Controversy abounds on this topic. Pre-trib? Post-trib? Pre-wrath? When is the rapture? Due to the integral connection between the resurrection/rapture and the day of the Lord, there are several places in my book that this important topic is discussed (pages 34-40, 111-112, 174-177, 198-203, and 256-260). Personally, I’m not sure that I fit into a predefined category. I would hold to a post-tribulation rapture position, but not in a “classic” sense.
More important than what “camp” we endorse is the need for our hearts to elevate the words of Scripture higher than any position we hold. Therefore, should we become aware of a biblical truth that we previously had not considered, we are in a surrendered position where our understanding can always be moved closer in alignment to the Scripture as a whole. Easier said than done!
The purpose for today’s post is two-fold. First, I would like to share a snippet from my book found on pages 34 to 36 (see below). Second, I would like to introduce you to a presentation file (The Resurrection, Rapture, and the Day of the LORD) that I recently put together and uploaded to the Resources area of my website. I believe that there are several important factors we need to consider when studying this topic. With the background of those considerations, and in light of the snippet posted below, I make an effort in the presentation to:
a) evaluate the timing of the resurrection/rapture; and
b) uniquely synthesize several “day of the Lord” Scripture passages to try to simplify this complex and difficult subject.
Please enjoy, and warm regards,
[the following is an extract from pages 34-36 of The Day of the Lord and the Coming Kingdom]
Next to occur, I believe, is the resurrection and rapture of the saints. The timing of the resurrection and rapture is discussed in greater detail in the chapter on the Olivet Discourse. It is also discussed in the chapter on Revelation in the review of the seals, trumpets, vials, and thunders, as well as the harvest of the earth. Briefly, I believe in a post-tribulation resurrection and rapture on the last day. Jesus referred to the resurrection occurring “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54), as did also Martha (John 11:23–24). After cosmic events, I believe the seventh trumpet will sound. In context, Scriptures teach that the day of the Lord and the “gathering together” are accompanied by the great sound of a trumpet, also referred to as the last trump (Matthew 24:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 15:52, et al).
The resurrection/rapture is not imminent. Our “gathering together” to Him at “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:1) will not occur until after the time of Antichrist and the abomination (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4). The “coming” in verse 1 is the parousia (Strong’s G3952), defined by Thayer’s Greek Lexicon as “the advent, i.e. the future, visible, return from heaven of Jesus, the Messiah, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God.” The occurrence of Antichrist’s abomination before the second coming is simply and plainly taught by the apostle Paul. He tells the church not to be “shaken in mind” or “troubled” that the day of the Lord is present or will be coming in an instant (2 Thessalonians 2:2). The Greek word Paul uses is enistemi (Strong’s G1764), which teaches that the day of the Lord is not imminent, nor is it even presently on hand! Paul further writes, don’t let anyone deceive you, for that day shall not come (i.e. the parousia) except there first comes a defection from the truth and the man of sin is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Essentially Paul is calming their anxious hearts by stating that a specific event must occur before the second coming. That event is the revealing of the Antichrist and later his abomination where he “exalts himself” so that “he as God sits in the temple of God showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)!
Is the resurrection and rapture of the church distinct and separate from the future resurrection of the Old Testament saints? What did the apostle Paul know when he wrote to the Corinthian church? What we know is that his inspired letter was penned decades before John’s Revelation. And we know that Paul was well acquainted with the Old Testament. In that light, he ties together our future resurrection/rapture with that noted by the prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 25:8) and Hosea (Hosea 13:14) by quoting Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 15:54; “then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory,” and Hosea in 1 Corinthians 15:55; “O death, where is they sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” I believe the Scriptures most plainly teach a resurrection of all the righteous dead, both the church and the Old Testament saints, at the last day and at the last trump. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6).
It is a wondrous thought that the resurrection and rapture will include the righteous saints of old along with the church, who we recognize are all part of a singular body (Ephesians 2:12–22, 3:6, 4:4–6), though with clear distinctions since Pentecost. The fact that Isaiah remarked on his personal resurrection in the context of the day of the Lord and indicated that “in that day” a great trumpet would be blown is marvelous (Isaiah 26:19, 27:13). And it stirs my heart to consider the faith of Job and the longing in his heart to picture the day when he himself would be resurrected and behold God with eyes made new (Job 19:25–27). Job understood death and the resurrection of the body in the context of Job 14:12, a verse that states clearly “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more.” This is unmistakably the day of the Lord when the “heavens shall pass away with a great noise” (2 Peter 3:10).
Will the resurrection/rapture be a sneaky event with no advance warning? Absolutely not. The believer who is watching, waiting, and “of the day” (1 Thessalonians 5:4–6) will be armed with awareness due to the warnings and signs from Scripture leading up to that powerful and glorious day.
From the following Scriptures, we can be confident that the resurrection and rapture will be:
- Preceded by the aforementioned cosmic events
- Audible (there will be a trumpet sound, the voice of the archangel, and the Lord will roar and shout)
- Visible (Jesus will be seen coming in the clouds)
[end of extract]