In this paper we hope to make an air tight Scriptural case for the catching up of all believers of the Church Age "to meet the Lord in the air" before the 7 year great Tribulation. We will examine the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostles Paul and John, as well as the Old Testament prophets to prove our case.
It is true that the word Rapture is not in our English Bible, nor in the original Greek. The Greek word translated "caught up" is "HARPAZO" in Greek. In the New Testament it is variously translated "take by force," "pulling," "pluck," "catcheth," "catcheth away," "caught away" and "caught up." Our word rapture comes from the Latin word RAPTURA which means "catch away" or "carry off.Ē Latin was the second major language of the New Testament after the original Greek. It was translated very early by the true church, at that time called the Waldenses, and remained in use for centuries.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: "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 [harpazo] together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
The Doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is often represented as a new teaching. However, it is as old as the original manuscripts of the Bible. It is taught in type in Genesis with Enoch (Gen. 5:21: Heb. 11:5), Noah (Gen. 6:8-8:19; 1 Pet. 3:20) and Lot (2 Pet. 2:7-8) being pictures of pre-judgment deliverance of the saved.
John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) is often falsely credited with originating the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. However, Baptist Pastor, Morgan Edwards (1722-1795) taught the pre-trib Rapture 50 years before Darby was born. Edwards understood and taught Paul's doctrine of eschatology, plus Daniel and Revelation. Morgan Edwards taught that history would be consummated in 7000 years; the Antichrist would be a future individual; that the 1260 days were literal days; the catching away of the church prior to the Tribulation and the rise of an evil antichrist. (Condensed from: Rev. Morgan Edwards Taught a Pre-Tribulation Rapture in the 1740s! by Gary Stearman)
About 1500 years before Edwards was born, Ephraem of Nisibis or Ephraem the Syrian (AD 306-373) clearly taught that believers will be Raptured to Heaven before the Tribulation. He was from Nisibis on the eastern edge of the Roman Empire (about 100 miles NW of Nineveh). Ephraem was a well-known and prolific Syrian writer and witness to early Christianity. In Ephraem's sermon called, "On the Last Times, the Anti-christ, and the End of the World" he says, "For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the Tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins." (English translation of the Latin text [Christiania, 1890, pp. 208-20] provided by Cameron Rhoades, Latin instructor at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX.)
John the Baptist was the friend of the Bridegroom who is Jesus Christ (John 3:29; cf. Eph. 5:23-26; Rev.19:7-9 ). John was the last Old Testament prophet (Matt. 11:13; Luke 16:16) As the last prophet of the Dispensation of Law, John passed the mantle of responsibility for the care of the Word of God and winning souls to the church. Likewise, at the end of the Dispensation of Grace this responsibility will revert back to Israel to fulfill the last week (7 years) of Daniel's prophecy of 70 Weeks when the Bride of Christ is removed from the earth at the rapture.
In Hebrews 11 there are no New Testament saints referred to until the last 2 verses, but it mentions 17 Old Testament saints by name and alludes to at least 7 more.
Hebrews 11:39-40: "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, RECEIVED NOT THE PROMISE: GOD HAVING PROVIDED SOME BETTER THING FOR US, that they without us should not be made perfect."
Likewise, the Prophet Daniel, an Old Testament saint, will not be resurrected until after the Tribulation.
Daniel 12:11-13: "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up [this occurs at the mid point of the Tribulation], there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou [Daniel] shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." (cf. Matt. 24:15-21)
There are two differences between the Church Age believers, and the Old Testament / Tribulation believers. They are:
1. The Bride is resurrected / raptured first, then the friends of the Bridegroom are resurrected: "... God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect" (Heb. 11:40; cf. Jn. 3:28-31; Lk. 16:16).
2. Church Age believers do not know the day of Christ's return, but the Tribulation saints will know (Matt. 24:36; Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:2-3, 12:6, 13:5).
