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THE  RAPTURE  ---  THE  RESURRECTION





                                The Rapture  &  The Resurrection


The word ‘rapture’ as generally used is an event when God removes His people
from among the rest of the population of earth during the tribulation period and
prior to the time when God destroys mankind who have rebelled against their
creator.  There are two scriptures in Revelation that particularly fit the description
of God removing His people.
They are central to this study.  

“Now after three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and
they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.  And they
heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’  And they
ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.”
Revelation 11: 11.

“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat one like the Son
of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.  And
another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on
the cloud, ‘Thrust in your sickle and reap, for the time has come for you reap, for
the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle
on the earth and the earth was reaped.”
Revelation 14: 14 – 16.

The word ‘rapture’ as used in the title above is not a Biblical word, but a good
word for the purpose it is used in Biblical prophecy.

A dictionary definition of ‘rapture’ says:  state of being carried away by strong
emotion, as joy or love; also, expression of great joy.

Thus, the word ‘rapture’ is well suited to describe the carrying away of the family
of God from the midst of great tribulation into the heavenly realm to be with their
Lord forever.  Certainly it will be a time of strong emotion and great joy.  

In the Biblical context several verses must be brought together to see the full
picture and the time, place and circumstance of the rapture.

There are two scriptures in Revelation that we consider to be part of the rapture -
Revelation 11: 19, and 14: 14 – 16.

“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was
seen in His temple.  And there was lightnings, noises, thunderings, an
earthquake, and great hail.”
Revelation 11: 19.

“The temple of God was opened in heaven” –

We believe that this is a unique event in all of history.  Within the context, the
heavenly temple is opened as the two witnesses are resurrected and instructed
by a voice from heaven to ‘come up here.’  There is no other place in the Bible
where such an event has happened.

** In Genesis 5: 24, “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took
him.”

** In Deuteronomy 34: 5 – 6, “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the
land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.  And He buried him in a valley in
the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day.”

** II Kings 1: 11, “----, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire,
and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into
heaven.”       

The three examples of Enoch, Moses and Elijah are given as they left the
physical world and entered the spiritual realm in unusual circumstances.  They
demonstrate the power of God to alter the physical world as He chooses.  Enoch
was walking (relationship) with God and God took him – Moses died and God
buried him, his spirit obviously going to heaven – Elijah went up into heaven by a
whirlwind.  

The point is, that God has the power, ability to do as He chooses in translating
people from physical into spiritual.  Thus – God by His determined decision
prophesies that in the end He will ‘Raise the dead witnesses’-- then a little later
‘Rapture those remaining alive’ – and ‘Resurrect the dead’ as He gathers the
family of God and brings His creation to an end.  

Jesus Christ certainly left the physical and entered the spiritual in unusual
circumstances, but totally different from mankind, as He was the Son of God who
came from heaven to earth, lived and died and returned to heaven.

Please note that the two witnesses (not 2 individuals – see below) of Revelation
are unique as physical mankind who, although killed physically by the beast, are
raised from the dead in full view of mankind and taken to heaven.  At the time of
the end, nothing of this manner has ever happened in history.  God makes a
traumatic and unusual event for the whole world.  This happens in view of the
fact that the whole world having heard and rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ is
given a powerful undeniable witness.     

The Two Witnesses are??;  
Revelation 11: 4, ‘the two olive trees and the two lampstands’.
Revelation 1: 20, ‘lampstands’ == ‘churches’.  (1 of 2 references for ‘lampstands).
Zechariah 4: 1 - 14, ‘olive trees’ == ‘the two anointed ones’.  (Only reference for
this).
Thus the ‘two witnesses’ are individuals from two churches (groups) that are
anointed by God to proclaim the final witness to every nation, language and tribe
– worldwide.

Also these points need to be made that:  

** In Revelation 6: 9, the martyr’s souls are seen ‘under the Alter.’  
A unique place for all killed for their testimony for Jesus Christ.   

** In Revelation 11: 19, “Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the
Ark of the Covenant was seen in His temple.”  
This is a unique time and circumstance for the last of the martyrs, who are of the
last generation of mankind and have proclaimed the final witness to mankind.  

