Saturday, May 28, 2011
THE GLORY OF THE RAPTURE
The first thing we should notice about these verses is the word WE. Here Paul is talking about his contemporary. (We as in Paul and his first century contemporary) shall not all sleep, but shall all be changed. Part of the confusion in these verses is the meaning of the change of the living.
The word Rapture as taught today automobiles driven by Christians will suddenly be driver less; planes piloted by Christians will be pilot less, does not appear in the Greek or English Bible.
The word“ caught" in the Greek is harpazo to seize, pluck, pull, take. How, then, are we to understand the words caught up or changed? There were Paul’s way of describing the experience of transition from the Old Covenant order of death Romans 7:9 in the new redeemed order.
Paul was using accommodative language in 1 Corinthians 15:15 and 1Thessalonians 4:17 to picture spiritual truths of 'the new redeemed covenant order.' The object of Paul was to assure the living that they would suffer no loss of rights or privileges in the kingdom by the dead in Christ. They became, without passing through physical death residents of the new consummated kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Those who were alive at Christ’s Parousia, were TRANSLATED into the fullness of the new covenant order without first passing through physical death. The dead in Christ were resurrected or raised into the kingdom and the living were caught up or changed or from the old covenant order into the new covenant order.
Special attention should be given to the words (WE SHALL BE FOREVER WITH THE LORD). Paul said in the most emphatic terms that he taught nothing more or less than what Moses and the Prophets predicted, (Acts 24:14f) Therefore, Paul’s eschatological teaching in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 was grounded firmly in the teaching of "law and prophets."
Beginning early in Genesis and continuing throughout the Jewish age, God’s Spirit did not dwell with mankind because of sin. The whole of the Old Testament points to this. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear (Isaiah 59:2). This was what David meant when he wrote, Behold, I brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me (Psalms 51:5)
God, speaking thought the prophets, said that a day would come when He would make His sanctuary in the midst of his people forever (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 37:26-28) This would destroy the work of Satan done in the Garden of Eden that brought separation between God and man. Man would again be in God’s presence forever. (Leviticus 26:11-13)
Paul uses different comparisons other than 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 to help us understand how those Old Testament prophets were fulfilled. Notice how all the verses address the very same subject of man back into God presence forever as those of 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
Consider these words of Paul. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved, and (raised us up together), and made us sit together (in the heavenly places) in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-6) ” There saints were raised up together and seated in heavenly places. The phrase “caught up together” is essentially identical with “raised up together. If the saints were “raised up together”and seated in heavenly places entailed no physical change, why should “caught up together?”
Now Consider the book of Hebrews. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the (city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem), to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect. (Hebrews 12:22-23) A change of Covenant order not a geographical change.
Paul told the Colossians they had been delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Colossians 1:13) They underwent a change of kingdoms - a change so great that it had eternal consequences. And yet there was nothing perceptible to the visible world of sound and sight.. They could not "prove' the change by any geographical change. It could not be confirmed by this world and its citizens.
Paul’s teaching is rich and full of spiritual significance that fulfills the promise of the Old Testament. (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 37:26-28; Leviticus 26:11-13)
Paul never meant for us to receive his teaching with a literal mind. He spoke of spiritual things and wanted Christians to understand with spiritual faculties. Remember this scripture: 1Cr 2:9-12 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
Paul calls Christians "ambassadors." An ambassador is one who represents a kingdom or other government, but resides in a different land. Christians are thus ambassadors for God's Kingdom, representing His way of life in our current earthly situation and age in which we reside. We are in the Kingdom of God. Yet we cannot prove to anyone geographically were that Kingdom and government is? No but yet that Kingdom and government are more real than anything on this earth because every on earth rust away or dies. Much of what God does is out of the sight and senses of this world.
In closing Jesus prayed for the disciples and said this John 17:15 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.