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Answers to Bible Questions
(Q) What can you tell me about the Doctrine of the Rapture? ( Part 4 of 6 )
Written by Robert C. Brock
(39) Col.3:4, “When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear
with Him in glory.”
This is a dogmatic statement referring to the Rapture. The word ‘appear’
is used twice, in two different Greek moods. The first ‘appear’ is in the
subjunctive mood of possibility – might appear or may appear. This mood
indicates that this appearance of the Lord can take place or happen at any
time. Nobody knows when the Rapture will take place. We are to think of it
as being imminent.
The second use of ‘appear’ is in the future tense of the indicative mood of
fact. His appearance in the air will definitely take place (whether we believe
it or not), and when it does happen we will be with Him in glory, an accurate
word describing the spiritual realm of the Fourth Dimension.
(40) 1 Thess.1:10,”and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from
the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
There are two prophetic subjects in this verse:
1.The saints were waiting for the Lord Jesus to come from heaven. The ‘saints’
belong to the Body of Christ. The Greek verb for ‘to wait for’ is used only
here in the New Testament. This word speaks of an ‘active waiting’ for the
Lord; in other words, working and serving the Lord in anticipation of His
coming at the Rapture. The idea that we should sell our property and go to
some mountain and wait for His coming is false teaching. The Thessalonian
believers were those ‘who have loved His appearing’ (2 Tim. 4: 8).
2.The ‘wrath to come’ is the coming Tribulation Period. It is the terrible
time of the wrath of God upon the human race because of the unbelief that
is in the human heart, beginning with Israel and extending worldwide to all
the Gentiles (Rev. 14:10,19; 15:1,7; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6). The Body of
Christ will not see any of the Tribulation Period because the Body is not
a part of Israel’s Kingdom program. Covenant theology makes the ‘wrath to
come’ to refer to the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20: 11-1 5).
(41) 1 Thess. 2:19, “For what is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing? Is it
not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”
The Greek noun for ‘coming’ is PAROUSIA, meaning ‘presence, coming, advent,
arrival.’ It is used 24 times in the New Testament, dealing with four
1.the Rapture (1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1)
2.the Second Coming (1 Cor. 15:23; Matt. 24:3,27,37,39; and in the Kingdom writings.
3.of the coming of various individuals:
a.Titus (2 Cor. 7:6)
b.Paul (Phil. 1:26)
4.of the coming of antichrist (2 Thess. 2: 9 )
See also page 3.
Since Covenant Theology does not accept the truth of the Rapture, they always
make PAROUSIA refer to the Second Coming of Christ when it is used of prophecy.
You can see what this does to the first letter of Thessalonians.
This verse contains the only reference to the ‘crown of rejoicing’ that will
be given out to those who deserve it, at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It seems
to be related to soul winning, the Thessalonians being a reason why Paul would
receive this crown. See also Phil. 4:1.
(42) 1 Thess. 3:13, “so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness
before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all
Who are ‘the saints?’ They are members of the Body of Christ, and they will
be with Him at this coming of the Lord (1 Thess.4:14). The Old Testament
believers are not in view here.
If we use the meaning of ‘presence’ instead of ‘coming’ for PAROUSIA, it
might be easier to understand, that we will be blameless in holiness with all
the rest of His saints in the presence of our risen Lord, Christ Jesus. We will
all be together at this event. That is the idea expressed here. (The word
‘presence’ used in 1 Thess. 2:19, no. 41 above, is a different Greek. word that
means ‘before,’ as in the phrase ‘standing before the door’).
Two remarkable things will take place on the earth at the time of the Rapture
– the resurrection of dead believers, and the instant change of living believers
to the spiritual realm. ‘With all His saints’ includes the dead and living
The next passage contains five verses, and the number will be put with each
1 Thess. 4:13-17, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning
those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
[ 14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring
with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of
the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will
by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will
descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with
the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who
are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to
meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
Paul did not want any believer to be ignorant of this precious truth. The
Apostle would be appalled (if he were alive today) at all the confusion that
surrounds this wonderful truth from the risen Lord Jesus that was given for our
comfort and edification. Let’s study each verse separately.
(43) Verse 13. ‘Death’ is pictured as being asleep. This refers to the body,
only. This is an inter-dispensational principle, as Daniel 12:2 says the
same thing about Jewish believers in Israel, “And many of those who sleep
in the dust of the earth shall awake ••• ” (This is not the Rapture).
‘Death’ does not mean ‘annihilation’ like many religious people believe.
God has determined that human beings will live forever, either with Him in
the glory of the Fourth Dimension, on the new earth, or with Satan in the
Lake of fire (Rev.20:15).
