By Helena Lehman
After presenting my article entitled “THE RAPTURE IS NOT JUST A HOPE! IT IS A PROMISE”, I received a great deal of resistance to the encouragement it offers believers to hope in the Rapture as a promise that will be fulfilled. As anyone who teaches others about the Rapture will have realized, there are many people who think we will have to stay and fight the Antichrist and his evil armies during the Tribulation while we hide out in the wilderness. Then there are still others who think we will win the world for Christ through progressive political and moral actions and laws such as those who have been taught Dominion and Kingdom Now Theology.
This is a summary of my responses to these types of antagonists who claim to be within the Body of Christ. For those of you who have to deal with the same sort of skepticism and derision from believers who see the Rapture teaching as a lie, I offer these arguments to you in order to arm you with the verbal and Scriptural ammunition you will need to defend your stance.
First of all, many who see the Rapture as a false teaching lock onto the idea that Yahshua said His Second Coming would be a visible event. Meanwhile, many believers in the Rapture teach that it will be a secret event. However, though the Rapture and Yahshua’s Second Coming at the Battle of Armageddon are separate, I do not think the Rapture will come completely unannounced! Instead, the Rapture will only be a secret in the sense that the world will not be expecting it. When the Rapture occurs, the Bible makes it clear that there will be a sign in the heavens called the sign of the Son of Man announcing its nearness and a heavenly trumpet will sound when it occurs (Mat. 24:30; 1 Thess. 4:16).
Now, let me show that the Rapture is indeed a part of the First Resurrection into everlasting life. According to the Apostle Paul, each part of the First Resurrection comes in Yahshua’s own special order. First, there were the firstfruits of the First Resurrection, which consisted of Yahshua and those that were raised with Yahshua as mentioned in Matthew, Chapter 27. Then there will be a First Resurrection of the saints when Yahshua comes, and this coming is chronologically BEFORE He fights the wicked in the Battle of Armageddon! Finally, the last part of the First Resurrection will be when Yahshua returns to deliver the Kingdom to His Father at the end of the Tribulation:
1 Corinthians 15:22-25 - “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. BUT EACH ONE IN HIS OWN ORDER: (1) Christ (and) the firstfruits, (2) afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. (3) Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”
This Scripture means what it says! There are three different resurrection events into everlasting life mentioned! Furthermore, it indicates that the First Resurrection will not be completed until after Yahshua hands the Kingdom over to our heavenly Father at the end of the Tribulation and the Father makes His Son its king (Mat. 22:42-45; 1 Cor. 15:25). This resurrection of the martyrs comes after the Tribulation, as mentioned in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 20:
Revelation 20:4-5 - “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”
As the preceding Scripture plainly states, this particular “Bema Seat” judgment at the third stage of the First Resurrection is for those saints who were martyred for their faith in Christ at the hands of the Antichrist and his evil followers during the Tribulation, not the many martyrs that died before them in different ages.
So, think about it! Why is it that only these martyrs will rise up out of their graves at this time? The only answer that makes sense is that THIS IS NOT THE ONLY RESURRECTION OF THE SAINTS THAT WILL OCCUR BEFORE THE TRIBULATION ENDS! This means that there has to be more than one stage to the First Resurrection into everlasting life that the saints will take part in, just as Paul taught! In fact, the Scriptures do clearly mention three stages to this First Resurrection. Let me show you where!
The first part of the First Resurrection happened when Yahshua died on the Cross and many Israelite saints who had died with a longing to see the Messiah (and some who no doubt knew Yahshua but had died before His death) rose from the dead and came out of tombs throughout Israel and appeared in Jerusalem:
Matthew 27:51-53 - “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”
What sort of resurrection do you think that these saints or “morally blameless ones” experienced? Since it occurred after Yahshua’s blood had been shed to pay for our sins on the Cross, it had to have been a resurrection to everlasting life! So those saints are either still alive on the Earth or have already been Raptured to Heaven with Yahshua. Either way, they are and will always be alive, forevermore!
The second part of the First Resurrection will happen at the “secret” Raptures that no one is expecting that will happen sometime BEFORE the Bowls of God’s Wrath are poured out in the Earth in the last half of the Tribulation. In fact, I believe that there will be two Rapture events during the Tribulation - one at the beginning and one in the middle. Furthermore, there are many clues in Scripture that both of these Raptures will be accompanied by signs in the heavens and cataclysmic events such as an earthquake and possibly a pole shift. This is plainly shown in Revelation Chapter 11 in regard to the Two Witnesses, who will be resurrected and snatched up to Heaven in a second clearly mentioned Rapture event in Scripture:
Revelation 11:7-8, 11-13 - “Now when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” “Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand men were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
No one will miss when the Two Witnesses will be Raptured since the Scriptures plainly state that a great earthquake will accompany their ascension to Heaven and “their enemies” will see them going up! Therefore, there is no doubt that the consequences of each Rapture event has been and will be plainly seen again throughout the world. Furthermore, the heavenly sign of the Son of Man that will precede Yahshua’s coming down out of the Third Heaven both in the Rapture and at the end of the Tribulation will be seen globally as well. When the sign of the Son of Man is seen, it won’t be a secret any longer, and no one will be able to hide the sign because it will be visible in the heavens that circle the whole world in any given 24-hour period. But, sadly, the world already has an alternative “New Age” explanation for it!
