To read the next post in this series, click here
Answers to Bible Questions
(Q) What can you tell me about the Doctrine of the Rapture? ( Part 3 of 6 )
Written by Robert C. Brock
(A) (25) Gal. 1: 4, “who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from
this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father.”
The one event that Paul was inspired to write about in Galatians that is
basic to Christianity is the Coming of the Lord for His Church, called the
Rapture. The word ‘deliver’ is the Greek verb EXAIREO, meaning ‘to pluck out,
take out, tear out, deliver, rescue;’ used once by Paul and 7 other times in
the New Testament (Matt. 5:29-pluck out eye; 18:9-pluck out eye; Acts 7:10-
delivered; Acts 7:34-deliver; Acts 12:11-delivered; Acts 23:27-rescued by an
army; Acts 26:17-delivering; Gal. 1 :4-might deliver). You can see by its use
that it is a strong word. Matthew used it of violently yanking out an eye;
Luke used it of a small army of men taking Paul away by force from the Jews.
In Gal. 1:4 it speaks of a necessary form of removal, of being ‘plucked out’
of this evil world system by our Lord. This verb is also in the subjunctive
mood – ‘might deliver us from.’ This. indicates imminency, that the Lord could
come at any time. No Old Testament prophecies stand in the way of the Rapture.
Thus, it becomes an important Biblical tool in teaching us that we should always
be ready and looking for Him.
The word ‘from’ is the Greek preposition EK, ‘from, from out of, out, out
of, away from.’ Literally it can read like this: ” ••• so that He might rescue
us from out of the present evil Age ••• ” There is more here than the idea
that we are to be separate from the world system we live in, which is taught
elsewhere (Romans 12:1-2).
The last part of this verse shows that the Rapture is our Father God’s will
for the Body of Christ, a point we often forget. This Age of grace is called
‘evil’ because Satan is permitted by God to be called ‘the god of this Age’ (2 Cor. 4:4).
(26) Gal. 5:5, “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of
righteousness by faith.”
This verse refers to the Rapture by calling it’ the hope of righteousness.’
The Greek verb for ‘eagerly wait for’ is APEKDECHOMAI, used 7 times in the
New Testament, all by Paul (Rom. 8:19,23,25; 1 Cor. 1:7; Gal. 5:5; Phil. 3:20; Heb. 9:28).
It is used of the coming of Christ for His Church and of the Second Coming in Heb. 9:28.
Hope’ is used of our Lord in Titus 2: 13, ‘looking for the blessed hope, ‘
and ‘righteousness’ is used of our Lord in 1 Cor. 1: 30 , ‘Christ Jesus, who
became for us wisdom from God and righteousness.’ So the Rapture is
described as the hope of righteousness, and only those of like faith can
accept it as truth for today.
(27) Eph. 1 :14, “who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption
of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
This verse is in relation to the Rapture, for this is when our redemption
will be complete. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of this, and every saved
person during this Dispensation of grace has had (past) and has now (present)
the Holy Spirit living in him or her (Romans 8:9-11).
The purchased possession refers to each member of the Body of Christ.
All of us have been BOUGHT or PURCHASED by the risen Lord Jesus Christ. We
become His possession. He paid the price for each one of us (1 Cor. 6: 20).
(28) Eph. 1 :18, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may
know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of
His inheritance in the saints.”
Verse 18 is a part of Paul’s first prayer in Ephesians, a prayer that
covers verses 15 through 21. One of the aspects of this prayer is that
believers are to know what is THE HOPE of His calling. ‘calling’ can have a
dual meaning: (1) it can refer to a ‘call’ to salvation; (2) it can refer to
the Rapture of the Body of Christ (Phil. 3: 1 4). Our’ hope’ is involved with
our future, and we as believers ‘hope’ that we will be alive at the time of
(29) Eph. 4:4, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one
hope of your calling.”
