Gone In A Time
The Resurrection takes place in a twinkling of time, but what about The Rapture, itself? Is it also an instantaneous event? I think not. There are too many patterns of The Rapture in scripture that do not fit this image.
Exodus 19:10-11 – “Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day I will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people’.”
Exodus 19:16 -20 – “So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God . . . Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and he called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.”
Exodus Chapter 19 is one of the most accurate patterns of the coming rapture. When Moses went up into the cloud, he was carefully watched by the Hebrews below until he entered into the cloud.
Notice the sequence:
• The people gather together to cleanse themselves,
• Yahweh descends in the clouds with thunder, lightning, and a loud trumpet sounding,
• The people gather together to meet with Yahweh,
• Moses rises to meet Yahweh in the clouds.
2 Kings 2:11 – “As they were walking and talking, a chariot and horses of fire appeared and separated Elijah from Elisha. Then Elijah went up to Heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw it and shouted, ‘My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!’.”
When Elijah was taken up, or raptured, Elisha, and undoubtedly one or both schools of prophets, watched him enter the chariot and ascend into Heaven. And Elisha is found to have Elijah’s spirit upon him (2 Kings 2:15), just as the Bride of Yeshua will take on the likeness of Yeshua (1 John 3:2).
Once again, notice the sequence:
• Elisha follows Elijah to the gathering of prophets in Bethel and then in Jericho (2 Kings 2:1-6),
• A group of fifty or more prophets stand at a distance watching Elisha and Elijah cross the Jordan (2 Kings 2:7-10),
• Elisha follows Elijah across the Jordan (could this be a washing or cleansing?),
• Elisha watches Elijah enter the chariot and rise into Heaven (the clouds).
In neither instance was there an instantaneous disappearance, and nobody’s clothing was left behind in a heap, except Elijah’s cloak, which I believe Elijah purposely allowed to fall for Elisha’s benefit. The same method can be seen in Acts Chapter 1 when Yeshua ascended to the Father.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – “We say this to you by the word of Yahweh, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of Yeshua, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. Yeshua himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of Yahweh, and the dead in Mashiach will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with the resurrected dead in Yeshua in the clouds to meet Yeshua in the air, and so we will always be with him.”
The passage above reveals a definite sequence:
• Yeshua descends in a cloud with a shout, the voice of an angel, and the sound of a shofar (1 Thessalonians 4),
• The dead in Yeshua are resurrected and both they and the still living are instantly given their immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15),
• The living people are gathered together with the previously dead and both rise at the same time to meet Yeshua in the clouds, while those left behind watch intently (1 Thessalonians 4).
Acts 1:9-11 – “After he had said these things, he was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked unwaveringly toward heaven as Yeshua went up two men stood by them in white apparel who said, ‘Why are you gentlemen gazing up into heaven? This Yeshua, who has been taken up from you into Heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched him go into Heaven’.”
This ascension was so fascinating to those watching that two “men” had to interrupt them and basically tell them to get on with their lives until Yeshua returned! Note that scripture tells us that people were watching as Yeshua was go-ing, not as he disappeared into thin air! The word, go, is the Greek word poreuo [G4198]. It means to traverse, that is, to travel, to depart, to go away, to make or to take a journey or a walk. In no way does poreuo indicate an instantaneous disappearance.
Again, notice the sequence:
• Yeshua is raised from the dead and given his glorious, radiant, honorable, powerful, immortal, spiritual body,
• A group of apostles (and others) gathers,
• A cloud appears, and Yeshua is carried into the cloud while the onlookers gaze intently, watching him go into Heaven (Acts 1:9-11 and Luke 24:51).
The rapture is undoubtedly going to be a well witnessed event. Every instance of a rapture, or picture of the coming rapture, throughout scripture was well witnessed. Moses was watched as he rose up into the cloud at Mt. Sinai. Elijah was watched as he rose into Heaven at the Jordan River. Yeshua was also watched as he rose into Heaven.
Proving the Scriptures – Many Witnesses
Numerous times scripture tells us “You certainly see, but you don’t get the point!” (Isaiah 6:9; Ezekiel 12:12; Matthew 13:14; Mark 4:12; etc.) and we wonder why Yahweh/Yeshua speaks in parables. I like the way the Complete Jewish Bible translates Jeremiah 5:21 – “Hear this, stupid, brainless people, who have eyes but do not see . . .”