MATTHEW 24:36-44 & LUKE 17:26-30, 34-37
The Lord Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples while they were on the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24, "... what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (v.3) The Lord answered by giving several signs that would be prevalent in the last days just before, during and immediately after the 7 year Tribulation. Then in verses 32 to 34 He reverts back to the years prior to the Tribulation to the re-establishment of the Nation of Israel, the "fig tree" (Hos. 9:10), which occurred on May 14, 1948, and ends with these words, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (v. 34) And after this He gave a description of the Rapture and told them that we cannot know when He will return in these words:
Matthew 24:36-44: "But OF THAT DAY AND HOUR KNOWETH NO MAN, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And KNEW NOT UNTIL THE FLOOD CAME, AND TOOK THEM ALL AWAY; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch THE THIEF would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
At this point it is important to note that those of our Church Age cannot know the day, times or seasons that the Lord will return or when He will restore Israel. The apostles asked the Lord Jesus just when He would do that as He was about to ascend back to heaven. They asked Him, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6) To this the Lord answered, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." (Acts 1:7) After the Lord raptures the believers of this Age He will call save and seal 144,000 Jews from the 12 tribes of Israel to take up the responsibility of keeping the Word of God, and winning souls. These and those that they win to Christ will "do exploits" and "instruct many" during the Tribulation (Daniel 11:32-33). In a very limited sense this is a restoration of the kingdom, but the ultimate fulfillment will be when Jesus comes again with the saints to rule the World for 1,000 years (Jude 14-15; Rev. 19:11-15) We of this Age can know neither the time of the Lord's coming for us, nor the time of the restoration of the Kingdom. But not so for the Tribulation saints. They will know when Christ will return exactly 2,520 days (7 years) after Antichrist is revealed (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:2-3, 12:6, 13:5). However, some misunderstand Matthew 24:22 which speaks of the "great tribulation" (Matt. 22:21) saying, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the electís sake those days shall be shortened." This is not a shortening of the 2,520 days which is already fixed, but is rather a shortening of the daylight hours of some of the days during that period, because of the extreme heat of the daylight hours.
Isaiah 30:26: "Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound."
A brief word about "the thief" in Matthew 24:43 above. Remember that our word Rapture comes from the Latin "RAPTURA" which means "catch away" or "carry off." RAPTURA is derived from RAPTOR which means "a thief." Here in the Lord Jesus' Rapture passage in verse 43 it is interesting that He uses the word "thief" and likewise again in Revelation 3:3 He uses it saying, "... I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." Unbelievers need to receive Christ, before they die and go to hell or the Lord comes for His own; and it behooves believers to ALWAYS be ready by serving the Lord, because when He comes "... we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ ..." (2 Cor. 5:10; cf. 1 Cor. 3:11-15) It is said of the Tribulation, dubbed "the day of the Lord" by many Old Testament prophets, and the apostles Peter and Paul, that it will also "come as a thief" (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10). Therefore, we should all be ready for that day.
Luke 17:26-30, 34-36: "And AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOE, SO SHALL IT BE ALSO IN THE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and DESTROYED THEM ALL. 28 Likewise also AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF LOT; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and DESTROYED THEM ALL. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. ... 34 I tell you, in that NIGHT there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
In these passages Noah and Lot are types or pictures of believers who will one day be taken to Heaven without dying. Both were taken before God's judgment and wrath fell. People were going about their lives in a sin and business as usual manner. It will be the same at the Rapture! During the Tribulation it will be anything but business as usual!
2 Peter 2:4-9: "For if God ... SPARED NOT THE OLD WORLD, but SAVED NOAH THE EIGHTH PERSON, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And TURNING THE CITIES OF SODOM AND GOMORRHA INTO ASHES CONDEMNED THEM WITH AN OVERTHROW, MAKING THEM AN ENSAMPLE unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And DELIVERED JUST LOT, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished."
The Lord Jesus also spoke of the Rapture in John 14:
John 14:1-4: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Fatherís 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. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know."
Directly after these words the Lord Jesus says, "... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (v. 6) Christ Jesus is the only way to be saved and to go to the Father in Heaven. The apostles to whom the Lord was speaking have been dead for 2,000 years and only their spirits are now in Heaven, but one day Jesus will come again to raise their bodies also, and all believers who are alive when He comes for them will also be raised up with them in what is called the Rapture. The Apostle Paul gives us details of the event:
1 THESSALONIANS 4:13 - 5:11
1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11: "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. 1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that THE DAY OF THE LORD so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that THAT DAY should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: WE ARE NOT OF THE NIGHT, NOR OF DARKNESS. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 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."
The word "prevent" above in verse 15 is defined as, "To go before; to precede" (Webster's 1828 Dictionary & American Heritage Dictionary). Therefore, we understand that living believers will not go before those who have died, but will rather "be caught up together with them ... to meet the Lord in the air."
