Paul Was Pre-Trib By Jack Kelley This is not meant to be a complete commentary…
Enraptured by the Rapture
Enraptured by the Rapture
By Randy Nettles
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “rapture” has three basic definitions. 1) Ecstatic joy, bliss, euphoria, or delight. 2) The carrying away of a person to another place or sphere of existence. 3) The final assumption of Christians into heaven during the end-time according to Christian theology.
As a believer in Christ, can you imagine the joy (rapture definition #1) one will experience when we, as the bride and soul mate of Jesus, are “carried away“ (rapture definition #2) into the air to meet with Jesus, our Savior, Lord and King? He will then escort us to our new home in heaven… (rapture definition #3); where we will be with Him forever.
The English word ”rapture” is derived from the Latin word “rapio” which means “to carry away,” or “to catch up.” Although the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible, it is based on Biblical scripture. Jesus never fully explained the Rapture to his disciples before his crucifixion, although he hinted at it a few times (Matthew 24:36-44; Luke 17:26-36; John 14:1-4). The Rapture was a mystery until God revealed it to Paul many years after Jesus’ death. The timing of his revelation is unknown. Perhaps it was when Paul went into Arabia (Galatians 1:17) after his Damascus experience and conversion or later when he returned to Damascus. Some have suggested this revelation occurred when Paul was caught up to heaven as per 2 Corinthians. “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 12:1).
The details of the Rapture regarding the resurrection and transformation of all dead and living believers in Jesus Christ were first given by Paul to the Church in Thessalonica in about A.D. 51.
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (dead), that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” – (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)
The Greek word for “caught up” is “harpazō” and means “to seize, or carry off by force” or “to snatch away.” About 5 years later, in 56 BC, Paul reinforced the concept of the rapture to the Church of Corinth. “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
Another famous scripture regarding the rapture was given by Jesus himself and recorded by the disciple John many decades later. “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 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.” (John 14:1-3).
At the moment of the Rapture, all living believers in Jesus as Lord and Savior, as well as all deceased Christians since the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in AD 33, will receive new spiritual bodies that are made for heaven and eternity. We will retain our souls which have been cleansed of sin, and our spirits will be in perfect alignment with God, the Holy Spirit.
Here are a couple of Old Testament prophecies that hinted at the mystery of the Rapture, which is to come before the Great Tribulation (Day of the Lord): “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:20-21)
Before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you! Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:2-3).
The unbridled bliss we will experience when we are together with Jesus and all of our saved relatives and friends will be unimaginable. It will be the ultimate family reunion of the ages. We will experience perfect love and happiness. Never again will we experience the negative emotions of fear, hate, envy, greed, sorrow, uncertainty, lust, selfishness, and pride. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore; for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).” In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
The will of the Father shall become the will of all humans and angels in heaven. We will never again experience the sorrow of sin in our lives. Our sin nature, inherited from Adam, will no longer be with us, for we will be made holy and righteous after Christ.
Our mortal bodies will be transformed into immortal bodies that will be suited for eternity in the new heavens and earth. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality, then shall it be brought to pass the saying, that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54).
We will have a spiritual body like Jesus’ resurrected body. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. For everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).)
It will be a glorious body similar to Jesus. “So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44,49).
“For our citizenship is in heaven; from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall transform our lowly body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.” – (Philippians 3: 20-21).
Our bodies will not be as glorious as Jesus’, for He is God; but it will be similar.
What does Jesus’ glorious body look like? In the book of Revelation, John had a vision of Jesus Christ in His glory: “Then I turned to see the voice (a loud voice, as of a trumpet) that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands (theophany of the Holy Spirit), and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man (Jesus Christ), clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:12-16).
Even before Jesus’ resurrection, he had supernatural abilities, such as walking on water, turning water into wine, feeding the multitude with little food, slipping through a murderous crowd unnoticed, and of course his many healings. After the resurrection, Jesus entered through a locked door where the disciples were hiding in a room and stood in their midst, according to John 20:19-20. Jesus’ ascension into heaven forty days after his resurrection was another supernatural event recorded in Acts 1:9-11.
In our spiritual bodies, we will have supernatural abilities and senses; compared to our current carbon based earthly ones. What an upgrade it will be! “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary: and they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:32). Our knowledge will greatly increase as we will be able to use 100% of our brains. “For we now know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
All transformed believers in Jesus will become children of God and will be co-heirs with Christ throughout the Millennium and Eternity. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:16-18).
“But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). God’s kingdom will consist of the new heavens (universe) and earth; including the eternal city… the New Jerusalem. Here is John’s description of our new home:
And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs.
The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones.
The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:10-27)
Oh, the rapture of the Rapture! Does this sound like an event you want to miss? If you miss the Rapture train, you will have to face the train wreck known as Daniels’ 70th week, otherwise known as the 7 year Tribulation. It would be a shame to miss it because of not making a decision for Christ. Even if the Rapture doesn’t happen relatively soon (although I believe it is very near) or if you miss it, no person knows when he or she might pass from this life into the next one.
The next life will be for eternity… do you want to spend it in Heaven (the New Earth and New Jerusalem) or Hell (the Lake of Fire)? The first article I wrote for R.R. was about this subject. See: Scary, Isn’t It?:: By Randy Nettles – Rapture Ready Choose Jesus and live forever as a royal son of the most high God. Make your decision today, for we are not guaranteed tomorrow. “But God said unto him, you fool, this night your soul shall be required of you; then whose shall those things be, which you have provided for yourself” (Luke 12: 20).
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28-30,38)
Even so, come Lord Jesus.