Christian Basic Training
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By Russ Pickett

By Russ Pickett

Words of Jesus Christ are in " RED "

Other Scripture verses are in " MAROON "

Greek words are in " PURPLE "

Text in " DARK BLUE " are hightlighted points

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There is so much talk about the " Rapture " of the Church of Jesus Christ !

         We see TV programs about it, mutliple websites dedicated to explaining it, hundreds of books on the subject, and we even see bumper stickers proclaiming it !   But what does it all mean?   As Christians should we be spending so much time exploring this event ?   Is this something that is "really" going to happen ?   And if so ... when ?

         Now to start this off ..... Many of you have possibly read Timothy " Tim " F. LaHaye's book called " The Rapture " and may have even read his " Left Behind Series " .... or even seen or heard other's discuss information from them.   ...   but Mr. LaHaye himself noted, concerning these books that he had written, the following:

None of what I wrote in these series of books
was based on " Biblical Facts " !
They were purely fictional.

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         First let me briefly explain " End Time Prophecy " which ends with what is known as the " Second Coming Of Jesus Christ ".   This is an explaination of three major parts in a nutshell:

  " Armageddon "

The Bible tells us that there will be a final war between all mankind called " Armageddon " which will occur " at the end of a seven " 7 " year tribulation period ".   That is it will occur just prior to man " totally " destroying himself and Jesus Christ will return to earth to stop this war.

  " Tribulation "

The Bible tells us that prior to " Armageddon " there will be a seven " 7 " year tribulation period that the entire world will go through ".   During the first 3 1/2 years things will seem to be getting better for the world " as a whole " ... but during the last 3 1/2 years everything in the world will seem to fall apart.

  " The Rapture "

The Bible tells us that sometime during that seven years of " tribulation " Jesus Christ will come for those that have trusted Him as their savior ... this is called " The Rapture ".   The two questions concerning " The Rapture " are:

  1.   Is there really a Rapture explained in the Bible ?

  2.   and if so how and when does the Rapture occur ?

         Now for the purpose of this particular article we will only be discussing " The Rapture " of the Church by Jesus Christ.   Possibly in the future we will discuss the other parts of the " End Time Prophecy ".

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         So where does that word come from and why do we use it ?   It comes from the Latin word " raeptius ", which is a translation of the Greek verb " caught up " that’s found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

  1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

[ 17 ]  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up [ Greek = arpazw harpazo - Latin = raeptius ] 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.

         Sometime during the early 400 AD timeframe a man called Jerome created a translation of the original Bible text into Latin which is what we call today " The Latin Vulgate Bible ".   During this translation he used the latin " raeptius " which means " to seize, snatch, tear away ".   The english coined a new english word, " Rapture ", which is still in use to this day.

         The Greek words for " caught up " is " arpazw harpazo " which means "to seize, catch away, pluck, pull, take by force."   So we see both the Greek words " arpazw harpazo " and the Latin word " raeptius " basically mean one and the same thing.

         Now with that in mind we are going to look at the scriptures that discuss the event we have come to know today as " The Rapture " of the Church of Jesus Christ.   The first one we shall study is the one used to describe the Rapture the most in Christian circles, I Thessalonians 4:13-18:

  I Thessalonians 4:13-18

[ 13 ]  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep ( i.e. passed away ), 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 [ arpazw harpazo ] 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.

         I Thessalonians was written by Paul in approximately 51 AD and is considered by many as the first letter written by Paul with the possible exception of Galatians.

         The word " prevent " is interesting to note in verse 15.   When the King James version of the Bible was first written in the early 1600's the word had a different meaning then it does in our current language.   Currently we use " prevent " in the sense of " to hinder " such as in the sentence, " I can prevent ( or hinder ) that from happening. "

         However in the 1600's the word " prevent " meant " to come or go before ".   So verse 15 is telling that those Christians that have already passed away will " go before " we do into heaven.   That really has nothing to do with the Rapture as a whole ... but I thought it was an interesting note on how we, when we read the bible, need to look at history as well as the original language of the bible itself.

That brings us to the actual Rapture related text in verses 16 and 17 in I Thessalonians.

  I Thessalonians 4:16-17

[ 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 [ arpazw harpazo ] together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:   and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

         We see here that Jesus Christ will come down from heaven and first He will " rapture " ( raise from the dead ) all of those Christians who have died previously and are now buried.   They will all be raised from the dead and enter into heaven with our Lord.   Then He will " rapture " ( caught up or take ) those Christians who are still alive from the earth into heaven!

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         The second " rapture " related verse we will study is found in I Corinthians 15 which was also written by Paul.   This letter was written by Paul around 55 AD.

  I Corinthians 15:51-52

[ 51 ]  Behold, I shew you a mystery;   We shall not all sleep [ koimhqhsomeqa ], 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.

         First we see here clear evidence of the " rapture " taking place.   Paul tells us that " We shall all not sleep ".   The Greek used here for " sleep " is " koimhqhsomeqa " and when used in this context " refers to those that have passed away ".   So you could read this statement as, " We shall all not have passed away "."

         So when the " rapture " comes many will be alive during that blessed event.   And we will be changed " In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye ".   That is we will be changed " immediately ".

         We see in verse 52 that " the dead shall be raised incorruptible ".   As a note the word " corrupt " means, as I'm sure you know, " having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly ".   Nothing, or no one, that is " corruptible " ( a person that can be corrupted ) will enter Heaven.   Therefore our bodies are made to be " incorruptible " before entering into Heaven's Gates.   We will all be given " new incorruptible bodies " at that time.

         Now we have seen, based on scripture, that there is indeed a " rapture " of the Church of Jesus Christ sometime in the future of our world.   Now we will explore, based on the bible, when this blessed event will take place.   There are currently three " theories " put forth by many in the Christian Church.

