It has been said I do not believe in the rapture (caught up). How can this be? How can anyone not believe this very scriptural and awaited event? What I don’t believe is the teaching of the Dispensationalists saying the ‘rapture’ will be ‘pre-tribulation’ or ‘mid-tribulation’ or ‘post-tribulation.’ Allow me to show you in scriptures the ‘Great Tribulation’ has already happened.

KINGDOM TRUTHS
By Pastor Delbert Young

The Rapture (part 1)

Kingdom Truth

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The Rapture part 1

Scriptures: Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 1 Corinthians 15:21-27, Matthew 22:30, Luke 20:35, Luke 14:14, John 5:28, John 11:24, John 6:39-54, John 11:24, John 12:48, Acts 4:2, Acts 17:18, 32, Acts 24:15, 1 Corinthians 15:21, 42, Philippians 3:11, 2 Timothy 2:18, Revelation 20:5-6, John 5:25-29, Ephesians 2:5, Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:10, Revelation 20:12, John 5:27-30, Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Colossians 2:12, 2 Corinthians 12:2, Acts 8:39-40, Jude 1:23, Revelation 12:5, Exodus 13:21, Exodus 19:9, Psalms 104:3, Isaiah 19:1, Matthew 24:30, Mark 14:62-64, Acts 1:9, 1Thessaloians 4:17, Matthew 25:1, 6, Acts 28:15, Acts 22:23, 1 Corinthians 9:26, 1 Corinthians 14:9, Ephesians 2:2, Revelation 9:2, Revelation 16:17

1 Thessalonians 4:16 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.

It has been said I do not believe in the “rapture” (caught up). How can this be? How can anyone not believe this very scriptural and awaited event? What I don’t believe is the teaching of the Dispensationalists saying the “rapture” will be “pre-tribulation” or “mid-tribulation” or “post-tribulation.” No one can believe the Dispensationalist’s rapture teaching if the “great tribulation” is about the destruction of Judaism, Philistine, and the temple in A.D. 70 (see notes on The Great Tribulation).

Pre-tribulation, Mid-tribulation, or Post-tribulation rapture?

Briefly, here is what “pre” “mid” and “post” tribulation rapture means. Most dispensationalists teach a 7 year tribulation (their unfulfilled week of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy–Daniel 9). These believe the Lord will rapture the church before the tribulation, i.e. “pre.” This view is the most taught. It is ingrained as “any moment”. Others believe the Lord will rapture the church in the middle of the tribulation, i.e. “mid”. Some believe the Lord will rapture the church after the tribulation, i.e. “post”.

As most people are today, I was once a “pre-tribulationist”. I believed this way for many years. I was a “mid-tribulationist” for about a year. I was never a “post-tribulationist”. Today I am of neither of those three persuasions. The reason is after very serious and long study, I learned the tribulation the Dispensationalists fear has already happened. It is impossible to believe a “pre,” “mid,” or “post” tribulation if there will be no tribulation.

  1. History of the Rapture Doctrine
  2. Not heard of until 1850’s

The popular, dispensational, rapture doctrine was never heard of until the 1850’s. Following are two quotes from respected church writers who wrote earlier this century. They openly questioned the “any minute rapture” doctrine.

Alexander Reese says,

“About 1830 a new school arose within the fold of Premillennialism that sought to overthrow what, since the Apostolic Age, have been considered by all premillennialist as established results, and to institute in their place a series of doctrines that had never been heard of before. The school I refer to is that of ‘The Brethren’ or ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ founded by J. N. Darby.”1

Robert Cameron says,

“Now, be it remembered, that prior to that date, no hint of any approach to such belief can be found in any Christian literature from Polycarp down…. Surely, a doctrine that finds no exponent or advocate in the whole history and literature of Christendom, for eighteen hundred years after the founding of the Church – a doctrine that was never taught by a Father or Doctor of the Church in the past – that has no standard Commentator or Professor of the Greek language in any Theological School until the middle of the Nineteenth century, to give it approval, and that is without a friend, even to mention its name amongst the orthodox teachers or the heretical sects of Christendom – such a fatherless and motherless doctrine, when it rises to the front, demanding universal acceptance, ought to undergo careful scrutiny before it is admitted and tabulated as part of ‘the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.'”2

The doctrine of a rapture then tribulation then millennia was not taught prior to the 1850’s.

How did the Rapture-Tribulation doctrine begin?

