My good friend ZMalfoy raised the very interesting question, “Why a Rapture?” She said she doesn’t buy the idea that it is just to spare God’s people from suffering through the Great Tribulation. She’s got a point.
From the Book of Job (alleged to be one of the oldest books of the Bible) straight through to the Crucifixion of God’s own Son and the subsequent persecution of the first century Christians, the Bible records the worst suffering often being inflicted on God’s most faithful servants.
So, again … why a Rapture?
When Jesus taught the Rapture during the Olivet Discourse, He specifically mentioned Noah and Lot. These families were spared destruction, but they most certainly did not escape suffering!
It seems to me that the key point was not that they escaped destruction, but that they escaped destruction so they could fulfill God’s plan. Noah’s family and the animals repopulated the Earth and Lot fathered Moab, among whose descendants was Ruth, who appears in the genealogy of Jesus. See See Luke 17, Genesis 6-9, Genesis 19, Ruth 1, Matthew 1.
What if the point of the Rapture is similar – i.e., that God has work for us to do during the End Times that will require us to have glorified bodies like Jesus got when He rose from the dead?
I think this is how the Bible says it’s going to go down:
At the Rapture, everyone will see Jesus in the sky, riding on the clouds. He will send out his angels with a trumpet blast to gather his elect. The dead in Christ will rise first, then those who are alive will be caught up together to meet Him in the clouds and receive immortal, physical bodies like Jesus had after He rose. “Then those who lead the many to justice will be like the angels.” See Acts 1:9-11; Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; I Corinthians 15:51-54; Daniel 12:1-3.
I think that last line – “Lead the many to justice” (Daniel 12:3) – is an important clue to at least some of the work Jesus will have for the raptured to do during the last seven years. Preaching. Teaching. Demonstrating what eternal life is going to look like for those who choose Jesus.
It’s a lot like what Jesus did between the Resurrection and the Ascension, isn’t it? Popping in and out of locked rooms, walking along the road to Emmaus, appearing to crowds?
I found another clue in John’s vision of the final war at Armageddon, where Jesus rides in on a white horse, leading “the armies of heaven” who are also “mounted on white horses.” Revelation 19:11-14.
In the past, I’ve paid a lot of mind to Jesus on the horse, particularly as contrasted with Jesus on the donkey riding into Jerusalem before He died. But ZMalfoy pointed out something I hadn’t paid any mind to, which is the army behind Him. Who is on the horses?
I guess if I’d been asked, I’d have said, “Probably angels,” but now that I look at it closely, I realize the text says the armies of heaven are “wearing clean white linen” which, just a few verses before is used to describe Jesus’ bride, the church. In other words, the army is made up of righteous humans, not angels. And they’re riding on horses like Jesus is, so we can presume they all have glorified bodies as well. See Rev 19.
It looks to me like the “armies of heaven” will be made up of raptured humans.
Dearest had another thought about how the Lord might use the raptured, which is to assist the underground church during the Great Tribulation. Those who refuse the Mark of the Beast won’t be allowed to buy or sell ANYTHING. So food, water, shelter, Bibles … you name it, they’ll need it. Maybe the raptured could help with that, you know? I haven’t found a Bible passage (yet?) but it makes sense and I know Dearest would really enjoy that kind of work.
I had such a blessing today by Chrissy the Hyphenated (blog AND comments)
A Reply for Chrissy by ZMalfoy
Two more significant events coming in April 2014 by CtH (blog AND comments)
Vladimir Lenin and Our Lady of Fátima by CtH