Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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Scripture References God's Promised Protection in the coming day of His wrath
Scripture Song: For I See Four Men Loose Walking in the Midst of the Fire
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There are multitudes in the Christian community who have their hope and trust in God wrapped up in a teaching called the Rapture. When trying to discuss this issue with them, most become very angry as if we were trying to strip away their hope in God. But God is revealing Himself. Those who will listen will come to the knowledge of the truth of this fallacy.
Webster's Dictionary states the word rapture is "the state of being carried away with deep emotion; especially joy, love, bliss, delight, ecstasy.
Emotions have no foundations of reality. In fact, emotions are based upon feelings and desires, both of which are sensual. Most are aware that the word "Rapture" does not appear anywhere in the Bible because the Bible is based on reality and fact, not emotion. The title says "Rapture, False Hope". False Hope is what the teaching of the rapture has provided for many. Because of this, they refuse to prepare for the things that God is bringing upon the earth. The rapture is being taught as fact and reality with no Biblical foundation.
So that we may come to the knowledge of the truth, we need to first review what is being taught. There are three basic teachings on the rapture:
1 - Pre-tribulation rapture claiming it will happen before the Tribulation period.
2 - Mid-tribulation rapture claiming it will happen half-way through the tribulation period.
3 - Post-tribulation rapture claiming it will happen after the great Tribulation.
The question most often asked is, "Which one of these is right?" They are all false teachings. Much confusion surrounds these teachings. Some teach the Lord's return to be in 2 or 3 phases. It is taught that He comes back to get His people (rapture). Then He comes again to pour out His wrath (judgment). Then He returns again with those who have been raptured to set up His millennial reign on the earth. The Bible does not indicate or suggest anywhere that there is more than one return of Jesus Christ.
God, in His infinite wisdom, has placed in His Word a type or shadow of everything that is coming upon the earth. But we find no type or shadow in the Old Testament, or anywhere else in the Bible of the rapture. Not one Scripture in the Bible says anything about God taking His saints off the earth.
Instead, we find a type of being protected through the judgment. One example is Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who walked through the fire. Another example is Noah. Noah was not taken off the earth. He was protected through the wrath. Noah stepped off the ark on a renewed earth.
When the Pharisees demanded to know when the Kingdom of God should come, Jesus revealed,
"As it was in the days of Noe (Noah), so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." Luke 17:26
So if the Scriptures do not proclaim a rapture, where does this false teaching come from? In the 1800's, there was a man by the name of Irving who held services in Ireland. His followers claimed to be Spirit-filled. One night, a fourteen year old girl gave an utterance that the saints would not go through the Great Tribulation. From this utterance the rapture teaching came about, and many believers fell into error. This pseudo teaching was introduced to many other groups in the 1830's and 1840's.
Great leaders of the 1830's totally discounted Irving's teachings. But the Brethren Church, the Plymouth Brethren, and the Scofield Bible spread this error to the United States and to other nations. Dr. Scofield was a close friend of Irving and incorporated the rapture theory into his footnotes. The rapture theory has been taught as fact ever since.
A note of interest: Irving, himself, had prophesied the end of the world would come in 1847. But that error was overlooked; but the rapture error remains to be taught as truth.
If, then, the rapture is false teaching, how do the expositors of the rapture use the Scriptures to prove this belief? Number one, they twist the Scriptures to get them to say what they want them to say. Those who teach the rapture, apparently have little spiritual insight in the Word of Truth regarding the end time events.
The best way to come to the knowledge of the truth is to examine the Scriptures used to teach this false hope and then explain what those Scriptures really mean. Peter, who was given the keys to the Kingdom, proclaimed,
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation." II Peter 1:20
If there is a rapture, then the Scriptures should reveal it. The main Scriptures the rapture teachers use are:
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 Revelation 4:1 II Thessalonians 2:7 Daniel 12:1 I Corinthians 15:50-58
There are others, but these are the main Scriptures used as a foundation for the rapture teaching. The foundational Scripture most often used to prove a rapture is I Thessalonians 4:13-18. As we look at these Scriptures, we must ask ourselves, "Do these speak of a pre, mid, or post tribulation? Or do they indicate any time frame at all?" Also, ask yourself, if you were not exposed to the rapture teaching, would you have gotten that understanding from these Scriptures?