There are three books on this subject everyone needs to read concerning this subject. These books are (1) Whose Right It Is by Kelly Varner published by Destiny Image (we have these at Life Gate); (2) Seventy Weeks: The Historical Alternative by Robert Caringola; and (3) The Incredible Cover-Up by Dave MacPherson. These books are extremely well documented giving proof of exactly where and how the rapture-tribulation-millennia doctrine began.

This doctrine actually began in Scotland with a vision by a 15-year-old girl. The girl’s name was Margaret Macdonald, born January 14, 1815. Margaret was not a member of any church. She and her brothers visited some different churches and held some house meetings, but were not credible members of the body. Margret was a semi-invalid, confined to a sick bed and experienced frequent fevers.

One day in 1830, Margret had a vision about the Church being caught away before a time of tribulation. Margret’s vision was an escape vision. John Darby, of the Plymouth Brethren, visited Margret. Before long, copies of her vision were circulated as men began to preach this rapture idea as gospel. Naturally it was preached as “any minute” and this was in the 1850’s. John Darby and the Plymouth Brethren began to campaign the doctrine. Darby came to the United States in 1864 where the doctrine greatly influenced the Presbyterians and Baptists. Darby’s notes were placed into the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909 and became as if it was apostolic doctrine. Why not? It was in the Bible! Since this time the doctrine has also been placed in the Dake Bible, Ryre Bible, Larkin Bible, etc. A doctrine never preached prior to the 1850’s nor preached by any apostle suddenly became the gospel. Until then the gospel had been of a glorious church overcoming the world and prepare for the return of the King.

Interestingly enough, the Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians, and Baptists do not believe in visions and prophecy. Yet, this was the way this doctrine originated.

Dispensationalists know its origin.

Knowledgeable dispensationalists who have studied the above will acknowledge the doctrine was not taught anywhere prior to the 1850’s. J. Dwight Pentecost acknowledges this, but says,

“It was not until the last century that the field of Eschatology became a matter to which the mind of the church was turned.”3

Pentecost admits the rapture-tribulation doctrine was not taught by the apostles in the first century. He justifies it by saying people were not interested in eschatology until this century. This is not true. The earliest recorded writings express extreme interest in end-time teachings. None the less, Margret’s vision and prophecy is the foundation of what many believe today.

III. Brief Overview of the Dispensational Doctrine

Earlier I quoted from Alexander Reese. It is worth another look. Reese said,

“About 1830 a new school arose within the fold of Premillennialism that sought to overthrow what, since the Apostolic Age, have been considered by all premillennialist as established results, and to institute in their place a series of doctrines that had never been heard of before. The school I refer to is that of ‘The Brethren’ or ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ founded by J. N. Darby.”4

What did this “new school” Reese referred to teach that was so different? What “series of doctrines” not taught since the apostles and never heard before was Reese speaking about? It’s the dispensational doctrine initiated by the Plymouth Brethren.

The dispensational doctrine goes something like this. According to them, we are living in the church age of Laodicea (Rev 3:14). It’s simply the last church before the rapture of Revelation 4:1. Just prior to the rapture the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem and animal sacrifice instituted. The Lord comes and raptures the church. For seven years the antichrist rules and a great tribulation takes place. At the end of the seven years, the Lord returns again and builds another temple from which he rules from the throne of David for exactly 1,000 years. According to Ezekiel, there will be animal sacrifices performed and the law reinstituted. After the 1,000 years, the wicked are resurrected in a second resurrection and the great white throne judgment takes place. The devil and all wicked people are cast into the lake of fire forever. Above natural Jerusalem the heavenly Jerusalem will orbit as would a satellite.

Nearly all this was a “new school” never taught by the apostles and never heard before. Can you imagine the apostle Paul preaching the reinstitution of circumcision (law)? What about Jesus acknowledging animal blood after he gave his? Or Christ rebuilding the temple after he had said he would make it desolate?

Correct Biblical Teaching of 1 Thessalonians 4

If the passage about being caught up (1Th 4:17) is not teaching about going to heaven for seven years, then what is it about? It is about the resurrection from the grave (from grave is important).

The Resurrection from the grave.

In 1 Thessalonians 4, the apostle Paul is comforting the people concerning believers who died in Christ.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 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.

Paul was not teaching an escape from a tribulation. A tribulation is not mentioned. Paul was comforting the people as he taught them about the resurrection from the grave. People had died in Christ and those alive were ignorant about the resurrection from the grave.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 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.

