50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 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.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 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.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1st Corinthians 15:50-55)
In the letter to the church at Corinth, Paul speaks of a “mystery”. This is not to be confused with a detective thriller or a murder mystery, as the word “mystery” comes from the Greek word “Musterion” which literally means “secret or a hidden thing”. Many in our modern era think of a mystery like Sherlock Holmes, or Agatha Christie, but this it not what Paul is referring to.
Paul’s use of the word “mystery” is defining a much hidden doctrine which describes the “rapture” or the Harpazo of the church, which literally means to “remove by force from one place to another”. This was a truth that had yet, not been revealed.
You cannot claim it with the Day of the Lord, as the doctrine of the return of Christ to reign and rule and had been thoroughly written about in the Old Testament and it was very much one of the oldest prophecies that was recorded in scripture. Just to name a few recorded in Daniel:
“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.
2 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.
3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:1-3)
And the prophet Zechariah spoke of the same subject in chapter 12 of the book:
8 In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.
9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:8-10) and again in chapter 14 of the same book:
4 “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:4)
This is but two of the prophets that proclaim the “Day of the Lord” not to forget Amos and Joel, and near every Old Testament prophet from Isaiah to Malachi have something to say of the “Day of the Lord” so no, it was not a mystery to anyone who had read the Old Testament from the Torah into the major and minor prophets as they all made reference to the “coming of the Lord”.
Besides the Apostle Paul, Jude the brother of Jesus made reference to Enoch who Jude proclaims him, the “seventh from Adam” who prophecied the same event noted in the Old Testament, that the coming of the Lord will come with “TEN THOUSANDS” of His saints………
14 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
This is the same picture that John gives us in the 19th Chapter of Revelation that closes out this book of the Apocalype and describes it even further…
11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
The Apostle Paul cannot be referring to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as that was dealt with in many books of your Bible, Old and New Testament.
So what is this “mystery” that Paul speaks of? Paul is speaking of a “hidden thing” that God had not made known to men before Paul. Where did Paul come to knowledge of this mystery he speaks of?
Remember after Paul received his sight from Ananias and laying his hands on him . Immediately, Paul went into the wilderness. I believe that was most likely the Arabian desert and stayed their for 3 years before he even revealed himself to the other apostles and began preaching in the synagogues throughout Israel. I believe this is where Paul received his “revelation” of the mystery of the rapture of the church and it came directly from the “Master” Himself, Jesus Christ, who revealed things to him that were not lawful for men to hear.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2nd Corinthians 12:2-4)
This is where Paul was “schooled” in the things of God that had not previously been revealed. It is where Paul introduced “faith through Grace” of our Lord God, and a “mystery” of the rapture of the church. Previously, even Jesus came and preached the Kingdom of God, but until Paul was given the visions or an eye witness to things that had been unrevealed to other apostles. Paul spoke of these two mysteries that had never been approached by any other Biblical writer in the Old or the New Testament.
First Rapture, then Tribulation
As the end of this age draws to a close, I have many people who are beginning to wonder if we might already be in the Tribulation, even now. Quick answer to that question is “We’re not. Not just yet”
Many people have a hard time grasping the belief of the Pre-tribulation rapture of the Church. I have some even in my own family who think I am “way out there” for believing such a thing, saying there is not any evidence for that belief found in the Bible. I have to smile to myself (or frown depending on the person saying it), as they can’t see the forest for the trees, but rely on men to give them the interpretation of what the Bible speaks of, instead of allowing the Bible to interpret itself.
I had one man, who charged that there is not one word in the Bible that speaks of a “rapture” as if that meant something, as if they interpreted what is written. Then they would see it staring back at them, as they read in the New Testament, especially the words written by Paul the Apostle.
There are several words that are not in the Bible, like try to find the word “Bible” in scripture. Does its absence from the text mean there is “no Bible”? Of course not. It is something all people accept as they have the book in their lap which is defined as “what it is” even though the word is not mentioned.
I have others who babble on mindlessly about “Margaret McDonald and C.I. Scofield, or John Nelson Darby, before pronouncing Dispensationalism and the Pre-Tribulation Rapture as a modern day “invented” doctrine. I say “mindlessly” because they don’t know what they are talking about, not realizing that the subject was doctrine within the 1st Century church, but was squashed by the likes of the Theocracy that ruled in the Dark Ages. Each are just parroting somebody else’s research and embracing it as Gospel, not realizing that they have no basis for the belief, save to believe somebody else.
