1 Thess 4:15 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 by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
There are a growing number of people today, within the Christian belief system, that are going away from the teaching about rapture. Many today say there is no Biblical word that describes the term rapture. Many have been taught that the concept of the rapture is a fairly new teaching by a man named John Darby in the 1800’s, and was not the normal teaching of the first century believer. We will study the biblical validity of the rapture teaching and the timing of the rapture as well.
1. Many today say that the term rapture is not found in the Bible. Is this true? Yes. The term rapture is not found anywhere in the Bible.
2. How did the term rapture come to be used? The term rapture is a modern term rendered from the term “caught up” in 1 Thess 4:17. The term caught up in this verse is the Kione Greek term Harpazao and means to be caught away. The Latin Vulgate translated Harpazao to Rapimuer or Rapaio. This Latin term was transliterated to Rapture.
3. Some say that Harpazao was translated in other places of the Bible as a spiritual catching away like a spiritual vision, why use it physically in this verse? The term can be used either physically, spiritually or even emotionally. In context, we are told to use this teaching as comfort for all. Not all believers receive a spiritual catching away to spiritual dimensions, but we are all supposed to be comforted by this event.
Are there other verses that support this teaching or is this the one as purposed by those who disagree?
Matt 24:36-44 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
1 Cor 15:51 Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Pre, Mid or Post Tribulation?
5. There are those who believe in Rapture but teach differing opinions as to when the event will take place considering the Tribulation, some Pre-Tribulation, some Mid-Tribulation and some Post-Tribulation.
I will start with the last teaching the Post-Tribulation view. Many have this belief because of the use of the term “Last Trumpet” in 1 Cor 15:51. The reference it to the Last Trumpet Judgment found in the book of Revelation at the end of the Tribulation. Once again, if they knew Biblical Hebrew, they would have more readily referenced the term Tekiah HaGadol or the Hebrew Long-Last Blast of the Shofar found in the Feast of Trumpets. That blast was to be the final blast of the shofar showing an end to the sequence of blasts. The idea is that every year we have a blast of the shofar during Trumpets but the FINAL TRUMPET BLAST will signify the end of the sequence. It is also the easiest to refute as there would be no reason for a catching up to be with the Lord, knowing that at the end of the Tribulation, He actually comes here with all of the saints ALREADY WITH HIM. Jude quoted Enoch on this, Jude 14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
6. Could the rapture be dealing with the “real Tribulation” which is considered the last 3.5 years of the 7 year Tribulation? Yes the Tribulation is divided in two with the first 3.5 years dealing with much less serious trouble and the second 3.5 years dealing with terrible trouble, but the Bible does not show a distinction between the two beyond the seriousness of the judgments being poured out on the Earth by God. The basis for the belief of rapture is that a believer in Christ will not see God’s wrath, but escape from it.
Luke 21:34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
7. Why do most Christians believe in the Pre-Tribulation version of rapture over the others?
Most Christians adhere to this teaching because the Bible talks about the Tribulation as a time of Daniel’s Trouble, where God deals specifically with the people who are here that did not accept the gift of His Son’s atonement and gives them this chance of repentance during “distress”.
God reveals it to Daniel
Dan 9:20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:
"Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. "And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate."
The term week in these passages is the Hebrew word Shabuwah and literally means a unit of seven. When you determine the time frame Daniel was given by God, it defines itself as years. Let’s look at the math.
Seventy Shabuwahs or Seventy Sevens 70 X 7= 490
According to the prophecy, God will deal with His people and end all things after 490 “years”. Then the prophecy gets somewhat strange but more detailed. He then says that He will deal with sin and the Messiah will be “cut off” or killed after 7 Shabuwahs and 62 Shabuwahs.
Let’s look at the math .
Seven Shabuwahs or Seven Sevens 7 X 7= 49
Sixty Two Shabuwahs or Sixty Two Sevens 62 X 7= 434
434 + 49 = 483
The decree to rebuild the Jerusalem happened approx. 447-449 BC as mentioned in Neh 2:1-8
So 483 years after the decree was issued Messiah would be killed. Keep in mind these are Lunar years (360 days per year), not solar years (365 days per years). In our solar year calendar it would equal to 476 years not 483
449Bc – 476 (prophetic years) = right at 27 AD, approx. the known timing of the crucifixion of Jesus .
After the Messiah was to be “cut off’ or killed, the next thing was to be the Temple would and city would be destroyed by the “prince who would come” (Rome) and in 70 AD Jerusalem and the Temple were burned to the ground.
