching events that occur within the 7 years of tribulation using the term “one week”. We are told that this man will make a covenant with the Jewish people on the earth and this is presumed to be a peace treaty of some type. But, according to this verse in the middle of this 7 years (3 ½) he appears to break the covenant and bring desolation upon the earth. I am unable to go into every detail in this very quick overview format of the book of Revelation. Therefore let’s wrap this section up.
Please just understand the connections being made and how Daniel was a book written about God’s dealing with the natural nation of Israel for a total of 490 years. I believe that this information helps us to understand why the church on the earth is not mentioned after chapter 3 by direct name. I believe since God is dealing with natural Israel primarily in this book of Revelation the church must have been taken into heaven before this week of years can begin. We know this because we have just seen that God sends two witnesses to stand up and preach in the city of Jerusalem for 3 ½ years. Now remember what happens to them at the end of these 42 months. These two witnesses are suddenly killed, and their bodies lay in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 ½ days and then they are raised back to life. This seems to correspond to what we just read in the book of Daniel about the anti-Christ breaking the peace covenant and this is when the “Great Tribulation” breaks out and angels are then revealed to be preaching the gospel. Wow, this sounds like we are now understanding more of why the church is not mentioned after chapter 3. Let us go to the final reason in this lesson for why I believe the church has been raptured from the earth while these 7 years are taking place.
THE CHURCH MUST RETURN TO THE EARTH WITH CHRIST
AT THE END OF THE TRIBULATION
HOW AND WHEN DID WE GET THERE?
This reason is another common-sense revelation. This reason for believing in a PRE-TRIBULATION rapture is based upon what was given to us in Revelation chapter 19 and then what is implied but was not explicitly stated to how it occurred. We will begin reading in verse 6 and then go through verse 14. The passages begin by describing the church in heaven at the marriage supper of the lamb in verses 6 through 10. Then this is immediately followed in verses 11 through 14 with Jesus coming back to the earth with the church riding behind Him to rule and reign with a rod of iron for 1000 years.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Rev 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Rev 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
The Rider on a White Horse
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
OK, we just cannot go through every verse and every word found in the Greek because it would take too long. Focus on verse 7 to begin. We have the marriage of the Lamb and the mention of His wife having made herself ready. This corresponds very well with Jesus’ description of the bridegroom coming suddenly to the five wise virgin that had made themselves prepared and ready for His coming. It also corresponds to Ephesians chapter 5 in discussing husbands and wives where God speaking of this as being a great mystery concerning Christ and the church. In Ephesians 5:26-27 Paul writes of Christ sanctifying and cleansing His bride with a washing of the water of the Word of God. I cannot teach that subject fully either. You can go and read about the bride of Christ in other series on this website. Notice how this woman is described in Revelation. She is clothed in fine white linen in verse 8. Then notice these people are clothed in the exact same garments that are coming back riding on white horses with Jesus in verse 14.
I believe verse 11 is also relevant to take note of. Verse 11 teaches that heaven must be opened for Jesus and the church to return. That sound like the parallel to the 5 foolish virgins knocking on the door after it was locked shut and Jesus saying, “depart I never knew you” (Mat 25:12). I would recommend you read and study the subject of weddings in the Bible. The wedding feast is also described in a parable given in Matthew 12:1-14. We don’t have time to read and study that either but know this is message spoken to Jews about a King (God the Father) inviting the Jews to come to the wedding of His Son (Jesus) and they did not come so He commanded His servants to go and invite others (Gentiles) to come into the wedding feast that had been prepared. In this parable one man comes into the wedding without the proper wedding attire and he is promptly discovered, questioned and cast out to regret not having the proper wedding clothes.
If these people being described in Revelation are wearing the proper wedding garments we can easily believe they are the church and we are coming back to the earth with Jesus after this wedding feast. Therefore, how and when did the church go up to be with Him in heaven? We had to be there in heaven for longer than a quick snack and rapid return? In other words, a POST-TRIBULATION sudden taking up and an immediate coming back down just cannot fit what many teach. In fact, a MID-TRIBULATION 3 ½ year pattern of going up and coming back does not fit the wedding feasts Bible pattern either. Let’s quickly establish verses that teach the church is coming back with Jesus to rule:
1Th 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
God clearly describes the church will be returning to the earth with Jesus in this verse. Holiness is a pattern description for a pure bride wearing white and clean garments that we were reading about in Revelation 19. Also, it is interesting to see the word “all” describing His saints. This Greek word means the whole. There is another New Testament prophecy concerning this return to the earth found in the book of Jude:
Jud 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
Jud 1:15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
I believe these verses are describing the exact Revelation 19 return to the earth of Jesus and His church, but only in greater detail. It is remarkably interesting to note that we are coming with Him to judge the ungodly sinners. This is just further confirmation that the church is not present on the earth to be judged with them.
When did the church get to heaven to return to the earth with Jesus in Revelation 19? I cannot find a catching away in the mid-tribulation theory found in Revelation. I certainly cannot agree with a post-tribulation catching up of the church to be immediately returned either. Neither of these beliefs match the typology of Noah’s flood or Lot’s taking out of Sodom. In both examples the righteous were taken out before any of the judgment of the wicked began.
The only legitimate answer that fits typology and and patterns found in ancient Jewish wedding feasts is the pre-tribulation catching away of the bride. In the ancient Jewish wedding ceremony several things occur in a specific order. I will list this so that we can see how they match the pre-tribulation rapture.
- The Groom approaches the Bride and proposes marriage
- Gifts are given to the bride’s family
- A legal contract agreement is accepted by both husband and wife
- The bridegroom promises to go to his father’s house to prepare a place for his new wife.
- He leaves her and does not see her until the father instructs him he is ready to go and get her.
- He leaves the father’s house to go and get his bride
- The bride never knows when he will return for her so she must be constantly ready and expecting him with eager anticipation.
- The bridegroom sends his servant ahead of him to announce his appearance.
- The bride rushes out to meet him and they immediately depart for the father’s house.
- A wedding feast then commences at the father’s house.
- This wedding feast normally lasts for 7 days where they eat and drink and celebrate the marriage has come.
- Now the bride and the bridegroom leave the father’s house to enter into their new house to be together forever.
This was just a fast overview of the process. But, please notice the parallels that are given to Christ and the church.
The only balanced timing for the church rapture event that matches all of the patterns given to us in scripture is found in Revelation 4:1 (pre-tribulation). God provides us a profound clue to the timing by using John being caught up into heaven before he was shown the future events transpiring in the tribulation. This was a divine pattern for the “PRE-TRIBULATION” rapture. I have become convinced that this is only event time that matches typology taught by Jesus in Matthew 24, the doctrine of Imminence, God’s dealing with Israel during the 70th week and the end of the church age of God’s divine Grace. We have just read 10 direct and indirect reasons that help us establish an incredibly good solid foundation for the belief in the PRE-TRIBULATION rapture! We could have found others. For example, we did not speak of the Jewish wedding pattern. Weddings in Jesus’ days on the earth were usually a 7-day feast celebration with food and wine. This is why, Jesus was asked to turn water into wine in John 2 by Mary. Jesus turns 6 very large containers full of water into wine because there were more days to celebrate than the day He performed the miracle. Seven days is a week, right? Why does God call this a week of years in Daniel? Is this another clue to our covenant marriage event occurring in heaven? Could it be that our Covenant Wedding feast will be celebrated for the entire week of tribulation on the earth? I believe it will.
I pray you were blessed and are willing to go read and study these verses for yourself to confirm if this is what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. If you believe there are any challenges to what was written here, then please share them in a comment. If the Holy Spirit bears witness with your spirit, this is truthful, then please leave that as a comment. God bless you and let us all know that Jesus is coming soon!
~WHAT WOULD HAPPEN, IF I DIED TODAY?~
Today, if you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal LORD and Savior or you do not have the full confidence that you KNOW what would happen if you died suddenly, it is time to get your life in order. I believe NOW is time to resolve your fear of an uncertain eternal destination after this life ends and before it is too late. Some might think I’m not a bad person and have not committed any bad crimes, but God says our righteousness is like filthy rags compared to His standard of Holiness. By default, without making a choice we are all headed to a lake of fire that burns very intensely to be separated from a loving God that already forgave us. That is a very sad reality. One wise man has said NO ONE is ready to live, until they are ready to die. Please go to “Salvation” and read and pray the prayer to receive the free gift of forgiveness & eternal life. This will be the greatest decision that you will ever make. Thank you and God bless you.
(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 6 in the series of Advanced Spiritual Bible Study Lessons concerning the reality of the Rapture of the Church. God has covered a lot of information in this series so far and most of it will not be repeated. Therefore I would recommend that you begin reading the series in Part 1 and continue forward in the series until this lesson. There is just no feasible way to repeat the last 5 lessons on this subject in one lesson so please consider reading them all carefully. In today’s Bible lesson God will take us on another journey through Old Testament scriptures that have no specific or direct mention of the Rapture event by a named reference. However that does not mean that this story is not about the rapture event using divinely inspired typology of named O.T. patterns, types, participants and events. If you are a doubter that believes God has not hidden any concealed information in the Bible for us to search for and discover then you are clearly a deceived person that has had your mind blinded by Satan from seeing the truth that is in plain sight if you desire to find it. No one can force you to see what will be taught to you today. Being a closed minded type of person to this potentially new information will probably cause the information to roll off of your mind like water off of a duck’s back. I pray that you will at least attempt to consider all of the information that is presented to you before you totally reject any of it.
THE RAPTURE IN OLD TESTAMENT TYPOLOGY
Today, we are going to go through some verses buried in the Gospel of Matthew that teach us about the coming rapture concepts. Right there you are probably going to ask “I thought that you said this was an Old Testament Typology Lesson”? “Why then are we reading in Matthew clearly a New Testament book and author?” That is actually a legitimate question but one that is easily answered. Yes the Gospels were written by New Testament church writers named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The time of this writing was obviously well after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ during the beginning of the church age. However, consider the primary subjects given within these texts. The majority of the descriptive acts and accounts within these texts occur prior to the implementation of the New Covenant which occurs at the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is essential to learn that there was no New Covenant made available until Jesus was raised from the dead. If there was no New Covenant then salvation could not be obtained because salvation is based upon believing in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Rom 4:24, Rom 10:9). Not until after Jesus was raised from the dead could anyone, be saved by God’s Grace through faith (Eph 2:8). So while the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John contain the beginning of the New Covenant at the conclusion of the books, the vast majority of the actions take place outside of the New Covenant. I hope that you understand that simple truth.
Within Old Testament Typology too many people want to see great detail, but these are never given in that format. Any Old Testament typology is a dark outlined natural shadow pattern of the brighter spiritual real image that produced the image and is never the real image itself. God designed the Bible with foreshadowed O.T. events that were projections to the coming spiritual real events found in the New Testament. So while the story in Matthew that I will present will have some real actual natural facts, there will be no details given otherwise about the actual timing of the coming future spiritual event being described. In other words this Typology in this Bible lesson will help prove the existence of the rapture but not necessarily if it is a pre-tribulation event or a post-tribulation event. I will address this issue of rapture timing further after we go through the verses to see how the shadows fit the actual described rapture event. I’ll begin the study with the first verse of the seventeenth chapter of Matthew, please read slowly and carefully:
- Mat 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
Here we have the beginning of a new story initiated by Jesus the key figure of the entire New Testament and the rapture event. I want you to see how this fits the description of the rapture as we have already studied in the series. You should recall that it is Jesus that initiates the rapture event and it is not initiated by any man here on the earth. Then notice that it says “Jesus taketh”. Wow, that is very strong rapture language within typology. Taking people up, is the central theme of action found in this verse and it is initiated by the Lord Jesus. Notice that Jesus only selects a specific number and not every disciple to take with Him up to a high mountain apart from all of the others that were left below. Doesn’t that sound like more hidden rapture shadows? When you read scriptures like these in the Bible you should always stop and ask the basic who, what, when, where and why? For example ask why is Jesus taking them up after 6 days? Why not five, four or three or even two? What does this mean? Why is Jesus only taking 3 of the 12? Why is Jesus going up to a high mountain? If you are not asking God any specific question you will never see any specific answers. I’ll start with the concept of 6 days. Does 6 days match anything given to us in the Bible anywhere? It just so happens that 6 days matches the days of creation found in Genesis 1. This is called the Law of First Mention. Whenever a subject is first revealed in the Bible God places clues within the text to help us understand the references in the other parts of the Bible. God’s creation of our world was exactly 6 days in length. If you have read my other Bible studies you should already know that these 6 days represent the entire human history of man on the planet. I based this conclusion upon scriptures given to us by God in Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8. Let’s review 2 Peter 3:8 for those that have not read it or do not remember it:
- 2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
If you do not know or understand this verse, then God calls you ignorant. Being ignorant is not bad since we are all born in this condition. But ignorance can be easily corrected by learning the truth of God. What God is doing is giving us a New Testament spiritual definition for the word “day”. To a human the term “day” means a 24 hour period of time. But a day to the Lord is now being redefined to be a 1000 year period of human history. This news causes God’s definition to take priority over man’s definition when interpreting spiritual realities found in natural O.T. typologies. I am not going to be able to reteach in this lesson why human history is a 6000 year long period on God’s time clock and how that these 6 days of creation prophetically reveal man’s entire history on the earth in major shadowy steps of progression. I just don’t have that much time. You can begin to learn about these concepts from other Bible lessons that I have posted if you are interested.
One of the most important concepts to understanding and correctly interpreting any natural O.T. typology is to search and find the New Testament definitions of the words being used by God. However, please do not take this rule and misapply it in error. You cannot say that Jesus took Peter, James and John up to a high mountain after 6000 years. No, that is not what is happening. We also cannot take the 6 days of creation and try to make them 1000 year long periods of time. Both of those would be examples of erroneous interpretations. The 6 days in Matthew 17:1 are literal 24 hour periods of time. However these are used to point us into a spiritual reality of 6000 years using God’s definition. Both are true simultaneously. It is very much like the shadow of me on the ground caused by me standing in the sunshine is not me but yet represents me and is true because I’m truly standing casting the shadow. I hope you understand how to apply this information given by God in a natural O.T. story and how it can point us to a coming N.T. real spiritual reality. Let’s return back to the Matthew typology study.
I would like you to consider two key words in the first verse in Matthew again. These Greek words were translated as “taketh” and “apart” in the KJV Bible. Let’s look at the Greek G3880 that is translated as “taketh”. This Greek word literally means to “receive near”. The implied state before this occurred is that they were apart from Jesus but have now been brought close to Jesus. I believe that is exactly a rapture synonymous description. I hope that you are seeing the same things. Now consider the word translated as “apart”. This Greek word is G2398 and it means “one’s own”. It contains the implied meaning of what is being taken close was previously separated from something else or someone else. In this case in Matthew 17:1 Jesus selected 3 to be His own and the other 9 were to be left behind not to participate in the event experience. Wow, I’m telling you that this is very important information. Do you remember what Jesus said to us?
- Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
If not everyone that calls Jesus Lord will be saved this means not everyone that calls Jesus Lord will be raptured. Jesus basically teaches us that 75% of the church could be potentially left behind in the rapture. Let’s just take this and place figures to it. If there are 1 billion professing Christians in the world, this would potentially teach us that only 250 million of them will be taken in the rapture. Of course this is not me making any predictions. Because there are other verses that need to be considered. For example in the parable of the 10 Virgins the number of virgins that enter in with the bridegroom is 50%. So using that figure we could say 500 million of the 1 billion could be taken up in the rapture. The actual number is not important, but what is important is the fact that some are taken and some are left behind separated from the others exactly as what occurs in this type. That is what will occur when the rapture happens. Let’s continue to go through the rest of the Matthew 17 typology.
- Mat 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
The key word found in this verse is the English word translated as “transfigured’. This Greek word G3339 is a word that we get “metamorphosis” from. It means a state of newness that did not exist in the old state. It is like when a caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly. That is exactly what occurred in this verse in the natural but that is also what will occur in the rapture.
- 1Co 15:52 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.
You see in this New Testament verse God is describing the rapture event and He declares that there will be a change in the human state from death (corruptible) to eternal life (incorruptible). The corruptible man will be completely transformed into a brand new incorruptible man. These are just shadow events in Matthew 17. I could talk a long time about the rest of verse 2 when Jesus appears as the sun, but that would take too long. Let’s continue to verse 3 and see what is revealed next:
- Mat 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
I want you to remember where Jesus is. Jesus has already been transfigured and suddenly on the top of the high mountain “appears” Moses and Elijah. Wow again this is strong hidden rapture typology. Notice that Jesus there alone being viewed by the 3 disciple witnesses and suddenly Moses and Elijah instantly appear with Jesus. If that is not a rapture type I do not know what it is. Moses lived 120 years and then died. If you read the book of Jude you will begin to see a clue to what is being described here in Matthew 17.
- Jud 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
Why would Satan and Michael be in a legal dispute over the possession of the body of a dead man? I mean come on, what does this mean? I personally believe that the body of Moses was taken by God as a type being used to teach what will occur when the rapture occurs. Did you know that a Jubilee year only comes every 50 years of Jewish time? What is a Jubilee year? A jubilee year is when all debts were forgiven and the lands were returned to the original owners who sold them because of their debts that they could not pay. That is a very descriptive type of the human condition. Man had a debt that he could not pay and Jesus came to pay a debt that He didn’t owe. This is the Gospel good news of salvation. Well if you take a Jubilee of 50 and multiply it by the years that Moses lived you get 6000 again. Is that a coincidence? It could be, but I do not believe it is. Also consider the fact that Moses died a natural death (Deu 34:7) and that clearly Elijah did not (2 Kings 2:1). If you recall Elijah the prophet was taken up to heaven by the Lord alive in his physical body and never saw death. So we have Moses representing the dead in Christ and Elijah representing the living in Christ on the earth being taken up on the high mountain in the clouds to appear with Christ. This my friends is very precise typology of the coming rapture event that is a parallel to what we studied in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 being described. The dead in Christ represented by Moses will go up first. Just as Moses was also mentioned first in verse 3. God does everything for a reason even the order of the words in the verse teach us something important. Then Elijah is mentioned and he never died representing the shadow picture of the saved saints in the church still alive during the time of the rapture.
I believe that you can clearly see the rapture being described in this shadow text found in Matthew. The parallels are truly amazing and cannot be a chance occurrence. God has hidden things like this in the Bible, yet many people are not seeing them. The 6 days in this typology represent the 6000 years of human history and then the church is taken up. What we need to address next is when this will occur based upon God’s Word.
RAPTURE TIMING IN THE LIGHT OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL
Please allow me to address the timing of the rapture using a short explanation for when this must occur according to the Word of God. Consider the 6 days found within the Matthew 17 typology shadow text. Let’s break these 6 days down into three separate but consecutive two day periods within the timeline of human history like God does in the Bible. Did you know that God did this? From Adam to Abraham was approximately 2000 years of human history and this time represents the initial two days of the six. God forms a covenant with one human man and his natural descendants and that initiates a new personal transition of God’s involvement with man. Then from Abraham to Jesus was also approximately another 2000 years of human history and again this was 2 additional days of the six. This Old Covenant through Abraham was God dealing with man in the natural realm and through the law.
We are now up to 4 in the series of six total days. The beginning of the 4th day of human history presents the entrance of Jesus the Messiah (God in the flesh) into the world as the Redeemer. With the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus this begins God’s new plan of salvation for all men through a New Covenant. The New Covenant begins a completely new period of human history through God’s intimate involvement with the individual man in the spirit realm. Knowing these facts literally teaches us that the duration of the church age can only endure the last 2 days of human history or approximately again a 2000 year time period. How long has the church been here on the earth now? We technically do not know for sure the exact length of time which matches the prophecy that Jesus gave to us saying “no man knows the day or the hour” (Mat 24:36). The current calendar year is 2013 AD but how long that is precisely on God’s timeline cannot be calculated exactly or precisely. There is even a debate of the year that Christ was exactly born and when Christ exactly died. What I will tell you is that even though we do not know the exact time, we are certainly at the very least at the last of the very end of the time of the two days (2000 years) of the church age. What I am attempting to say is that when the church age comes to an ends the rapture of the church must take place.
I guess one of the main questions that I will receive is when is the Great Tribulation? Is the Great Tribulation a part of the church age or a part of another age being separated from the church age? Those are excellent questions to consider. The correct Bible answer is not so obviously or easily found. But we will attempt to address these questions next using a very important Old Testament prophecy.
What I want to do in the remainder of this lesson is to introduce you to a new concept hidden in the Bible. In the book of Daniel God gives a detailed prophecy of an exact period of given time within God’s timeline. What we must do is determine if this period is within the 2 days of the New Covenant church age, the 2 days of the Old Covenant age, or the pre-Old Covenant 2 day age. This endeavor sounds like a Sherlock Holmes type of search for the clues to discover the answer and that is exactly what we will do.
This period in Daniel is described to be a time of 70 weeks of years foretelling the coming events concerning the natural nation of Israel and the entrance of Jesus into the world. Seventy weeks of years represents a period of time of exactly 490 years. You can calculate this by multiplying 7 (1 week of years) by 70 weeks and that gives you the 490 years total. Multiplying 490 years times 360 days in the Jewish calendar gives us 176,400 days of their history. Every week of these years has already been fulfilled except for one final week of years that has yet to occur. This final week of 7 years is called the great tribulation. Let’s go back to Daniel and read parts of this important prophecy to help confirm what I have just introduced you to:
- Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Perhaps I need to better explain what a week of years represents to God. A week of years is exactly 7 years just like one calendar week of days is exactly 7 days. Therefore 70 weeks of days would be calculated using the same math as 7 times 70 which equals 490 total days. This is not that complicated but yet it does involve a certain level of basic math and God loves to challenge us with things like this to discover. God uses the concepts of weeks and groups of 7 repeatedly in the Old Testament in various multiples. A Jubilee year occurred after 7 weeks of years (Lev 25:8-10). The Jewish people would count 7 times 7 years = 49 years and then they knew that the next year would be the Jubilee and this was the foreshadowed description of what occurs during the rapture event but I do not have time to explain that today. A Sabbath rest for the land occurred every 7th year (Lev 25:4). Jacob worked 1 week of years for his wife Rachael and then had to work another week of 7 years since he was tricked into taking the older daughter first (Gen 29:20-28). Joseph in Egypt interprets a dream where the end result was two weeks of 7 years each with 1 week of plenty followed by 1 week of famine (Gen 41:29:30). Both of these weeks represented 7 years. A Hebrew man or woman that was sold into slavery was to be freed after 6 years or on the 7th year and this represented 1 week of years’ service (Deu 15:12, Jer 34:14). This picture again fits the pattern of Sabbath rest that is repeated throughout the Bible starting in Genesis 1 and 2. You see I taught you that the 6 days of creation represented 6000 years of human history but there is coming another day called the 7th day that will be an additional 1000 year of rest and rule without Satan on the earth. That would make the creation event and human history on the earth the complete and full week. We could go through other examples of Bible weeks but that is enough for now to make the point of the existence of this pattern in the Bible.
Does a 7 year period of time sound like any futuristic event to come? Let’s go back and look again at Daniel’s 70 weeks of years in more depth. If God declares 70 weeks of years that is like I said a total of 490 years that were prophesied for ONLY natural Israel and for the work to fulfill the coming righteousness as described in verse 24. I want you to know this because that is critical for the correct interpretation of what God is doing here. What I will emphasize more than once in this discussion is that the church age is NOT a part of this 70 week prophecy nor can it be since righteousness has already been given to the church (Rom 3:21-22, Rom 5:17, 2 Cor 5:21, Eph 4:24). Let’ reread verse 24 of Daniel 9 to analyze the words more carefully:
- Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
I would like you to review what is being stated in this verse more clearly. Seventy weeks is the initiation of the verse statement. Seventy is a Hebrew term that means 3 score and 10. What we begin to understand is this is the initiation of a very significant and complex prophecy puzzle or riddle. The Hebrew word that is translated as “determined” is H2852 and this word means to “cut off”. That is obviously not a positive term to apply and I do not have the time to get into that part of the discussion. Next in the verse is where we begin to understand who this prophecy applies to primarily. God says this is written to His people and His holy city. In the Old Testament this is clearly the natural descendants of Abraham and the city of Jerusalem. I could give you scriptures for that if you need them and do not understand it, just ask me for them. The next part of the verse represents the work of Christ. This work of Christ was to finish the transgression of these people and to put an end to sin. This work further goes on to declare reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness. Wow those are very important statements concerning what Jesus will do. This verse is about the coming of Jesus into the world to pay the price for ALL the sins of mankind. This statement predicts the accomplished works of Jesus that occurred nearly 2000 years ago.
Do you understand the information being tied together here? We have a total period of time described to be 70 weeks of years that declares the coming righteousness and that is followed immediately by several other verses of prophecy that begin to break this complete period of 70 weeks down into subdivided weeks of years. This is just part of the complex riddle being presented. These are very easy concepts to overlook and not understand. Let’s go read the verse 25 of Daniel 8 of the prophecy and consider this new information next:
- Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
The KJV Bible translation causes the next time period to be a bit confusing using a complex wording of 7 weeks followed by the term three-score and two weeks. This sounds a little complicated at first until we learn that three score is just a period of 60 weeks which needs to be added to 2 weeks to get a sub-total of 62 which then we need to add to 7 weeks where we get 69 total weeks until this time period is accomplished when Messiah the Prince is prophesied to come! Ok, 69 weeks of years is 7 times 69 years which results in 483 years until Messiah’s entrance into the earth into Jerusalem. Several people have done the calculation on the internet so I will not repeat that in this lesson. What they have determined was back when the command to build the walls of Jerusalem was given until the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey was an exact period of 483 years. You can search this out and find it to help you confirm that math.
This new division of 69 weeks from the original 70 weeks teaches us that the 70th week occurs sometime after this stated initial prophecy of when Messiah has come. Do you understand this so far? What we have started to observe is an implied disjointed 70th week. Now consider this information in the next verse:
- Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
What God is telling us is that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) will be killed after 62 weeks. That is a different break down of the time period called the 69 weeks that was previously mentioned in the last verse. What God is revealing is that there will be a 7 week timed event followed by a 62 week timed event and then Messiah will come after the full 69 weeks are fulfilled. Do you understand this? This verse is just a new further description of what occurs during the time that occurs before the end of the 69 weeks but God breaks it down into a further division of 7 (49 years) and 62 (434) weeks. What I believe God is stating is that there will be first 7 weeks of years followed by another 62 weeks of years and then Jesus will be killed on the cross (cut off). Here is a synopsis of what I believe is being stated in these verses so far.
This is how the 70 weeks are broken down:
- The first 7 weeks – This 49 year period of time represents the initiation of the commandment to rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem was given until it was fully accomplished in or around 445 BC.
- The next 62 weeks – This period of time represents the completion of the walls of Jerusalem building until Messiah comes riding into the city walls 483 years later.
- The Last Week – The yet to be fulfilled week of years is disjointed from the others because God has halted the O.T. time clock of weeks since Israel rejected their Messiah and killed him on a cross.
Many times people do not see or seek to understand these important clues. This prophecy was hidden by God in such a way that man could not understand it until it was revealed. If you read the end of the book of Daniel in verse 12:4 God says to “Daniel to shut up the book until the time of the end”. That teaches us that this book of the Bible was concealed by God to not be easily understood until such a time as this. Let’s move to the 70th week to help us to see this time as being a separated time from the other 69 weeks more clearly:
- Dan 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Here is an interesting description of a single one week period of years. Obviously this is the 70th week being described since all of the other 69 weeks have been previously covered. This one week period of time is clearly divided into two equal portions. Dividing 7 years by two you get 3.5 years. If you take that into months you will get 7 * 12 = 84 months and dividing that by two you get two periods of 42 months each. Are you following this simple math? This description matches what is prophesied to come in great detail in the book of Revelation chapters 6 through 18. In the book of Revelation God used two different synonymous references for these periods of half 7 years. One reference is called “42 months” in Revelation 11:2 and Revelation 13:5 and then He calls this time period a “time” (year), “times” (2 years) and “half time” (6 months) in Revelation 12:14. Both of these represent the half week year time period being described here in this verse in Daniel 9:27 and also in Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 12:7.
I am convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that this seventieth week of Daniel represents the 7 years of tribulation revealed in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation references and further describes many of the events prophesied in the book of Daniel repeatedly. That would be a very extensive Bible study in itself to confirm this but I do not have that kind of time to do that today. If you need to learn more about that you can ask questions or you can do an in-depth study for yourself on this subject. My point in conclusion is that if these seven years in Revelation represent the one final week of years found in the 70 week of years directed at only the natural nation of Israel in Daniel then they cannot be included in the 2000 years of the duration of the church age. In other words they must not nor will they ever overlap each other in simultaneous concurrence. What we are discovering in this study is a restart of God’s time clock that had previously been halted when Jesus was killed at the end of the 69 previous weeks. Knowing this reality literally teaches me that the church must be raptured before the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy can occur since we in the church are not under that covenant. Do you understand this logic? I pray that you understand this because it is essential to learn. You are free to disagree but that is how I view it as God has taught me. So please do not write me a comment telling me God is wrong.
I believe I have gone long enough in this lesson on the soon to occur rapture event. The church age is coming to its rapid conclusion as declared by God’s Word to be exactly two days (2000 years) upon the earth. The internet today allows the Gospel to be preached to the whole world and this was prophesied by Jesus to occur before He returned for us (Mat 24:14). My Bible study blog has been read by people in more than 150 different nations on every inhabited continent. That would be impossible for me to visit those personally and tell them about the soon coming Jesus. However I can give them a message on the internet and that will do the same work if they will believe it. I pray that you understood why I went into the 70 weeks of prophesied years of natural Israel and how these do not overlap with the church years on the earth. We are under God’s Grace during the church age and His righteousness has been extended to anyone that will receive it freely by faith. The age of Grace will be taken away with the church in the rapture. This does not mean that people cannot be saved during the tribulation but it will be much more difficult to receive this salvation. Learning this information has caused me to believe that the church must not be found present during the 70th week called the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:21, Revelation 2:22 and Revelation 7:14. In the next lesson in this series we may explore more hidden clues concerning this pre-tribulation rapture revelation. I hope and pray that you learned something that you can take away and share with others. The time is drawing rapidly near and the rapture could literally occur at any moment. If you are not ready for this and need to repent and turn to Christ you can find a link at the top of my menu on how to believe and receive salvation. Thank you for reading and studying the Bible today and God will continue to lead you and guide you in new ways to help others come to Christ. God Bless!
If you would like to continue reading in this Bible Study Series, please go to “Part 7“.
