Small Group Leader Guide

Step 1. Introduce the Session

5 minutes

While the word "rapture" shows up nowhere in Scripture, the Word declares we will indeed be caught up to meet Him when He returns. Can we really know when the Rapture will happen? (Hint: It begins with resurrection.)

SESSION GOAL(S)

  • Understand the clear connection between resurrection and the rapture.

Step 2. Watch the Video

30 minutes

CONTENT SUMMARY (with timestamps)

  • Resurrection and the Last Day (01:49)
  • Old Testament Resurrection Examples (02:51)
  • God is the God of the Living (05:22)
  • New Testament Examples of Resurrection and the Last Day (08:11)
  • Spiritual Resurrection vs Physical Resurrection (Revelation 20) (13:54)
  • What is the Rapture? (1 Corinthians 15) (16:59)
  • When is the Rapture? (19:49)
  • How Many Raptures Are There? (20:32)
  • Rapture Theories: Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, Pre-Wrath or Post-Tribulation? (22:01)
  • All Rapt Up (28:22)

Step 3. Discuss

15 minutes

Leaders: You might like to split into smaller groups at this stage so everyone has a chance to respond honestly. Don't feel like you have to hurry through all these questions; they are simply conversation starters.

Q. What did you find most helpful or most challenging in this lesson? Any surprises?
Q. What does Jesus seem to teach about the resurrection?

(Answers might include: He is the way to salvation, resurrection, and eternal life; God is God of the living; resurrection (and therefore rapture) will take place on the last day, at the Second Coming; etc.)

Q. Of the five rapture views listed—Pre-Tribulation, Partial Rapture, Mid-Tribulation, Pre-Wrath and Post-Tribulation—which one are you most familiar with? Prior to this lesson, how did you understand the Rapture? How has this lesson affected your understanding?

Step 4. Report Out [OPTIONAL]

15 minutes

Leaders: If you're a team of leaders taking a class through the course and you broke into small groups in Step 3, regroup at the end and ask each small group to report out on their small group discussion. What were their ah-ha's? What did they struggle with?

Close with prayer.



[TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS]

SESSION 6

Resurrection & Rapture

(John 6:25-59, 1 Corinthians 15:50-57, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, various)

Admittedly, the resurrection of the dead can be a hard doctrine to swallow. For many, the closest cultural images of resurrection are a collection of competing near death experiences (NDEs; resuscitations, really), a handful of bad B-movie horror flicks, some fallen TV shows and a dark music video from the early 1980’s.

But what does the Bible teach us about the resurrection of the body? When will the resurrection take place? What is this rapture we keep hearing about? And when will the rapture happen?

We tackle these questions and more in this lesson of the Prophecy Course.

TAKE-AWAYS FROM THIS LESSON

  • Understand what the Bible teaches about the resurrection
  • Begin deconstructing common myths surrounding the timing of the Rapture

 


The resurrection of the dead has long been a contentious teaching among Jewish sects and that division certainly existed during Jesus’ time. Today, Orthodox Jews, Bible-believing Christians and conservative Muslims (representing what’s known as the Abrahamic religions) all hold to the belief in a literal, bodily resurrection of the dead when the Messiah comes on the last day. And, like the Sadducees of the first century, today we have Reform Jews, progressive Christians and liberal Muslims who have abandoned the idea of resurrection and even the final judgment. But for those who continue to hold fast to the writings of Moses and the prophets—and especially for those who call Jesus Lord—what does the Word of God say about the resurrection of the dead?

Resurrection and the Last Day

Overall, the Old Testament idea of death was dismal. Sheol was the realm of the dead, the underworld beyond the grave. According to theologian Fred Pearson,

“Sheol was thought of as being deep down in the earth, as hell is often thought of today. In Old Testament, Sheol is represented as the opposite of the upper sphere of life and light. It is ‘deep Sheol.’ Its direction is ‘down.’ The Psalmist says, ‘Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol’ (Ps. 86:13). Again, ‘But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go down into the lower parts of the earth’ (Ps. 63:9). In Ezekiel 32:21-23, Sheol is represented as a great underground mausoleum, or as a mighty pit with graves all round its sides.”

Still, even in the gloom and finality of Old Testament death, the light of resurrection pierced the dark.

Old Testament Resurrection Examples

Job

Job 19:25-27 seems to offer us an image of the Messiah, the last day and resurrection:

“For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another, though my heart faints within me.”

Isaiah

The prophet Isaiah declares life after death:

“Your dead shall live. Together with my dead body, they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust, for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter into your chambers and shut your doors about you; hide yourselves for a little while, until his wrath has passed by.