  The three theories are:

  1. " Pre-Tribulation Theory " which notes that the " rapture " will happen prior to the seven year tribulation.

  2. " Mid-Tribulation Theory " which notes that the " rapture " will happen in the middle of, or 3 1/2 years into the tribulation.

  3. " Post-Tribulation Theory " which notes that the " rapture " will happen at the end of the seven year tribulation.


         First lets discuss the meaning of a " theory " and why " two " of these are simply that, " theories ".   The word " theory " basically means " a guess ", that is it is " an unproved assumption ".


         One of the biggest " theories " of our day and age is the " Theory of Evolution ".   Let no one fool you on this theory ... " as of the year 2020 there is no proof that any animal or man himself evolved from a lower life form ! "   It still remains only a " theory ".

         Now why do I say that the the above are " theories " ?   Well .... " there is Biblical Proof for one of them " .... but the other two are purely mis-guided " theories ".   Because there is no biblical proof, without a doubt, for the other two.  Jesus said this about His second coming:

  Matthew 24:36

 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

  Mark 13:33

Take ye heed, watch and pray:  for ye know not when the time is.

  Acts 1:7

And He ( Jesus ) said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

         So we know that we see here, concerning the Second Coming and Rapture, that no one knows exactly when it will happen.  " But remember, as we read and discussed above, that it will happen ".

         So when will the " Rapture " take place ?   In the beginning of the tribulation ( pre-trib view ), during the middle of the tribulation ( mid-trib view ), or at the end of the tribulation ( post-trib view ) ?

Well remember what I noted above:

" THERE IS BIBLICAL PROOF FOR ONE OF THEM ! "

Remember our verses above from I Thessalonians and I Corinthians ?

They basically disprove two of the " theories " ...


  I Thessalonians 4:16-17

[ 16 ]  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout [ keleusmati ], with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump [ salpingi ] of God:   and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

[ 17 ]  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up [ arpazw harpazo ] together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:   and so shall we ever be with the Lord.


  I Corinthians 15:51-52

[ 51 ]  Behold, I shew you a mystery;   We shall not all sleep [ koimhqhsomeqa ], but we shall all be changed,

[ 52 ]  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump [ salpingi ] :  for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

         The greek word for " shout " above is " keleusmati " which basically means " a loud command " !   The greek word for " trump " above is " salpingi " which basically means " the trumpet " !   Then notice the statement " the voice of the archangel " .... I don't think " the voice of the archangel " would be a whisper .... and we are also told that " the trumpet shall sound ! "


Let's look at some other " New Testament " verses,

and even some " Old Testament " verses, that talk about

" the Lord Jesus Christ's second coming " :

  Jeremiah 25:30

The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation;  He shall mightily roar upon His habitation; He shall give a shout.


  Psalm 50:3

Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent: … and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him.


  Matthew 24:27

For as the lightning come from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.


  2 Peter 3:10

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.


  Matthew 24:30

And then stall 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.


  Revelations 1:7

Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him.

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         So basically " ALL " the above proves " from the Bible itself " that the idea of a " Pre-Tribulation Theory " ( In the beginning of the 7 year tribulation ) or a " Mid-Tribulation Theory " ( In the middle of the 7 year tribulation ) are " false doctrines ! "

         How do the above verses disprove the other two theories ?

  1. Jesus Christ is only noted " twice " in the Bible as coming to earth and he already came as the " Lamb " and we now are await His coming as a " Lion ".   For Him to come in pre-tribulation times or mid-tribulation times would mean that the Bible is " wrong " and that he is coming to earth " three times ".

  2. Jesus Christ is indeed coming, as noted in 2 Peter 3:10, as " a thief in the night " but keep reading that verse and we see that when He comes as " a thief in the night " it's anything but quiet since " the heavens will pass away with a great noise ".

  3. And last but not least .... Matthew 24:30 notes that when He comes ... all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming ...

         The words in 2 Peter 3:10, " a thief in the night ", simple mean that when He comes, like all earthly thieves do, It will be unexpected ..... so therefore you need to make sure you are ready for his coming during every moment of the day !

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         That is not to say that I don't have my own thoughts about when it will happen ... but I can only give you " My Theory " of when it will happen.   My website is not about exploring " Theories " or " Guesses ".   Concerning this subject our Lord Jesus Christ had this to say:

  Acts 1:7

It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

Now based on that verse and the others above what is Jesus telling us ?

I believe, and I pray that you will agree, that He is saying this:

There will be a Rapture of my Church,

However it's not important for you to know when.

What is important is this:


         My dear brothers and sisters in Christ ... why do so many spend hours and hours, days and days, month after month, year after year, exploring when this event will occur when our Lord Jesus Christ Himself said that " It is not for you to know " ?

I pray that if you have been caught up in this ...

that you will turn from it and start learning how to live for Him on a day to day basis

" for that alone is a fulltime endeavor ! "

         Why do so many write books about this subject ?   " To sell them to the curious to make a profit ! "  Why do so many make movies about this subject ?   " To sell them to the curious to make a profit ! "   Why do so many go on a speaking tour about this subject ?   " To tell the curious to make a profit ! "

         And why are there so many websites out there expounding on their " theory " of when it will happen ?   Some to make money and sell items and others simply because they think that they have the answer to when it will happen even though Jesus said:

" It is not for you to know "

         Now there are " many websites " out there that will tell you " No One Knows " just as I have .... but it still makes me wonder ... why have entire websites with " page after page " of information concerning this subject ... when the final answer to this subject is this:


May God Bless You

May God Bless You

          


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Last modified: Saturday, December 19, 2020

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