New Agers have been looking forward to the Rapture for many years now. These unsaved mystics foresee it as a massive and cataclysmic cleansing of “Mother Earth” ridding herself of “defective” people so a New Age of peace can come. Of course their New Age of peace is none other than the Antichrist’s one world government and New Age religious system, when all will have to take the Mark of the Beast to be a part of Satan’s counterfeit of the Kingdom of God, where good will be evil and evil will be good.
Thankfully, however, God offers His most faithful servants a way of escape that DOES NOT include martyrdom or suicide, but only believing in Yahshua’s promises of deliverance! As quoted in my first article, Revelation Chapter 3, verses 10 and 11 state that Yahshua’s faithful followers can “escape all these things.” This can only mean escaping the devastation, destruction and death of the Wrath of God that will be poured out in the last half of the Tribulation. Furthermore, considering that the entire world as we know it will be completely destroyed during the Tribulation, how do you propose that Yahshua will protect and feed perhaps billions of believers if we remain on the Earth and there is no source of clean water or food left anywhere on the Earth?
Though God protected the Israelites from the pre-Exodus plagues poured out on Egypt, there is no hint of a respite offered to anyone during the Tribulation events recorded in the Book of Revelation except for those who escape into the wilderness. But even then, these righteous fugitives will be hunted down and killed by the Antichrist’s followers wherever they are found.
Only a few will escape, most likely due to their reliance on divine protection and their covering in the blood of the Lamb of God rather than via weapons of war! This will be just as Yahweh protected the Israelites from the plagues that came upon the Egyptians at the time of the Exodus, when the blood of a male lamb painted on their doorways saved them from death. But the wrath of God being poured out on the Earth during the Tribulation will be far more devastating, and those who become believers in the Tribulation will be living all over the world. So, unless there are numerous figurative lands of Goshen to hide in for protection, these people will be in grave danger of dying as the Wrath of God is poured out on the entire world.
Furthermore, in the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, verses 2 through 4, which was quoted in my article showing that the Rapture is certain, Yahshua tells His Apostles and disciples that He is preparing a place for them in His Father’s House. This is undeniably a reference to the Third Heaven where God dwells with His holy angels. Furthermore, Yahshua said that He will come for His disciples so that they can be where He is! This is NOT a reference to Yahshua’s Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation. It can’t be because there are resurrected saints that are to be identified with the Bride of Christ that will be riding on white horses and COMING DOWN OUT OF HEAVEN with Yahshua! Here are two Scriptures, which mention the Bride of Christ and the army on white horses accompanying Yahshua as both being dressed in fresh white linen, suggesting that they are one and same entity:
Revelation 19:7-8 - “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
Revelation 19:11-14 - “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”
These Scriptures tell us that the army of saints that form the Bride of Christ will return with Yahshua at the beginning of the battle of Armageddon, long before the third stage of the First Resurrection mentioned in Revelation, Chapter 20! So where do these already resurrected saints riding on white horses come from if there is no Resurrection until the end of the Tribulation? The answer is there is a Resurrection before then, and it will be much bigger than the one mentioned in Matthew, Chapter 27!
I have noticed that, without exception, those who are so vehemently hateful of the Rapture teaching have a faulty understanding of Yahshua’s completely non-violent and non-political approach to dealing with evil and also a faulty understanding of what it means to be in the Kingdom of God, WHICH IS NOT OF THIS WORLD:
John 18:36 - “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’”
This Scripture leads us to ask: "When does Yahshua’s Kingdom come to Earth and when will Yahshua reside here on Earth with us again?" Well, that would be at Yahshua’s Second Coming at the Battle of Armageddon, wouldn’t it? That is, after all, when our Messiah will arrive to do battle against the wicked and will win His kingdom by force! Therefore, the time to fight God’s enemies with force of arms hasn’t come yet. But even then, the Book of Revelation is very clear that the sword wielded by Yahshua against His foes is the Breath of His Word! And this is also what Yahshua’s Raptured saints use to direct God’s holy angels! Note that IT IS THE ANGELS AND NOT THE SAINTS THAT PHYSICALLY GO TO WAR AGAINST AND OVERTHROW SATAN, the Accuser of the Brethren, who is then cast out of Heaven:
Revelation 12:10-11 - “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they (i.e. the saints) overcame him (i.e. Satan, the Accuser) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.’”
So it is God’s holy angels who fight on our behalf, just as Yahshua will fight for all those who love Him at the Battle of Armageddon using the Sword of His Word coming out of His mouth:
Revelation 19:15 - “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
Now, to those of you who disbelieve in the Rapture, let me ask you: “If I believe in a Rapture, what do I risk?” None of us can deny that the Tribulation will come. It will happen, one way or another. But the Scriptures listed in my articles indicate that I can escape the worst part of the Tribulation by believing that Yahshua will come to deliver me. So, since I love Yahshua more than anything in this world and want to be with Him, than why would I choose to do anything else? You can choose to not believe and stay behind if you like. But I choose to go to be with Yahshua and to dwell with many other saints in His mansions in Heaven while the Tribulation rages on Earth!
The Holy Spirit guides people into all truth, and every pro-Rapture argument that I have presented here came from the Holy Spirit working through me, not through someone else's interpretation of Scripture. I have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that everything I believe concerning the Rapture and the First Resurrection checks out in Scripture and has as much or more validity than the unproven position that we will have to live through the Tribulation.
Those who disagree can say that I am taking Scriptures out of context, but that will not change the literal and allegorical meanings of the many Scriptures that I quoted and explained as teaching that there will be at least one, and maybe two Raptures! So, we who are waiting for the Rapture can believe what we do without any Scriptural doubt.
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Until the Rapture, God bless you and Maranatha!