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 5 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the timely and very important subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. If you have not read this entire series from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go and start your study with “Part 1” and then continue in succession until today’s lesson. However if you do not have the time to read every lesson I will inform you that this lesson today will be of great benefit and will be easily understood as a standalone lesson. Many Christians today are asking “Is the Rapture Really Found in the Bible?” I believe the clear signs of the times that we live within today are causing more and more people to ask this question. In this lesson series I have been going through verses that teach us about the rapture subject found both in the New Testament and in Old Testament typology. Many of these verses represent places in the Bible that Christians have not considered being about the subject of rapture. Today’s lesson will certainly be no different. God will present to you some potentially new information today in this lesson that may just open your eyes to a brand new way of searching for His Truth! I hope that you are ready to learn.
Before I get started today I wish to thank you for your time in studying the Bible. To all of my faithful subscribers I greatly appreciate your ability to perceive that what I teach is not from me. The teachings of a man are inconsequential without the anointing and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I take no credit for anything that is on this website. If it was not for the gracious and precious Holy Spirit teaching me I would have had nothing worthwhile to say. Therefore, I give God all the praise and all the glory for anything that has helped anyone. So no matter what, I trust God to confirm everything that is taught here by you using your own Bible and the Holy Spirit that is within you giving witness. Trust no human at any time, no matter how eloquent the words that come from them or their good looking appearance. There is a great deception occurring in the world today. Evil is being called good and good being called evil. I know that no one including myself is perfect and we all make mistakes. Therefore I trust that you will receive my sincere gratitude as I humbly submit to God’s direction.
SEARCHING FOR TRUTH IN THE BIBLE!
The vast majority of Christians today believe in a rapture concept where Jesus literally returns in the clouds to take up His people to be with Him in heaven. This belief is based upon verses like John 14:1-3 where Jesus speaks of His father’s house in heaven and says that He will go and prepare a place for us and then come again to take us there. There are not very many Christians that do not understand this truth and believe it yet the great debate that remains among many churches is concerning the timing of this event. The rapture timing is exactly the subject being addressed in these Bible lessons. In the last lesson I went through a lot of new information that I will not repeat today. I tried to teach the importance of seeing spiritual things even in the O.T. natural stories but I got a few ignorant comments that refused to open their eyes to understand the legitimacy of these methods. These types of people are so focused on the literal obvious messages that they do not want to understand how God has concealed many spiritual truths for us to find in these same words. I tried to emphasize in the last lesson that even Jesus said that He was hidden in the O.T. (John 5:39) and that we were required to go and search to look for Him in those verses. This information must have gone over the heads of a few people who want to see everything easily in the Bible. I do not recall any verse in the Bible that says Bible study is easy, do you know of any? If you do please share it with me so I can learn.
I just mentioned John 5:39 and this is so important to memorize that I am going to emphasize it again. In Matthew 13:11 Jesus declared to His disciples that it was given for them to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God but then He clearly states that this was not given to everyone else. This is just further confirmation that not everything in the Bible is clearly stated to be understood by everyone. Romans 16:25 says that Paul preached the mystery of the Gospel of Jesus that was hidden from the foundation of the world. That literally means it was not plainly stated in the O.T. and had to be revealed by the Spirit of God. Proverbs 25:2 declares that it is “the glory of God to conceal a thing and the honor of kings to search out a matter”. These are just a few verses of the many that I could include in this message that not everything in the Bible is plainly presented for your automatic understanding. This is so easy for a supremely intelligent God to do. He can speak to us on His level of understanding and we would be clueless to understand it until we learned how. I emphasize this fact in many, many of my Bible lessons because it is so vital for you to come up to a higher spiritual way of thinking. Learning to see the scriptures as God sees them will help you more than anything else that I could teach you today.
BE IT UNTO YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH
Why any Christian would desire to go through the coming tribulation is a mystery to me but that is what many are choosing to believe and I believe that is what may just happen to them based upon what the N.T. teaches us about faith. Jesus very clearly taught us a valuable lesson in the Gospels when He said “According to your faith, be it unto you” (Mat 9:29). Jesus was telling these blind men in Mathew 9 something directly and He treated them differently than the many other blind men that may have been in the same city. Jesus only healed the blind men that believed and had faith and the others that were in the city were not healed. You could reason that these others that were not healed were simply not present but that is a different part of another lesson and I do not want to get off track in this lesson. Simply understand that the blind men had to believe in order to seek after Jesus and if the others did not do the same they were left out from this benefit. Now go and read Matthew 8:13 where Jesus says to the centurion “go thou way and as thou has believed, be it done unto you”. Jesus spoke very highly of this man’s faith. He then told him clearly that it would be done to him even as he had believed. I think you need to consider these facts carefully.
I think both of those examples that I just presented you are valuable lessons to learn from about the subject of faith. We then need to learn to apply that knowledge to the subject of rapture. If you want to believe and stay in the post tribulation camp, I won’t stop you. I will still try to show you what I see that the Bible says on the subject and that is why we are going to go through a different part of the Bible today to see a different lesson taught by God. What I am trying to say here is that what you believe matters and if it does not matter what you believe then God is in sovereign control and I don’t have to believe in Jesus or Satan. That is a common false teaching to think that man has no determination of his destiny. I believe from the words of Jesus that what you believe could very well be the determining factor if you are taken out on the first call of the rapture or left here. If you don’t believe me, that is fine with me. Please don’t write me any negative comments trying to say something I didn’t say.
Evaluate where your faith is today. What do you believe and why? If you have several scriptures to back your beliefs then you are on a firmer foundation than not having any. That is exactly why I am giving you my scriptures for why I believe the way that I do in a pre-tribulation rapture. I did not determine my beliefs in pre-tribulation rapture first and then seek to find the scriptures to confirm them. That is a false erroneous approach to Bible study. You can find any belief in the Bible that you want to find in some form. This is exactly why there are mid-tribulation believers and post-tribulation believers and most of them have found some scriptures that they believe support their thinking. God purposefully designed the Bible this way to allow us to be wrong and remain in our false beliefs. What God desires is for us to first clear our mind of our prejudices and then to ask the Holy Spirit to show us the truth and only then can we go and seek to find it in His Word allowing Him to direct our paths of search. We cannot do this with any presumptive expectations for what the truth is or this will slant our viewpoint to that preconceived belief. That type of search is a closed minded approach and does not allow God to speak to us in our hearts since our hearts are already set in concrete. We can only determine the actual truth based only upon what God reveals to us in His Word when He speaks to our heart. Notice that I did not say your mind, the voices in your mind can be from the devil. The Spirit of God is in your heart and that is where divine direction will be given. If you do not know how to be led by the Spirit of God I would recommend that you go read that series of lessons to begin to learn.
This section of the lesson I title “Be it unto you according to your Faith”. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God taught according to Romans 10:17. That simply means that you can get faith to change your beliefs by what God presents in this Bible lesson series. If you are open to learning this will allow the Spirit of God to confirm this lesson. I hope and pray that you will at least give God a chance to see what He might say to you today.
THE RAPTURE IN REVELATION 3:10
I was asked to explain the Bible verse found in Revelation 3:10 and I immediately understood that they were asking this question from a rapture subject perspective since that is clearly the hidden message of the verse. I say clearly but what is clear to me may not yet be clear to you! You may still be amazed after you read this lesson how a verse that never mentions the word rapture directly can be such a key and important lesson on the subject.
The first fact that I would like to mention is that you are right the theological term “rapture” does not exist in the English Bible but that does not mean that the concepts surrounding the subject are not taught repeatedly by God in many unique ways. As I have said before the English term “rapture” comes from a Latin word “raptus” which means “a carrying off”. People are normally too narrowly focused on finding the specific word rapture, that they are missing entirely the more important messages about the subject recorded from God. One detail that needs to be understood is that there are at least two completely different ways of teaching any subject. A teacher can state the subject directly by describing it plainly or they can teach it indirectly by what is stated so that the subject must be true in order for the statement being made to also be true. Most modern school textbooks are written in a direct teaching style with ordered increasing levels of associated complexity. However, God’s word is not written in a textbook style and appears to be more random information that needs to be connected by study. God teaches most spiritual subjects indirectly especially in the Old Testament where they are never explained fully until the descriptions are given about them in the New Testament. Direct natural truths as opposed to indirect spiritual truths are found equally in abundance throughout the Bible. For every direct natural lesson on a subject there are usually equal numbers of indirect spiritual lessons that can be found if you know how to search for them. I hope you will learn both of these concepts given in this introduction from this lesson today. Revelation 3:10 is an indirect and unstated spiritual lesson on the pre-tribulation rapture of the church that must be a truth for this statement that was made by Jesus to also be a truth and you will soon learn why I say this. Let’s start by reviewing the verse in question and seeing what was stated by Jesus:
- Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
The KJV Bible translation does a fair job at translating each Greek word into English but yet these English words are often ignored or misapplied to not mean what they are really saying. It is very easy to take an English word and restrict it to a specific narrow thought or application and that may be what is happening in this verse when you read it. Some English words are easily assumed to be fully understood as they actually go much deeper in their definition and meaning when studied. Assuming that you know and understand the truth is probably one of the greatest reasons why God is unable to teach you anything new. So please take no preconceived assumptions into this Bible lesson as you continue to read. There are certain key words given to us in this verse which need to be understood in order for us to comprehend the message being given to us by God. Today we are going to go through at least 5 specific Greek words found in Revelation 3:10 and find their meanings and God’s usage for the words in other parts of the Bible. These words that I will focus on are “all”, “world”, “temptation”, “keep” and “kept”.
I’m going to start with the Greek word translated as “all”. This Greek word G3650 translated as “ALL” literally means the “entirety of the whole”. This Greek word is applied as an adverb in this sentence and is directly used by God as a modifier description for the noun “world”. In this type of presentation it would represent the entire “world”. Let’s go back to an old Bible lesson that I did on the serpent in the garden first mentioned in Genesis 3:1. In that Bible lesson I taught on how that God created laws of mathematical sets and used them in the words that He has written in the Bible. A set is always a related grouping of like objects. If I have a set of automobiles they may differ in manufacturer, color, make, year and model but they are all still unified members of my automobile set. If I wanted to limit the scope of my set of automobiles I could qualify a new description to create a subset of just certain common features or characteristics. For example I could define one sub-set of my “automobiles” to be only “red” automobiles and that makes ALL cars of the red color to be members in that set. Now when I say ALL RED CARS you know I am including every one that qualifies to be a member together in that definition. This is basic mathematical logic based upon established God created principles and yet many Christians may not grasp these important basic concepts and how they apply to the Word of God. What we need to see is that God has just defined a mathematical set in Revelation 3:10 and said “every” noun object in that set called the “world” was included. That literally means there are no “world” members excluded from the statement. However the next problem is how does God define the members in the “world” set and what do these members possess that defines them to be in the common description? I hope I am not going over your heads with these important thoughts but they must be applied correctly to understand who God is speaking about in this verse.
Let’s speak briefly about God’s usage of the Greek word G3650 that was translated as “ALL” in this verse. This Greek word occurs in 99 verses of the Bible. Around 60 times it was translated as “ALL”. In nearly 40 verses, the Greek word was translated as “whole”. “Whole” and “all” are clearly synonyms with the same definition. They both will always include every member that fits the definition. If you would like to do the study and search for this word for yourself in your Bible software to confirm how God consistently uses it to mean every that would be good to do, but I will not do that in this lesson today to keep this lesson a little bit shorter.
The next step to understanding Revelation 3:10, is to learn the Biblical definition of what the “all the world” set represents to God. Jesus very clearly states that an “hour of temptation” will come upon the “entire world” at some unstated future time which was not directly given to us. If the entire world will come into these common temptations we need to learn what the world means and what temptation means so that we can understand how or even if these apply to us in the church. Let’s continue by examining the Greek word G3625 and determine how it was defined in the Greek language. This Greek word which was translated as the English word “world” literally means “the earth”, “the soil” or “the physical land parts of the globe” according to the Strong’s definition. However that does not mean that these physical land parts of the globe will be what is tempted in the prophesied hour. What we are to apply is that God is speaking indirectly about the “inhabitants” of these “land areas” and not specifically about the dry dirt. Therefore it is not the physical land directly being referenced but rather the people living on the land who will be tempted. The implied application for this Greek word (world) is anyone that is alive on the earth or living upon dry land or occupying the livable land mass continents of the planet. Let’s confirm this by observing this phrase in other parts of the N.T.:
- Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Here is an interesting reoccurrence of the phrase “All the world”. Jesus is speaking and He declares the time of the end will come only after the Gospel is preached to “all the world”. Obviously Jesus was not telling us to go preach to the literal soil of the planet. No Jesus was telling us to go into every part of the globe and preach to the people that inhabit that part of the whole. In other words the entire population of the globe will hear the Gospel before the end will come. If we go and read Luke 2:1 you will see another example that it is the people that are the intended definition for the term “all the world”. In this verse the ruler Caesar Augustus declared that “all the world” should be taxed. That sounds very familiar to what is happening with governments today but that is a different subject. We have seen enough examples to understand the description being used is about the people living on the earth and definitely not the literal earth. Let’s stop there and ask ourselves does that term “all the earth” include Christians? Of course we must realize that presently it does. Christians on this planet are no different than non-Christians in that we both live in the same global “world” set of earth dwellers. Remember what I just said because that fact will become very relevant as we continue in this lesson. Let’s now examine the next Greek word G3986 translated as “temptation” in Revelation 3:10 because this is also an essential word to learn and understand:
- From G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity: – temptation, X try.
This Greek word literally means to prove something or someone. This is usually done by someone performing a trial or test like a scientist proving their theory of supposition performing repeated tests. That is a popular concept within the scientific community but one that is misapplied to God and the truth found in God’s word. Many Christians today believe that God tests people with trials to prove their faithfulness and that belief is contrary to what the Bible actually teaches. Once you learn the truth you will figure out quickly that it is unnecessary for God to test anyone. First consider the well-known fact that the divine God is called omniscient. This is a common characteristic used to describe God and clearly demonstrates His superior nature. Omniscient simply means “ALL KNOWING”. If God literally knows everything as most Theologians and Christians believe it would be totally unnecessary for God to test or prove anyone since He must already know the outcome before the test is presented. Therefore it is extremely ignorant to believe God needs to test us in order to prove our faith in Him. Do you believe this? If you do then you need to apply that information to what Jesus is stating in this verse to determine who is doing the testing to prove these people in the world.
The Bible teaches us who the tester represents but these facts are often ignored by many Christians because Satan would rather you believe in a good God that brings the tests rather than an evil being like himself that you might resist or fight against. Do you already see the initial motivation behind why Satan wants Christians to believe that God is their tester? I think it is obvious because Christians will not be foolish enough to fight against God. The Greek word G3986 translated as “temptation” in Revelation 3:10 comes from the root word G3985 that means “to test”. We need to learn how this word is used by God to teach us that it is not God that is testing people. Let’s read this verse found in the book of James:
- Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
The word translated as “tempted” here is the Greek word G3985. Notice what God declares. God clearly states that He is not the tempter or the tester of humans. The statement is directed at man by God saying “let no man say”. This term for “no man” is found in several statements made by Jesus and is even found in Revelation 3:11 the next verse that we are studying when Jesus says “Let no man take your crown”. It is very clear to me that this term is referring to human earth inhabitants again. We have already stated why this testing is unnecessary based upon God already knowing the outcome. If God does not test or tempt any human then who is sending the temptations, tests and trials in Revelation 3:10 to the whole world? That is a very interesting question and the answer still points us to Satan to be the tempter. Let’s examine some other verses found in the N.T. to confirm that God is not the tempter or tester of man:
- Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Here is a verse found in the Lord’s Prayer used by Jesus to teach His disciples how to pray. Jesus taught them to pray for God to lead them out from temptation and clearly not into them. Is the implied will of God for Christians to be tested or not to be tested? It would seem to say that it is not God’s will for us to be tested based upon the prayer. The implication given to us is that if we need to pray to ask God not to lead us into “temptations” that God is not the one that is initiating the temptation. That is just sound basic logical reasoning. God would not remove something that He was causing. Let’s shift to another verse to help understand the true source of temptations:
- Luk 4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
This verse has the same Greek word found in Revelation 3:10. God clearly says that Satan was the source for these temptations here in this verse. Based upon the context given to us these temptations occurred when Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness being on a forty day fast. Clearly Jesus would be considered to be “in the world” occupying the soil in this example and that is key for us understanding Revelation 3:10. I could go over many verses found in the N.T. but I will only give you one more witness to learn from for now:
- 1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Here we have a message written to the church. We are plainly informed that “temptations” may come but then we are indirectly informed that God was not the one that sent them. This is an example of learning from what is stated how to see what is not stated. In this verse God says “I will not allow the temptation to be above what you are able to endure”. That appears to me to say I am a God that places limitations upon the one that is testing you. God would not send the test and then limit the test and finally make a way out of the test as this verse declares. That would be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of God. This would be dueling personalities with one side of God sending you the test to potentially harm you while the nice side of God limiting the test and placing a way out from it so that you can escape it. That type of reasoning makes no sense to me but many Christians believe in that type of situation everyday. One man that I knew believed that God sent cancer to his wife to test them but they were going to the doctors to try to get out from the test and live. Wow, I seriously tried to help him see that it was not God doing it to his wife but he rejected it. I’m really not sure what happened to his wife.
So far we have looked at the Greek words for “temptation”, “world”, and “all” in in Revelation 3:10 to gain understanding how they apply to the verse. We have learned so far that a “temptation” is a stated trial or test that every human can potentially come into at some time in their life even Christians. We have learned that Satan is the initiator of these tests and trials and that God is the one that leaves us a door out of the test if we want to find it. We have learned the term “world” means earth dweller or inhabitant. So far that definition would include everyone still living here on the planet. Since God used the qualifier “all” before the world noun He clearly states that the entire population will be tested by Satan. Let’s reread the verse again and apply what we have learned so far:
- Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Jesus is the speaker in this verse so that is very important to note. Then we know by reading in context that He is speaking to the church since this statement is found within one of the letters of Revelation written to the churches. Therefore we know the majority of the noun subject participants found in this verse including the speaker and the intended target audience, Satan the tempter of the earth inhabitants and we now desire to understand the verb actions being given to connect them all together. We have already seen where Satan is the tempter and Jesus says that his temptations, tests and trials will come upon the entire population of the earth. Right there is an excellent time to consider that to be a prophecy of future reference. Meaning what Jesus was speaking of had not occurred up until the time of writing. That should raise a meaningful question in your mind, “Why is this stated time of temptation different than previous mentions of temptations given throughout the Bible? I personally believe that the hour of temptation being spoken of is the soon to be described “Great Tribulation” later in the book of Revelation. One of the main reasons that I believe this is because Satan is one of the key subjects in the rest of the book. He is described as the “Great Dragon” and his prophet and anti-Christ servants will be revealed during this time to deceive the whole world’s population.
We then know from the statement of Jesus that He will “Keep” the church from that hour of global tests. How will He do this? In order to understand this we need to learn the definition of the word “keep” next. Let’s look up the definition for the Greek word translated as “Keep”:
- From τηρός teros (a watch; perhaps akin to G2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from G5442, which is properly to prevent escaping; and from G2892, which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus), that is, to note (a prophecy; figuratively to fulfil a command); by implication to detain (in custody; figuratively to maintain); by extension to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively to keep unmarried): – hold fast, keep (-er), (ob-, pre-, re) serve, watch.
This is obviously a complex word and is compared with several other Greek words that are similar but different. The meaning of the word means to watch or to observe. As you can read this word means to keep your eye upon something or someone. Perhaps it will help us if we analyze how this word was translated in the N.T. This Greek word is found in 68 N.T. verses. In 33 verses it is translated as “keep”. In 12 verses it is translated as “kept”. In 10 verses it was translated as “keepeth”. The other verses in the N.T. it is translated as “observe”, “reserve”, “reserved”, “watched”, “watching”, “preserve” and “hold fast”.
What do all of these translated English words have in common and how do they apply to how they were used by God in the New Testament? We really need to learn this in order to understand what Jesus is going to do to the church before the coming hour of trials. I think it is relevant and important to know that this Greek word is used twice in Revelation 3:10. Once it was translated as “keep” and the other time it was translated as “kept” Let’s examine how it was used for the church and then apply that definition to how it will be used by Jesus. Read the beginning of the verse again and see how God uses it for the church. God says “Because you have kept my words…, I will keep you…”. How do you keep God’s words? That is a very loaded question. To keep God’s word implies they are important to you. That you value them and that you desire to know them and possess them. If further implies that you want to protect them and even make them safe. Let’s examine the steps or process for keeping God’s Words:
- We must desire to know God’s Words
- We must value the Words of God
- We must give the Words of God priority over all other words
- We must make the effort to find God’s Words
- We must take the time to learn God’s Words
- We must extend the effort to understand God’s Words
- We must then place the Words of God into our memories and recall them at all times
- We must then put the Word of God into daily and hourly practice becoming a doer of the Words of God
That was my quick overview of keeping the Word of God. It denotes a process of taking the Word of God from a book and placing into our hearts and minds to exalt it, protect it, guard it, preserve it, etc. Clearly to keep the Word of God represents a transfer from one location to another. What did I just say? Taking God’s word from the pages of a written book and internalizing them is the transfer of divine information from one place to another. Can we agree that this is what this word represents? Now apply that to what Jesus said He would do before the hour of temptation. Jesus basically said “I will keep you (move you out of harm, protecting you, keeping you safe, etc.) before that hour occurs because I value you as my treasure. People will disagree with me that do not wish to see the truth, but there is really not much I can do to help those that do not want any help.
I believe very firmly that this verse is very specific. It is a prophecy of two events occurring in sequence. The first event is the “Keeping” safe of the church body that has kept safe the word of God. The second event that will occur next is the hour of temptation, testing and trial that will occur to everyone on the planet earth. This very clearly says that the church cannot be present upon the earth or this verse would not be accurate anymore. The church’s presence on the earth’s surface during the trial would either cause the first part of the verse to become a lie or the last part of the verse to be a lie and that does not make any sense to me how people could explain it to be something else.
If you go through the New Testament carefully, it might help you to see where the Greek word “keep” is used and how it primarily means to take hold of something to never let it go. I’ll give you an example of this:
- Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and “keepeth” them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
You see even in this verse it says that a man that hears the Bible is not the one that will benefit from it. He must “Keep” it which means grab hold firmly and not let go or let it slip away for God’s Words to be effective. To take hold and not let go sounds very much like a rapture in this Revelation 3:10 description. To rapture or to catch up or catch away is clearly God taking hold of His people and not letting them go. This is what will happen to the church members that have kept God’s Word firmly within their hearts and not let them go. It is a conditional rapture event. Not everyone that called Him Lord will be taken. It is only those that made Him Lord and put His Word on the inside firmly that will be taken up. Can you now see how Revelation 3:10 is describing a rapture event before the time of trial? It is literally impossible for the church to on the planet and not be in the group “all the world” that will be tested. This literally means that since God has “kept” us from this hour that we must be in heaven. Those are the only two choices for our location. Based upon the meaning of the word “kept” as being a transition of state or position, there is really no way for a Christian that loves the Word of God to not be carried away from the pending world disasters. I could literally go on and on about this but that was enough for one Bible lesson. I hope and pray that you have gathered some wisdom on the timing of the rapture event from what was taught to us from God’s Word today. The primary goal of this lesson was to help build your faith in a pre-tribulation rapture event. I at least hope that you were encouraged how to go and search to see more verses like this one today in the Bible. I’m not sure when my next Bible lesson will occur on this subject or any other right now. I would appreciate your prayers if you know how to pray in the spirit as Ephesians 6:18 teaches. I thank you all and I will also remember you in my prayers today. Be Blessed Always.
If you would like to continue reading in this series, please click “Part 6“.
Is the Rapture of the Church Really Found in the Bible? The Rapture Found in Old Testament Typology! Part 4
(ver 1.2) This is Part 4 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the timely and important subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. I know this teaching series has been a little different than what most other Bible teachers’ attempt, but I do not copy or imitate other Bible teachers. I would rather be led by the Spirit of God and teach the subjects with the content, direction and in the order for His purpose and plan. If you have not read this entire series from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go and start your study with “Part 1” and then continue in succession until today’s lesson. I have been building a firm doctrinal foundation for the Biblical subject of rapture. In doing this I have been moving through the scriptures in what appears to be a random order. However, if you are a spiritually mature Christian you should be able to see that I am taking them in the order that helps us understand how the subject has been distributed throughout the Bible by God. Rarely do we ever find God doing things in His Word in a manner that we expect and I will warn you up front that this lesson will demonstrate that it is no different.
Today God wants me to go in a completely new direction in this lesson series and talk about the subject of rapture hidden within the context of Old Testament typology. What is “Biblical Typology” you might ask immediately? Biblical Typology is simply an actual historical event containing real people doing real things that are recorded in the Old Testament which point us to a coming future New Testament spiritual reality truth. I believe that God through His wise word selection utilized very specific descriptions for many recorded O.T. Bible events and participants which all have direct relevance, application and meaning to what will occur again in a future context. God cleverly designed the Bible in ways so that people would not be able to see the complete truth unless it was spiritually revealed to them. It is important to understand this concept of hidden truth because God uses it throughout the written Word to require everyone to search diligently for Him and His truth. This method of concealing the truth allows everyone the right to not see the truth. This actually explains why many in the church today have not believed in the rapture because they have not searched for it and found it in the Bible.
I believe that this lesson will be one of the most important lessons that you have read on this subject. I can see how it will potentially reveal some new unexpected ways for many people to learn. I will probably teach several original aspects that you have never thought on before, but all that should mean to you is that you need to become a noble Acts 17:11 type of Christian to verify everything that I say using the Spirit of God inside of you and your own personal Bible so that you do not take my word for anything. Are you ready to learn something potentially brand new on the subject of rapture? This will be a very long Bible lesson with a lot of good information in it. I also believe that I need to do a basic introduction to the subjects to help you see where we are going to go in this lesson before we get there. I’ll start by teaching you about hidden spiritual messages found in the natural words of the Bible. I call this the Spiritualization of the Word of God. I will follow this part of the introduction with a brief discussion on “Extremism” and why we need a “Balanced” approach to Bible Study. Then I will introduce you to the subject of Biblical Typology to help you better understand what that is and why it is important for us to learn. In the introduction I will also introduce you to the concept of Rules Based Interpretation and how these are useful to Bible study. Finally in the remainder of the Bible study I will discuss a hidden rapture description given to us by God in the O.T. Let’s get into the Bible study.
THE SPIRITUALIZATION OF SCRIPTURE
Are the stories recorded in the Bible merely the natural thoughts and words of forty different human men? In this part of the introduction I would like to address a major point that will surely be raised by some people who read this lesson without any spiritual eyes to see what it says. Many Bible preachers today, claim that we should not try to spiritualize everything written in the Bible. When they say this, I wonder if they even know who or what their God is and who wrote the Bible. Is their God a mere human or an omnipotent Spirit? When they say things like this they are simply stating that we need to take the Bible literally as a natural historical message and they imply God is like any natural man writing words for all other natural men on the earth. This type of reasoning reduces God to the same type of writer as any ordinary book author. In proclaiming a literal only interpretation of the Bible they are stating that all of the words written on every page of the Bible all have a simplistic plain meaning that is obvious to every reader. These teachers have obviously not read the internet nor tried to understand why there are thousands of different Christian denominations in the world today. The existence of so many meanings and interpretations to the words written in the Bible proves beyond any doubt that the Bible is not plainly understood by anyone.
These types of literal only Bible teachers refuse to explore the Bible message using any allegorical applications, symbolical meanings, typological interpretations or other spiritual importance in order to understand a message from a Spiritual God and His purpose for giving it. Clearly these Bible teachers are narrowly focused on a different version of the truth than what I see revealed by God in the Bible. I can clearly see where both Jesus and the New Testament teach us that the Old Testament is a book full of hidden secrets called “mysteries” (G3466). This Greek word translated as “mystery” occurs in 27 different verses throughout the New Testament. Jesus spoke directly three times in the Gospels about the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God in Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11, and Luke 8:10. Close to 20 times in the New Testament God records a comment about certain O.T. mysteries and even tells us that many of these secrets have been hidden since the foundation of the world (Rom 16:25, 1 Cor 2:7, 1 Cor 4:1, Eph 3:3-9, Eph 6:19, Col 1:26). Go read these scriptures and learn what they say and then learn to apply them to every part of the O.T. Bible. The Greek word (G3466) translated as “mystery” in these verses means a literal “secret”. What is a secret? A secret is anything that was hidden or kept from your plain obvious view. Since the Bible contains literal readable plain text words in every book, where are these divine secrets hidden in them and how are they hidden? Do you see the important and relevant question that I am asking? Either God lied about the secrets in the Old Testament or we should rather more wisely know that God recorded the secrets in ways that keep them from our self-evident understanding.
In the book of John, Jesus makes a statement about the Old Testament that is mostly ignored by many Bible preachers, teachers and students. Read over this verse very closely and see what the Author of the Bible has to say directly about the words that were written to us in the Old Testament:
Joh 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Jesus told these keepers of the written Holy Words of God that they needed to “search” their scriptures to find Him. How do you define “search”? To search meant for them to investigate, seek to find, pursue, examine, study, inspect, explore, dig deep in order to discover this Jesus. This statement makes finding Jesus conditional in the O.T. Search for Jesus you will find Him and don’t search for Him you will miss the most important reason for the words. Jesus was saying that at least some of these O.T. words were those that were recorded about Him. Have you ever done this search? Does God consider you a doer of the Word of God or just an ignorant hearer only? I have spent many hours doing nothing but looking for my Jesus on all of the pages of the Old Testament. Why because that is what Jesus told me to do. Within every verse that I read in the Old Testament, I devote a significant amount of time probing to find my Lord Jesus in some hidden form. Since Jesus is never mentioned anywhere by direct named reference in the Old Testament how do you seriously think that He can be found there in the words written mostly about somebody else doing something else? If Jesus could be found so easily within the surface text context, He would not have needed to tell these Jews or us that we were required to “search” for Him. Let’s let every word be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses:
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.
Here again we have Jesus teaching us that Moses wrote prophetic words about Him. He claims there are specific prophecies that must be fulfilled from these Old Testament verses. I have to admit I have read the books of Moses in the Old Testament and if I did not know these verses were about Jesus I would have missed so much. Do you understand that Moses only wrote the first five books of the Old Testament and a few of the Psalms? Have you ever read these books, chapters and verses? Please show me in these words written down by Moses where Jesus is so plainly and clearly found! If you can find a literal Jesus mentioned anywhere there, then tell where it is found. Some say the “seed of the woman” mentioned in Genesis 3:16 is Jesus, but that is your poor reasoning and an assumption taken to an extreme. Nowhere is the name of Jesus mentioned to be the seed in this verse and you have to ASSUME by your faith or ignorance that it is talking about Him. That is just one popular example of people trying to say that Jesus is found in Moses’ words where there is no direct evidence. What I am asking you is if that type of interpretation is legal, why then is the use of spiritual Biblical Typology also equally legal? Do not misunderstand what I am saying I believe that Jesus is found in these books of the Bible, but I also believe that He is just not found in the literal obvious terms as many expect Him to be and we must utilize valid spiritual interpretation methods and rules in order to find Him.