After that would be a “time of wars and desolation” until the consummation (2,000 yrs)
Then the time of the covenant that would be broke in THE MIDDLE. The last 7 years of the prophecy would begin known as Jacob’s trouble, Daniel’s last seven years or more commonly known as the TRIBULATION.
The Tribulation would be one shabuwah of seven or Seven Years.
Rapture is the catching away of the believers who are still alive and remain (1 Thess 4:17) so that God can fulfill His last seven years of the full 490 year prophecy to “finish transgression and put an end to sin” (Dan 9:24).
The last part of the prophecy was to bring in everlasting righteousness. This will happen at the end of the Tribulation when we all come back with Him to set up the 1,000 year earthly Millennial Reign of Christ.
In a later teaching on the Feast of Trumpets, I will go into whether we are to know the timing of the event or not.
1. Level 1 - Lake of Fire. Sometimes called Gehenna (Hebrew from Valley of Hinnom / place of continual burning) in scripture (Matt 5:22,29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,23; Mark 9:43,45,47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6) This is the last place of punishment for satan, the fallen angels and the unbelievers and wicked. Rev 19:20, 20:10;14-15.
2. Level 2 – Bottomless Pit. This is the holding place of the angels and beasts that will war against the saints during the Tribulation. Rev 9:1-2;11, 11:7, 17:8, 20:1;3
3. Level 3 – Tartarus. Only mentioned once in the Bible, Tartarus is considered to be the holding place of the fallen angels after they had relations with the women of Earth (Gen 6; Enoch 7), and taught the men of Earth “heavenly skills” (Enoch 8). It is considered the deepest part of Hades. Tartarus is mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4 and is translated as “hell” and refrenced in Jude 6.
4. Level 4 – Hades. (Luke 16:19-31) Considered the world of the dead (without Christ). This is considered basically as the holding place of the “unsaved” until final judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11). Hades is usually translated in the Bible as “hell” (Matt 11:23, 16:18; Luke 10:15, 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; Rev 1:18, 6:8).
5. Level 5 – Sheol. Sheol is similar to Hades but is actually considered to be the first level of “hell” is in separation from God at the point of death. Sheol is many times simply translated as hell, the grave or the pit but implies hell and/or separation from God in context. (A) Hell - Deut32:22; I Samuel 22:6; Job 1 1 :8, 26:6; Psalm 9:17, 16:10, 18:5, 55:15, 8 6:13, 1 16:3, 13 9:8; Prov 5:5, 7:27, 9:18, 15:1 1, 15:24,23:14, 27:20; Isaiah 5:14,14:9, 14:15,28:15, 28:18, 57:9; Eze 31:16, 31:17,32:21, 32:27; Amos 9:2; Jonah 2:2, Habakkuk 2:5). (B) Grave – Gen 37:35, 42:38, 44:29, 44:31; 1 Samuel 2:6; 1 Kings 2:6, 2:9; Job 7:9, 14:13, 17:13, 21:13, 24:19; Psalm 6:5, 30:3, 31 :17, 49:14, 49:14, 49:15, 83:3, 88:48; Prov 1 :12, 30:16; Eccl 9:10; Song of Solomon 8:6; Isaiah 14:1 1, 38:10, 38:18; Ezekiel31 :15; Hosea 13:14, 13:14) . (C) Pit - Numbers 16:30, 16:33; Job 17:16).
6. Level 6 – Abraham’s Bosom (Luke 16:19-31). Also considered the 1st level known as heaven. Abraham’s Bosom was the holding place of the righteous that died before the final sacrifice of Christ on the cross that awaited judgment. Jesus preached to those who were in Abraham’s Bosom at some point during the 3 days of His death. We know He went to Paradise (soon to be discussed) but at some point preached to the captives in Abraham’s Bosom (Luke 14:8; Eph 4:8). We know that the righteous received the message (John 5:28) because at Jesus’ resurrection, the graves of many of these righteous men broke open and they came to life (Matt 27:53)
7. Level 7 – Angelic Realm. Also considered the 2nd level known as heaven. This is the realm of the unseen where Angels and Demons fight over the lives and destinies of the children of men and children of God battle Principalities and powers in the heavenly realms (Job 2:2; Dan 10:13,20; Eph 1:21, 2:2, 3:10, 6:12; Rev 12:7).