The ‘one hope’ is in reference ‘to the Body of Christ. It certainly includes the
Rapture of the Church which is His Body. It is a blessed truth that should give
us a positive outlook on life, knowing that if we are alive when the Rapture takes
place, we will be instantly changed from our physical body to our new body of glory
when we meet our Lord in the air (1 Cor. 15: 51 ,52; Phil. 3:21). If we don’t live
until the Rapture, death will take us into the very presence of our Saviour God (2 Cor. 5: 8 ).
(30) Eph. 4:13, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the
stature of the fulness of Christ.”
Because of the word ’till’ (or ‘until’) at the beginning of this verse, the teaching
seems to refer to the ‘end result’ of the ministry of the apostles, prophets, evangelists,
pastors, and teachers that have been given to the Body of Christ (verses 11-12).
There are four subj ects in this verse:
1.the unity of the faith
2.the knowledge of the Son of God
3.a perfect man
4.the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ
Is this verse dealing with practical truth or should it be relegated to
the future as a prophetic verse?
For example, take the first subject – the unity of the faith. This is in
reference to the Body of Christ of verse 12, not to Christendom as such. Has
‘the unity of the faith’ ever been manifested fully, in a physical sense, by
the Body of Christ during this Age of grace? Has’ the unity of the faith’
ever been manifested fully in a spiritual sense, by the Body of Christ during
this Age of grace? If it has, it was only for a short time involving a very
small group of believers (and I am not thinking of the Jewish Messianic
Assembly of the early Acts period which had all things in common). Only God
knows ‘when’ or ‘if’ the unity of the faith has ever happened.
But if we relegate this to a future event like the Rapture, then we can say
that the Body of Christ will definitely experience the unity of the faith at
that time, with the ‘faith’ referring to a specific body of truth that brought
it into existence, namely, the Revelation of the Mystery (Rom. 16:25).
In relation to the second subject, the Greek word for ‘knowledge’ means
‘accurate knowledge,’ a knowledge that is OVER and ABOVE regular knowledge.
That is the kind of knowledge we will definitely have then, and as our Apostle
has used this word in his letters, it is God’s will NOW that we experience
accurate knowledge of His Son, the risen Christ Jesus ( Col. 1: 9-10). But very
few believers have this kind of knowledge today, and this verse says that ‘ALL’ will attain to this.
Subject number three – a perfect man – refers to the Body of Christ. The
Body of Christ is called a ‘new man’ in Eph. 2: 15. The word ‘perfect’ also
means ‘complete,’ referring to the membership of the Body. Of course, this
is the reason for preaching the Gospel of the grace of God by evangelists,
pastors, and teachers, in order that souls may be saved and the membership
of the Body brought to completion by the Holy Spirit.
The fourth subject – the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ is a
difficult truth to understand, but then we will know all about it. Since this verse
can be classified as a verse of prophecy, we can then put it with the Rapture,
the next event in God’s program for the Body of Christ.
However, we should not fail to understand that we are involved with this
as we strive to preach and teach Pauline truth in our ministry for our risen
Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus.
(31) Eph. 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were
sealed for the day of redemption.”
The Day of Redemption is still future. The Rapture is the Day of Redemption
for members of the Body of Christ, a Day when our salvation will be complete
when we receive our resurrection bodies from our Father God. Doctrinally, we
are complete in Christ (Col. 2:10), but experientially we have only participated
in the past (when we were saved) and in the present aspects of salvation (when
God’s power is keeping us saved). We still have to experience the future aspect of salvation,
which we all should be excited about.
This third and final phase of our salvation is guaranteed for us because we
have been SEALED by the Holy Spirit of God, the third Person of the Godhead.
This is a blessed “truth, to know that you are eternally secure in Christ. All
of us sin after being saved, some more than others, but the blood of Christ
takes away ALL of our sins. God’s love is continually being poured out from
Himself into our hearts every minute of the day and night that we are alive
(Rom. 5: 5). This fact alone is enough to keep us saved in Christ.
(32) Phil. 1 :6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a
good work in you will complete it until the Day of Jesus Christ.”
