|The Greatest Story Ever Told About
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived
The resurrection and rapture happens at the same time; the resurrection of the dead happens first
and then those who are still alive are caught up with them. So basically it is one event. One thing
we need to understand when studying this is that Jesus will come twice. Once FOR the saints
which will be the resurrection/rapture at the start of the Tribulation, and the next time it will be at the
end of the Tribulation when he comes WITH the saints. Some scriptures refer to the first coming
and some to the second. When he comes For the saints he will take them to heaven until after the
Tribulation. When he comes back With the saints, he will establish his kingdom on earth for 1000
years. So any references to heaven refer to the first coming and not the second. These are the two
main scriptures that refer to the resurrection and rapture.
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have
died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and
was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the
believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the
Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down
from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of
God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who
are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then
we will be with the Lord forever." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Please note that Paul says "We tell you
this directly from the Lord."
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling
of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we
will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Let's compare this to what Jesus said about the rapture and the resurrection. First the rapture.
For as lightning that comes from the east is visible
even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son
of Man. Matthew 24:27
If we compare this to 1 Corinthians 15:51 we see
that it is very similar. This is when Jesus comes
at the rapture.
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and
the other left. Two women will be grinding with a
hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
This also refers to the rapture and indicates how only the born again believers will be raptured while
the unbelievers will be left behind to go through the Tribulation.
You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
This also refers to the rapture because we don't know when he will come the first time, but when he
comes the second time with the host of heaven he says "..all the nations of the earth will mourn.
They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.." Matthew
24:30. So the above scripture that says he will come at an hour when you do not expect him cannot
refer to his second coming, but to his rapture coming. At his second coming the antichrist
assembles the kings of the earth and their armies at Armageddon awaiting his arrival so they can
blast him out of the sky. They KNOW he is coming. See Revelation 19:19
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to
prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be
with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:4
This too refers to the rapture because Jesus says I will come back and take you to be with me. This
cannot refer to his second coming because then he will be on earth so he will not need to take
anyone where he is, he will come to meet us here. He confirms the scripture from 1 Thessalonians
4 above with this reference.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that
even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I
am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and
whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:21-26
In this scripture Jesus speaks of both the resurrection and the rapture. When he says The one who
believes in me will live, even though they die he is speaking of believers who have died and will be
resurrected. The second part and whoever lives and believes in me will never die he is speaking of
those that are still alive and will be raptured. Those believers that are raptured will never
experience death, they will go straight from this life to eternal life.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who
does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not
prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many
miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
This is a warning from Jesus regarding the rapture. We know he is speaking of the rapture because
he says "many will say to me on that day". Who are the "many" and what day is "that day"? The
many can only refer to the rapture coming and not the second coming because he says "will enter
the kingdom of heaven". If this was his second coming he is already on earth so no one will enter
heaven at that time. The reference to "that day" refers to the day of the rapture when many will say
"Hey Jesus, how about me, why did you leave me behind, I'm a good person, look at what I've done
for you". But Jesus will not be impressed. Those that are left behind may have gone to church all
their life but were never "born again" (see John Chapter 3). Or maybe they were only Christian by
name, but never served God with their life. For various reasons, they were not taken in the rapture
because they never had a relationship with Jesus.
Now lets look at what Jesus says about the Resurrection.
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and
come out; those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will
rise to be condemned. John 5:28-29
Jesus is speaking of the resurrection when all people will be raised to life. The believers will come
out at the resurrection and the unbelievers will come out after the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth.
You can find a scriptural reference to the unbelievers judgment at Revelation 20:11-15. This also
confirms that no one goes to heaven until the resurrection (see the study on After We Die).
"And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise
them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him
shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:39-40
This verse also confirms that no one goes to heaven until the resurrection. Jesus will raise them up
"at the last day" not before. He also says this in verse 44 and 54. This could also mean the rapture
because he does not specify whether those that will be "raised up" will be alive or dead. Because
he says it will happen on the "last day" there will be both present at that time.
"But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be
blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Jesus said that at the resurrection is when the saints will be rewarded, not only with eternal life, but
also for the good deeds they have done in their life.
We can also include John 11:21-26 which we discussed above because it covers both the
resurrection and the rapture, but when you look at all the scriptures, it's clear that Jesus spoke more
about the Rapture than he did about the Resurrection.
We cannot include the scriptures from Matthew 25 where Jesus separates the sheep and the goats
because this is neither a rapture or a resurrection. This is when he judges the survivors of the
Tribulation when he comes to earth the second time with the host of heaven. The believers are
welcomed into his millenium kingdom at that time, but they are not raptured, they are gathered from
all over the earth and stand before Jesus to be judged as are the unbelievers.
Something else to cover here is this. Does the Old Testament talk about the Resurrection or is it
just the New Testament. Here are scriptures from the Old Testament.
But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout
for joy your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Isaiah 26:19
But at that time your people everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered.
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and
everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:1-2
Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to
open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my
people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put
my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the
Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’” Ezekiel 37:12-14
Even in the Old Testament, God was revealing to His faithful what Jesus would do by dying on the
cross. He would make a way for believers to be raised to eternal life. Also notice that it says "those
who dwell in the dust" and "...who sleep in the dust" and "open your graves and bring you up from
them." This again confirms that no one goes to heaven until the resurrection but that they wait in
their graves until then.
If you believe that believers go to heaven immediately or shortly after death then consider this: If
that was true, and all believers are now in heaven, then at the resurrection, who would be
resurrected? The Bible clearly teaches that no one goes to heaven until the resurrection/rapture,
they rest in their graves until then. You can see my study on After We Die for the scriptural
references that confirm this.
Once you understand that the Bible clearly teaches that no one goes to heaven until the
resurrection/rapture, then we can understand when that happens. In Revelation 7 we see that there
is a huge multitude standing around the throne of God (in heaven) from every nation, language, tribe
and people. In other words from all over the earth. Well.....if no one goes to heaven until the
resurrection/rapture, and John saw them standing in heaven around the throne of God, well guess
what? The resurrection/rapture must have happened, otherwise they would not be there would
they, they would still be in their graves.
Jesus - Rapture/Resurrection