Therefore, the martyred witnesses are uniquely taken in bodily form to heaven.  
They were killed – Jesus was killed –
Their life was restored to their dead bodies, resurrected –Jesus’ life was restored
to His dead body, resurrected – did not see corruption.
They ascended to heaven in a cloud – Jesus was taken up and cloud received
Him.  

These 2 witnesses were killed at the time and circumstances as listed below:  

** The doors of heaven are closed.  Revelation 8: 3.

** satan, his beast and their forces of 200,000,000 have taken complete control of
earth.  

** The beast has killed the final witnesses. Rev. 11: 7.

** There is no more gospel preached and no more opportunity for anyone to be
saved.

** At 1,263 & ½ days -- it is pasted the halfway point of the 7 year tribulation.

** IT IS ALSO AT THE SOUNDING OF THE ‘LAST TRUMPET.’

In I Corinthians 15: 51 - 52, “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 incorruptible,
and we shall all be changed.”

Here in this verse the pin-pointing of the time is of much importance.  It says, ‘at
the last trumpet’.  The ‘last trumpet’ or 7th trumpet is sounded in Revelation 11:
15.  Thus the time prophesied in I Corinthians 15: 52, is the time and
circumstance of Revelation 11: 15.  

So – when verse 52 says, ‘and the dead will be raised incorruptible’ it is speaking
of the two witnesses who will be killed and lie in the streets for 3 & ½ days.  Then
they are raised up to meet the Lord in the clouds.  (They will not be buried and
their bodies will not return to the dust of the earth).  They will be ‘changed’ from
physical to spiritual – from corruptible to incorruptible --- thus ‘RAPTURED’.  The
2 witnesses are taken to heaven in spiritual bodies / resurrected bodies, similar
as Jesus’ resurrected spiritual body.  This is different as compared to the rapture
of the last of the family of God and the resurrection of the dead.  The last of the
family of God will be raptured -- changed from physical to spiritual without
experiencing death of the body.  The dead, having died as being part of the
family of God will be resurrected from their graves / the dust of the earth and
receive their resurrected bodies along with the raptured.  The two witnesses
although killed physically their bodies had not returned to the dust, but entered
into the spiritual realm with their Lord.     

In I Thessalonians 4: 15 – 17, “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 the shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of the Lord.  
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.”

These verses in I Thessalonians 4 helps us to understand the ‘rapture’ and the
‘resurrection,’ although being different the results are, all of the family of God
comes together at the same time, in heaven, with spiritual eternal bodies.  

** First – ‘those who are asleep’ are the part of the family of God who has died
throughout history, whose bodies are in the dust of the earth and their spirits in
heaven. (Abraham’s bosom – Luke 16: 22).

** Second – ‘The dead in Christ will rise first’ – according to the time set forth in
the verse, which says that the ‘Lord will descend’ ‘with the voice of an archangel’
and the ‘trumpet of the Lord.’

The ‘dead in Christ’ here sets the time of the rising of the bodies of the dead, with
the time of the ‘rapture’ of the final generation of the family of God.  It refers to the
‘trumpet of the Lord’ and the Lord’s descent with the voice of the archangel,
‘together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air’ with the ‘rapture’ of
those who remained alive and the raising of the ‘dead in Christ’.  

Please note;  
The ‘last’ or 7th trumpet is sounded in Rev. 11: 15 and the message of the 7th
trumpet continues through chapter 14.

The 7th trumpet is sounded:

**Then follows the declaration that God has begun to ‘reign’.  (Meaning that until
this time in history mankind has had freedom of choice, but no more – God takes
complete control.)  

**Then in Rev. chapters 12 & 13 is a short history of the rebellion of the fallen
angels and disobedient mankind.  This history begins with measuring the time of
the temple era, then the coming of Jesus Christ, then the spiritual warfare that
waged throughout history until satan, demons and rebellious mankind take
complete control of earth / mankind in 13: 18.

**Then chapter 14: 1 - 13 gives a short history of the work of the family of God.  
This very short history tells of the spread / proclamation of the 'eternal Gospel' to
the ends of the earth -- until the end.   