Observe that the Rapture is when "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" (1 Thess 4:16-17). It is not as Post Tribulation advocates teach using Matthew 24:31 as a proof text to base their theory. There it says that the Lord Jesus "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." This is not a rapture of living saints from the earth, but rather, a gathering together of departed "elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matt. 24:31). This is rather the same event as described by Jude and John:
Jude 14-15: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 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."
Revelation 19:11, 14: "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. ... And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
There are two distinctly different kinds of trumpet calls in the Bible: 1) the call to worship (Ex. 19:13; Lev. 25:9; et. al.) and 2) the call to war (Josh. 6:5; Neh. 4:18-20; et. al.):
Numbers 10:7-10: "But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. 8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. 9 And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. 10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God."
Note that Paul (1 Thess 5:1) reiterates what Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 about no man knowing the "day and hour" of His return to catch up all the believers of this Age of Grace to meet the Lord in the air. Only Paul uses the term "the times and the seasons" and says that we "know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:1-2). The Lord and Paul both tell us that we cannot know the day, hour, times or seasons of His return, but Jesus did tell us the "generation" (Matt. 24:32-34) which is sometime within 70 to 120 years after 1948 when Israel became a nation again (Ps. 90:10; Gen. 6:3). Note too the phrase, "the day of the Lord" which indicates the time also called, "Great Tribulation" (Matt. 24:21; Rev. 2:22, 7:14). The phrase "the day of the Lord" is also used by Peter and 9 Old Testament prophets. The prophets Isaiah, Amos, Joel and Zephaniah speak of the Tribulation in the same terms as Paul as a day of "darkness" and "wrath."
Zephaniah 1:14-17: "The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of THE DAY OF THE LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. 15 THAT DAY is A DAY OF WRATH, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of DARKNESS and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick DARKNESS, 16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. 17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung."
Joel 2:1-2: "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for THE DAY OF THE LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of DARKNESS and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick DARKNESS, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations."
Amos 5:18, 20: "Woe unto you that desire THE DAY OF THE LORD! to what end is it for you? THE DAY OF THE LORD is DARKNESS, and not light. ... Shall not the day of the LORD be DARKNESS, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?"
Isaiah 13:6, 9, 13: "Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. ... 9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. ... 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger."
2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-10
As you read 2 Thessalonians below please keep in mind the following phrases: "the day of the Lord" and "that day" which are also in 1 Thessalonians and the prophets above.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-10: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM, 2 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. 3 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; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now YE KNOW WHAT WITHHOLDETH THAT HE MIGHT BE REVEALED IN HIS TIME. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only HE WHO NOW LETTETH WILL LET, UNTIL HE BE TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY. 8 And THEN SHALL THAT WICKED BE REVEALED, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
Here in 2 Thessalonians it is definitely speaking of the rapture, "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him" (v. 1), and this is the passage that tells when it will occur. It will occur when "that man of sin" is "revealed ." That word revealed " is found 3 times in this passage. And how do we know when the man of sin will be revealed? The Word of God answers:
Daniel 9:27: "And he [that man of sin] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [7 years]: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
The Antichrist will be revealed when he "shall confirm the covenant" for 7 years to re-institute Temple worship, "the sacrifice and the oblation," in Jerusalem. This will also mark the beginning of the 7 year Tribulation.
Note that some false prophet or teacher had upset the Thessalonian believers saying that "the day of Christ" was "at hand" even forging a letter as from Paul. A Dictionary definition of "at hand" is "present." Webster's 1828 Dictionary says, AT HAND, near; either PRESENT and within reach, or not far distant. ..." and "AT HAND: happening or PRESENT at this time. ... Etymology: from the literal meaning of AT HAND (easily reached)" (Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms, 2003). The Apostle Paul had already told them in 1 Thessalonians 5 above that they "know perfectly that THE DAY OF THE LORD so cometh as a thief in the night" and that they were "not in darkness, that THAT DAY should overtake [them] as a thief. ... For God hath not appointed us to WRATH" (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4, 9). The reference to "the day of Christ" is synonymous with "the day of the Lord" except for the perspective of the one viewing "that day." From the view of those on earth it is "the day of the Lord," but from the perspective of those who have been "caught up ... to meet the Lord" it is "the day of Christ." The phrase "the day of the Lord" speaks of wrath and tribulation, while "the day of Christ" (2 Thess. 2:2; Phil. 1:10, 2:16) and like New Testament terms such as "the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:8), "the day of the Lord Jesus" (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14), "the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6) always put "THAT DAY" in a good light.