“For, behold, the Lord comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity and the earth shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)

According to Isaiah, it seems the resurrection may follow a judgment. This appears to align with the judgment befalling the wicked nations of the earth at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, per Revelation 20:9:

“And they (the wicked nations) went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints, the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.”

Finally, the prolonging of the Suffering Servant’s days in Isaiah 53:10 seems to allude to Jesus’ resurrection.

Ezekiel

Ezekiel 18:20-32 clearly teaches anyone who turns to a life of sin shall die, but those who repent shall live. Verse 24:

“But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die.”

In Ezekiel 37, the prophet's vision of the Valley of Dry Bones uses resurrection imagery to describe the reconstitution of faithful Israel:

“So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.” (v10) [1]

God is the God of the Living

Before we move on to New Testament examples of resurrection, I want you to see one final Old Testament example—this time highlighted by Jesus Himself. Here, Jesus is approached by the Sadducees, a liberal Jewish sect who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (Luke 20:27; Acts 23:8; Matthew 22:23-33). They are trying to catch Jesus with a trick question about a woman married to a succession of brothers who all die one after the other. Their question: Who will be her husband after the resurrection?

Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and the women are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 for they cannot even die anymore, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But as for the fact that the dead are raised, even Moses revealed this in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to Him.” (Luke 20:34-38, cf. Psalm 6:5)

Jesus’ response is masterful for two reasons. First, He drew His resurrection illustration from the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament; Exodus 3:15-16, to be exact. The Sadducees considered only the Torah to be authoritative. Second, Jesus highlighted a key fact: God did not stop being the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob upon their physical deaths. If Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would not live on through resurrection, God could not remain their God, for they themselves no longer remained.

As it turns out, the doctrine of resurrection is absolutely in step with the identity of God as the Creator and Giver of life. Indeed, Jesus Himself is referred to as the Author of life in Acts 3:15 and, as Jesus says in John 14:9, if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. In Colossians 1:16, Paul writes of Jesus, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him.”

Just as resurrection aligns with our Lord’s nature, we can also see it reflected in the nature of this life:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it, and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25)

New Testament Examples of Resurrection and the Last Day

Resurrection and its connection with “the last day” is seen frequently throughout the New Testament. Of Jesus’ teachings, we see this most from the gospel of John.

John

In chapter five of John’s gospel, Jesus points to the time of the resurrection on the last day. He will judge according to the will of His Father.

“Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in the graves shall hear his voice and come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. On my own, I can do nothing: as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me.” (John 5:28-30)

In John 6:25-59, in the synagogue at Capernaum, Jesus teaches He is the Bread of Life. His message? Whomever believes in Him will receive eternal life.

“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:39-40)

But wait! There’s more! “No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up (when?) at the last day.” (v44) Finally, in verse 54, Jesus says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

Let’s slow down:

  • Who is speaking? Well, that’s Jesus.
  • What is He talking about? He’s teaching about His identity (the Messiah), His role as the way to salvation, and the resurrection into eternal life.
  • And when does Jesus say the resurrection will happen? Four times, He says the resurrection will happen at the last day!

Need another witness? In John 11, Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, has been dead four days. Lazarus’ sister, Martha, meets the Lord as He enters their town and petitions Him:

23 “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

24 “Martha said to him, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’

25 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”

And she does. Turns out Martha is also crystal clear in her understanding of the resurrection and its placement at the last day (v24). Notice Jesus did not correct her! He didn’t say, “Well, actually, Martha, Lazarus will be raised before a 7-year tribulation, before my 1,000-year millennial reign on the earth, plus the short time Satan must be released, so—well—it’s not quite the last day.” No, He didn’t say that. But there are well-meaning folks teaching this, and that’s why I call it out.

So, when will the resurrection happen? On the last day.

Acts

In Acts 17:16, Paul finds himself in Athens waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him. Not one to sit around idly, Paul soon engages the local philosophers, whereby some declare he is proclaiming foreign gods because he is preaching Jesus and resurrection. Leveraging an idol dedicated to “an unknown god,” Paul asserts God has proven the truth of our resurrection and the final judgment at Jesus’ Second Coming by raising Jesus from the dead. (v31) Later, in Acts 24:15, Paul says, “…there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”

  • Who will be resurrected on the last day? As we also saw earlier in Ezekiel 18, all humanity since the garden of Eden will experience the resurrection; not only the righteous.