**Then there is the ‘reaping’ / rapture of the family of God in verses 14 – 16.   

** Third – ‘We who are alive and remain shall be caught up’ -- are the part of the
family of God that will be alive and remain after:

1). the two witnesses are killed and taken up through the clouds.

2). the time that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24: 15 – 24 & 40 – 44.

3). the time after the ‘abomination of desolation’ is set up.  Matthew 24: 15 &
Daniel 12: 11 & Revelation 13: 14- 18.  

4). until the time of the ‘rapture’ -- 1,335 days past the beginning of tribulation.
Daniel 12: 12.

Please note:

As the scripture says in Matthew 25: 13, “Watch therefore, for you know neither
the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

We know that at 1,260 days the two witnesses will be killed – BUT -- we do not
know the day when the count-down begins.  On the day that the count-down
begins, the doors to heaven will be closed – after which no one will be saved.  
Refer to Matthew 25: 1 – 13 & compare with Revelation 8: 3.  With the sounding of
the 7th trumpet the 'prayers of all the saints' have gone up before the throne of
God.  Thus no one else will be saved as all decisions have been made, then
tribulation begins immediately in 8: 7.

And now the final scripture of this study which makes the thoughts complete.

In Revelation 14: 14 – 16, “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the
cloud sat one like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His
hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a
loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in your sickle and reap, for the
time has come for you to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So He who sat
on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth and the earth was reaped.”

The above verses 14 – 16 are a visionary picture that gives the best illustration
possible for physical mankind to understand the physical end of the family of
God.  The Lord does not need a ‘sharp sickle’ to change a physical body into a
spiritual body, nor does the Lord Jesus Christ need a cloud to sit on in order to
‘reap’ the earth.  But the words and explanations help us to tie these scriptures
together in order to see a fuller picture and meaning of the verses.

The words used in the references in this study such as ‘the last trumpet’, the
‘trumpet of the Lord’, ‘cloud’, ‘white cloud’, etc. show us that there are two events
of importance at the end of the physical family of God.  
(Example; In Acts 1: 9, ‘a cloud’ received Jesus – In Rev 11: 12 the 2 witnesses
ascended ‘in a cloud’ – I These. 4: 17 ‘in the clouds --.  Thus two groups of the
family of God, at different times, are taken into clouds somewhat as Jesus was --
changing and demonstrating their deliverance from physical creation into
spiritual presence of God).  
Also, ‘Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown’ tells us that it is Jesus
Christ, who is reaping, for He alone knows the family of God.

Thus in conclusion -- there are two events at the end where God intervenes / acts
beyond the natural physical to rescue / save His people:

The two witnesses are, as God’s final witness to mankind, killed by determined,
ruthless and evil beings, but the Lord delivers them from the midst of all mankind
on earth.

Then later, the  members of the family of God who ‘remain alive’ in hiding
(Matthew 24), refusing to receive the mark of the beast or bow to the image
(Revelation 14: 9) – are delivered as they are ‘changed in the twinkling of an eye’
from physical to spiritual -- ‘raptured’ to be with their Lord forever.  The time will
come when these will at one moment be living, breathing, physical humans and
the next moment be raptured spiritual beings in their eternal resurrected bodies.  

Remember:
The dead in Christ from all history will be resurrected at the same time as those
who remained alive at the end.  They whose bodies have been in the dust of the
earth will receive their resurrected bodies as the last generation is raptured from
the earth.  

We believe that all the ‘family of God’ will receive their resurrected bodies at 1335
days into the 7 year tribulation because:

** Daniel 12: 12, “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three
hundred and thirty five days.”  
Those who remained alive are ‘Blessed’ because they did not experience the
pains of physical death.  But as living physical humans are raptured into eternity.

** I Thessalonian 4: 15, ‘we who are alive --- will by no means precede those who
are asleep’.  
All will be resurrected and or raptured at the same time.  

** Revelation 19: 14, “And the armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and
clean, followed Him on white horses.”     
The armies of heaven, ‘the family of God’ following Jesus to Armageddon, being
clothed in fine / white linen, indicates that they have their resurrected / spiritual
bodies.  