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: Then we which 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." I Thessalonians 4:13-18
GROUP ONE: THOSE ASLEEP IN JESUS
Before we can understand what God is saying, we must first determine who He is speaking about. Let's look at verses 13 & 14.
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep...."
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." Who is being spoken of? Is it those who are alive at the time Paul is writing? NO! It is those who are asleep in Jesus, those saints who have gone on before. When Jesus spoke of those who had departed this life, He simply stated they were asleep.
"For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep." I Thessalonians 4:15
In verse 15, Paul is still speaking of those who are asleep. But he speaks of a second group; those who are "alive and remain". Then Paul reveals a third group of saints, the dead in Christ.
"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" I Thessalonians 4:16
As we examine verse 16, it becomes clear that those who are dead in Christ are not the same group as those who are asleep in Jesus. The "dead in Christ" shall arise when the Lord shall descend from heaven with the shout of the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. All these become clues to unlock the truths of the time frame Paul is speaking of.
This only leaves two Scriptures, verses 17 and 18, to reveal what is going to happen and when it is going to happen.
"Then we which 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.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words." I Thessalonians 4:17-18
As we examine these Scriptures, it should become clear that Paul was not speaking of some secret escape plan of God for His saints. He is revealing three groups of people and their place in God when Jesus returns. As we examine these Scriptures, it should be plain there is no mention of a time frame; pre, mid, or post tribulation. The tribulation was not mentioned at all. These were added by man to prove the false doctrine of rapture.
The events spoken of in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 will take place at the time of the blowing of the trumpet and the return of the Lord. Are these events recorded elsewhere in the Word? Jesus spoke of this event when speaking to His disciples of the coming tribulation,
"And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matthew 24:31
This is the same happening spoken of in I Thessalonians 4:16. God will gather His saints at the blowing of the trumpet from the four winds. The four winds in the Bible always indicate the earth. There are four directions on the earth: north, south, east and west. God is going to send His angels with a great sound of the trumpet and gather His people on the earth from the four winds; from every corner of the earth. These are those who are "alive and remain".
Then He says, "From one end of heaven to the other." These are those who are asleep in Jesus. This will happen at the blowing of the trumpet when He will gather all His people together from all over the earth and all the departed souls in the spiritual realm. Then the question arises, "Did Jesus reveal the time this would take place?" He truly did in Matthew 24:29-30,
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Matthew 24:29-30
Jesus' second appearing will be immediately after the tribulation of those days. So, if Paul was speaking of a rapture in I Thessalonians 4, the saints would still go through the Great Tribulation.
The next Scripture used by the rapture teachers which is supposed to prove the rapture is Revelation 4:1.
"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter."
The rapture teaching proclaims that Revelation 2 & 3 speak of the church and in Revelation 4:1, a door is opened in heaven and the church is taken off the earth.
It was John who was taken up in the Spirit to be in the presence of God. Nothing would indicate that John represented the whole church. When we come to the knowledge of the truth, Jesus is not teaching John the rapture. In fact, He was not talking about the church at all in Revelation 4:1, but rather fulfilling what He spoke to John in Revelation 1:19.
"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter." Revelation 1:19
John was told to,
1 Write the things he had
2 Write the things which are
3 Write the things which shall be hereafter
First, John was to write the things he had seen, or that had been shown to him in Chapter One. Then he was to write the things which are --- in Chapters two and three. Jesus revealed to John the things which were in the church at the time John was given this Revelation. These same things are still in the church today. These are the things "which are".
Then John was to write the things which shall be hereafter. When we come to Chapter 4, Jesus stated,
". . .I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." Revelation 4:1
What was revealed unto John was the things that were going to happen hereafter and certainly not the church being taken off the earth. Revelation 4:1 mentions nothing about the wrath, nor indicates a rapture. Man has twisted the Scriptures to prove his false doctrine.