This Day is a reference to the Rapture. The Rapture is a major subject in
Philippians. The Western Greek text has ‘Christ Jesus’ instead of ‘Jesus
Christ,’ which I prefer and is more Pauline. The Rapture is the DAY of
What ‘good work’ has God begun in us who are saved? The answer is,
salvation. Salvation is God’s work, not our work. This shows that no one can
work for their salvation. That is impossible to do. Even ‘believing’ is the
work of God, a principle that is true in every dispensation (John 6:28-29).
Further on in Philippians Paul wrote that “it is God who works IN you both
to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2: 13 ).
Salvation begins with a ‘birth’ into God’s family. We begin as ‘babes in
Christ’ (1 Cor. 3: 1 ), and we are exhorted, commanded, and admonished
to GROW UP and become MATURE adult believers in Christ. We are not
to remain as ‘babies’ during our whole Christian life. The Galatian believers
had to be told that their beginning as children of God was through the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:3).
The work of salvation will be completed for us by God at the Rapture.
What God begins, He finishes. He doesn’t leave things undone or partially completed, like we do.
(33) Phil. 1 :10, “that you may approve the things that are excellent, that
you may be sincere and without offense till the Day of Christ.”
Here is the second reference to the Rapture in Philippians – the Day of
Christ. Believers are admonished, in view of this event, to be pure and
blameless in their Christian living.
A big part of our responsibility is to ‘approve the things that are
excellent.’ What does this phrase mean? The translation of the KJV and the
NKJV are off the mark here, for this idea is found later in Phil. 4:8, where
six excellent, positive things are listed for us to dwell on.
‘To approve’ means ‘to test, to examine’ necessary things. What Paul wrote
about in Phil. 1:10 is the fact that believers are ‘to test the things that are differing.
‘ This is something new, and translators have a definite lack of understanding in
these matters. The Greek word for ‘excellent’ (which
is an adjective in English) is DIAPHERO, a verb meaning ‘to carry, carry in
different ways, spread, differ, be different. It is used 13 times in the New
Testament, 5 times by Paul (Rom. 2:18; 1 Cor. 15:41; Gal. 2:6; 4:1; Phil. 1:10).
It is also mistranslated in Acts 13:49, where ‘was published’ (KJV) and ‘being
spread’ (NKJV) should have been translated ‘being different,’ for Paul’s message
certainly was different from any other message that was preached before him.
You see, my friend, the Bible MAJORS in the differences that are found in the
workings of our Father God. God is a God of variety, as can be attested in nature
(1 Cor.15:39), in the heavenly realm (1 Cor.15:40-41), and in the Bible
(Rom. 2:18 with Phil. 1: 10). Those who are not dispensational don’t want
their followers to understand this important fact.
It is because of these ‘differences’ that believers are commanded by the
risen Christ Jesus to rightly divide and to test those things that are different
in the Word of God. According to Romans 2:18, the Jew could and did do this in
a negative sense (what they could not eat, for example, Leviticus chapter 11).
Why, then, can’t Gentile believers do this in a negative and a positive sense,
as well? It is not right and it is not fair for some believers to keep other
believers from testing and rightly dividing the things that differ in the
(34) Phil. 2:16, “hold fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the Day
of Christ, that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
The ‘Day of Christ’ is the same ‘Day’ as mentioned earlier in chapter one,
verses 6 and 10 – the Rapture. The’ word of life’ is the Gospel of the grace
of God that begets spiritual life in those who believe it.
Serving the Lord for the rewards He offers is a valid motive in Christian
service. ‘That I may rejoice’ is in relation to these rewards. We can and
should have the same attitude as Paul had (2 Tim.4:8).
(35) Phil. 3:11, “if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from
The teaching of this verse is that the Rapture is a UNIQUE event related
only to this Dispensation of grace. This is seen in a special word, the Greek
noun EXANASTASIS, used only here in the New Testament and meaning ‘out-
resurrection.’ The Apostle had hoped that he would be alive when this special
resurrection takes place. We should all feel that way, too.