Some erroneously teach that the revealing of "that man of sin" will be when "he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." (2 Thess. 2:3-4), but this occurs at the mid-point of the Tribulation. The Tribulation saints will already have identified this Antichrist by that time, because he is the same one who confirmed the 7 year covenant to re-institute Temple worship 1,260 days or 42 months earlier (Rev. 11:2-3, 12:6; 13:5). This fact is definitive as seen from the context of the aforementioned verses (1 Thess. 5:1-9; Dan. 9:27; 1 Cor. 1:8, 5:5; Phil. 1:6, 10, 2:16; 2 Cor. 1:14; 2 Thess. 2:2; Zeph. 1:14-17; et. al.).
Then there is the matter of "what withholdeth that he [Antichrist] might be revealed in his time" (2 Thess. 2:6). Note here that "the son of perdition" is appointed "his time" which will be 7 years, and he will be withheld until then. The withholder is called both "what" and "he." I believe the King James Bible does this for a reason. It is called "what" because it is a thing, it is all believers of this Age of Grace. It is called "he" because it is the Holy Spirit who indwells all these believers.
Ephesians 1:13-14: "In whom [Jesus] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the REDEMPTION of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Ephesians 4:30: "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto THE DAY OF REDEMPTION."
Romans 8:11, 23: "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODIES BY HIS SPIRIT that dwelleth in you. ..., which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY."
When the Holy Spirit who dwells in us is taken out of the way "then shall that Wicked be REVEALED, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." Note again the following two requirements for "the day of Christ" to come: 1) "a falling away" and then "that man of sin revealed" and 2) "he who now letteth ... be taken out of the way" (2 Thess 2:3, 7).
This revealing of the Antichrist will not occur at the mid-point of the Tribulation when "he as God sitteth in the temple of God" (2 Thess. 2:4), but rather at the beginning of it as we have already seen from Daniel 9:27 where it says, "And he [Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [7 years]: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease ..." This of course would also rule out a post Tribulation rapture.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-4, 20-26, 51-57
1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 20-26, 51-57: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: ... 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 FOR SINCE BY MAN CAME DEATH, BY MAN CAME ALSO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christís at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. ... 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? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ."
The prerequisite for going in the Rapture is faith in the Biblical fact of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Whoever does not believe this fact and that it was for them that He died and rose again will not go in the rapture, but will go into Great Tribulation (vv. 1-4, 20) if they are alive when the Lord comes. If they are in a state of unbelief and die before the Lord comes, it will be even worse, because they will go into hell.
By Adam came death, but by Jesus Christ came the the free gift of justification and the resurrection (vv. 21-22):
Romans 5:12-21: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adamís transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But NOT as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, MUCH MORE THE GRACE OF GOD, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one manís offence death reigned by one; MUCH MORE THEY WHICH RECEIVE ABUNDANCE OF GRACE and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one manís disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But WHERE SIN ABOUNDED, GRACE DID MUCH MORE ABOUND: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
The mystery of the Rapture is that all believers of this Age will be suddenly, in a split second, translated into our new glorified bodies, many alive when it occurs having never died "at the last trump of this Age of Grace (vv. 51-52). As we have seen, it is because of the suddenness of the Rapture that the Lord warned all: "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch THE THIEF would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (Matt. 24:42-44)
1 John 5:4-5: "For whatsoever is born of God OVERCOMETH the world: and this is the VICTORY that OVERCOMETH the world, even our faith. Who is he that OVERCOMETH the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
Revelation 21:7-8: "He that OVERCOMETH shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
REVELATION 1:18-20, 4:1-3, 6:15-17
Revelation 1:18-20, 4:1-3, 6:15-17: "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and THE THINGS WHICH SHALL BE HEREAFTER; 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. ... 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. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. ... 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from THE WRATH OF THE LAMB: 17 For THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME; and who shall be able to stand?"
