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In Case I Suddenly Disappear

We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

-- 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 --

How fast is the twinkling of an eye?

On average, it takes about one-tenth of a second for an eye to blink. It takes even less time for light to enter the eye and be reflected back - nearly instantaneously. In fact, unless you were an optometrist performing an eye exam using an ophthalmoscope (a tool used to examine the interior of an eye), you wouldn't even notice it. We who are in Christ will be instantaneously changed - we will suddenly disappear from the face of the earth when the rapture happens. Our perishable, mortal bodies of flesh, blood and bones, corrupted by sin, will instantly be raised imperishable, becoming immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53). All that will remain behind is everything we were wearing and carrying, even every surgical part with which we were not born. Those that remain on this earth will be utterly shocked! Chaos will break out all over the world!

I did a search and cannot find the word rapture in the Bible!

The word rapture is not in the Bible. The phrase caught up (1 Thessalonians 4:17) is the Latin verb rapturo which means to snatch away, carry off. It is from this word which the English word rapture is derived. It is used 19 times in 14 New Testament verses, including Matthew 13:19 (the evil one snatches away what was sown in the heart), Acts 8:39 (Philip was snatched away), and 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (a man, Paul talking about himself, was caught up to the third heaven into Paradise).

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Only those in the body of Christ - all who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who believe Jesus died for their sins and rose again on the third day - will be taken to heaven in the rapture. The dead in Christ will rise first. It doesn't matter if they've been cremated or buried at sea, they will rise first. The remainder of us will be caught up (raptured) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. I am sure that those left behind on the earth will be told that this disappearance was something other than the rapture. Maybe aliens from some distant universe beamed us up to their space ships. Or maybe it will be some Artificial Intelligence technology that caused us to disappear. Whatever the explanation is, it will not be from God's word. Many will be deceived into believing a lie. The lawless one, the Antichrist, is coming in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).

When will the rapture happen?

I wish I knew the answer to this question. It could happen at any time. The better question is this: will it happen before the start of the tribulation period (pre-tribulation rapture), just before the middle of the tribulation period (mid-tribulation rapture), or at the end of the tribulation period (post-tribulation rapture). Before going further, I define the length of the tribulation period as seven literal years based on 360 days per year (Jewish lunar calendar).

Post-Tribulation Rapture

Matthew 24:30-31 is often used to support this position - And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

The angels gathering God's elect from the face of the earth is the rapture. This happens when all the peoples of the earth see the Son of Man coming on the clouds. The only similarity with this passage and 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 is the sound of a trumpet. We will meet the Lord in the air during the rapture then be taken to heaven. The Son of Man will visibly return to the earth at the end of the seven year tribulation period with power and great glory. He will sit on His glorious throne when He comes in glory with all the angels (Matthew 25:31). Only the archangel will be present during the rapture. The rapture of the church and the visible return of Christ to earth are clearly two distinct events.

Mid-Tribulation Rapture

One could make a good case for a mid-tribulation rapture because the Bible does not tell us when the rapture will happen. More importantly, God has not destined believers for wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10). The first half of the tribulation period will be a time of relative peace. The wrath of God will be poured out during the second half of this period, beginning with the beast who comes out of the abyss, makes war and kills the two witnesses from God who will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days - the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation period (Revelation 11:3-7).

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

The rapture is for believers of this current church age. God decreed seventy-weeks for Israel and the holy city, Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24). Each week in the context of Daniel 9:24-27 is a period of seven years (Genesis 29:27-28). The first sixty-nine weeks began when King Artaxerxes of Persia issued the decree to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25; Nehemiah 2:1-10) in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes's reign (444 B.C.). The sixty-ninth week ended when Jesus (Messiah the prince) entered Jerusalem on a donkey (Daniel 9:25; John 12:14-15). After the end of the first sixty-nine weeks, Jesus was crucified - the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing (Daniel 9:26). The people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary (Daniel 9:26; Matthew 24:1-2) - Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70.

Daniel's Seventieth Prophetic Week

The seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy is still to come. It begins when he, more than likely a political world leader who comes out of Rome, makes a firm covenant with the many for one week (Daniel 9:27). A new Jewish temple will be built in Jerusalem prior to or shortly after the start of the first half of the tribulation period (Revelation 11:1-2). This world leader will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering in the middle of the seventieth week. He will be the lawless one, the son of destruction, who takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). He will be given authority by the dragon (Satan, Revelation 12:9) to act for forty-two months (3 1/2 years), speaking blasphemies against God and making war against the saints (Revelation 13:4-7). This world ruler one will be the antichrist.

If the church was still here during the first half of the tribulation period, many of those who are well versed in eschatology (study of the end times) will immediately recognize this political world leader for who he really is when he makes a seven year covenant (a treaty or alliance) with the many (Israel).

When I suddenly disappear!

I hold to the Pre-tribulation rapture of the church. Honestly, I didn't write this blog for me. I wrote it to let those who are left behind know that, when I suddenly disappear from the face of the earth with countless numbers of other believers, I am safe in heaven with the Lord forever. Jesus came to die for every single one of my sins - past, present, and future. There isn't one single sin that I committed that He doesn't know about, didn't forgive on that cross, and didn't die for. He died for every thought, every lie, every curse, every fit of rage, every doubt, and I could go on and on. He paid the price that God's infinite justice demanded for my sins and He removed them from me.

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

-- Psalm 103:12 --

Are you ready?

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture cited in this post is taken from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update.

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