8. Level 8 – Paradise. Also considered the 3rd level known as heaven. This is the place where those who have died in Christ are now living awaiting the Trumpet of God to blast to move them to the place (under the altar for the 7 years of Tribulation). This was the place that Paul (or someone he knew) ascended to a sort of rapture (2 Cor 12:2-4). The third level of heaven is called Paradise in this passage. Jesus told the repentant man on the cross that he would be in Paradise on “this day” (Luke 23:43). The Paradise of God is where the Tree of Life is to this day (Rev 2:7). It is considered to be the upper realm of the Garden of Eden. Paradise is actually translated from a Middle Eastern word meaning enclosed garden (2nd Enoch 8).
9. Level 9 – Under the Altar/Bridal Chamber. Considered the place under the Throne of God where the saints await final marriage consummation (John 14:2-4) as well as praying for final judgment of the wicked inhabitants of the Earth (Rev 6:9). This will happen after the rapture of the church, during the seven years of Tribulation of the Earth. The raptured saints, as well as the martyrs who come during that time will be under the altar of God where we become fully “married” to the Bridegroom (Matt 25:6; 2 Cor 11:2).
10. Level 10 – The Throne of God. Considered the highest level of Heaven in the northern part of “space” (Job 26:7-9). It is the place where God sits on His Throne and Jesus sits at His right hand (1 peter 3:22). It is the place where the 24 elders sit on thrones in circular fashion around the Throne of God (Rev 4:4). It is the place where the 7 spirits of God stand before the Throne (Proverbs; Isa 11:2; Rev 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, 5:6). The Throne of God is mentioned several times throughout the Bible (1 Kings 22:19; Isa 6:1, 66:1; All of Eze chap 1 but Eze 1:26 specifically, 10:1; Dan 7:9; Matt 23:22, 25:31; Heb 12:2; Rev 3:21, 4:2, 6:16, 7:5,15-17, 14:5, 22:1,3).
Gifts in the Bible
During this study I am going to emphasize the gifts as listed in the New Testament. It is obvious that God has empowered men and Patriarchs of the Old Testament with certain gifts to fulfill the desired outcome of His plan, but I am going to confine this study to the five lists of Spiritual Gifts as noted in Eph. 4:11, 1 Cor. 12:28, Rom 12:3-7, 1 Cor. 12;7-10 and 1 Ptr. 4:9-11.
Charismata is the Greek word derived from the root word Charis, meaning favor (grace) and mata, meaning gifts. Charismata is found in 1 Cor. 12:4, 1 Cor. 12:31, Rom. 12:6 and 1 Ptr. 4:10. Charismata appears to be a general term and may be used for all Spiritual gifts.
Phanerosis is used in 1 Cor. 12:7, this term means to lay bare, to reveal. This is used in context as gifts that "manifest". These supernatural manifestations differ from the other terms used for gifts in that they manifest suddenly upon a believer.
9 "Charismatic" Manifestation Gifts
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all; for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.". 1 Cor. 12:7-10
1.) Word of Wisdom
A supernatural "fragment" of prudence. A word of wisdom giving GOD'S wisdom to a particular situation.
2.)Word of Knowledge
A supernatural word from God that gives the believer information or facts which only God could know. This gift is used to show that God is in the congregation and through the word of knowledge people can be ministered to.
This is not normal saving faith. This is a special level of faith given to the believer to fulfill a specific service or ministry.
4.)Gifts of Healing
These gifts are listed as plural in the text. These are manifestations of God to minister healing to people.
5.)Working of Miracles
The supernatural intervention by God to break natural laws. God uses this working of power to substantiate the gospel in many cases.
This is an inspired word of God through an individual to edify the local congregation. This gift is not to be confused with the gift of prophet. This gift is a manifestation of God to bring a word of edification to the body of Messiah.
7.)Discerning of Spirits
The supernatural ability to discern a person's spiritual character and their actions and words i.e. the Holy Spirt, demon spirits or the human spirit.
8.)Different kinds of Tongues
An utterance in an unlearned language which must be interpreted as "Devine revelation" to the body of Messiah for their edification. (This is different from "praying" in tongues, which is used to edify the believer- 1 Cor. 4:14) This manifestation is limited in the congregation to three times within a gathering.
Three kinds of Tongues
There is much discussion and controversy in the body of Mesiah concerning tongues. Much of this could be eliminated with a proper understanding of the three different kinds of tongues mentioned in the Bible. I will try to briefly give an overview of these different gifts as outlined in the Bible.
A.)Tongues : Initial Evidence
There are five accounts in the New Testament that speaks of "Baptism in the Spirit". Acts 2:1-4, Acts 8:14-19, Acts 9:17-19, Acts 10:44-46, Acts 19:1-6.
These Biblical accounts clearly show subsiquent "Spiritual Baptisms" depicted by evidence of speaking in other unknown tongues.