The word ‘asleep’ is in the Greek perfect tense, which refers to the
whole time of being asleep. The ones having no hope are the unsaved, the
ones who think they are right and God is wrong (Proverbs 14:12).
(44) Verse 14. The word ‘if’ should be translated ‘since’ because we are dealing
with salvation that brings us this blessed hope. What is to be ‘believed’
is the Gospel of the grace of God that is centered on the death and resur-
rection of Christ (1 Cor.15:1-4 ). The word ‘sleep’ here is in the Greek
aorist tense, which refers to the time of dying a physical death (which is
also used in verse 15). Both Greek tenses are translated the same way into
English. Regardless of how long a believer has been dead, he will still be
raised up by the power of God.
What comes ‘with Him’ is a reference to the soul and spirit, the immaterial
part of man. When a believer dies, his spirit and soul goes to be with the
Lord (2 Cor.5:8; 1 Thess. 5:23; Ecclesiastes 12:7). At this meeting in the
air, resurrected bodies will be joined to saved spirits and souls of believers
to form complete persons for the spiritual realm of the Fourth Dimension.
(45) Verse 15. The phrase ‘by the Word of the Lord’ refers to new revelation
from the risen Christ Jesus. This clear fact makes this truth separate from
the Second Coming taught in the 4 Gospels and in the writings of the Kingdom
apostles. The Rapture is classed as a ‘mystery’ in 1 Cor.15:51, a ‘mystery’
that is a vital part of the whole body of truth called The Revelation of the
Mystery in Romans 16:25.
The word ‘remain’ also means ‘survive,’ and is used only here and in verse
17. It is a word that gives hope to every generation of believers who look
with great anticipation to the coming of their Lord. The phrase ‘by no means’
is a double negative in the Greek. Those who have died a physical death will
be raised FIRST.
(46) Verse 16. ‘Himself’ is emphatic. No one else can fulfill this prophecy but
the Son of God, the risen Christ Jesus. It is the Son who takes center stage
in this event, rather than the Father or the Holy Spirit.
The word ‘shout’ is only used here in the New Testament, and refers to ‘a
shout of command.’ This’ shout’ will be directed to those members of the
Body of Christ who have died. It is a shout that has the power to raise the
dead, like Lazarus, for example, in John 11:43. Those who are dead will feel
the invigorating power of that voice that can bring life into existence again
(compare Heb. 11:3 and Ezekiel 37, the valley of dry bones).
There are two other sounds that are mentioned – an angel’s voice and a
trumpet sound. Some Bible teachers think that there is only one sound that
is manifested in three different ways. I don’t agree with that because it
doesn’t make sense.
There ARE three separate sounds, each sound have a distinct purpose. Let
me suggest what each one represents:
1.the ‘shout’ is for those who are asleep in Jesus.
2.the ‘voice’ of the archangel is for the Nation of Israel. The only
archangel mentioned in the New Testament is Michael, in Jude 9, “Yet
Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed
about the body of Moses ••• Jude 9 and 1 Thess. 4: 16 are the only two
verses in the New Testament where ‘archangel’ is used, but the name ‘Michael’
is also mentioned in Rev. 12:7. Revelation 12:7 looks back to Daniel 10:21
and 12:1, where Michael is identified as the ‘great prince’ who stands up
for the children of Israel.
3.the ‘trumpet‘ sound is for the living members of the Body of Christ, and
corresponds to the ‘trumpet’ of 1 Cor.15:52. There is only ONE TRUMPET
for the Rapture. Since 1 Corinthians was written AFTER 1 Thessalonians,
the phrase ‘the LAST trumpet’ of 1 Cor.15:52 is used to indicate that there
IS ONLY ONE TRUMPET.
These three sounds will probably sound very close together, but each one
will be audible to those for whom it is intended.
When the Rapture is completed, God’s earthly program for Israel will begin
again. Events on the earth will revert back to the fulfilling of Old Testament
prophecy related to the Tribulation Period. God will prepare the human race
to accept the coming of antichrist (2 Thess.2:11).
We should notice, too, that this Dispensation of grace will end with a
‘shout’ from the Saviour, just as this Dispensation began with the ‘voice’ of
the Saviour in Acts 9:4. This is not a coincidence but a part of God’s
overall plan involving the Body of Christ.
(47) Verse 17. The law of gravity, which is so important for life on this earth,
is going to be lifted for the members of the Body of Christ. The instant
change from this material realm to God’s spiritual realm in the Fourth
Dimension will transcend the law of gravity.
Believers are going to be ‘caught up’ or ‘caught away’ for the most
important meeting we will ever experience. It is going to be with our lord
in the air.
