THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST'S RETURN
THE RESURRECTION AND RAPTURE
As we look at what the Bible says about the resurrection and the events surrounding it, it is important to stick to what the Bible says, and not let our imaginations run wild. Whenever the doctrine being taught consists of man made explanations of Godís Word, rather than what the Word explicitly says, people are being led away from the Word of God.
John 11:24 Martha responded, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection [singular] on the last day. Jesus then said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he who believes in me will live, even though he dies: And whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
John 6:40 And this is the will of him who sent me, that every one who looks to the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up on the last day.
1 Corinthians 15:52-53 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For our corruptible nature must be made incorruptible, and our mortal nature must become immortal.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are now Godís children, but what we are going to be like has not yet been revealed: however we know that, when he appears, we will be like him; for we will see him as he is.
[Comment: From these verses we learn that; 1- the resurrection will take place on the last day (John 11:24); 2- Christ will raise up believers on the last day (John 6:40); 3- the last trumpet will sound when Christ raises up believers (1 Corinthians 15:52); 4- we will rise incorruptible, and be changed, never to die again.]
2 Corinthians 5:8 Indeed, we have courage, and would prefer to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord.
Jude 14-15 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, also prophesied of these men, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with tens of thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 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.
[Comment: From these verses we learn that: 1- those who have died in Christ are even now present with Christ; 2- When Christ returns (on the last day) He will bring them with Him; 3- And, just prior to the rapture, they will be reunited with their bodies as those bodies rise from the dead.]
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 For we are telling you only what the Lord has told us, that we who are alive and remain at the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first: Then we who are alive and remain will 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.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 Now when it comes to the times and the seasons, brethren, you do not need me to write to you. For you know perfectly well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. For when they are saying, Peace and safety; destruction will come upon them suddenly, as travail comes upon a woman with child; and they will not escape.
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 intense heat, and the earth and everything in it will be burned up.
2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, that now exist, have by the same word been reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
[Comment: From these verses we learn that: 1- When the resurrection takes place believers will be caught up (raptured) to meet Christ in the air; 2- this will take place on the "day of the Lord"; 3- no man knows when that day (singular) will be; 4- but on that day (the day when we are raptured) the heavens will pass away, and the earth and everything in it will be destroyed.]
2 Thessalonians 2:1-9 Now, brethren, in regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our being gathered together to meet him, we ask you not to be so easily upset, or alarmed, either by revelation, word, or letter allegedly from us, claiming that the day of Christ has arrived.
Let no one deceive you by any means: for that day will not come unless it is preceded by a great apostasy, and that man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God, or is worshipped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, and says that he is God.Ö
Then the wicked one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will consume with the spirit of his mouth, and will destroy with the brightness of his coming [singular]: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
[Comment: From these verses we learn that Christ is not going to come back, raise the dead, or rapture believers until after the Great Antichrist (the son of perdition) is revealed. And when he does return (on the last day, John 11:24) He will destroy the Antichrist with the brightness of His coming.]
Luke 17:29-30 The same day that Lot left Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Revelation 20: 9-11 And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne, and him who sat upon it, from whose presence the heavens and earth fled away.
[Comment: From these verses we learn: 1- that just as Sodom was destroyed as soon as Lot was out of it, the world will be destroyed as soon as the saints are raptured out of it; 2- The final judgement will take place after fire has come "down from God out of heaven" to destroy the world. (See 2 Peter 3:10)]
Just as there were many false prophets in ancient Israel, there are many today. And, they have spread a number of ideas about Christís coming that have no basis in fact whatsoever. Therefore, while it is always important to teach only what Godís Word says, today we need to stress that fact as never before. As Dr. Francis Piper put it, "The first and foremost duty of the exegete consists in holding the flighty spirit of man to the simple word of Scripture and, where he has departed from it, to lead him back to the simple word of Scripture." ["Christian Dogmatics", Vol. 1, pg. 360]
Gary Ray Branscome