B.)Tongues : Prayer language (Language of Angels)
This word translated "tongue" is a reference to what Paul and Jude called "praying in the Spirit" (Eph 6:18, Jude 20). This also coincides with Paul's statement found in 1 Cor. 14:15 " I will pray with the Spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding."
Paul went as far as calling this "Language of Angels" 1 Cor 13:1. The intent of your personal prayer language is to enter into the Spirit of God during times of prayer. God intends for his children to enter into prayer not just say a prayer. That is why Paul said "Likewise, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
C.)Tongues: Revelation/Manifestation gift
1 Cor 14 clearly is dealing with both tongues as a prayer language and tongues as a manifestation gift of the Spirit for the local assembly. As far as the manifestation gift of tongues Paul laid down guidelines for use during worship services. Paul goes as far as stating that the manifestation gift of tongues must be limited in the congregation to no more that three and always with an interpreter. Paul gives clear guidelines how the manifestation gift of tongues must be used in the congregation to "edify the congregation" whereas the prayer language is for the "edification of the believer".
Many people have confused these three separate gifts of the Spirit to the point of limiting or not even allowing a person to "pray in the Spirit" at appropriate times during a worship service. This is clearly not what Paul was intending when he gave guidelines to control a "manifestation" of revelation tongues with interpretation.
We must finally look at what the apostle Paul spoke on concerning tongues in 1 Cor 14:39 " Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy and DO NOT forbid speaking in tongues." I pray that the assemblies of God's people today heed these words from the Apostle Paul.
9.)Interpretaion of Tongues
This is an interpretation of a message in prophetic tongues (revelation/manifestation) to an understandable message to edify the congregation.
5 Fold Leadership
"And He gave some to be apostles , some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah.".
"And God has appointed these in the church: first of apostles, second prophets, third teachers..." 1Cor 12:28
The apostle is translated as "sent one" these are special messengers of Messiah who are sent with all authority on Earth of the one who sent them. The apostle is sent to establish local congregations, set and or correct doctrine, train ministers to function in the congregation and be the 1st in structure of the congregation. According to this list (Eph. 4:11 and the list of 1 Cor. 12:28), it is clearly a structural statement of the order of leadership in the body of Messiah.
The prophet is used by God also as foundational to the congregation (Eph. 2:20). The prophet is used to speak the direct word of God, bring messages to God's people, expose sin, proclaim righteousness and warn of possible judgement to come. Because of these messages prophets can expect to be rejected by most believers and or whole congregations. The word of God tells us that anyone who receives a prophet will receive a prophet's reward hence anyone rejecting the words of the prophet does not reject the prophet but the one speaking through him.
God's house is "...built in the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus the Messiah Himself being the chief cornerstone". Eph. 2:20
The evangelist is used by God to take the saving message of Jesus the Messiah to the streets. Although every believer is called to preach the gospel, the Evangelist has a supernatural anointing to effectively preach to the multitudes. God also uses Evangelist to take the power of the gospel (i.e. demonstrations of the Spirit's power) to the unbelieving masses. Evangelist should serve the body of Messiah as living examples of how to take this gospel to the streets.
The Pastor is called by God to take care of the "temporal" needs of the local congreation. The pastor has a "heart" for the needs of God's people. Many times in "modern" western congregations the office gift of pastor has been elevated to a role that includes the other leadership gifts, but this is clearly non-scriptural. According to Eph. 4:11-13 we will always have all ministry/leadership gifts until we all reach the unity of faith and mature.
This office gift of teacher is clearly different from the other listings in the New Testament rendered as teacher. This office gift is designed to teach the deep things of God ("Meat") with the ability to make it understandable to the masses. The teacher works hand in hand with the office gifts of apostle and prophet. (1 Cor 12:28) The teacher takes the revelation spoken by the foundational gifts of apostle and prophet and makes them known to the congregation.
7 Ministry Gifts
" Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness." Romans 12: 6-8
" And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a mulititude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers , let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus the Messiah..." 1 Peter 4: 8-11
A person who has the ability to minister hope, encouragement and strength to the person who is down in spirit.
One who communicates clearly the truth of the gospel. (i.e. childrens teacher-example / non-leadership)
The ability or desire to assist others by assuming their responsibilities to release them for other works of service.
The ability to offer resources-food, home, etc. to others.
The ability and desire to offer compassionate service to helpless people in need.
The capacity to offer material resources to the body of Messiah with cheerfulness beyond typical church giving.
The ability to organize or direct the activities of the local congregation.