It is important to notice that Jesus does not declare that everything written in the O.T. is only about Him, but He does conclusively say that He can be found there. So is Jesus a central theme of the O.T. or a needle in the hay stack concept in these books? Do you see what I am asking? Is Jesus an isolated O.T. occurrence or a prevalent central subject? I personally believe that Jesus is the central theme of the entire Bible from cover to cover and therefore He must be found in more than just a single verse in the book of Genesis and the other books of the O.T. Allow me give you the next verse in Luke to help you better understand the previous verse statement:
Luk 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
Did you see it? This verse explains why the disciples did not previously see Jesus in the writings of Moses before this event described in Luke. The reading of the Torah in the temple was a common occurrence and the disciples had heard the words before but never knew what they meant. This is why Jesus had to give them understanding of what was previously written by Moses in order for any of it to be comprehended that any of it was about Him. That literally means Jesus cannot be easily and obviously found by anyone just reading the plain text words without the Spirit of God helping them to understand what it says. Without the Spirit of God giving understanding it will never work out. God is so amazing to how He designed the Words in the Bible! I pray that you are beginning to see the wisdom of God in His Words.
Do you know what the name “Jesus” used in the English N.T. is equivalent to in the Hebrew O.T.? You do understand that Jesus was a natural born Hebrew and that He was given a Hebrew name? The name of Jesus is a transliteration of the Hebrew O.T. name Joshua or Yeshua. The Hebrew word for Jesus in Strong’s is H3091 and it literally means “Jehovah saved”. I believe that Jesus qualifies to possess this name, don’t you? There is a book of Joshua found in the O.T. but this book of the Bible is normally considered to be the story of a real historical man leading the children of Israel into the Promise Land. The name Joshua occurs in 197 verses of the O.T. and few if any of these verses can be considered a direct reference to the coming Jesus of the N.T. Therefore, the name of the N.T. Jesus is not directly found in the O.T. in relation to the N.T. man that said these words were written about Him. How then are we expected to find this N.T. Jesus mentioned there in the O.T. if there are no direct references to Him? That is the million dollar question that these modern Bible teachers do not consider when they try to tell me not to spiritualize the messages found in the O.T.
I have to conclude from this initial information and asking those questions that this means the Jesus of the N.T. can only be found by us using spiritual methods to locate Jesus in O.T. For example we can use spiritual names, titles or descriptions, Christophanies, allegories, typologies or symbolisms to list a few obvious spiritual interpretation methods that need to gain our focused attention when reading the O.T. Bible. These Biblical patterns are clearly established to be legitimate methods of Bible interpretation several times in the New Testament by God’s own revelation. Paul clearly used allegory, typology and even symbolism when describing the revelation that God had given to him about Jesus and of course Paul only had the Old Testament to base all of this new knowledge upon. Clearly spiritual things were concealed in the Old Testament but they have now been revealed in the New Testament for the benefit of the spiritual people of God. I strongly believe that God has concealed Jesus in the Old Testament so that God can reveal Jesus in the New Testament.
Always remember who the author of the Bible is when you are reading it. I personally believe that the entire Bible is the recorded inspired spoken words of a Holy God who is described to be a Spirit (John 4:24). God very clearly tells us that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa 55:8-9). But does that mean that He does not desire us to know or understand His ways or to think His thoughts? I cannot understand anyone who thinks that God’s desire is to keep them ignorant and in the dark. People who believe that would be projecting a direct slap in the face of the God who clearly said “whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life” (John 8:12). Why would God write you a huge book of divine wisdom if you were not supposed to understand any of it in the direct here and now? I am totally convinced that God’s desire is for us to learn what the Bible actually says and means. I have concluded that we need to learn how to see these natural words written on natural paper pages as really being a spiritual message written to a spiritual people from an all-knowing spiritual God. Come up higher and learn to see the Bible as God sees it.
AVOIDING EXTREMISM IN INTERPRETATION
I will end this part of the introduction with the subject of Biblical Extremism. Biblical extremism is the practice of taking any subject or isolated truth from the Bible to an overstated or exaggerated position of error. I recently spoke to one commenter on my Bible study that clearly was in the realm of extreme error. He disapproved of my teaching that the church is the revealed “Bride of Christ” because he isolated the established truths in the Bible that the Church is the “Body of Christ” taking them to an extreme. In his mind it was impossible for the Church to be both concurrently. I then tried to explain what God had shown to me in the Bible about how the church became the body of Christ by being His covenant bride and this message was rejected. What he was doing was taking one truth to an extreme and ignoring all of the other truths of the Bible becoming unbalanced in his theological view. That is called Biblical Truth Extremism and it is a clear example of error and closed mindedness. I run into this error more than any other that I am confronted with on my website teachings. Let me give you another recent example of the extremism error.
Another preacher man that I was discussing the subject of Divine Grace with recently was so spiritually blind that he did not realize that he had moved into the realm of extremism. He had made an exaggerated statement that Paul constantly was confronted with the “sin question” when teaching on the subject of God’s Divine Grace. In other words he applied his own experience to overemphasize Paul’s recorded Bible experience and thus he moved into the realm of doctrinal extremism and error. What am I saying? I am saying this nameless preacher on the internet instead of admitting that he was wrong claimed that he was right because Paul wrote “one time” in Romans 6 about the confrontation of the sin issue in opposition with the truth of Grace. This man was clearly a modern Grace Bible teacher who has taken the clear Bible truth of Grace and pushed it beyond the level of scriptural balance into the arena of extremism theology and error. I simply caught him in a direct lie and tried to nicely make a correction to his statement and he told me I was wrong. My primary point was that this man had exaggerated the truth to a level so far above the truth that he had changed this great truth of Grace to transform it into a lie. He took one chapter in Romans and said this was a “constantly” reality for Paul. One chapter or one verse does not make a sound Bible truth of doctrine! God clearly says in His Word for us to establish every truth in the mouths of two or three witnesses (Deu 19:15, Mat 18:16, 2 Cor 13:1). This Grace preacher has reduced the subjects of sin and repentance to be non-factors for either salvation or for the human continuance of eternal security. He totally missed what the Bible says in the New Testament on other subjects like repentance, forgiveness, judgment, holiness, and I could go on with others. Actually he has explained away many of these subjects so cleverly that he has deceived others into believing his extreme teaching.
Exalting any single truth or any single reference of the message of truth to be the only truth necessary to understand will always cause a position of error based upon individual unbalanced isolation. So what am I saying? Are we to take the extreme position that all scripture should be plainly and naturally interpreted or are we to take the antithesis extreme position that says all scripture should only be spiritually interpreted in order to be understood? I think neither extreme is valid and we need to become balanced in our theology beliefs somewhere in the middle realizing that God is smart enough to teach us multiple levels of truth both spiritual and natural in any single verse, chapter or book of the Bible. What I try to teach in my lessons is that we need to avoid falling into the ditches of extremism on either the right hand or the left hand when walking down the road of Bible study. Having said all of that let me introduce you to the subject of Biblical Spiritual Typology.
I just want to give you a quick introductory overview of the subject of Biblical Typology since this is one of the central themes in the rest of this lesson on rapture. First, understand that no Old Testament Typology is ever a completed design representation of anything revealed to be eternal or spiritual in the New Testament. Second understand that every hidden spiritual type mentioned in the Old Testament (and there are many of them) is not the actual real spiritual entity that it symbolically represents. Therefore I have just said that any O.T. type is neither the real spiritual entity nor the complete representation of anything spiritually real in the New Testament. Think of Biblical Typology to be like Jesus teaching the people using parables in the Gospels. I believe that these parable teaching concepts that Jesus utilized are completely identical in nature and application to the Biblical Typology concepts also found in the Old Testament. Jesus would stand up and teach the people using natural examples of real physically identifiable objects, people and events saying the Kingdom of Heaven (a spiritual reality) is like this or that and then tell what it was similar to using symbolic figures of speech that could be understood by the people that were listening. Nothing in the parable was the actual real spiritual subject being taught on, but everything in the parable had a symbolic meaning containing parallel characteristics and features that applied to the real spiritual subject and this information teaches us significantly about these spiritual things that are normally not seen by humans.
The concepts of Biblical Typology are often revealed in the terms of natural shadow models. Typology is like a simplified general recognizable shadowed patterned outline for a more complete complex real spiritual detailed image subject. Subjects found in typology are lacking many of the precise details of the actual eternal spiritual subject just like the natural shadow lacks the detail of the natural object producing it. If you can understand natural shadows you can understand Biblical Typology. For example, any physical object standing up on the face of the earth will cast a shadow upon the ground when the light of the sun is in its brightest angled unobstructed view. Analyze the source of objects needed to produce a shadow. First we need a bright light source like the sun. Of course in Biblical symbolism the Sun represents God. You then need a natural object to produce the shadow and this can represent Jesus who became flesh so that people could see God. Then when Jesus walked the face of the earth he would project a shadow on the ground and this is another interesting analogy. We can see that if the shadow represents the Type of Jesus found in the Old Testament that it would be a darkened outline of the more complex three-dimensional image of the Jesus that was standing between the Old Testament Jew and the Light of the fullness of God. Do you understand the pattern being taught? God is Light and without God we would not be able to see Jesus or who He is and this helps explain why the Jews did not recognize their Messiah when He was here.
One of the most interesting aspects about viewing any shadow projected on the ground is that it is always easily recognizable and identifiable to all those that know the original real object intimately but it is not recognizable to those that do not know the original. For example a teacher at the school where my young son attended, created a shadow cut out portrait of his silhouette. This picture contained only the outlined profile of his head, but yet I could look at it and I knew immediately who it was without anyone telling me. Because you didn’t know my son you would only know that it was a young boy, but you would have no clue to the identity or the name of the child by looking at the shadow picture only. What this experience taught me was that anyone that knows the original object that cast the shadow can recognize what or who it was that created it by only looking at the vague incomplete shadowy outline. That is exactly what occurs in the Old Testament Bible Typology arena when people read without knowing the real Jesus of the New Testament first they will just never understand how anyone can say that Jesus is found in these shadow words. It is only because I have come to know this New Covenant Jesus intimately that I can recognize the types that were hidden in the shadows of the Old Covenant. I pray that you are grasping these important concepts of types and shadows in the Old Testament because again God uses this method of concealment in so many selected O.T. examples. Let me define what a “type” represents in the Biblical context to be more precise.
TYPE: A real literal person, place, event or thing found in Old Testament Biblical history divinely designed by the omniscient God to be a prophetic shadow of the good things that Jesus would fulfill in the New Testament.
Can you understand this paraphrased definition for a Biblical “type”? This definition was directed and designed specifically for the one subject of Jesus but there are other spiritual N.T. subjects that are hidden in types found in the O.T. also. Perhaps you are struggling to understand where this is revealed, used or described in the New Testament? I will attempt to give you a couple of examples that will help to confirm this definition if you have some spiritual vision and some spiritual maturity to embrace and receive them. I will not attempt to do a complete teaching on the subject of Biblical Typology here in this introduction so pay close attention to what I do give you and then if you need to ask questions you can do that in a comment. Read this N.T. verse written about Biblical O.T. Typology:
Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
The reason people do not understand this verse is about Biblical Typology is probably because they do not study the definitions of the Greek words selected and used by God. What God reveals in this verse is that what He wrote about the literal historical Adam in the Old Testament was a patterned “type” or “figure” of the coming Jesus that was to be revealed to us in the New Testament. Do you understand this and then do you remember what I have already taught you about typology? Clearly Adam is not Jesus by far. However, Adam still characterizes a basic shadowed incomplete form for the coming Jesus. What God is teaching us is that we should be able to read about Adam and see a pictured incomplete outline of the Lord Jesus. I really do not know how you can read this revelation given to Paul and not see it. It is literally right in front of your eyes. Perhaps we need to look up the definition of the main keyword in the Greek to see it more clearly. I’ll emphasize this one more time that Jesus was not Adam, but rather Adam was a simpler symbolic representation for Jesus lacking many of the finer spiritual details. Examine the Greek word that was translated as “figure” in the Strong’s dictionary and you will see the following definition that is critical to understand:
From G5180; a die (as struck), that is, (by implication) a stamp or scar; by analogy a shape, that is, a statue, (figuratively) style or resemblance; specifically a sampler (“type”), that is, a model (for imitation) or instance (for warning): – en- (ex-) ample, fashion, figure, form, manner, pattern, print.
Learn the key words presented in this definition and apply them to the comparison between Jesus and Adam. God says that Adam was a pattern, type, example and even a figure of the coming future Jesus. What does that say to you? Do you know what a printer’s “type” is in the natural? Maybe you are too modern to understand the old printing “type” press concept created by Guttenberg in 1440. This man revolutionized the older hand written word recording and distribution methods. Guttenberg reinvented what use to be an expensive time consuming laborious method of copying God’s Word into something more useful and cheap to produce. Because of Guttenberg what was rare for man to own soon became common for man to own. Guttenberg took what was out of the reach of every normal person and changed it into something within their reach. Clearly that was a God inspired idea to help man spread His written Word. If you did not know it already, Guttenberg invented the moveable “type” system of printing. Did you notice the repetition of the keyword “type”? Typology is the study of types. Moveable “type” was when the letters could be arranged in a specific configuration, ink applied to them, and then a piece of paper could be pressed on the type pattern to leave a lasting recurring impression that was a duplication of the original type pattern. Wow that process describes a God concept found in the Bible in Typology. This printing process could easily create hundreds and thousands of identical copies all from the originally created pattern.
What we are observing is that Adam is a Biblical Type reference point directing us to the coming Jesus and what He will accomplish and do for us in the spiritual realm. That means what Adam does is a prophecy for what Jesus will do in the spiritual realm. Adam is described to us in the first 4 chapters of Genesis primarily. God very clearly says in Romans 5:14 that you can find Jesus in these words if you are able to see Him. Adam as a pattern for the coming Jesus is by far not the only Typology hidden in Genesis or the rest of the Old Testament. I could take you through the O.T. and show you Jesus found in a type of Noah, in Abraham, in Isaac, in Jacob, in Joseph, in Moses, in Joshua and on and on I could go. In fact I am convinced that you can almost find a type of Jesus in every major story recorded but that will be another advanced subject for a different Bible study series. Let’s look at another N.T. reference to Biblical Typology found in the O.T.:
Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Read these two verses and observe closely what they are speaking of. These verses begin with a list of O.T. references and concepts concerning Holy days, Sabbaths and new moons. These are all subjects found in the written Laws of Moses. They describe instructions and actions given by the directions of God and performed by the people in obedience. Then notice what Paul writes about them. Paul says these were simply shadows (types) of the things to come in Christ. What we can observe very clearly is new hidden references to Jesus in the O.T. Nowhere in the O.T can you find that these represent anything about Christ yet that is what is revealed by God in these verses. That simply means these stated things were not Christ but rather designed by God to point the people to the Christ. Are you beginning to see the concepts of typology in the Word of God? If you do not yet understand the significance of hidden N.T. references in O.T. Biblical Typology I really do not know how to make it clearer in such a simple introduction to the subject. Let’s get into the subject of finding rapture in O.T. typology and see if this helps you to learn how to apply what you have learned so far and I will try to give you another example of O.T. Bible Typology described in the N.T. in the next section.
UNSTRUCTURED INTERPRETATION VERSUS RULES BASED INTERPRETATION
What I am going to do today is to utilize a little known law of Bible interpretation that I call the Law of First Mention to step back into a past reality to help us to see and learn about a coming future truth. Perhaps you have never heard of the Law of First Mention. I have found through repeated years of Bible study that using this Scriptural Law of Interpretation that God has placed certain specific hidden clues whenever an important subject is first mentioned in His Word. Practically every time a Bible subject is mentioned for the first time I have discovered important hints to understanding the whole subject in the rest of the Bible. Usually this first subject mention is found in the book of Genesis but today my subject that I am searching for occurs first in the book of Exodus. I am going to apply this law of first mention by searching for just one of the specific keywords referenced by God in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and find out where it was initially mentioned by God in the Old Testament to help us see that this is a legitimate Bible study technique. In doing this I believe that I will locate, read and discover what God has hidden about the subject of rapture within recorded Old Testament typology. You might ask me “Seriously, you mean you can do that?” I think people not knowing how to study the Bible is one of the main reasons we have such mass confusion in the church today on subjects like rapture. I always try to teach you how I study the Bible when I give you my lessons. In doing this you gain much more insight than if I only teach what I discovered and not how I arrived at the conclusion.
Let’s stop and think about rules based interpretation of the Bible as opposed to having no structure or rules for the interpretation of the Bible. A no rule based approach could also be called a random approach to Bible study. In the context of Bible study are rules a positive or a negative influence? Randomness is associated with a realm of lacking intelligent design. For example in my picture at the beginning of this paragraph I have a bunch of random rocks which do not display any structure. At the end of this paragraph I have another picture of rocks that clearly are not random but have a designed patterned created by intelligence. Which picture is more like the Bible? Let me ask you about general life situations and see if these can be taken back to Bible study. Are rules of conduct and manners good or bad? If they are good then consider why we might want to learn and follow Bible study rules also? Are rules for driving positive or negative? Would a random approach to driving a car result in more safety or more accidents? I think you can quickly see that randomness is a state of confusion and promotes negative consequences. That is why I believe random Bible study does the same.
Some might ask me “Can’t we just go and read the Bible and see what it says?” I wish that was true but that is not how God wrote the Bible as we discovered when Jesus said you must “search” for Him in the Bible to find Him. Bible study without strict rules would be like us playing a sport without knowing the goal or purpose of the sport or having any specific applicable rules, referees or penalties. If you place no independent reviewable limitations or restrictions upon what is permissible in any sport then suddenly you can do whatever you like to, to whoever you like to, to achieve whatever result you want to see. This type of mentality would result in a“Hunger Games” Bible study approach to winning the truth game and that is what we are observing in the church today. That is why I use very strong rules of Bible interpretation with defined and clearly stated restrictive laws guiding us to what is permissible and what is illegal in determining the meaning. These defined rules can be verified independently of the viewed interpretation to confirm that they are being followed. Without any laws of interpretation there is nothing but disorder, chaos and randomness and where disorder rules any interpretation represents legal truth.
What are these Bible study laws of interpretation that I use? I guess I have touched on most of them in my many other Bible lessons, but there are always new readers that have not read every lesson yet so I need to repeat things constantly to teach everyone new. If you have read these rules already and understand them, please forgive me for being repetitive. Let me give you just an overview of some of these basic laws of interpretation that are good to learn, remember and follow:
- The Law of First Mention. The first time a subject is mentioned in the Bible God gives specific descriptions, clues and even hints to understanding the entire spiritual subject in the N.T. It is noteworthy to mention that sometimes the subject first mentioned is not the same exact English word being sought from the N.T. For example, the sun, moon and stars of Revelation 12:1 is usually thought to be first mentioned in Genesis 37:9, but they are all mentioned before that using other titles and descriptions in Genesis 1:16 and that knowledge changes the definition of their identity dramatically by the discovery and understanding of these concealed clues. What I am saying is that not every first mention is always easy to find.
- The Law of Last Mention. This law is very similar to the Law of First Mention in reverse. The last time a subject is mentioned in the Bible God gives specific descriptions, clues and hints to the conclusion of the spiritual subject in the N.T. For example, the mention of the bride of the Lamb in Revelation 21 and 22 gives us conclusive insight into the spiritual representation of this figure. So while Eve was the first mentioned bride, the last mentioned bride concludes the subject. Since we also already learned that Adam was a type of Jesus, then Eve must be a type of the bride of Jesus. So much to learn but not my subject today.
- The Law of Two or Three Witnesses. Taking any solitary isolated text you can make the Bible say whatever you like, but by God requiring the reader to find at least two different confirming subject texts from two different books of the Bible helps to eliminate the isolation truth error. This single rule of interpretation is one of the most important and widely ignored laws that cause so much of the error in churches.
- The Law of No Private Interpretation. God requires us to leave our feeble opinions out of every Bible interpretation. This literally means that God will interpret His own Words in the Bible. This also means you have to look, search and find these interpretations in order to understand the original verse being studied. Get into the habit of finding God’s commentary on the subjects and leave your weak opinions out of the discussion.
- The Law of Divine Definition. God’s divine definition of every word will always take precedence over man’s definitions. Finding this definition is always the challenge, but it is usually accomplished with keyword searches of the text. For example many times in the Bible God speaks of a coming day of the Lord. This could be an isolated event of one time occurrence or it could also be a time of duration that points us to a 1000 years of duration as defined by 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4. We will definitely see in this lesson that this law will apply to our rapture study as a 1000 year time period.
- The Law of Indirect Antithesis Truth. For every stated direct truth in any verse an implied indirect antithesis truth not stated can be concluded. For example, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:31 that if we judge ourselves, we would not be judged. By the law of Indirect Antithesis truth we could say legally “If we do not judge ourselves we will be judged”. Both statements are equally true.
- The Mathematical Law of Transitive Equality. This law of Bible interpretation uses a basic law of Algebra to teach truth. It states if A = B and B = C then A = C. I recently used this law in stating if God = Word (John 1:1) and God = Spirit (John 4:24) then Spirit = Word and Word = Spirit and both = God.
- The Law of Right and Wrong Seeking. God reveals a Bible interpretation law in Matthew 7:7 that whatever we seek will be what we will find. Therefore, know that if we seek error (intentionally or unintentionally) we will always find error. Conversely if we seek truth then we will always find truth. It matters greatly what you are searching for in the Bible. If you seek to prove abortion is legal in the Bible you will find information to justify this belief but that is not the truth. It is the Law of God that by His design you will always find whatever you look for in His word.
- The Law of Truth Dependence. Understand that many truths found in the Word of God are dependent upon the discovery of other greater truths first. For example the symbolic identity of the woman in Revelation 12 is a truth that is dependently based upon first understanding the identities of all of the other dependent symbols that she is described with. No true interpretation of the woman is possible without discovering God’s hierarchal truth structure of the sun, moon and stars first. That is the law of truth dependence.
- The Law of Freewill Choice. God has given to every human the right to be wrong. Thus the Bible was written in a manner that permits every human the right to believe whatever they desire to believe. Not knowing this truth will cause many people to choose poorly their beliefs from the Bible. The Law of Freewill Choice goes hand in hand with the Law of Right and Wrong Seeking.
- The Law of Spiritual Guidance. God says very clearly in His word that His Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Ignoring the guidance of the Spirit of God will always result in your own individual private interpretations. Not listening to the Holy Spirit will always result in error.
- The Law of Revelation Knowledge. The Bible presents us with a paradox. God gives us plain text words but then requires us to receive His Spirit in order for Him to reveal them to us so that we can understand them correctly. The natural mind will always be enmity with the Spirit of God and the Bible. A spiritual mind will always be capable of receiving revelation truth from God. Every verse in the Bible can always be taken in two opposing ways; one is a natural view point and the other is a spiritual viewpoint. Which one do you believe is the ultimate truth? You see I have noticed that some preachers can teach sickness from the same verses that someone else preaches healing. How can two people see opposite truths from the same words?
That was just a simple sample introduction to finding and applying structured rules to your Bible study. Lacking any defined structure will consistently result in what I teach to be called the Random Human Chaos Understanding of the Bible. That simply means you can totally miss what God intended for you to know by doing it your own way and ignoring God’s ways. Since I am former computer programmer I understand rules based systems better than most. Every useful system is an entity with a design and every designed entity has rules. If you do not understand that the Bible is a book with design, structure and rules you are very ignorant that man can build something that God did not. That was a long introduction and I could spend a lot of time on the subject of structured versus random Bible study but that is not my primary subject today. So let’s move to rapture now and see what God teaches us about the subject in the O.T.
RAPTURE IN O.T. TYPOLOGY
The primary keyword that I am searching for today in the Old Testament is “trumpet”. If you recall we found the Lord Jesus descending in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 in unison with the sound of a trumpet coming out of heaven. Where, is the word “trumpet” first mentioned in the Bible and what does God reveal with this word’s usage in the context? Do these verses have anything to do with the rapture subject as I suspected? Since I have already done the Bible search, I will simply direct you to go to the book of Exodus and chapter 19. You may recall that the book of Exodus is the recorded story of God’s deliverance of the slave children of Israel from the oppressive nation of Egypt. We should also know from reading in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that this story was given to us by God to be a specific “type” (another typology) pattern for the church to learn from. How do I know that? It is simply because in this verse is found the exact same Greek word (G5179) that was translated as “figure” in the Adam to Jesus type pattern in Romans 5:14. But, here in 1 Corinthians 10:11 this same Greek word has been translated as the English word “examples”. “Examples” is just another synonymous term for “type”. What I am teaching you is that Jesus is not the only spiritual entity concealed within types in the Old Testament. 1 Corinthians 10:11 clearly teaches that natural Israel was a type of the spiritual church that we need to learn from as examples. What is an example? An example can simply be any model of the real. You see an architect might build a scale model of his designed building for the client to approve and this is his usage of an example type for the coming real. That is what God is saying to us that He is doing. However God is not looking for our approval, God is using this example type to teach us.
When taking a test in school some example questions may be given for you to see how to answer correctly. These examples are not the real test but are rather only patterns for the coming real to teach what is expected of you. Do you understand? Any example can also be either positive or negative and we can learn from either type. Some examples teach us what not to do and other examples teach us correct responses. I clearly believe that natural Israel teaches mostly negative examples for us not to follow but that is another subject entirely. Remember the introductory rules of Bible Typology? Natural Israel is not the church but only represents certain patterned characteristics for the church to apply or learn from. Maybe I need to just give you the complete verse and let you look at it for yourself:
1Co 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (NASB)
Let’s verify that the natural O.T. nation of Israel displays certain positive patterns that correspond with the N.T. church. What parallels exist within the written history of the nation of Israel that can be used as typologies for the coming New Testament church? Are there any specific parallels or common patterns with these two separate distinct entities? Let me give you a quick overview of some of the Biblical typologies that I believe are fairly obvious concerning the natural nation of Israel and the spiritual church of Jesus Christ:
- Israel was held in bondage for 430 years in Egypt until the deliverer was sent by God to set them free from their bondage.
- The people of the earth were held in bondage for 4030 years under the domination of the spiritual oppressor Satan until Jesus our spiritual deliverer was sent by God into the world to set us free.
- Moses the natural deliver was preserved from death by God as the evil ruler of Egypt killed every male child of Israel.
- Jesus the Deliverer of the world was preserved from the same type of death being sent by an angel to Egypt as the evil ruler ordered the deaths of every male child in Bethlehem.
- The Passover lamb is killed in Egypt and the blood spread upon the wooden doorpost to guard, protect and deliver the children of Israel from natural death.
- The Passover Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) is killed and His shed blood on the wooden cross delivers God’s children from our eternal spiritual death and destruction.
- The children of Israel after being freed from Egypt and Pharaoh were baptized by God when they went through the red sea and this same red sea eliminated the threat of the pursuing Egyptian army.
- The church of Jesus Christ has been baptized into Christ’s sea of red flowing blood and this flowing blood sea saved us while dooming our enemy Satan.
- The children of Israel were given water from a rock to drink in the wilderness to sustain them.
- The Church of Jesus Christ drinks the living water pouring from the mouth of the Chief Cornerstone Jesus Christ our eternal living spiritual rock.
- The children of Israel ate manna sent down from heaven in the wilderness.
- The Church of Jesus Christ eats the bread of life sent down from heaven which is the Word of God.
- The children of Israel take the Promised Land and possess it overcoming their enemies.
- The Church of Jesus Christ takes the promises of God by faith overcoming their spiritual enemy Satan.
- Moses the deliverer gives the children of Israel the law of commandments on Mt Sinai.
- Jesus Christ the deliverer of the church gives the church the law of the commandment of love.
- God establishes priests in Israel to offer sacrifices to their God.
- The church is comprised of spiritual priests unto God offering sacrifices of praise unto our God.
This is called God’s Biblical Typology using O.T. patterns found in the information given about a real natural people that teach us about a coming spiritual people. We could go into many other parallel patterns found in the Bible about the natural nation of Israel, Moses and Pharaoh representing the church, Jesus and Satan in types. I believe that this was a really good introduction to the subject of how God uses hidden Biblical typology in the Old Testament to teach us what will happen again in the New Testament. I pray that you can see it and receive it because it is essential that you understand what God says in His Word.
Ecc 1:9 That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.
This is what I call the Bible Law of Repeated Design Patterns being revealed. God clearly says what has been in the past is that which shall be again in the yet to come. There is definitely nothing new under the sun! God teaches us that O.T. types are the design patterns for what will occur again in the forthcoming events of the world. This is such an important part of God and the Bible that I cannot emphasize it enough. This law is why I am looking for rapture concepts to be hidden in the recorded types of the O.T. If we cannot find any previous rapture patterns in the O.T. it will not be possible for it to occur again in the N.T. If we can find rapture types hidden in the O.T. then we can be assured of the truth for what will soon reoccur for the church. Let’s continue to study Rapture.
Using Bible search software, do the search of the Bible for the keyword “trumpet”. Please do this to help verify everything that I teach is accurate. If I make any mistake, if I miss something, if I say it wrong, or even if I type it misspelled, tell me nicely and I will make the necessary correction. You should hopefully find the word “trumpet” in verse 13 of Exodus 19. This was the first mention of the keyword “trumpet” that I found in the KJV Bible search and here is what I found that this verse says:
Exo 19:13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
I think the Bible is so awesome. Did you notice the way that God writes this verse in the Bible? God orchestrates a real historical natural event that actually occurred but because of His designed purpose and precise word selection, these words can be taken both literally and spiritually as being both historical and prophetical typology simultaneously. We can use the order of mention and the phrasing to see the implied spiritual future application pattern. For example here in this verse, God says where I am now, no one living on the earth can come up or they will die. That has a lot of hidden meaning in it to me. We live DOWN here in a natural world on the earth apart from God’s throne UP in heaven. How can a natural man ascend into heaven without first experiencing death? It is just not possible for a natural man to visit God’s spiritual location by his own desire, effort, action or will. In fact for a Christian to depart and be with the Lord before the trumpet rapture event they must normally die. We of course have also already learned that there are the exceptions of Enoch and Elijah that did not die before they were taken by God. But those two were just further confirmation rapture patterns that we the living in the church can be taken identically. Let’s continue to move on to the last part of the verse for the beginning of the really good stuff about this hidden rapture pattern.