I have dealt with the Margeret McDonald and John Darby argument in the past, and won’t go into it further here, save to note that Paul wrote of the Rapture 1800 years before this little girl and the preacher who they credited this doctrine and proclaim it as nothing but myth of a deranged girl and a heretic of a preacher.
SO WHAT DOES THE BIBLE ACTUALLY SAY?
Before making an argument based on what the Bible doesn’t say about the Rapture, it is most helpful to focus on what the Bible does say about the rapture.
Beginning in a passage in the Old Testament, Isaiah first comes to mind when he spoke of us being hidden in our chambers.
19 “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
This almost mimics the words that Paul spoke of in the letters to the Corinthians as noted in the opening verses and to the Thessalonians:
13 “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.
14” For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 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.
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 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.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:14-18)
Again, our Lord Jesus told us that He would separate us from the coming wrath when He spoke to the Apostle John:
10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11)
I put part of the verse in italics to draw attention to the words “I will keep thee” which as I have in the past brought to your attention what this passage means as the book of Revelation is written in Greek and the word used in Greek for this phrase “I will keep thee” is something I love to remind those who scoff at the idea of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and I will do so here, as well. The word in Greek for the afore-mentioned phrase is the Greek word “EK”…if you look it up, this is the meaning of the word:
The means that our Lord will remove us out of the way, not through, but away from the time and the event that our Lord is speaking of…and He is speaking of the coming Tribulation. The Rapture removed God’s Church from their position on earth, to the heavenly realm, as Isaiah so aptly put it, that we will hide in our chambers, until the indignation is past.
Then to add to the doctrine, Paul speaks of in several places of “we are not appointed to God’s Wrath”…and that is what the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation is all about.
8 “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” (1st Thessalonians 5:8-11)
This is but one of the passages that speak of being saved “out of” and away from God’s Wrath.
8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10)
Notice from these verses, and there are many more that are peppered throughout the Bible, which describes the movement of believers from this earth to heaven, to be hidden away in our chambers. Some ask, what chambers…Jesus said it best and another clue to the sudden removal of the Bride of Christ from this earth…
2 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
Note that Jesus is creating a place for us and will come again to RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF. Not coming to where we are, but bringing us to where He is….Jesus is at the right hand of the Father God in heaven and He will bring us to this third heaven and we will be adopted as sons and daughters in the “family of God”. This will all happen at the Bema Judgment seat of our Lord Jesus, where He gives rewards for service and we are adopted, because we will have the same rights as a spouse has with her husband…We are the Bride, and Jesus is our husband in the spiritual sense of the words.
So by this short study, I pray you can see, that the mystery that Paul speaks of is not the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus, and the rapture of the Church and the Second Coming are NOT the same event
And things that are different are NOT the same. What would be the point of Rapturing the Church then, anyway? The Lord returns to establish His kingdom on earth, so why pull out all the Christians?
Who is He gonna rule?
“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right Hand, but the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:32-33)
This verse highlights another problem with other views of the coming rapture of the church. If the post Tribulation model is correct, then if all the believers are removed at the Second Coming, that would also include the Tribulation saints. Where would the believers in mortal bodies come from, if they are raptured at the Second Coming?
Who would be able to enter into Christ’s Kingdom? Enquiring minds want to know. The answer would be no one, as all rebellion has been extinguished and the saints have been changed, so the Post Tribulation model doesn’t make sense when reading God’s Word.
LET US NOT FORGET DANIEL
Then there is Daniel’s 70 week prophecy. The Church was absent for the first sixty-nine weeks—the countdown was suspended at the Cross so the Church could be born.
Daniel makes it clear that all 70 weeks are determined upon Israel.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:7–8)
If the Bride is made ready to accompany Christ to the earth at the Second Coming, (while part of the bride is still on earth during the Tribulation) then how does the Bride (the Church) also come with Christ at His Return? You see, it doesn’t make sense, if you believe any other rapture model. Those who are tribulation Saints are not the church. They are saints, as we are, but they are not the Bride. They are the guest at the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” Which speaks of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins. The wise didn’t let their lamps go out, or the sign of the Holy Spirit. Those that let their lamps go out, were overcome with the evils and the persecution of this world and are not allowed into the marriage as guest.\
There is the example of Enoch: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Not only does Enoch prefigure the Rapture, note that Enoch’s Rapture was pre-Flood, and not mid-Flood or post-Flood.
