"For the Lord Himself will descend form heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 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" (I Thess. 4:16-17).
There are several views and theories concerning the time of the rapture such as: Posttribulation, Midtribulation, and Pretribulation. The Posttrib view is that the rapture will take place after the tribulation, so that the church can be cleansed or purified. However, this negates the fact that Paul clearly states that we are now justified by the Blood of Jesus and saved from the wrath to come (Rom. 5:9). The only wrath that remains is the Great Tribulation period. The Midtrib views the rapture taking place halfway, or about 3 1/2 years into the 7 years of Great Tribulation. While logical rationale is given, there is no genuine scriptural basis. Having the church enter into any part of the tribulation, with known events and the revelation of the antichrist, both the Posttrib and the Midtrib theory does not support the imminent return as taught throughout scripture. John quotes Jesus saying, "I will keep you out of the hour of trial" (Rev. 3:10). This is a Pretrib view.
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus" (I Thess. 4:14). As soon as our earthly house or body dies, we have an immediate rapture and an exchange of bodies to receive a glorified body (II Cor. 5:1-4). "To be absent from the body" is "to be present with the Lord" (II Cor. 5:8). Paul makes it clear that when we die there is no soul sleep. When we leave this life, we have eternal life still operating. Jesus has already paid for our glorified body on the cross. The Father has been waiting for us, with no reason for delay. So, a split second past death, we will be in the presence of God, fully complete in Spirit and body. We will reign with Christ, and then come back with Christ as a part of His bride and church for the rapture. "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" (I Thess. 4:15). Paul is clearly setting the order of operations relative to the rapture. Paul states very clearly that the ones living cannot precede or go with the ones who fall asleep in this life before the rapture takes place. They have already gone on to be with the Lord, to receive their glorified body first, to come back with Him at the rapture (I Thess. 4:14).
The rapture is a real event to soon take place. Verses 14 through 17 contain nine (9) verbs in the indicative mood, the mood of fact in the Greek text. This indicates that the verbal ideas here are real and not some allegorical teaching. This is why Paul could lovingly command us, "Therefore, comfort one another with these words" (I Thess. 4:18). Following the rapture, we will forever be with the Lord!V
Written by Dwight Davis
F Highlight text with mouse and x "Selection" to print on 1 page E