The next Scripture that the rapture teachers use is II Thessalonians 2:7,
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way."
The rapture teachers teach that the "one who letteth" is the Holy Spirit and that, when Jesus comes in the rapture, He is going to take the Holy Spirit with Him from off the earth. Is that what the Bible teaches?
"And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever." John 14:16
The same John that was given the revelation of Jesus on the Isle of Patmos recorded these words of Jesus, that He would send another Comforter, the Holy Spirit of Promise, and that He would abide with us forever. How long is the Holy Spirit going to abide with us? My Bible says, "forever". Yet, some would have us believe that forever ends at the time of the rapture.
The next Scripture which is supposed to prove a rapture is Daniel 12:1:
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of Thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time Thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book."
Daniel reveals that, at the time of great trouble, God's people will be delivered. This is where the rapture teachers stop. But let us go on:
"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." Daniel 12:2
If we were to believe the rapture teachers, we would be led to believe that some who are asleep in Jesus will be raised to everlasting shame and contempt. The time frame here is the resurrection; not before the tribulation, not half-way through the tribulation, not at the end.
Some would have us believe there are seven years between verse one and verse two of Daniel 12. They must add this interpretation if they are to believe in the rapture.
The last Scripture that is supposed to prove the rapture is I Corinthians 15:51-56:
"Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law." I Corinthians 15:51-56
The Bible speaks of a change that is coming upon our mortal bodies. The rapture teachers teach that this change will take place as we zoom out through outer space in the rapture. But the Word is clear that this change takes place at the last trumpet. This is the same trumpet that is spoken of in I Thessalonians 4 and Matthew 24:31. The last trumpet to sound is the seventh trumpet in the book of Revelation.
"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets." Revelation 10:7
When the seventh angel shall begin to sound his trumpet, then the mystery of God will be finished. This is when the hidden things of God will all be revealed. This is the conclusion of time when the seventh angel sounds.
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." Revelation 11:15
Who is our Lord? Peter revealed unto the Jews that this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, God hath made both Lord and Christ, Acts 2:36.
The verb "hath made" indicates that this was something that Jesus "was not" in the days of His flesh, but that He "had become" after His death. When Jesus walked the earth, He was Jesus, the Christ (Jesus, the anointed); after His death He became Christ Jesus (The Anointing). The anointed became The Anointing and Lord of all.
Jesus is our Lord and we are His Christ. When the seventh trumpet sounds, the kingdoms of this world will have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. We are His anointed in the earth who will rule and reign for 1000 years with Christ. We will be joint heirs with Christ in His Kingdom. This is when we receive the earth as our inheritance.
Revelation 20 foretells this 1000 year reign with Christ. This is the millennial reign, or the Kingdom Age. There is absolutely no place for a rapture when the Kingdom begins. The wrath will have already been poured out. Our bodies will have been changed.
So, in order for the rapture teachers to use I Corinthians 15 to prove their rapture theory, they must ignore practically the whole teaching of the Bible regarding the end times.
GROUP TWO: THOSE WHO ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN
Before we go on to what the Word is really proclaiming, we need to look again at I Thessalonians 4. Paul spoke "we who are alive and remain" in verses 15 and 17. The "we" would indicate Paul was including himself in this group of saints. This inference came from the translators. The original reads, "Then we, the living who remain." Paul was referring to this segment of the Body of Christ, not specifically to himself.
The word remain is the Greek word PERILEIPO. It means "to be left around, to survive"; so those who remain are those who are "left around or those who have survived". This word is only used twice in the New Testament; both times in I Thessalonians 4. A more proper translation reads:
"We which are alive and are left around, who have survived the wrath or judgment of God upon the earth shall not prevent those who are asleep in Jesus. Then, we which are alive and left around and have survived shall be caught up together with Him in the clouds.
The rapture teachers put much emphasis on the word "caught up". Let's examine the word "caught up". It is the Greek word HARPAZO and appears 13 times in the New Testament. It is translated - - - Catch (1) time - - - Catch away (2) times - - - Catch up (4) times - - - Pluck (2) times Pull (1) time - - - Taken by force (3) times.