The resurrection/resuscitation pattern, the witnessed rapture pattern, and the wedding pattern all agree – there is no such thing as an instant disappearance rapture. And that is three witnesses, as required by scripture (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:1, etc.) which establish a fact. If the resurrection / resuscitation patterns show zero instant disappearance events, two or three witnesses establish a fact, and Yahweh/Yeshua doesn’t change, then why would the rapture of the Bride be an instant disappearing act? More than likely the rapture of the Bride will also be fully witnessed and will take more than a twinkling of time to finish.
I believe the rapture from Earth to the clouds may take time – whether short or long scripture does not specify. Elijah ascended fairly quickly. Yeshua’s ascension may have taken a bit longer, as the witnesses were still staring up to the clouds for quite some time! If the Bride in a Jewish Wedding has to literally be carried from her house to the house of the Bridegroom’s father in full view of all those who have been awakened by the shofars and shouting of the bridegroom’s friends, isn’t that yet one more pattern of no instant disappearance? And yet, once we get to the clouds the transfer from there to Heaven may be in an instant! Scripture simply doesn’t give us all the details.
The Resurrection is NOT the (Pre-Tribulation) Rapture
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – “We who remain alive when Yeshua comes will certainly not take precedence over those who have died. For Yeshua himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with Yahweh’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet Yeshua in the air; and thus we will always be with him.”
Paul starts his teaching reminding everyone that if Yeshua has been raised, then so will the dead (vv 13-14). He states in verse 15: “we who are alive, who are left until the coming of Yeshua, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep” and repeats it differently in verse 16, stating: “the dead in Yeshua will rise first.” The living do not get raptured before the dead are resurrected.
In other words, when Yeshua returns, the first thing that takes place is the change of body type to Glorified Body for both the living and the dead, and the resurrection of the dead in that same moment. These are the only two events that take place simultaneously. The living do not need to be resurrected, only changed from mortal to immortal, corrupted to incorruptible! Once the dead have risen, then and only then do both the previously dead and the still living in their glorified bodies ascend together to meet Yeshua in the clouds (v 17).
Paul clearly states there is a sequence:
first – the change to Glorified Body for both the dead and living members of the Bride of Yeshua accompanied by a simultaneous resurrection of the dead members,
second – the gathering together of both the previously dead and the still living members
third – and then the rapture, all three of which do take place before the Tribulation Period.
A Pregnant Pause For The Bride
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – “Those who died united with Yeshua will be the first to rise; then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet Yeshua in the air.”
Isaiah 61:1-2 – “The Spirit of Yahweh Elohim is upon me, because Yahweh has anointed me to announce good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim freedom to the captives, to let out into light those bound in the dark; to proclaim the year of the favor of Yahweh and the day of vengeance of our God.”
Just as there has been a 2000 year pause between the first and second parts of Isaiah 61:1-2, and a forty day pause between Yeshua and the Holy Ones being resurrected and their probable rapture along with Yeshua, perhaps there will be another “pregnant pause” between the resurrection of those in Yeshua and the rapture of both those people and the people who are still alive at that time! (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
The Resurrection / Change to Glorified Body and The Rapture are not the same event.
In not one of the many resurrection narratives does scripture indicate that a person’s resurrection resulted in an instantaneous rapture, even for those who have received an immortal, glorified body. If two scriptural patterns (witnesses) which establish a fact as required by scripture (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:1, etc.) then most likely neither will the Bride of Yeshua instantly disappear! In summary:
Not once does scripture give an account of an instantaneous rapture after a resurrection. The “gone in an instant” image makes for great reading, for simply good fiction. This image, I believe, is not supported by scripture. The instant rapture paradigm is a false narrative not supported by the many patterns revealed in the scriptures that show a progression of well witnessed events over time. The belief that “the resurrection is the rapture” is mere tickling of the ears. This paradigm is a golden calf, and its name is: Instant Gratification. How sad that so many bow down to it.
The Rapture patterns clearly show that it will be a visible event, that it will take a moment or two in time from beginning to end, and that it will be clearly watched as it transpires. It is only the change from mortal to immortal that scripture describes as instantaneous in nature, followed by The Rapture which could either be shortly thereafter or even at a later time.