(NIV) 1 Thessalonians 4:15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

Paul tells the grieving saints their loved ones were only sleeping. They were asleep in Jesus. If in Jesus, then when he comes back they come back. When the Lord does come, those alive will not prevent or precede (NIV) those asleep.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 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.

The King’s Triumphal Entrance

We do not see any “secret” rapture as in “suddenly the saints are gone.” We do see the return of the King!

He comes with a shout! Jesus said, …for the hour is coming, in the which all are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth (Joh 5:28, 29). He comes in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 with a shout! What do you suppose he will shout? If he does what he did with Lazarus, he will say, “COME FORTH!”

He comes with the voice of the archangel. He comes with the trump of God. The archangel proclaims his presence. The trump heralds his entrance!

Matthew Henry says,

“That the Lord Jesus will come down from heaven in all the pomp and power of the upper world (v. 16): The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. He ascended into heaven after his resurrection, and passed through these material heavens into the third heaven, which must retain him till the restitution of all things; and then he will come again, and appear in his glory. He will descend from heaven into this our air, v. 17. The appearance will be with pomp and power, with a shout– the shout of a king, and the power and authority of a mighty king and conqueror, with the voice of the archangel; an innumerable company of angels will attend him. Perhaps one, as general of those hosts of the Lord, will give notice of his approach, and the glorious appearance of this great Redeemer and Judge will be proclaimed and ushered in by the trump of God. For the trumpet shall sound, and this will awaken those that sleep in the dust of the earth, and will summon all the world to appear.” 5 (emphasis added)

Interesting prior to the 1850’s this passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 was not taught as an escape. It was taught as the proud and loud pageantry of the returning King of kings and Lord of lords.

It is probably necessary to note Matthew Henry was born in 1662 and died in 1714. He was not aware there were two resurrections from the graves. Neither did he know this was the rapture before the tribulation. He did not know it because it is not in the Bible. He had not be leavened with the leaven of the dispensationalist’s. Prior to the dispensational doctrine there was only one resurrection from the grave taught. The doctrine of the rapture escape and two resurrections from the graves was from a “new school” coming along after Matthew Henry.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul explains the grandeur as the King’s returns. The first order of business is the resurrection of the dead in Christ. Does this not seem the way it should be when we think about it? 1 Corinthians 15 gives us this same picture.

1 Corinthians 15:21-27 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.

When he comes the resurrection will take place. But this is not a secret coming or a coming to return to heaven. Paul says, Then the end will come. We just can’t find a tribulation any place in here. Neither can we find a millennia. After the resurrection, Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father. The resurrection is not at the beginning of the kingdom of God. The resurrection is at the end. The millennia does not begin at the resurrection. The millennia ends at the resurrection. The resurrection is the last day.

What we are given in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is the magnificent pageantry and procession as the King returns. With him will come all who are his as they have met him and welcome his return joyously with celebration.

Resurrection Teachings

No place in scripture do we find two resurrections from the grave (again, from the grave is important). I am aware Revelation 20:5-6 speaks of the first resurrection, however there is no mention of a second resurrection. We will deal with the passage later.

Jesus taught one resurrection from the grave.

Matthew 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:

When Jesus was asked about the resurrection by the Sadducees, in his explanation he spoke of only one resurrection from the grave–singular, not plural.

Luke 14:14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

The Lord clearly taught our recompense (rewards good or bad) will come at the resurrection from the grave. He did not say at the first resurrection from the grave or second resurrection from the grave. He said the resurrection.

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

This is one of the most enlightening passages about the resurrection from the grave. At the coming of Christ (1Th 4:16) ALL THAT ARE IN THE GRAVES SHALL HEAR HIS VOICE, AND SHALL COME FORTH. All in the graves, not only the saints, will hear his voice.

This is a picture of Revelation 20 and the great white throne. It is where the dead, small and great, stand before God (Rev 20:12). It is there we read they were judged every man according to their works (Rev 20:13). Jesus taught one resurrection of all who are in the graves. For the righteous, it is a resurrection of life. For the evil, it is a resurrection of damnation.

John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

Jesus obviously had taught Martha and others about the resurrection from the grave. Martha knew exactly how and when it was to happen. It would be the last day. There are no more days after the last day. According to the dispensational doctrine, there are many days left after their escape rapture (7 years or 3 1/2 years, plus 1,000 years). Jesus thought he would come to execute the resurrection the last day. Perhaps Jesus was wrong? No way. Following are many last day resurrection from the grave passages.