The Greek verb for ‘caught up’ is HARPAZO, ‘to catch up, to catch away,
to seize, to snatch up forcibly.’ It is used 13 times in the New Testament,
and the only other place where Paul used it is in 2 Cor. 12: 2 and 4, where
it is translated ‘caught up’ to Paradise. In the KJV it is translated
‘take by force’ in Matt.11:12; John 6:15, and in Acts 23:10. This verb
was translated into the Latin by ‘raptus.’ Jerome’s translation of the
Bible into Latin (383-405 AD) uses this Latin verb. From this comes our
English words ‘rapt‘ and ‘rapture,’ words that are still being used today.
So Jerome’s translation, commonly called the Vulgate, contains the truth
of the Rapture some 1400 years before J .N. Darby in the 1800′ s.
The phrase ‘in the clouds’ does not have the article ‘the’ in the Greek;
it is ‘in clouds,’ probably referring to the saints collectively ‘in clouds’
as we rise up to be with our lord. ‘To meet’ is not a verb in the Greek but
a noun ‘meeting.’ This part of the verse could be translated ‘shall be
caught up in clouds for a meeting of the lord in air. ‘ Paul does not give
us the details of this meeting, but we can consider it as a prelude to the
coming events of the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Presentation of the
Church to Christ.
This meeting is going to take place in the air, the realm of the devil
who is ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Eph.2:2). It is debatable
whether the air refers to the atmosphere of planet earth or if the air
refers to what is in outer space among the galaxies. When we meet the lord
in the air, there will be no need of oxygen in order to live; we will all
be changed and possess spiritual bodies that will be controlled by the
spirit, apart from oxygen. The saints will begin to enjoy a new dimension
of living that will be related to God’s Domain in the Fourth Dimension.
And all because of the GRACE OF GOD manifested during this Dispensation of
the GRACE of God.
Verse 18 tells us to comfort one another with these words, the words of
the RISEN Lord found in this remarkable passage involving the future of the
Body of Christ. Believe me, it is very comforting and a thrill to be able
to sit down and write about this wonderful future that saved people will
experience. What a wonderful blessed hope to look forward to!
(48) 1 Thess.5:9, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation
through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Verse 9 is a strong verse AGAINST the false notion that the Body of Christ is
going to be in the Tribulation Period. ‘Wrath,’ according to the context (‘ sudden
destruction’ in the Day of the Lord, verses 2-5) refers to God’s wrath in the
Tribulation Period; and in a greater sense, ‘wrath’ would include God’s wrath
against sin and also the events of the Great White Throne Judgment of the lost.
Our Saviour suffered our wrath on the cross.
‘To obtain salvation’ refers to the third phase of salvation – the reception
of our resurrection bodies at the Rapture. ‘To obtain salvation’ is parallel
with three other phrases that we have looked at: (1) the redemption of our body
in Rom. 8:23; (2) the redemption of the purchased possession in Eph.1:14;
(3) the day of redemption in Eph. 4:30.
(49) 1 Thess.5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely;
and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
‘The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’ is a reference to the Rapture of the
Body of Christ. ‘Coming’ is the Greek word PAROUSIA, used in 1 Thess. 2:19;
3:13; and in 4:15.
In addition, this is a strong verse for eternal security. ‘Preserved’ means
‘to keep.’ It is a verb in the aorist tense, passive voice, indicating that an
outside agent is doing the ‘keeping.’ This is a reference to our Father God who
does this for His very own. The basic concept of this Greek verb TEREO, is that
of ‘to watch over, to keep, to guard.’ And that is what our loving heavenly
Father is doing for each member of the Body of Christ!
From God’s viewpoint, the parts of a human being are given as ‘spirit, soul
and body. ‘ We usually say it backwards – body, soul and spirit. These three
terms refer to a whole person. Many theologians believe that the soul and
spirit are the same thing, but Hebrews 4:12 shows that they are separate parts
of a human being: “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than
any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of
joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The three parts of the body raise some interesting and important questions about
what we will be like in the spiritual state in our resurrection bodies of glory.
The questions are in relation to the Greek noun PSUCHE, ‘breath, breath of
life, life, soul.’ The parallel Hebrew word is NEPHESH, with the same meanings.
What place does the ‘soul’ have, if any, in God’s spiritual realm? Is our
resurrection body going to be equipped with a brand new soul? That seems to be
the intent of this verse in 1 Thessalonians.
The Old Testament teaches that God the Father has a ‘soul.’ Isaiah 42: 1
states, “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul
delights ••• ” These are the words of the Father, and He has a soul. As I see
it now, the testimony of 1 Thess. 5:23 teaches that the resurrection body
contains a soul that is prepared for the spiritual Domain of our Father God.
( END OF PART 4 OF 6 )