Revelation 1:19 gives the outline of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ: The outline is this: John is told to write, 1) "the things which thou hast seen." This is Chapter One in which he saw the glorified Lord, Jesus Christ (Chapter 1); 2) "the things which are." These things are the things that were when John wrote and still are now, the Church Age. The letters to the 7 literal churches in Asia are also symbolic for our Age of Grace (Chapters 2 & 3); 3) "the things which shall be hereafter" are everything that will occur after the Age of Grace, the catching up to the throne of God and the scene in Heaven (chapters 4 & 5), the beginning of the 7 year Tribulation with the opening of the first seal which releases the Antichrist on a white horse, and ends with Christ's return on a white horse (Chapters 6 to 19), the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth, and after that the casting of Satan into the lake of fire and the judgment of all the lost of all time (Chapter 20), and finally eternal blessings with God who will make all things new including the new heaven and new earth in which there will be no sin ever again. There also "shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Chapter 21 & 22).
But here we are concerned with the rapture of all born again believers of this Age of Grace prior to the 7 year Great Tribulation.
Observe that in the first verse of Revelation it says, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:" The word "signified" here means to make known by signs or symbolic language. For example, Jesus "signifying what death he should die" (John 12:33) said, "if I be lifted up from the earth" (John 12:33). In other words the Revelation of Jesus Christ was given and recorded in symbolic language. This is seen throughout the Revelation. Likewise, the 7 churches of Asia all together symbolize the whole Church Age. The word "churches" (plural) is found 12 times in the first 3 chapters of Revelation, and "church" (singular) is found 7 times in chapters 2 and 3. The word "churches" is found only one more time in the Lord Jesus' concluding statements, in the last chapter, in Revelation 22:16. So the word church is not seen in the Tribulation at all. I believe this is another evidence of the pre-Tribulation Rapture.
Note again that the last of the three things the Lord Jesus told John to write concerned "the things which SHALL BE HEREAFTER" (v. 19). When the Lord finished dictating the 7 letters to the 7 churches to John, then John wrote this:
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 Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am the door" (John 10:7, 9; cf. Matt. 7:13-14).
This is obviously a symbolic signification for the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-52), and after "the judgment seat of Christ" for believers (Chapter 4; cf. 1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10), and after the Lamb receives the 7 sealed Book to open (Chapter 5) the Antichrist is revealed on a white horse when the Lord Jesus opens the first seal of the 7 sealed Book. This begins the 7 year Great Tribulation.
It is interesting that directly after the Lord Jesus finished "signifying by what death [Peter] should glorify God" (John 21:19, cf. v. 18) that "... Peter, turning about, seeth THE DISCIPLE WHOM JESUS LOVED following; ... 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (John 21:20-23) The Apostle John never mentions his own name in his Gospel, but he always refers to himself it terms such as we see here as, "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (cf. John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 7). Surely Jesus loves John, but does He not also love all his people? Yes! John himself is a symbol of all believers of this Age. Furthermore, John did tarry till Jesus came in the signified Revelation of Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ has already "... delivered us from the wrath to come." It is as sure as it has already happened. He did it by His death and resurrection from the grave the third day. The Lord has delivered us from hell, and also "... from the wrath of the Lamb ... [of] the great day of his wrath ..." (Rev. 6:16-17) which is the 7 year Great Tribulation.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10: "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even JESUS, WHICH DELIVERED US FROM THE WRATH TO COME."
Matthew 24:21: "For THEN SHALL BE GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Daniel 12:1: "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy [Daniel's] people [Israel]: 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."
Jeremiah 30:7: "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacobís trouble; but he shall be saved out of it."
ZEPHANIAH 2:1-3 & ISAIAH 26:2-4, 20-21
Zephaniah 2:1-3: "Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O NATION NOT DESIRED; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, 2 before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORDíS anger come upon you. 3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORDíS anger."
Isaiah 26:2-4, 20-21: "Open ye the gates, that the righteous NATION which KEEPETH THE TRUTH may enter in. 3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: ... 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." (cf. Jn. 17:17 = Truth; 1 Tim. 3:15 = Keepers of it.)
1 Peter 2:9-10: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy NATION, A PECULIAR PEOPLE; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."
Hosea 2:19-20, 23: "And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. ... 23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art MY PEOPLE; and they shall say, Thou art my God."