Literally, this verse can be translated: “If in any way I might come to the
out-resurrection from out of the dead.” There is a very strong emphasis on the
word ‘out,’ it being a part of the Greek word just mentioned, as well as from the
Greek preposition EK. What this tells us is that this ‘out-resurrection’ is not a
part of the resurrection program that the Lord Jesus taught in John 5:29.
The Rapture is not a part of the first resurrection of Rev. 20: 5 and of what our
Lord called ‘the resurrection of life.’ The Rapture is a SPECIAL and SEPARATE
resurrection that is only for the Body of Christ.
(36) Phil. 3:14, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of
God in Christ Jesus.”
This verse can be divided into two parts: (1) the prize given for faithful
service, which will take place at the Judgment Seat of Christ; (2) the word
‘calling’ is used in the sense of a ‘call’ from heaven to come up to heaven.
When the Rapture takes place the Lord will descend from heaven with a SHOUT
that is directed to all the members of the Body of Christ (1 Thess. 4: 1 6).
I am waiting for that call; are you?
(37) Phil. 3:20-21, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also
(38) eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will trans-
form our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body,
according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things
This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. It tells us of the
Rapture, our resurrection body, and when God arranges particular things
under His authority.
These two verses are very expressive in the Greek, and because translators
are basically Covenant oriented in their theology, they fail to bring out the
beauty of the Greek language that the Apostle was familiar with. A literal translation is as follows:
“For our citizenship is in existence in (the) heavens, from where we also
patiently wait for (the) Saviour, (the) Lord Jesus Christ,  who will
transform the body of our low estate, in order for it to become the same
form as the body of His glory, according to the superhuman power of Him
to be able also to arrange the all things to. Himself” (The Unveiling of Christianity by the author).
Notice the following truths in this passage:
1.HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP – this is the only place in the Bible where we read
about a citizenship in heaven prepared by God for His people of today –
the Body of Christ. This is a REAL CITIZENSHIP that already is in
existence (this is the force of the ‘is’ in verse 20), in the spiritual
realm of the Fourth Dimension. Paul stated in 2 Cor. 5: 20 that we are
ambassadors for Christ in a foreign world with the Gospel of His grace.
This could not be true if we are not citizens of heaven.
2.WE WAIT FOR OUR SAVIOUR – this is a definite reference to the coming of
our Lord in the air at the Rapture. This is Nor a reference to the Second
Coming of Christ to the earth for Israel. The Rapture takes place at
least seven years before the Second Coming.
3.OUR BODY IS TO BE CHANGED – Verse 21 tells us exactly what our resurrec-
tion body is going to look like. It will be like His body of glory. The
word ‘transform’ refers to an outward change that will affect the body
only. The ‘body of our low estate’ is called this because of sin and
because human bodies are of a lower order than angels (Heb. 2: 7 ,9).
The word ‘conform’ (NKJV) is used in only one other verse, Rom. 8:29,
which goes together with Phil. 3: 21 – ‘conformed to the image of His
Son. ‘ Our body of sin is going to be changed into a body of glory at the
Rapture in an instant by our Father God, for those who are alive when
the Rapture takes place, and for those in the Body of Christ who have
died when they are raised from the dead at that time. What a climax!
The Dispensation of the grace of God begins with a tremendous burst of
God’s glory on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 3), and will end with another
tremendous display of His glory at the Rapture in the air!
4.GOD’S ARRANGEMENT OF HOLY BEINGS – the word ‘subdue’ (NKJV)
can give a false impression here. In English the word ‘subdue’ means ‘to conquer,
put down, bring under control.’ However, the Greek verb HUPOTASSO, used here,
also means ‘to arrange under’ (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament,
page 645). This meaning more clearly describes the working of God during that future
time in eternity of the Fourth Dimension when He arranges all the things in the
spiritual realm in the way He wants them to be in. There will be nothing to conquer in
that perfect domain.
( END OF PART 3 OF 6 )