There is a time table for these events in Revelation 11: 3, 7 & 11 and Daniel 12: 11
– 12.

!,260 days – the two witnesses will be killed.

1,263 ½ days the two witnesses are raised from the dead and taken up in the
clouds.

1,290 days the image of the beast is set up and the ‘remaining’ family of God
goes in hiding.  Daniel 12: 11 – 12.  

1,335 days the ‘remaining’ family of God will experience the ‘rapture’ and the
dead in Christ will rise and meet them in the air.

2300 days – the transgression of desolation. Daniel 8: 13 – 14 & 8: 26.  
Armageddon will be fought / will happen 2300 days after the beginning of
tribulation.
Then add ++ to the 2300 days -- 210 days, that is the 7 months to cleanse the land
spoken of in Ezekiel 39: 12 – 16.  

Thus the 7 year tribulation.     

----------------
2510 days ---- close, but not exact --- lacking 10 days.   

7 years ** 12 months per year = 84 months ** 30 days per month = 2,520 days.  

Refer to Matthew 24: 22, 'days were shortened' -- This is not a good or thorough
explanation, but some where in these events our Lord shortens the time.  

God has the exact time table and all the events that will happen.  But He did not
tell us everything.

*** “The sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot ----- then the sanctuary
shall be cleansed.”   Dan. 8: 13b & 14b.
*** “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to
cleanse the land.”  Ezekiel 39: 12.  

After the 7 bowls of wrath in Revelation 16, near the end of the 7 years of
tribulation, (2300 days after the beginning of tribulation), Jesus Christ will return
to earth with the armies of heaven.  Then the battle of Armageddon, where Jesus
speaks and all physical mankind are killed.  After the battle of Armageddon the
family of God will, in their spiritual bodies, reign with Jesus Christ for a
millennium.  

Please understand that after God’s creation has been taken / defeated and
‘trampled underfoot’ by the fallen angels and rebellious mankind and as the 2300
days are completed, then comes Armageddon.  Then for ‘seven months’ the
earth will be restored / ‘cleansed, thus completing the time table as given in
various scriptures, of the 7 year tribulation.  



Please Note:

The ‘reaping’ in Revelation 14: 14 – 16 is the ‘rapture’ of the family of God,
especially those who remained alive in hiding, after the 2 witnesses are killed and
taken to heaven.     



Following, in Revelation 14: 17 – 20, is the gathering of “the clusters of the vine
of the earth.”   ‘The vine of the earth’ is mankind from all nations who are not part
of the family of God.  For those who are not the family of God, the word ‘gather’ is
used rather than ‘reap’.  These verses describe the end of all mankind -- this in
scripture and time sequence happens at Revelation 19: 21.  This is prior to the
1,000 / millennial reign of Christ that follows in Rev. 20: 4 – 6.

It is necessary at this point to understand the nature of the ‘millennial’ reign of
Christ.

The people / persons who participate / live through the 1000 year / millennial
reign of Christ are not physical, but spiritual persons.  First the two witnesses
resurrected and taken to heaven, then, those whose spirits have been united
with their bodies that have been resurrected from the dust of the earth, and those
who are raptured as they remained alive until the physical end of the family of
God.  

The entire ‘family of God’ has died, been killed or raptured at Revelation 14: 14 -
16, as explained above.  

At the end of chapter 19 there are no physical humans left alive on earth as it
says “the rest were killed with the sword” of Jesus Christ and 'all the birds were
filled with their flesh' -- meaning there was no one to bury the dead.   

Also – the prophecy of Jeremiah agrees in time and circumstance with
Revelation 19: 21 about those who are not part of the family of God.

“And at that day the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth even to
the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried;
they shall become refuse on the ground.                                                                 
Jeremiah 25: 33.
(Armageddon does not happen only in a small valley in northern Israel -- the root
word megado is the place where the enemies of the children of Israel were
defeated BY GOD).
Thus, the enemies of the family of God finally defeated them, then God destroyed
them all -- worldwide.  
  Daniel 12: 7.

About the family of God;
“And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the
dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first
resurrection.”

                                                                                            Revelation 20: 4b – 5.