Romans

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, the apostle to the Gentiles explains the blessed hope we have in Christ:

5 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ (through baptism), we believe we shall also live with Him…” (Romans 6:5-8; see also Romans 14:9-12)

Timothy

In the second book of Timothy, Paul encourages Timothy by drawing his attention to the finish line:

“For this reason, I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

What day? The last day, the day of resurrection. Later, in 2 Timothy 4:1 “Therefore, I charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;” and then again in verse 8, “…in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” [2]

Spiritual Resurrection vs Physical Resurrection (Revelation 20)

I wish I could tell you the whole resurrection topic was cut and dried and ready to serve, and, for the most part, it is. I would be remiss, however, if I failed to mention the two resurrections of Revelation 20.

Following the binding of Satan in verses 1-3, we see an image of resurrection:

4 “I saw thrones and they who sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of them who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast, nor his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are they who have part in the first resurrection; over them the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4-6)

Later, in Revelation 20:13, we’re told, “The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.” Well, this second resurrection is obviously the resurrection of the last day, coming after the destruction of the wicked nations (v7-10) and leading into the White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15.

So; what are we to do with the first resurrection? While this lesson is not a teaching on the three dominant theories surrounding the millennial reign of Christ, notice John is seeing in the Spirit; the chain that binds Satan (a spiritual being) cannot be a literal chain, the bottomless pit is not a literal hole in the earth, and John sees the souls of those beheaded—not their literal bodies. Depending on which millennial theory you hold to, this first-of-two resurrections may point to something that will yet happen on the earth or to something that has already happened in heaven. As we’ve seen, however, Jesus and His disciples taught one bodily resurrection on the last day. There are several places throughout Scripture where resurrection is used in spiritual terms to describe regeneration, such as John 3:3, Colossians 2:13, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 John 3:14, and Ephesians 2:1,5. We’ll need to go deeper; is this first resurrection physical, spiritually regenerative or a reflection of the intermediate state—the state of the soul after death but before bodily resurrection?

But the millennial reign will be a different lesson. For the moment, remember one of the cardinal rules of biblical study: The obscure must yield to the clear. Jesus taught one bodily resurrection on the last day.

What is the Rapture? (1 Corinthians 15)

1 Corinthians connects us to our next destination: The Rapture. Resurrection gets a quick nod in 1 Corinthians 1:8, but by chapter 15, resurrection becomes a major point in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. Verse 12: “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12) Paul goes on to argue our resurrection is assured by Christ’s and then in verse 51, he gives us one of the clearest pictures of the Rapture in the New Testament:

50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery (here it is!): We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” (1 Corinthians 15:50-57 [3])

Of course, at this point, you should be saying, “Hmm.. that sounded like the bodily resurrection on the last day, Matthew!” and I would say, “You’re right!” This is the point at which Jesus puts the final enemy, Death, under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25). The trumpet imagery brings us back to the custom of greeting returning kings as they approached their walled cities. The royal party would trumpet their approach and the city would send out their welcoming party to receive the entourage and accompany them into the city. Recall Jesus’ Triumphal Entry, where all Jerusalem accompanied Jesus into the city declaring, "Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord..." (Luke 19:38, Psalm 24, 130).

Did you know the word “rapture” doesn’t actually show up anywhere in the Bible? True. The word is actually “harpazo” in the Greek (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and it’s not until it’s translated into Latin that we get the word “raptura” (“rapture” in English) meaning “to snatch away” or “to carry off.” The term “rapture” has come to represent that exhilarating moment we’re swept up into the glory of Jesus’ Second Coming as we’re made whole and immortal, leaving corruption and despair behind. The Rapture is reunion, triumph, transfiguration and escape, all in a single breath. Who wouldn’t want that? [4]

When is the Rapture?

When we ask, “When will the Rapture happen?” we should very clearly recognize this moment is merely a part of the resurrection, which Jesus says will happen on the last day, at His Second Coming. According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, the Rapture takes place in the same movement as the resurrection of the dead:

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. 17 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 so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

How Many Raptures Are There?

The early Catholic creeds like the Apostles’ Creed (second century) and the Nicene Creed (fourth century) acknowledge the resurrection and judgment of the living and the dead, placing zero focus on Rapture, let alone multiple raptures. But today, some would count as many as seven raptures in the Bible! These may include:

  1. Enoch who “walked with the Lord and was not for the Lord took him” (Genesis 5:24);
  2. Elijah, who departed by fiery chariot and whirlwind in 2 Kings 2:11;
  3. Jesus rising up into the clouds in Act 1:9-11 (but then some try to count the child who was “snatched up to God and to his throne,” Revelation 12:5, as a different rapture when it’s actually speaking of the same moment);
  4. the raising of the dead saints after Jesus’ resurrection in Matthew 27:52-53. Most believe these saints died again later like Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus since the Bible doesn’t say they were actually raptured? (They’re just never mentioned again after their stroll through Jerusalem.)
  5. Finally, people count one or more raptures throughout the Great Tribulation, a seven-year period of worldwide distress among the nations of the earth. These raptures are usually placed at the beginning of the Tribulation (known as Pre-Tribulation), at the midway point (Mid-Tribulation or Pre-Wrath; they are different) or at the end of the seven years (Post-Tribulation).