John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Jesus thought the resurrection from the grave and judgment seat would be the last day. This is exactly what Revelation 20 explains about the great white throne judgment.

The Apostles taught one resurrection from the grave.

Acts 4:2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

It upset the priests and Sadducees the apostles taught the people the resurrection. They did not teach two resurrections from the graves. They taught it exactly as they had learned it through Jesus. They refused to be influenced by the contemporary doctrine of the day. How wonderful it would be if we were this way today!

The apostle Paul taught one resurrection from the grave.

Acts 17:18 ….because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection

Acts 17:32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Paul taught A RESURRECTION from the grave which included both the blessing of the just and the judgment of the unjust. This was exactly what Jesus taught.

1 Corinthians 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

Philippians 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

2 Timothy 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Obviously the teaching of Christ and the teaching of the apostles is one resurrection from the dead including the just and unjust. Jesus never mentioned two resurrections from the grave. The apostles never mentioned two resurrections from the grave. Paul never mentioned two resurrections from the grave.

The First Resurrection

Some will say, “But the Revelation speaks of the second resurrection.” Actually it doesn’t. It speaks of the first resurrection and white throne judgment.

Revelation 20:5-6 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

This is the way John taught what Jesus taught in the book of John.

John 5:25-29 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

In John 5:25 Jesus teaches the first resurrection. This resurrection is now. Jesus said the first resurrection NOW IS. It is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. This obviously is not the resurrection from the grave.

John said in the Revelation the first resurrection was for those who ruled with Christ, those who witnessed, were persecuted, did not worship the beast or receive his mark. The first resurrection was for those who rule with Christ for a thousand years. Do we need to physically die to experience this? Not according to the scriptures. We know we do not need to die to witness and to be persecuted. We do not need to die to refuse to worship the beast or receive his mark. What about the ruling for a thousand years upon the thrones? Do we need to die, or is this ruling a present reality?

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Revelation 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

When we hear his voice we are raised in the first resurrection. This is what Jesus thought. Paul thought the same thing. This was a resurrection, but not from the grave. It was a resurrection into Christ. This resurrection is also seen in proper water baptism. We are raised into Christ.

The passage in Revelation 20, speaking of the first resurrection, does not say anything about being raised from the grave. However the next section does.

In Revelation 20:11-15 we are given the resurrection from the graves. This is the white throne judgment. John wrote,

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

In the teaching of Christ about the resurrection, he first explained the first resurrection that now is (Joh 5:25). After his explanation, Jesus spoke of the resurrection from the grave and the authority he would have in it given him by God.

John 5:27-30 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Paul also wrote,

Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

John follows the identical path in Revelation 20. The great white throne judgment is not only for the wicked and evil. It is for all men. John wrote the dead small and great. Jesus said all who are in the graves will come up for judgment. Paul said we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. There we receive the things done in our bodies in this life.

There is no scriptural teaching about two resurrections from the grave. The first resurrection is for those who hear the Lord’s voice and are raised from the death of sin. This resurrection is activated in water baptism.

Colossians 2:12 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.

Verse Peculiarities

The passage is a peculiar passage. There is not another like it in the scriptures. We will study some of it peculiarities in an attempt to gain some picture of the event.

“Caught up”

The Greek word translated caught up is harpazo (Strong’s #726). Following is a word study for harpazo.

0726 harpazo {har-pad’-zo}

from a derivative of 138

(1) to seize, carry off by force

(2) to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly

The word actually does not mean “up”. It would be better translated as “snatched”. The thought of up in this verse is taken from the context of air and clouds. The same Greek word is found in several other passages. From those passages we may get a thought about harpazo.

Paul was caught up (harpazo).

The apostle Paul tells of a time he experienced harpazo.

2 Corinthians 12:2 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.

Paul was caught up to the third heaven, but did not leave the planet. This was a spiritual experience the apostle encounter.

Philip was caught away (harpazo)

Acts 8:39-40 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

The same Greek word is here translated caught away, not caught up. Philip found himself in Azotus, not heaven. This was not a spiritual experience. It was a physical experience.

Some are saved by pulling them out (harpazo).

Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

(TLB) Jude 1:23 Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself.

The same Greek word is translated here as pulling them out. Here we see the word is a spiritual snatching out of hell.