Romans 9:24-26: "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them MY PEOPLE, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God." (cf. Eph. 2:11-22)
The people in the above passages that are called the "Nation not desired," "the righteous Nation," "an holy Nation," "a peculiar people" and that God calls, "the people of God" are not Israel, but are people of all races and nationalities who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. In the Apostle Paul's second letter to the local church in Corinth he said:
2 Corinthians 5:17-21: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST , as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christís stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
After Jesus asked, "... whom say ye that I am?" (Matt. 16:15), Peter answered, "... Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). To this the Lord Jesus replied, "... upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). The Lord Jesus Christ has been building his church for over 2,000 years now. It is built upon the profession of heart felt faith that Peter gave. Christ himself is the Rock upon which His Church is built. A time out was called for the Dispensation of Law with the last Old Testament prophet, John the Baptist, and the Dispensation of Grace began with Christ building His church, the Bride of Christ. John the Baptist stated as much:
John 3:28-31: "Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 He that hath THE BRIDE is THE BRIDEGROOM: but THE FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroomís voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all." (cf. Eph. 5:23-27; Rev. 19:7-9; Ps. 45:10-16)
Luke 16:16: "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." (cf. Matt. 11:13)
The Word of God was originally given to Israel to follow and for safekeeping (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:1-2), but upon their rejection of their Messiah, this responsibility was transferred to His church. The Lord's true church, the local church, established by Him, has kept His Word from its inception and will continue to do so till the end of the Age, when at the Rapture, this responsibility will revert back to Israel for the last 7 years of their Age (Dan. 9:27), and after that comes the Millennial Reign of Christ on the earth (Rev. 20:1-9).
Matthew 28:18-20: "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
1 Timothy 3:15: "... the house of God, which is THE CHURCH of the living God, the pillar and ground of THE TRUTH." (cf. Matt. 28:20; Jn. 17:17)
John 14:15, 21, 23-24: "If ye love me, KEEP my commandments. ... He that hath my commandments, and KEEPETH them, he it is that LOVETH me: and he that LOVETH me shall be loved of my Father, and I will LOVE him, and will manifest myself to him. ... If a man LOVE me, he will KEEP my words: and my Father will LOVE him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that LOVETH me not KEEPETH not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."
John 15:10, 20: "If ye KEEP my commandments, ye shall abide in my LOVE; even as I have KEPT my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. ... Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have KEPT my saying, they will KEEP yours also."
1 John 2:3-5: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we KEEP His commandments. he that saith, I know Him, and KEEPETH not His commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him. But whoso KEEPETH his word, in him verily is THE LOVE OF GOD PERFECTED: hereby know we that we are in him."
1 John 5:2-3: "By this we know that we LOVE the children of God, when we LOVE God, and KEEP His commandments. For this is the LOVE of God, that we KEEP His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous."
Revelation 3:10: "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."
2 PETER 3:8-14
2 Peter 3:8-14: "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 14 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you."
Romans 2:4-11: "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God."
We know that the day of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:10) means the Tribulation, but it appears that it is only the beginning of the day of God (2 Pet. 3:12), the 1,000 year Sabbath of God when Satan will be locked away for that time. From the Book of Revelation we see the utter wickedness of the heart of man, because even with Christ on the throne and a perfect world many unregenerate people will once again follow Satan. Yes, they will have to receive Christ just as in every dispensation.
Revelation 20:1-15: "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 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. 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 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. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Luke 21:36: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
Amos 5:18-19: "Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him."
If you have not yet received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour so that you will not have to go into the Great Tribulation or even worse, Hell, then please do so.
Salvation was the very first thing that Jesus preached:
Mark 1:15: "... repent ye, and believe the gospel."
The gospel is the good news "... that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The Lord's death paid our sin debt, and His resurrection is His guarantee that He will also raise from the dead to be with Him in heave forever.
The apostles Paul and John also taught repentance and faith:
Acts 20:21: "... repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Corinthians 7:10: "For godly sorrow worketh REPENTANCE to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
Romans 2:4: "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to REPENTANCE?"
2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to REPENTANCE."
Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Revelation 21:7-8: "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
1 John 5:4-5: "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our FAITH. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that BELIEVETH that Jesus is the Son of God?"
Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
2 Corinthians 5:21: "For he [the Father] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
1 John 3:5: "And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."
I received Christ as my Lord and Saviour in 1977, and he saved and changed this wicked sinner. Not that I am perfect now while in the flesh, but I experienced a great change, and when Jesus comes for me either at the Rapture or to raise my dead body and rejoin it with my living spirit, I am sure I will eventually be perfected and live with Him forever! I can say this with confidence along with the Apostle Paul:
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:8)
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13) "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." (Philippians 3:21)
And to those of you who have likewise been born again through the word of God by the Holy Spirit let me remind you of these words of the Apostle John:
"And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. ... Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 2:28, 3:2)
John 14:2-3: "In my Fatherís house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.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."