DOCTRINE OF THE RAPTURE
1. While the Rapture is defined as the act of being transported, it
is also defined as the state of being rapt or carried out of oneself.
However, these definitions do not apply here. Rapture is used here in a
technical theological sense for the resurrection of the royal family of
2. Since the Church or royal family of God is the first spiritual
building to be completed, it is resurrected after our Lord. It is the
second phase of the first resurrection following the resurrection of
3. Christ is resurrected, ascended, and seated at the right hand of
the Father as part of the strategic victory of the angelic conflict.
4. This is known as our Lord's battlefield royalty. This is His only
royalty with no family. Therefore, God interrupted the Jewish Age with the
Church Age to call out and provide a royal family of God.
5. Once the royal family of God is completed, the Church is
resurrected as the body of Christ to become the bride of Christ.
6. The Church Age is that period of human history when the royal
family of God is being formed on earth, Eph 1:22-23, 2:16, 4:4-5; Col 1:18,
7. When the royal family of God is completed, then the Rapture
occurs, 1 Thes 4:16-18; 1 Cor 15:51-58.
8. During the conclusion of the Jewish Age, the bride is prepared in
heaven by receiving a resurrection body exactly like that of the Lord.
Then comes the Big Genuflex and acknowledgment of Christ. Then comes the
Judgment Seat of Christ, when all Church Age believers are evaluated and
rewarded, 2 Cor 5:10.
B. The Promise of the Rapture, Jn 14:1-3. "If I go to prepare a place for
you, I will come again and receive you to Myself."
C. The Imminency of the Rapture.
1. Imminency means impending, or threatening to occur immediately.
It does not mean immediately.
2. Rapture is used technically for the fact that no prophecy has to
be fulfilled before the Rapture occurs. The Rapture will occur when the
last member of the body of Christ is saved.
3. The Church Age is the only dispensation in which there are
historical trends and no prophecy. The Church Age began with an event
prophesied--the baptism of the Spirit. Our Lord prophesied this in the
Upper Room Discourse and just before He ascended. The Church Age
terminates with the Rapture, which was also prophesied. There is no
prophecy between these two events. This is the dispensation of the mystery
4. No prophecy between the baptism of the Spirit and the Rapture
means that the Rapture is imminent. It could occur at any time; no one
knows the day or the hour.
5. The resurrection of the Church, like our dying, is completely out
of our control. Just as we have no control over the time and manner of our
death, so we have no control over the time and manner of the Rapture.
6. The resurrection of the Church is totally beyond our control
because resurrection is the Lord's victory. 1 Cor 15:57, "Thanks be to God
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
7. While the Rapture is imminent, the Second Advent is not. Before
the Second Advent occurs, there are many prophecies which must occur, e.g.,
the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Judgment Seat of Christ, Rev 6-19.
8. The Rapture could have occurred at the time of James or Paul
because no prophecy had to be fulfilled before the resurrection occurs.
9. Distortion of the imminency of the Rapture results in instability
and foolish explanation or speculation about the time of the Rapture;
hence, James gives us an admonition in Jam 5:7-8. "Therefore, brethren,
have patience until the coming of the Lord [Rapture]. The farmer waits
with anticipation for the valuable production of the soil, constantly being
patient until it has received the early and the latter rains. Have
patience! Furthermore, all of you become stabilized in your right lobes
because the coming of the Lord [Rapture] has approached with the result
that it is drawing nearer and nearer."
a. To have patience means to apply what you know. Patience is a
system of thinking Bible doctrine, a system of concentration, the
application of doctrine to experience. In effect, that application says,
"As long as I'm alive, I have control over my life. I can, by positive
volition, execute the protocol plan of God or, by negative volition, be a
cosmic believer and be my own worst enemy."
b. The farmer invests by sowing seed. He must break up the soil
and sow the seed, then he must wait. There's nothing he can do while
waiting; the seed will either come up or not. Either he will have
production or he will not. In the time of this writing, that depended upon
the soil and the rains. The farmer did not have control over those
c. Verse 8 goes on to tell us how to have patience. You cannot
have patience without a stabilized mentality.
d. "Drawing nearer" means to be approaching. Every day in the
Church Age, the Rapture draws closer. Every day that the Rapture
approaches, you still have control over your life as long as you live. You
have control in the sense that you can be a winner or a loser.