Rapture Theories: Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, Pre-Wrath or Post-Tribulation?

Aaah, the Great Tribulation. If you’re hearing about the Rapture in the 21st century, it’s probably been wrapped in the Tribulation. Some say the Tribulation will be seven years of hell on earth at the hands of the Antichrist, the ruthless world leader of the New World Order, a worldwide confederacy of nations, the Roman Empire reborn. Others say the Tribulation will be led by 3½ years of global prosperity followed by 3½ years of worldwide terror. Most rapture theories say Jesus will rapture His own off the earth, saving the Church from the villainous Antichrist and the ensuing wrath of God. Alas, rapture theories are a’plenty and they can all be wrong, but they can’t all be right! Watch for views built on scriptures taken out of their original Jewish context; they’ll sink quickly into the theological sand when tested. But boy, can they sell some books! Let’s take a brief look at the top four(+) rapture views.

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine teaches Jesus will return for the believing Church in a secret, global collection of the saints. Everyone goes back to heaven for a seven-year party while the earth burns under the terror of the Antichrist and the wrath of God. Espoused by the popular Scofield Reference Bible and eventually selling millions of books like “The Late Great Planet Earth” and the “Left Behind” series, this view has also inspired a handful of low-budget Christian movies featuring piles of empty clothing, anarchy, and regret among hard-hearted loved ones who rejected the Gospel. Now it’s too late and you are going to hell. Unless, that is, you are able to accept Christ during the Tribulation, in which case you might qualify to be a “Tribulation saint.”

Pre-Tribulation Rapture timeline chart

Objections to this view: With its birth attributed to John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren around the early 1830’s, this view has only been around for the past 200 years or so. Before Darby established the doctrine of a pre-Tribulational rapture, the Church, historically, tied the moment of our transfiguration to the resurrection on the last day; not to an escape from wrath or persecution. Like the rest of these rapture theories, this view builds its case on misunderstanding prophecies like Daniel’s 70 Weeks and the Olivet Discourse.

+ Partial Rapture (Pre-Tribulation Rapture Two-Step)

A minor variation of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, the Partial Rapture view says only the believer who is faithfully watching and waiting for Christ’s imminent return will be rescued (imminent, as in, could happen at any moment.) So, if you’ve never heard about the Rapture, or if you’re not walking closely enough with God and in daily, moment-to-moment expectation, you, my unfaithful friend, are at risk of being left behind! But don’t sweat it! You might go in the next wave!

Partial Rapture timeline chart

Objections to this view: Status in the resurrection is based on your salvation; not upon your belief in a rapture. Second, this view breeds division within the Body of Christ between the “Rapture ready” and the rest of Christendom. Finally, as Paul writes to the carnal church in Corinth, “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51) Here, “all” probably means “all” and in light of this happening “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (v52), Paul doesn’t leave much room for the Partial Rapture.

Mid-Tribulation Rapture

Considered a humble advancement of Pre-Tribulation, the Mid-Tribulation Rapture theory still borrows Daniel’s 70th Week but pays greater homage to the “midst of the week” in Daniel 9:27. It’s here that Antichrist will allegedly break a covenant with Israel, sit in a future third Jewish Temple and proclaim himself to be God. Tribulation occurs for the full seven years, but the time is evenly divided between man’s wrath (earthly persecution) and heavenly wrath (God’s judgment), with believers beamed up halfway through. Some like to work in Daniel 7 here for extra flavor, though that prophecy is about the inauguration of the kingdom of God during the time of the Roman Empire; it’s already been fulfilled.

Mid-Tribulation Rapture timeline chart

Objections to this view: As an extension of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, the Mid-Tribulation perspective enjoys all the same faulty exegesis with one added benefit: Once a secret rapture no longer leads the Tribulation, you lose all that any-moment imminency and can sit back, relax and wait for the Antichrist to make news headlines.