It will be necessary to look at a few Scriptures to understand the use of HARPAZO elsewhere in the Scriptures and how the translators perceived this word.
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." John 10:28
The word pluck has the meaning of "being taken by force" out of the Father's hand.
"And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." Jude 23
The word HARPAZO indicates taking by force, to pull out of the fire.
"And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle." Acts 23:10
The words "to take him by force" again is HARPAZO.
"When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone." John 6:15
All these uses of the word HARPAZO mean to take by force or physical power.
The rapture teachers teach that God is to come and take His people by force from off the earth before His second coming. This teaching is in total opposition to our free will choice in Christ. Our whole walk in the Lord Jesus Christ has been one of choices. When we accepted God as our Saviour, we said, "Yes, Lord, I want to be saved." When the Father called, we answered that call. No one could force us to the altar. We went by our own free will. It was our choice.
When the Lord showed us our need to be baptized, we, again, made a decision. No one took us by force and put us under the water. When we desired the Holy Spirit, we asked for it. We had to make a choice. When God called us into His service, we made a choice. God will never take away our free will.
If someone were to lay hands on us and inform us that we had to serve the Lord as a command, we would rebel greatly. What we do for the Lord, we do willingly. The Lord will not make us do anything. He does not force us.
Yet, the rapture teaches that God, without our consent, without our willingness, without our free will being considered, is going to take us off the earth by force. It is against every principle of a loving and caring Father. God has not planned to "HARPAZO", to take His saints off the earth by physical force.
Even though the word HARPAZO has the meaning of taken by physical force, as the Scriptures we have reviewed have indicated, HARPAZO is a derivative of HAIREOMAI which means "to choose, to take for oneself, to prefer, to choose by vote, or to elect to office". In the United States, we would call this the power of the ballet box. But in the Scripture, God speaks of the "elect", and the "very elect"; or those chosen in Him. The word HARPAZO as used in I Thessalonians 4:17 has the meaning of God dealing with His elect and His very elect.
As we are led by the Spirit into the knowledge of the Truth we need to examine what the Spirit was revealing to Paul in I Thessalonians 4. We know what it is not. Let's look at what it is. Paul spoke of three main groups of people at the coming of the Lord.
1 - Those who are asleep in
2 - Those who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord
3 - Those who are dead in Christ
We have already discussed those who are asleep in Jesus, (those saints who have gone on before) whom He gathers from one end of heaven to the other and brings with Him. Then, Paul speaks of those who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord. This group will be caught up together "with them". Who are the "them"? The "them" are those who are asleep in Jesus, those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep in Jesus.
What is meant by those who are alive? These are those who have not died to the old, Adam nature, those who have never dealt with the old flesh nature, and refuse to change. Paul stated, these will not prevent those who are asleep. This last group must overcome the old, Adam nature during the wrath of God to be caught up into God's glory.
The word prevent is the Greek word PHTHANO and means "precede". Those who are "alive and remain" will not precede those who are asleep, to be caught up in the Lord in the air.
The word air is the Greek word AER and means "the atmosphere". There are two words which are translated "air" in the New Testament. One is OURANOS and the other is AER. Both mean "the atmosphere". OURANOS means "sky" or "God's abode". OURANOS was translated 268 times as "heaven". The word AER is used only 10 times. Every time it is used, it is talking about the atmosphere we live in. It means "to breathe" or "to respire". It talks about the air that surrounds the earth. When we get to a certain altitude there is no air. Man was not created to live anywhere except on planet earth. The earth was created for man and God has not changed His mind about where His creation, man, should live.
Those who must endure the wrath of God to overcome the old, Adam nature, and have survived what is coming upon the earth will not precede those who are asleep in Jesus. These, too, will be caught up together in the clouds of God's glory; not taken by force, but because they have overcome and endured to the end. Zechariah states:
"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord of Hosts." Zechariah 4:6
The cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit must cleanse this remaining group of people during the wrath of God. This is God's mercy. As we study, it becomes very clear that those who are "alive and remain" are those who have not yet dealt with the old, Adam nature and must suffer the wrath of God, or His judgment to be purified, cleansed and made ready for service.