Right now I really only want to talk about three main subjects found in the last statement where God says the (1) “trumpet” will sound loud and then (2) “they” shall (3) “come up”. Remember according to 1 Corinthians 10:11 who the people called “they” are a “type” of. Then notice what happens first and then what the type of the church is instructed to do. Did you notice that this verse does not say who blows the trumpet? This is a very clever way of making a literal physical event a prophetic event description. Since no one directly is named as the trumpet blower the action can be performed by anyone natural or spiritual. You will also observe the obvious fact that “they” is another generic unnamed pronoun of non-specific assignment. In other words someone will blow a trumpet and then some unnamed people will “come up”. Now I can understand that God is speaking about natural people and natural acts of those people, but the words apply to two realms by explicit use of generalities. Many times what people read in the O.T. as God only speaking to a natural people is really God speaking more broadly to a greater coming people. I’m sure I will have some disagreement with that statement, but sorry I stand by it. Perhaps we need to look up the Hebrew word translated as “trumpet” to see the meaning and the definition from Strong’s. This information may help to confirm if we have found the correct named N.T. association found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 for trumpet in the Greek:
Apparently from H2986; the blast of a horn (from its continuous sound); specifically the signal of the silver trumpets; hence the instrument itself and the festival thus introduced: – jubile, ram’s horn, trumpet.
In this definition we will read a strong matching definition for the Greek word G4536 that was translated into English as “trump” in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Observing the Hebrew definition of the word from Strong’s it means “a blast of a horn as with a continuous sound”. It is also very interesting to see that God uses this trumpet sound to announce certain festivals. Let me help you with another Bible study fact detail. If you search the Hebrew word definitions in Strong you will find the word “trumpet” occurs in 10 different Hebrew words. What does that tell us? God specifically chose this word in the O.T. to be the first mention and that the other words are potentially not connected to this event description. However, I will also tell you that God uses another word in Exodus 19 that is also translated as the English word “trumpet”. For example, in verse 16 of Exodus 19 you will find the Hebrew word H7782 that is also translated as “trumpet”. Why does God use two different Hebrew words for basically the same type of noun object? Why are both words translated as the same English word trumpet? What is the difference between the trumpet in verse 13 and the trumpet in verse 16? Those are all great questions and if you are not asking these types of questions when you study the Bible you are not studying. I believe that God has a purpose for every specific word selected. I believe no word utilized is there by accident or chance. We still have a lot to learn.
It is extremely important to search the O.T. for every occurrence of this Hebrew word translated as trumpet in Exodus 19 to see how God used it for the subject context of the entire O.T. If you do this you will find that this Hebrew word is only selected for use by God in 25 verses of the Old Testament. Almost every other time this Hebrew word is selected by God, it is translated as the English word “Jubilee”. Pay very close attention that a Trumpet blast always begins the festival Jubilee. Do you know what a Jubilee was to the natural nation of Israel? God writes significant things about Jubilee in the Law book of Leviticus. To the natural Jew the time of Jubilee was a highly anticipated event. Uh oh! That sounds like the rapture to me! Jubilee occurred every 50 years by God’s design. During this time of celebration all debts were forgiven and the lands went back to the previous owner in the family. There are two key words found in the descriptions of Jubilee that applies to Biblical typology for the rapture of the church. These two key words are “inheritance” and “redeem”. Both words are predominate themes of the N.T. You may still scratch your head and wonder what could Jubilee, inheritance and redemption have to do with Rapture? That is where I will tell you that it has more to do with rapture than you can possibly imagine right now. Perhaps I’ll get to that part of the discussion later today, but if not I will make an effort to talk about Jubilee in a future Bible lesson on rapture. What I have concluded with this information is that this story given by God in Exodus 19 is the first example of Jubilee for the nation of Israel and you should remember that.
Looking back at Exodus 19:13 did you read it closely searching for the rapture parallels found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17? Notice what God says to Moses who is a typed pattern of the N.T. deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ; God says that a trumpet will blast long and then the people will come up. Did you notice where Moses was when he was told this statement? Was not Moses up on the mountain with God? I thought God just said no one could touch the mountain or they will die. You should be able to see more typology patterns that fit the rapture event here. Moses being a type of Jesus goes up into heaven alive in Acts 1. Let me stop at those words and explain the typology of the mount for you. The mountain represents the place of God in heaven symbolically. Moses goes up to talk to God and God gives instructions from the location of the symbolic heaven. We could easily get off on another side trip discussion about the symbolism of the mount but I will move on to the “come up” part of the verse.
The Hebrew word translated as “come up” is H5927. If you look up the word’s definition in Strong’s it literally means “to ascend”. Here we have one of the closely described synonymous terms that God taught us to look for in Lesson 1 for the Greek term “harpazo” where it was translated as “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. To ascend up is the stated direct opposite of descending down. To “ascend up” can also be interchanged with the description of being “caught up”, “taken up”, etc. This verse is certainly not a completed match for what we read in 1 Thessalonians but it is a very good initial shadow outline for it. Remember what a type is? It is not the completed picture but rather just the outline of the detailed image casting the shadow giving enough information so that it is recognizable to those that know the original. Here in this single verse are 6 direct and indirect nouns and one verb that corresponded to the rapture information with pretty amazing accuracy. What were these nouns and verb, you might ask? Glad you asked here is a list of these important parallel types:
- God (In charge of the entire event)
- The Mount, the high location of God (a type of heaven)
- The trumpet blast (announcing the beginning of the event)
- Moses (a type of the Lord Jesus the deliverer already up in the clouds in heaven)
- The people (they) alive on the earth (a type of the living church) waiting to go up to be with the Lord
- The wilderness valley (the symbolic location for the church in the world today)
- Ascend Up (The living church rising up to meet God in the clouds)
Here are seven key parallel ingredients to the described rapture event in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and this is just the first mention of the trumpet instrument that brought us to this chapter in Exodus. Do you see how these two separate scriptures were linked together by God? Do you understand why they are linked together? Probably not yet but hopefully very soon you will see it more clearly. Let’s examine the context of this verse more closely to see what else is hidden concerning the coming rapture. In doing this we will go up in the chapter to verse 1. But I will not include all of those verses in this lesson to shorten it slightly. Verse one describes Israel coming out of Egypt and traveling from there for a specific set time of 3 months. They come to the Mountain of Sinai and God wants to meet with Moses on the top of the mountain. I wonder why a mountain? God always does things by plan and purpose and nothing that God does is an accident. Moses goes up on the mountain to hear God speak and the next few verses are primarily God doing the speaking but notice that some or all of these words can be taken concurrently for the now present tense and a future prophetic tense to apply to someone else. What I am saying is that these words spoken by God apply to the natural situation right then with the children of Israel but they also apply to the future repeated events that will not occur for thousands of years from then concerning the church. Let’s begin to examine verse 5 to see what exactly God says:
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
Here we have God speaking of the natural nation of Israel using terms that are very interesting. God tells them you are in covenant with me! God tells them to keep His commandments and obey His voice! Both of these were stated conditions for the covenant. Then God announces the benefits of the covenant arrangement and for fulfilling the conditions. God says you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all other people. Do you understand fully what was just spoken? God states that you will be my people but all others will not be my people and that is a classic binary division of two opposing antithesis groups. That is very much like the concept that we discovered in the first three lessons on the subject of rapture. Those two groups that we have been learning about were those that are “IN-CHRIST” versus those that were “OUT-CHRIST”; those that were called the sheep versus those that were called the goats; those that were wheat versus those that were tares; those that were wise virgins versus those that were foolish virgins. Can you see the pattern agreement with what was revealed in the N.T.?
Here in this verse we also have a Hebrew word that is very noteworthy to comprehend. This word H5459 means “wealth” as in something shut up in a locker or a vault. This Hebrew word signifies a place or a state of protection for something that is very valuable to keep them from an enemy or a thief. Who do you recall that Jesus said is the thief in the Bible? In John 10:10 Jesus said “the thief (Satan) came to kill, steal and to destroy but I have come that you might have life”. I am not going to spend time explaining every word given by God in this verse. Just note the existence of three important parallels, the covenant, the conditions and the benefits because these are all types that apply to the church today. Let’s move to verse 6 and learn some new important details:
Exo 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
God continues to speak and says to the people that you will not only be my guarded treasure but “You shall be 1) a kingdom of priests and 2) a holy nation. God then tells Moses these are the words that you shall speak to the “children of Israel”. Who are these two mentioned types? We have Israel and we have his children. Who are these children and who is this Israel in Biblical typology? I do not have the time to elaborate on every spiritual application of the information given in the O.T. I will go over a few key details to help to get you thinking in a new spiritual way about this typological information being given. Naturally speaking, we know Jacob’s name was changed to Israel in Genesis 32:28. Here in this verse is the first mention of the name Israel and by the law of first mention God gives us certain clues that we need to learn from to understand the rest of the subject in the Bible. Go read this chapter again and see it for yourself. Then answer these two questions. Where did this name come from and whose name was it before it was given to Jacob? I’ll tell you directly that the Bible says the name Israel came from the angel sent by God up in heaven to wrestle with Jacob. Then I think we need to do some research study to see what this name means in the original Hebrew language. Read the definition from the Strong’s and see how it is defined:
From H8280 and H410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity: – Israel.
I want you to pay close attention to what Dr. Strong believed this name represented. He declared that first this name was a symbolical name given to Jacob. What does that tell you? That simply means the name Israel was not Jacob’s real name but rather belonged to someone else. It also connects us back into the Biblical Typology discussion directly as this name being a spiritual subject that was hidden in the natural O.T. typological references. Did you notice how Strong was led to include the word “typically” in the definition? I do not believe that was an accident. Typically or types is exactly what we are studying. Did you notice what the name means? According to the definition the name Israel means “He will rule as God”. Uh oh? Who can that be? Is that the natural man Jacob that will rule as God or someone else that was prophesied to come from Jacob? Since Jacob obviously died a natural death and has not been raised from the dead from what I have read in the Bible, I do not believe that natural Jacob qualifies to rule as God. Wow, this is going to get very deep here and I might just offend some immature Christians with the truth.
The Hebrew name “Israel” is comprised of two other Hebrew root words. One Hebrew root word is H8280 which means “to prevail” as a ruler prince. To prevail implies this subject has direct opposition and enemies to overcome. To prevail further implies victories and conquests over these enemies. The second Hebrew root word is H410 and this is the most important part of the name. It is a very common O.T. shortened form for the divine name of God. This Hebrew word “el” is used before other divine titles like “El Shaddai” (Almighty God), “El Elyon” (Supreme God) and “El Olam” (Everlasting God) which are all O.T. descriptive divine names for our God. Perhaps you have heard of some of these names? Ok, let’s take a quick review of the information that we have just learned about the name “Israel”:
- The name Israel came down from God in Heaven.
- The name Israel was given to a natural man named Jacob after he prevailed with the angel.
- The name Israel was called a symbolical name by Strong for the man Jacob.
- The name Israel literally means “He will rule as God”.
What we are observing here are some more O.T. Typologies that are pointing us to Jesus using these patterns. Let me help prove to you that the name “Israel” is God’s name that was given to a natural man named Jacob. Did you know I could prove that using the Bible? This is why so many Bible teachers today are so confused about what is written, they do not see what is plainly right in front of their eyes. Let me give you a few verses to help you see what I am trying to teach you:
2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name,
Isa 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
Jer 7:11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.
Jer 7:14 Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
Jer 32:34 “But they put their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it.
I could give you a few other verses but that is enough witnesses to the truth to establish it firmly in my mind. Can you read? God says 5 times these people are called by My name? What name do you think this is? I know for sure that it is the name “Israel” (He will rule as God) and it can be no other. Do you know how many times “Israel” is found in the O.T.? The name “Israel” is included in 2,228 verses of the O.T. Bible. There is no other name used that many times to describe any people. Jerusalem is found in only 626 verses. Judah is found in 754 verses. Can you think of any names in the O.T. of a natural people that will qualify for who God is calling by His name? Ok, let me help you out by connecting some more of the dots for you. Did you notice that I included Jeremiah 7:11 in my list of confirming verses? I did this on purpose because Jesus tells you directly who it is in Matthew 21:13. Jesus drives out the money changers with a whip from the temple in Jerusalem and He quotes a part of Jeremiah 7:11 to describe the event. Jesus said “My house shall be a house of prayer but you have made it a robber’s den”. What Jesus has just described are the people that are called by His name and this can only be the children of “Israel”. I do not want to spend any more time on this part of the lesson. You either are going to see it or you are going to close your eyes and reject it.
The natural children of Jacob were 12 sons and these were the founding natural fathers of the 12 tribes of natural Israel. Each generation had their own children and this continual cycle of generational propagation continued until Moses is speaking with God here in these verses in Exodus 19. Now is the time where we need to factor into the equation “how does this natural pattern typology information fit with any spiritual application of the greater prophesied truth of God?” Did any of these words just spoken by God in verse 6 even sound just a little bit familiar to you? Please let me list the key factors that were just given again in verse 6:
- The children of Israel (A natural family pattern of many generations descending from 12 brothers)
- A Kingdom of Priests
- A Holy Nation of People
I mean if you have ever read the N.T. you have come across all of these type descriptions even if you did not realize where they were mentioned first in the Bible. I’ll give you a hint, the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write about all of these types to the church and this is what God reveals to us through His servant Peter:
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
As you should be able to tell, Peter is not directly quoting the entire verse of Exodus 19:6. However Peter writes enough for us to know they are directly connected. If you look at the NASB version of the Bible you will discover this verse is mostly capitalized to indicate that it is a direct quote of Exodus 19:6. However, this verse is really more of a direct commentary explanation by God for what He was talking about and who God was speaking to prophetically in the original statement of Exodus 19:6. I will no doubt have some naysayers try to tell me this verse does not have anything to do with what God said to natural Israel but that is just spiritual blindness that causes people not to have the ability to make the proper connections. Look at what Peter says to the church. He said we are a “chosen generation”. Chosen simply means the “elect”. Uh oh, I thought natural Israel was the only ones ever called God’s elect? Not according to what God just revealed to the church here in the N.T. The Greek term G1085 translated as “generation” directed at the church in this verse simply means a group of related family members, relatives or kin. Did you know that you were in a new family now if you are a Christian? How does that term for the church compare with the typology we just found spoken to the children of natural Israel? I personally see so many parallels and repeated patterns here that it is amazing. The natural nation of Israel originates with one man having 12 natural sons. Does that compare to the church at all? What about Jacob being a type of Jesus Christ? Did Jesus ever have twelve spiritual sons? I’m not talking about natural sons, I am asking about the spiritual offspring. Did you ever wonder why Jesus chose exactly 12 disciples? I mean that has to have been for a very specific reason, do you not agree? Does God do anything casually? I believe Jesus choose twelve disciples to match with the 12 sons of Jacob in the natural.
Biblical typology is such a fascinating subject with so much hidden information that it is really astonishing. Why did Jesus knowing Judas was going to betray Him choose him to be a disciple? Did you know that Judas was also found in hidden O.T. typology? One tribe of natural Israel has been omitted from all mention of the 12 tribes of Israel in Revelation 7. In fact this omitted tribe of Israel has been replaced by just one son from another tribe. I do not have the time to attempt to explain what is happening here in this typology fully. Notice that in Acts 1 that Judas who killed himself was replaced by another. Who was that man that stepped into the vacant Judas position to take his place in the church? I believe that it was one of the spiritual sons of one of the other 11 faithful disciples. I can see every disciple mentioned to be chosen to fulfill a beginning initial role in the new family of God. These 12 men would go into the whole world to bring the Gospel of Jesus to increase and grow the spiritual family of God from every nation on the earth. Why, are Christians called brothers and sisters in the Lord? At least 30 times in his letters to the churches Paul refers to Gentile church members to be his brothers. Since Paul was a naturally born Jew Paul had to be speaking of spiritual kinship and not of the natural. This is simply because we are all spiritual family members in the same spiritual family of God. This spiritual reality simply parallels the natural reality of the nation of Israel who were also all brothers and sisters of the same 12 fathers. Let’s move on in this verse in 1 Peter so that I do not get into too much information.
After “Chosen Generation” Peter then mentions “we are a royal priesthood”. Here is where we get to the direct correlation to Exodus 19:6. Do you remember what God said for Moses to say? God says tell them “You are a Kingdom of Priests”. Royalty has to do with only kingdoms and thus we have more synonymous terms being linked directly together. Did you know that you were a priest in God’s spiritual family in the New Covenant? We do not offer animal sacrifices to God like the priests of natural Israel, but rather we do offer the sacrifice of praise of our lips to God (Heb 13:15). These are just two parallel truth realities that are imperative to learn about as Christians. Finally we get to the one for one relationship being called a “holy nation” the exact same phrase as was mentioned in Exodus 19:6. I want you to do a keyword search for the exact phrase “holy nation” in your Bible search program. This exact phrase only occurs in two verses and these verses are Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:9. Do you think that is a coincidence, chance occurrence or an accidental happenstance? If you do you are vastly deceived. The Bible linking such a precise phrase together in only two verses is God connecting them together to leave no doubt about what is being communicated about. God is saying very clearly that Exodus 19 is about my Church.
So far we have two very specific links to the church. Do you remember what they were? We have found the church by the law of first mention concerning the “trumpet” reference from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Then we have the keyword matched “Holy Nation” reference from Exodus 19:6 only found repeated in 1 Peter 2:9. Let’s go back to Exodus and continue to study what God says to us. I’m going to skip down to verse 9 in Exodus 19 to move past some less important verses for this lesson discussion:
Exo 19:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
Do you remember how many references I said there were concerning “clouds” in the New Testament? In several of those Jesus very specifically said that He would be coming in the clouds. I am not going to list those again but you can review the previous lessons and find the references. What I see in this verse is another connecting reference to a noun from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. The clouds being repeated here in this discourse is not an accident. We now have 7 repeated nouns and 1 repeated verb. I have been working up to this next verse for the entire lesson and here is some very key information for the timing of the rapture event.
Exo 19:10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
God tells Moses the deliver (a type of Christ Jesus) to sanctify the people. What exactly is that and what does that statement even mean? Let’s begin with the definition of the Hebrew word from the Strong’s dictionary. According to Strong the Hebrew word H6942 means “to be, make, pronounce or observe as clean”. Therefore, sanctification is like a cleaning process. Perhaps you occasionally take a bath or a shower to make your body clean and if you do then you are sanctifying your body. This is really not that complicated but easily missed if we do not learn the application to what this means in the spiritual realm. Wow this is so interesting to me knowing what I know about the word of God and work of Christ Jesus in the New Testament. Are you beginning to see the hidden Jesus Christ in these verses? I could give you many New Testaments verses that apply to what is stated here but I am going to limit myself to only two verses to show how God has sanctified the church through Christ:
1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here we have another very key verse of information that ties directly to our rapture subject study. This verse occurs in the chapter immediately following the previous chapter’s rapture event report to the church. Here God brings into the context discussion the subject of sanctification. Paul continuing to write to the church tells them that the God of peace will sanctify them wholly and wholly is defined to include their spirit, soul and body. What did sanctify mean? It meant to cleanse or make clean and this implies they were dirty in these three areas of their lives. The Bible is so awesome when you finally put the pieces of the puzzle together. God is saying I will make you clean but technically does not describe how this will occur. Some try to transfer responsibility of this cleaning as a God only type of work but that leaves out the human freewill right of choice and that would violate so many things found in the Bible so very plainly. Since sanctification is not the primary subject here I am not going to spend the time here to explain it. I simply want you to see the clear links that are being placed plainly in front of you for you to join them together. God is linking rapture to the sanctification part of the discussion and vice versa Let me show you one other very key scripture concerning sanctification and the church:
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Here we have a verse that does not name the church directly but if you read the context you will find out the church is one of the primary subjects being discussed in this chapter. In verse 25 God says to husbands “Love your wives even as Christ loves the church and gave himself for her and then in verse 26 is the connecting link to the previous statement “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word”. I wasn’t going to get into the method of sanctification but I think I just did. What God is saying here is that Jesus has sanctified His bride the church by giving them His precious Holy Word to wash with. Here we have a paradox being presented that many readers will be puzzled with. I recently had one man tell me I was crazy for teaching people that the church was the wife of Christ because we are clearly described to be the body of Christ in many verses of the New Testament. To that man I will ask this simple question. If we the church, are the body of Christ why then is it necessary for Christ to give us a Word bath to cleanse His very own body? Uh oh? Is not the body of Christ already clean having been raised from the dead and exalted into heaven? You see because people do not think when they read the Bible they miss so much of what is being stated. The answer to why the church needs cleansing is found in Exodus 19 and several other verses. If you would like to learn more about this secret you can read my Bible lesson “How the Church became the Body of Christ”.
Let’s continue to look at Exodus 19:10. God says for the people to be cleansed and tells them to wash their clothes today and tomorrow. That was a stated cleaning duration of two days, was it not? Why did God pick exactly two days to tell them to prepare for the trumpet? Wow, we are now getting into the timing of the rapture event without even understanding what God has said to us fully. Approximately how long has it been since Jesus left the earth to go into heaven to wait for His time to return? It has been nearly 2000 years. No one knows for sure the exact time but it is very close to that number. Why is this number 2000 significant and how is it related to the 2 days mentioned in Exodus 19? It simply goes back to what I said earlier about God’s law of divine definition. It is important to interpret spiritual things using spiritual definitions or you will bet lost and confused. Do you remember how I said that God defined a “day” found in 2 Peter 3:8? God defines one day to Him to be equivalent to 1000 years and even 1000 years to be equal to exactly one day. What is needed here is for you to see that God says for His people to get ready by making themselves clean because in two days (2000 years) He was going to sound the trumpet and they were going to “come up”. These are hidden patterns in the Word of God that teach the general timing of the event. It is very scripturally in balance because Jesus said in Matthew 25:13 “Be sober and vigilant because no man knows the day or hour of the coming of the son of man”. But notice that Jesus did not say that we would not be able to discern the general season for the event. In general terms I know that the timing for His return is very soon, but I do not technically know for certain if it is this year or next or the next. Do you know the certainty of the calendar? There is really no way that I know of for us to ascertain the exact duration of time since the beginning of the church age. Therefore, it is foolish for anyone to attempt to set a specific date for this event.
Typology is not a perfect picture of anything spiritual. The chapter has only given us patterned clues for the outline and not the entire complete detailed picture. I’ve spent enough time on this chapter going over many of the specific outline qualities that point us primarily to the event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. I believe that we have established the start of the proof necessary for the establishment of the pre-tribulation rapture event. We can conclude by typological references from Exodus that after two days of cleaning preparation represents two thousands years of the church age when the trumpet will be sounded and the people will come up. I think we have just established that within O.T typology there is a solid pattern match for a future rapture event being connected to the church. Thank you for taking the time to read this important Bible lesson on rapture. I pray that you gained some new insight from it on the subject of rapture that you did not know before. Until the next Bible lesson in this series, I thank you for sharing this information with everyone that you know! God Bless!
If you like to read the next lesson in the Rapture series please go to “Part 5” now.
Is the Rapture of the Church Really Found in the Bible? Rapture Basics in Intelligent Design – Part 3
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 3 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the important subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. If you have not read from the first lesson I would highly recommend that you go and start your study review with “Part 1” and then continue in succession until today’s lesson. I have been going through the steps for building a firm doctrinal foundation for the Biblical subject of rapture. In the last lesson we explored 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 to begin our discovery process to what God was teaching the early church on the subject of being “caught up”. The Greek word “harpazo” was correctly and clearly translated as “caught up” in this verse and this Greek word is just a synonymous term for the modern English word “rapture”. We further explored at least 6 historical rapture events recorded in the Bible to verify that being “caught up” was not a fictional or manmade concept but it was given to us by God as a standard pattern in the Bible starting in Genesis and going all the way to Revelation.
As we have discovered, not every historical rapture event reported in the Bible was both physical and spiritual but still every example fulfilled the pattern for the sovereign display of the power of God to take a man suddenly out of the world. Each of these recorded rapture events that I mentioned from the Bible were the divine intervention of a sovereign God that interrupted the normal course of human events for the selected few that were affected. We learned several important lessons from these examples. For example, we can clearly observe that when these events transpired, that the man selected by God was removed from the earth while all others remained on the earth to be left behind. We can further learn from the study of these men taken up that each was considered to be righteous and not evil in the sight of God. Every person recorded in the Bible that has already been raptured was a righteous man in good relationship with the almighty God. I could not find where God takes up an unrighteous man from off of the face of the earth as a historical pattern. If you know of one that I missed you are free to tell me about it. From what I have seen all those that were taken up by God had the normal course of their life suddenly and instantly translated by divine designed interruption. These are all very important patterns to apply and remember. God will not take everyone in the next scheduled rapture event either and God will only be focused upon the righteous people as is revealed in these great Bible patterns.
From the six recorded historical rapture events we have found in the Bible, three were very clear examples of living breathing men leaving the earth in complete unified body and spirit form. These three men were Enoch, Elijah and the risen from the dead Lord Jesus Christ. We of course know that Jesus going up was different from Enoch and Elijah since Jesus had tasted death first but was then resurrected back to life before He went up to heaven in Acts 1. It is important to distinguish this difference since Enoch and Elijah never tasted physical natural death and they were both taken up by God as they were walking with God like we who believe in rapture soon will be also. We further know that neither Enoch nor Elijah had any power or control over what transpired. However the Lord Jesus Christ went up under His own control and power at His own timing, but He was also God. Enoch and Elijah establish a pattern that teaches us that every living being does not necessarily have to experience natural death to be taken into the presence of God. These three divine transportations from the face of the earth prove the concept of rapture is absolutely true and more than possible beyond any doubt in my mind. We further saw two examples of spiritual transportation to heaven to view things never seen by human men and these two described experiences were Paul and Isaiah. Finally, we also saw another human man named Phillip in Acts that was transported physically and spiritually from one natural location to another natural location on the earth. All of these clear examples prove that another event just like those can occur by God’s selected design. We have not talked about the book of Revelation or any future rapture events yet but we will get there as the Bible study continues.
A FRESH LOOK AT 1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-17
1Th 4:16 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:
1Th 4:17 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.
Today in this Bible lesson I am going to do a few things very different than in the majority of my other Bible lessons. I am going to attempt to go into more technical depth with the basic Bible rapture information found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. I plan to give you a brand new approach for Bible study. This method will help you to see how I think about the subjects found within a Bible study. I realize that not everyone is like me and I understand that completely. We are all unique beings with differing life experiences, training, education and personalities. So while I describe to you how I study the Bible I am not saying that you must be like me or you are wrong. I hope that you keep this in mind as you read the rest of the lesson. I will not attempt to promote my Bible Study method as being superior to anything that you do. In fact after you read this lesson, please be brave to share how you study the Bible, I would love to hear about it in a comment. My primary point here is that we all just need to study the Bible and if anyone can use anything from my methods and learn from them that is really great, but if you have another method that works for you then you be led by the Spirit of God and do it that way.
I believe that many people do not generally spend enough time when studying specific verses in the Bible. I am going to focus today on 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 again to help some to learn that there is always more that we can get from reading the same verses over. In fact, most of the greatest revelations that I have received from the Spirit of God has come only after I spent significant time reading the verses over and over and over again. Sometimes after the 30th repetition of reading it slowly again, the Words on the page would suddenly come to life in my spirit and I would see something new that I had never seen before. Even as I continue to meditate upon the verses and reread them I would again see something new that I had not seen before. I have learned that God just works like this because humans are generally spiritual dull people requiring their minds to be renewed with the truth before being able to see what God is saying in the Bible. It is also noteworthy to consider that because of the extreme intelligence of God, He is able to say significantly more in a few words than any human can say writing an entire book. Usually this mind renewal process is not a onetime read it and we got it type of miracle. Even if someone has a photographic memory and can immediately quote the verse that they just read does not mean that they understand what it said completely in their spirit. You can even teach a parrot to quote the Bible but that bird will not understand what he is saying I hope you understand these principles because they were very important points that I have learned from experience.
Let’s examine these Bible verses in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and extract the primary stated nouns, verbs and adjectives. This is actually a very good first step in any Bible study. If you have never done this I would suggest that you put this into your study habits. It will help us to be more detailed oriented when reading and it helps us stop at each word and consider why God has placed this word within the text. Also, in doing this it will help explain how these words selected by God fit into a new way to study the Bible that I use constantly and I’ll talk more about this later. A noun is a person, place or thing and is usually tangible in nature, recognizable within the 5 sense realm, but not always. There certainly exist many intangible nouns beyond the 5 sense realm of the natural senses. A verb is a part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence and it is usually connected in relationship to the stated noun part of the sentence. Finally, an adjective is a word or phrase of descriptive quality that modifies any given noun in the sentence. An adjective almost always limits the qualified scope of the noun definition by providing us with specific descriptions, attributes or qualities of the specified noun. I am going to give you a list of what I found in these two verses and I would like it if you would see if you can agree with me on these. I certainly realize that I am not a perfect man and that I do not know everything so I am open to correction if you have very strong sound evidence for your belief and understanding of the these subjects.
|17||Alive||(In Christ) implied||Caught Up|
This list is certainly not every word identified in the verses, but I believe that they represent the major subjects, actions and descriptions being communicated. Being a detailed person I like to consider the words like “the”, “and”, “with”, “in” and etc., but including all of these in this study would make the lesson considerably longer. Correct Bible study involves much deeper digging beyond a simplistic one time surface reading and this is what I am attempting to demonstrate to you today. I personally believe that one of the next steps to correct Bible study is for us to look up each original language word definition in a good dictionary like “Strong”, “Thayer” or others. I have found from experience that Strong appears to be a good word definition source however I do not consider it a perfect book without errors or at least certain human bias. For example, Strong names the natural land of Israel “Palestine” in many of its definitions and I disagree with that. There has never been a nation of “Palestine” that I know of. Strong may have had a good reason for doing this, but I have not found it yet and it seems to promote the modern Palestinian view that the land of Israel does not belong to the nation of Israel. I will point out that when Dr. Strong published this book back in 1890 the nation of Israel did not technically exist until 1948 when they were again given parts of this land area and reestablished as a nation. Therefore when the concordance was published he could have viewed this land as the land of Palestine even though that nation did not exist either.
I have found 16 major nouns and some of them are used more than once like “Lord” and “we”. I have found at least 5 distinct verbs of described accomplishment or action. The adjectives are mainly two words that are describing two different types of Christians, the physically dead and the physically alive. To study this completely we would need to look up the definitions of every word in the original Greek language to insure our understanding is complete on the word’s usage and translation into English. I do this to protect the accuracy of the translation and in doing this I have discovered many mistakes that the translators have made. If you have not ever looked up the definitions of these words in a dictionary like Strong’s, I would strongly suggest that you spend the time and do it before continuing to read. I simply will not go into that level of detail on every word to keep this lesson from growing into a longer book form.
