The Most Sensible Teaching You'll Ever Hear on the Rapture
For this we are saying to you by the word of the Lord, that we, the living, who are surviving to the presence of the Lord, should by no means outstrip those who are put to repose, for the Lord Himself will be descending from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the Chief Messenger, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall be rising first. Thereupon we, the living who are surviving, shall at the same time be snatched away together with them in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be together with the Lord. So that, console one another with these words."
1 Corinthians 15:51-53
Lo! A secret to you am I telling! We all, indeed, shall not be put to repose, yet we all shall be changed, in an instant, in the twinkle of an eye, at the last trump. For He will be trumpeting, and the dead will be roused incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality."
It is spiritually fashionable among some "believers" today to disbelieve these plain passages of Scripture. This is due in part to the three-ringed circus Christianity has made of these passages.
I agree that it is well to run from every teaching of the Christian religion. This religion has so consistently twisted and misapplied God’s Word that it (the religion) has become a yardstick of truth. It works like this: If the Christian church teaches it, it must be wrong. To arrive at truth, one simply lists Christian doctrines, then believes the opposite.
This is a fine starting point, but it can be taken too far. Christian teaching, as a whole, is wrong, but amid the wreckage remain shards of truth that require careful salvaging.
The Christian religion states that all who believe in Jesus Christ will fly away to heaven at "the rapture." This will amount to about ten million people, more if the rapture occurs on Christmas or Easter.
Imagine the chaos. Should a Christian person be piloting a jetliner during the rapture, his sudden absence will bode poorly for all unchurched passengers. With any luck, the co-pilot will be a backslidden Christian who will assume the pilot’s vacated seat and land the plane safely. No one will thank God, however, for they will all be heathens.
No need to imagine any of this, for Christian movie producers have already enacted such scenes and reproduced the trauma on film. See the shock. Feel the pain. Watch the puzzled faces at Rand McNally as mapmakers begin asking one another, "Hey! What happened to Colorado Springs?"
This is why I don’t believe in the rapture. But I do believe in the snatching away.
It means what it says
I believe the passages I quoted on the previous page. I believe that Jesus Christ will descend from heaven, for that’s what 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, clearly says He will do. I believe that the dead in Christ will be rising first. I believe that those who are alive at that time will be snatched away. This is the Scriptural term: "snatched away." These people will be snatched away, then, not raptured. (Looking up these words in the dictionary, I find them to mean: "snatched away").
I believe that these people will rise (which means "to go up") to meet the Lord in the air (which is what we breathe), in clouds (which are "masses of visible vapor").
The passage is plain enough. What is to keep mature believers from believing it?
Three things. Because of what the Christian religion has done with this passage, many serious-minded saints simply cannot swallow a literal rendering. Secondly, along this same line, some saints equate "literal" with "unspiritual."
Thus, these serious-minded people constantly seek secret, allegorical meanings to plain, literal passages.
For instance, even though clouds are often found in the air, and the same word, nephele, is used by Jesus in Luke 12:54 to describe what produces a rainstorm, these allegory-minded believers take the clouds of 1 Thessalonians to be clouds of saints. Hm. These do produce rainstorms on occasion, but only during church picnics.
Only once in the New Testament is nephele used figuratively. In Hebrews 12:1, we read of a cloud of witnesses. But a rule of Scriptural interpretation (for those who care for rules) is: literal if possible. As the saints of 1 Thessalonians are rising to meet the Lord in the air, a literal rendering of nephele is not only possible, but probable.
Now tell me. How is this not spiritual?
The cloud that led Israel in the wilderness, though physical, was as spiritual as could be. It was spiritual, not in its molecular structure, but in that God employed it for His purposes. This cloud served as a divine guidepost. The clouds of 1 Thessalonians? These hide heavenly doings from the gaze of earthlings. It is as spiritual as can be.
As for rising in the air to meet the Lord, the
A real door opener
Thirdly, many believers fail to distinguish the body of Christ from the bride of the Lambkin. That is, they do not appreciate the different destinies of Israel saints and proselytes (Israel "wannabees")—who embrace the evangel of the Circumcision—and the mix of Jews and Greeks who embrace Paul’s evangel of the Uncircumcision (see Galatians 2:7). Without this key, many doors just won’t open. One of them is the door to the glory of 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4.
Not all living people who believe in Jesus when He descends from heaven will be snatched from Earth’s tribulation to meet Him in the air. (If the number of those who embrace the evangel of Paul today is any indication of how many will embrace it then, the number will be very small and the event very quiet; the vast majority of believers today are Circumcision believers. So forget, if you can, the pilotless jetliner scenario of page 2). Scripture clearly states (in Revelation, chapter 7) that there are to be a hundred forty-four thousand out of Israel, sealed on their foreheads, whom God will preserve through (not out of) the day of indignation. Concurrently, a "vast throng" (Revelation 7:9) of saints will have attained martyrdom, precluding any possibility of them being snatched from harm’s way.
Now, if one assumes the saints of Revelation, chapter 7 to be the same saints of 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, one must "spiritualize away" the clear teaching of 1 Thessalonians, to make it fit the clear teaching of Revelation.
May the reader of these lines now realize that these two passages are not meant to fit, but are rather describing the distinct destinies of two distinct peoples, or groups of believers. Israel is to become "a kingdom and a priesthood for God," and "they shall be reigning on the earth" (Revelation 5:10). This is the "bride company," the "kingdom saints," the "overcomers," whatever you want to call them. Those of Christ’s body, however, shall be "displaying the transcendent riches of His grace among the celestials" (Ephesians 2:6-7). This is a different realm altogether.
Everything should now make sense. The saints of Christ’s body are snatched away in the air and transferred to the realm of their ministry. It’s practical. Kingdom saints who live through the day of indignation remain on the earth, for Earth becomes their place of business for the eon. Doesn’t this make sense? Isn’t it practical?
Yeah. And it’s spiritual as heck, too.