10. Because there was no unfulfilled prophecy before the Rapture could
occur, the early Church anticipated the Rapture under the concept of
imminency, 1 Cor 1:4-8. "I always thank my God concerning you for the
grace of God which was given to you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you
were enriched by Him by all the doctrine and all the knowledge, even as the
testimony concerning you was confirmed among you. You were not lacking any
of the spiritual gifts. You should be eagerly waiting for the revelation
of our Lord Jesus Christ [Rapture], who will strengthen you to the end [of
Church Age], blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."
a. The Corinthian church was made up of losers, yet Paul thanked
God concerning them because they were the beneficiaries of phenomenal
grace, were in union with Christ, and most of all, were "enriched by Him."
Each had: a portfolio of invisible assets, his very own palace--the
operational divine dynasphere, the indwelling of the Father, Son, and
Spirit, and the 100% available divine omnipotence of the Father, Son, and
b. Enrichment in the Christian life is not measured in terms of
work and Christian service, but in terms of doctrine and knowledge. Yet
most of the Corinthian believers rejected that doctrine.
c. To be "strengthened to the end" refers, not to the end of
their lives, but to the end of the Church Age. Since they died before
then, what does this mean? Every believer has equal privilege and equal
opportunity to execute the protocol plan of God. But it cannot be executed
in human power, dynamics, energy, works, or personality; it is executed in
that knowledge of doctrine and in the omnipotence of God the Father, in the
omnipotence of Jesus Christ, and in the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit.
The omnipotence of Jesus Christ personally preserves history and
perpetuates it, and so guarantees that the Church Age will run its course.
d. In a resurrection body, you will be "blameless" forever.
11. So while the Rapture is imminent, no one really knows when it will
occur. In the meantime, the royal family of God lives in this dispensation
of historical trends, Rev 2-3.
12. Three times in Revelation is the phrase, "I am coming soon": Rev
22:7,12,20. Remember that, to the Lord, a day is a thousand years and a
thousand years as a day. This statement was made in A.D. 96, and this is
now A.D. 1990. Therefore, "soon" connotes imminency, not immediacy.
13. The Rapture of the Church is the next prophetical event to occur
14. Tit 2:13, "Waiting with keen anticipation for that blessed hope
[Rapture], even the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior,
a. How do you wait with keen anticipation? You wait through
thinking; you wait with patience, which is the application of doctrine.
You know the Rapture is coming. It may not occur in your lifetime, but you
still know it's coming. In this way you apply doctrine, are occupied with
the person of Jesus Christ, utilize +H, virtue-love, hope 2 and hope 3, so
that you have a wonderful life and death.
b. The glory of this world passes away (SIC TRANSIT GLORIA
MUNDI) because it is based on the achievement of man, on visible heroes.
But we are called to become invisible heroes by advancing to spiritual
c. Jesus Christ is the glory, the resurrection, and the life.
15. The imminency of the Rapture is a doctrine for mature believers
only. A mature believer is eager for the Rapture to occur. He is so
occupied with Christ that he looks for the Rapture.
16. Only the Trinity knows when the Rapture is going to occur.
D. The Power of Resurrection.
1. The power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same power
that resurrects each of us at the Rapture or resurrection of the Church.
2. Both the great power experiment of the Hypostatic Union and the
great power experiment of the Church Age terminate in resurrection. Our
Lord's resurrection at the end of the great power experiment of the
Hypostatic Union was the first resurrection in history. The Rapture of the
Church is the first mass resurrection, when all Church Age believers
receive their resurrection bodies.
