“Then There Were None!”

Today we are going to talk about one of my favorite subjects in the Bible, “The Rapture of the Church“. Some of you may have a clear understanding about the rapture, but for those of you who don’t, you will find that this topic will quickly become a favorite of yours. “The Rapture”, is a future event that Jesus and Paul both spoke about in the New Testament. We have all heard about the “Second Coming Of Christ”, but the rapture of the Church will happen prior to Christ’s second coming. The rapture is when, at a time known only to God, God will supernaturally snatch away all believers from this earth to meet Jesus in the clouds. These scriptures about the rapture are clearly different from the verses that describe his second coming, which will be Jesus coming back to the earth to set up his earthly kingdom. Now, the English word “Rapture”, comes from the Latin word “rapere”, which means “to snatch away; to be caught up”. The word ‘Rapture”, does not appear in English translations of the Bible, but it is an excellent word that describes what the Bible clearly tells us will happen to all believers who are alive at the moment Christ calls his Church home to Heaven. In the Old Testament there are two instances of this snatching away of individuals. These two men were Enoch and Elijah, two men who never saw death, but were taken by God straight up to Heaven.

Genesis 5: 24...Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

2 Kings 2: 11...As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

Before I get too excited and carried away with myself, let’s look at the scriptures that promise us this wonderful event called “The Rapture”.

1 Thessalonians 4: 13 - 18... Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 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. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. NIV

Ok, so the first thing we see here in this letter from Paul to the Church at Thessalonica, is that Paul is trying to explain the Rapture (or resurrection) to them to reaffirm their hope. He explains that those believers who have died, will be raised first and an instant later, we believers who are still alive will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. Then Paul tells them that we will then be with the Lord forever. Before I continue, let’s read this next scripture…

1 Corinthians 15: 50 - 55...Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 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? KJV

Here the same promise is being given by Paul to the Church at Corinth, but with a little bit more of a reason as to why this “Rapture” must happen. Here we find out how quickly this event will happen. Paul says that at the last trumpet sound, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we shall all be changed. So just for a second, blink your eye…It will happen quicker than that…One moment you will be doing dishes and the next you will be in the presence of Jesus Christ. Well, not really a blink…Read the definition of “the Twinkling of an eye”…These stats were found on, I will provide a link below…

There are three portions of time to consider here, The wink, the blink and the twink (no kidding-there was actually a study done). A blink is a controlled movement of the eye and so it's length of time is indeterminate, but the quickest blink lasts for a half second. A blink is a reflex action of the eye and lasts somewhere between 300 and 400 milliseconds. A twink is a reflected particle of light seen in the eye and thusly travels at the speed of light (983,571,056 feet per second) This equates to an infinitesimally small fraction of a second, so it would be fair to say it occurs in about a billionth of a second (which in itself is such a small period of time as to be nearly inconceiveable, but is gigantic compared to the actual time in which a twinkle occurs).'s Twinkling Of An Eye Definition

Wow!! A billionth of a second…Cool huh…Ok, back to 1 Corinthians…Paul also explains why this Rapture must happen…he says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God and since we did inherit the Kingdom of God when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, that means we cannot enter with the same flesh and blood bodies we now live in, so, “we must be changed”. This whole Rapture event is so we can receive our new bodies and we can enter into Heaven…Why? Paul tells us that these “Corruptible” bodies of ours must put on “Incorruption” and these “Mortal” bodies of ours must put on “Immortality”. Basically we are getting suited up in our new heavenly bodies so we can enter into heaven, which cannot accept corruptible things (our old bodies). You see, even Jesus, though he was sinless, by his death took upon himself the sins of the world. So when he died and rose again, he was given a new body as well, a new heavenly body. Now in Philippians 3: 20 & 21, Paul tells us that our new bodies will be like the new body of Jesus…

Philippians 3: 21 & 22...But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. NIV

1 John 3: 2 & 3...Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. NIV

Both of these verses tells us our new bodies will be like his. Some people believe we are going to be these little spirits floating around in a heavenly utopia, but these verses tells us otherwise. In fact, one thing that I do want to touch on is; What happens to us when we die? I only want to touch on this briefly as I plan to cover this in further detail in a later study…But.. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5 that to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. When our bodies die, our spirit goes on to be with the Lord and our body goes into the ground.

2 Corinthians 5: 6 - 8...Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. NIV

Another verse that confirms this is, as one of the two thieves that was being crucified next to Jesus, believed in him while dying and asked Jesus to remember him when he entered his Kingdom, Jesus told him, “Today, you shall be with me in paradise”. Not one day, not at the second coming or the rapture, but Today!!

Luke 23: 39 - 43...One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." NIV

Now, I brought us through these last two verses to first show what exactly is happening when we are being raptured out of here. If we are dead when the rapture happens our body that is buried will rise to be reunited with our spirit and then be given our new body. If we are alive when the rapture happens, our spirit of course is still in this old body, so both will be taken up to be with Christ to receive our new body. Here is an encounter Jesus had with his disciples after his resurrection and after he was in his new body…

Luke 24: 36 - 44...While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."

So by this verse we find out a few things about what our Heavenly bodies will be like and what we will be able to do in them. Jesus just instantaneously appeared before the disciples and scared yesterdays tuna right out of them, they thought they had seen a ghost. Since our bodies will be like his, it makes sense that we will be able to transform ourselves from one place to the other in an instant just by thinking it. Jesus showed them his hands and feet to reassure them that it was him. So, certain things may remain the same with our new bodies just as the scars remained in Jesus’ hands and feet. Jesus also shows us that we will be eating and drinking in our new bodies as well, just as he did with the broiled fish. Pretty cool stuff huh!