The book of Revelation speaks of the harvest of His sickles. God thrust in His sickle, and the earth was reaped for the harvest of the earth was ripe, Revelation 14:15. Jesus informed us:
". . .The harvest is the end of the world, (better translated the end of the age)..." Matthew 13:39
Then, God thrust in His sickle and gathered the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes were fully ripe, Revelation 14:18. The fully ripe grapes were gathered into a safe place. These are the "dead in Christ". We will discuss these later.
Then the angel thrust in His sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God, Revelation 14:19. These are the ones who are "alive and remain", who have not come into maturity and are not "dead in Christ". These will be cast into the wrath of God.
Paul also referred to these as the "children of disobedience", upon whom the wrath of God comes, Ephesians 5:6. These are those who follow religious orders and draw nigh to God with their mouths, but their hearts are far from Him and the fear (reverence) of Him is taught by the commandments and doctrines of men, Mark 7:7. These are those who must endure to the end to be saved. Matthew 24:13 On the Isle of Patmos, Jesus revealed to John the ministry of these who are "alive and remain". He spoke of His two witnesses in the earth at the time His judgment is being poured out. His two witnesses are the olive tree and the wild olive tree which Paul referred to in Romans 11. The two witnesses are the natural branch and the grafted in branch (Gentiles). Jesus revealed to John what would happen to those who must endure until the end to be saved.
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." Revelation 11:7
Those who have not overcome the old, adam nature at His coming will be killed by the "beast" government that is coming upon the earth. When the two witnesses are killed, the world is going to rejoice when they see their bodies in the streets for three and one half days. Then the promise of God will be fulfilled, as Paul revealed in I Thessalonians 4:17. Then, shall those who are alive and remain be caught up in the clouds, the very glory of God.
"And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither, And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them." Rev. 11:11-12
Those who are "alive and remain" will enter into the spiritual realm in God (Heaven) ascending up in the cloud, which is the glory of God, to ever be with the Lord. This is exactly the way Jesus ascended off the earth in Acts:
"And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight." Acts 1:9
It was a cloud that filled the temple that the priests could not stand before, I Kings 8:10-11. It was a cloud that covered the children of Israel in the wilderness, Exodus 13:21. As Jesus was taken up into the very glory of God, those who have endured until the end will ascend into that same glory of God.
Paul used the word HARPAZO to describe God's ascending power in the lives of His two witnesses. These will not be taken off the earth, but they will meet the Lord in the air, or in this atmosphere. They will ascend into the very glory of God. They will then receive their changed bodies and will serve the Lord in their temple (permanent dwelling place) during the millennial age.
These are the "servant saints" who minister around God's throne, in Revelation 7:
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." Revelation 7:9-10
When one of the elders asked John who these were and whence they came, the elder informed John:
"These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Revelation 7:13-14
If they came out of great tribulation, then they must have been in it.
All that these could cry before the throne of God was "Salvation!" That was all they knew. They had never gone beyond basic salvation.
"Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." Revelation 7:15
These are the "servant saints of God". They serve before the throne. These are those whose works are tried in the fire and are found to be wood, hay and stubble; and as Paul wrote:
"If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." I Corinthians 3:15
The fire is the judgment and the wrath of God. Those who are alive and remain will be saved as by fire. These are not lost but their works will be destroyed and they are destined to go through the Great Tribulation.