I will point out a few key words that are important in verse 16. The Greek word G2962 translated as “Lord” means the supreme one in authority and can only be a reference to Jesus Christ. Therefore Jesus is at the beginning of this described future event. The Greek word G2597 translated as “descend” means to come down and we are told the originating location for the descent by the Greek word G3772 translated as “heaven” the abode of God as one possible rendition. So far in this event we have the risen spiritual Jesus from spiritual heaven descending down towards the physical natural earth. That represents two realms of existence and a transition between them taking place. I’ll skip the “trump“, the “archangel”, the “voice” and the “shout” for now. Let’s go down to the Greek word G3498 translated as “dead” and you will find that this Greek word G3498 means a literal corpse. The next primary verb is the Greek word G450 translated as “rise” literally means to stand upright again. Thus we have Jesus coming down and the corpses arising up. These are very descriptive words and I do not understand how or why people explain them away but they do.
Let’s quickly review some of the other key words found in verse 17. The Greek word G2249 translated as “we” is just a plural form of the personal pronoun “I”. Therefore God’s usage of this word “we” represents a group of more than one. We of course are not given a number of people in this group and it could be an open ended quantity anywhere from 2 to more than we could count. Did you ever think about the term “we”? What is it that allows many separate individual people to be grouped into a single named pronoun entity? The answer to that question is they all must have something in common together or they are not a “we”. Also notice that the writer’s usage of the term “we” includes “me” the author of the letter. Paul was clearly including himself in the category by using “we” or “us” and not “them” or “they” which would have excluded Paul. Who are all of these “we” people and what is it that all these individuals in this “we” group have in common in this verse with Paul the writer? The answers to those questions are found in the adjective that follows the pronoun.
The next key word G2198 is used as an adjective description for the preceding pronoun “we” and it was translated as “alive”. G2198 literally means “to live”. Clearly we are observing the stated contrast of verse 16 the dead corpses from the living bodies of those that are described to “live” here on the earth in verse 17. Always attempt to place what you are reading in any verse within the context of the surrounding verses. This is just a general rule of sound Bible interpretation. Then notice that Paul was obviously alive when he wrote this letter, so he was including himself in this group of living and excluding himself from the group of corpses previously mentioned. However, that is still not sufficient information for us to conclude who Paul was referring to as the “we” in this sentence because of the “and” word that connects the additional point to the description. This next connected subject was the word “remain”. Who remains, who left and what does that mean? The Greek word G4035 translated as “remain” literally means those “left behind”. However this “remain” can only be clearly understood correctly within the context statement of the preceding verse. Verse 16 clearly speaks of the antithesis of those alive in verse 17. In verse 16 Paul writes about those that were not only “dead” rising but then speaks why they rise because they were also “Dead-In-Christ”. The “Dead-In-Christ” must have already departed the earth to be present with Christ Jesus or the inclusion of the word “remain” would not make any sense to have been present in the sentence. Can you begin to see how God says so much using so few words? The wisdom of God is way beyond human ability to have written this text. Notice that both verse 16 and 17 are clearly talking about two types of contrasting Christians. One Christian group has physically died and spiritually departed earth and the other Christian group is alive and remains behind on the earth.
Finally the next key verb found in verse 17 after the stated adjective and noun is the Greek verb “harpazo” that we have already looked at before and it just means in context “to be taken up by force or external divine power”. This is just not that complicated until you listen to deceived people that are trying to explain it all away using satanically inspired human reasoning. Satan attempts to use people to help others see things that are not being communicated in the verses, but the Holy Spirit will always point us to Jesus and the truth. We have just spent a very short time reviewing some of the key words found in the text, but certainly not everyone. I hope and pray that you are getting the idea of how to do this for yourself. I would much rather teach you how to fish than just give you a fish to eat in my lesson. I know I have said that before, but not everyone has read every lesson that I have published.
What should the next step in the process of correct Bible study? All of these steps are open to debate, but my next step is usually to explore the Bible for where else each word is used in the Bible? I would recommend that we need to exert effort to discover God’s usage of each of these selected words in the verses we are studying to insure that God does not redefine the word in any other verse of the Bible. I have discovered that God’s definitions are always true and man’s definitions are always wrong. Also by examining the word usage we can have a greater confidence and a more complete understanding of the entire subject being discussed. Only by examining every word usage can we be assured that what we are teaching and believing is correct. Simply by ignoring just one key verse on any subject from the Bible, that lack of information can leave us void of the complete truth omitting the key elements of the topic. I pray that you realize that many times a partial or incomplete truth is more deceptive than a complete or total lie. Not balancing every scripture on a subject will cause someone to think they believe the entire truth when they do not.
I certainly understand that the number of times any given word is used by God can make the research of the subject more complex if there are a great number of references found. For example, the Greek word G2962 which is translated as “Lord” is found in well over 600 verses of the N.T. alone. That is a bunch of verses to read for any study. However, if you have any doubts to who this “Lord” represents in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 then you need to do that study to resolve any conflicts in your mind that it can be no one else but the God/Man Jesus Christ. If after reading all 600+ verses and still not being able to confirm that this word references Jesus, then I would suggest that you get saved and get to know Him personally for yourself before you come back and study the Bible.
Some words in the Bible are used very frequently and that truly makes them challenging for us to go and read every occurrence. I suggest that if the word usage is less than 100 verses that you take the time and read them all. If it is used many more than 100 times then that is probably more time than you have to spend. I guess it depends upon your effort that you wish to devote. I have found the harder I work the more I am rewarded with finding good things that I did not know before. Take the Greek word G2597 translated as “descend” in verse 16. It is found in 80 verses of the N.T. Many times it is translated as “come down”, “came down”, “descended”, “and descending”, etc. In reading all of these verses it seems very consistent what it means and it helps us to understand the word in relation to the Lord noun being described coming down from heaven. Perhaps you do not know where heaven is stated to be in the Bible? That would be an excellent question for you to answer in your word search. You are probably not going to find the answer directly in the N.T. but it is stated clearly in the O.T. in Isaiah for example:
Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
We should be able to see that Satan is being revealed to make a statement about the placement of the throne of God in a realm called heaven. Satan is obviously on the earth looking up and telling God what he will do to ascend up to raise himself above all the other angels (symbolic stars). I also take it that the direction given is very relative to the direction of this throne and heaven. North is the only stated reference to a physical direction, but even this is relative to the position of the earth during the earth’s tilt and cycle around the sun. I personally believe that this is just a general direction of where heaven is revealed to be, since I have no proof for this location other than what the Bible says. Therefore, I am not going to fight over it, if you choose to disagree with what I just said. I will give you one other verse that appears to confirm what I just said about the location of heaven:
Psa 75:6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
As you can read every direction given is where “promotion” does not originate from. Which direction is therefore implied to be the source for a human’s promotion? It is obviously from the north again. If you read the context of this verse it is clearly speaking about God’s location being the one that raises up one man and lowers another man’s position on the earth. Therefore God the judge is stated to be seated in the North. We could go into other verses, but that is not a primary part of the rapture message even though it helps to establish which direction He will be coming from.
Take the Greek word G2398 translated as “dead” in verse 16. Here is a fascinating word that can teach us a lot that is found in 123 verses of the N.T. But, interestingly enough this Greek word is consistently translated as the same English word “dead” in every single one of them. That is a tremendous rarity to find in so many translated verses. Normally a Greek word can be translated into several different English synonymous words and some of them might be a stretched application for the given verse. However, in this Greek word translation example, we can be more confident that “dead” literally means “dead”. By reading all of those other verses, you will discover that this Greek word is almost consistently used to describe the physical death of the natural body. However, that is not actually true in every word usage found in the entire New Testament. This becomes a clear example of why it is so important to read every verse to expand what this word can apply to. Take for example Matthew 8:22 where Jesus is speaking to a young man and tells him “let the dead bury their dead” when asked if it was permissible for him to go and bury his own dead father. Here we have an important revelation of two kinds of dead being described in a single verse. Since it is impossible for physically dead people to bury physically dead people Jesus had to be speaking of a new type of death and I call this the spiritually dead people in the city burying the physically dead people that have died naturally. I know this presents some brand new challenging information for you to deal with in all of your Bible study verses. However, that is what is necessary to learn when studying the Bible. What we have just observed is a very basic Bible fact that the same Greek or Hebrew word can be used to describe both a spiritual truth and a physical truth and we need to be able to determine which it is or we will be confused. That becomes a great challenge for us in rightly dividing the Word of Truth to determine which realm is being referenced in any one verse (2 Tim 2:15). We can normally do this by examining the source statement closely within the context of the surrounding verses. I hope you understand this point that I just taught you. It is a major stumbling block to many carnal Christians when they read the Bible seeing all of the words as being natural references only.
It is a good basic rule of interpretation to take the Bible literally first and then seek to understand it as being non-literal only if there is a major conflict for a literal revealed truth. Since Jesus was literally speaking about a real funeral service of a literal dead natural man, these are easy to accept as being literal interpretations and not symbolic references. However, when Jesus tells the young man to let the dead bury his father, this departs from natural logic and can only be a symbolic spiritual reference to people that are clearly implied not to be like Jesus or the disciple. This is one of those types of verses that one needs to see what is implied but not directly stated. Jesus did not volunteer to go and help bury the dead father, Jesus is implying that he is not dead physically or spiritually. Since Jesus did not tell the young disciple to go bury his father, Jesus was implying this man was not dead physically or spiritually. These are just very basic ways to look at scriptures correctly dividing spiritual things from natural things to understand what was being stated. I truly hope that you understand this concept because this will be repeated in so many other verses and subjects of the Bible.
I’m not going to go through every word in these two verses, but I will go through one more as an example of what we should be looking for. The Greek word G3507 translated as clouds in verse 17 is only found in only 22 other N.T. scriptures. That is a very manageable number of verses to go and read them all slowly and in-depth. I have discovered that sometimes the fewer the verses a word is used in the more likely they are to all be linked together for a greater divine purpose. This Greek word literally means cloudiness or a cloud and it is translated this way consistently in every example verse that contains it. It can be either singular or plural but that is really not that important. I personally believe that almost every one of these verses has something to do with the rapture but I do not have the time in this lesson to expand upon them. We will get to as many of them as we can in future lessons as I am led.
If you have not done this research with all of these words, I would suggest that you stop reading now and using your Bible search program go look up and read every verse with every word being used in these verses. It would take me a great deal of writing to do that, so I will allow you to do it on your own and if you have any questions or comments with what you find, you are more than welcome to add them at the end of this lesson as a comment or question and I will attempt to respond as quickly as possible. Keep in mind my list of nouns, verbs and adjectives because I will be referring to these as I continue with a new perspective on Bible study. Let me quickly review a list of my basic Bible study steps.
- List every significant word and designate it to be a Noun, Verb, or Adjective.
- Using a dictionary look up the words found in the original languages to insure your understanding.
- Search for every occurrence of every word in a verse and read and study them to see how they fit into the entire subject being studied.
BASIC BIBLE RAPTURE CONCEPTS FOUND IN INTELLIGENT DESIGN
I am going to attempt to reveal how a former computer programmer logically thinks in simple black and white terms while observing the intelligent design found within the complex system of information found within the written Word of God. I believe that God is the author of the entire Bible and that it was written down in 66 different books in a period of time over 1500+ years by 4o different prophets of God. I further believe that God is supreme in all wisdom, knowledge and understanding. I also believe that God is an omnipotent eternal Spirit. Therefore I believe that the Bible contains the superior thoughts, actions, words and descriptions spoken by the superior knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the supreme Spirit of God. Perhaps you have never thought of the Bible as being a very large complex system of divinely designed information. However the existence today of hundreds and even thousands of church denominations in the world prove that few in the church agree with God on what the truth actually is in the Bible. Did you notice how I phrased that last statement? I did not say many do not agree with me or you or any other human opinion. I said many do not agree with God. Only God is true and everyone else is just potentially ignorant or confused.
The Bible is a book containing easily read natural plain text word data but still not very many can agree with what these simple words actually mean. Why is that? I believe that this failure to agree is largely based upon man’s introduction of their own “Human Opinion” or as it is referred to in the Bible, man’s “Private Interpretations” (2 Peter 1:20). Private interpretations are defined as “Self” defined meanings completely separate from God’s intended purpose. Ever since the Bible was created this has been man’s greatest weakness of not knowing the truth. What Christians do not realize is that within the plain text words of historical accounts, genealogies, laws, commandments and instructions are found hidden threads of complex spiritual truths about a spiritual world that we have never seen or experienced fully yet. The Bible contains such great detailed hidden spiritual information about this reality, but the carnal mind will never be able to see it or understand it while reading the Bible. Most of the spiritual meaning is cloaked or covered beneath layers of parables, symbolism, allegorical content, Biblical typologies and many other methods that God uses to hide the information from plain natural view. Becoming spiritually “born-again” is the beginning to the process of obtaining the spiritual eyes to grow in mature spiritual “understanding” of the truth of God.
I want to ask you, do you believe that the Bible is a divinely created “Complex System” of information? I guess the answer to that question should rest upon the definition of what a complex system represents. So I’ll change the question to, what exactly is a “Complex System” and how should it be defined? I believe that if you live in this world you are surrounded by a countless number of manmade and God created “complex systems”. Whether God created or man created the complex system each has the same patterned characteristics. Perhaps you have never thought about these concepts before and how they relate to the Bible. We are surrounded by complex systems still there are a wide number of varying opinions to what a complex system represents and how it should be defined. Rather than give you all of those varying opinions, I’m going to just stick with my viewpoint and tell you what I think about the subject based upon my experience and observation as a former computer professional. I normally do not give out my opinion on things but I am going to make an exception for this discussion today. You see by me giving you my opinion I am violating one of the main rules of Bible interpretation that teaches us we should not “privately interpret” anything. I do hope that you understand that every opinion is nothing but a personal theory which is just another phrase for a private interpretation based upon ignorance of the subject under discussion. However, since I have had vast experience with large scale computer system design and construction since the 1970’s, I feel that I am a bit more qualified to give an expert opinion on the subject than many others. Please extend me some patience as I attempt to expound through a complicated subject.
Let’s start by looking up the antonym for the word complex. If you do this you will find that the opposite of “complex” is the term “simple”. By far the Bible is not a simple book. Yes, the Bible has some simple statements in it, but I would strongly suggest that you go and read the books of Revelation and Daniel and find out how many mysteries you encounter on every page that cause you to scratch your head. I find nothing simple about either one of these books. There are so many Bible teachers teaching a completely different message from them that it is truly ridiculous. I have concluded that the Bible cannot be considered a simple book and if you have read all of my other Bible lessons you should easily agree with me. Let’s then examine the synonyms of the term “complex” and learn from those. According to the thesaurus the term “complex” has some of the following synonyms:
Wow, I really believe these words describe the Bible very accurately. Think about what they say and then attempt to apply them to what you know about the Bible. Now permit me to define the term “system”:
We can learn a lot by reviewing word definitions. The term “system” implies something that is complex by definition. The term “system” means that which is found to be in multi-parts. Is that the Bible? The Bible is 66 separate books written by 40 different humans. Therefore this information alone causes the Bible to be a system of information. A system is a set of connected things and the Bible is definitely a set of connected books. A system is a set of lesser components that comprise a more complex whole purpose and this also describes the Bible precisely. For example how many subjects are mentioned in this book? There are so many different subjects that it would be very challenging and complex to attempt to list them all. . That makes this book a clear complex system of different components of information designed designed by an intelligent author to teach us. I really pray that you are beginning to see this already, but I’m going to go into it in more detail to help you..
Based upon my personal experience as a computer system operator, programmer and designer, I believe that a complex system is first any observable set of components that were created by an external intelligent source of thought, design and construction. I further see that every complex system is created for a very specific given purpose. No useful complex system exists today in the world apart from external intelligent interaction and purpose. Did you hear what I said? I will probably get some disagreement from some potentially deceived individuals, but since they cannot provide any proof for spontaneous intelligent design construction by random chance, I will stick with what the Bible says about God creating everything that we can see. You see “spontaneous design construction” or as some ignorant people call it “evolution” cannot possibly occur. Evolution is increased complexity that had to come from a much less-complex set of random components without any intelligent design to assist. This belief in evolution violates the second known law of Thermodynamics. This law teaches us that everything around us is in a state of decay which is the reverse or antithesis of the addition of a force and intelligence necessary to form it, cause it to be or make it become complex. The second law of thermodynamics is a study of entropy. Entropy is the measure of the degree of randomness or disorder of a given system. What that teaches is that a complex system is anything that is more ordered than it is random. We could also say that a complex system is anything with a much greater degree of non-randomness by external intelligent design influence.
Ok, so the laws of thermodynamics just gave us a pretty good introduction to what a complex system represents. From that I believe I will give you my definition for a system in the relationship to a book like the Bible. The Bible would represent a complex system because it contains a collection of intelligent non-random words with organized designed purpose for every part to contribute to the greater complex whole. In other words since the Bible is not random word patterns on a page and can be used easily by any person with a basic education, it is a system of related parts of information and by definition a system. Let me give you these points one more time:
- The Bible exists only because of externally influenced higher intelligence
- The Bible is not a random collection of unrelated words
- The Bible was written in distinct parts
- Every Word of the Bible has a specific designed purpose
- Within the books of the Bible is contained many multiple layers, parts, subjects, etc.
The substance, laws and organizational non-random structure found in our own universe did not suddenly appear from nothing as many ignorant college professors and school teaches would like us to believe. The organization of a system from chaos or randomness would violate the laws of thermodynamics. Just the existence of a vast expanding universe proves beyond any reasonable doubt that someone of greater ability external to this known system caused it to exist here. This simply states that a designed system with rules and laws cannot create itself nor could any force within the system have created the system. Randomness never creates non-randomness. Dis-order never creates order. This is really not that complicated, but so many get it easily mixed up with people’s words that are trying to deceive you. The existence of a complex system simply means someone external to the system was the source of origination.
The universe is very much like a modern computer system. A computer system is a complex machine with many organized laws, components and structured building blocks that all work together to fulfill a greater plan and purpose. The existence of a working computer system proves the existence of an external computer designer, a computer builder and a computer programmer that cannot be found to be physically present within the computer system. No one with any intelligence would look at a computer and believe that it just evolved into being present on the earth. Therefore, since I believe that the universe was created by God and if the Bible was also originated from this same God as is declared (2 Tim 3:16), then I believe that the Bible qualifies to potentially be another complex system of recorded information created by the same external greater intelligence. The existence of one complex universe system pattern helps to establish the existence of another complex Bible system pattern.
I believe that the size of a system plays a major role in the complexity of the system. From what I have observed the larger the system is, usually the greater the complexity of the system. Let’s go back to the universe system example created by God. The universe is such a vast complex system that it can only be imagined to its total size, its full content, its type of individual components, its understood composition, its total mass and its actual past point of origination. Scientists are still today constantly discovering new facts concerning the known parts of the universe surrounding us. In my humble opinion based upon just the size of our universe alone we all need to open our eyes to embrace the existence of a much greater intelligent creator being. Many agnostics and atheists will reason against me, but I still stand with that belief since I have personally come to know Him for myself.
I think I will expand the definition of size and help you to see that not all created systems need to be light years in expanse in order to be complex. The system can still be considered complex depending upon the number of components and sub-systems discovered in the system. You see I view the human body to be a very complex system within itself. Within this one system of very measurable size and weight are smaller immeasurable components called cells. There can be millions, billions and even trillions of cells within the many parts of the human body. Many have estimated somewhere between 5 and 50 trillion cells in the human body. Wow, that makes our bodies a very complex system all by our self. Take the human body system and underneath this main system there are many sub-components containing subordinate systems and objects with each being made from individual cells. For example we have the neurological sub-system object, the respiration sub-system object, the digestive sub-system object, the circulatory sub-system object and on and on I could go. Each sub-system can have further divisions of several layers of individual object components, like the heart, lung, kidney, stomach, etc. The level of complexity can get very great. We could transverse the entire human body system all the way down to the individual cell level, molecular level and even add in the very complex DNA system object components that are a complex system by themselves. The existence of the human body system objects with so many interacting sub-object components working together for the single greater purpose and good of the whole object represents external intelligent design. Truly the human body system is an ordered arrangement of functioning designed components and systems. Any complex system lacking non-randomness or chaos is a very strong indicator of intelligent design and this proves the existence of a greater intelligent designer. Of course I am referring to God as the design engineer and creator for the human body object.
I have just introduced you to another factor for the definition of a complex system. A complex system has other dependent subordinate complex systems within it. Systems within systems, systems depending upon other systems and all working together for a greater purpose, how can we even get our minds around all of this? Maybe you do not understand this statement yet. Let’s examine the created universe system again. If the universe is a complete complex system as I believe it is, how many other systems also exist within this system and would our universe still exist in the same form without every single one of these being present? I told you I was going to get really deep in this Bible study to cause you to think today. One basic rule of intelligent system design is that the designer never adds anything that is unnecessary for the completion of the whole given purpose. In other words what I am teaching is that in any well designed system every given observable component has a specific purpose even if that purpose is not fully disclosed or known. The universe system can be divided into a multitude of galaxy systems and the galaxy systems can be further divided into a multitude of solar systems. The earth resides within the Milky Way Galaxy system. The sun that the earth revolves around is just one star of around 20 billion others in our galaxy alone. Therefore, scientists generally do not have a clue to how many galaxies exist in our universe since they do not even know how many total stars there are in our single galaxy. Wow, is that cool or what? God created such a great place for us to exist in.
Our planet’s solar system is just one complex sub-system found within the greater universe system. Let me ask you this question and I want you to really think about it. If our solar system did not exist would the universe still exist in the same form and for the same purpose? I do not believe that it would. Let’s shift back to the computer system example that I was talking about previously. Any large scale modern computer system is comprised of many designed dependent sub-system components. Every sub-system component is essential to the entire process or it would not have been included in the design. Many of these sub-system components are so critical to the whole process that the designers have built in a factor called redundancy. Redundancy just means if one critical part of the sub-system fails another part of the sub-system takes over until the whole sub-system can be repaired to full working redundant capacity. The existence of redundancy within many critical computer systems proves that the omission of any single sub-system causes the design of the whole system to fail. Thus the failure or elimination of even one sub-system without redundancy will be catastrophic for the working of the whole greater process of the system. If you think a manmade computer system is different than a God designed complex system of the universe you are a very deceived individual. Man was created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) and what God does a man can only do on a smaller scale. There is nothing new under the sun.
In any complex system in order to begin to understand it, one must be able to break down the whole information into lesser manageable components and sub-components. Many times people get the complex Bible truths mixed up because they are missing the basic spiritual fundamental details that are spread out in specialized hidden designed formats in the Bible. Any complex system with intelligent design should contain the ability to be analyzed and broken down into smaller manageable pieces that first need to be understood. By understanding the smaller core pieces and parts we can more quickly learn about the more complex interactive purposes and parts of the entire system. What I am trying to teach is that there are methods to learning the Bible and that these methods conform to known modern intelligent design procedures. I am talking about a basic of life concept found all around us.
For example in order to correctly fix an automobile you better understand how it was built. An automobile is a complex system with many dependent lesser complex systems working together to get the user to a desired location. The automobile system has a cooling system, a power system, an electrical system, a transmission system, a braking system, an air conditioning system and many others. In the car example the failure of the AC system will not stop the car from functioning. This is a bit of a departure from what I said earlier. However without an AC system the driver might die if they are going through a desert in the summer. If any system of a car fails, someone needs to know what they are doing and how it works in order to fix it. If you don’t believe me go and take apart your car’s transmission and see if it will ever work again. God wrote the Bible using defined intelligent design principles and if we are to understand these words we must approach studying the Bible with the same level of intelligent analysis methods.
I am going to conclude this Bible lesson with a very deep application of mathematics and computer concepts and how they relate to the Bible. If you are not into either one of these subjects this discussion might be less interesting to you because of the new level of complexity that I am introducing into an already complex subject. I believe that God created these concepts such as math and computers for us to learn, use and to apply. Every part of creation has a purpose just as every word of God has purpose. Math and computers are certainly a part of God’s creation so they have a purpose whether you understand them right now or not. Even if you have never studied these subjects you might just derive some added benefits if you attempt to learn some of the basics concepts for what they mean.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, I introduced you to a new concept based upon the laws of mathematical sets but I never revealed to you why I was giving it any significant emphasis. I am going to continue to reveal my behind the scene logical thought process for what I was teaching in the first two lessons. Let me give you a quick definition for a mathematical set. A mathematical set is a grouping of related well-defined but distinct individual objects with common characteristics or features. A set is a very similar concept to the definition of a system in many regards. An object is either an abstract or tangible “noun” that can be practically anything that is perceivable or observable. If you noticed, I just connected us back into the discussion the subject of “nouns” that we listed at the beginning of this lesson. A tangible object noun is like a man, a city, a tree, an animal, a fork, a car, or whatever. An abstract object noun is like an idea, a thought, a spirit, or an emotion, etc. An intangible object is anything that is not perceived by the five natural senses and this is why I included the noun spirit. However, a spirit can also manifest and be seen or felt within the natural realm as is recorded in the Bible. In those instances the intangible spirit becomes a tangible object.
From my list of nouns in 1 Thessalonians most can be considered tangible objects. God and Lord of course are generally intangible since no one can prove His existence with their physical senses. Of this list of given nouns, how many are qualified to be sets or groups of related individuals or things? That is probably a new complex question to think about? Hopefully you can see that “we”, “them”, “the dead in Christ”, “the alive in Christ” and the “clouds” are all words that have both plurality and commonality. Thus these nouns being more than one yet can be referenced with a single noun, qualifies the group to be a mathematical set by definition. Do worry, not every Bible study that I do will contain this level of detail. So do not get discouraged if you are having any trouble following it. Do the best you can and learn what you can and more understanding will eventually come.
Both intangible and tangible objects can be grouped together into a single named defined set based upon any known and well-defined relationship or characteristic. For example, a group or set of related objects would be like a set of universal cars or automobiles. This universal set might include every automobile ever created if so defined. Each automobile in the set can be a unique object (noun) alone but they can also be grouped together into a new greater set because they share many common characteristics and features becoming a new named object (noun) maybe called “Universal Automobiles”. That brings up a new set consideration called sub-sets. A sub-set is just a smaller more well defined set of the larger more general set of car objects. That brings us into the world of “adjectives”, doesn’t it? An adjective is nothing but a further subset limitation (division) of a larger defined noun set. For example we can have a “Universal Automobile” subset of just “Toyota Automobiles” because all of the cars in this subgroup were manufactured by Toyota and share that common trait. What if we created a subset called “Red Automobiles”? Uh oh that brings a new wrinkle into the discussion that gets more complex. Red Automobiles now cross over into every car manufacturer including “Toyota Automobiles”. Therefore a Red Toyota Automobile is a common member of both sets. This is where multiple subsets can potentially overlap each other and share common objects. A single named object just might be found in common with multiple subsets and we need to at least be aware of this possibility when we read and study the Bible. Do you understand sets yet? Many have learned this in school and probably just consider this a minor review. But, it gets more complicated than that simplistic introduction.
Let me review a few of these set laws that I have been going over very rapidly. Each unique member object in a defined set will either be a totally separate noun object or another new subordinate subset object. Every member object in a set or a subset is joined by the selected well-defined noun description or adjective qualifier commonality. As long as this is true each member object can be legally included and named as one object in the set or subset. However it is very important to note that one defined object does not exist multiple times in any one single set. Also one member object does not exist in two different opposing separate sets. For example, being in the “In-Christ” set is one of the common bonds that join every Christian that is saved together by God’s set definition. Perhaps I did not give you enough scriptural information on Christians being in God’s set called “In-Christ”. There are repeated scriptures written to the church that clearly state this fact. This phrase “In-Christ” occurs around 27 times in the book of Ephesians alone. But I will give you a few good examples to help establish the truth in your mind:
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
I am not going to go through every verse and explain them. Nor am I going to attempt to give you every verse that says we (the church) are all in this mathematical set called those “In-Christ”. However, I just listed some key verses that I felt were applicable to the topic discussion. For example, look at the first verse found in Romans 8:2. This verse declares a new spiritual law of life that opposes the old law of sin and death. In effect God is revealing two sets of opposition. I believe that these are those in Christ verses those out of Christ. Then notice how in Romans 12:5 and Galatians 3:28 that Paul is clearly stating that we as many separate individuals are now referenced to be one “In-Christ”. Those were mathematical set laws being stated whether you presently understand them or not. Many times in the Bible God will say some of the most profound things in passing without any given explanation to what was just said. I hope that you can see the stated fact that all Christians today are in the God defined set called “IN-CHRIST”.
Let us consider that there are multiple defined sets in existence in the Bible. I personally believe that any plural noun reference in the Bible is a defined set. We certainly all know that the O.T. nation of Israel is a predominate set of people described intimately in the Bible. This set of people excludes every other person not of this natural nation. Therefore the people not in this natural nation of Israel were another set called “Gentile”. One set was in covenant with God and the other set was not. If the saved church is now defined by God to be in the “In-Christ” set, where were we found to be before we were added to this new group? Uh oh, maybe you have never thought this way before? Theoretically we could have been in no other set but I rather believe that we were in either the set called “Gentile” or “Israel” which included everyone. I personally believe that everyone in the world is in a defined set found within the Bible. Determining the set is another new complex study. However, I just alluded to this fact in the last paragraph when I reviewed Romans 8:2. I believe that those now found “In-Christ” came from an unstated set of those that were “Out-Christ”. Don’t start picking up any stones to throw at me yet, I’m not done.
You must understand that if God can name and define one set that there is no limit to the number of defined sets that God can use for His purpose. Please allow me to introduce you to a new important concept. There is a very popular law of Bible interpretation that I call the “Law of Antithesis”. This law states for every directly named truth in the Bible there exists an opposite truth position by unstated implied antithesis. It is very much like reading about the subject of light and knowing that the opposite of light is the absence of light and that this is called darkness even if it was never directly mentioned or referenced in the verse it still exists somewhere. In other words what was stated as truth for light in the verse, the opposite is implied to be truth for the unstated antithesis darkness. Do you understand opposites? In our current world there will always be opposing forces; evil opposing good, death opposing life, darkness opposing light, drought opposing rain, storms opposing calm and we could go on and on. This antithesis fact came as a result of the choice that Adam made in Genesis 3 when he allowed the evil to enter the world after God had created everything in a state of being called “very good” and warned Adam not to do it. Notice what God created as a set of “very good” and from what Adam chose a new set called ‘evil” entered into the world of good.