Now what would be another reason for the rapture besides receiving our new bodies so we can enter into Heaven? God has promised us that he will “deliver us from the wrath to come”. Deliver us from what wrath? The wrath of God that will be unleashed on the world of unrepentant sinners known as the tribulation. There are three different theories out there as to when the rapture will happen, they are called Pre Tribulation, Mid Tribulation, and Post Tribulation theories. Pre Triber’s believe the rapture will happen prior to the tribulation which is what I believe, Mid Triber’s believe it will happen half way through the seven year tribulation and Post Triber’s believe it will happen at the end of the seven year tribulation. I believe the rapture will happen prior to the Tribulation mainly because of these two verses…

1 Thessalonians 5: 9...For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. NIV

1 Thessalonians 1: 10...and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. NIV

What wrath could Paul possibly be talking about here? There are only two events that Bible Prophecy refers to when it speaks of the future wrath of God. 1.) The Tribulation 2.) The wrath of Hell itself….So these two verses cannot be referring to the wrath of Hell since our receiving Christ as our Savior delivered us from that wrath. Paul is reminding the Church that their destiny is salvation, not God’s wrath. So it has to be referring to the wrath that God unleashes on this world during the tribulation. We will be in Heaven with God during the Tribulation. That is why Paul tells the Thessalonians in “1 Thessalonians 4: 13 - 18”, “therefore comfort (or encourage) yourselves with these words. It wouldn’t be much of a comfort to me if I knew I had the tribulation to look forward to, would it you? Again, I find myself getting off on these little rabbit trails that I have to refrain from because they will be covered in future lessons.

So, what have we learned today about the rapture of the Church?
1.) We have learned that not all Christians (believers) will die. Many of us who are alive will be transformed from this life to the next without seeing death.
2.) Before those who are alive at the rapture are taken, those who have died in Christ will be taken first.
3.) The Rapture will be instantaneous…In the twinkling of an eye.
4.) The rapture will be accompanied by the blowing of the last trumpet…Now if you have studied the book of Revelation, do not confuse this trumpet blowing with the trumpet judgments found there.
5.) All believers dead or alive, will be changed, from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal heavenly bodies fit for eternity.

How do we know we will be in Heaven during the Tribulation? Well first of all, Moses described in Deuteronomy 33: 2, that the Lord is coming with the army of Heaven in vengeance against Satan’s forces…

Deuteronomy 33: 2...And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. KJV

Also Jude 14...

Jude 14...Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones NIV

And the most telling to me is in Revelation 19 where it tells that at Christ’s second coming, which is at the end of the tribulation, he will be returning with the armies of Heaven to fight the Battle of Armageddon. If we are still here on earth during this battle, how can we at the same time return to earth from Heaven…We can’t, we are already there…

Revelation 19: 14 - 19...The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great." Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.

Compare Revelation 19: 14 - 19 above, with 1 Thessalonians 4: 13 - 18 below…Revelation 19 is describing the second coming of Jesus Christ while 1 Thessalonians is talking about the rapture. Some believe 1 Thessalonians describes the second coming but you can clearly see the differences. 1 Thessalonians says we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, whereas Revelation 19 says we are coming back with him to fight the battle of Armageddon.

1 Thessalonians 4: 13 - 18... Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 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. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. NIV

How do we know that it is us, raptured believers that John is describing in Revelation 19 above? That again is for another study, but I will give you the verse so you can get a jump…Revelation chapter 4. I hope by this lesson today that I have comforted your heart and you have come away knowing that if you are a child of God, you will escape the tribulation through this wonderful event referred to as the Rapture. I hope you also will come to understand not only by this study, but in studies to come, that our time is running out to warn our loved ones of the wrath to come and the only way to escape it is through accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior… Please do not hesitate to share the gospel with everyone you know.

Note: A guideline to this study came from the Grant R Jeffrey prophecy study Bible. I have been a student of Bible Prophecy for over twenty years now and have studied under the video & audio tutelage of Hal Lindsey & Grant R Jeffrey. If Bible Prophecy intrigues you, I am posting links to both Hal’s and Grant’s sites below.

Hal Lindsey Media Ministries

Grant R Jeffrey Ministries

If you came to this study today and don’t know Jesus Christ as your savior and you want to, pray with me wherever you are. Pray with a sincere heart and God will reach down from heaven, forgive your sins and give you new life….Lets pray…

Father God, I come to you in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Thank you for sending Jesus to die in my place on the cross. I know I am not worthy, but I ask you today to forgive me of my sins and give me a new heart. I make Jesus the Lord of my life from this day and forward. Teach me the love this study is speaking of so I can love others. Thank you for forgiving me, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray…Amen

If you prayed that simple prayer with a sincere heart, your eternal destiny has been decided. God tells us that he takes that sin and casts it as far as the east is to the west. So forget the past and press on in your new walk with Christ. If you need help, or need a Bible, please contact me through the group. Here are a few Bible verses to show you the pure simplicity of God’s plan of salvation…Tim

John 3: 16 - 18...16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Romans 10: 9 & 10...9. That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Ok group…Lets get to it…
Dear Heavenly Father, we come to you today in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Forgive us today Lord for our shortcomings and our lack of desire to share your word with a dying, hurting world. Place in us the desire to pray for and lead those around us to the cross. Remind us each and every day how short the time is that we have remaining to share your love and sacrifice. Help us to not be content in our own salvation. Let our lives shine as a lighthouse to the world, and point the direction to salvation. We pray and believe these things in the precious and Holy name of Jesus Christ our Lord…Amen

Please go to our group page and leave your comments and thoughts. Click the discussion tab, find this lesson or any topic for that matter, then post your thoughts. I’d like to encourage each of you to get more involved in the group discussions…
Thank You
Tim Barrett

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