Messiah Catches Away Believers (The Rapture)
by Roy A. Reinhold

Believe it or not, there are a sizable number of Christians who are unfamiliar with the concept of the rapture or catching away of the church. Meanwhile, those Christians who are familiar with the rapture teaching, nevertheless are divided into many different theological camps called the pre-millennial, post-millennial, and amillennial. The largest numbers are in the pre-millennial camp, which itself is divided into pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, mid-tribulation, and the pre-wrath groups. This article is not going to prove a position in one of the aforementioned beliefs, but rather clearly show that there is a special event coming, called the rapture.

In the book of 1 Corinthians, we read in chapter 15 about the teaching that those who have previously died in the faith, are merely asleep.

1 Corinthians 15:21-24 For since by man came death, by a man also came the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

This is the essence of the Christian faith, that Jesus died for our sins and was raised by God the Father back to life; that we have the promise of being raised from the dead to life. The above text also states that God has ordained a certain order in which believers are raised from the dead. The pre-ordained order is that believer's who have died will be raised from the dead at Jesus' return to the earth, when He comes to establish the rule and reign of God on the earth in Jerusalem. What kind of body will they receive when they are raised from the dead?

1 Corinthians 15:40, 42-44 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies .... So also is the resurrection from the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 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. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

The promise, that all born-again believers have, is that they will one day receive an imperishable, incorruptible, non-aging body. A perfect body that will not be subject to sickness and disease, a bad gene pool, inherited maladies, or heavily captured by the forces of gravity. This promised perfect body will be at the approximate age of most strength, perhaps similar to 20-35 years old. If a believer dies at an old age of 80 or more, they are not going to have to go through eternity with that worn-out 80 year old body. They will have a perfect young body, that will never again age.

You might say, "Nowhere have you proven that there is a rapture, you've merely shown that God is going to raise all people of faith from the dead at some future time and give them a young, perfect, imperishable body." Hold your horses, we haven't gotten that far yet. In the last part of chapter 15, a mystery is revealed in plain language, one that was only hinted at in the Tanakh or Old Testament. This mystery revealed addresses the problem of a future time when Jesus our Messiah returns to the earth and the dead believers receive their perfect bodies, namely, what happens to believers who are alive and living on the earth when that event takes place? Do they have to die first in order to receive the same promised perfect body, or do they miss out forever just because they were alive when Jesus came back, or, do they get changed at the same time as when those who are asleep are raised from the dead? A very important question, don't you think?

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 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 in Christ will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Did you catch it, that the dead will be raised with an imperishable body, and then those believers who are alive when Jesus our Messiah returns will be changed instantly. The trumpet will sound first, then the dead are raised and changed, then all who are alive will be changed forever into their immortal, imperishable bodies which they will have for all eternity. The revealed mystery answers that question quite clearly, what happens to believers who are alive when Jesus our Messiah returns? Our next question ought to be, when does this change take place? Is it soon, or is it in some far distant time?

The question of when the catching away of believers takes place is covered in the books of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. Here we are given additional details concerning the time when believers receive their imperishable, incorruptible, immortal bodies. Read it for yourself!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep 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, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall 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. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.

The picture gets a little clearer. First, at some future time Jesus our Messiah will descend from heaven with a shout from the archangel, a trumpet will sound, then the dead shall be raised and given their imperishable bodies, and then those who are alive are instantly changed and caught up to meet Jesus our Messiah, the angels, and all believers who have ever lived. This meeting takes place on the clouds, not on the surface of the earth. But you might say, we still haven't figured out when this glorious event takes place? Dear reader, if you continue on you'll get the answer. Actually, the next 10 verses reveal when this catching away or rapture takes place.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-10 Now as to the times and epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.....
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us , that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.

The subject of the text above is the times and epochs of when the catching away of the believers takes place, when the dead are raised to imperishable bodies, and those alive at that time are instantly changed and caught up into the clouds. The teaching is that this time or epoch will take place before the Day of the Lord begins. Because the Day of the Lord is the time of the wrath of God toward unbelievers; that time will come upon them suddenly like a thief in the night, or like birthing pains to a pregnant woman. We are additionally told that this event will not catch believers unprepared or unaware, because we are not destined to live through that period of time on earth when the wrath of God is poured out during the Day of the Lord (Yom YHWH).

Are there other verses that call the Day of the Lord, the time of the wrath of God? Yes, take a look at this next text.

Zephaniah 1:14-18 Near is the great Day of the Lord, near and coming very quickly; listen, the Day of the Lord! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. A day of wrath is that day, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and battle cry, against the fortified cities and the high corner towers. And I will bring distress upon men, so that they will walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord; and their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them on the Day of the Lord's wrath; and all the earth will be devoured in the fire of His jealousy, for he will make a complete end, indeed a terrifying one, of all the inhabitants of the earth.

The Day of the Lord (Yom YHWH) is the day of wrath, the special unique hour of testing of all the people of the earth. In the book of Revelations, this period of the wrath of God is called the 7 Trumpet Judgments and the 7 Bowl Judgments. Putting it all together, our earlier text from 1 Thessalonians 5, revealed that the times and epochs of the rapture or catching away of believers when they are changed to their immortal bodies, will be before the Day of the Lord begins. Why?, because believers are not destined for wrath but for salvation. You might be interested in another article on this site called, The Day of the Lord (Yom YHWH), in which the timing of the Day of the Lord is revealed.

Earlier, I mentioned that additional details concerning the rapture are also in 2 Thessalonians, so I'd like to go there with you.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, for our testimony to you was believed.

The storyline is further revealed when Jesus and His angels come, and He is glorified by the saints. A time when the dead are raised to their immortal bodies and we who are alive are instantly changed to our immortal, imperishable bodies. It is also the time when the Day of the Lord begins, after the catching away of the believers, when the wrath of God is poured out in the earth. Further details are revealed in the next text.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering to Him, that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the Day of the Lord has come.
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy come first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

It is not my objective here in this article to prove all the points for the timing of the rapture or catching away of believers, but the above verses clearly reveal two significant events that are prophesied to take place before the coming of the Lord and the rapture, and before the Day of the Lord begins. These two events are (1) an apostasy or falling away from the faith by a large number of Christians, and (2) the revealing of the antichrist in the exact middle of the end-times 7 year period in an event called elsewhere, the abomination of desolation. The abomination of desolation is when the antichrist states to all the world, at the soon to be rebuilt Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, that he is God and performs deceiving attesting miracles to buttress his claim.
Now we decisively know that the rapture or catching away of believers must meet the following criteria:

1. Jesus our Messiah comes on the clouds with His angels.
2. The voice of the archangel announces His return.
3. The trumpet is sounded heralding His arrival.
4. The dead are raised to their immortal, imperishable bodies and meet Jesus on the clouds.
5. Then the believers alive at that time are instantly changed to their immortal bodies and caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.
6. The Day of the Lord (Yom YHWH) starts after the believers are changed.
7. The Day of the Lord is the day of wrath, when the 7 trumpet judgments and 7 bowl judgments take place.
8. Before the rapture or catching away of believers takes place, two significant prophesied events must take place.
9. One event preceding the rapture is the apostasy or large-scale falling away from the faith.
10. The second event preceding the rapture is the abomination of desolation by the antichrist at the Temple in Jerusalem at the middle of the end-times 7 year period.

The time will soon arrive when the dead are raised with their immortal bodies and those alive are instantly changed and caught up in the clouds. Are you ready?

The Rapture: part 2


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