Jesus was caught up (harpazo)

Revelation 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Jesus was caught up to his throne. We know this was physical.

We do not get a great deal of help in clarity from these previous passages. Is it a physical and natural “rapture” or is it spiritual? The answer would be “Yes.”

Clouds

The Greek word translated cloud is nephele (Strong’s #3507). It is not clouds as plural. It is cloud singular. Following is a word study of the word nephele (clouds).

3507 nephele {nef-el’-ay}

from 3509

(1) a cloud

(1.a) used of the cloud which led the Israelites in the wilderness

The cloud is a tremendously interesting study. The cloud always refers to the glory cloud of the Old Testament and New Testament. It speaks of the Lord coming to protect his people and judge the wicked.

Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Exodus 19:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.

Psalms 104:3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

Isaiah 19:1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

Matthew 24:30 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.

Mark 14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Mar 14:63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?

Mark 14:64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.

Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

Notice it was when Jesus told the high priest He would come in the clouds of heaven the high priest rent his clothes and said they needed no further witness (Mar 14:62-64). The cloud is symbolic of protecting the people of God (wilderness) and destroying the enemies of God.

To you or me, the coming of the cloud means little. To the high priest who knew what the cloud meant, it was blasphemy in the highest degree. First, blasphemy Jesus proclaimed Himself as God, and second, the cloud was coming to destroy the religious system of Judah. The cloud is an imagery and “allusion link” from both the Old and New Testaments.

The Lord comes on the glory cloud. It is there in the glory cloud the resurrected saints and the alive saints meet the Lord.

1Thessaloians 4:17 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.

Meet the Lord

The Greek word apantesis (ap-an’-tay-sis Strong’s #529) is translated meet in the King James Version. It is found four times total. Three of these speaks of meeting the Lord. Once speaks of the Roman Christians going out to meet Paul.

Matthew 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

Matthew 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Acts 28:15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.

Notice in each case the dignitary was met and brought back. There is no doubt this meeting in the air is to usher the King back in all his splendor.

Air

Air is the Greek word aer (Strong’s #109). It means the air of the lower atmosphere or the air we breathe.

Acts 22:23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,

1 Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

1 Corinthians 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Revelation 9:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

Revelation 16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

The Lord is met in the air. Whatever will happen will occur within the atmosphere. It means we will not be traveling off to a distant “heaven”. Instead, we return with the King as part of his pageantry.

VII. Conclusion–What have we learned?

At Life Gate Church we believe in the future return of the Lord. At this time those who are his, dead and alive, will be “caught up” to meet the Lord in his glory cloud!

We cannot find a tribulation “pre” “mid” or “post” associated with being caught up. What we find is the end comes. The Lord gives the kingdom back to the Father.

We find prior to the 1850’s the “rapture and tribulation followed by a millennia” was not taught. The false “rapture” doctrine was brought about by the Plymouth Brethren in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The doctrine is a most accepted doctrine today.

Jesus and the apostles taught the resurrection as in one resurrection. They did not teach a resurrection for the just and a resurrection 1,000 years later for the unjust. In the resurrection taught by Jesus and the apostles, both heard the voice of the Son of man. The just were resurrected to life. The unjust were resurrected to damnation.

We see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is a teaching of the pageantry and procession of the King returning to earth with those who are his.

The first resurrection is not a resurrection from the grave. It is a resurrection from the death of sin into Christ.

The “rapture” or being “caught up” will be glorious and unlike anything every experienced by man. It is the resurrection. Corruption puts on incorruption. Mortality puts on immortality. Those who have died in Jesus Christ will come out of their graves! Those resurrected along with those alive will harpazo (be snatched) to meet the Lord in his glory cloud. We return with the King of kings and Lord of lords in magnificent pageantry with shouting, the trump of God, and the voice of the archangel. What a party it will be! Comfort one another with these words!!!!!!!!!

Other Related Sermons:

Resurrection HE HAS RISEN! video audio notes Luke 24:1-12

Salvation and Resurrection of the Dead – sermon video audio notes

Easter Nonsense – sermon video audio notes

see these links:

Sermons Change The World 

Life Gate Church

1 Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, page 18, quoted from J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, page 165

2 Robert Cameron, Scriptural Truth About The Lord’s Return, page 72-73, quoted from J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, page 165, 166

3 J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, page 166

4 Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, page 18, quoted from J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, page 165

5 Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 PP6