3. Between the first two resurrections in history is the unique
Church Age, the time when maximum divine power is available to every
4. 1 Cor 6:14, "Now God has not only resurrected our Lord, but He
will raise us up through His power."
a. The omnipotence of God the Father restored our Lord's human
spirit in heaven to His body in the grave and thereby became an agent in
the resurrection of the humanity of Jesus Christ, Acts 2:24; Rom 6:4; 1 Cor
6:14; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; 1 Thes 1:10; 1 Pet 1:21.
b. The omnipotence of the Holy Spirit restored our Lord's human
soul in Hades to His body in the grave and thereby became an agent in the
resurrection of the humanity of Jesus Christ, Rom 1:4, 8:11; 1 Pet 3:18.
c. Because the great power experiment of the Hypostatic Union
has been extended into the Church Age, the power that raised Jesus Christ
from the dead is now available to every Church Age believer.
5. After His physical death, our Lord's human spirit went to the
third heaven into the presence of God the Father. His human soul went to
Hades. His body went into the grave. Three days and nights later, the
omnipotence of God the Father restored His human spirit to His body, the
omnipotence of the Holy Spirit restored His soul to His body, and He
received His resurrection body.
6. So the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is not only
the same power that will raise us from the dead, but in addition, it is the
power made available to us today. The omnipotence of God the Father is
available to your through your very own portfolio of invisible assets. The
omnipotence of Jesus Christ is available to you, for He daily preserves and
perpetuates human history. The omnipotence of the Holy Spirit is available
to you inside the divine dynasphere.
7. Because the great power experiment of the Hypostatic Union has
been extended into the Church Age, the power that raised Jesus Christ from
the dead is now available to you. But that requires postsalvation
E. Scriptural Documentation.
1. Phil 3:11, "If by any means I might arrive with reference to the
exit resurrection, the one from the dead."
2. 1 Jn 3:2-3, "Beloved, now we are the children of God, and what we
will be He has not yet revealed. However, we know that if He should
appear, we shall be [exactly] like Him because we shall see Him as He is.
And everyone who keeps on having this hope [hope 3] in Him purifies Himself
[in the divine dynasphere] even as He is pure [ultimate sanctification in a
3. Tit 2:13, "Looking for that blessed hope [the hope of blessing,
hope 3] and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus
4. 1 Cor 6:14, "Now God has not only resurrected the Lord, but He
will raise us up through His power."
5. 1 Thes 4:13-18.
a. 1 Thes 4:13, "But we do not want you to be ignorant,
brethren, about those who are asleep that you may not grieve, as to the
rest of the world who have no hope."
(1) The worst thing that can happen to you is to be
ignorant of Bible doctrine.
(2) The Thessalonian believers were very confused. They
had learned about the imminency of the Rapture very early. Yet people were
dying before the Rapture occurred, causing them to conclude that those who
died wouldn't be included in the Rapture. Their ignorance led to
(3) Being asleep is an analogy to the body sleeping in the
grave, waiting for the resurrection.
(4) The unbeliever has no hope, for after death there is
nothing for him but the Lake of Fire.
b. 1 Thes 4:14-16, "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again
[and we do], even so God [omnipotence of God the Father] will bring with
Him those who have fallen asleep. For this doctrine we communicate to you
by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming
of the Lord [Rapture] shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For
the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
the archangel and with the trumpet of God; in fact, the dead in Christ
shall rise first."
(1) In the angelic order of battle, two archangels or army
commanders of angels are mentioned in the Bible: Michael and Gabriel.
(2) Since Michael is called the "prince of Israel" in Dan
10:21 and seems to be associated with Israel in Dan 12:1 and Jude 9, this
must be a reference to the voice of the other archangel, the voice command
(3) Gabriel seems to be associated with the Church. He
makes the announcement of the great power experiment of the Hypostatic
Union in Lk 1:19 and 26.
(4) There were two sources of command for military activity
in the ancient world: the voice command and the trumpet command. The
trumpet command assembles the dead in Christ at the Rapture.
