Compiled from the writings of David Berg
“When Jesus comes, a great wonderful miracle takes place–the resurrection! All of those who belong to Him, all the saved, will then have a glorious & beautiful & wonderful resurrection!–either from the dead or translated, instantly changed & raised from the very face of the earth, from the living! Then we will all go to be with the Lord to have the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb, while the wrath of God is being poured out upon the wicked who remain on the earth!
Many, many times throughout the scriptures His return & our consequent resurrection is spoken of in both the Old & New Testaments! Many times we’re told in various ways of this great, apocalyptic event! And although the word “rapture” itself is not to be found in the scriptures, it is a handy little word because it sums up what we’re talking about, which might otherwise take a little time to explain. So when we use the term “rapture”, it includes the coming of the Lord in the clouds, the sounding of the trumpet, the dead being raised, the living saved being translated, & all of us being gathered together to be with the Lord, etc.–This is all part of the rapture.
The Apostle Paul gives us a very revelatory insight into this marvelous event in 1st Thessalonians, chapter 4: “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1 Th.4:13.) he says, “I don’t want you guys to be so dumb that you don’t know what’s going to happen when Jesus comes! I don’t want you to be so dumb about death that you don’t realize there’s going to be a resurrection!”
“For if we believe that Jesus died & rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” (1Th.4:14.) What is he talking about when he says those who are asleep in Jesus?–It’s an oft-used expression & it means “the dead in Christ”, as explained in verse 16 of this same chapter–those who have died in the Lord, born-again Christians who have already gone on to be with Jesus. All of our dear loved ones who have departed from this life are already with the Lord! Their bodies, you might say, are asleep & have gone back to dust if they’ve been there long enough. but they themselves, their spirits, are not sleeping in the grave.–They’re with Jesus!–“for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!” (2Co.5:8.) They’ve “departed to be with Christ, which is far better!” (Ph.1:23.)
So who’s the Lord going to bring with Him when He comes?–all those who’ve already gone to be with the Lord, they’re going to still be with Him when he comes! What are they coming back for?–to rescue us only? Who’s going to be resurrected?
“LIGHTS! TRUMPETS! VOICES! THUNDER! EARTHQUAKES! NOISES! DEAD RISING FROM THE GRAVES! LIVE SAINTS RISING FROM THE GROUND, floating right up through the ceilings & the buildings & the cars & right up into the clouds to be with Jesus! That’s no secret!”
“Have you lost the zeal and enthusiasm for witnessing? Claim the keys of witnessing, pray for a renewed love for the lost, and you will have a change of perspective and a renewed vision.”
“The dead in Christ.” Well, how can the dead in Christ be resurrected & yet be coming back with Jesus at the same time? How can all these dead bodies be resurrected when their spirits are already with Jesus & coming back in his second coming? What are they coming back for?–to pick up their bodies!
Jesus comes back with the spirits of all these departed saints so that they can pick up their new resurrected bodies! It has something to do with that old buried body. God wants to prove that He can raise the dead, so He’s going to raise them from the dead, literally, but in a new body.–a new resurrected body like the one He had when He rose. That’s going to be beautiful! Their new, glorified, supernatural, resurrection bodies are going to rise & are going to get together with their spirits at the moment of Christ’s coming!
So the dead in Christ are going to come back with the Lord, & He says that “We which are alive & remain unto the coming of the Lord”–those of us who are still living when Jesus comes–“shall not prevent them which are asleep.” (1Th.4:15.) The literal meaning here is that we will not prevent, or go before, them which are asleep. The Lord’s not going to let us beat them to the punch or jump the gun in this race to be with Jesus! The Lord says He’s going to let them be resurrected & rise first! Those who have died in the Lord & have gone on to be with Him, they’re going to go first!
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, & with the trump of God! and the dead in Christ shall rise first!”–We’re not going to rise before them or go before them; they’re going to rise first! We who are still alive are probably going to watch the resurrection of the dead! “Then we which are alive & remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air!” (1Th.4:16,17.)–In other words, we’ve got to wait for our departed brethren to be pulled out of their graves before we get to go up; we don’t get a head start on them! Then once we’re all together, we’ll all rise together to meet Him in the air!–Wow! What an occasion!…continued….
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