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The Thirteenth (Resurrection)

This week, the rapture came to my mind. I see many discussions about the rapture, and when it will occur, and it scares me when I hear some talk about being saved from tribulation because of this doctrine. I don't want anyone deceived into thinking we don't have any trials coming in the end time events just because we are the body of Christ. I feel as though that may cause some to question and turn away from their faith in the end, rather than stay strong, and I don't want that to happen to anyone.

The first thing to realize is that the word "rapture" doesn't even exist in scripture (at least in the KJV). It was a doctrine created by man, trying to put together some verses and make sense of them. Some even believe this will be a secret event. But be not deceived, for when have you known God to hide in the shadows?!

When you search for the word "resurrection" you'll find that in every place that word is used it is referring to either the raising of the dead at the end of the age or the resurrection of Jesus Christ (who is the firstfruits of the resurrection at the end of the age - 1 Corinthians 15:23). In fact, it seems there was some deception about the resurrection even in the apostles days, as 2 Timothy 2:18 talks about some saying the resurrection had already occurred!

Looking at that 1 Corinthians verse a bit closer you can see the reader's digest version of resurrection: Christ's resurrection as the firstfruits, then those in Christ at His second coming. Adding in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, we see that when Jesus returns those in Christ will rise first and those still alive that are in Christ will meet Him in the clouds and that will be the beginning of forever with Him. Jumping back to 1 Corinthians 15:51,52, we confirm this occurs "at the last trump." I'm sure everyone has heard a trumpet sound, and it's definitely not a secret when it does!

But how do we come to understand verses like Revelation 3:10, where it says the church of Philadelphia, because of keeping God's Word of patience, will be kept from the "hour of temptation (or trial) which shall come upon all the world"? Or 1 Thessalonians 5:9, where it says we're not appointed to God's wrath, but to salvation? Or Romans 5:9, another verse saying we're saved from wrath? These are common verses used to justify a pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation rapture. For reference, by the way, the tribulation, or great tribulation, is what the seals, trumpets and bowls (or vials, in KJV) of wrath in Revelation are referred to.

None of these verses claim a secret rapture, or even resurrection, as a means to keep us from the tribulation. In fact, if we look to a mirror of what we're about to experience (which Jesus refers to in Matthew 24:37), God saved Noah by having him build an ark. By Noah and his family's works of building an ark, they were saved from the tribulation of the flood. Now, God promised not to flood the earth again (Gen 9:13-15), but if you read Revelation you'll see that water is replaced by fire in the end. He will protect us from this by leading us to a safe place. In Mark 13:14, Jesus says to flee to the mountains if you're in Judaea when you see the abomination of desolation, which occurs during the tribulation (another clue we're not going to be raptured or resurrected before the tribulation, because then we wouldn't be there to see that!). As a note, the later verses of Matthew 24 (40,41) are also used as a proof of a secret rapture, however these verses are only stating that some will be saved and some will not. Not that people will be secretly taken or that we will be taken before tribulation.

So, in case it's not clear, there is no "secret rapture," no "Pre-tribulation rapture," no "mid-tribulation rapture," and no "rapture" in scripture period (unless you want to call those still alive that are in Christ meeting Him in the air a rapture). God will save His elect, that don't get deceived by the false prophets and false christ's or take the mark of the beast/antichrist, by leading them to a safe place.

Because this email is about resurrection, I'd like to close with a note about the second resurrection. Up until now, we've talked about verses on one resurrection: the one where those in Christ rise and meet Him in the air. Revelation 20:5, says this is the "first resurrection," so there has to be another one. Jumping to Revelation 20:12,13, we see the remainder of those that were dead being judged after the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth (which is reinforcement that this is not an allegorical 1000 year reign), according to their works. Acts 24:15 tells us this is both just and unjust people, and 2 Corinthians 5:10,11, confirms all must appear before Christ on His judgment seat.

So work towards the goal of the first resurrection, and to the goal of reigning with Christ on earth for 1000 years!

Love you all and God bless you!

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