Antithesis truths are a very common binary computer concept. Every computer in the world is a binary machine. What is a binary machine? A binary machine is one where the basic most simplistic unit of definition can only be one of two states of opposite. The lowest and simplest form of every computer device is called a “bit” unit. A bit is the rudimentary binary computer element that is assigned either one of two opposing force settings. A bit is either defined as a 1 (one) or as a 0 (zero) thus a computer is called a binary machine. However, modern computers are comprised of millions, billions and even trillions of these single bit binary units. These simple single bits can be combined and grouped together to form larger and more complex number concepts and objects such as bytes, words, double words, etc. However the basis of every computer is still a simple solitary unit of either one or zero. Combining multiple bits only facilitates larger binary numbers to be formed. For example, an 8 bit binary number can be anywhere from 0000000 to 11111111. These represent the numbers from 0 to 255. In order to make larger numbers you must add more bits for more 1’s and 0’s. This binary concept corresponds to a simple toggle switch that can be turned on or shut off. Therefore, a bit is nothing but a binary electronic switch. The laws of antithesis and computer binary concepts are very prominently featured within God’s intelligent Bible design. Keep this information in your mind as we continue to study the subject.
In this discussion a mathematical set consisting of many individual objects can also be considered a complete self-contained object within itself as I alluded to earlier when discussing the set “In-Christ”. Therefore using mathematical set concepts we have an important idea of many individuals being viewed as a collective named one. The many being named as a one is another very popular concept found throughout the Bible and I pray that you are beginning to understand it. The nation of Israel was many people but only one named wife to God in the Old Covenant. The church of the risen Jesus Christ is also many people but still one named bride in the New Covenant.
I am taking these well-known mathematical facts and transferring them into my Bible study. For example I taught you about the existence of the mathematical set of saved believers that God called those “IN-CHRIST”. Every individual believer when they believed and accepted Jesus into their hearts to make Him their personal Lord and Savior enters into this common single object group having left their previous unnamed antithesis object group. This set transformation is a single individual exiting or departing from a former set of many entering into as a new individual a new many set called “In-Christ”. What I just described is God’s definition of marriage if you did not put that together yet. When a man marries a woman, they both leave their former family sets to be joined together to become a new family set that never existed before and God defined them to be a new one (Genesis 2:24). It is critical that you understand this simple but profound information. Do you recall that I gave you 2 Corinthians 5:7 in my list of “In-Christ” verses? What did that verse say? It said if any man be “In-Christ” he is a new creature and the old things have passed away. That verse teaches us set transition is possible with God. We can leave the old set and become a member of a new set that never existed before called “In-Christ”.
By the defined existence of the saved group called those “IN-CHRIST” God has indirectly implied the presence of another unstated antithesis group of unsaved people in the world that we could call those “NOT-IN-CHRIST” or the “OUT-CHRIST” object group or set. I hope you understand the concept for Biblical antithesis truths by now. God teaches us by using a named noun set that there is a limitation to the scope of the objects in the named set. If it was as the Universal Salvationist’s try to teach us that all will be saved, God would not have needed to create a named set called those “In-Christ” that excludes those that do not qualify. No, I’m going to say this one more time that the existence of those that are “IN-CHRIST” clearly reveal the existence of those that are “NOT-IN-CHRIST”. Jesus taught us these unstated concepts of set truths repeatedly in the Gospels using the wide path and narrow path example, the sheep and goat example and the wheat and the tare example. All of these were single named symbolic sets with two opposing sets of many individual member objects. Every parable mentioned was a binary teaching concept where only two states of existence persist. Therefore sets and binary concepts are a prevalent themed subject in the Bible even if you never thought of them in these terms before.
I taught you previously that underneath this common set called those “IN-CHRIST” are two separate divinely defined sub-sets that I will call the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” and the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST”. As you recall any set of collected objects can be sub-divided into further defined object groupings based upon selected and further defined commonalities. In this case being dead or alive physically determines which sub-set you are currently in and if you are reading this lesson I will tell you that you are in the “alive” sub-set. This is a major component to what God is teaching in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Try to understand how I arrived at the existence of these sets and then consider the existence of the antithesis set “OUT-CHRIST”. Logically speaking, if the “ALIVE” and “DEAD” subsets exist within the “IN-CHRIST” set then the same must also exist in the “OUT-CHRIST” set. These are all new concepts for you to grasp today. All of these concepts conform to the mathematical laws created by God and are easily recognizable when you apply the laws logically to the scriptures. If you do not understand basic Algebra, Geometry and math concepts you probably do not understand much about how I arrived at these conclusions. Let me give you a quick picture diagram of these concepts that I have just given to you.
I probably do not have many readers that really understand computers and especially object oriented programming (OOP) concepts but I do know that I have a few that read my lessons that do. This diagram shows a hierarchy of related objects. OOP is not something that is required to understand the Bible but I have found that it is a good subject to know if you can grasp the complex ideas. You see in modern computer programming there is a similar concept like math sets and sub-sets called objects. An object in computer programming is a thing that performs a related set of defined tasks for the greater purpose of the system. We’re back to talking about systems again. I am still linking together all of the concepts using related titles and named entities to teach how these concepts overlap. You see we are again speaking about one complex system within another greater complex system. The computer that a program is running on is just one greater complex system and the application sub-system designed to do the corporate accounting runs beneath the computer system.
If you were programming a banking system in OOP, an object might be a single customer of the bank, or even one account of the customer of the bank or any other related defined banking noun. Generally speaking programming objects are always nouns that have verb activities associated with them called methods or actions. For example any customer object can change their address, create a new account, make a deposit, make a withdrawal, make a payment or perform any other normal banking activity. These are all verb actions performed by a banking object noun. An object can also possess defined attributes. A defined attribute is just like a descriptive adjective. It is interesting to note than almost any adjective can also be a noun. For example, a banking customer object will probably contain their name and address information as well as their date of birth, sex, tax ID and other pertinent personal identifying information. Attributes of an object clearly identify the object and make it unique from other types of the same object. I just tied into the discussion OOP the round trip with the beginning noun, verbs and adjectives from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Can you see how all of these concepts are coming together yet? We have gone from systems, to sets and now to objects and each possess the same characteristics and basic features.
So with every associated programming object we have a unique noun named entity that can perform specific things and be described with details that cause them to be unique from all other similar noun objects in the set. I’m not sure how detailed I should get with this but I will teach you about another OOP concept called a class. Every computer object is created from a class that is used to define the object its features and its designed actions. While every object of the same type can be unique they are generally all created from the same class definition. Therefore a “class” is nothing but a blue-print pattern used to create the unique noun object. Wow, that is a God kind of realization if I’ve ever heard of one. Patterns are a basic truth found in every part of the Bible. Objects being created from class patterns are another basic reality found in every part of the Bible. What I am doing is teaching you of the existence of God’s intelligent design concepts found in His Word using naturally created patterns found all around us.
One more complex concept found In OOP is that one object can inherit characteristics and features from another object’s class. For example, a cell is a common human body object that is shared within almost every human component or object. Therefore in the human body system we could have a basic cell object that every other system objects inherits from. The complexity of object definition, object commonalities and object interaction can get very complex especially in a very large system like the human body. Why am I teaching computer programming concepts and methods? It is primarily because I see these complex concepts repeated by God in the Bible. I am praying that you can see how your Bible is a very large complex system containing both antithesis and related word objects that I will call God’s Bible subjects. These subjects have defined attributes, characteristics and limitations that I call “adjectives”. These God given defined Bible subjects also can perform certain designed actions that I will call “verbs”. All of these interact together with each other in a highly complex intelligent designed manner to achieve the greater message purpose revealed in the Holy Bible. This is one of the central features of the Bible that makes it unlike any other created book ever conceived or written by a human. It clearly demonstrates the characteristics of extreme intelligent design beyond the human capability to produce or even fully understand and when you see it, it proves the existence of a very intelligent author.
Let’s talk about the Bible object (subject) called man (Hebrew word H120 in the Strong’s). I of course am using this term man to include both natural males and females in a generic object I could call “Mankind”. Under this object type we could sub divide it into two specialized object types called the male and the female objects using the naturalistic perspective view. Here is where I want to emphasize a change in your Bible perspective to include the spiritual viewpoint. When you read the Bible looking at only the words from a natural perspective you will find only natural truths being communicated. The spiritual truths are generally found within the same verses but deeper within the text than on the surface. Perhaps you do not understand how one verse can project multiple or simultaneous messages. If you do not understand this then you have probably not read and studied the Bible for very long. I can read a verse that I have read for hundreds of times and suddenly in my spirit I see something that I had never observed before and the meaning is suddenly very clear now. Explaining how you missed it before is a total mystery to most Christians. What happened to cause this? How can one person see something in a verse that the other person reading the same words cannot see? The answer to those questions is called God’s revelation or revealing of the words so that someone can finally see what was written there on the page from the beginning. This fact is the main reason why God had to “reveal” the Old Testament to Paul and the other disciples even though they had read or heard the words all of their lives. The New Testament has many, many quoted Old Testament verses with God’s explanations of what they finally mean. One of my greatest frustrations is when people quote me Old Testament verses and they have not researched the New Testament information that explains them. I run into this more often than I would like to admit. When I try to tell them what the New Testament says, they close their spiritual eyes and refuse to be open to what God is saying. The only thing that I can do after that is pray for them like Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus in chapter 1 of Ephesians. Paul prayed for God to open their spiritual eyes of their understanding. Go read this prayer and find out that Paul asked God to give them the revelation of Jesus Christ. “Revelation” is God uncovering the words on the page so that they can be finally clearly understood. If you have not prayed that for yourself, then do it!
Instead of a natural viewpoint let’s change the human object type “Mankind” into defined spiritual sub-divisions like I did in the previous diagram. When confronted with Bible subjects I prefer to look at things from a spiritual God perspective first rather than from a natural human perspective. We should understand that God is a Spirit and that God is the author. When we try to look at the words from the perspective of how God looks at the words I believe that we come closer to seeing the truth. There are probably not very many Bible teachers that would agree with me since so many are carnally minded. One spiritual sub-division or object type of man would be the “IN-CHRIST” saved type of man. We can clearly see from the Bible that not every human is in this defined object noun set. This only leaves those that are not saved in the “NOT-IN-CHRIST” object type category. Both the “IN-CHRIST” and the “NOT-IN-CHRIST” objects can inherit common characteristics and features from the greater “Mankind” object or class pattern. However each new object type can also implement new individual characteristics or properties that are only common and in effect with the other named object types that are derived from this same object class pattern. For example the “IN-CHRIST” object will be defined with a “SAVED” property and the “OUT-CHRIST” object will be defined to have a “LOST” property. You just never know what you might learn when you read my Bible studies. I try not to get this deep in most of my lessons but sometimes I believe that is just good for me to make you think outside of your box.
If we take this object lesson up the ladder from the “Mankind” object this human object that was created by God will inherit all of their spiritual characteristics from their creator class according to Genesis 1:26. Mankind made in the image and likeness of God causes the man object class to inherit from the greater spiritual God object class but the spiritual God object class inherits from no one else being supreme. That is until the Jesus Object class comes along and He inherited from both the God object class and the Adam/Man object class equally to become a new God Man. I really believe I shock people sometimes because they do not think when they read the Bible. Only Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. Only Jesus called himself the Son of God and the Son of Man. Only Jesus was a unique product of the naturally created and the divinely spiritual. Only Jesus was qualified to save us by inheriting from two separate opposing natures. If you disagree with what I have said you are free to be wrong and I will not argue with you.
Ok let’s move down below the “IN-CHRIST” object in the linked diagram. We learned in 1 Thessalonians 14 that the IN-CHRIST object has been sub-divided by God into 2 binary antithesis subsets. These two were the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” and the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” and both of these are unique qualifications that allow each to be treated differently by God at the rapture event. Both of these object groups inherit common characteristics from the greater “IN-CHRIST” saved object type which inherits from the greater “Man” object class which inherits from the greatest “God” object class. Understand the basic quality of the two groups of “DEAD” or “ALIVE” are speaking of the physical natural death or life respectively and not a spiritual feature. The “In-Christ” object must contain the quality of spiritual eternal life already based upon what Jesus taught in John 3:15 that whosoever believes upon Him would not perish but have eternal life. Right there Jesus is speaking about all those that are either physically alive or physically dead that believe in Him will have spiritual eternal life. Therefore placing the verse in the proper context will align the words with those found in the saved “In-Christ” class. It further goes on in John 3:15 and states that those that do not believe are those that “perish” and again this is a universal quality reserved for the “OUT-CHRIST” class of objects beings. This is not good news for these people.
Let’s discuss in more detail the differences between the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” and the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” objects. The “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” objects must have a change of classification with the departure or the separation from their natural physical bodies. The “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” objects are still physically here on the earth and they remain present in their physical bodies. The “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” objects have experienced natural death while the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” object types have not. Once the naturally dead Christian departs they cannot die physically again. Also both subsets are spiritually alive but one is in the body while the other is not in their body. Using basic logic I have concluded that these two object types must also exist under the “OUT-CHRIST” object. This is not rocket science we know saved and unsaved people both physically die by the story that Jesus taught in Luke 16. However the departure from the body of the unsaved object will result in a much different location change to that of hell and not heaven like the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST”. It is also interesting to note that the “ALIVE-OUT-CHRSIT” object types still can get saved and be changed to become an “IN-CHRIST” object and this results in a different future destiny completely. The “DEAD-OUT-CHRIST” objects do not have any further opportunity to be saved once present in hell. Maybe you can see why I like computer programming and why I can see things like this in the Bible. If not don’t get upset at me, just keep learning whatever you can accept. There are many other more complex things built into object oriented programming but I will not get into any of this in any more depth so that I do not totally bore anyone else that does not understand the importance.
Why have I spent so much time describing noun, verbs, adjectives, systems, sets and objects? I use these complex realities whenever I study the Bible. I read a verse and I analyze the words and then ask what are the objects given by God in this verse? I then think why does this object exist? Where did this object come from? What does this object represent? Does this object inherit any characteristics or features from any other Bible object? Is this object a set or sub-set? Does this object fit any known patterns in other verses of the Bible? How does this Bible object differ from other Bible objects? What features are presently in common and which features are unique? Also remember that an object is just one member in a set. How did the set get created? How do members come to exist in that set and what are the benefits or pitfalls of being a member of that set? We could finally determine, does this object have an antithesis related object? So many questions to ask and I just really broke the surface of them all.
According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, rapture is a select activity performed by God which is reserved for a well-defined subset of objects within the greater set of all human beings. In order to qualify for rapture described in these verses the individual must be found in the given set that will meet the requirements. This teaches us that those not raptured are excluded from the event being described. From the 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 information we are given only one very specific set that qualifies for rapture in the description. This set that qualified for the rapture was the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” believers and it excluded everyone else. Everyone else not raptured were in the sets called the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” and all members in the “OUT-CHRIST” set. The “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” did rise bodily but since their spirits were already present in heaven they do not qualify for rapture (harpazo). Please notice in these verses that there is no mention of those outside of the set of “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” being taken up and off of the earth at this timed scheduled event. That is a very important detail to consider. Learn from what the Bible says and then apply correctly what it does not say also. Selective and exclusionary rapture is a pre-established pattern found in the Bible found in the lives of Enoch, Elijah and Jesus. These were all taken up and all of the others on the earth were left behind to remain. This is a very key point to distinguish. Not everyone is going up in this prophesied event being described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
I totally believe that I have blown the minds of many of my readers. I will conclude this lesson here so that I can allow you to think about the many facets of the information that I have presented. If you like this style of detail you are free to tell me, but more than likely I will not go into this level of detail in the future on this subject of rapture. In the next lesson I will attempt to get back to more of the standard types of Bible lessons that I have been doing for several years. I just wanted you learn how I think and by doing this it might just help you to see why I write things in the style that I do. Thank you for your time in reading and I greatly appreciate it if you would help point someone else to my website. God Bless you until the next time I can get a lesson out.
If you would like to continue the study in this series on Rapture please go to “Part 4“.
(ver 1.2) This is Part 2 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. If you have not read the first lesson I would highly recommend that you go and start the study with “Part 1” and then continue with today’s lesson. During lesson 1, I took you through a brief explanation of what Rapture is using the dictionary. From this word definition I derived a list of synonymous terms that can be interchanged with the word “rapture” to convey the same thought or message. Some of the words were “caught up”, “taken away”, “removed”, and “to depart”, etc. Seeking to learn the basics we looked at three to four messages taught by Jesus using different symbolic representations to teach very similar rapture concepts. Of course none of these lessons contained the word “rapture” and that is why they are often ignored when studying the subject. We examined the “Pathway Analogy”, the parallels given to us in the “Sheep and Goat Analogy” and the “Wheat and Tare Analogy” and finally we looked at the “Ten Virgin Parable”. You should have easily observed that each lesson contained a central theme of the concept of division. Division is nothing but the separation of two distinct groups. One group can be separated from another group for many distinct reasons. In the world today criminals are sent to prison to separate them from hurting others outside of prison. Therefore, we can potentially call rapture the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous. In today’s lesson I will continue to expand on the basic concepts using Bible patterns of rapture to confirm the basic concepts. Here are some of the items that we will be covering today:
- Rapture is a separation of one person or one group of people from the others.
- Rapture is a change in location either physically or spiritually or both from one previous location to another new location.
- Rapture is usually the forced removal without scheduled notice and without any human consent.
- Rapture demonstrates the sovereign divine Power of God to transport a person or a people from one location to the new location.
- Rapture event timings are always determined by God and nothing you do or believe can change that.
- Rapture can be the exclusionary act of God upon the unrighteous that were not taken (not saved, left behind, those to be destroyed) separated from the righteous that were taken, saved and removed.
We have read several basic verses and have so far not officially determined the timing for any potential rapture event. Many get distracted by the intimate details and miss the more important basic concepts. I want to firmly establish the basics and then work towards the details in their proper order. You might recall that in the first lesson I implied that there are at least 3 future raptures that must still take place and eventually we will readdress what those can be. I also said that I can clearly see that there have already been around 6 previous raptures that have previously occurred in the Bible and we cannot ignore them. These examples will conform to the basic factual rules that I just listed above. I plan on exploring many of these historical rapture accounts in this lesson today to help further the establishment of the valid patterns for the future rapture concepts being taught in the Bible.
GOD REVEALING TRUTH
Too many people want to read the Bible and believe that God placed all of the truth in obvious plain view for anyone to easily find, see, read and understand. However that is just not how God wrote the Bible and it is not how you should approach learning anything from the Bible. We must all learn to see the true concealed nature of God in His Word and in the world around us. Let me ask you, have you ever seen God personally? Can you prove to anyone that God exists? What evidence for God’s existence do you possess? Obviously you have never seen God and cannot prove that there is a God to anyone here on the earth. Yet God says in Romans 1:20 that the invisible things of God are clearly seen being made known in the things that God created. Wow, there are some amazing parallels in that verse to what I am teaching you about the Bible. How can the invisible God who has not been seen with our natural eyes, or made known or displayed to our physical senses, His presence being improvable in a court of law, lacking any clear evidence of existence still be found by searching and studying the things that were created? It is simply because God in His wisdom hid clues throughout creation that clearly allow people to see the existence of a creator if they want to know Him. If anyone does not desire to know God they will never see the truth that is plainly right in front of their eyes. That is just how God designed everything.
Now ask yourself how many educated scientists today after studying the facts of creation have concluded and found that there is a God and a creator because of the overwhelming evidence found from what they are studying? Not very many are there? The majority of the scientists today are either agnostic or atheist in their beliefs of God. Yet God still says I can be seen everywhere if you are looking for me. What make you think that the truth in His written Holy Word will not also be recorded in the same type of secreted format? You see I completely believe that the truth in the Bible can be easily seen, but only after you want to know it, are saved, then know what to look for and then extend the effort to look for it with great diligence allowing the Spirit of God to help you see it. There is a principle discovered especially in the New Testament that is very important called “revelation”. Revelation is God illuminating His Word to humans so that it can finally be understood. Revelation is never man suddenly discovering what God has said using their individual human reasoning to figure it out. Every human requires God’s revelation in order to understand the spiritual things that were written inside of the natural words and stories.
Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
You see Paul tells you that the previously hidden Christ has now been uncovered and revealed by God. He states that this was a formerly hidden mystery of God. Paul gives us a better explanation of this revealing process in Ephesians 3:1-5 if you would like to go and read how the mystery was not revealed to men prior to the Apostles but has now been given to us by the Spirit of God’s choice. Wow, that concept seems to pass over the head of many Christians today and it teaches us so much about the nature of God. The rapture of the church is just another one of those mysteries hidden by God in His Word. Look up the definition for the Greek word translated as “revelation” here. It means a “disclosure”, an “appearing”, an “enlightenment”, or “something that was previously hidden but has now suddenly been revealed”. This Greek word G602 comes from another root word G601 that literally means to “uncover” or “take the cover off”. It is like someone in the natural taking the lid off of a box to discover what was previously hidden inside of it. That uncovering concept teaches us that we can look at the outside cover words all day long and still never understand what is underneath the surface until the cover has been removed. Only God can remove the cover from His Word. However, that is exactly what the Spirit of God is doing in the church today to those that want to know the truth. There are literally hundreds of mysteries in the Bible and most of them you probably do not know or have any understanding of their existence because you are still looking at the covered text and not seeing the hidden spiritual meanings beneath. Do not throw away the rapture teaching simply because it is not easy to find on the surface. Wait until you at least ask God to reveal it to you and show you if it is true. God is no respecter of persons. If He revealed it to me, He will also reveal it to you so that you can see it also.
I read a couple of the internet lessons on the no-rapture theory just to see how they were explaining the verses that God showed me about rapture. Nothing that they said swayed me in the least little bit since what they said conflicted with the voice of the Spirit of God and the real meaning of the verses in the Bible. Their arguments were very cleverly written with many supposedly supporting Bible verses but they were totally blinded to what the scriptures said and how to apply them correctly. These were nothing but examples of how natural men can “wrongly divide” the word of truth to produce a message that can be accepted easily by other carnal men. What I say in my Bible lessons is generally not accepted by carnal minds because it is so spiritually based. Natural people tend to be attracted by natural words and spiritual people tend to be attracted by spiritual words. It is very much like the law of Genesis being restated everything producing after its kind.
You see I am certain to run into the same problem that Paul ran into with what I am teaching. Paul was confronted with both natural thinkers and spiritual thinkers. God gave Paul certain spiritual revelation and understanding that no other man knew in his day (Gal 1:12). Paul then went about trying to teach this God given revelation to the others in the church with the only confirmation evidence that the hearers in the church possessed was from them listening to the Spirit of God that resided in them and the previously written Old Testament Words of God. If they could hear and see spiritual things they were accepting, but if they were carnal thinkers, then they were rejecting the truth. Here is what God says about the people in the early church that were faced with this great decision:
Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
God says that the people in Berea were nobler than the people in Thessalonica. God informs us that the Bereans were first open to hearing something brand new from Paul implying the Thessalonians were not. However, God then says that the Bereans did not just automatically accept the new teaching of Paul, but that they were rather wise enough to go and search their scriptures to find if what Paul was preaching was actually the truth that God had declared in His Word. So regardless of which rapture category your beliefs fall into today at least be open to hear a new perspective on the subject and then to go to your own Bible to search for yourself to see if it is true or not. Do not believe anything that I say because you do not even know me. Who I am, is of no significance to you also what I say is only important if it is what God says. If you do not see what I say in your own Bible then toss it away and believe what you do see. You will not offend me if you reject what I teach.
BUILDING A STRONG RAPTURE FOUNDATION ON THE BASICS
We are going to continue in this Bible lesson with some of the basic foundational verses for the existence of the legitimate doctrine of the rapture. We need to go to the letters written directly to the church and see what God records for us there and make sure that we clearly understand what God is saying to us correctly. Every teacher that preaches a “no rapture” philosophy must explain away all of these verses that we will be looking at today or they must totally ignore them to teach what they teach. They can be very creative in their attempts to explain them away and many people believe what they say without doing the necessary study to prove it in their own spirit which will result in deception. Therefore you need to follow along with me in your Bible using your heart to see if God is giving you internal spiritual peace about what is written here and then verify it using the Bible.
We will go to the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 16. You may recall that this verse was mentioned in Wikipedia as a foundational scripture for rapture. This is certainly not the only verse found in the Bible on the subject, but it is clearly one of the most prominent and important verses on the subject. People want to discount one prominent scripture in the Bible and explain it away because they think one verse is not important without many other confirming verse witnesses. That is very true that one verse cannot be taken as a complete doctrine of theological belief, but it is also true that it is still found in the Bible and that there are other confirming witnesses that can be found if you look and search for them.
I also want you to understand that the books of the N.T. Bible were not necessarily placed into the Bible in their chronological written order. First Thessalonians was probably the very first letter written by Paul to any church. Therefore, God saw fit to teach the church about rapture from the very establishment of the church. Many today try to say that rapture is a modern creation of man not taught by the early church founding fathers. But simple minded people clearly do not choose to see what the Bible says and must ignore what Paul taught and wrote to remain in their ignorance. You do understand that what Paul wrote about in the Epistles to the churches were also the things that he taught to everyone in the church when he was physically present with them, don’t you? Can you separate the two? I cannot do that. Let’s read what Paul taught about the rapture:
1Th 4:16 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:
1Th 4:17 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.
Verse 16 begins with the description of the Lord descending from heaven. Who was this Lord and why is it necessary for Him to descend? What is the stated purpose for the descent? This Lord was the God of heaven come to the earth in the flesh that died for all of our sins on a wooden cross and He is named Jesus in the English tongue. We should remember from reading in Acts 1:9 that after Jesus died and was raised from the dead, He ascended back up into heaven where He has been seated for the past nearly 2000 years (Heb 8:1). This statement of descent being described is simply the reversal of the preceding ascent that visibly took place on the earth with the early church disciples being witnesses. I will also say that what was seen by a few in the church of Jesus going up will be seen by those in the church that He is descending to come back for. Let’s start by just listing the basic facts given in the order of mention to us in these verses and then talk about them in more depth:
- Jesus descends from heaven with a shout.
- The voice of the archangel is the next observed mention.
- Immediately followed by the trump of God.
- The next mention is the dead in Christ that will rise.
- Then followed by those that are alive in Christ on the earth being caught up.
- Those alive on the earth are stated to be elevated to the level of the clouds in order to meet with the Lord.
- At the culmination of this event both the dead and alive in Christ will forever be with the Lord.
Those were the very basics from what I just read in the Bible. What did you read? Can you agree with them or is that why you don’t believe in rapture because that is just not what God says here? I believe that there are both direct and indirect implied statements being made in these verses. I just listed the direct statements of facts only. First it directly says that the Lord descends from heaven to initiate the event with a shout. We must determine the definition of heaven based upon the context of the statement being made and using the other facts of the Bible to correctly interpret the term. For example, the Hebrew word translated as heaven in the O.T. is H8064. This same Hebrew word can refer to up to three different locations and that same statement is true about the N.T. Greek word G3772. Heaven is defined in the Bible in three different ways. There is the immediate atmosphere surrounding the earth and this is often spoken of as what I will call the first heaven (Deu 11:11). There is the universe of stars and solar systems in space and this is often what I will call the second heaven (Gen 1:17). But Paul we will soon learn spoke of a “third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2) and this is the literal location of the spiritual throne of God. The first two heavens are natural and the third heaven is completely spiritual. This heaven being described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is clearly the reference to the unseen third spiritual heaven. We will get more confirmation for that as we continue. Therefore I see two dimensions of existence being stated in these two verses. Jesus is descending from heaven and is coming out of the spiritual dimension to re-enter back into the natural dimension to accomplish the rest of what is stated.
Surely you can see Christ’s descent from the spiritual heaven in parallel with a shout, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God are the beginning of something else about to occur. I view verse 16 as starting in the spiritual realm and ending in the natural realm. I then see verse 17 as starting in the natural realm and ending in the spiritual realm to complete the cycle and we will see this more clearly as we go. But notice in verse 16 there is no mention of anything natural or physical until the end of the verse and then it speaks of death which is clearly natural only. Every noun mentioned is a spiritual being or place until the last mention of the dead rising. Therefore the archangel’s location is also implied to be in heaven being mentioned following Jesus descending from heaven. Immediately following the archangel is the trump of God and this is also implied to originate from the location of spiritual heaven.
I believe that both the shout and the trump are announcements from the spiritual heaven for the coming event to occur upon the physical earth. The Greek word translated as “shout’ is only used in this verse in the entire N.T. However this Greek word G2752 comes from another Greek root word G2753 that means “to command”. The source Greek word is less of an event announcement than it is the shout of an ordered command expecting some subsequent action to take place. The root Greek word means a direct command has been ordered from heaven for the next expected action to occur. I take this command to be given by God Himself personally. Angels generally do not have the authority to give commands apart from God’s will. It is interesting how this verse is phrased and worded, because the shouted command could be taken as being from the Lord or it could be a command given by the archangel. However, based upon supremacy of rule, I teach it as originating from God and going through the archangel like the chain of command in a military hierarchy.
Let’ reconsider what we learned about from the earlier messages of Jesus on the separation of the sheep from the goats or the wheat from the tares. Both of these lessons contained commanded symbolic servant workers (aka angels) that were given orders and instructions to separate the one group from another group. I believe that we can see some distinct parallels being taught by the usage of this Greek word when the Lord commands and the voice of the chief angel in heaven is heard to possibly repeat the shouted order. I believe that you need to resolve in your mind who is doing the original shouting and who the shout is directed towards. I do not believe that the command order from heaven is directed to those that are about to be taken from the earth, do you? Clearly the order is directed to those that are doing the taking and those can only be the angels of God. This is clearly a chain of command type of military order being described. The commander in chief God has given a direct order to gather and the order is shouted to every ranking member of the staff to be carried out. If you have never been in the military you may not understand chain of command but most things in life work this way. Every large or small corporation has a chain of command from the ranking CEO going down the chain. Any way that is how I view the shout mentioned in this discourse and you can disagree and believe what you like if you see something different.
Let’s move on to the trump of God mentioned next. The Greek word G4536 translated many times as trumpet or trump occurs in only 11 verses in the N.T. and it is a word that means a “vibration”, a “quavering” or a “reverberation” all descriptive synonymous terms for a loud audible sound. Because the Greek word is only found in 11 N.T. verses it is easy to determine if any of these other verses play a role in describing the same type of rapture either directly or indirectly. Also take note from reviewing these verses that they do not necessarily have to mean that a physical horn type of instrument is blown. Many have the idea that the ram’s horn called a shofar is used for this event announcement. I do not have a problem with that interpretation or belief but that is not technically what is stated in this verse or several other verses in the New Testament (1 Cor 14:8, Rev 1:10, Rev 4:1). In these verses it describes voices being like a trumpet but, in other verses like in Revelation 8:2, 8:6, 8:13 and 9:14 it appears to be an actual literal trumpet. However if you notice anything when reading the book of Revelation, you should immediately recognize that the majority of the book is cloaked in symbolism. Therefore the trumptes mentioned in Revelation can possibly be a symbolic representation for a greater spiritual truth. At least that is what I believe at this point in time with my current level of knowledge on the subject.