(5) The omnipotence of God the Father raises the dead in
Christ by replacing their former bodies of corruption with resurrection
bodies of incorruption (1 Cor 15:53-54).
c. 1 Thes 4:17, "Then we who are living who remain on the earth
shall be caught up together with them [dead believers] in the clouds to
meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord." The
omnipotence of the Holy Spirit provides a resurrection body for the living
believers at the Rapture, replacing their bodies of mortality with
resurrection bodies of immortality (1 Cor 15:53-54).
d. 1 Thes 4:18, "Therefore, comfort each other with these
doctrines." These doctrines are a source of comfort when you have lost a
loved one. These doctrines are a source of blessing as you face the
adversities of life and realize that there's something far beyond this
life, and that God has given you an eternal state in a permanent body that
will never experience pain or deterioration in any possible way.
6. Rev 3:11, "I will be coming soon; seize [grasp, become the master
of] what you have [Bible doctrine], so that no one may take away your
a. The present active imperative of the verb KRATEO tells you
what you should be doing if the Rapture occurs. The word means: to seize,
to grasp, to get possession of, and to become the master of something. You
should be learning Bible doctrine consistently in preparation for the
b. Seizing, grasping, or becoming master of what you have is a
reference to perception, cognition, and application of Bible doctrine on a
consistent basis. This is how you prepare for the Rapture, as well as how
you keep other people from distracting you from attaining your escrow
blessings for eternity. Losers participate in the resurrection of the
Church but lose their escrow blessings for eternity.
F. The Rapture and the Big Genuflex, Phil 2:9-11. The entire royal family
of God will identify Jesus Christ as the head of the family to the glory of
the Father. The Church in resurrection body makes a formal acknowledgment
of the Father's function in the resurrection, ascension and session of
Christ. The Big Genuflex occurs after the Rapture and before the Judgment
Seat of Christ.
G. Characteristics of the Rapture.
1. Cognizance and application of the doctrine of the Rapture provides
stability for the royal family in phase two of the plan of God, 1 Cor
2. The Rapture takes the sting out of death. 1 Cor 15:54-57, "O
death where is your victory, O death, where is your sting?"
3. The Rapture removes hysteria and the hopelessness of bereavement,
1 Thes 4:13-14.
4. The Rapture is a source of comfort in time of bereavement, 1 Thes
4:15-18; Phil 1:6.
H. The Rapture is a part of ultimate sanctification, Eph 5:26-27. The
royal family of God is purified at the Rapture. Human good and evil are
burned and the old sin nature is removed.
I. The Rapture is the basis for confidence.
1. The metabolization of doctrine and resultant growth to maturity
results in occupation with Christ, whereby the believer waits with keen
anticipation for the Rapture, Tit 2:13; Phil 1:6; 1 Pet 1:3.
2. The Rapture is categorized under three kinds of hope.
a. Living hope, 1 Pet 1:3.
b. Blessed hope, Tit 2:13.
c. Purifying hope, 1 Jn 3:3.
J. Chronology of the Rapture.
1. The Rapture takes place, 1 Cor 15:51-58; 1 Thes 4:13-18.
2. The Big Genuflex occurs, Phil 2:9-11.
3. The Judgment Seat of Christ, 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 5:10.
4. Bride returns with Christ at the Second Advent, 1 Thes 3:13.
5. The manifestation of the Bride, Rom 8:19; Col 3:4.
6. Operation Footstool, Ps 110:1; Zech 13:2; Col 2:15; 1 Cor
7. The Coronation of Christ, Rev 19:6.
8. The Wedding Supper of the Lamb, Rev 19:7-9.
9. The purpose of the Rapture is to get the royal family of God
prepared for the Second Advent and the Wedding Supper.
K. The Rapture and Reward, Phil 2:16. Paul wants to have esprit de corps
on the day of Christ as he sees his congregation rewarded. This esprit or
"boasting" comes from the rewards that the royal family of God receive.
L. The Rapture and the Two Resurrections.
1. The Rapture is part of the first resurrection, which has four
a. The resurrection of Christ at the First Advent.
b. The resurrection of the Church or royal family of God at the
c. The resurrection of all Old Testament believers and
tribulational martyrs at the Second Advent.
d. The resurrection of Millennial believers.
2. The second resurrection is for unbelievers only.