GROUP THREE THOSE WHO ARE DEAD IN CHRIST
The third group are those who are "dead in Christ". The Scriptures are very clear as to who these "dead" in Christ are. Paul asked the Romans:
"How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this that our old man is crucified with Him; that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." Romans 6:2-8
We all were dead in our sin. When we were baptized, we became dead to sin, Romans 6:2; and the body of sin (the old, Adam nature) was crucified; that we should no longer serve (be a slave to) sin, Romans 6:6. This is a daily act of taking up our cross and dying on it. When we have overcome the sin nature, and sin and death have no more dominion in our lives, Romans 6:9, then something happens in our lives. Paul explained to the Colossians:
"Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses." Colossians 2:12-13
We have been quickened (made alive) together with Him. As Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, are resurrected unto life from our condition of being dead in sin. Paul boldly proclaimed to the Colossians:
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4
Paul was speaking of those who are dead to the things of this world, but alive in Christ. These are dead, while they live. They are risen with Christ. We have set our affections on the things above, no longer seeking the things of this world. Paul revealed who the "dead in Christ" were when he proclaimed:
"Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Col. 3:3
When Christ appears, we will appear with Him in glory, Colossians 3:4. Why? Because we will be raised from the dead. We will be dead in Christ, not having our affections on the things of this life. Paul stated, those who are "dead in Christ" shall rise first. The "dead in Christ" are those who have put off the old man and are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This is the First-Fruit Company in God. Until the First Fruit Company raises up and becomes known to the world, the trump of God will not be blown.
The First Fruit Company are those who have allowed the Kingdom to come within. These have prayed that they are accounted worthy to escape those things which are coming upon the world, Luke 21:36. These are those who will rule and reign 1000 years with Christ in this earth, Rev. 20:5. These are the first resurrection, upon whom the second death has no power, Revelation 20:6. These are those who will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, I Corinthians 15:52, without going through the veil of death as those who are asleep in Jesus and those who are alive and remain. These will fulfill the Scripture in Matthew 24:34, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Then the seventh trumpet will sound and the mystery of God will be fulfilled.
Paul was not writing to the Thessalonians about a rapture, but a changed people; not in some far-off place, but here and now, in this house. These have cast off the old and have become that new creation in God. These are dead in Christ, and this life no longer has a hold on them. These are freed from the things of this world.
In Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians, he wrote to those who had a misunderstanding of his first letter:
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him." II Thessalonians 2:1
Paul was writing to them of the same event that he had addressed in I Thessalonians 4 when he spoke of the coming of the Lord and the gathering of His saints unto Him.
The word beseech here means "beg". Paul said:
"We beg you brethren, to take heed to what we are saying. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand." II Thessalonians 2:2
Please notice that the gathering of His saints and the coming of the Lord is one event. We must assume that, after Paul wrote his first letter, many of the Thessalonians had fallen into the same error that the church has fallen into today, so Paul wanted them to look for two events.
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." II Thessalonians 2:3
Paul warned the people, "Do not be deceived." Then he reveals the two events to look for before we look for Jesus' return and our gathering together unto Him.
1 - A great falling away
Those who are not ready, those who are not strong in the Word, and those who have believed in man's false teachings will fall away. This happened in China. When persecution came, thousands who were taught the rapture, fell away because they had been taught that, before persecution would come, they would be taken off the earth. When persecution came and they were suffering and they were still there, they felt since there was no rapture, then there was no God.
2 - The man of sin will be revealed, the son of perdition
If the person who is teaching the rapture cannot tell you who this man of sin is, then hear the words of Paul. He begs us to stop looking for that day, and especially a rapture. It says that before that day comes, we are going to know the man of sin.
If all the Scripture proof has not convinced you there is no rapture, then hear Jesus' prayer that He prayed for all His saints,
"I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil." John 17:15
If Jesus had planned a secret rapture, He would not have prayed that His saints be kept from the evil. It is God's plan that we all become "dead in Christ", that we might escape those things that are coming upon the earth. God is coming back for an overcoming people. He is not returning for a church whose only hope is that God will whisk them away in their weak, unpurified, unsanctified condition. Jesus is returning to be glorified in His saints, II Thessalonians. 1:10. He is returning to present to Himself a church without spot or wrinkle. Ephesians 5:27
Peter spoke of these "damnable heresies" which have been brought in privately, II Peter 2:1. Peter said these "damnable heresies " would bring swift destruction upon those who harkened unto them. We are to "Look up!" For our redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:28
The rapture is not part of God's redemption plan. We need to change our minds and only seek those things which are above, (the spiritual realm). Do not let down because you are not going to be taken up. Begin to glory in your hope! It is Christ in us, our hope of glory, Colossians 1:27, not a false hope in the rapture.
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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