Let me reemphasize the initiator of the event in 1 Thessalonians 4. Understand that Jesus is described as the originator of this unique event. Clearly Jesus coming down with a shout starts the entire process. Therefore this affair is a divinely initiated occasion that I believe is describing the bridegroom coming down to fetch His bride that we learned about in lesson 1. How does this description in 1 Thessalonians 4 correspond or compare to the information given to us in the parable of the 10 virgins? If you recall in Matthew 25:6 the bridegroom is implied to start His return at midnight when all of the virgins were asleep and an outcry or shout announces His coming before they ever see Him and the virgins are told to “Go Out” to meet Him in the parable. There was the stated coming of the bridegroom first and then there was the subsequent shouted cry that followed to trigger the virgins to go out and meet their bridegroom. That sounds very amazingly accurate to what we are reading about here in these verses in 1 Thessalonians 4 to me. I know it does not match word for word but the similarities are too close for it not to be God telling the same story using different types and symbols in one and more literal references and descriptions in the other. These types of writing styles of God make the Bible very complex to the casual reader. I take them to be the same event because of the match of all of the recorded characters and actions mentioned occurring in the exact same order. I also know that Jesus is the bridegroom and that we are the bride (virgin) in the Bible. Do you see it? Don’t you think that there could be some direct similarities between the description of 1Thessalonians 4 and the Parable of the 10 virgins? I can see a very distinct pattern of resemblance.
Do not confuse this event description in 1 Thessalonians 4 with the Second Advent event when Jesus literally sets foot back upon the earth to rule for 1000 years with the saints. There is no mention of Jesus coming that close to the earth in 1 Thessalonians 4 anywhere in this description. In fact the way that I read it I can never find Jesus descending below the normal cloud level anywhere in this discourse. In verse 17 it is clearly stated that those that are still alive on the earth surface of the earth go up to the clouds in the air to meet Jesus. How far up are the clouds from the surface of the earth? We might also consider the height of the earth’s atmosphere as being a stated factor. We obviously can learn easily that these are known facts discovered during modern space exploration. The reentry of a space craft from the realm of space first encounters resistance of the earth’s atmosphere at around 120 km (75 mi). At this altitude above the earth, the air is extremely thin and there are no clouds. The air continues to thicken as the craft descends and clouds eventually are able to form.
In order to determine where clouds normally reside in the atmosphere we need a deeper study of meteorological facts. Clouds come in three general categories of high cloud layers, mid-cloud layers and low-cloud layers. If you search the internet you will find that low clouds can range in altitude from surface level to upwards of 2 km. Mid-clouds can range from 2 to 4 km in height. Finally, high clouds can range from 4 to 8 km in height. Therefore Jesus can legally meet us in the atmosphere depending upon if it is a foggy day or a normal day anywhere from 0 to 8 km up in the atmosphere. I can personally see that if you do further study on the internet that NASA has spent time averaging maximum cloud heights over the course of the last 10 years and they have in their data found that clouds normally occur at a maximum average height of between 3 and 4 km and that is a long way up. People in the “no rapture” belief camp have tried to explain this verse away stating that the Greek word translated as “air” is a sea-level only point of view in the Bible. They completely have to ignore the “cloud” reference and overlook the term “caught up” to be in the clouds. They must be assuming a foggy day for the return of the Lord back to the earth’s surface. They have purposely closed their eyes to what the Bible is saying not using any factual evidence to support their beliefs scripturally or scientifically.
Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
The Greek word translated as “clouds” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 only occurs in 22 verses of the N.T. so that is a very manageable number to go and read every occurrence. What you will find in your search is God’s exact same usage of this Greek word here in Acts 1:9 where Jesus was described as ascending up and then the clouds are said to receive Him out of their view. Have you ever watched an airplane take off? How long can you view it until it disappears from your view? I guess it depends on the clouds, doesn’t it? But, that sounds like a very high altitude up in the sky to me. What God is doing is describing two separate related events and He is connecting them together with the usage of the same Greek word G3507 translated as “clouds”. Five times in the Gospels Jesus is found speaking of Himself and says that He will be coming in the clouds (Mat 24:30, Mat 26:64, Mark 13:26, Mark 14:62, Luke 21:27). However every mention of this may not be all describing the same event or times. For example, Matthew 24:30 could be speaking of the second advent after the tribulation or of another specific time. In Matthew 24:3 the disciples asked Jesus 3 different questions and in this chapter Jesus answers them all but does not always tell you which answer is to which question. Maybe we will talk about these in a future lesson. In Matthew 26:64 the time frame is not directly given. Mark 13:26 can also be considered a description of the same three questions that the disciples asked in Matthew 24. Again in Mark 14:62 there is no time reference given other than it is after the ascent into heaven in Acts 1:9. That leaves us with Luke 21:27 and this is a very interesting set of verses that appear to be a different timing than the Second Advent. I believe from reading these verses that Jesus could very well be describing the rapture before the tribulation revealed by the wording of the statements. We will get to those verses in more detail later in the series.
What is stated to happen on the earth first in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17? We can see that there is a very clear reference to those that have already died (IN CHRIST) a physical death on the earth “rising” first. Here is a good time to learn a basic truth. Every Christian that has been born again by the Spirit of God is now in the universal group set called “IN CHRIST”. However, God makes a new distinction in this discourse to differentiate between two sub-groups found within the global set of IN-CHRIST. God says here in these two verses that one subset group called the DEAD IN-CHRIST is a little bit different than those that are still ALIVE IN-CHRIST. One group is dead and one group is alive and this has been stated from the physical natural human perspective. Why is that important? Why does one group of DEAD “rise” and why are the others in the ALIVE GROUP “Caught UP”? You really need to ask these types of detailed questions when you read and study the Bible.
This is the first mention of the natural realm and it represents a transition from the heavenly realm that initiated the event. These dead bodies are identified to rise first because of their former experiences with natural death that has caused their old physical bodies to be left here in the dust of the earth. If you examine the context of chapter 4 you will see that one of the primary subjects being discussed is about those that have died believing in Christ and how that they can still have hope of a certain resurrection like Christ’s. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, did He take His physical body or leave it here on the earth? I think you know that Jesus took His body with Him. There is no tomb with the body of Jesus on the earth. Therefore, Jesus was fully resurrected from the dead physically and spiritually. This is the hope that is given to all of those that have died in Christ. These verses about resurrection were written to the church. These dead people are the saved righteous believers in Christ Jesus. They have died a physical natural death but when this occurred their spirits then departed the earth and went to heaven to be with the Lord Jesus (2 Cor 5:8). Thus the reason for the unique wording of the dead “rising” versus the alive being “caught up”. I’m really not sure if you are getting where I’m going here or if you understand yet what I am attempting to say.
The Greek word translated as “rise” in verse 16 literally means to “stand up” or “arise”. This rising can be from any non-standing position seated, reclining or lying flat. Since God is discussing the dead in Christ rising we can conclude logically that the original unstated position of those arising are normally found in a lying flat position like most dead bodies at a funeral. This description is given to us from the human natural perspective and not the spiritual divine perspective. Death in the Bible is many times described as what looks like natural sleep of the physical body and this is stated from the casual human viewer’s perspective. People here in the natural world generally view things from the natural human standpoint. That is what we see when we look at a dead body. But the spirit of that person has departed their body and is either with Christ or is in hell right now according the Luke 16.
Jas 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Here in James is a statement of universal natural truth concerning natural death. When the physical body dies, the spirit of the man or the woman that died has departed and is no longer present in the body. Or we could say when the spirit departs the physical body, the body dies. Both statements are accurate representations of the truth. However also take note that if the spirit of the human departs the dead body, the spirit always remains alive. Do you know the difference between natural things and spiritual things? Natural things die, but spiritual things never die or cease to exist. Humans are spiritual beings that live in a temporary natural body.
All of this information is just my attempt to explain why God’s distinction between the dead “rising” and the alive “departing” references that are given. In verse 16 of 1 Thessalonians 4 it ends with the natural perspective of the human body that possessed the appearance of sleeping being resurrected or raised to stand up again in order to be joined back to the departed human spirit. This resurrected body will be rejoined back with the human spirits of those that were already in heaven and this new eternal resurrected body will be their personal living place and the dwelling residence for God’s Spirit forever. Then in verse 17 we see a contrasting difference being stated with those that remain here on the earth and are described to be alive being “caught up” to meet Christ in the air. Can you seriously see the difference being stated here yet? Why aren’t both groups “caught up”? Why don’t both groups “rise”? This is actually very important information. When all of the puzzle pieces are put together correctly it makes such clear logical sense. God is in effect saying that when this event occurs the dead in Christ will descend with Christ from heaven to be joined with their risen resurrected bodies, but the living Christians on the earth will be personally “caught up” to be with Christ with a resurrected body in the clouds. Now do you see it? Do you now understand why the difference between the two stated experiences and why God describes it as two sub-events beneath the one greater event? What God is doing is giving you a lot of unstated information by using distinct unique word selection.
Verse 16 was only the dead bodies rising and not the spirits of the dead people being “caught up” since the spirits were already present with Christ in heaven. Verse 17 makes the radical transition from what happens to the dead bodies to those that are still living in a body. Two separate verbs are selected by God to describe what happens to each group. Verse 17 starts out by saying those that are “alive” and these are a clear reference to the people with a natural life existence on the earth given to us from the human perspective. This Greek word G2198 literally means to possess life or those that live. Again this viewpoint can only be from the natural perspective and not a spiritual or divine perspective since it is impossible to kill a spirit being. Both the dead in Christ and the living in Christ on the earth are spiritually alive unto God. If God was using His spiritual viewpoint in these verses He would have stated it differently. What God is teaching is the difference of the locations of the living spirits affected during the event. The dead in Christ were already in heaven and those living in Christ remained here on the earth during the start of this event. At the end of the event they are all together with Christ in the clouds with their new resurrected bodies.
UNDERSTANDING BEING “CAUGHT UP”
These verses are simply comparing two types of believers. These two groups of believer types represent two new sub-sets of the whole set group called those “in Christ”. We really need to understand basic math set theory when studying the Bible on many subjects. God created math and mathematical laws which are used in the Bible repeatedly to teach us concepts that only could have come from Him. Let’s stop here and define that Greek word translated as “caught up” and then dig much deeper to find out why God states it differently from the bodies that “rise”.
From a derivative of G138; to seize (in various applications): – catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).
The Greek word “harpazo” (G726) literally means to seize or take someone or something by force. It is only found in 13 verses of the New Testament and many of these are very significant connected verses to explore about the subject of rapture. Begin by understanding that the definition of the word represents a divine orchestrated demonstration of power. In other words this event in 1 Thessalonians 14:17 being described can only take place because there was a great external force of power behind it that causes it to occur. This description of force corresponds to the direct controlled information given by Jesus of the angel reapers taking out from the earth the wheat and the tares as well as the separation of the sheep from the goats. There are distinct parallels of external power being enforced in common in all of this imagery. In these lessons the wheat, the tares, the sheep nor the goats have an influence or contribution on the separation that occurs. In each instance the force of control is external to those that are affected.
No natural exertion of resistance, human effort, human force or any human power from the participants on the earth being raised or caught up was necessary or even mentioned during this event. I probably did not state that last information exactly correct. You see I believe that every human is required to have faith and believe in the rapture in order to participate in the event. I cannot see where the Bible says that anyone that does not believe is still rewarded with the same prize of those that do believe. Crowns of salvation are not handed out to everyone like Universal Salvationists like to teach. I believe that rapture is exactly like salvation. No one that has not already placed their faith and beliefs in Jesus Christ will be saved or can be saved. Everything that God gives to His people through His divine sovereign Grace must be received by the people through their faith. I don’t have the time to teach you faith, if you have not read my lessons on Understanding Bible Faith then do that to help clear up any conflict. Let’s quickly review one dictionary definition for the word “rapture” to recall how it was defined:
RAPTURE: the carrying of a person to another place or sphere of existence.
To me this definition of the word rapture fits precisely with the Greek word definition of “harpazo”. To carry someone away from one realm to another is clearly a display of power and force that must be present to move them. The English term “rapture” is derived from the Latin term “raptus” also meaning to carry away or carry off. I have concluded that “raptus” was a synonymous Latin term for the Greek word G726 “harpazo” that was translated as “caught up”. This is one of the primary reasons for the legitimacy of the doctrine of the “rapture”. The modern term was developed to help Bible teachers teach the subject using a simple one word title. Do you understand “harpazo”? It is a very well defined word that teaches a lot on the subject. Harpazo is a show of external force and power. It is a convention beyond the power of human resistance. Even if you did not want to go the Bible teaches us that you are going. No debate is offered. No options are given. Those being taken are simply gone being removed from existence upon the earth physically and spiritually.
All of this discussion so far today was just an introduction to the basic foundational concepts proving that the catching away of believers is a valid truth taught by God, Paul and the early church in the Bible. The timing of the event has still not been fully developed or established and we will eventually get to that part of the subject as we progress.
HISTORICAL RAPTURE EVENTS IN THE BIBLE
Before we go into future rapture events and other verses about the subject, let’s prove to all of the skeptics that this harpazo or “catching away” by force has already occurred multiple times in the Bible. In proving historical event occurrence, this will help us to define and confirm the possibility for potential repeated future event occurrences. God simply says in the Bible “There is nothing new under the sun”. He continues in this discourse to teach us “that which has been is that which shall be again” (Ecc 1:9). Verses like this teach us that there are established patterns found in the Bible and that we need to learn them in order to see what might occur in the near future. Discarding the past will cause you to not know the future. You see for any doctrine to be legitimate it must be an established pattern throughout the Bible with more than one witness to the truth being stated. God required for every word to be established in the mouths of two or three witnesses so that they all can be verified to be in agreement with the other witnesses. This truth disallows the taking of any single verse out of context to prove one’s erroneous point. Let’s go to the book of Acts and see one type of rapture example and a direct type and shadow of the coming rapture being described in 1 Thessalonians 14:
Act 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Was Phillip just raptured away so that immediately the eunuch after being baptized saw him no more? Why did God take Phillip away? Why didn’t God take the eunuch also? You see this does not say that Phillip walked away or swam away under his own physical power. The power of God literally takes Phillip away from the place that he was previously seen and places him physically and spiritually in a completely new location. I mean if this description is not a type of rapture of a man from one physical point to another physical point you tell me what it is. You see someone being raptured does not always have to mean that this someone was taken directly to heaven. It can mean they were just physically transported from one part of the earth to another. Rapture is nothing except a real divine encounter of a fictional Star Trek type of teleport or transport. This rapture of Phillip is simply a change in his physical location and it is a valid pattern for what will happen to the church very soon. Patterns can simply be natural events that will correspond to coming spiritual events. Notice that Phillip had nothing to do with what just happened to him. Phillip did not pray to be taken, Phillip did not ask God to take him and this is again a pattern of the coming church rapture. Also note that one man was taken and one man was not and this again is a pattern for rapture. Rapture includes the separation of one or more people from another group of people.
Notice that God brings this verse into the subject discussion by the inclusion of the Greek word G726 harpazo. I understand that Phillip was not given a supernatural resurrected body during this event. I also understand that Phillip did not leave the earth to go to heaven and then return in a new earthly location. While that was certainly possible that is not what just happened to Phillip. We need to learn not to put God in our box of human narrow minded limitations. We need to see that almost anything is possible when God is involved. I said almost anything is possible, because God is not going to do anything that violates His written word or causes Him to lie. Keep that in mind as you study the Bible. I am simply viewing the “catching away” of Phillip by the Spirit of God to be a natural pattern for the coming greater spiritual event. If God can do this event to a man in the church then God can also take the whole church in a future event. Let me show you another type of rapture event recorded in the Bible that is often ignored by rapture skeptics.
2Co 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
I mentioned this verse earlier but I feel this is important enough to look at again. This event is in a position of greater alignment with the normal concept of what most people believe is the primary type of rapture. Here we have Paul describing an event about himself and saying that he was “caught up” to the third heaven. “Caught up” is again the Greek word G726 harpazo. So Paul was taken by force in this experience by the Spirit of God. He says he does not know if he was in his body or outside of his body and that is not the important point to take away. However notice that Paul says that he was taken and this means his spirit went to heaven at the minimum. What you must observe is that Paul’s spirit was literally transported from the physical earth to a spiritual heaven location and then you can read that he saw things that he could not even describe to us. Clearly this is another example of rapture in the Bible. The spirit of Paul was taken up by force to see things in heaven that he had never seen before. This was another divine sovereign choice act of God. Paul did not ask to be taken but it still occurred to teach Paul and the rest of us that it can occur. Do you still not believe in rapture? I seriously do not know how you can still be on the unbelief side of the fence after studying all of the events that have already occurred. But, I’m not done yet and there are more. Let’s go back and reflect on a story from the Old Testament of a rapture event and possibly the first rapture event recorded in the Bible:
Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Wow, so Star Trek really did not invent the “Transporter”, God did. God clearly transports the living natural man Enoch wholly, completely and directly from this earth to an undisclosed, unnamed new location in this verse. We are never informed of where Enoch went; we are just told that he vanished off of the face of the earth. Did you notice that Enoch did not have to die naturally first? There are only two men in the O.T. that did not taste of natural death that I know of and Enoch was one of them. Enoch is a clear O.T. pattern for the church members that will be “caught away” alive in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Clearly Enoch was raptured from this world alive to the eternal spiritual realm being taken bodily so that there is no grave here on the earth containing his body. How can anyone teach that rapture is not a valid Bible concept and truth? Look up the Greek word translated as “translated” in this verse. It literally means to “transfer” or “transport” as in an exchange of physical locations. This is so significant that I do not know how people miss it or why they choose to ignore it. I’m beginning to see a Bible concept that I really like here, and I’ll call it the “Beam me up Jesus” method of spiritual travel. I really believe that this is going to be an awesome experience when it occurs. There is only one other man in the O.T. that was taken up by divine force without seeing death and this was the prophet Elijah.
2Ki 2:1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
The Hebrew word in the verse translated as “take up” literally means to ascend. This is not rocket science so everyone should be able to recognize another obvious pattern for human translation or transportation out of this world while still naturally alive by divine sovereign power. If you study the context of this event you will also see that God reveals what is going to happen to Elijah before it happens. That is also significant since God repeats that pattern by revealing to the church that rapture will occur before it occurs. Elijah is again a pattern for the living church members remaining on the earth today. They do not know the exact timing of the “taking up” but he knew it would occur before it occurred and he even knew that it would even occur very soon. Clearly Enoch and Elijah are valid “harpazo” patterns. These are two direct witnesses for the future.
Let’s talk about Isaiah chapter 6 briefly. This chapter describes an event that took place that clearly resembles what Paul experienced of being caught up to the third heaven. I’m not going to quote any of the verses or review them in any detail. You can do that research for yourself. I will say that what Isaiah describes is clearly not of this world in any form or fashion. In verse 1 there is mention of a throne but then following this is the mention of winged creatures that are a special type of angel. This creature had 3 sets of wings. One set covered his face and one set covered his feet and with the final set he flew around. That is pretty amazing stuff. This experience is no doubt a type of rapture where Isaiah is taken to the throne of God to view and record some things that we need to see. It does not say that Isaiah was there bodily, but he had to be there spiritually in order to come back to write what he saw. I find that very interesting and also very relevant to our discussion of rapture. I will not address this experience any further in this lesson other than to give it to you as fifth potential pattern reference for a type of rapture.
Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
We could talk a lot about Jesus ascending into heaven in Acts 1. I have already mentioned this example previously in this lesson in a direct reference connection to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Here we have Jesus ascending up into the clouds and disappearing and this is another pattern of what is described will happen to the living on the earth when Jesus comes back to the clouds to take us up. I will point out one distinct difference in this verse. This ascent is not “harpazo”. In other words Jesus was not seized out of the earth by force or caught up by the Spirit of God or any angel. No this Greek word is very different because this is the divine God himself going up under His own power. This Greek word is always used in conjunction with self-control and personal extended effort of self-power. This is clearly an example of rapture because God is controlling the ascension event. However it is done indecently from external power and is the internal power of God within Jesus that causes Him to go up. The first five examples of people being raptured were clearly events independent from human human power and they can only be displays of the power of God. I really pray that you are receiving these parallel examples and seeing the possibilities that can occur from them?
Satan fights the teaching of the true rapture because he will be forced to present an explanation to what happened to the millions of righteous people in the world that simply vanish without a trace prior to the tribulation. He will come up with an ingenious twist of the truth. He will probably claim that the wicked people on the earth have now been taken out for judgment and now only the righteous remain to rule with him. You see this explanation fits with the pattern of what is transpiring in the media today. The media is blasting Christians as hate mongers of an intolerant message of God’s love. The homosexual agenda is the most intolerant group of people that exists in the world and they are in direct opposition to God and what the Bible says on the subject. However, they claim that Christians are intolerant ones for claiming the truth in the Bible and not embracing their sin as normal. What we see developing is a dividing line between those that are on God’s side and those that are opposed to God. I would think that it would be wise to remain on God’s side, but they have had their minds blinded to the truth so that they are unable to see it.
I think I will wrap up this lesson for now. I have given you a lot of information to examine and to consider. I thank you for your time in reading and studying the Bible. There is so much more in the Bible on this subject and I will continue on it in a future lesson. God Bless!
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may proceed to “Part 3” now.
(Ver 1.4) This is Part 1 of a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. I honestly do not understand why this is such a majorly controversial subject but I can only think that Satan does not want anyone to know the truth. There are generally speaking two categories of belief types on this subject. These two groups can be divided as those that believe in a rapture event and those that do not believe in a rapture event. Why anyone would not want to believe in rapture, I do not know. I think it would be like someone not believing in salvation. But, we have a very significant number of people in the world who call themselves Christians that do not believe in a rapture event. Then we have other people that believe in a rapture event but with contradictory predicted timings for the event. Therefore the believers of the rapture can be further divided into three sub-category group types. That leaves us with Christian rapture beliefs generally falling into 4 differing realms of categories. First, there are many Christians that believe in a pre-tribulation rapture event. Second, there are definitely some that believe in a mid-tribulation rapture event. Third, there are some that believe in a post-tribulation rapture event. Finally, the fourth group is those that simply state that there is no rapture event ever revealed in the Bible. Based upon these wide ranges of opposing beliefs we can easily conclude that many Christians are obviously deceived in the church today. I mean using only basic logic and probability outcome reasoning we can easily understand that the existence of 4 such diverse positions cannot all be the truth. Technically speaking all four position groups could potentially be in error and God’s truth could remain in still another category option 5 labeled as unknown, undiscovered or unrevealed. We must always be open to the reality that God’s truth needs to be discovered or we will potentially miss it while we stagnate in our current belief. Hopefully you can understand that the greatest enemy to knowing the truth is the belief that you have already discovered it. Here again are the four major belief categories concerning current known rapture beliefs:
- Pre-Tribulation Rapture – The belief that the church will be taken up prior to the initiation of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation.
- Mid-Tribulation Rapture – The belief that the church will be taken up in the middle of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation. The Tribulation period will last for 84 total months and somewhere around 42 months the church will be taken up from the earth.
- Post-Tribulation Rapture – The belief that the church will be taken up immediately following the end of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation.
- No Rapture – The belief that the church will remain on the earth during the tribulation. Under this belief there are also several contradictory beliefs to what will occur to the church during the 7 year period known as the great tribulation. But I left them all in one group category for now.
As you should be able to see from the list of group types, they can be divided into two basic opposing antithesis beliefs of those that believe in a rapture event versus those that do not. Then as stated earlier those that believe in a rapture event can be further sub-divided based upon the expected occurrence of the event all surrounding the timing of the great tribulation revealed in the book of Revelation. We may also discuss in this series of lessons that the no rapture believers can be sub-divided into various details of what they believe will occur while they are here on the earth. There are probably at least 3 variations of beliefs in the no-rapture belief camp. In this series of Bible lessons we will attempt to explore every known belief and give reasons why each can either be confirmed or rejected as the truth. You see every sound Christian belief should not have any major contradictions in the scriptures when all verses on the subject are rightly divided and interpreted. God is the central author of the entire Bible and we should be smart enough to understand that God does not ever contradict Himself. If we believe that we have found a contradiction then we do not understand what is being stated.
Each side in this argumentative debate claims that the other sides are the ones deceived. Each side can also further claim that from their perspective if we could only clearly see the accuracy of what they are teaching from the Bible that we would be transformed to know the truth. Everyone can use the same argument to defend their points and this is the way that God designed the Bible to allow men the right to be wrong. Do you see the problem here? What is truth? Why can’t everyone see it?
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT CHURCH BELIEFS ON RAPTURE?
Did you ever ask yourself why there are so many diverse interpretations of the Bible being taught by Christian churches on not just rapture but every subject found in the Bible? Atheists have a field day with that one bit of controversial information alone claiming this proves that Christianity is a foolish approach in life to take. Why are the Christians so divided lacking any harmony or unity in their beliefs? We really need to seek the truth and resolve why it appears that God has instigated a system of confusion in the modern church age. The early church did not start out in confusion but they also began in a much smaller number of 120 believers in the upper room being all in one accord (Acts 2:1). Since the Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) there must be another explanation for why there are over 3000 different church denominations existing in the world today. What caused the early church to drift from one body into a divided body?
The answer to those questions rests in us understanding the existence of Satan to deceive people and man’s carnally dominated mind that is easily deceived to believe in anything. Wrong beliefs are proportionally tied to the carnal nature of the human mind. The more carnally minded one is the greater number of wrong beliefs that are found to be present. The more spiritually minded one is the greater number of right beliefs are found to be present. Which type of Christian are you? Are you a very carnal Christian or a very spiritual Christian? Usually people are somewhere in the middle of those two ranges in a state of transition, hopefully growing more spiritual. Everyone that is a Christian begins as a carnal spiritual baby. As they grow and increase in the Spirit of God and the knowledge of the Written Holy Word of God they progressively achieve a level of greater spiritual maturity. I can usually look at your Facebook wall and tell very quickly where you fall in this range on the spiritual Christian growth chart. The more you post or are focused on the natural things of this world the more carnal minded you are. The more you focus on God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Bible the more spiritually minded you become. Where is your focus? It will determine what you can see and understand in the Bible whether you believe that or not.
In this lesson to begin we need to better understand the source for such diverse beliefs. Why are there so many contradictions where one person can see something totally opposite in the Bible than the other person can say is so very clear for them to see? I have observed this over and over in my experiences. One believer sees the rapture event so clearly and another believer cannot see it from the same verses. Why is that and how can we explain this phenomenon? Can you explain that? I’m not sure if I can explain it more clearly where you will easily understand it, but I will try. Many people believe that there is a contributing factor of deception that is at the root of the problem. I tend to agree with that belief. But what is deception, why does it occur, who causes it and who can be deceived? For example, the believers in the fourth category teach adamantly against the rapture beliefs found in the other categories calling them the false doctrine of “escapism” given to us from demons and Satan. However, every other group proclaims that they are the only ones that are completely correct and all of the other groups are the ones that are deceived. Every group has a basic set of scripture verses found in the Bible to help justify their positions. However, it is very easy to take several verses out of context and explain others away as something that is irrelevant to their stated belief position.
Deception is a very complex subject. No one that has ever been deceived knows or understands that they are deceived at any time. If they knew that they were deceived by their enemy they would more than likely abandon that false teaching very quickly. Many times hidden deception causes Christians to believe sincerely in their hearts that they are correct even while being sincerely wrong in their heads for what they believe. Do you understand heart beliefs are based upon your current level of Bible knowledge? Do you understand that you don’t know everything? In order to be 100% accurate in your beliefs you have to have 100% correct knowledge of the Bible and no one that I know qualifies for that except my God. Therefore, do you understand how wrong knowledge causes wrong beliefs? We could also say that the lack of correct knowledge causes people many wrong beliefs. The lack of correct knowledge is the main reason for what people ultimately say is the truth but actually is not. Most people teaching untruths or partial truths are teaching them believing that they are not falsehoods. This is why Christians need to confirm everything that anyone teaches by using what the Bible says with great precision and attention to every detail (Acts 17:11). Never believe me or anyone else without you seeing it in the Bible to confirm what is said. If you don’t see it then throw it away and keep moving forward with what you do see.
What I have just introduced you to in this section is the basic realities of the carnal nature versus spiritual nature of man. Every human is born as a carnal person naturally into the world and Jesus taught us that it was a necessary requirement for every carnal human being to be “born again” (John 3:3) spiritually in order to enter into the kingdom of God. The natural process of physical growth and maturity is given to us to teach us about the unseen spiritual process. These repeated patterns of how the natural works can uncover how things in the spiritual realm work. Spiritual growth is a very necessary requirement (1 Peter 2:2) according to God. This spiritual growth process helps us to explain why there are so many different beliefs existing in the church. Those that have grown in spiritual maturity can see things from a new mature perspective that a baby Christian cannot see or comprehend. As it is in the natural it is also the same in the spiritual. A 3 year old natural child cannot be found mature enough to make wise decisions on what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well the spiritual food of God’s word is the exact same type of menu choices for baby Christians. Many baby Christians will fail to desire to eat their spiritual broccoli and steak in the Word of God. Baby Christians will stick with a diet of macaroni and cheese, cake and cookie scriptures and unless they learn to eat other verses that will help them to grow up spiritually strong. This is just how everything in the Bible works.
