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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 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’-- ‘Rapture those remaining alive’ – and
‘Resurrect the dead’ as He brings His creation to an end.  

Jesus Christ certainly left the physical and entered the spiritual in unusual
circumstances, but totally different, 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 will have happened in history, except the somewhat similarities
to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  It seems that God makes a traumatic
and unusual event for the whole world.  This 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.”  
A unique place 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 –
They ascended to heaven in a cloud – Jesus was taken up, a 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.  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’ as being different.  But the results are that, all of the family of God comes
together 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.  

**Then chapter 14: 1 - 13 gives a short history of the work of the family of God.

**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.

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.

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 of the 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 Thess. 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 /
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 Thessalonians 4: 15, ‘we who are alive --- will by no means precede those who are
asleep’.  
All will be resurrected 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.  
Thus add ++ to the 2300 days --
210 days, 7 months to cleanse the land.  Ezekiel 39: 12 – 16.  
----------------
2510 days ---- close, but not exact.  

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

God has the exact time table and all the events that will happen.  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 -- that 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.  

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.

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.