The Scriptures are plain, clear and concise on the topic of a pre-Tribulation Rapture—provided one interprets the Bible literally, instead of figuratively or symbolically.
While no man knows the day of the hour, it doesn’t stop some folks who have popped up on my Christian forums to state that the rapture of the Church was April 6th. No really!! The guy was serious, although I have not had a response from him on his “little error”. Then I have another “sister in Christ” who proclaims that the rapture will “definitely” be during the year of the Jubilee and will end on April the 19th…so Jesus will come between now and then. What will each do when their predictions come to nothing? Do they want to look like another Harold Camping and destroy their witness? The Bible makes clear that we don’t know the day or the hour, but we know the season. WE are “definitely” in the season of the Lords return. Jesus said that there was one key to let us know the hour is at hand.
ISRAEL THE KEY TO END TIME PROPHECY
32 “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:32-26)
It is the only sign Jesus gave for the timing of His return. Oh, we’ll see many things that Jesus laid out to be looking for in the same chapter, BUT the birth of Israel was the sign of a generation would not pass who saw Israel reborn in a day, and would see Jesus back on earth reigning and ruling for 1000 years. He told us in His Word that a generation is 70 years, 80 years by strength, but is full of sorrow and then we fly away. Simple math will show that the season is right upon us. We don’t know the day or the hour, but the timing of His return could be any year that Paul spoke in the opening passage, which is a reference to the Feast of Trumpets. Paul speaks of the “last Trump” which is used to end the autumn feast every year.
Now Jesus fulfilled each “Feast” on the very day of the Jewish observances, as they are not Jewish, but given to all mankind as a plan of redemption. The next one is the coming Feast of Trumpets, which has the “last Trump” that Paul speaks of . As God is a God of order, then logically and prophetically, God will keep the fall Feast observances in order, as He did the Spring feast, and I look and listen for the sound of a trumpet every fall about that time. Will it be this year, next year, and a year after that? A generation of the rebirth of Israel is 70 years this May…how much time does the Church have to wait before Jesus breaks through the clouds and cries aloud “Come up Hither”?…It may be sooner than anyone of us can imagine.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture is often called the “Blessed Hope” by those who look for His return before the Tribulation begins. Those who believe the Church will go through the Tribulation sneeringly call it the ‘Great Escape’.
Don’t let anybody steal away your Blessed Hope:
“For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised,your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1st Corinthians 15:16-19)
Praise our God, the rapture happens before the Tribulation, and if you look around you, Tribulation is festering on our front door steps. You can call it the “Blessed Hope”, or the “Great Escape”, but be not fooled my friend, He IS COMING and with the state of Global affairs, it can’t be much longer.
DON’T BE CAUGHT BY SURPRISE
Will you be ready? WE only have possibly a short time before Jesus breaks the heavens and splits them wide open and the tribulation starts in earnest with the pouring out of His Righteous Wrath that grows stronger as time passes by. We know in our spirits that the time is close at hand. Again. Will you be ready.?
How do you get ready? Believe these next verses in your heart and soul and repent of your sins and follow Jesus and you will be ready.
16” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
Then confess to your friends and loved ones what Jesus just did for you.
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, “Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:8-11)
That is the key. I know it sounds simple, but that is the beauty of the Gospel. It is so simple, even a small child can grasp the meaning of those Words when believed in their spirit. I did it when I was 10 years old…one of my grandsons was 6 years old and knew exactly what he was doing, as we questioned him. It is not age specific, but heart specific….open your heart to the calling of the Holy Spirit, as He wants to save you right now. Do it before the Lord returns, and you then have to endure the horror that is coming…called the Wrath of God, or the Tribulation. This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying you make that decision for Christ right now, and don’t put it off one more minute, as you are not promised tomorrow….AS Today is the day of salvation…not tomorrow…. If you need prayer, counselings, or just a listening ear, then email me at [email protected], or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com for more biblical lessons from the Word of God.. God bless you all..