HOW TO CORRECTLY STUDY THE BIBLE ON RAPTURE
So which group of rapture/no rapture believer types do I choose to place myself? I think I have already given several clues to where I stand and I’ll say “I stand with God”. But, we will get into what the Bible actually says very soon. I also want to say that I never start studying the Bible by choosing a position first beforehand and then searching the Bible to prove that position is true. That is a very foolish approach to any correct Bible study. You can actually prove anything that you desire to find from the Bible because of God’s intentional design of the verses to provide man the right to be wrong in their beliefs. The Bible teaches us that the “carnal mind is an enemy of God” (Rom 8:7). Since every human starts out as a naturally dominated person we were all once called the enemies of God before we were saved (Col 1:21). God reveals to us in these two verses that man can have either of two opposing types of mindsets. One mind type is called the flesh, carnal or natural mind (Rom 1:28, Rom 8:5, Col 2:18) and the other opposing mind type we can call the spiritual or supernatural mind (Rom 8:27, 1 Cor 2:16, Eph 4:23). I seriously believe that these two opposing mind types are the root causes for why there are so many differing opinions on what the Bible means. We can also read about these two mind types in this verse in Romans:
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Ok, here is a secret from God being revealed. Why is it necessary for the human mind to be transformed and renewed? Did you understand my question and do you know what the answer is? I’ll tell you, mind transformation allows you to see the truth in His Word. Take the Greek word translated as “transformed” (G3339) and look up the definition in the Strong’s. It literally means “to change”, “to transfigure” or “to transform”. Then think of the story in the Gospels of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mount with Moses and Elijah. That story is an exact representation of what the Bible is teaching here. You see the Greek word G3339 is only used in those two scriptures in the N.T. We can find it being used for Jesus being changed into a supernatural being and you will find it here in Romans being referenced to Christian minds becoming the same type of spiritual being. Go and read the story of the transfiguration, it is actually a great lesson to learn from especially on the subject of the rapture. We will no doubt get there in this series at some time but probably not today. Just understand the link between transformation and transfiguration and keep that in your mind that this is what is happening as you learn the Bible.
There is an implied requirement for the supernatural to be present and applied in order to cause this transformation event to occur, but I won’t go there today. The Greek word G3339 definition also carries an association with a natural known process called “metamorphose”. Do you know what that means? Metamorphosis is a divinely created quality that is displayed in certain natural creatures like an ugly caterpillar being “transformed” into a glorious beautiful butterfly. Wow, that metamorphosis is the process that God is describing to us that needs to occur in our minds. God is saying “Take your old ugly carnal mind out of your natural gutter and renew it into the new beautiful spiritual way to think and learn to see what I have said to you in my Word”. This renewal process is not an instantaneous one-time event. You do not get zapped in your mind when you are saved and suddenly your mind can see everything in the Bible clearly. The lack of the completed mind renewal process is the primary reason that a Christian does not see the truth in the Bible like another Christian sees.
God chose to write the Bible in a way to give His children the blessed truth, but He also chose to keep these important truths from all of His enemies. How do you give one group the information that they need to know while keeping the information from another group using the same exact words on the page? I mean that concept fascinated me for a long time before God showed me what He was doing and how that He accomplished this task. I discovered that God uses a divine ingenious system of hiding information in the Bible. How does any government today keep a message secret from all of their enemies while allowing their friends to read it? They always write the message using a code. But, that is not exactly what God is doing here. You see the Bible is written in plain text words that are not encrypted to make them unreadable to God’s enemies. Any enemy of God can read the Bible and try to figure out what it says. I have alluded to this fact in many of my Bible lessons. Even though the Bible is not physically encrypted the information in it is spiritually encrypted using natural plain text words with clever plain text methods of information concealment. I call this God “Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight” and you can go and read some of these methods in that series. But, what God has done is extremely intelligent and what He has spiritually hidden from our natural minds in His Word can only be revealed in our spirits after we are saved by His indwelling Spirit living inside of us. This was a very clever method that God designed to keep the truth from His enemies and it is a very wise way to control access to important spiritual information. God comes inside of us to help us to understand His own word. Having the author of the Book on the inside is the clear advantage that we have over the unsaved world that will never know or understand what the Bible says unless they turn and repent.
Therefore, we must understand when we read and study the Bible that God intentionally designed it to prohibit the carnally minded human from observing what was intended to be revealed to only mature Christians. I know that this statement is not going to go over well with everyone that reads it. But, hopefully some will understand this explanation to why there are so many observable rapture theories in existence in the church? I have such a wide range of readers from the carnal, the very novice new Christians all the way to the advanced mature spiritual Christian, so I try to explain things so that everyone can understand what God is doing. At least I try to say things that can potentially help every group if they are open to receive it. God gives everyone freewill to find whatever truth that they want to seek in His word, whether it is right or wrong. For example, if you want to believe in abortion or homosexuality God permits you to find scriptures that justify in your mind the error of your beliefs, but He will eventually judge you for your foolishness.
If you do not understand spiritual maturity and spiritual growth then you will probably not understand why there are so many different variations of the rapture doctrine. We are all born-again as infant baby Christians when we accept Jesus as the Lord of our life. However, spiritual growth is not guaranteed. A born-again baby Christian is usually one that is very sense realm, fleshy or carnally dominated in their thoughts, emotions and actions. The opposite of a baby Christian is one that has grown to maturity and they are usually spirit and Word of God dominated and controlled ignoring their senses. How do you grow up spiritually from one to the other?
1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
We must drink the milk of God’s Word. The milk represents the basic subjects in the Bible as revealed in 1 Corinthians 3:2 where Paul told the church I fed you milk and not meat because you were unable to handle it. Paul was telling the church they needed to grow up spiritually and become meat eaters. Just as a natural new-born child cannot eat any solid food, a new born spiritual baby Christian is unable to comprehend the deep complex subjects of God. Meat subjects represent the complex Bible lessons like I try to teach. God is informing us of the existence of many different levels of knowledge in His Word. The rapture of the church is one of those meat subjects in the Bible and those that are milk drinkers cannot eat it or they will choke. Now are you seeing why there are so many different teachings on the subject of the rapture?
PRESUMPTIVE ASSUMPTIONS USUALLY RESULT IN ERROR!
Presumption is one of the greatest errors found in modern Bible study. Entering into a Bible study with any pre-established beliefs and predefined expectations of the truth will almost always cause all of the other perspectives in the Bible to be blocked from your spiritual view. I call this type of Bible Study, “Tunnel Vision Bible Study” or “Bible Study Wearing Blinders”. Do you understand what blinders are? Blinders are placed on a horse or an animal to keep them narrowly focused. It restricts the vision while forcing the attention on what is desired. Well this is what is occurring in many Christians today. Think of it like this; when a crime detective enters a crime scene they usually try to come into the situation without any prejudices or pre-conceived assumptions of the truth. They should always let the evidence found on the scene point them to the truth and not the other way around. Wow, do you understand why this is an important concept to apply to our Bible study? Take a bloody crime scene with a dead body lying on the floor found with a gun their hand. If an investigator came into the scene already looking for a specific cause for example assuming a suicide this approach would automatically skew or narrow their viewpoint with suicide blinders to ignore all the other possible murder facts. If they came into the same crime scene with murder blinders on, they would automatically miss or omit any suicide truths staring them in the face. These same principles apply to Bible study, if you come into the Bible wearing a set of “no rapture” blinders you will just automatically miss all of the relevant truths that might be presented on a rapture event and vice versa.
These are all very important statements of truth that I have just taught you, so do not ignore them. A truth seeking student of the Bible must lose all of their prejudice and every pre-conceived thought of human knowledge and reasoning in order to be open to be shown the actual spiritual truth by the Spirit of God. God says in His word “Your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways” (Isa 55:8). Therefore entering into correct Bible study is us choosing to leave our old thoughts and our old ways behind us so that we can remove our blinders to see God’s superior ways clearly. Too many times learning the real spiritual truth involves us unlearning some old carnal things that we only thought was the truth. The human mind is very analogous to an empty pitcher for water concept at birth. When we are born physically into the world we enter with zero knowledge of any truth. Thus the baby human is void of all knowledge needing to be filled with correct information. As we grow in knowledge the human mind pitcher fills with information both good and bad. Take this analogy back to the “renewing” or “transformation” mind process described to us by God that we looked at earlier. A major part of this renewal process is us taking out the old bad information to replace it with the new good spiritual information of God. This would be like a person emptying a pitcher of the old stale substance in order to refill it with something new and fresh that is tastier. What you once thought was tasty truth, is potentially blocking the Spirit of God from speaking to you to open the new truth to get it into your mind pitcher. Quit trying to mix the new spiritual word of God with the old concepts of the natural. Just empty your mind of what you thought of this subject before and then continue to read and study this subject going forward. When I started the study, I chose to empty my mind to what I thought about the truth and I simply prayed and asked God to show me His truth, no matter what it was. Having this attitude allows the Holy Spirit to guide us into what we need to know. As you continue to read this lesson I would recommend that you do the same. Ask God to help open your mind to see what it is that you need to change or eliminate in order to see His spiritual truth.
IS THERE A RAPTURE FOUND IN THE BIBLE?
So since I have already done this Bible study and now I am simply writing it down for you to read, I can tell you that I am a firm believer in the pre-tribulation rapture event based upon many clear scriptures that I will use to teach how God revealed this to me. This lesson will be what the Spirit of God showed me that the Bible says on the subject of “Does the Bible say anything about a rapture event”. If you are open to His Spirit with a cleared mind He should confirm what I will teach you about this subject of the soon coming of Jesus Christ for the removal of the church.
I will begin this Bible lesson by agreeing “strongly” with the fourth group of “no rapture” believers that the word “rapture” is technically not found anywhere in the Bible. However, the absence of a modern theological term in the Bible does not eliminate the underlying foundations of the ideas, the concepts, the principles, the patterns and the message behind the modern term. Do you understand what I just said? Let me try to rephrase it in case you missed it. The non-inclusion of the word “rapture” in the Bible does not prove that the ideas behind the rapture are not clearly taught to us using other synonymous words, symbolism, types or any of the other methods of God’s authorship to encrypt or hide His spiritual information from obvious view in the Bible. In fact now that I have studied this subject, I believe that you can find the concepts of the rapture hiding in the book of Genesis and proceeding all the way through the book of Revelation.
Why do modern theological terms and titles exist today like the word “rapture” if it is not found in the Bible? Modern theological titles are simply given to complex spiritual subjects to assist the Bible teacher in teaching them. By assigning a single name or a label to a subject it makes the subject more quickly understandable, more concisely communicable and infinitely clearer to what you are speaking when you teach. Therefore, assigning a simple label is not a foreign concept but a technique that is found today in every wise teacher’s toolbox. You can go into almost any advanced math classes and see them speaking of many terms that have been invented in modern times to help the student understand the complex subject being taught. Take for instance the term “Analytic Geometry”, this terms specifies a specific type of the whole knowledge and restricts the course to only this information necessary to understand this subject. This is not rocket science people. That is all that the word “rapture” is doing by helping the teacher to restrict the subject discussion to a very specific branch of knowledge found in the Bible. Don’t get distracted by the absense of the word “rapture” in the Bible to miss the most important concepts behind the word.
Take the concept of math again and find it in the Bible. The Bible certainly contains math and mathematical concepts throughout the text. However the word “math” is never found anywhere in the Bible. Uh oh? What are we to do here? Are we to conclude that math is a false teaching originating from demons? That is basically what people are doing with the rapture. The absence of a modern theological word from the Bible does not prove that the doctrine behind the label is not an absolute truth. If that was the case then the existence of the “trinity” would be another false church doctrine. The existence of “demons” would clearly need to be eliminated from modern church teaching. Any church teaching against “abortion” or “homosexuality” would also have to be removed from our church doctrines. Finally, other eschatological concepts like the “millennium” and the “2nd Advent” would also need to be eliminated from all church teaching. None of these modern theological words that I have just mentioned occur in the Bible anywhere, however God says a lot about every one of them in the scriptures using many illustrative and creative descriptions.
I’ve heard “no rapture” preachers teach several different variations to what they believe will occur. Some say that Christians will be protected from the coming destruction on the earth during the seven year time of great tribulation like Noah was protected when God destroyed the world using a flood. Others teach that Christians will be treated the same as all of the other people on the earth and endure the great hardship equally with the unrighteous people on the earth. Some others teach that it is the evil unrighteous people that will be taken off of the earth and they call this the true rapture. I find that that teaching very bizarre that God would rapture non-believers and leave the believers to kill them. That teaching sounds satanic to me and I’ll bet Satan uses that one to help describe where all the righteous people have gone. These teachers attempt to equate Satan’s persecution of the church to be corresponding to God’s judgment during the tribulation. They try to say if the early church was put in prison, beaten and killed in the book of Acts then why, would we think that we are better than them now to not have to endure the exact same thing during the end of the church age. However, I cannot find any verse in the Bible where God judges a righteous man. I only see God as the deliverer of the righteous, our savior and our redeemer. Then inversely I only see God as being the judge of the unrighteous in the Bible. You do understand the difference between the righteous and the unrighteous, don’t you? The primary problem with this logic is that the persecution of the early church was not the work of God. Persecution in the early church was the work of Satan trying to keep the work of God from spreading. There is a major difference in who is attempting to bring death upon a man. If it is Satan you can fight that and win, but if it is God, you are done for. During the great tribulation it will be God judging the unrighteous and not the righteous and we will learn this as we continue to go through the scriptures.
RAPTURE DEFINED FROM THE DICTIONARY
Let’s begin by just searching for a basic definition of the word rapture and use that information to enlighten us for the remainder of this lesson. Since the word rapture can be found in the modern dictionary the concepts behind the word must have originated from someone somewhere. We need to understand what the word means in order to know what the possible synonyms might be that we need to search for in our Bible. I went to the internet and found these definitions of the word rapture:
Rapture: The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven.
Rapture: The English derivative of the Greek word RAPTURO, which means “to be removed quickly.”
Rapture: The act of carrying, or fact of being carried, onwards; force of movement
These were three definitions that caught my attention. I have found these concepts and definitions very interesting and informative. It sounds like the old Star Trek show principle of being “transported” from one location like the surface of a planet up to the ship Enterprise orbiting above. In this old TV show this process was being referred to as a type of “Beam Up” procedure or process. I believe that this is the message being revealed and the concepts being observed in the definition of the word “rapture”. If you have never seen the Star Trek shows that is really not a problem; however, just learn how the devil took a God concept to use it to make the Bible concept seem less spectacular, divine and more natural. Let’s review quickly the Star Trek concepts of being transported up. Here was a fictitious human machine that would take a person’s existence, life and body and instantly change their current location to a new 3-dimensional location. However if you ever watched the TV show you will understand that the people being transported were never involved in making it happen. The power of the machine that would transport a person was external and outside of the realm of influence of the human being moved. In other words no human power was involved in making it happen. In the Star Trek show the person that controlled the power of the machine in the star ship was the only one that could transport anyone from the surface of the planet. This also means that this person in control of the machine could take out anyone, even if they were not expecting to go yet. Why am I comparing a fictional TV show to the Bible event called the rapture? I believe that whatever God has created or will do that Satan will try to pervert it, disguise it, and duplicate it to make it seem absurd. Let’s look at another online reference found in Wikipedia to the rapture:
The Rapture is a term in Christian eschatology which refers to the “being caught up” discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, when the “dead in Christ” and “we who are alive and remain” will be “caught up in the clouds” to meet “the Lord”.
Here we have found a reference to at least one scripture verse and we have another synonymous term to consider and place in our vocabulary. So far we have “transport” and “caught up” and both of those are similar to the Star Trek concept of being beamed up to the ship. There is a definitive implication found in the information in the definitions of the word “rapture” that it means a “taking of people by force or power” to relocate them physically. Let me give you a list of possible synonymous terms that could apply to this basic foundational concept found in the word rapture.
- Transport Up/Out/Away
- Caught Up/Out/Away
- Taken Up/Out/Away
- Catch Away
- Gathered Up/Out/Away
- Seize Up/Out/Away
- Pluck Up/Out/Away
- Pull Up/Out/Away
- Extract Up/Out
- Convey Away
- Remove Up/Out
- Snatch Up/Out/Away
- Depart Up/Out/Away
- Ascend Up/Away
I believe these are all valid phrasings for synonymous terms of the word “rapture”. I could use any of these phrases in place of the word “rapture” and the message would be interchangeable. Why is it important to understand that there are so many ways to say the exact same thing? It is primarily because God does this frequently in the Bible. Using several different synonymous words is a great way to hide information for you to find. You see many of the “rapture” critics believe it is a false teaching simply because they have not read any obvious scriptures to support it. They claim that it requires at least 2 or 3 confirming scriptures to establish a church doctrine of truth and I totally agree with that statement. However, two different witnesses in a court case can say the same thing using many different words and descriptions and both can be describing the exact same event from their perspective of view.
Let me give you a quick example of what I am saying. When I was a young man walking home from high school as I usually did, I noticed two very young boys up ahead of me on the same side of the road as I was walking. They appeared anxious and wanted to cross the street to get to the other side, but there were cars coming in both directions. Suddenly one boy thought the street was clear as the last car on his side of the road passed by and started running to cross to the other side. This child could not see what I could see. I could see the oncoming car that he could not observe because of the car that had just passed on his side was blocking his view. Well the oncoming car hit the boy and traffic immediately stopped. The boy lay in the road badly hurt. The driver that hit him never saw him run in front because he also was blocked from the children’s view by the cars in the oncoming lane. Well everyone had a different perspective of the same event and everyone could be a witness to it in court. But we would all be describing it from much different view points than the other witnesses. Do you understand what I am saying? God’s witnesses many times use different perspectives to the same events. Because they are worded slightly different does not prove that they are not all accurate and that they are not all true.
We are going to have to use a level of intelligence to see that each witness is describing the same event even though what was said was not exactly using the same words. I probably did not do justice to all of the possible synonyms for the word rapture. If you can think of others that are also valid please share them with me and I will add them to the list.
BIBLE RAPTURE BASIC CONCEPTS
Since we have two basic opposition positions for the existence of a rapture event we need to learn what the Bible actually says on the subject. Learning the very basic concepts of any subject always logically precedes learning any of the advanced information on the same subject. So that is where we are going next with the rapture Bible study to find the simple truth basics. Jesus taught us many of these basic truths in the Gospels, but we need to find them first, understand those second and then we need to learn how to apply them correctly to the subject of the rapture last. I taught you in other lessons that correct Bible study is like a complex puzzle solving process. Therefore, in order to view the correct big picture on the rapture subject we need to make sure that we have gathered, organized and put together all of the smaller detail type of puzzle pieces together correctly. We will transition into fact gathering mode and not jumping into any conclusions at this initial phase of the study. We are going to back up to view one of the very basic Bible themes taught by Jesus consistently first and then use that evidence to help our Bible interpretation of the existence of any coming detailed rapture information. We are going to let the Bible interpret itself, before we decide if the rapture is not found in the Bible or attempt to place the timing of the rapture correctly. What we will be looking for are hidden patterns in the statements of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do not understand the concepts of patterns then that is probably one reason why you don’t believe in the rapture. A pattern is simply a description using words other than the direct mention of a subject but still conveying the general message of the subject. Let’s review some Bible basics taught by Jesus:
Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Here for example, Jesus makes a strong recommendation to everyone. Jesus, speaking prophetically said that most of the world will choose to follow in a wide path to their own destruction and that only a few will find the narrow path that leads them to life. Therefore we can clearly see the existence of two possible outcomes based upon the determining factor of the personal human freewill choice being selected. These two eventual outcomes were either life or destruction and those that find life are not destroyed and those that are destroyed miss out on life. But, let’s take that statement into context with what Jesus was talking about. Jesus was making a clear separation between two antithesis groups of people/humanity. Does this concept sound familiar? Are you looking for rapture patterns? What exactly is rapture? From what I have learned studying the subject, rapture is the taking of a select group of people from a larger group of other people that are left. The raptured group’s results are much different than the group that are left. What Jesus was describing to us here in Matthew 7:13-14 is the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous people in the world using a pathway symbolic analogy. The righteous are therefore, following a path to obtain life and the other unrighteous are following a path to an end of destruction and death. Uh oh? What about that pattern? Take that very basic scriptural information and apply it to the two main stated positions on the rapture. The “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” group claims that the righteous will be taken out prior to all of the death and destruction about to occur in the 7 years of great tribulation. The other group of “No-Rapture” believers primarily teaches that the righteous will be found to be present during the death and destruction being poured out on the world during the 7 years of great tribulation. Which position or belief conforms more precisely to what Jesus was teaching us in the pathway illustration? Are the righteous Christians, going to go through the great tribulation to experience death and destruction or are the righteous removed from the coming death and destruction to obtain their life everlasting? Wow, I pray that you are awake!
Maybe we need to do a quick overview study on the book of Revelation first. You see the horror, terror and death described to us in this book during this 7 year time period from chapter 4 until chapter 19 is so strong that it can clearly be associated with only mass destruction. From how I read the book, I can see very few individuals during this time that will obtain this salvation or life. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying; there is the mention of 144,000 witnesses and others that will be martyred in Revelation. But I believe that these people that are mentioned are those that thought they were Christians but have been left behind and suddenly realized too late that that they were wrong. Jesus actually teaches us another very important parable to consider, reflect upon and to relate into our study:
Mat 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Mat 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
Mat 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
Mat 25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Mat 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
Mat 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Mat 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
Mat 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Mat 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Mat 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Mat 25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
Mat 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Mat 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
This is such a great passage to study. It has so many deep things from God hidden in it that it will amaze you when you can see them. Reading the Bible is never studying the Bible, but studying the Bible does involve some reading. One of the keys to understanding any verse is to look up the original language definitions of the words given. This is a tremendous mistake to assume that you understand what a word means and then walk away with the incorrect meaning believing you are correct. That is one of the easiest ways that deception can occur. I actually want to talk about the last verse first. This verse gives us a very basic truth. Jesus said I’m coming but you will not know when I come. Using this information we know that Jesus will return at a time that we do not fully comprehend. Ok, using that information how can anyone say that Jesus will return for us at the end of the tribulation or at the middle of the tribulation? Both of these belief positions are at pre-determined set times. We understand that the total length of the tribulation is a 7 year set period of time. This was called the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy. If the rapture occurs 3.5 years or 42 months after the beginning everyone would know when the rapture would occur and be ready for it. That does not fit the parable does it? The same is true for the post tribulation belief. After 7 years or 84 months of tribulation everyone still alive would instantly know when the rapture would occur. Both of these belief positions are very weak when compared with scriptures like the foolish/wise virgins.
My next point that I would like to make is God’s usage of one very specific Greek word that I found absolutely essential for us to see. The Greek word G1831 is used twice in this parable in verse 1 and verse 5. This word from the Strong’s definition has the following meaning:
From G1537 and G2064; to issue (literally or figuratively): – come-(forth, out), depart (out of), escape, get out, go (abroad, away, forth, out, thence), proceed (forth), spread abroad.
This is a very interesting Greek word originating from two other Greek words. The first Greek root word means origin as in the point where motion or actions proceeds (from or out). The second Greek root word means to “come” or “go”. Combining these two words together gives us the possible meanings in the Strong’s definition as “escape”, “get out”, “go forth”, “go out”, etc. Does any of this sound like the synonymous terms for rapture to you? Isn’t that what the “no rapture” group is criticizing the other rapture believers for buying into the doctrine of “escapism”? Any time you can escape from danger, peril, jeopardy, hazards, traps, evil, death or destruction you have been delivered from it. I am not going to teach you the entire parable of the 10 virgins today, because I do not have that much time. We are just going to look for keys and patterns to understanding the existence of the rapture in the Bible.
For the next point I would like to say that this teaching of the 10 Virgins by Jesus does not match with the previous teaching where Jesus said wide is the path and many there are that will go that way. Therefore we are either viewing two different events or two different perspectives of the same event. Here in this parable Jesus is again comparing two groups of contrasting people but here He divides them into two equal halves. Therefore we do not have a direct match to what Jesus was talking about in the path analogy. In the 10 Virgin Parable, both groups are called virgins and start out with the same identical oil and lamps, but 5 of them run out of oil and miss the coming of the Lord. There is still a division that takes place between two groups, but these cannot be the righteous and the unrighteous. I see this parable as speaking only about Christians and the saved church. Christians are called the light of the world by Jesus (Mat 5:14). If you read the book of Revelation chapter 2 when Jesus talks to the 7 churches He mentions candlesticks twice. One mention in verse 1 is a symbolic reference to the 7 churches with each being a candlestick light to the world. Then in Verse 5 Jesus warns one church at Ephesus to beware or their candlestick will be removed. Did you get the symbolism? The removal of a candlestick is symbolic of the removal of a light. What did Jesus say in Matthew? Jesus said you are the light of the world. Do you also see the symbolism being repeated in the 10 Virgin Parable? The running out of oil causes the lamp to go out. The parallels are very significant here and I pray that you see them.
According to what we read from Jesus, he said the righteous will find life, we should be able to conlclude logically that in the 10 Virgin parable these were all saved Christians at one time but that half of them made foolish choices to run out of oil and missed the coming of the Bridegroom to enter into the wedding feast! Consider the fact that all 10 virgins are waiting and looking for Christ to come. What does that teach us? Are we looking for Christ to come or for the anti-Christ to come? If the church was going through the tribulation then they would be looking for the coming anti-Christ and not the coming of the actual bridegroom Christ. This pattern found in the 10 virgin parable only fits with a pre-tribulation expection rapture event and no other belief works. Using this parable the pre-tribulation coming of the bridegroom is the only possible harmoneous belief that can be possible. Every other belief of a post-trib, mid-trib or even a no rapture belief will not fit with the parable pattern information given. Wow, these are such important patterns to decode. Spend time in researching them. Figure out what the oil represents symbolically. Let’s keep moving and continue to learn some more kingdom of heaven simple basics taught by Jesus:
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Mat 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Mat 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Mat 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Mat 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Jesus repeatedly taught the concept of separation and division between two opposing groups. Here again in this parable is a lot of truth that contains many of the puzzle pieces but not the complete picture diagram of the whole subject. Jesus just said that the wheat will be “gathered” into His barn but that the tares will be burned (destroyed) with fire (Mat 13:25-30). I want you to notice the basic concept taught to us here in these verses. I also want you to ignore figuring out the timing for this for now. There is a definite subject of “gathering” that takes place by the reapers. “Gathered Up” is a synonymous term from our list for a type of rapture. The reapers gathering in their crops to harvest is the basic premise being communicated symbolically and it is mentioned twice here. Can we at least agree that the concept given sounds like a type of rapture? It does to me whether you choose to see it or not.
If you read the verses closely you will notice a very distinct problem emerging. These verses say that the tares will be gathered “first” before the wheat is gathered into the barn. Of course we will talk about this in more depth later because these verses are often used by the “no rapture” teachers to prove that the wicked tare people rapture (gathering) must occur first before the good righteous wheat people are gathered from the earth. However, that is simply one common misunderstood position or one erroneous interpretation of misapplied information but that is not the entire truth on the subject. We are required to balance all of the facts and not just try to take some limited information and make them more important than any other information on the subject. Just try to learn the concept basics right now and then we will try to figure out the details later.
Mat 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
Mat 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
Mat 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
Mat 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
Mat 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
Mat 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
If you read closely the explanation of the parable in Matthew 13:37-43 you will surely see more of the basic symbolism being defined. We can learn from the description that Jesus was the sower of the good wheat seed. We further learn that the enemy Satan was the sower of the tare seed. Jesus teaches us that the wheat represents one good group of people and that the tares represent a distinct separate evil group of people all growing together in the same field (the world). The group of wheat represents the saved righteous people in the church and the other tares that are destroyed in the fire are the wicked unrighteous people of the earth. Which group are you in? I’m wheat myself. Therefore, I’m not ever burned. Ok, the harvesters we are informed are the angels of God. Then in this discourse Jesus also says that this event being described occurs at the end of the world. Uh oh? When is that? I believe that this is referring to the end of the millennium also called the prophesied 1000 year long day of rest when the righteous rule the earth. Therefore, this description given by Jesus cannot be talking about a pre-tribulation rapture event. Did you know that is so very true and that I totally agree with that statement? This is exactly why many of the “no rapture” teachers teach that there can be no rapture until the end of the world comes and the wicked are removed from the earth first. However, that is where I depart from their erroneous theory.
You see they are neglecting to understand that there can be more than one rapture event in the Bible being described. Anything that God can do once, God can do as many times as He desires. If you study the Bible correctly you will find that there have been at least 4 or 5 rapture events that have already occurred and we will list them in detail later as we study. Then we must understand that there will be coming 2, 3 or more rapture events that must still come to pass and that these are all separate and distinct events occurring at different set times. Therefore, Jesus here in this lesson is speaking and describing one rapture event that cannot be mixed with any another rapture event but it does help us prove that they can occur for God’s purpose. You see if one “rapture” is possible at any time then more than one is also highly possible. Are you God? Some Bible teachers think they are God. They try to tell God what He can and cannot do and they sound like fools doing that. So understand this concept, there has been several rapture events that have already occurred and there are more yet to come. Do not get into a single threaded interpretation of all events being the same event. What we must do is to see all of the facts and not just take one truth attempting to make it the whole truth. What Jesus just described cannot be a description of the pre-tribulation rapture event, but that still does not mean that there is not one of those that can still occur. Did you hear what I just said? Is your brain engaged in this study and have you learned anything so far? We are still studying the basics of the subject and I just gave you some very important clues to learn from. Let’s continue with another set of basic information from Jesus:
Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Here is a set of popular scripture verses describing another rapture type of event. The term being described here is again called a “gathering” of the nations. Remember that term and then understand that it is the exact same key word phrase (G4863) of “gathering” given to us in the parable of the wheat and tares. Here God is using a different type of symbolism to describe some very similar concepts. “Gathering” wheat or sheep is the same general act of power and force. Neither the sheep nor the goats make a request to be gathered or to be separated from each other and these acts occur outside of the realm of their influence or control. Do you understand how these very basic principles being described are similar to a rapture event? These are clear divinely originated plans from God not originating from any man. The act of separating the sheep from the goats is practically identical to the separation of the wheat from the tares. The concept parallels between these two descriptions are outstandingly similar and are linked together by God’s choice of the same Greek word translated as “gathered”. What we are observing is God’s usage of a synonymous word for rapture. It is described to be a gathering together as well as a separating from. Both of these acts occur simultaneously by God’s design. We have just reviewed some of the very basic information on rapture revealed and taught by Jesus in the Bible. I do not know why you would read these verses and not believe that rapture is possible even if you do not yet understand all of the timings of any of the rapture events.
Thank you for your time in reading this first lesson in the series about the rapture. We have really only touched on some very introductory basics but in doing this I believe that I have also introduced you to several new things to consider. I believe that we need to begin to understand that there is more than one possible rapture event that could occur. You see many read the Bible and only see one event and think that is the only event. Take for instance the flood of Noah. This is widely taught as a universal flood that wipes out all life except for those in the ark. However, reading in Genesis 1 we should be able to see that there was another universal flood that was also mentioned. What we learn is that God uses repeated patterns in the Bible. Patterns are a widely used concepts displayed throughout the Bible. What God has done before is typically what God will cause to happen again. We learn this concept from verses like Ecclesiastes 1:9. We need to fully learn how God operated in the past in order to understand how God could possibly operate in the future. Please come back and read the next lessons in this series. We will cover a lot more imformation that is critical to understand. God Bless you until then!
If you would like to continue the study of this subject you may go to “Part 2” now.