Pre-Wrath Rapture

In its simplest form, the Pre-Wrath Rapture is the Mid-Tribulation’s optimistic twin. Under the global reign of the Antichrist who “makes a covenant with many”, the first 3½ years move from peaceful to tumultuous as earthquakes, war and disease ramp up, leveraging Matthew 24’s “beginnings of birth pains.” The convoluted timeline for this marvel then borrows 21 months here and 21 months there to land on a rapture somewhere about three-quarters in. This one has the Church experiencing some tribulation, but we’re still whisked away out of the worst of it.

Pre-Wrath Rapture timeline chart

Objections to this view: No prophecy is spared in this kind of kitchen-sink eschatology. The day of the Lord is literalized to spell the end of the cosmos, all Israel’s tribulation in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse is transported 2,000 years into our near future, the abomination of desolation is desolated, and of course, we can’t forget to hang all this mayhem on our cornerstone of confusion, Daniel’s 70th Week!

Post-Tribulation Rapture

In Post-Tribulation Rapture, the doctrine of a seven-year worldwide tribulation still holds; the Church is just around to see the whole thing through. Unfortunately, folks in this camp have been accused by the other Tribulational views of believing Jesus to be a wife-beater; seems rapture loses its shine in the shadow of trial.

Post-Tribulation Rapture timeline chart

Objections to this view: Though this view still rests on misunderstanding Daniel’s 70th Week and the day of the Lord, it at least recognizes the faithful remnant has always been preserved from God’s wrath, even as they’ve been carried through persecution, national judgment and exile.

All Rapt Up

Where do we land on all this? Well, some folks throw up their hands at this point and adopt the Pan-Tribulation view which says it will all pan out in the end! Personally, I’m going to side with Jesus on this one. If He says the resurrection—and therefore the Rapture—happens on the last day, at His Second Coming, that’s where I’ll hang my hat. Noah wasn’t raptured out of the flood and Lot wasn’t raptured out of Sodom. Israel was carried through the plagues and led out of Egypt. Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego weren’t raptured out of the fire, Daniel spent the night in the lions’ den, and all four of them lived most their lives under Israel’s Babylonian captivity. The first-century Church certainly wasn’t raptured out of the tribulation of their days, but they were protected from God’s wrath upon unfaithful Israel.

Across the ages to today, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have experienced war, exile and even persecution unto death! Though Jesus promised we would have tribulation in this life (John 16:33), He encourages us; He has overcome this world! He also faithfully keeps His own from the wrath and judgment that befalls the wicked (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9-10, Revelation 3:10).

Do not be consumed by the concerns of this life; you were made for another.

Remember: It is the Truth that sets you free.

 



FOOTNOTES

[1] More Old Testament Examples of Resurrection
  • 1 Samuel 2:6: “The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up.”

  • Psalm 16:10: “For you will not abandon my soul in Sheol; nor will you let your Holy One see corruption (decay).”
  • Psalm 22:29: “All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.”
  • Daniel 12:2-3: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.”
  • Hosea 13:14: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, where are your plagues? O grave (Sheol), where is your sting? Repentance will be hidden from my eyes.” (See also Hosea 6:1-2)
[2] More New Testament Examples of the Resurrection
  • Philippians 3:10: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
  • Hebrews 6:1-2 makes a reference to the resurrection being one of the “fundamentals” meaning this was a core belief. In Hebrews 11:35, the author writes of the faith of the Old Testament saints, “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection…”

[3] See also 2 Corinthians 5:1-11 for an image of the final judgment.

[4] More Rapture Examples from Scripture

In the scriptures, the Rapture is defined by our glorification; it is the moment in which we are caught up into the air and transformed.

  • Philippians 3:21: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is even able to subdue all things unto himself.”
  • Colossians 3:4: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.”
  • 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he appears, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.”

REFERENCES

Aulenbach, Bil. October 19, 2018. “Resurrection: Fact or Fantasy?”. Progressive Christianity. Retrieved from https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/resurrection-fact-or-fantasy/.

Bray, John L. (1992). The origin of the pre-tribulation rapture teaching. Lakeland, FL: John L. Bray Ministry, Inc. pp. 24–25.

C., Patti. February 28, 2012. “Could There Be Three Raptures?” The Five Doves. Retrieved from http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/feb2012/pattic228.htm.

Gandi, Herald. July 31, 2018. “The Resurrection: ‘According to the Scriptures’?”. The Master's Seminary. Retrieved from https://blog.tms.edu/resurrection-according-to-scriptures.

Gentry, Kenneth. January 2, 2018. “The Resurrection of the Body”. Philosophical Investigations. Retrieved from https://peped.org/philosophicalinvestigations/article-resurrection-body/.

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